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252 Reviews
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99 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am liking it more and more
I bought this for power outages and it works great. I have been using the hand crank to charge the battery, and after at least an hour of listening, the battery is still going strong. I have also been impressed by the sound. The sound is natural and not tinny. I do wish that the crank was a bit sturdier. Should be fine if you aren't too rough with it. The radio...
Published on September 28, 2011 by Steve in Memphis

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98 of 102 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WHAT WERE THEY THINKING AND WHERE ARE THE REVIEWS COVERING THESE PROBLEMS???
Let me start by saying I have purchased 4 LED flashlights, 2- 1/4 speed cassette radios from C. Crane, 1 pocket MP3 radio recorder, 2 of the original C.Crane Free Play Dynamo radios an FM transmitter and I'm sure other things that don't come to mind right now. So I liked the quality of all their products. That is the reason I'm so disappointed in this product and...
Published 20 months ago by Ronald Ward


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99 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am liking it more and more, September 28, 2011
This review is from: C Crane CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio with AM FM Weather and built in LED Flashlight COBS (Electronics)
I bought this for power outages and it works great. I have been using the hand crank to charge the battery, and after at least an hour of listening, the battery is still going strong. I have also been impressed by the sound. The sound is natural and not tinny. I do wish that the crank was a bit sturdier. Should be fine if you aren't too rough with it. The radio reception is pretty good, but I live fairly close to the stations, so I cannot say how well it performs in the boonies. I like being able to switch from AM or FM to the NOAA weather station and back without having to retune. I also like the dial light. The flashlight works pretty well also, but not as well as a decent stand-alone flashlight. I consider the flashlight and cell phone charging features to be bonuses, so I am not too critical about them. I would not expect anything hand-cranked to be able to charge a phone completely. It will, according to the manual, charge a phone enough for a few quick calls. I wanted a radio that would operate on either a rechargeable battery with crank OR regular batteries. This one can do both. I put in some lithium batteries, which have a long shelf-life and are supposed to operate at -40 degrees to +140 degrees, according to the package, and also last longer than regular alkaline batteries. I recommend lithium batteries for any emergency radio that will take them, or the flashlight in your car. The rechargeable battery pack is located in the main battery compartment, so if it ever needs to be replaced, it would be easy to do. I would highly recommend this radio for your car emergency kit or to keep at home for power outages. I would be interested in reading the comments of someone who has used this radio out in the country, further away from stations than me.
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98 of 102 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WHAT WERE THEY THINKING AND WHERE ARE THE REVIEWS COVERING THESE PROBLEMS???, May 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: C Crane CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio with AM FM Weather and built in LED Flashlight COBS (Electronics)
Let me start by saying I have purchased 4 LED flashlights, 2- 1/4 speed cassette radios from C. Crane, 1 pocket MP3 radio recorder, 2 of the original C.Crane Free Play Dynamo radios an FM transmitter and I'm sure other things that don't come to mind right now. So I liked the quality of all their products. That is the reason I'm so disappointed in this product and here's why.

1. There's no indicator of any kind to let you know the Solar panel is charging, NOT GOOD! "An emergency radio
you have to HOPE it's doing what it's suppose to do!"

2. If you can believe this, you can buy the optional wall charger BUT! they don't tell you, you can't run the radio with
it plugged in, it's for charging purposes ONLY with the radio off! So you can't even use it till it's fully charged and
that requires over night charging and that's as specific as they get. If you would like to know what happens if you turn on the radio while it's plugged in there's a very loud buzz and no signal of any kind comes over the speaker. As an added punishing bonus if you forget and leave the radio plugged in "too long" it will damage the internal battery pack.

3. Also they included a single 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper telling you as of Jan 2013 they have added a new chip for better
radio reception which makes all the claims of run time meaningless in the manual. The chip is a real power drain and
you get one minute of power for one minute of crank time. This makes the dynamo virtually useless unless you plan
on turning the dynamo almost constantly. Who's arm can crank for 30 minutes to get 30 minutes of play time?

IF none of these things matter to you then this is the radio for you.
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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Weather Band Reception, February 2, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: C Crane CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio with AM FM Weather and built in LED Flashlight COBS (Electronics)
I live in a flat rural/suburban area approximately 25 miles from a NOAA tower and could not receive a weather band signal. I had purchased a competitor's weather radio with the same order and it had no problems receiving a weather band signal. I requested a replacement from Amazon and contacted CC Crane by phone to request weather band tuner sensitivity specs. It took CC Crane a week to respond to my inquiry by which time I was able to receive the replacement and encounter the same difficulties receiving a weather band signal. I did not have the opportunity to test the solar power capabilities or battery longevity. At this time I can not recommend this product as a dependable weather radio, although it does have good AM/FM reception at my location, nor can I recommend CC Crane's technical support.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reception on AM and FM bands!, February 21, 2012
By 
Atwater Kent (Portland, Oregon USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: C Crane CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio with AM FM Weather and built in LED Flashlight COBS (Electronics)
The CC Solar Observer radio really surprised me with the quality of it's tuner, especially in a modestly priced "emergency" radio! This CC radio has excellent sensitivity and selectivity in both AM and FM, which provides crystal clear static-free sound. This is VERY rare in low cost radios nowadays, and I know something of what I am talking about since my hobby is collecting and restoring old radios.

Now some of my other observations about this radio not in the description:
Construction is solid enough for moderate use, but not rugged, waterproof, or dust-proof, by any means.
The speaker is good enough for voice reproduction, but don't expect high fidelity from it's small size. Attaching a separate powered speaker through the headphone jack will substantially improve the fidelity for music, if that is important to you.
The lighted ruler type station dial was a pleasant surprise. It is actually a photo masked LCD, so the lighting is very even, and the frequency numbers are sharp and clear. Nice!
The built-in flash light is weak, but better than nothing in a pinch.
The padded handle is a nice touch and the antenna is of good quality.
The thumb-wheel controls feel smooth and the switches don't feel fiddly, and although this radios switch gear is not up to the Panasonic switch gear of the 70's radios, it does appear to be much better than what I have come to expect in a radio at this price point nowadays.
I have not had a chance to evaluate the hand generator, solar panel, or cell phone charging capabilities. Also, I have no idea how durable this radio will prove to be over time.

Final thoughts:
I wish this CC radio had a larger speaker and a tone control, because the excellent tuner deserves it. However, it appears to be a well designed compact emergency radio and an excellent value. When I purchased this radio, I thought it would sit in the closet until I needed it in a power outage, but it's too good for that, so it will stay out and get used instead.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tested and approved!, January 26, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: C Crane CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio with AM FM Weather and built in LED Flashlight COBS (Electronics)
What could be easier than just letting it sit in the sun to charge? But I wanted to see whether it would retain its charge while sitting in storage. In case of a power outage or a need to bug-out, the last thing I want to do is start cranking or scrounging for batteries. I'm not an expert on how rechargable battery packs hold charges, so my simple test was to charge it, stow it away for a month and then try it out. Results: 18+ hours of continuous play. (Sorry. I went to bed. It was at least 18. Maybe as high as 24.) Supposedly a full charge will provide 30 hours, but I'm more than happy with my unscientific test results. In a power outage, I'll be able to recharge within 18 hours by crank, sunlight, or inserting batteries.

Other notes:

-Excellent reception for AM, FM and weather stations. I pick up the stations within about a 60 mile radius, more at night.
-Cranking is easy.
-Construction seems ok for the price point.
-Manufacturer sets reasonable expectations for ability to charge smart phones, so I'll rely on other back-up devices for that.
-LED flashlight is bright.

I'm happy. I might buy a couple others and give them as gifts. Reminder: a/c adaptor is not included. But I don't think I'll bother to buy one.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Coast to Coast AM for the referance..., November 3, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: C Crane CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio with AM FM Weather and built in LED Flashlight COBS (Electronics)
I have heard about this radio quiet a bit from George on C2Cam, and I must say Im glad I made the purchase. A very sutible weather/emegency radio. All around a great purchase

I would love to see this brand start producing these radios in the USA instead of China though ): -1star
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy with it!, November 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: C Crane CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio with AM FM Weather and built in LED Flashlight COBS (Electronics)
This is a great little radio for the price. The hand crank isn't THAT fragile. I got it to charge my mobile device on a camping trip. The solar aspect seems to work as advertised. Overall I'm very happy with the purchase.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable for field missionaries, December 17, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: C Crane CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio with AM FM Weather and built in LED Flashlight COBS (Electronics)
Our church likes to supply the missionaries we sponsor with items that will help in their jobs wherever they are located. The affordable price of these radios makes this possible - they are top quality for a low price. These radios are invaluable - especially with the new solar panel! They can be used as a flashlight, cell phone charger, for weather/emergency updates, etc. We had given one to a missionary in Cambodia just before the recent flooding - he was able to obtain weather, news and updates for the village, as well as maintain cell phone contact with people to reassure them of the village's safety or ask for help when needed. We have given several to our missionaries in Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Dominican Republic, Cameroon and Kenya. The wind-up crank feature really does work and the sound quality is excellent! They are small, very sturdy and easy to transport. We have only received positive feedback from the missionaries using them - not one complaint yet! We have also begun supplying them with C. Crane's wind-up lanterns!
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The manufacturer commented on the review belowSee comments
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointed., April 26, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: C Crane CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio with AM FM Weather and built in LED Flashlight COBS (Electronics)
After a lot of storms and power outages over the past year, we wanted to get a good weather radio. We listen to Coast to Coast every night, so C. Crane really seemed like the way to go. This radio works great with batteries or solar, but the cranking went from working for a little over a half hour to about 6-8 minutes. This started happening about two weeks after we started using it. Very disappointing. The sound quality is what you would expect, and it gets decent reception.

It only cost about $40, and I really haven't had the time to send it back. We will probably just end up buying another one soon, probably a different brand, though.
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The manufacturer commented on this review(What's this?)
Posted on Dec 13, 2013 5:12:36 PM PST
Hello, we read your review and are very concerned about your experience with the CC Solar Observer. We would like to discuss with you and get more information to see what we can do to resolve this for you. Please call us at 800-522-8863, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST). We apologize for taking so long to respond.
 
 

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, but Batteries Not Included, November 6, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: C Crane CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio with AM FM Weather and built in LED Flashlight COBS (Electronics)
First: be prepared. If you see the claim that batteries are included, know that they are not. Just get some. 3 AAs. You might also want to get a 5V 300 mA AC-DC adapter. It isn't included either.

But that's not a big deal, this is a wonderful little radio and it plays right out of the box. The sound is good enough to be heard anywhere in a large room - maybe even two rooms away, with good tone. No, it isn't a Bose, it is under $50 and sounds fine.

It is thoughtfully designed (you can turn of dial's light on and off to save power), has multiple ways of powering it, and even in our dead zone in rural western Maine picks up more FM stations (loads) than any of our other radios. I bought it to welcome Sandy, and it kept me calm and in touch with the world when we lost power. I have never enjoyed anything that cost so little, so much.
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