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Hand crank radio and solar battery charger

Post in 'The Green Room' started by muncybob, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Was not sure where to post this......We tend to lose power in major storms. For the house I have a gas powered generator that will keep the well water running and give us heat in the winter. Was thinking one of those hand crank radios that get NOAA would be a good idea along with something to charge the numerous AA/AAA batteries I have. Any first hand experiences with these?

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  2. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I have no experience of the hand crank radios.... As for solar battery charging, the one issue I see is that if you loose power in storms mostly that is exactly when solar wont be working well.
  3. Doug MacIVER

    Doug MacIVER Feeling the Heat

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    we have a solar noaa radio.sits in the kitchen bay window, just checked it thanks, works great. hand crank flash lite over batteries. have a day
  4. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Got one of these as my comp gift when I donated to Oregon Public Radio. I got what I paid for...it's total junk. I think there are much better models imported with the Kaito name, but this is the bottom of the barrel. I'm ditching it.

    http://www.kaitousa.com/KA339.htm
  5. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    For a couple hundred bucks you can get a 40-60W panel, a deep discharge battery and a controller, and have ~1000 Wh of 12V (or 120V with a little inverter) whenever you want, e.g. during a short outage or when the genny is shut down. Plenty for charging portable electronics, small batteries, etc. I did this for fun, and run the 12V into the house to a phone 'charging station'.

    Of you could just get a (good) trickle/smart charger, and keep a deep discharge battery on it in your garage, and a box of 12V accessories, mostly a phone compatible 12V to USB charger (handy in the car), smaller inverter, etc.
  6. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    A Duracell powerpack might work. You can find a few small panel set ups usually used for camping online. Last time I was researching this I found some on Amazon.
  7. DevilsBrew

    DevilsBrew Minister of Fire

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    Another good idea suggested to me was from an individual who used solar lanterns. There is a lot of cool shtf stuff when it comes to camping gear.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We had one with a solar charger made in Africa that wasn't too good. Now have a small Grundig that works great. It has a long battery life, has a hand crank generator and its reception is quite good.
    http://www.amazon.com/Eton-FR200-Grundig-Emergency-Radio/dp/B000083CUA
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  9. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    True, but eventually the sun will shine and we are always last to get power restored.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Out here one could have a long wait for sunshine in the winter. Batteries and the hand crank are more dependable for us.
  11. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    I have a couple (received as gifts)...the Eton, sold at LL Bean (solar,handcrank,battery) is cute, but only takes AA or AAA batteries (can't recall right now) but they don't pack enough juice to run the radio for long. If you want a real radio in case of real emergencies, I'd look for something that can take a C or D (3-4). You dont wanna have to crank it for 3 minutes to listen for 35 seconds when you know that it takes them 2 minutes to get to anything you wanna hear. Most with the built in solar is pretty ineffective unless you have extreme direct sun. Just my experience though. I dont have one I'd recommend.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The radio is miserly with batteries. We use the radio regularly for music out in the garden and I replace them about once a year or two. Same thing with the crank. It lasts a long time. This one has surprised me with how well it works.
  13. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Read some decent reviews of that Grundig....got a like new one on "watch" w/Ebay...so far only $30 :)
  14. Circus

    Circus Member

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    It's serendipity when I installed a 1200 watt inverter and deep cycle battery in my mini van six years ago. All I wanted was coffee while on the road but I can use it like a emergency generator when the demand doesn't warrant a gas guzzling generator. Works fine for things like TV, lamp or (if you turn off the TV and lamp) coffee. If something unexpected kicks in the inverter shuts off automatically.
  15. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    I work in IT, but most likely anyone that works with computers can talk to their local tech for help here.

    We have a lot of laptop batteries that are headed for the recycler after the laptop's operating system pops up and says "hey your battery is not charging close to the design capacity, replace it knucklehead." If you take one of these old batteries apart what you will see is generally 6 or 9 rechargeable lithium ion batteries called 18650 batteries (18mm wide by 65 mm long). They are soldered together and have a small charging circuit, just rip all that out and you are left with individual cells. These cells are generally 2000+ma in capacity (standard AA batteries are 400–900ma) and can be used over and over.

    I found the little solar/crank type radios can't keep a smartphone charging with the tiny solar panel, and I don't feel like cranking for every so I use a lithium-ion charger. (it's important to use a li-ion charger, not a regular one as the good ones have charging circuits made for these types of batteries) I use this one: http://www.sbflashlights.com/Xtar-Lights/Xtar-WP2-II-Li-Ion-Charger-p136.html

    So basically I have a stash of "retired" batteries that still hold a good charge months later, ready for action, and my batteries are free:
    [​IMG]
    I use them to keep my smartphone and ipad charged (mostly for entertainment I admit) during power outages, but they work well for any small electronics:
    [​IMG]
  16. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Woodgeek, do you have good sources for this stuff that cheap?

    Last year I was thinking of doing the same as a "for fun project" (for me would also do duty as a field power station for my RC hobby) but I found it hard to find quality panels around 50w for much under $200... i.e. not the harbor freight variety... Pricing out a system and using the 1W per Ah rule of thumb using a typical group 27 deep cycle battery of about 100Ah and a 100w panel plus an inexpensive charge controller like a SunSaver I was looking at over $500 and dropped the idea (prices from Arizona Wind-Sun).
  17. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I went with e-bay. Got no name (chinese) panels, prices have been ~$2/W with free shipping, if you search around for a while.

    Sellers change often, a current example is:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/30W-30-Watt...560?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f22d4c6f8

    I got a 20W first, and then decided to upgrade to a 50W. (not the same brand as the link, but same idea). Keep in mind that with a cheap controller and cycle losses in a the battery, your real power will be 50-60% of panel nominal.

    Prices on small panels elsewhere (NAWS, Amazon, etc) are terrible! Fool and their money I guess. The ebay cheapies have all been flawless, ziptied to my gutters for years. Wouldn't put 50 of them on my roof, but for a fun project, perfect.
  18. Jaugust124

    Jaugust124 Feeling the Heat

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  19. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    This is "low tech" but if you have a kid around to crank so you don't have to, it's cheap and serves it purpose. We relied on a few after Sandy and the gas for the generators ran out, we couldn't get out to get more and ran out of cars to siphon. The flashlight was surprisingly bright, blinding bright. Granted we don't have kids so we had to crank, it takes awhile but works, it really works.

    It did charge my blackberry but it takes a lot of cranking to get enough juice to charge. Still better than nothing and you are not relying on gas, batteries or anything else, just your ability to crank the sucker.

    They have one on sale for $6 but it won't charge a smart phone, the smart phone on comes with the adapter to use your car charger in it, worth every penny of the $17 to me ;)

    http://beprepared.com/wavelength-emergency-radio-charger-flashlight.html

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