Review: Load shedding lifesaver, self powered radio

by Lala

Can you name a single appliance in your home that provides you entertainment, has an emergency siren, can charge your cellphone & has a powerful led torch, all without relying on electricity or batteries? It sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?

This little self powered/ kinetic powered radio is an amazing & very useful gadget that has changed my life. Load shedding (planned power cuts for international readers) is a weekly reality in South Africa. Since receiving the Philips AE1125 kinetic radio from my hubby as part of my Valentines goodies (I’m a huge nerd & I cannot function without talk radio) I’ve been hugely impressed with it and less annoyed than usual with power cuts.

When the lights go off, I can still listen to the radio, charge my cellphone (Android) & use the torch to find my way around the house. The torch is about the same power as a cellphone torch, but when the lights are off, I would rather use this and conserve my phone’s power:
Philips self powered kinetic radio torch

FM, AM, LW radio
LED torch
Micro USB cellphone charger

Power sources
Kinetic power – hand crank
DC-in mains power supply
3 x AAA batteries

So how does it work?

The radio has a hand crank on the front that you turn, to generate power. I think this is very old technology that has become quite useful and relevant again, now that society has moved towards renewable and sustainable options for getting things done. So if you’re out camping in the bush or camping out without power in your own home, you can use your own energy to power this little gadget. Get the kids to do it if you need to keep them busy and feeling useful. The radio is a great gift for people who live in rural areas and might not have reliable power either, or money to buy batteries on a regular basis.

The radio does however, have the option of running on 3 x AAA batteries or Mains power, as it has a DC in. Any micro USB power cable, like you find on most Android phones will do the trick. There is a micro USB out cable for charging your phone from the radio itself as well. When the lights go out, you will treasure that feature!

The siren is also a useful feature for hikers. I’m never going camping without this.
Philips self powered radio siren
It makes a very loud, clear sound that I think will travel very well out in the bush or mountains. I’ve been stranded with my husband in the Drakensberg Amphitheater area (that is a story for another post) and would have been so grateful for something like this radio.

I’ve had it for about 2 months now, and I’m really impressed with its build quality (Philips is an excellent brand), the great reception it gets on FM & the sound quality as well as volume. I can’t sleep without talk radio on in the background, so I’ve put this radio to quite a good amount of use since I got it. It’s been on almost every night from bedtime when I listen to Aubrey Masango on Talk at 9, until the early morning when I listen to Koketso or John Robbie from 6am.

One thing I don’t like is the tuning dial to select stations. I could have been made a bit easier to tune. The dial doesn’t protrude far enough out of the face of the radio so it’s tricky at times. I think it would be a bit frustrating for people with big fingers to try get a decent grip on it. The volume dial almost suffered the same fate, but its left edge protrudes out nicely because the body of the radio curves away from it there.

Overall, this is a great little gadget, that would make an excellent gift for yourself, friends or family to get through load shedding for the next few decades; for hikers & campers; and for people living in rural areas. If you are Doomsday prepped, or prepping for that rumored national blackout, I’d definitely suggest getting this for your bug-out kit.

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