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Saturday, April 16, 2016

For Your Safety - Battery/Crank Powered FM/AM/NOAA Radios

No Storm Coming Anytime Soon!
    So, lately I have been giving some thought to failures. Not in life, but with the equipment and hardware we travel with in our RVs. What if you suddenly find yourself in a storm and your batteries are discharged and your generator won't start? Oh, and your chassis engine and battery are dead too. I know it's a lot of "coincidental" failures, but it could happen. Now what? Well, if you're like me, you'd want to know when the weather will improve so you can begin to fix what's broken (or let the sun shine in and get your batteries charging from your solar panels!) How do you do that with no power? Of course...you have a fresh set of batteries in your portable radio. You have one of those right? I never use mine. And guess what? The batteries were dead. No spares of that size with me. If I had had spares...they would be of the same vintage and likely dead too! Now what, again!?

Crank it up! What? No batteries, no music....crank what up? The radio. There are quite a few hand crank radio varieties out there that require NO batteries to run them. I just ordered one that has all the NOAA frequencies in it as well. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) these will get you weather reports, and on other frequencies; local news, national news...and yes...music. These work by turning your hand cranking into electrical power which is then stored internally within a battery. The battery is either a lithium-ion or nickel metal hydride type. I prefer the lithium ion as they self-discharge (sitting in a drawer not being used) at a very slow rate.


Cool Glow In The Dark Ring!
I ordered two of them. One had a small solar panel on top as well as the crank for charging. it could also be charged from an external USB port. You could also charge a cellphone or other device from the USB port. Worked OK. It was about the size of a large paperback book. I believe that one will stay at home. For the RV I found a discontinued ETON FRX1 in white, that was only $9.96 online It won't charge a cellphone, but can be charged from an outside USB port. It also has a flashlight built in. How long does it last when cranked? Good question! After about 60 seconds of cranking...relatively slowly, I was able to listen to the radio for almost 15 minutes before it got static-y. The light would stay on for about the same amount of time. It's pretty bright and usable. I really like that there is a glow in the dark ring around the top of the radio. Makes it easy to find in the dark! The whole thing is pretty small. Less than half the size of the other one I bought.

I know you can drive yourself crazy wondering about all the "what-ifs" that we face everyday. Since this one wasn't too far fetched and incredibly easy to prepare for...I went for it. besides, I had the perfect spot in a small cabinet for it!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com

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