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Kythri writes: “These nifty dynamo flashlights have been out for a while, but this latest from Dorcy is awesome.  I bought a simple 3 LED 2-pack at Costco a couple years ago, but all mine does is switch between constant light and blink modes.

“About a year later, again at Costco, I bought a 2-pack of the upgraded ones (you can never have too many flashlights, especially ones that don’t need batteries!).  The upgraded model adds a alert siren and AM/FM radio, complete with a hidden telescopic antenna.  Niftier and niftier!

“At Sears about a month ago, I saw the Dorcy model.  It does everything above, but it also has a Cigarette Lighter-style adaptor that plugs into the flashlight, and gives a 12VDC output.  Obviously, I wouldn’t expect it to power much more than a cellphone, like they advertise, but it’s definitely a great addition.  I’ll undoubtedly be picking up some of these for my wanna-be ‘survival’ pack.”

I actually received a three-LED for Christmas in 2005.  After I unwrapped it, I wound the thing up for 30 seconds, ran it for a bit, then put it in my nightstand drawer.  I’ve used it a few times since, but I’d bet I haven’t cranked it more than a few times since — and it’s always charged in the drawer.  Slick stuff.

Looks like they go for around $25.

3-LED Dynamo Flashlight, Radio, and DC Universal Adapter [Dorcy]
Street Pricing [Froogle]


7 Responses to Reader Find: Dorcy’s Dynamo Flashlight, Radio, and DC Universal Adapter

  1. The one I’m familiar with advertises its cell-phone-charging abilities, but the necessary cable is sold separately and never on the shelf next to the main unit.

    As for the “survival” situation: If you have a car, just use the lighter-socket charger. If you’ve run the car out of gas and the battery’s dead, chances are the cellular network is down too. You’ll be better off with ham radio, which requires no infrastructure.

    I’m not saying that it could never be useful, just that your own dead battery might be the least of the problems.

  2. Rick says:

    Hey Nate… wouldn’t the “special cable” be the same one you buy that’s specific to your cell phone for use in the car?

  3. kythri says:

    Rick: I think the cable he’s talking about is the one that plugs into the flashlight, and gives you a 12VDC lighter outlet.

    The Dorcy model at Sears is $19.99, and has that cable with it.

    I agree with Nate – if you’re in your vehicle, then the lighter outlet isn’t of much use, but if you’re going to trek out, or you’re going on a hike, and your phone runs out of juice, this makes it possible to power it.

    Obviously, you’d need the light, the outlet cable, your cell phone’s car-charger, and your phone, but all of that doesn’t take up much room in a pack.

  4. The other flashlight I’ve seen doesn’t output 12 volts, it’s lower, and is meant to be used with special tips for specific models of phone. The lack of a standard output is what makes it inferior to the Dorcy listed here.

    Also, USB chargers are getting common now, and the connector is far superior to the bulky cigarette lighter junk that never should’ve been a power connector in the first place. How long until someone makes a hand-crank generator with a 5v output on USB? I modded mine to do that, but I’ve never seen a commercial version. (Solar, yes. Jumpstarter pack, yes. Hand-crank, no.)

  5. kythri says:

    The 5V USB output would be sweet.

  6. Donnie says:

    I picked up one of these recently (The Dorcy with radio and DC charger). It works great as a flashlight, ok as a radio, and I have no idea how much effort is needed to charge one of my cell phones…

    Donnie aka thelinuxcat

  7. I’m an old-fashioned guy… I want to be an old man with a beer belly sitting on a porch, looking at a lake or something.JohnnyDeppJohnny Depp

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