Crosley Ranchero Radio

May 1, 2014 | By Ted Kade

With the warmer days of spring and summer, you’ll no doubt be spending more time in your garage/shop and it’s always nice to have a radio on hand to keep you company while you work.

Maybe you have a favorite oldies station or hate to miss a ball game or want to keep in touch with the world by tuning to one of the all-news or topical talk stations in your area.

And since you’ll be busy working on a vintage vehicle, it only follows that the radio on your garage shelf should fit in with the retro mood of your activities. But with a nod to the fact that real vintage radios can easily cost hundreds of dollars and therefore shouldn’t be doing duty in a garage, and many of them were built before the days of FM receivers which severely limits your listening possibilities, why not compromise and select a brand-new unit that has a vintage look on the outside while harboring modern equipment on the inside.

Consider the Crosley CR3022 Ranchero, for example. It looks like it would have been right at home in a living room or kitchen a half-century ago, but it has a very nice sound with its AM/ FM radio tuner and, in addition, there’s an auxiliary input on the back where you can hook up an MP3 player or other audio device to play through the speaker.

As Crosley puts it, the Ranchero has “a ‘new-stalgic’ look with a touch of vintage flare and an acoustically tuned and ported speaker enclosure.”

The radio comes in glossy white, black or red with an aluminum grille and has an MSRP of $99.95. For more, and a look at the company’s range of audio products, visit crosleyradio.com.

And if you’re thinking that the Crosleyname sounds familiar, Powel Crosley entered the radio business back in 1920 after two unsuccessful attempts as a car manufacturer and, oh, yes, he also built a line of compact cars bearing his name from 1939 to 1942 and after the war from 1946 to 1952.

Maxxeon WorkStar 320 Pocket Floodlight

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Back in August 2011 I talked about a pocket flashlight from Maxxeon called the WorkStar 220 Pocket Floodlight. It’s a great product that’s not much bigger than an ink pen and yet throws a bright beam comparable to a full-size two-cell flashlight.

It has a strong aluminum case and a durable tailcap switch (on/off clicker) that the manufacturer says is good for 100,000 cycles.

I carried it in my jeans pocket (where it easily fit even though I tend to stuff pockets with keys, a comb, change and other assorted items) and found myself reaching for it on a regular basis. Everything was going fine for me and my pocket light until just recently when the little guy started to flicker and I knew it was time for new batteries.

I took it apart, saw that it was powered by three tiny AAAA-size batteries and went off to the local convenience store for replacements. Well, I tried two convenience stores, a couple of drug stores and a supermarket only to get the same reply each time… they don’t carry that size. They all had AAA batteries, but nothing smaller.

I went online and found a 6-pack of Energizer AAAA alkaline batteries for $11.70 plus shipping, which seemed high, but I quickly learned that the AAAA size is definitely more expensive. For comparison purposes, a 16-pack of Energizer AAA was $10.97 online. Furthermore, I’m still an old-fashioned kind of guy who likes to buy things in a store and bring them home in a bag.

Fortunately, about that time I learned of Maxxeon’s more-recent WorkStar 320, a pocket light that has the same bright beam as the 220 but is slightly larger because it runs on, you guessed it, AAA batteries.

For comparison purposes, the 220 is 6 inches long and has a diameter of 7 ⁄16 inches. The 320 is 6.5 inches long and 1 ⁄2-inch in diameter. They both weigh about an ounce and the distance to diameter ratio is 1:1 for both, meaning that at 1 foot from an object, the light beam is about 1 foot wide. Threaded joints on both have rubber O-ring seals to help with water resistance.

I must admit that I prefer the slightly smaller size of the 220, but given the much greater convenience that comes with its AAA-powered bigger brother, the 320 has now taken up residence in my pocket.

The MSRP for the 320 is $35.95 while the 220 goes for $32.35. For more on Maxxeon, an Ottawa, Ontario, Canada-based company, and its range of lighting products, visit maxxeon.com.