Eton's hand-cranked Axis is your Hurricane Irene survival gadget

Eton's hand-cranked Axis is your Hurricane Irene survival gadget

Summary: When you need a radio, LED flashlight, clock and even a way to charge your smartphone but have run out of batteries and the power is out, this American Red Cross-branded device could just save your life.


As I pack my "Go bag" in case I have to evacuate my home due to flooding from the triple whammy of  Hurricane Irene, storm surge and even tornadoes, I suddenly have a new found appreciation for anything hand-cranked. Eton's Axis is the gadget geek's emergency survival best friend, as it packs an AM/FM radio, clock, white LED flashlight and charges most smartphones and USB devices into a portable, hand-powered device.

This American Red Cross-branded all-in-one is tuned to seven NOAA weather channels by default so you can stay informed on the weather conditions, even after you've lost electricity. Alternatively, the device can also be powered with three AAAs or an AC Adapter, though they are not included with the device.

The problem with a battery-powered gadget is that you could burn through your supply of alkaline batteries very quickly, and in the case of a severe emergency, you just won't be able to hop into a store to buy some more. Thankfully, the Axis offers an alternative source of power, where one minute of manually winding the handle gives your phone another 30 seconds for a voice call, or 15 minutes of radio or flashlight.

Its other handy features include:

  • A red, flashing beacon light to alert others
  • A digital clock with alarm
  • A telescopic antenna for enhanced range and reception
  • A 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Connectors with rubber gaskets/plugs to prevent moisture from seeping into the device

You can pick up an American Red Cross-approved Eton Axis hand-cranked radio, flash light and charger from your local Best Buy (though probably not in a store along the Eastern seaboard at this time), Brookstone or even from Amazon for approximately $69.99. Hopefully you won't have to put it to use but you'll be glad to have it in an emergency.

[Source: Eton's website, National Hurricane Center, ABC News, Wikipedia]

Topics: Amazon, Hardware, Smartphones

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  • RE: Eton's hand-cranked Axis is your Hurricane Irene survival gadget

    Be advised, hand-cranking one of these puppies is a non-trivial task. It's best if you can get ahold of one of these (probably at Radio Shack) and try your hand at continuously turning the crank for one minute. If it's a survival situation, you may have to plan on doing it for 15 minutes.

    My Eton emergency radio is the FR600 Solarlink. This has solar cells built into the handle. You can run the radio off the cells or use them to charge the internal batteries (which I believe can also recharge your cell phone, but I haven't tested that out yet.)
    • RE: Eton's hand-cranked Axis is your Hurricane Irene survival gadget

      @Muzhik1 How hard is it to hand crank the Axis? I could probably get by, but I wonder if my mom could manage it?
      awkward hug
      • RE: Eton's hand-cranked Axis is your Hurricane Irene survival gadget

        @awkward hug , it's not so much a question of "how hard is it to turn the crank." It's not really that hard to turn it. It's just that you have to turn it, and turn it, and turn it, and keep turning it at the right speed for as long as need be.

        My Solarlink has a small light that comes on when you're cranking the handle at the right speed. I just tried it and found that you need to crank it at about two revolutions per second, or between 110 and 120 revolutions per minute. Not hard, but tedious, and difficult after a few minutes. So, it may need at least 15 minutes of cranking to fully charge the batteries to use the radio, but don't plan on doing that cranking all in one fell swoop.

        One other thing to consider: the Axis has the crank built into the handle, with a fairly long crank handle. This means the Axis will be easier to hold onto and crank. The Solarlink's crank is built into the body of the radio, with a relatively short crank handle, which is one reason why you will have to turn the Solarlink's crank fairly fast.

        As I said, see if you can get your hands on one and try it before you buy it.