When hurricanes, fires, bad storms, or a global pandemic threaten your family, Gindoly is ready to help you weather your emergency
The Multi-Purpose Crank Radio arrived in a 7 3/4 inches long by 3 3/4 inches tall by 2 13/16 inches tall retail package. Along the left of the main green/grey cover panel, the company included a 2 1/8 inches wide image of the green radio. Just below the radio, they listed six features of the device: 1. AM FM Radio. 2. LED Reading Lamp. 3. LED Flashlight. 4. SOS Alarm. 5. Motion Sensor. 6. 4000 mAh Power Bank. Along the middle of the panel, you will find a clear plastic display window, behind which you can clearly see the radio. When it comes to advertisement success, I find this technique to reign supreme. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the ability to directly visualize the product is worth double. The green-colored top panel provided three labeled icons detailing the “3 Power Ways” 1. Hand Crank. 2. Solar Power. 3. USB Charge. The lime green left and right panels, as well as the lower grey, craggy, snow-covered scene with ice-climbers, provided the generic “MULTI-PURPOSE CRANK RADIO” name. The back panel displayed the same mountain climbing scene as the bottom panel but also provided eight useful icons: 1. Radio. 2. Solar Panel. 3. Phone Charge. 4. Crank Radio. 5. Motion Sensor. 6. Reading Lamp. 7. Flashlight. 8. SOS Alarm.
I opened the outer packaging and removed the 13.65 ounces black/green multi-function radio, the 20 inches long USB-A to USB-micro charging cable, 7/8 inches long USB-micro to Lightning adapter, and the ten-panel instruction manual from the clear plastic tray. The instruction manual started with a list of packaging contents before detailing the radio operation. Along the front of the radio and within the green section, you will find a 1 1/4 inches square speaker vent, a 5/8 inches diameter volume knob, 5/8 inches diameter tuning knob, and a 7/8 inches long WB/FM/AM Band Switch slider. Along the top of the front panel, you will find the 25/50/75/100% power indicator LED, Tuning indicator, and then a green SOS button. Along the top of the radio, you will find a 5/8 inches square green power button and a 3 9/32 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide solar panel. Turning to the side panel closest to the SOS button, you will find the 1 3/8 inches tall by 11/16 inches wide power access panel and 7 inches long wrist strap with thin carabiner. Lifting the rubberized-flap, you will find a micro-USB input port and USB-A output port. The opposite side panel contained the LED lights. When I pressed the top flashlight button once, the center low-level light illuminated. When I pressed the button again, the surrounding bright-level beams illuminated. When I pressed the button a third time, all of the lights illuminated.
The back panel housed the 12 inches long retractable antenna, the retractable hand crank, and the 3/8 inches diameter motion sensor plus light/auto slider switch along the top right (near the flashlight button). Without reading the instruction manual, the function of the light/Auto slider was not immediately clear. When you lift the solar panel, you will find a hidden reading light feature. If you slide the slider to “Auto,” it activates a motion sensor that detects movement up to roughly 10 feet away. I loved the motion feature and more specifically that the light turned off after about thirty seconds. You will need to charge the device via USB prior to an outing. The IPX3, 4000mAh device promised 16-hour far beam, 10-hour far/dipped beam, 20-hour reading lamp, 2000 minute radio broadcast but recommended against using the device as a battery backup, except for emergencies. When you turn on the radio or press the flashlight button, the LED indicator lights will illuminate to display the available power. Even though I typically carry an Anker Powercore II 10,000 mAh battery with me, it is quite reassuring to know that I have an emergency source of power/radio. To add emergency power, remove the crank and spin it at approximately two revolutions per second. After about a minute, you can expect 5–6 minutes of radio and 30 minutes of illumination. I was not excited by the small solar charger and felt that it was a feature that could have been better utilized. However, it should work as a battery maintainer and will increase charge if left out. In addition to the less than stellar solar charger, I was disappointed that the charging cable and the USB-micro to lightning adapter did not have a built-in compartment. Lastly, I would have liked for the device to be a little more water-resistant than the IPX3 rating.
Despite listing a few of my least favorite features, I think it is time to mention all of the positives about the device. For less than $40, you can have an emergency portable battery that will charge a modern phone at least once. Additionally, you have a hand crank option that delivers 6 minutes of radio or 30 minutes of flashlight for 1 minute of cranking. The SOS feature, with the siren and flashing light, may be an invaluable asset to someone lost on the trail or one who is in the midst of a storm. The radio was easy to tune, the antenna was accurate and the speaker was loud. To test the duration of the battery, I turned all of the lights and the radio on at once. I left this on for about 12 hours and found that the device was fully discharged. I opened the crank and turned it for 1 minute and got about 5 minutes of radio. I repeated the 1-minute crank test and found the light illuminated for about 30 minutes, which was on par with the instruction manual. I plugged a DROK USB-A multimeter into the USB-A port and then the included USB-A to micro-USB cable into the output port of the DROK tester. When I plugged my iPhone 11 Pro Max into the micro-Lightning adapter, the phone did not charge and the DROK Multimeter read 5V/0A. I plugged another USB charging toy and found that the multimeter read 5.01V/0.44A. When I used an Apple OEM charging cable, the multimeter read 4.56V/1.2A. The included charging cable and adapter did not work well with this setup and I would recommend against relying upon them to keep you charged in an emergency.
I think my favorite feature of the 6 1/4 inches long by 3 inches tall by 1 7/8 inches wide crank radio was the inclusion of replaceable 18650 Li-ion batteries because it added a significant boost to overall shelf life. Over the years, I have tested several devices with internal rechargeable batteries that, for a variety of reasons, stopped charging. Frustrated, I would either need to repurchase the same item, buy a similar item, or simply recycle the e-waste and move-on. The problem with emergency preparedness is we often purchase devices and leave them packaged for an emergency. For this reason, my wife and I have several 9-hour candles, several battery backups that we rotate through, we exchange emergency water every 6 months from our pantry, and we regularly use emergency batteries. Essentially, as we use supplies, we restock from our emergency supply and then replace our emergency supply. We have two weeks of emergency food beyond our normal every-day supplies. We have two weeks of water, beyond what is available inside of our 50-gallon hot water heater. With the inclusion of the hand crank radio flashlight, we can add another layer of emergency preparedness to our kit. Additionally, when we go on outings with the Scouts, we can take along a mechanism for lighting our way and producing some weather updates/music.