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What is a Crank Powered Radio?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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Crank powered radios are audio receivers that are constructed to receive signals from a number of frequency bands. In this aspect, a crank powered radio is just like any standard radio that operates with batteries or wall current as the power source. What sets the crank powered radio apart is the presence of a hand crank on the side of the device that allows the user to turn the crank and generate electrical current to power the radio.

A crank powered radio is often considered an essential component for home emergency kits, as well as in camping equipment. In the event that some sort of natural disaster interrupts the power supply to the home, it is possible to receive news reports and other radio transmissions by making use of crank radios. The hand crank allows for the generation of electrical current that is stored in an internal battery pack housed in the radio. Depending on the actual model, the crank may need to be employed during active operation, or the user may use the crank for several minutes before turning on the device.

Most of the hand crank powered radio models of today also include the ability to make use of standard flashlight batteries or a power cord. This means that radios of this type can also be used on a day to day basis, while still being fully operational when the usual sources of power are no longer available. People who live in areas of the world that experience severe winters or are subject to hurricanes or tornadoes often find that keeping a crank powered radio in the home adds another element of security and comfort. In the event that adverse weather eliminates the usual power source, the homeowner can still use the radio to get emergency weather reports, as well as listen to music or talk shows to pass the time.

Modern versions of the hand crank powered radio can also be used to supply power to other devices as well. For example, many units today will include a socket that allows the user to plug in and charge a cell phone battery. This added feature can prove to be essential in an emergency situation, in that the cell phone can still be used to make and receive calls.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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