Tuesday, May 1, 2018

EMERGENCY RADIOS



EMERGENCY RADIOS  ~

Multi-Purpose Communication Devices When Disaster Strikes

© 2018 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


Disasters know no particular time or place ~ they just happen! At one time we considered June 1st to November 31st as the time to be prepared since it’s considered the official hurricane season. However, recent years seem to indicate the need to be prepared for the unexpected at a moments notice. Events such as storms, floods, terrorist acts, power failures, and camping trips offer no known timetable. Our need and dependence on communications and the power to keep them working is a vital concern. Here are some items worth your consideration and possible addition to your emergency preparedness toolbox.

The Red Cross, in cooperation with ETON Corporation, is co-marketing a multi-function AM/FM and NOAA (government sponsored weather channel) radio, the FRX3(+), that can be powered by AC house current, or a built-in Lithium battery. Charging is possible from three power sources, AC wall outlets, a built-in solar panel or a provided hand crank. The radio includes such features as a clock, an AM/FM receiver, all 7 NOAA/Environment Weather bands including Canada, and can be set to automatically broadcast emergency weather alerts. It can also charge your smartphone via USB and works as an emergency LED flashlight with flashing signal beacon. Spinning the hand crank for 60 seconds will provide ten to fifteen minutes of radio and flashlight use. Placing the unit in the sun gives you a passive charging option. Plugging your smartphone into the built-in USB smartphone charging port will provide a 30 second emergency phone call with only one minute of cranking. Dimensions and weight: 5 3/4" H x 7" W x 2 2/3" D. (1 1/4 lbs.)


The ETON FRX5-BT(+) offers many of the same features, but adds Bluetooth capability and a 2000mah Lithium rechargeable battery. The Bluetooth feature permits you to link with Bluetooth headsets or to use the FRX5-BT(+) as an auxiliary speaker.

(TIP: Both ETON models have been updated periodically, but the model numbers have not necessarily changed. The updates have resulted in battery changes. Some models do not allow for replacement batteries to be installed or substituted by the end user. So, be aware that some spec sheets may show differences in this regard.)


A third EMERGENCY RADIO alternative is the RunningSnail, a/k/a iRonsnow IS-099 (88)+. This device offers many of the same features as the ETON products, but in a more compact design and at a significantly lower cost. The lower cost tradeoff results in a reduced battery capacity, 1000mah. What’s the old saying? “You get what you pay for.” Dimensions: 5" x 2.4" x 1.6" .Weight: less than 0.5 lbs.

These multi-powered/multi-function radios will effectively provide you access to news, weather and information in any emergency using alternative power sources. It also charges your smartphone. My only dislike is that the ETON FRX5-BT (+) series has a very difficult to read and access top button display.

MSRP: $20.00 - $129.99 Depending on model desired. Available at retail, and on line.

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★

For more information go to:

https://etoncorp.com/collections/all

https://rdcrss.org/2uUP4fU

http://wsrtek.com/ironsnow/

Graphic credits: Manufacturer

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at bob.thegadgeteer.skidmore@gmail.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.
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Sunday, April 1, 2018

VirtuClean ~ A CPAP Cleaner




A CPAP Cleaner That’s Economical, Clinically Efficient and 
Easy to Use….

© 2018 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


The USA has over 19 million Americans with some form of sleep apnea. The most popular treatment, prescribed by a physician, is a CPAP machine. CPAP machines have greatly improved over the years and the latest models are compact, quiet and generally feature a humidifier. Also required is a hose and some form of facial mask. For those using oxygen as well, the addition of a small tube adapter connecting the system to an oxygen source mixes the O2 with the forced room air produced by the machine. Such equipment and its accessories require periodically scheduled cleaning, a process that can become a nuisance and a serious potential health hazard if not performed in a proper and timely fashion.

After researching several cleaning methods and products I am most impressed with the VirtuClean, palm size, Ozone cleaner. Now, before discussing the virtues of the VirtuClean, let’s review what is the most common cleaning method. Most users opt to simply wash the tubing and facial mask in warm water with a mild soap. The problem with this is that your kitchen, bathroom sink or tub are probably the most germ prone containers you could use. There’s more E. Coli in a kitchen sink than a toilet after you flush it. Remember you’re breathing air thru the hose and mask and this air is all going into your lungs. This is the main reason why routine cleaning with a sanitary system is vital to your respiratory health. Need I say more….

There are many CPAP cleaning machines available. While most will do the job, many are bulky, require periodic and costly filter replacements that are way over priced. The VirtuClean is a palm size ½ ounce device that is powered by a Lithium rechargeable battery. It uses Ozone that is electrically generated within the unit by passing normal air over an electrical field. This causes a breakdown of some of the oxygen molecules creating the sanitizing effect when released into the airflow and thus into the mask, tubing and CPAP machine itself. The cleaner produces this reaction for thirty minutes and then runs for five minutes circulating fresh air into the mask, tubing and device completing a cycle. The FDA approved VirtuClean cleaner, is therefore a two-cycle process. First you detach your hose from the CPAP machine and attach it to the cleaner. The other end of the hose with the facemask still attached is placed in the special supplied cleaning bag and zipped shut. 


Press the red start button and the thirty-minute cleaning cycle starts followed automatically by a five-minute fresh air cycle. Once completed an alarm sounds and you detach the hose from the VirtuClean and empty the bag. Since Ozone can exhibit an unpopular odor, it is suggested you allow everything to air out prior to further use. Cleaning the actual CPAP machine is just as easy. Detach the hose from the mask and attach to the VirtuClean device while leaving the hose attached to the CPAP machine. The same 35-minute process takes place. The VirtuClean claims to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria during the cleaning cycle.

(TIP: Weekly cleaning of the CPAP machine itself is recommended, while daily or bi-daily cleaning is suggested for the hose and facemask.)

(TIP: If you inject oxygen into your CPAP machine you’ll need to first remove the oxygen hose from the CPAP machine. You can either also detach the little plastic adapter that accommodate the O2 hose, or leave the adapter in place and plug it as shown in the photo. 


I cut off the hose fitting from an old cannula, taped over the open end thus making a cap. This is probably the preferred method as it cleans the adapter as well.)

(TIP: Always use the supplied bag when possible. If size is an issue, use a tight nylon or silky liner inside a different bag as this is the component that encapsulates the environment and allows the Ozone to do its work.)

I’ve used this product extensively and found it to be the ultimate CPAP cleaning solution. No expensive parts to replace and its compact size is great for travel too. A battery-charging indicator would be a nice plus. I added a simple one, see photo below, to remind me when to charge it. 


Adding one is easy ~ a Dymo label with a modified removable page reminder sticker shaped like a pointer. A fully charged battery will complete three complete cycles. A green light indicates at least one charging cycle remains. Charging time is two hours.

(TIP: It is possible to use the unit while charging, however, this can reduce the overall life span of the Lithium battery. Avoid charging the unit until you have completed three cycles since partial charges will also reduce the battery life of this and other such batteries.)

The VirtuClean comes with a 10-year battery, perfect for worldwide use, and an 18-month device warranty. No on-going device maintenance is required. It is suggested that the user flush out the hose and mask with cold-water under a tap and not submersing in a sink, bi-weekly and without using soap.

• Update: The manufacturer is working on a possible optional add-on accessory that would allow for all components to be cleaned in one thirty-five minute cycle. Check the web site below for further updates.

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★

MSRP: $279.95 (Available on line from various vendors.)

For more information go to: http://www.goo.gl/RN2Gk6

Graphic credits: VirtuClean

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at bob.thegadgeteer.skidmore@gmail.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. Your doctor, prior to using any product or procedure, should always first approve medical devices and procedures for your specific use. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.
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