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291 of 304 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent emergency radio
I just received this radio. I purchased it for emergency purposes. Here is a summary of the features: AM/FM/7 weather bands. The reception in my area for all 3 functions is excellent. It comes with a retractable antenna which tucks away nicely when not in use. The radio is powered in 1 of 4 ways: solar (takes 10 hrs of direct sunlight to completely charge the NiMH...
Published on August 28, 2012 by Doctor Oz

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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Designed/Functional Weather Radio and AM/FM Radio
Very poor radio. I ordered this radio mainly for the weather alert ability and secondly for the AM/FM receiving capabilities. I liked the idea that the internal battery could be recharged with the solar panel and by the crank magneto when needed. I tried two(2) of these radios from Amazon. Both radio's AM/FM/Weather reception worked fine. The problem I kept having was...
Published 13 months ago by Mechanic1


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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Won't hold a charge: better now, but still not as expected, August 28, 2013
This review is from: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger (Electronics)
Maybe we got a dud or something, but it won't hold a charge long enough to hear a cycle of NOAA. So you have to crank during the report, but the crank is quite noisy and makes it hard to hear the report. There's NO WAY it could actually charge something else - let alone a whole phone. We used it for a 2 week camping trip and got good enough to time our winding with parts of the weather report we didn't need, but it certainly wouldn't be useful in an emergency situation! It's beyond disappointing. If we hadn't used it on the trip, I would've just returned it.

**EDIT: After calling to complain, they asked me to do several tests for them like crank 240 times and leave it in the sun for so many hours. After the results showed that is does indeed not hold a charge for more than 90 seconds, they sent me a new battery set. Now the 240 cranks will let the weather station play for 10 minutes. They said that was within their quality controls, so it's now working as intended. If we leave it in the sun on a bright day, we might be able to play music, but in terms of holding a charge to do anything else like charge a phone, it's not going to work. This was a shame because we took it as an alarm clock on a recent trip and the rechargable battery discharged overnight. It played 2 seconds of radio and that was it, and I'm pretty sure it did that from the AAs that are backups. Luckily it woke us up, but not really what we thought we were going to get for charging it up and leaving it alone, without using it for 8 hours.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars JUNK., November 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger (Electronics)
If I had the time to even undertake it, I would have returned this radio to Amazon. It is total garbage. Do you want to know how long the radio plays after several minutes of strenuously spinning the dynamo crank? About 1.5 minutes. Then it just goes dead, and you have to spin again. Personally, I'd like to be able to listen to the radio more than spin the fu@$&ng crank! Buy the Koito or some other radio and don't get ripped off like me. Jason
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If it wasn't free I'd send it back..., April 16, 2013
This review is from: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger (Electronics)
Got one of these for free, it was brand new and the first thing I did was try to move the AM/FM selector switch... it immediately snapped in half. Hand crank works, but like others have said the solar charging is worthless.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm ready in an emergency!, September 23, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger (Electronics)
I purchased this hand-crank NOAA Weather Alert Radio after we had a tornado warning in our area. We are not particularly prone to these, however it seems at least once a summer we are told to take shelter. Most times we are fine, and don't even lose power, however the last time the thunderstorms were so violent we lost power almost immediately. I was alone in the basement, and really could have used this product. Now, I am better prepared. Of course when it arrived, I tested it, and found it worked great! Better to be safe than sorry.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for power outages, October 28, 2012
By 
This review is from: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger (Electronics)
I bought this radio to prepare for an upcoming storm where major power outages are expected for several days. I wanted to have something to listen to while sitting around in the dark. The radio works well with ability to get am/fm stations as well as 7 weather stations. You can set it to come on when alerts are issued for severe weather as well.

The radio can run of regular AAA batteries or you can use the rechargable battery. The rechargable battery can be charged by usb (2hrs to charge), solar (10 hrs to charge) or crank (90 secs to get 5-7 min of radio use). The handcrank does recharge it as well some other models, but the ability to use regular batteries and charge quickly via usb is nice.

The main reason I purchased this radio, was the ability to use the rechargable battery to dump charge (means no hand cranking) to charge a cell phone, which is great for camping or extended power outages.

The radio also has a built in flashlight with 2 led lights, not real bright, but would be better than nothing in an emergency. It also has a red light that can flash, which I guess could be of some use for something.

Overall I am happy with the radio and would recommend it. I will update later after the storm hits and/or I get to use the cell phone dump charge feature.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helps You in a Pinch, October 25, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger (Electronics)
This product does work with charging an iPhone 5 :) Literally not more than five minutes of cranking will get you enough charge to text, call, whatever you want on your iPhone. Great to keep in the trunk of your car if you are stuck without battery somewhere. I wouldn't advise using this for it's speaker, but for emergencies this thing is great. Also I would bring it indoors and not leave sitting outside overnight if going camping. The damp air can sometimes ruin electronics that aren't water proof / water resistant.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product., August 15, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger (Electronics)
I read all the things this was capable of doing and had to get it to keep in my car, One reviewer ripped on the flashlight and beacon, but this thing is for emergencies, its not supposed to be a spotlight and be able to land a airplane, IT more then serves its purpose, I have a emergency radio with alarm, regular radio bands, phone charger, flash light, and able to have power in 4 ways, from batteries, from the crank to recharge the internal batteries, solar, and a outlet to plug it in. Love it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rugged Weather Radio, August 11, 2013
By 
Mike (ALPHARETTA, GA, United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger (Electronics)
I really like the build quality of the Eton FRX3. It's lightweight and very solid. The features are comprehensive and should work well in an emergency. I work in government emergency preparedness and response, and I think this product is a wise addition to any preparedness kit.

The features are explained in the descriptions, and they all work pretty much as you'd expect. Here are my only two caveats about the product.

1) Battery life is surprisingly poor. The handcrank works very well if you're in an emergency without power or batteries. The built-in solar charger needs sunlight to shine directly on its panels, and even then charging is slow. Adding 3 AA batteries will get you through less than 5 days of standby power. You can charge the unit via USB using a computer or a power adapter (that is NOT included). These are your best bets for charging this power-hungry radio.

2) The process for charging your mobile phone is probably not what you have in mind. If the radio if fully charged, you can attach your phone for a "dump" charge. It drains the radio's battery. Also, you must not have your phone connected when charging the radio's battery, especially when using the handcrank. It's important to NOT think of this radio like a wall outlet when it comes to charging your mobile phone.

Conclusion: All said and done, I fully recommend the Eton FRX3 weather radio.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars poor, December 31, 2012
This review is from: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger (Electronics)
the teeth broke out of the crank apparatus on the 10th or 11th use. it takes an inoordinate amt of sunshine to get it to charge on a solar level.this is the 3rd eton product i've had problems with.i'm done.living offgrid is hard enough without throwing hard earned money at techjunk.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little hand cranked radio for occasional use, February 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger (Electronics)
Let me go through questions, pros, cons, and tips about the Eton American Red Cross FRX3. Te Red Cross and others suggest having a radio available for use in case of a power outage so I bought this one because it didn't require me to keep extra batteries on hand to use it.

To answer the question I think most people ask: Will this thing really charge my cell phone? The answer is…eventually. “Dump” charging didn’t do the trick for me. I expect that the Li-Ion battery in my phone stores far more power than the Nimh in this radio.

Try to be realistic about this. It takes several hours to charge my phone from the computer using a USB cord. So don’t expect your phone to magically charge in ten minutes by cranking the handle on this thing or dump charging from the battery. It’s an emergency radio that happens to have a USB plug on it. When I dumped the battery from this radio into my phone, the charge didn’t even go up ten percent before the internal batteries were empty. It will charge a phone…eventually…but you will have to crank it for a long time. Possibly for several hours, just like plugging it in. If your power is out, use a car charger. If you can’t do that, then this will do the job but it’s a last resort for “emergency” situations and you should expect it to work that way. You could buy an external backup battery for half the money but those only work one time and don’t come with a radio. Following the philosophy of use that this is an emergency radio that it just happens to be able to charge a phone, this will do the job.

The positive stuff: It seems solid although I doubt it would handle being dropped very well. I like the way it looks and it will easily store away or sit on a windowsill because of the size. The speaker performance is better than I expected but not exceptional. Cranking it is also easier than I expected. It charges relatively quickly from a wall plug USB adapter that came with my phone. It’s small and lightweight, the LED lights are decent but not exceptional and should run for a long time off the internal battery. The LEDs are angled down slightly so they work well for lighting the ground while walking and carrying the radio. Not overly bright but just fine for emergency use and if you want a better flashlight, then buy a flashlight. The weather alerts may come in handy and the ability to charge other items is a plus. Can also be used with regular batteries. The glow in the dark ring will keep glowing for many hours when you leave the radio in the light for much of the day.

The negative stuff: The batteries are pretty weak at only 800 mah. That’s about the same as a rechargeable AAA battery. There’s no place on the radio to store the charging cable which means you’ll have to find it whenever you want to charge the radio without cranking the handle. The charging cable is USB only, there’s no adapter to plug it into a wall, so you’ll have to use a 120V to USB sdapter that came with something else like an Ipod or phone if you don't want to charge it from a computer. The Alert function drains the battery so you’ll have to charge it every week or so if you leave the Alert on. The handle is pretty wide and not designed particularly well for holding it for long periods and often causes your fingers to hit random buttons. The buttons aren’t as easily accessible as they could be due to the buttons being on top of the radio under the handle. The antenna doesn’t sit flush at one end so it doesn’t lay flat on its back. And the words Volume and Tuning don’t stand out because they are the same color as the rest of the radio and are very thin letters. I made mine stand out slightly better by carefully tapping the end of a Sharpie against the raised letters but they are only slightly more visible than they were before because the letters are so thin.

Overall impression: Again staying with the philosophy of use, I’m very happy with this item. Something else might be the perfect solution to the negatives that I've listed but I'm sure it wouldn't be tihs small and it would cost much more. The radio plays clearly and the weather radio works well. I can see myself using all the other features at some time so I don’t think this will be something that I test once and put away for years until that one time when the power goes out. I expect I will use it every few weeks as either a flashlight or a radio in the garage just because it’s available, especially since it has an aux input so I can hook an Ipod or phone to it. I will have to try rechargeable AAA batteries to see if those work instead of alkalines. I don’t think it’s even remotely water resistant so I’d be careful if I took it camping or left it out to solar charge and it was rained on. I wish the batteries were a higher mah rating but they might be what they are based on the generator or radio itself. I don’t know.

Tips and tricks: If you are like me and don’t read instructions, the first thing you need to do is open the battery compartment and plug the battery in. There are three batteries strapped together with a plug coming off them. Plug that into the receptacle right next to the battery. Otherwise nothing will work.

Many smart phones can now get weather alerts like this does. If you have that option on your phone, you could save some money and buy the FRX2 which doesn’t have the Alert function but has the weather radio and will still charge a phone.

If you turn on the Alert function, none of the other radio functions will work. If nothing works and you don’t know why, check to see if the Alert is on.

The instructions say that you can’t charge this radio through a window. I tried it and I was able to charge it somewhat, but it has to be in the right window, facing the right direction. In a south facing window, it worked. I could keep it a little bit charged through an east facing window if I laid it on its side and angled it towards the sun but it will never completely charge unless it sits outside in direct sun for most of a day and the plastic will get pretty hot if you do that. A nice feature and it beats cranking the handle.

To extend battery life, don’t insert any alkaline batteries but switch the radio over to the alkaline setting by hitting the battery button at the upper right side of the front panel. The clock still runs but none of the other functions will work until you switch it back to the internal battery. This makes the internal battery last much longer on standby. I’ve had the battery indicator drop from three bars to two overnight but when I switched it to alkaline with no batteries in it, it stayed on three bars for several days. I don’t know if the Alert function will still work if you do this because there hasn’t been a weather alert since I bought it.

If you plan to keep this radio stored away for long periods of time, you might want to unplug the battery before you put it away. I don’t know how long it will hold a charge but I can guarantee that if you leave that battery plugged in, the clock will kill the battery.

The easiest way to crank it is to hold it down on the edge of a table or counter with one hand and crank with the other rather than holding it in the air with both hands. It will crank in either direction so it’s usable by either hand in either direction.

Crank it per the instructions which say about two revolutions per second. Cranking faster won’t charge the battery faster because the charge controller won’t let more than a specific voltage through so save your energy and just expect to crank it for a while.
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