Reviews You Can Depend On

Canadian Red Cross FRX3 Hand Turbine NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger, CRCFRX3WXR


Canadian Red Cross FRX3 Hand Turbine NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger, CRCFRX3WXR

When the lights go out this quickly pays for itself

(9/10)

We had previously purchased the regular ETON version of this radio and after working very well for a couple of years we purchased this version for family living in the country where power outages occur often.

The radio is built so that it’s easy to hold onto. Even without the top bar which houses the solar panel, the side loops which protect the station tuning and volume controls make for easy holding.

Durability wise these things are built well. We’ve dropped ours a number of times while camping, mind you it fell onto grass or dirt but nonetheless the drops didn’t result in any damage, either to the outside or the inner workings. It still works and sounds as good as it did the first day.

The design is nice, everything is well laid out, from the top corner mounted button to work the flash light/red flashing LED to the fold down crank handle. Radio, clock, and other buttons are shielded from damage by the top handle. The slider, mounted on top of the crank pivot point, for selecting AM, FM, or the various VHF weather radio channels is nicely indented so that it doesn’t slide around easily, you can feel when it’s been moved.

The broad lanyard connection point makes attaching a cord easy.

On the back side is a small pop out panel which covers the batteries. Here is where you place the three AAA Alkaline and rechargeable 600mAh NiMH batteries. Sitting across the middle is the pull out telescoping AM radio antenna which has its own slot to tuck away in. On top of this is the rubber flap that’s used to cover the various ports.

~Auxiliary audio input for listening to tunes from an MP3 player or SmartPhone but requires an audio cable
~Headset audio output
~Mini USB port for charging the NiMH battery from an external source
~USB A connector for powering a phone or other USB charged device
It is a rubber flap but don’t consider this water proofing or even water resistant, it’s made to keep dust out and that’s about it. The other cover for the batteries doesn’t provide any better sealing.

Cranking for power is simple enough and doesn’t require a lot of effort. The generator runs smoothly and its just a matter of spinning the crank. We’ve found that for about 5 minutes of cranking we get 30 minutes of radio at low volume. For charging a phone it’s a different story. Today’s phones are power hungry and it can take a good hour of cranking before getting enough juice to run the phone for a few hours. Don’t think of this as a power source, think of it as an emergency power source only. The internal NiMH battery is only 600mAh, most SmartPhones have 2500+mAh batteries.

The solar panel does a good job of keeping the NiMH battery charged and makes the radio or light useable but if the battery is dead it requires some cranking to get it built up enough so that the solar panel can keep the battery topped off.

The crank is the real power generation option here and like other similar products, it takes a while to generate enough to make things useable. In an emergency, this is a good thing to have.

Radio wise the performance is good. Like any AM radio to get good reception you want the antenna pulled up. For FM and VHF (weather channels) it also play an important role.

So while not being the ultimate emergency radio/power generator it does a great job for the price.

 

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