Etn FR500 Solarlink (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
- Includes owner's manual, warranty card, card for cell phone tip, and USB/cell phone charging cord
- 520-1700 KHz AM, 88-108 MHz FM, 6000-12100 KHz Shortwave
- Can be powered from the built-in rechargeable Ni-MH battery, from an AC adapter, from 3 AA batteries, from the AC adapter alone, and from solar power
- Dimensions - Width 7-3/4 x Height 8-1/2 x Depth 2-1/2 (196.9x215.9x63.5mm)
- Weight - 1.9 pounds (0.86 kg)
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Eton FR500B Solarlink NOAA AMFM Emergency Radio LED Flashlight Black.
From the Manufacturer
When emergencies or outdoor adventures take you off the grid, you need a device that can fill multiple needs. The Etón FR-500 is a compact unit that you can easily store in a safety kit or toss in your rucksack and take anywhere. It functions as an AM, FM, shortwave, and NOAA weather radio. Additionally, it also has a flashlight, an emergency beacon, and an emergency siren. Plus, you can use it to charge your cell phone or MP3 player. Battery and AC power are always options; however this little wonder can also be powered with the hand crank or solely by the solar panels, making it a very "green" device.
Seven bright LEDs light your way
Your Link to the World
Tackling the great outdoors can be a daunting task. The Etón FR-500 is designed to keep you in touch with the rest of the world, even when you are miles away from civilization. It combines a quality AM/FM tuner with a long-range short wave radio that can pick up broadcasts from thousands of miles away; providing you with news, entertainment and public service announcements. Not only that, but it also has a NOAA Weather Band receiver that can provide weather forecasts, alerts and other emergency messages--information vital to backpackers and travelers. A telescoping antenna provides maximum range and reception for all radio functions.
Etón FR-500 Makes Your Presence Known
The Etón FR-500 offers multiple communication options, maximizing your ability to stay connected with others no matter the situation. During the day, a built-in siren can emit a loud "SOS" tone to announce your presence. Long-distance signaling at night can be achieved by activating the bright red magnified LED signal beacon. The FR-500 also comes equipped with a bright four-LED flashlight, ensuring that you'll never be left in the dark. The red LED signal light can also be used, allowing you to see without affecting your night vision.
Rugged Design and Reliable Redundant Power Sources
The Etón FR-500 is ruggedized for outdoor use, and is more than ready to go in emergency situations. Clever case design protects the analog controls from damage, while rubber gaskets and plugs help keep moisture out of the unit. The easy-to-read backlit LED screen is recessed to keep it from being damaged. It displays radio and battery status, and also incorporates an alarm clock with snooze and sleep functions.
Having a device that sports multiple modes of communication means nothing if there is no way to power it. Etón has designed the FR-500 with that thought in mind, and it can be powered in several ways. The built-in rechargeable battery pack can be charged from the integrated dynamo hand crank, or from an optional AC adapter. An array of waterproof, shatterproof, high-performance glass encapsulated amorphous solar cells can also run the FR-500. They are efficient enough to power the unit whenever the sun is up, even in overcast weather. Finally, three alkaline batteries can be used for on-the-go convenience. These multiple power supplies can also be used to recharge cell phones with the Etón charging cord--available by returning the included card and specifying your phone's model.
Top Customer Reviews
The unit seems to be very durable and would probably be very useful during a disaster. There are many ways to power it and with the free cel phone adapters it would do a great job of keeping you in touch with the outside world. The built in flashlight is fairly decent although my unit arrived with one of the LEDs non-functional. If you leave it near a window, the built in solar panels seem to do a good job of keeping the battery charged.
The interface isn't too bad but could use some improvement. The power source knob is a little confusing and not well documented, but can be figured out by turning it to one of the 4 settings until whatever you want to happen happens. The display has a light, but the button to activate it is difficult to find in the dark because it is the same shape as several other buttons near it. The snooze button is similarly tiny and hard to find in the dark.
Weather radio reception is loud and clear and the alert feature is somewhat useful. It doesn't seem like you can listen to the radio or use the unit as a flashlight while the weather alert feature is enabled.
The AM/FM radio reception is just ok. It's very difficult to tune stations in, as the tuning is analog and sometimes turning it small amounts in a direction results in the frequency changing in the wrong direction. It takes a couple seconds of gentle nudges to get the frequency correct.
The shortwave radio simply does not work for me without any sort of external antenna. I can't pick up a single station. I imagine that even with a proper antenna, tuning would be very difficult due to the knob being very imprecise. When in shortwave mode, the display shows you the frequency in MHz and will only show you the frequency to the nearest 5KHz.
Overall, I'd say it's good for emergencies, but not well suited for daily use. It might be a better idea to get one of the less expensive units which lack a clock and shortwave radio.
Despite a number of enticing features, I feel the Eton Solarlink FR500 fails as an emergency radio because of its counter-intuitive, poorly-labeled controls and error-filled, unclear manual.
A number of other reviewers have already documented this radio's shortcomings in terms of controls and the manual, so I won't re-hash the same details.
If you do purchase this radio, do yourself a favor and sit down when you are not in an emergency situation and re-write the manual; re-label the button diagram, translate the errant French words into English, and remind yourself that in order to use the AM/FM/Shortwave radio, the Multifunctional Knob needs to be in the "Off" position. (And if you use the optional DC power, switch the Power Supply Knob to "Dynamo" to tap DC power)
Then hope that when emergency strikes, you haven't lost the manual and you have enough light to read it.
The reception of the radio is good for all bands. Only complaint is that when doing shortwave, the dial is overly sensitive and I go blasting past stations even thought I'm trying really hard not to. Beyond that, it's a good solid product.
I love the fact that there are many ways to power the unit. I tried the solar cell successfully two days after winter solstice, so that's only going to be better most of the year. The hand crank will keep the radio running, but it won't build a good charge, so plan to keep cranking while you want to listen. It takes regular batteries - always a nice feature, but my favorite so far is the built-in NiCD battery that was happy to charge off my mini-USB cell phone charger. Between all these methods, I think it's the radio to have.
Only wish list item: adding TV/VHF reception. Then it would be the 100% complete package for me.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Light, clock, radio all work properly but antenna needs
to be up to receive well on any bandwidth.