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American Red Cross FR350 Emergency Radio

American Red Cross FR350 Emergency Radio, White (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

by Eton See the Amazon Page for this brand
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Color: White
  • American Red Cross-endorsed, water-resistant emergency radio with 4 distinct power sources
  • Picks up AM, FM, and 7 shortwave bands; built-in LED flashlight and cell phone charger
  • Receives power from hand crank generator, NiMH battery, AC adapter, or 3 AA batteries
  • 90 seconds of hand cranking produces 40 to 60 minutes of uninterrupted radio power
  • Sealed 3.5 mm headphone jack; measures 8.75 x 4.5 x 2.25 inches (W x H x D); 1-year warranty


Technical Details

Color: White
  • Brand Name: Eton
  • Model: ARCFR350W

Product Details

  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B000EIDLWC
  • Item model number: ARCFR350W
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,202 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: October 2, 2001

Product Description

Amazon.com

The Etón Grundig American Red Cross FR350 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/Shortwave radio, built-in LED flashlight, cell phone charger and emergency siren -- all surrounded by a sturdy, weather-resistant casing -- the lightweight and portable Grundig FR350 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.


FR250

FR300

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, AC
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 400, a water-resistant variation of the FR300.

Power When You Need It
At the heart of all of Etón's emergency radios, including the Grundig FR350, 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 (the FR350 comes with several cell phone adapters), you can use the crank to power your phone. In our test, after draining our cell phone of power, we recharged it using the FR350 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 FR350 can provide your compatible phone with power in a pinch.

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 FR350 powered right up and was still going strong with radio reception at the one hour mark, though there was not enough power to turn the light on. At the 75-minute mark, the radio finally lost complete power and had to be regenerated. The FR350 can also be powered via the included AC adapter, or from three AA batteries, which are not included. 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 FR350 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 FR350 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 FR350 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.


The large band selection knob and other controls make the FR350 a breeze to use. View larger.

The rear connections are protected by rubber seals. View larger.

On the left, the hand crank, on the right, a flashlight, and tuning and volume knobs.

The mechanical controls of the FR350 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. 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.

Tuning and Bands
The FR350 offers nine-band tuning -- AM, FM and 7 shortwave bands. 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. Our shortwave reception, however, was a mixed bag. We tested in the early and late evening, searching for signals in the more heavily populated SW3 and SW4. While we found several signals during our test, honing in on them took a bit of finesse with the fine-tuning knob. And when we did find them, there was static and background noise with most of the signals.

While the FR350 shares the same features and performance of the FR250, its sturdy, weather-resistant casing and design modifications give it a distinct edge in emergency situations that's well worth the extra cost.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight; sturdy, weather-resistant casing
  • Clearly laid out functions and controls
  • Excellent internal power generator; handy cell-phone charger
Cons
  • Tuning dial could be better illuminated for darkened environments
  • Shortwave reception inconsistent
What's in the Box
FR350 radio, cell phone charging adapters, nylon carrying case, AC adapter and American Red Cross pamphlet.

Product Description

Improved technology, functionality and versatility, the FR350 is ideal for emergencies. The FR350 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.

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many features, solid performance January 3, 2007
Color Name:White
Eton's FR350 emergency radio provides a solid solution for folks who want to stock their emergency kits with a waterproof, feature-packed unit. Given that I use mine primarily for listening to baseball while doing yardwork, I haven't gotten much use out of the shortwave receiver, siren, flashlight, and cell phone charger, but it's nice to know they're there.

Radio reception on this unit is solid, and while the dial is not rigorously gradated by frequency the signals from individual stations tend to be so clear that finding the one you're after is usually no problem.

My only two complaints about the unit are the following: First, the hand-crank dynamo seems to give inconsistent charge to the batteries. Sometimes after the recommended 90 second crank I could listen to a whole game without recharging the unit, but other times, for no clear reason, the volume would die down and after just a couple of innings it would require another hand-cranking.

Second, the position of the flashlight switch is situated such that it can be easily turned on inadvertently, particularly when the unit is being cranked for a charge. The power drain from using the flashlight is significant, and while this only requires another round of hand-cranking (and subsequent turning off of the light), it is an annoying design feature that could have easily been moved elsewhere on the casing.

Those two flaws, though, are minor considering the overall performance I've experienced with the FR350, and based on my happiness with the unit, I can recommend it without hesitation.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars fragile antenna; broke first day March 29, 2007
Color Name:White
Great concept and probably pretty good otherwise, but antenna is stiff and broke at base almost right out of the box. Our old plug in radio's antenna has held up close to 30 years. No excuse for one like this. Technology is not new; poor execution, weak materials, something.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Color Name:White|Verified Purchase
Very disappointed in this radio. Perhaps in a city radio reception might be better but my first transistor radio (40 years ago) did better than this. I had to keep fiddling with the antenna to get Maine Public Radio to come in. Perhaps you have an extra kid to assign to antenna duty, but mine have grown up. The siren switch looks just like the radio on/off switch, so watch what you're doing or you'll get blasted. I've yet to get close to 40 minutes using the crank charge. Perhaps that is due to being further from the city as well. The product description was right on the nail about the shortwave reception though, with "Shortwave reception inconsistent"

What a waste of $60.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Impressions January 13, 2009
Color Name:White
This is a solid unit! The case is not brittle, shiny plastic but a dense, rubbery material that should be able to take some punishment. Handle the antenna and dynamo crank carefully and this radio should last a long time.

Night time AM reception is stellar. The tuning display is narrow, as it must be in such a small radio. But the tuning knob is very tight, and with a steady hand and a little patience you can tune between two adjacent stations. From western Georgia I could clearly hear either 1110 WBT from Charlotte or 1120 KMOX from St. Louis!

FM performs as well as could be hoped for a small, single-speaker radio. Sounds great over headphones, too. The shortwave will bring in strong signals, but this is not a DX machine. If you have no interest in shortwave you can choose this unit that will deliver National Weather Service broadcasts instead: Eton American Red Cross FR405 Emergency Radio, White

There seems to be some confusion about the cell phone charging cable. The unit I purchased came with a postcard to register the product. When you do so Eton promises to mail you the charging cable and correct adaptor for your cell phone brand. This registration can also be done at their internet site.

It's nice that Eton also provides a carrying case for ths radio. The zipper pouch on the case will enable you to keep the cell phone charging cable and adaptor at hand. While the plastic clip and shoulder strap on the case don't look too sturdy, it will serve to keep the dust off if you store this radio for a while. Although I don't think mine will have time to get dusty! This light weight unit does everything I want it to do.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very cheaply made. Try before buying. September 8, 2006
Color Name:White
I thought I would love to have this radio for emergencies. It is a huge frustration. I cut my finger trying to pry open the battery compartment. My husband had to use a knife to open it. Poor quality AM and FM, and forget about shortwave. For emergency use, I want a good radio that is not a source of frustration.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect November 4, 2009
Color Name:White|Verified Purchase
As an emergency radio, I find it important to have multiple power sources. This one works great. Also the ability to charge a cell phone is great. You do have to tell the company which phone you have and they'll send you the appropriate adapter. On the downside, with a 4.5 volt output, why not provide a USB charging cable? The freq display isn't lit with the light. There is no weather band.

Pros - Power sources, cell phone charging, signal strength
Cons - no weather band, freq display not lit
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good product and great customer service
When I purchased this radio I checked all of the advertised functions and they all worked as the product manual said they would. Read more
Published on February 6, 2012 by Larry
5.0 out of 5 stars Doing well after 5 years
I bought this about 5 years ago as an emergency radio/flashlight and just today broke it out to see if it was still working. Read more
Published on June 23, 2011 by Doxycycline
5.0 out of 5 stars American Red Cross FR350 Emergency Radio
Amazing thing: very well built-up in general, nicely tuned with a good, i.e. solid, crank mechanism. Not sure about its water resistance though - will check this spring. Read more
Published on May 12, 2011 by mirotrav
1.0 out of 5 stars Immediate Failure
Bought this radio because we have had frequent power outages. Batteries have limited shelf life so the crank charger was the draw. Plus it included the ability to charge phones. Read more
Published on November 16, 2010 by JohnLM
5.0 out of 5 stars american red cross radio
I have bought this radio for others as a gift. No one has complained yet, so I'm guessing it's an ok product as of this date 7-17-2010. The price was right. Read more
Published on July 18, 2010 by mike
4.0 out of 5 stars Product long discontinued--may be battery issues
On first unpacking mine, it would play for only a few seconds after cranking for two minutes. A call to Eton (800-872-2228) revealed that the model has been discontinued for 4-5... Read more
Published on March 17, 2010 by Paul S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice
Nice radio, nice size, good sound and the light is great. Hard to turn on and tune, but does a good job of what I wanted it for. Read more
Published on October 3, 2009 by Blaz Toups
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Am/FM - Useless shortwave
The Am/Fm work great. It even drifts less that the more higly touted Freeplay Ranger. But the Shortwave is absolutey uselss. Read more
Published on July 15, 2008 by Frugal Bargain Hunter
4.0 out of 5 stars good to have
power out here in NYC 2 times last month
good to have
I wish it had a weather station on the short wave
I an happy with it
Published on August 4, 2007 by James C. Romeo
5.0 out of 5 stars exactly as expected
This works exactly as expected. It will not become my prime source for entertainment sound, and it was not purchased for that purpose. Read more
Published on January 4, 2007 by Au Sable Sam
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