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Eton scorpion better than most.
on August 5, 2011
I have had the Eton Scorpion for about a month.I use it everyday. Camped with it 4 times already.
Reasons I bought this was ...
1:audio input.To basically have a solar/crank powered speaker for my iphone (extends iphones battery life)
2. To crank charge USB devices.
3.Mainly to have something to charge stuff ( mainly iPhone 3GS ) during power outages, no sun, night time , emergencies.
4. Bottle opener. Because I am tired of not be able to open my drinks??? This space should have been used to store earbuds,an extra long wire antenna or perhaps a little raincoat/bag for the scorpion.
Solar charges itself in full sun in a few hours.
Crank charges itself to full charge with about 300 cranks(3 minutes) giving about 45 minutes radio time( much more if you use headphones) and Hours of flashlight time.
Even when the radio dies the flashlight will keep going for about 30 minutes or more.
Power input is there but no adaptor included. This unit doesn't take removable rechargable batteries(AA) but it could be incorporated through the power input if one knew how to add up AA or AAA batteries voltage to match the input voltage of the input.
Solar Charging iPhone: not going to happen without rewiring it from the inside. Panel is too small anyway and not worth it , would take days to charge. Get a Goal Zero Guide Ten portable solar charging kit. solar charges an iPhone in an hour and charges 4 AA batteries too.just awesome!
Crank charging is the only way they designed this device to charge an iphone. No charging from the solar panel or from the scorpions stored collected energy in its internal battery.
Crank charging iphone:tricky but it works.To get the iPhone to accept it and to make any sort of charging possible ,follow these steps:
1. use an iPhone cable not a knock off.
2. Set the phone brightness to the lowest setting
3. turn off wifi
4. go into airplane mode or at least turn off 3G .
5. Get comfortable becuase you'll be cranking for at least 7 minutes(2 songs on a radio, or a few commercial breaks on tv)
6. Here is where people get discouraged and fail.
As soon as you crank, the iPhone may reject the charging source with a pop up saying "incompatible accessory" and you'll feel the crank become too easy to crank.
The trick is you have to sort of jump start it to get the phone to accept the crank charge. To do this you'll have to do a quick half crank( like starting a mower or kick starting a motorcycle) and then you'll hear and feel the phone giving resistance on the crank which means it accepted it . You'll keep cranking after the first quick half crank but you'll slow down for a second to lock it in and then your in the zone. You can adjust your cranking speed from here forward.The iPhone will show it's being charged and the screen will eventually turn off so take a mental note of the battery percentage so you can see how you've done 7 minutes later.
Depending on how you've cranked ,you'll probably achieve an additional 1 or 3 percent of battery life. Yes this is not great or anything but it could help in an emergency to get that text or call out.
I figure to almost fully charge the iPhone would take somewhere between 3-4 hours of cranking.Good luck with that.
Even a bicycle crank generator would still take alot of effort and nit much less time to charge an iPhone because you can only charge it so fast before you damage the battery. So for the portability factor of the Erin scorpion as a crank charger , I would say it's doing it's job the best it can do.
I have taken this camping 4 times since I've owned .still works .I use the crank alot to charge the radio and light .mainly because I like to use the audio input so I can crank my iPhone music through a the scorpions speaker. This means 3 minutes of cranking for ever 45 minutes of using the speaker.
The light is great. Last a long time and lights up an area pretty well. When your walking , it shines a big circle in front if you and a med circle to the left and right of you.. A Nice spread.
The very end of the handle broke on my last camping trip so I had to learn to crank with out it. When I got home , I drilled a hole in the end of the handle and bolted the piece back on with a screw and locknut from skateboard hardware (last forever).
Pros and cons:
-Nice size solar panel to charge its radio/flashlight.
-cranks to full charge in 2-3 minutes.
-45 minutes radio(half volume)/ couple hours light.
-nice rugged rubber shell.
-antenna stores away safely.
- pretty water resistant( left it in rain for a day, after drying it still works although it shouldn't )
-does crank charge USB devices including iPhones if your desperate.
-The caribeaner hook thing is nice to have. If it breaks I'll bolt that back on too.
- can't solar charge USB devices.
-can't charge USB devices from internal battery.
-doesn't take removable batteries.at night you have to crank charge to use the radio more than 45 minutes which goes by pretty fast.
- part if handle broke but fixes easy and now is stronger than before .
-radio tunes one station at a time , no station memory.
The new Eton Raptor is bigger and the next step up to the scorpion with a bigger solar panel and lithium battery but it has no crank charge ability. If the scorpion had no crank charge ability it would be useless.
Since I have already had to modify my scorpions handle , here are my plans to further modify it.
-remove the bottle opener and install a mini aa battery charger(from a solar garden light,they are basically mini solar aa rechargers) and wire it so they charge using the scorpions solar panel or crank charge .
- rewire inside so I can switch the radio from solar, internal battery,external AA batteries.
-rewire so USB devices can use solar charger, internal battery, or external aa batteries.
- Maybe change the internal battery to lithium ion.
- make a rain coat with a clear window for solar panel and pockets for a extended wire antenna, earbuds,and additional rechargeable AA batteries.
-if I'm feeling reall ambitious , remove the solar panel and make three solar panels that fold out from it ( like a book) to have better solar charging during cloudy days or triple it's solar power intake and charging time during full sun days.
If Eton did this instead of making the Raptor I would gladly pay $200+ and buy one (or two of them) because it would be all that I would need and I could carry much less with me when hiking etc.
Hope you liked my overly detailed longwinded review!