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on August 5, 2011
I have had the Eton Scorpion for about a month.I use it everyday. Camped with it 4 times already.
Reasons I bought this was ...
1:audio input.To basically have a solar/crank powered speaker for my iphone (extends iphones battery life)
2. To crank charge USB devices.
3.Mainly to have something to charge stuff ( mainly iPhone 3GS ) during power outages, no sun, night time , emergencies.
4. Bottle opener. Because I am tired of not be able to open my drinks??? This space should have been used to store earbuds,an extra long wire antenna or perhaps a little raincoat/bag for the scorpion.
Verdict:
Solar charges itself in full sun in a few hours.
Crank charges itself to full charge with about 300 cranks(3 minutes) giving about 45 minutes radio time( much more if you use headphones) and Hours of flashlight time.
Even when the radio dies the flashlight will keep going for about 30 minutes or more.
Power input is there but no adaptor included. This unit doesn't take removable rechargable batteries(AA) but it could be incorporated through the power input if one knew how to add up AA or AAA batteries voltage to match the input voltage of the input.
Solar Charging iPhone: not going to happen without rewiring it from the inside. Panel is too small anyway and not worth it , would take days to charge. Get a Goal Zero Guide Ten portable solar charging kit. solar charges an iPhone in an hour and charges 4 AA batteries too.just awesome!

Crank charging is the only way they designed this device to charge an iphone. No charging from the solar panel or from the scorpions stored collected energy in its internal battery.

Crank charging iphone:tricky but it works.To get the iPhone to accept it and to make any sort of charging possible ,follow these steps:
1. use an iPhone cable not a knock off.
2. Set the phone brightness to the lowest setting
3. turn off wifi
4. go into airplane mode or at least turn off 3G .
5. Get comfortable becuase you'll be cranking for at least 7 minutes(2 songs on a radio, or a few commercial breaks on tv)
6. Here is where people get discouraged and fail.
As soon as you crank, the iPhone may reject the charging source with a pop up saying "incompatible accessory" and you'll feel the crank become too easy to crank.
The trick is you have to sort of jump start it to get the phone to accept the crank charge. To do this you'll have to do a quick half crank( like starting a mower or kick starting a motorcycle) and then you'll hear and feel the phone giving resistance on the crank which means it accepted it . You'll keep cranking after the first quick half crank but you'll slow down for a second to lock it in and then your in the zone. You can adjust your cranking speed from here forward.The iPhone will show it's being charged and the screen will eventually turn off so take a mental note of the battery percentage so you can see how you've done 7 minutes later.
Depending on how you've cranked ,you'll probably achieve an additional 1 or 3 percent of battery life. Yes this is not great or anything but it could help in an emergency to get that text or call out.
I figure to almost fully charge the iPhone would take somewhere between 3-4 hours of cranking.Good luck with that.
Even a bicycle crank generator would still take alot of effort and nit much less time to charge an iPhone because you can only charge it so fast before you damage the battery. So for the portability factor of the Erin scorpion as a crank charger , I would say it's doing it's job the best it can do.
Moving on:
I have taken this camping 4 times since I've owned .still works .I use the crank alot to charge the radio and light .mainly because I like to use the audio input so I can crank my iPhone music through a the scorpions speaker. This means 3 minutes of cranking for ever 45 minutes of using the speaker.
The light is great. Last a long time and lights up an area pretty well. When your walking , it shines a big circle in front if you and a med circle to the left and right of you.. A Nice spread.
The very end of the handle broke on my last camping trip so I had to learn to crank with out it. When I got home , I drilled a hole in the end of the handle and bolted the piece back on with a screw and locknut from skateboard hardware (last forever).
Pros and cons:
Pros:
-audio input
-Nice size solar panel to charge its radio/flashlight.
-cranks to full charge in 2-3 minutes.
-45 minutes radio(half volume)/ couple hours light.
-nice rugged rubber shell.
-antenna stores away safely.
- pretty water resistant( left it in rain for a day, after drying it still works although it shouldn't )
-does crank charge USB devices including iPhones if your desperate.
-The caribeaner hook thing is nice to have. If it breaks I'll bolt that back on too.
Cons:
- can't solar charge USB devices.
-can't charge USB devices from internal battery.
-doesn't take removable batteries.at night you have to crank charge to use the radio more than 45 minutes which goes by pretty fast.
- part if handle broke but fixes easy and now is stronger than before .
-radio tunes one station at a time , no station memory.

The new Eton Raptor is bigger and the next step up to the scorpion with a bigger solar panel and lithium battery but it has no crank charge ability. If the scorpion had no crank charge ability it would be useless.

Since I have already had to modify my scorpions handle , here are my plans to further modify it.
-remove the bottle opener and install a mini aa battery charger(from a solar garden light,they are basically mini solar aa rechargers) and wire it so they charge using the scorpions solar panel or crank charge .
- rewire inside so I can switch the radio from solar, internal battery,external AA batteries.
-rewire so USB devices can use solar charger, internal battery, or external aa batteries.
- Maybe change the internal battery to lithium ion.
- make a rain coat with a clear window for solar panel and pockets for a extended wire antenna, earbuds,and additional rechargeable AA batteries.
-if I'm feeling reall ambitious , remove the solar panel and make three solar panels that fold out from it ( like a book) to have better solar charging during cloudy days or triple it's solar power intake and charging time during full sun days.

If Eton did this instead of making the Raptor I would gladly pay $200+ and buy one (or two of them) because it would be all that I would need and I could carry much less with me when hiking etc.

Hope you liked my overly detailed longwinded review!
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on May 20, 2010
I wanted a small portable radio for backpacking and had researched Eton's other products in the past. None of those radios had all the features I wanted. When I saw the scorpion I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a radio that would not be too heavy to carry in my overnight pack but included features such as line-in, backup cell phone usb charger, and weather alert channels.

After receving my Scorpion the other day I have used it extensivly and am very pleased with the device. It is very well built and is perfect for some music around the fire after a long day of hiking.

As far as each features are concerned. Flashlight - Decent LED flashlight. Good for finding your way around in the dark. Not my primary flashlight but its on par with every other crank flashout out there. Radio - Digital tuner is great. Picks up stations very well (I live in the middle of nowhere). Sound quality - The sound quality is what I expected. It is about the same quality as most standard clock radios. It's nothing special but I wanted a rugged radio that didnt have the hassle of making sure you have charged batteries. If sound quality and size is a top priority look for portable iPod docks such as JBL's On-Stage. It does play loud. Note: when using the line-in function the volume control on the unit does not function. Volume is controlled by external device (ipod, phone, etc).

Overall its a great portable small radio for any type of outdoor adventure. I have since used it for picnics and bbq's where larger radios are more of a hassle then what they are worth.
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on July 1, 2010
During a week long camping trip-- The antenna is too short - the radio reception is poor no matter what band you are on. On a full charge at moderate volume your listening time is about 30 minutes. It takes alot of cranking or time in bright sun to charge. It was rained on- lightly for about 15 minutes, it stopped working and showed an odd display & condensation in the display window- however after baking in the sun for a few hours it dryed out an worked again. The buttons to change the station can't be located well with your fingers, they are all stacked together in a row. You cannot charge a phone via the USB port unless you are turning the crank [and turning and turning and turning]. Except for the rain issue it does seem to take shock/drops.
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on June 26, 2010
ORIGINAL REVIEW (5-Star): This is a very nice little unit and it performs better than I expected. The hand crank feels solid, unlike others I've felt in the past that you worry will break quickly. The clip has a nice stiff spring in it and feels very solid. The radio reception is amazing and the retractable antenna is more than 7" long, so fine tuning is easy. The speaker is about 1.25" in diameter, but the sound is pretty good. Most of my vehicles don't get FM or AM this well. The clock is a nice feature and the display includes a battery gauge (similar to most cell phones). The LED light works well, but the three lights cast a strange shadow on the ground. It appears to be about as powerful as an average headlamp. The bottle opener has a metal ring all the way around, so you're not prying a bottle open against the plastic side. I've broken more than one widget when opening a bottle against a plastic surface...nice touch. I haven't had a chance to try the charging feature yet on my cell.

Overall the design and build quality is top notch. We're not weekend campers, but with two kids this will be a great addition to our trip gear. Small, lightweight, rugged and functional.

The only complaint I have is the placement of the antenna. With the unit lying so the speaker and solar panels are facing up, the antenna has a limited area to move around. But I consider this a minor issue.

Note: The dimensions are for the main body of the Scorpion, and doesn't include the clip. The overall length is 6.5", and the other dimensions seem accurate.

See my response to this post for an updated report...
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on June 11, 2013
I bought this radio for a bicycling/camping trip. A weather radio out on the road is essential equipment, also the ability to recharge a cell phone cannot be overlooked. First the sound quality is terrible, the acoustic signature is not designed for music...I found that out before I even left my house. Second: in order to get a charge on your cell phone long enough to get off a 1 min emergency phone call takes over 10 min of cranking time...I suppose in a life or death situation this could be a game changer. How ever if you just want to charger your phone...forget it, and the solar panel will not charge anything except the radio (more on that later) Three: the flash light works well, but the bulk of the radio negates the practicality of taking it along as your only source of light. Four: bottler opener works great! But again why?. Five: the first day of my trip I am fully packed and happy as a lark, I have cranked the Eton for about five min before I ever hit the road then, I attach it to my bike, solar panel facing the sun and start off on my first full day of peddling. The solar panel indicates that it is indeed charging. Now I am at my campground getting ready for dinner and relax and listen to the ball game on my new awesome high tech little/flashlight/bottle opener/am/fm/NOAA/ solar powered generator radio! Top of the third...DEAD AS A DOOR NAIL! The next day my wife to the rescue, brought me my old SONY transistor radio that I bought 15 years ago in a drug store in Hawaii for $10. I tossed the Eton in the back seat of her car and haven't seen (or care to) since. Save your money. The reason I even gave it one star? The bottle opener is bullet proof.
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on July 12, 2010
When I saw this product announcement I put it immediatly on my Amazon wish list as I wanted to suppliment the Black-N-Decker one that I have which has similar features as this one except no solar charging. Overall I'm very happy with my purchase as the Scorpion has a very sturdy shell and a crank that feels like it will last a long time unlike other crank lights I own. The light is also brighter than others I have owned as well. I like the fact that I can clip this on a backpack and such however I wish the clip were on the crank side of the light as it's hard to have the solar cell face outward if you're on a hike for charging. It sits "unnatural" on the backpack the way it currently clips on. Minor annoyance though. One thing I definitely wish was included in the instructions though was average charging rates for the solar cell. The light has a batter meter on it and mine came with only one bar from being full. Just for grins I put in in the front seat of my truck while I was at work to see if it would fill that last bar since my truck sits in the sun all day. No luck and even after two days it had not fully charged. Granted it may not have had full sun for a full 8 hours during the work day. I haven't cranked it enough yet to full charge it but as mentioned only minor annoyances. Oh and as mentioned in the other review, I haven't been able to get the USB to charge any of my phones. This may be due to needing to crank it to charge as it does not appear to use the solar cell or internal battery to charge the USB devices. I think it said that in the manual as well but once again it would be nice to get a chart of average charge rates and such.

Overall I will most likely be purchasing another one of these as it's a solid device. I have one in the trailer for camping and such and I'll have one put in my emergency kit.
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on September 20, 2011
I bought 3 of these radios as gifts and only one actually worked for more than a day. One of the radios didn't hold a charge for more than a couple minutes after leaving it in the sun for 3 days. The second radio the flashlight button broke on the first push and won't turn off. The third one seems to be working okay. 33% is not a great score if you ask me.
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on July 26, 2013
I bought this, thought the solar powered system could help when in emergency or in power outage. At the 1st day I got it, I immediately left it outside to charge it for a whole day. It was sunshine at over 90 degree. It did not charge at all!

I changed to hand crank. At 1st few minutes, I can hear radio signal. However, by the time I finished adjust channels, the power was gone! It needed another hand crank. There is no battery backup. The instruction is very limited, not useful at all.

It is very disappointing.
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on September 7, 2011
After receiving the radio,the first thing I noticed was the lack of detailed instructions regarding the requirements to fully charge the device. It didn't show how many turns of the hand crank were required to fully charge it or how long the solar cell had to be in the sun to get a complete charge. Although there is a meter showing how much charge is left, it moves from dead to full with only a few cranks. If you turn on the radio or light after just a few cranks it will die quickly.
There is a small cover held on with a screw but the diagram of the features that comes with the radio doesn't show what it is. It's an access panel for the internal rechargeable battery although I don't know if it's replaceable if it goes bad.
The radio works well with its antenna extended and the flashlight is bright. After cranking the handle about 500 turns, (It doesn't take that long) I was able to run the radio indoors for about three hours continuously. The solar cell will also power the radio when the battery is completely dead. It receives A.M. broadcasts better than my home stereo and the F.M. and weather channels work well. I feel this is a well made product and will be useful during power outages or camping but there is much room for improvement in the manufacturers instructions and their website was of no help.
UPDATE--After not using the radio for a couple months, I picked it up to crank the handle and the knob fell off. It is held on by two plastic clips and one snapped off. It's not as durable as I thought. If it had been outside in the cold, it probably would have broken sooner. Now I'm debating whether to try and fix it myself which would be sturdier than a replacement part or send it back.
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on February 9, 2011
Bought this for camping and for emergencies; would not charge via the solar - even when I left it outside and went out every couple of hours to reorient it towards the sun. Eton has good products but this is not one of them. I would NOT want my life to depend on it!
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