When Eton describes the Scorpion NSP100OR as an “extreme weather radio” this must only mean that Eton’s Scorpion reports on that problem. The Eton Scorpion has several handy features but isn’t weather proof. In fact, the manual warns not to spill liquids on it, expose it to rain, and never to drop it in the water. Don’t even use anything more than a dry cloth to wipe it down.
Lots of us use and enjoy electronic devices which aren’t any tougher than the Scorpion, so if you’re looking for a handy camp radio or a emergency radio for the basement tornado shelter, the Eton is a good buy. If you know the limitations before you purchase the Scorpion you’ll be much happier with it.
What the Etón Scorpion NSP100OR Multi-Purpose Solar Powered Digital Weather Radio does is pretty incredible for a little half-pound piece of gear. My flashlight used to weigh that much by itself, and although I’ve since stepped up to a lighter LED model, the Scorpion is a chance to get a good 3 LED flashlight, a weather band/AM & FM radio with digital tuning, and a bottle opener with both crank charging and solar cell charging options. If you take your cell phone to the woods with you, you can hook it up to the Eton and refill the cell battery a crank at a time. All that is pretty impressive for this small package.
If you get surprised by the down side of the Scorpion you won’t be happy. The company advertises it as splash-resistant, but the instructions indicate that water and the Eton Scorpion don’t mix at any level. Operating temperatures are the normal range for consumer electronics — you can expect satisfactory operation from freezing to a hot 100 degree day, and maybe a little above and below that range if you’re careful.
Solar charging is typically disappointing, but I don’t blame Eton for that. Small solar cells just don’t generate much juice. You need full direct sunlight for eight hours to charge this little radio combo, and you can’t use the Scorpion while it’s charging or you’ll drain off the power faster than it picks it up. Eight hours of charging could run the radio for four. Unless you’re doing that on a perfect day and tending it carefully as needed, it won’t.
Crank charging will make you cranky. I have a crank generator flashlight which only runs three LED lights and I might as well crank it constantly while I use it. A few minutes cranking the Scorpion to beat the band should provide 20 minutes or so of operation. Time yourself to see how much work goes into five minutes on that wheel. Converting calories to voltage and amps isn’t easy but it’s a very important backup system to have.
The Eton Scorpion will charge up at home from an optional AC to DC converter, but for that you pay extra. Still a good deal? Yeah. Take care of it and you’ll have the weather report and the local news when the power goes out or thunderheads roll over the horizon. You won’t have to scrounge for good batteries in the dark because the crank power is always on. Lights, radio, and bottle opener — you’re all set for that storm.