These Colors Don't Run - Remember 9.11.2001 Equipped To Survive
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LED Flashlights

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Lightwave Company

Lightwave 2000Lightwave Company's "Lightwave 2000" ($30) four-LED, triple AA-cell flashlight provided the best beam quality and brightness of all the AA-cell powered lights in this test with the exception of the twice as expensive eternaLight Ergo.  The traditionally shaped light has a black plastic body, 7 1/8 x 7/8 inches with a 1 3/8 in. diameter head and weighs 4.3 oz. The head (and body) incorporates four sets of longitudinal ridges which make gripping easy and also reduce rolling tendencies, at least on more or less level surfaces.

The rotary head switch proved to be a bit troublesome, occasionally allowing the light to come on again after we had turned it off.  We had to find the "sweet spot" in order to be sure it was off for good.  Field reports indicate this isn't a general problem; guess we were just lucky. Runtime is about 48 hours.

Lightwave 2000 exposed/protected LEDsThe LEDs are exposed, but are recessed back into the head and protected by the rim which extends past the LEDs.  A wrist lanyard is included (though it was incredibly and annoyingly noisy when the metal clip rattled on the case).  The manufacturer claims it is waterproof only to two feet, but we had no leaks in our test.

The Lightwave 2000 is made in Taiwan and comes with a limited five year warranty.

A 10-LED model, the Lightwave 4000, has been introduced, but no evaluation samples have been provided to date.

For more information, check Craig Johnson's LED Museum

ARC Flashlight LLC

Arc Keychain FlashlightThe Arc Flashlight, LLC "Key Chain Flashlight" ($25) is a single LED light powered by a single AAA-cell housed in an anodized black tubular aluminum body, 2 11/16 long x 1/2 in. diameter, .75 oz.. The light is switched by rotating the head, both body and head are fully knurled. The bare LED is fully recessed into the head which has a polished internal surface to concentrate the small amount of stray light that escapes out the side of an LED. Because it isn't protected behind a lens of any sort, as in a conventional flashlight, we wonder how long it will stay so brightly polished. A 1/16 in. hole in the tail is fitted with a small split ring. The light is claimed waterproof to three feet, which it was in our test.

Arc polished and exposed reflectorA "DC to DC, step-up inverter" in the head provides enough voltage from the single 1.5-volt battery to push the LED to maximum brightness. Combined with the polished reflector in the head, the ARC white LED was about the brightest of the single LED lights we tested. It's also available in red, blue, green, orange and turquoise. Burn time is only about five hours, but the battery is a cinch to change out and it uses inexpensive, readily available AAA-cells, both of which compensate. That also helps make the relatively high price easier to swallow. It would be nice if it came in colors other than black.  We prefer brightly colored flashlights, they don't get lost as easily, and there is a wide array of brightly colored anodizing available. Our biggest complaint is the annoying rattle of the battery inside the body when not switched on.

ARC's light is made in the U.S. and comes with a 10-year limited warranty.

For more information, check Craig Johnson's LED Museum

CMG Equipment

CMG Infinity with AA batteryCMG Equipment's "Infinity Task Light" ($18) is a cylinder of anodized black aluminum housing a single AA-cell battery and a single LED, available in white, yellow, green and red.  It weighs in at 1.8 oz. and is 0.75 in. in diameter 3.25 in. long, including the machined tail that houses a lanyard hole.  Switching is via a knurled rotary head.  Early units had a smooth body, but the latest version has some knurling on the body near the head, making it easier to use.  The LED is recessed somewhat into the head, providing added protection to the bare LED.

The white LED is moderately bright, and burns for 13 hours using internal circuitry to regulate power. It's biggest drawback is that it's a relatively large light for the light output.  We had only a few other minor complaints.  The battery in the Infinity Task Light rattles annoyingly when the in the off position.  On earlier models there is no indication on the unit of the correct orientation of the battery, and somewhat counter to convention, the negative terminal is up at the head. Latest models address both issues by switching to a more conventional positive up orientation, and marking this on the circuit board in the head. As with the ARC above, we'd prefer that the body was available in brighter colors.

CMG Q4 CMG's single white LED “Q4 Mini Task Light” ($16) incorporates a small spring steel swinging “lever” switch that, essentially, replaces your thumb to maintain pressure on the rubber encased momentary switch, thereby keeping the light illuminated. It may not be very sophisticated, but it works.  Moreover, it doesn't adversely impact the water-resistance of the light, claimed “waterproof to ten-feet,” a nice advantage (we could only test to 8 ft., which it passed). The switch itself is somewhat more sensitive than we'd prefer, it takes very little pressure to activate the light.

CMG Q4 screw comes out easy, separating halves is not The somewhat triangular shaped body is 1 1/4 in. at the head, 5/8 in. at the base x 1 11/16 long x 1/2 in. thick, .3 oz.,  with a 1/16 in. hole at the base to accommodate the supplied split ring. The “polycarbonate blend” translucent plastic body is available in black, clear, red, yellow and green “I-Mac” colors with a gray rubber overlay on the base half and switch. The rubber overlay incorporates ridges for excellent grip and makes it easy to hold between your teeth when needed.

Power is via a pair of CR2016 3-volt lithium cells for the white LED model. Changing out batteries is a bit of a struggle, a single Phillips head machine screw (into a brass insert, very nicely done) holds it together. The screw comes out easy, but separating the two halves was another story altogether.  It's a good thing the batteries last so long, 15 hours in our test.

CMG's lights are made in the U.S. and come with a limited lifetime warranty.

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For more information, check Craig Johnson's LED Museum

LED Flashlight Review (click to continue to next page)

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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
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First Published: June 7, 2001
Revision: 01 June 12, 2001
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