Are you prepared for an emergency? What if you lost power? The Eton ARCPT200W American Red Cross Rover is a fantastic addition to your emergency preparedness kit. The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s really attractive with large analog dial on the face and red and white color scheme with the Red Cross emblem on it. This battery powered gadget has an AM/FM radio as well as a 7 band weather radio, all picking up a signal from the L-shaped antenna that extends upwards. The metallic ring on the face changes it from AM to FM to weather while a pair of red knobs adjust volume and tuning.
There’s a 3 white led flashlight on the front to provide light if the power goes out. We found the light to be adequate, you’re not going to be lighting up a stadium with it but for finding your way in the dark, it works. It has a pretty-good-for-it’s-size sounding speaker built-in or you can use the headphone jack. There’s a USB charging port to charge your phone or any other USB gadget in an emergency. Below you can see another thoughtful feature- the rubberized feet on it’s bottom.
But what makes the Eton Rover truly unique and more useful than other emergency devices is the hand crank. You can extend the handle from the backside and turn the crank to power the internal Turbodyne dynamo and the battery. This means you can power up your cell phone (or any USB device) without electricity! In an emergency or for backpacking or camping that could be huge.
Cranking it at 130 rpm’s gives you about 7 minutes of talk time on your phone with 5 minutes of cranking. One minute of cranking gives you 15 minutes of radio playing. In our highly unscientific test we were able to eek out a little less than 1% of battery increase per minute of cranking on our iPhone (I’d estimate we cranked at only 60 rpms, or 1 turn per second, because we are total weaklings). The red handle on the crank rotates which makes it much easier on your wrist to turn.
While you’re not going to want to go from 0 to 100% unless you want a serious workout, it’s certainly easy enough to juice up your phone enough to get you through any emergency situation. You can also plug it in to power up the internal lithium ion battery (note that you can’t swap out batteries though). Fully charged the radio will play for 8 hours straight. A small light indicates red for charging or green for fully charged.
What we like about the Eton Rover:
- 1. it looks great
2. ability to power it and USB devices with the hand crank
3. it’s all-in-one, charger, radio and flashlight
What we don’t like:
- 1. no battery level indicator (however there is a light to indicate when fully charged)
In summary, what’s cool is that the Rover is that it’s an all-in-one emergency device, charger, flashlight and radio and it’s handsome enough that you don’t have to stash it away deep in some closet and then dig for it in the dark when your power goes out; you can keep it out on display and handy. It’s made of solid aluminum machined parts and feels sturdy with well thought out features. It can charge any USB device you have electricity free with the hand crank.