Thursday, August 11, 2005

My new LED flashlight.

I was wandering through a Meijer store (similar to a Super Walmart in concept except they've been doing it for 40 years longer) at lunch time looking for good stuff being clearanced out of the seasonal section (camping) and ran across this flashlight. Packaging said that the LED is 1 Watt and brighter than a krypton flashlight bulb. I didn't really believe it, but a 1 Watt LED is way cool (non-engineers won't understand this), so I bought the silly thing for $30, just in case they weren't lying.

I installed the batteries and turned it on while looking at it and immediately looked away. Once the spot in my retina faded, I went online to find exactly who made this wonderful LED that is indeed brighter than a krypton bulb and found that they are made by a company known as Luxeon. Luxeon claims that their high power LEDs are the brightest in the world. Although I don't think their electrical to optical conversion efficiency is the best available, the spots on my retina told me that their claim to being the brightest might well be true.

Then I decided to test the claim that the 3 AAA batteries could power the thing for a solid 30 hours. Again, it worked perfectly, lasting 36 hours on three teeny tiny batteries. Just try to do that with a 3 D-cell Surefire with a krypton bulb. (To be fair, Surefire also has a line of kick-ass LED flashlights, but none for 30 bucks.)

In the world of cool gadgets, this one is great. The engineering quality is very good (the only design changes I'd make is to use the side-emitting LED and put a focus mechanism on the reflector), and it actually looks good too. So I took it home to show it to my non-engineer wife who would then presumably get all excited and help me get rid of my massive erection.

Blink. Yawn.

Yup. That plan worked better and much faster than I expected. So I went to the freezer and got an ice cream sandwich and watched the latest episode of Tripping the Rift on the TiVo.

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