Batteries not necessary

The moment the power goes out is no time to start pawing through drawers for batteries. One solution: flashlights that use a hand-crank generator to light the night.

Several companies carry a throwback Russian Army-style flashlight that works (noisily) with the continuous pumping of a lever. South African firm Freeplay has long sold a radio powered by a carbon-steel spring. Hand-powered cellphone chargers have been emerging.

A new player on the scene is RotoGlo (two for $20 at rotoglo.com), which resembles a "Star Trek" phaser and runs one hour for each minute the user turns its retractable crank. It's multitasking sibling RotoRadio (pictured, $20) delivers clear audio, even without antenna extension, though the signal fades with motion. (You get a half hour of both light and sound per minute of cranking.)

In each model, a cluster of three small LED lights - rated for more than 10,000 hours of use - put out a reasonably strong beam. The radio version, with a larger conical mirror, is the brighter of the two. Durability is a question; ours was a short-term test. The company says RotoCharger - a crank-powered power source for charging digital cameras, cellphones, and MP3 players - is coming soon.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK