Power for Good

Any repair information is intended for professional repair shops only.

Users of Freeplay equipment should not attempt any repair which involves any disassembly. Some of our older products were driven by powerful springs which, if allowed to unwind in an uncontrolled manner, would be dangerous and could cause injury. Never remove covers from such devices.

Please note in all instances where the product is faulty and is under warranty, please return it to the retailer where purchased. We do not carry out any repairs.

Do I need to do anything before I use it?

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.

My Companion did not come supplied with a charger. What type of charger can I use to charge it?

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).

How long will a fully charged battery retain its charge?

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.

Can I over- wind the unit - does it ever stop you from winding?

No, you cannot over-wind the internal mechanism. It consists of simple gearing which drives the alternator, providing power to the internal battery.

Will I damage the product if I crank the handle in the opposite direction?

No, the winder handle can be cranked in both directions.

Is the product waterproof?

No, it is not waterproof.

How strong does the sun have to be for the radio to play directly from the solar panel?

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.

Where can I find the instruction manual?

Download Companion radio manual here.

Can I leave it plugged in all the time?

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.)

The battery doesn't hold a charge any more; do I need to replace it?

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.

Do you sell a mobile phone charger for brands other than Nokia?

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.

The Nokia charger only seems to fit older Nokia phones, it doesn't fit my newer phone with the smaller jack.

There are old to new pig tail adaptors available. Nokia themselves supply these sometimes.

What are the battery pack specifications?

2/3 AAA Ni-MH 3.6v 350mAh. Please use the contact form here to enquire about purchasing a replacement battery pack.

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'.

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.

Can the solar panel charge my mobile phone?

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.

The winder is sometimes stiff and sometimes loose. When the phone charger cable is plugged in, it becomes loose. Why is that?

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.

Is it possible to run a mini-USB to mini-USB cable from the Companion to a mobile phone to charge it?

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.

How long would one need to crank the Companion in order to fully charge it.

It would take approx. 30 minutes.

The light works however there is no sound from the radio.

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.

What is the charge time for charging through my computer's USB port?

It is the same as charging with a mini-USB to wall adapter – ie. 10 hrs approx.

My radio will no longer charge or play from the adapter. The charging indicator no longer illuminates.

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.

Where can I purchase a replacement aerial?

Please use the contact form here to enquire about purchasing a replacement aerial