The Freeplay Companion is a self-sufficient AM/FM radio, a torch, and a mobile phone charger*, all in a unit that comes in a convenient size and is sturdy enough for camping or outdoor use. It has a solar panel and a crank so you'll never run out of power.
This compact, robust radio has a rubberized body with recessed control knobs for impact resistance and comfort. Offering a choice of self-charge, solar and external recharge power options, the Companion delivers independence from wall power or disposable batteries and thus offers an eco-friendly alternative to common battery-operated radios.
And this is how it works:
Freeplay’s patented self-charge technology means excellent reliability: When the internal NiMH battery runs down and you need to wind for power, the Freeplay self-charge mechanism converts your kinetic energy into stored electricity.
A 1-minute wind gives you 20 minutes of radio listening at normal volume, or 30 minutes of light, and you can wind some more at any time for as much play time / shine time as you want. An LED charge level indicator tells you the best speed to wind. Wind even when the radio’s playing or the flashlight’s shining to top up the battery at any time – never be left in the dark, miss the end of that song, the end of the game or that last item in the news report.
In direct sunlight the Companion will charge itself and play continuously. The internal NiMH battery can be fully charged from either the solar panel or an external charging adapter (any standard mini-USB AC charger will do), to give 12 hours of play time (depending on volume), or 16 hours of shine time.
Compact, rugged and weatherproof, the Companion is perfect around the barbecue, inside your home, out camping or as a vital source of information during storms or blackouts.
A comprehensive listing of all features and technical specifications can be found under "Product Details". Please check our FAQ and Troubleshooting section, too.
*Please note that the Freeplay Companion is currently only compatible with Nokia mobile phones.
- Play time on a fully charged battery: around 12 hours (depending on volume setting)
- 60-second wind provides 20 minutes play time (at normal volume)
- 1 hour solar exposure: 1 hour play time (at normal volume, radio off while charging)
- Telescopic antenna for FM radio
- Earphone socket for personal listening
- 3 LEDs torch with optics optimized for a focused light
- Shine Time of LEDs on a fully charged battery: 16 hours. 60-second wind = 30 minutes of light.
- Integrated charger for Nokia mobile phones. A 60-second wind provides for a 2-3 minute talk (varies depending on phone model, phone battery condition and signal strength).
- The outer casing has a robust construction for high structural and impact strength and is water resistant (not waterproof).
- Plastic moulding and rubberized grip for easy carrying
- Recessed volume and tuning control knobs for impact protection
- Large winder knob for easy grip
- Winder hub and bush are nylon and acetyl respectively for long life
- Winder handle is high strength glass filled nylon
- Crank power: Direct drive spur gear transmission driving a high power 3-phase alternator with high efficiency 3 phase rectification.
- Frequencies FM: 88-108 MHz
- Frequencies AM: 500-1700 kHz
- High conversion efficiency rechargeable NiMH 2/3 AAA battery: 3.6V pack, 350 mAh capacity.
- Solar panel specifications: 5.5V, 30mA polycrystalline solar panel with epoxy encapsulation under a polycarbonate lens
charging socket: 5V, 100mA, 5 pin. Charge rate: 10 hours = 100%
capacity. Please note that a USB charger and cable are not included.
- Speaker impedance: 8 ohms
- Speaker output: 0.4 Watt (max)
Light Bulb Technology:
LED Light Emitting Diode
1 Year Guarantee
Frequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting:
Q: Do I need to do anything before I use it?
A: For best results, the battery requires a conditioning charge before first use, or after long periods without use. This can be done by administering several vigorous 30-second wind cycles. Alternatively this can be done by fully charging the battery using the wall charger (if you have one). The product can, however, be used immediately in the wind-up mode if required.
Q: My Companion did not come supplied with a charger. What type of charger can I use to charge it?
A: The mini-USB type adaptors are not sold with the products as many people may have these already for use with their mobile phones and digital cameras. Any mini-USB charger will do as long as the output conforms to the USB spec ie. 5V. The capacity (mA) is not critical. You can also charge the product via your computer’s USB port using an inexpensive cable (USB-A to mini-B, 5-pin not 4-pin).
Q: How long will a fully charged battery retain its charge?
A: The battery will retain about 75% of its capacity after 1 month, 55% after 2 months, 40% after 3 months and 15% after 6 months.
Q: Can I over- wind the unit - does it ever stop you from winding?
A: No, you cannot over-wind the internal mechanism. It consists of simple gearing which drives the alternator, providing power to the internal battery.
Q: Will I damage the product if I crank the handle in the opposite direction?
A: No, the winder handle can be cranked in both directions.
Q: Is the product waterproof?
A: No, it is not waterproof.
Q: How strong does the sun have to be for the radio to play directly from the solar panel?
A: The radio requires direct sunlight to operate solely off the solar panel. If the solar panel is placed in direct sunlight while the radio is switched off, solar energy will gradually charge the battery.
Q: Can I leave it plugged in all the time?
A: Yes; the charging current is designed to be low enough to be non-damaging if left on charge continuously. (Unplugging may extend the life of the battery, but note that repeated deep discharges will shorten it.)
Q: The battery doesn't hold a charge any more; do I need to replace it?
A: Rechargeable batteries deteriorate over time, especially if drained nearly completely (to extend the life of your battery, limit how often that happens). However, in many cases they can be "conditioned" back to life. This can be done by administering several vigorous 30-second wind cycles following it immediately by a full adapter charge.
Q: Do you sell a mobile phone charger for brands other than Nokia?
A: The Companion only really works with Nokia, however it may work with some inexpensive slide-on tips available in some mobile phone shops. There are no guarantees though and we don’t supply them.
Q: The Nokia charger only seems to fit older Nokia phones, it doesn’t fit my newer phone with the smaller jack.
A: There are old to new pig tail adaptors available. Nokia themselves supply these sometimes.
Q: When winding the Companion, the Nokia phone screen reads ‘not charging’ with the phone charger plugged in. When the battery is full, it usually reads ‘battery full’.
A: There may be a compatibility issue but possibly also to do with the winding speed. Some phones need a bit of experimentation to get the correct level of winding and start charging. Please note that the state of battery is irrelevant to charging the phone.
Q: Can the solar panel charge my mobile phone?
A: No. Your mobile phone can only be charged via the wind-up handle and not the solar panel. The solar panel, the mini-USB charger and the wind-up handle are used to charge the radio and light.
Q: The winder is sometimes stiff and sometimes loose. When the phone charger cable is plugged in, it becomes loose. Why is that?
A: When the cable is plugged in it disconnects the crank power to the battery and diverts it all to the phone charging output. If there is no phone plugged in, then there is no load on the crank, so it will be easy to wind.
Q: Is it possible to run a mini-USB to mini-USB cable from the Companion to a mobile phone to charge it?
A: The mini-USB port on the Companion is purely to charge the Companion itself and not for charging anything else. The Companion is supplied with a Nokia charging cable which plugs into the round port. We do not offer any other type of cable.
Q: How long would one need to crank the Companion in order to fully charge it?
A: It would take approx. 30 minutes.
Q: The light works however there is no sound from the radio.
A: It sounds like the speaker isn't plugged in. Open up the unit and check that the speaker wire is properly plugged into the main PCB. If the product is under warranty, it will need to be returned to the retailer for replacement.
Q: What is the charge time for charging through my computer’s USB port?
A: It is the same as charging with a mini-USB to wall adapter – ie. 10 hrs approx.
Q: My radio will no longer charge or play from the adapter. The charging indicator no longer illuminates.
A: The problem lies with either the DC socket connection or the charger. If you can test the charger on another product or test another charger on the radio, this will determine which one is fault.
of Freeplay equipment should not attempt any repair which involves any
disassembly. Never remove covers from devices. If the radio seems faulty, please contact our Customer Service to obtain details about the repair or replacement procedure.