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  • American Red Cross FR400 Emergency Radio, White (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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American Red Cross FR400 Emergency Radio, White (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

by Eton

Available from these sellers.
White
  • Emergency radio with water resistant housing
  • Endorsed by the American Red Cross
  • Hand crank can be used to recharge the built-in battery
  • Tunes AM/FM, seven NOAA weather alert channels, and TV channels 2-13
  • Features emergency lights, plus a flashing beacon mode; cell phone charger
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Important Note Regarding TV Reception in This Product
This product may mention receiving an NTSC-TV or TV-VHF frequency in its product description. However, due to the digital TV transition enacted on June 12, 2009, analog TV broadcasts are no longer supported. Please be aware that no analog TV broadcasts will be receivable by this product.

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Color: White
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Technical Details

Color: White
  • Brand Name: Eton
  • Model: ARCFR400W

Product Details

Color: White
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B000EIBVKG
  • Item model number: ARCFR400W
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: December 12, 2002

Product Description

Color: White

Product Description

Improved technology, functionality and versatility, the FR400 is ideal for emergencies. The FR400 provides you with a water resistant radio, LED lights, and cell phone charger when you need it most. Using the Hand-Crank Power Generator, charge the internal rechargeable Ni-MH battery pack in times of need. With NOAA weather channels and TV-VHF channels, you have easy access to weather forecasts and can listen to TV shows while away from the set.

Amazon.com

The Etón Grundig American Red Cross FR400 is one of Etón's American Red Cross branded, weather-resistant emergency radios. With a dependable hand-crank power generator that powers the unit's AM/FM/TV/Weather radio, built-in LED flashlight, cell phone charger and emergency siren -- all surrounded by a sturdy, weather-resistant casing -- the lightweight and portable Grundig FR400 is an excellent choice for anyone in the market for a radio that can be relied on in emergencies or in environments where there are limited power sources.

take it camping

take it anywhere

The FR400 is small and portable enough to go wherever life takes you.

Housed within its weather-resistant body, the Etón FR400 includes a two white-LED light source, and a flashing red-LED light source, as well as an emergency siren so that you can not only find what you are looking for, but others can easily find you. As an added convenience, this unit features a 3.5-millimeter earphone jack, a fine-tuning control knob super-imposed on the main tuning control knob for achieving the maximum in station clarity, and a built-in cell-phone charger with a 3.5-millimeter output jack and multiple adapter tips for charging select models of Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson phones. This Etón FR400 weighs only 1.5 pounds, and measures 8.6 x 4.5 x 2 inches (W x H x D).

Other models in Etón's line of emergency radios that we tested include the Grundig FR200, an entry-level shortwave radio that also includes a flashing LED light; the Grundig FR250, a shortwave radio that also includes a flashing LED light, cell phone charger and siren; the Grundig FR 300, which includes the emergency features of the FR250, but offers television and weather station tuning instead of shortwave; and the Grundig FR 350, a water-resistant variation of the FR250.

While the FR400 shares the same features and performance of the FR300, its sturdy, weather-resistant casing and design modifications give it a distinct edge in emergency situations that's well worth the extra cost.


fr250(FR250 fr250
FR300
FR350
FR350
FR350
FR400
Hand crank
Cell phone charger
Emergency lights
Siren
AC adapter included
Water resistant
Tuning AM/FM, SW AM/FM, TV-VHF, NOAA weather AM/FM, SW AM/FM, TV-VHF, NOAA weather
Size (inches, WxDxH) 6.5 x 2.5 x 6 6.5 x 2.5 x 6 8.75 x 2.25 x 4.5 8.75 x 2.25 x 4.5
Weight 1 lb. 3 oz. 1 lb. 4 oz. 1 lb. 4 oz. 1 lb. 4 oz.
Power Crank, 3 AA, NiMH battery, AC Crank, 3 AA, NiMH battery, AC Crank, 3 AA, NiMH battery, AC Crank, 3 AA, NiMH battery, A
Tuning and Bands
The FR400 receives FM radio via a built-in telescoping antenna, AM via an internal ferrite bar, all seven NOAA weather channels plus an Alert function, and even picks up TV1, TV2, and VHF channels 2-13, so you can listen to your favorite television programs without a TV. As was the case with all of the Etón emergency radios we tested, our AM reception was outstanding; we were quickly able to tune into every station we searched for. Reception for FM was also very good, though there was some extra fine-tuning on some of the stations. Because weather broadcasts are based on VHF, line-of-sight channels, and because we are slightly out of range of the nearest weather transmitter in our region, we were not able to test the radio's weather reception. Television reception, happily, was quite another story. Though some stations took some finessing of the tuner before we were able to hone in on a strong signal, most of the reception was loud and clear.

Power When You Need It
At the heart of all of Etón's emergency radios, including the FR400, is an internal generator that recharges the internal Ni-MH battery pack and powers the radio, siren, and light. Also, by plugging your cell phone into the jack on the back of the radio, you can use the crank to power your phone.

Important Note: Until this year, Etón provided a package of several different cell phone adapter tips with every radio. In 2007, Etón began instead including a coupon for a free adapter for whatever phone you have. So, the first thing you want to do when you get the radio is fill out the card with your cell phone's make and model and send it in to make sure you have your adapter.

In our test, after draining our cell phone of power, we recharged it using the FR400 enough to make a few calls. The rate of cell phone recharging will vary greatly depending on the cell phone and the state of its battery, but the FR400 can provide your compatible phone with power in a pinch.

The Etón FR400 is extremely versatile, and can be powered by up to four different sources, including: the included AC adapter, three AA batteries (not included), the built-in rechargeable Ni-MH battery which can be recharged from the AC adapter or by hand, and the dynamo hand crank which not only can recharge the built-in battery but provides power even when no battery is installed.

According to the product manual, to achieve 40 to 60 minutes of uninterrupted power to the radio, you must turn the crank at a rate of two revolutions per second for 90 seconds. In our test, after our initial 90 seconds of rigorous cranking, the FR400 powered right up and was still going strong with radio reception after an hour. At the hour mark, we briefly turned the flashlight on, and that too was at full force, with no perceivable drain on radio reception. The dynamo crank tucks itself nicely into the side of the radio and offers little resistance as you turn the handle. (Don't let the cranking requirements frighten you! While it's true that a full 90 seconds of turning the crank can be tiring and may not be for everyone, we were able to recharge the radio with less than a minute of cranking and achieved over 40 minutes of continuous power.)

Design and Controls
At 1.5 pounds, and with dimensions of 4.5 x 8.75 x 2.25 inches (HxWxD), the FR400 is made to be tucked neatly into its handy nylon carrying case, ready to be stored in emergency box, or packed neatly for a camping trip. A white LED light is set on the side of the radio, just above the tuning knob, allowing you to use the FR400 like a flashlight. A red flashing emergency light is also included. This placement is an improvement over the designs of the FR200, FR250 and FR350, all of which place the emergency light on the radio's face. But similar to those radios, the light on the FR400 is only designed to help you down an unlit stairwell or enclosed hallway in a pinch, and is not directed or strong enough to help you much in a pitch-black forest or other open area. The radio and light can be operated simultaneously, though of course at the expense of power.

front view of FR400
The large band selection knob and other controls make the FR400 a breeze to use.
back view
The rear connections are protected by rubber seals.
side views of FR400
On the left, the hand crank, on the right, a flashlight, and tuning and volume knobs.

The mechanical controls of the FR400 are extremely visible and easy to use. The volume control is fairly easy to finesse, and the tuning knob, which features a smaller concentric fine-tuning control knob, offers much greater control. A sealed 3.5 mm earphone jack is set into the back, and the telescoping antenna tucks neatly behind the handle strap, and the telescoping antenna tucks neatly behind the handle strap. The radio's 2.5-inch speaker is set directly in front and offers reasonable audio quality and excellent volume for the radio's purpose. The tuner itself is self-illuminated, though in a darkened environment it is still somewhat difficult to pick out the bands.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight; ideal for emergencies or travel
  • Clearly laid out functions and controls
  • Excellent internal power generator; handy cell-phone charger
Cons
  • Tuning dial could be better illuminated for darkened environments
What's in the Box
FR400 radio, card for free cell phone charging adapter, nylon carrying case

Customer Reviews

The thin plastic crank handle is WAY TOO flimsy.
F. Story
Great functionality and a really good combination of features.
R. Everson
Outside of that a great tool in the event of an emergency.
Jay S.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

278 of 286 people found the following review helpful By Robert M on June 15, 2006
Color Name: White Verified Purchase
This radio has an outstanding set of features that would appear to make it a great emergency radio for the home. It has nearly every conceivable feature in an emergency radio that covers al the bases in one small unit. Unfortunately, The radio's performance is so wide of the mark that I can't recommend it.

The radio suffers from two serious performance flaws: Strong FM stations can prevent reception on some TV channels. This "image rejection" problem is well known in receiver design. You should check if the TV channel you intent to listen to can be received at your home. I had one strong TV channel that my 10 year old GE radio could receive just fine that was completely blocked on this radio. Keep in mind that in a real disaster you may not be able to hear same stations because the stations themselves have lost power. What if the only station you can hear is rendered useless because of this receiver's poor performance?

Secondly it is not nearly as sensitive as other, cheaper weather radios. The Midland WR-300 is a far superior performer at pulling in weak weather broadcast stations. In side-by-side tests over -several days the Midland could easily hear two stations while this radio could only hear static.

Also, the design had several ergonomic issues. If, like most of us, you're right handed, you'll find the crank placement cumbersome since it's on the left side of the radio. Also the tuning display has no back light making reading it in the dark very hard. Third it really needs a carrying handle, which the cheaper model FR300 has (but it lacks an AC adapter). This alone might have me decide in favor of the FR350 since, even after you purchase an AC adapter at Radio Shack, your still ahead dollar wise and you have a nice handle!
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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By imu ilu on November 15, 2006
Color Name: White Verified Purchase
What do you need from a radio in emergencies? First is to be sure that it hasn't dissipated its power, but the switch at the top of this unit is left-light, middle-off, right-flash, and with experience in similar devices stashed in tool boxes or car trunks, etc. the switch is gonna get moved so it'll drain the batteries. This needs a better switch.

Second, another concern is the two flimsy plastic turn-knobs on the front. The knob on the left front lets you select the power input as to how to supply power to the unit (battery or crank-around-and-around), but the knob sticks out and feels flimsy, so it's a likely candidate for getting broken in any storage place or when being used, so that you may not be able to use it to select how you are gonna power the radio. The knob on the right front that sends out a siren (left), off (center), or sets up the weather alert monitoring (right) is built the same way, and it's also a likely candidate for getting moved away from the off-position, or getting broken off when you need it. It's too much a plastic toy and not durable enough.

Third, radio reception is decent, but the TV bands appear limited to channels 2 though 13, and if you are in an area where TV is channels 16 and higher, it won't help you there unless you get lucky to pull in some sideband or whatever it is called (I did once get a wisp of a higher channel, but I wouldn't want to depend on that in an emergency.) The maker does send 70 cents per sale to the Red Cross, so that is likely why this says Red Cross on it. I'm gonna keep it cuz who knows, but I have a better built Garmin unit.

Fourth,if I dropped the Garmin unit, I think it'd hold together. From handling this Eton unit, if I dropped it, I think I'd have 50 broken pieces of plastic.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By P. Anderson on February 24, 2007
Color Name: White Verified Purchase
I just received my FR 400 from Amazon. I noted several problems right away. NO cell phone tips or cord were included. Instead you get a warranty card on which you are to specify what model phone you have, then (in theory) they send you a cord and that SINGLE tip. Not what they advertised, nor what I expected/wanted, as my wife and I have different phones. Possibly this is a recent change, but this kind of bait and switch makes me distrust the entire product. I would not have bought it if I had known this. Also, the AC adapter uses a barrel plug with reverse polarity (i.e. positive on the exposed outside, negative on the shielded inside), which defeats the entire purpose of a barrel plug. Apparently they wanted to make their charger useless for any other purpose, and prevent you from using any other charger. Not having a phone cord I'm not sure, but I would be afraid they reversed the polarity on that too, making any other cords and tips that might fit useless as well. An emergency product should be versatile, not proprietary. Additionally this arrived just before a severe storm (24 Feb 2007), but not to worry. If the power goes out and my phone goes dead, I can take comfort in my warranty card.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By F. Story on January 19, 2007
Color Name: White
Was very disappointed in this product for several significant reasons:

1. The thin plastic crank handle is WAY TOO flimsy. This "handle" provides a critical function-- you think/expect the manuf. would have invested a few pennies more for a thicker or metal handle. (The internal generator produces a fair amount of crank resistance-- so it's only a matter of time before this handle will break.)
2. The time needed to charge a dead cell phone for a brief call (1-2 min.) was way too long-- especially given the fragility of the plastic crank handle.
3. The ON/OFF is inadvertently turned to the ON position each time you slide the radio back into the very snug storage cover/bag. (Nice surprise to open your "Emergency" radio only to find it has completely drained batteries because of this design flaw.)
4. Radio reception is poor for FM stations, and was non-existent for TV stations-- tried tuning-in both at various location in my town.
5. For a price on $79 (currently on sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $65) these BASIC features should work as advertised.
6. Amazon customer service has been EXTREMELY slow to deliver the pre-paid return slips as promised. It has been over 30 days now-- and 5 phones calls-- (3) to India, (1) to the Philippines, and finally, one to the US. The international calls each averaged over 20 minutes because of language and phone connection difficulties.
7. Product is a great concept-- every home should have one. I would buy locally so you can test the features first-- and because of the slow/inept Amazon customer service... in this case.
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