back to article Baylis Eco EP-MX71 hand-cranked media player

Trevor Baylis, he of wind-up radio fame, now has a range of hand-cranked products, including this, the world's first wind-up multimedia player. It comes down to whether you're concerned by green issues - and you should be, unless you plan to move to another planet any time soon. First seen in August last year, the Baylis Eco …


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  1. Geoff Mackenzie

    Almost had me sold on one there

    ...with the OGG playback - but no Linux video conversion software? No use.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Thanks, but no.

    I think I'll stick with my iPod.

    (although, granted, you're not going to be mugged for your Baylis hand-shandy player)

  3. Eddie Edwards

    On a plane?

    You can already buy "wind up" rechargers for mobiles and iPods ... Virgin have had them in their duty free selection for years. But you can't use them on planes. I presume the dynamo causes electrical interference. Is this *actually* rechargeable on a plane?

  4. Nìall Tracey

    Line-in -- slightly redundant...?

    Given that you need a PC of some description to load most MP3s onto this thing, and that PCs generally have a line-in, isn't this a little less useful than first suggested...?

  5. Chris Morrison
    Dead Vulture


    I hate the bloody green agenda:

    "Whether this is for you comes down to whether you're concerned by green issues - and you should be, unless you have plans to move to another planet any time soon."

    Green issues don't concern me and I have no intention to move to a new planet any time soon. Please, therefore, explain, using scientific proof and facts, why green issues should concern me?

    Damn hippies.

    Wish someone would come out with an mp3 player that ran on crude oil. I'd be first in the queue.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    looked very good until...

    The photo of it in someone's hand: does that person have very small hands or is this thing really that massive?

  7. Graham Bartlett

    Not quite there

    Shame about the price - bit much for the spec.

    But as far as the review goes, Lewis, have you really never heard of a media player with a line-in socket? It's not universal, admittedly, but even a cursory knowledge of media players would find you a whole bunch of them. Some (like my old iRiver) even have line-in and an internal microphone for dictaphone-stylee working. It's hardly a feature worthy of three-quarters of a page of text.

  8. Ishkandar

    Too late !!

    I have a hand-cranked torch that will also charge my mobile phone and a hand-cranked charger for my portable that will also charge pen-cell rechargeable batteries. My portable also plays CDs, VCDs, DVDs and MP3 as well as games and do my "official" work. So this gadget came out too late for me.

    @AC - if someone tries to mug you for this "little" gadget, just clonk him on the head with it. After all, it has a rubber coating so it wouldn't get damaged. Can't say the same for the mugger's head, though !!

  9. David Gosnell


    Too much cranking required. Conventional charging will be the norm after the first five minutes and/or sprained wrist. Wannabe tree huggers will impress their pals while hiding the mains adapter.

    Is this thing manufactured in a particularly eco-friendly manner? If not, then the environmental impact upon disposal won't be any different from any other responsibly manufactured player. It still has a battery etc etc, just a slightly different charging mechanism that will rarely be used after the novelty has worn off.

  10. Neil Hoskins

    How "Green"?

    I kinda "got it" when they were flogging Baylis crank products as being a good idea for times and places where there was no mains electricity or batteries for sale. But pushing them as being "green"? This thing seems to have a NiCad battery: you can even see the "do not discard in bin" symbol on the back in your published photo. Please explain in what way that is "green".

  11. Count Ludwig


    "no Linux video conversion software?"

    Let's write some!

  12. Paul


    I have the 1970's version mp3 player

    It has limitless memory, never needs recharging, weighs virtualy nothing and cannot be lost down the back of the sofa. It adds nothing to my carbon footprint and infringes no DRM enforcement. Furthermore downloads are entirely free.

    It's called "humming"

  13. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    There's only one "green" Baylis product

    - the original FreePlay radio. That was a huge box, containing the biggest clock-spring you ever saw and a weeny motor as a dynamo. Rather cleverly, it actually shorted-out the motor to regulate the speed, so if you turn down the volume, the rate of unwinding slowed down.

    It was made of plastic, the usual electronic circuit materials (fibreglass, copper, solder, small quantities of the usual nasties) plus a fist-sized chunk of spring steel. No cadmium or mercury. And mostly receyclable.

  14. Adam Williamson
    Thumb Down

    Chris, Neil

    Chris: oh, they *do* concern you. *You* may not *be concerned* about them, but that's really neither here nor there - you'll drown just as well as anybody else...

    Having said that, Neil, I'm with you. I'd not normally do an Ashlee Vance, but in this case, yes.

    To wit - green? Oh, pull the other flipping one. It's got carbon-neutral bells on it.

    As Neill pointed out, this thing has a battery. That means the only difference between it and a conventional media player is the mains electricity you use to charge those things up.

    Let's face it, media players do not exactly use a lot of power. I don't feel like crunching the numbers this early in the morning, but I'm sure someone who did could come up with an entertaining stat on *exactly* what tiny fraction of the power consumed by a single light bulb you would save by using this thing for three years instead of a regular PMP.

    Basically - it'd be tiny. Well-nigh immeasurable. Unless you're Swampy, you probably have at least fifty other things that consume a whole lot more power and produce a lot more carbon - and other, equally or more important - emissions than your PMP. If you've already sworn off driving, flying, artificial heat, artificial light, cooked food, computing, and generally just about everything else, then fine, you can eliminate the last milligram of your carbon emissions by getting this thing. Otherwise - if you really cared about 'green issues' there would be a hell of a lot more productive things to do than buy yet another electronic toy, only this one with a cute wind-up handle on it.

    As Neil says, the "you can use it anywhere, even if the battery's dead and there's no mains electricity for 500 miles" is a neat selling point. "Green" is not.

  15. Mage


    fine for camping/hiking instead of truck loads of solar panels.

    But not particularly green of itself.

  16. Barry Rueger


    Another expensive Bayliss product that is best suited to well heeled, Prius driving, fashion victims. You can be sure that world plus dog will still be buying batteries for their Chinese knock off MP3 players. I would dearly love to see the Bayliss sales reports and find out how many units move to the developing world, and how many stay in the more fashionable parts of London or California.

  17. David Cornes
    Thumb Up


    I've got the Freeplay windup radio, not the original clockwork one but the later, much smaller one, with a windup battery, solar panel, and mains option.

    I lost the mains charger a long time ago so it's run ever since on solar energy (in summer time), and muscle power (winter). It's fairly neat to use, gives me a little exercise, and means I don't have to keep it plugged in (handy in the bathroom). It's nominally greener than a standard radio, as apart from the juice used to operate most AC adapters have transformers in them which waste energy in the form of heat, though I'm under no illusions it's making anything other than a minor contribution to saving the planet.

    The only problem I've ever really had with it is that the teeth are now starting to get worn on the winding mechanism, and I'm thinking it may be on it's way out as a viable power source.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Well, I just read that the latest FFMpeg SVN can do AMV. Maybe go for a SVN MPlayer (or hack a MPlayer source to compile from the SVN FFMpeg libraries), then code a script to do it?

  19. Ishkandar

    More comments

    @Paul - so that was you in the loo !! For a moment I thought we were invaded by some nasty alien insect colony !!

    @Barry Rueger - try buying batteries 50 kilometers from the nearest civilisation !! You could always run the 50 klicks there, buy the batteries and run the 50 klicks back just to get a bit of enjoyment !!

    The "green" issue is raised by those who prefer to hug trees. It's the convenience factor that gets to me !! Especially after I first saw a wood-fired steam engine drive an electric generator to power a fridge to give us ice-cold beers in the equatorial heat !!

  20. Geoff Mackenzie

    Re: replies to my comment

    Sounds interesting - I don't have a lot of time to devote to making this work but it wouldn't actually take that long if latest FFMpeg SVN can do AMV already. Way down my list of priorities presently though!

  21. Peter Kay

    What music, and it's bloody huge! Good for camping though..

    'Just leave the player on the Rock setting' - so that'll be adequate if you're playing.. rock, and overly bassy if you're into classical or similar then? Not that I dislike rock, but I get a bit sick of the mandatory bass boost on every media player.

    Still, it's a great piece of kit provided it's for camping use. There's no way that's going to fit in your pocket, but for a bit of late night tent entertainment, being able to check the radio and wind up the light to go outside to the loo at 5am it'd rule.

    Bit expensive though. I'd think I'd be able to live with my wind up radio/flashlight that only cost a tenner, although reception is a bit temperamental.

  22. Stu

    Far east MP4 player re-housed?

    This seems to have a surprisingly similar set of capabilities (and file formats) to those cheap-assed MP4 players from Taiwan, China, etc.

    You know - the ones with consistently BAD reviews from the majority of the gadget press. Usually shockingly bad video / photo rendering, poor display technology, not good audio reproduction, amateurish menu/control system etc.

    See -

    I suspect ye reviewer has a spot of favouratism for British technology here, not in itself a bad thing - but could actually simply be nothing more than 95% Far eastern - 5% British supposed innovation.

    A wind up in more ways than one?


  23. Giles Jones Gold badge

    @Chris Morrison

    Look up the term Peak Oil sometime, maybe you'd think again?

    Oil production isn't accelerating fast enough to meet demand, so the price of oil will skyrocket.

  24. paul

    external speaker

    Windup radio /mp3 player with torch = camping. Why then is there not an external speaker?

    Lack of linux video software disappointing. At least you dont need a restrictive application like iTunes to add music. My ipod is on its way out and I am not getting another!

  25. D Tantram

    Re Agenda

    As an environmentalist (a scientist, not a tree hugger) it's clear this device has few green credentials per se, although the ability to use without batteries could be useful. Like most consumer electronic equipment it will include various toxic compounds.

    I'd suggest that Chris looks at the following for some proof and facts:

    Together they form probably the largest collective body of human scientific research effort compiled (on any subject).

    Dr Dom

  26. Ben

    Better off with Ipod and Freecharger

    Too expensive, lack of power I suspect from the cheap alternator, if it is the same one I tested in Baylis's torches.

    If you want to go the wind up route, get the more powerful Freeplay 'Freecharge' hand cranked charger in conjunction with the video Ipod or similar.

    Please see my test page here.

  27. rfrovarp

    What about your CO2?

    You'll be expelling more CO2 due to the required exertion to charge it up. How does that compare to a power plant? What if your power comes from hydro or wind? Then you would spewing more CO2 doing it yourself.

  28. Ashley Stevens

    Line out?

    Turntable with a line-out? Do they have that these days? They certainly didn't in the old days when people bought records. They either had a moving magnet or moving coil cartridge which requires a phono amp to bring it up to line-out levels. That's what my Rega Planar 3 has - a MC cartridge that requires a phono preamp (which I built myself). If you buying a turntable with line-out (not likely to be a decent turntable) then why not buy a USB one?!

  29. Anonymous Coward

    All this to reinvent a 18th century device?

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