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Customer Review

937 of 975 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Weather alert" mode drains battery, April 26, 2012
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This review is from: Ambient Weather WR-111B Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio, Flashlight, Cell Phone Charger with NOAA Certified Weather Alert & Cables (Electronics)
Overall this is a good product. The radio itself seems sturdy. I'm a bit hard of hearing and the radio is loud enough for me. The radio stations and weather station both came in very clearly. The cell phone charger worked, as well. But the feature I was most excited about was the "weather alert" mode, and that is where a bit of disappointment settled in.

When I first opened the box I removed the tab from the battery compartment and fully charged the radio with the USB adapter per the manual recommendations. I listened to the radio for 30 minutes and then set it on "weather alert" mode. I placed the radio in a sunny window so it would continue to charge through the solar panel. The next morning when I woke up I noticed the radio was no longer in weather alert mode and only the time was displayed on the radio. I turned the radio on and got about 3 mins of play before it shut off and flashed a battery warning.

I was confused as to why the radio only gave me 30 minutes of play before quitting on me after a full charge. I suspected either I had a faulty product or the "weather alert" mode was a power drain to the product.

I e-mailed Ambient Weather and got a very quick response from Ed, who confirmed my suspicion that the "weather alert" mode drains the battery. He recommended that I purchase a USB to AC adapter for when the radio is in "weather alert" mode. He also said that the solar charge feature wasn't enough to keep up with the "weather alert" mode. He did say that they needed to include that information in the manual in the future.

I am disappointed in the fact that I couldn't just set the radio in the window and kind of forget about it until I received a "weather alert." Other than that, I'm happy with the purchase.
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Showing 1-10 of 66 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 27, 2012 8:08:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 27, 2012 8:27:08 AM PDT
Greetings Lemon,

You are correct, the weather alert mode is contiuously scanning for a signal and does consume a lot of power.

We recommend purchasing a low cost USB to AC converter and use wall power when using the weather alert function.

They are available as little as $3 here:

http://www.amazon.com/s/?keywords=ac+to+usb+adapter

You can also connect to your computer's USB port to keep fully charged in the event of an emergency.

You can, of course, hand crank the radio at any time to provide a quick charge.

This is a new product and we realize this should have been somewhere in the manual. It is important to manage customer expectations.

This radio started out as an emergency radio for use when no power is available by using a combination of the solar collector and hand crank power. However, we are finding customers are using this as an every day radio, which it does do very well.

However, the requirement for weather alert is above and beyond the level of listening to the weather band (162.4 MHz - 162.55 MHz), AM or FM, charging a cell phone, or using the flashlight. It must actively scan for the emergency 1050 Hz tone from the National Weather Service.

The battery would have to be very large to accomodate this mode which would not make it practical (the size of a laptop battery).

This radio competes with other low cost radios that do not include weather alert mode and higher cost radios that do.

It is interesting that this unit receives more critical reviews than other emergency radios in this category. I believe this is due to the fact that people use this radio every day, whereas other radios are thrown into a bug out bag and only used in an emergency.

Thus, the improved features may actually work against the reviews it receives.

Thanks for your time and I hope this helps. I will make sure this caviot is added to the manual and product page.

Regards,

Ed

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2012 11:12:59 AM PDT
so does it come with an ac adapter - not usb but regular wall plug-in?

If not where do you get them.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2012 11:41:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 30, 2012 11:43:16 AM PDT
It does not. It includes a USB connection to power from your computer but not the USB to AC converter.

You can purchase a converter here:

http://www.amazon.com/s/?keywords=ac+to+usb+adapter

I have seen them for as little as 1 cent, or a few bucks with shipping.

Regards,

Ed

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2012 9:42:43 PM PDT
Is your link for an adapter to charge from the USB port or is it a regular wall outlet connection? thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012 6:06:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 1, 2012 6:09:29 AM PDT
It allows you to charge from AC power. It already includes the ability to charge from a USB port.

It is similar to an iPhone. The Apple products allow you to charge through a USB port, and with an adaptor, through AC power.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 11:12:37 AM PDT
B. Peterson says:
which converter would you suggest as I'm considering ordering your radio.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 3:31:27 PM PDT
This one works great and it is only a penny:

USB/AC for MP3 Players - White

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 3:15:27 PM PDT
Ziggy says:
Ed, does this take "regular" batteries or does it just have its own battery. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 3:31:54 PM PDT
It has one rechargeable CR123A 3.7V 800 mAh Lithium Ion battery. It is included. In a few years or so, you will have to replace it based on the useage, like any other LiIon battery. They are commercially available on amazon for a few bucks. We will have them for sale shortly as well but you can get them anywhere.

Regards,

Ed

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 8:22:37 PM PDT
John Pepper says:
Ed,
I tried looking on the Ambient Weather website, and all over the rest of the net, but I could not find an answer to this question. How bright is the 3 LED flashlight on these, in lumens? I'm VERY interested in getting a few of these for family and friends, but I like doing my research before I do. By the way, one of the reasons I'm interested in these is your awesome feedback to reviews. Keep up the good work sir!

JP
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