These splendid little feats of engineering were first conjured up by Trevor Bayliss, and were given to remote areas of Africa and the rest of the third world so that the people could be kept informed of world events. Often it was hard to find out what was happening in their own country. The beauty of them is that once given to people there were absolutely no hidden costs. No batteries or mains electricity needed. Just the sun ( which I hear is about a bit in Africa) or human effort to wind it up. Whilst the poverty stricken of the world had thgis product for the bargain price of £0.00, it generally retails for us rich capitalists at around £40.00. My mother adores this. It cleverly marries her favourite elements together like no other product. Her admiration for innovative design, economy and the colour blue. Of course she's glad that the starving hordes of Africa have a wireless, but it wasn't a selling point. More an unexpected bonus. So, you wind it up and it lasts for hours, solar or artificial light will work the same magic, and you can carry it from room to room, from car to beach and it won't mind a jot! Obviously don't get sand in it, or throw it in the Thames and expect it to trill so perfectly as before, but overall it's pretty hardy design and I recommend it without hesitation.
The Freeplay F360, is a solarpowered and windup FM/AM radio. We use ours in the bathroom - great for listening to the Radio in the bath, without the frustration of the batteries dying whilst you are soaking. In the summer it works fine on a sunny windowledge, charging up during the day and giving you hours of listening pleasure. In the winter it needs a good deal of winding. FM seems to use more charge than AM, so a full winding only lasts about 25 minutes on FM (although I do like it quite loud in the bath!). It is great for gardening - just leave it to itself and it plays away for hours... but don't get dirt in it - it makes it really grind away. It isn't the lightest of radios, so it doesn't come camping any more, but part of the purchase price often goes to Friends of the Earth - which can't be bad. (Comes in different colours - ours is transucent blue!) The best way to wind it is with both hands - don't try to do it one-handed with the radio on a table, rather grasp it in one hand and wind with the other. It can be realy quite theraputic - wind down as you wind up - and save your listenig pleasure for later!!
This radio was designed for use in remote parts of Africa and third world countries. It has two means of power, the first being clockwork and the other, solar. You can wind the radio and each rotation equals approximately one minute of play time. If you have a sunny day, place the radio in full sun and the solar panel drives it. It's a superb concept and costs absolutely nothing in running costs but it is quite a large item to carry around. The winding mechanism is a little noisy, especially if your neighbours are sitting the other side of your garden fence and it has a maximum of roughly fifty winds (fifty minutes play). One thing to watch out for is that you generally let the radio wind down and don't switch it off. In the morning, when the sun hits the solar panel (if you've left it in the garden)... it springs in to life and you wonder who has the radio playing at 7am !
Short name: Freeplay F360