Guide to Hand Crank Chargers and Power Generators

Nowadays, it’s easy to take our modern living for granted, assuming that we’ll always have easy access to electricity anytime. 

But all this will change when there is no electricity. There’s no outlet to plug your precious smartphone or tablet into. Suppose you’re not a total shut-in, you’ve probably had your phone’s battery die on you a few times when you’re out. And even more common than that is the fear of having a dangerously low charge remaining, forcing you to use your phone less than you’re used to doing.

Bringing a power bank is always a good thing when you’re out. But what happens when it runs out of power? What if you’re heading out past the edge of civilization for a couple of days and weeks and get stranded somewhere? Or what if you don’t like the mechanical noise or smelly fuel from traditional generators? In any case, you may consider getting a hand crank charger or a hand crank power generator.

Hand crank generator

If you are building your survival or emergency kit, consider investing in a hand crank generator. Other than a bit of elbow grease, it doesn’t need a power source to power your electronics.

Whether on a camping trip or expecting a major storm or hurricane that will surely bring down power, hand crank generators can help keep your electronics charged up. That way, you don’t have to stay in the dark or fail to communicate for days because the hurricane knocked out the electricity in your town. With a hand crank generator, you can create electric power without depending on fuel, gasoline, sun, wind, or batteries. 

How do a hand crank generators and chargers work?

The mechanics of manually powered generators and chargers are pretty simple. They work just like the other generators and chargers, only that your arm power provides the energy. 

Hand crank charging devices do not rely on stored energy on battery, gas, sun, or wind. They only rely on your muscle power.

The hand crank generator has a gear motor. You operate it by turning a crank by hand. Since the mechanical force that you apply to that particular device, you create a current to produce electricity.

Most hand crank generators and chargers have an integrated battery to store the harvested power. Don’t worry about connecting the generator to anything or filling it up with anything because it all works internally.

Some hand crank generators are designed to be used with a specific device, like a particular brand of a cell phone. The specially designed connector allows you to hook it up to the phone. Then you can simply turn the crank for a couple of minutes to start charging the phone’s batteries. The voltage you will generate depends on how quickly you turn the crank, so the longer and faster you crank, the more power you generate. With a built-in voltage regulator, you can maintain a steady current, so there won’t be a problem with charging.

Other hand crank generators and chargers are more versatile. Some units have an electrical socket, others have a cigarette lighter-type socket, while some feature electric leads to plug in any device to give it power. A modern hand crank generator used to recharge a cellphone can provide about five volts of power at 1.5 revolutions per second (rps), and 6.2 volts at 2 rps. They can provide up to 4.5 to 6 volts, so this output is satisfactory for recharging cell phones. Most hand crank generators provide up to 6 volts, although some have gearings that increase the cranking rate and can generate higher voltages.

You may not rely on hand crank chargers and generators for daily use, only in emergencies or when you travel in the wilderness. In the aftermath of powerful storms, it may take a long time for utility companies to restore downed power lines, so your gadgets’ batteries will only last for a while. A hand crank generator and charger can help you with that.

It also doesn’t matter whether you are right-handed or left-handed. Most hand crank chargers and power generators can be turned clockwise or counterclockwise. They are also easy to store and transport.

The benefits of portable hand crank chargers and power generators

Handy for places that don’t have electric power

Hand crank chargers can provide the “juice” to your phones, flashlights, radios, GPS, cameras, and more. They are great charging devices to bring on an off-grid holiday where power lines are virtually non-existent and there are no outlets you can charge on. You probably did not go on a holiday in the wilderness just to use your phone and have it battery-drained. However, crank chargers and generators are a godsend for emergencies and in cases where you get stranded.

Helpful in cases of disasters

In case of an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane, hand crank chargers and generators can make a difference between life and death. When electricity shuts down, you can generate your own power to contact your family, relatives, 911, or rescue groups.

Great additions to your emergency supply and survival kit

Hand crank chargers and generators can be an asset to every emergency supply and survival kit. They must be included in every 72-hour emergency survival kit as a backup after all your batteries and power banks have run out of power.

Excellent alternatives for solar-powered chargers

Solar-powered chargers and generators cannot function when it’s cloudy and dark, especially when they don’t have a battery for storing harvested power. The hand crank chargers and generators can work anytime, even at night or during bad weather.

Environmentally friendly

Generators powered by fossil fuels produce smoke or a bad odor that pollute the environment. It is not the case with hand crank chargers and generators since you’ll be using your arm power to crank and generate energy.

The takeaway

Due to advanced technology, it’s sometimes impossible to believe that a hand-cranked charger will still be useful. After all, we have power banks, portable battery-powered chargers, and solar chargers. And all of them do not require human effort to produce energy and power a single phone. At first, cranking seems fun. But after sustained effort, your hand gets sore. Your arms can get tired, and you might run out of patience.

Despite these, hand crank chargers and generators are dependable power sources. It’s incredible if you think about it – it helps you have the ability to make electric power on your own. It may not be ideal to use at all times, but it works.

Hand crank chargers and generators are best served for the purpose the inventors originally envisioned – as an emergency charger for when you are cut off from all power sources for days at a time.

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