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Get Powered Up! Certified Energy Manager Jeff Yago answers your alternative energy questions

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Archive for the ‘Hand-crank’ Category


Emergency Radio

Monday, May 18th, 2009


Any update since the issue #98 article on picking the right emergency radio?

I’m leaning toward a crank job, but when I read reviews on Amazon, etc., they’re all over the field. Add to that that every schlock outfit that can cobble together a radio sells them with all kinds of useless do-dads. One criticism of the Sangean was that it runs for progressively shorter durations after cranking each time it runs down.


Rob Wagner


All of the hand crank radios I have tested have not been very good with many broken cranks and other failures.   I have, however, tested many small radios that require very little battery power and it’s just as easy to keep a pack of spare batteries nearby.

I am not a big fan of rechargeable batteries as then tend to play out when you really need them and the older they are the shorter they hold a charge.

The Sony radio I have shown in several articles has AM, FM, Weather, and TV-sound bands and will fit inside your fist.  Since it can use an earphone, it requires very little battery power to operate for very long periods.  A spare pack of batteries should give you weeks of operation during an extended power outage.

When I buy LED flashlights and other battery powered equipment, I try to standardize on only 2 battery sizes, then its easy to keep refreshing my spares as the older ones get used for everyday use.

I’ll take a Sony earphone radio and a pack of 16  AAA copper-top batteries any day instead of one of these hand-crank specials with no batteries.

Hope this helps,

Jeff Yago



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