by John Boch
If you would have told me twenty years ago that I could carry a flashlight scarcely bigger than a 7.62×51 cartridge which would emit about 50 lumens of light on a single AAA battery, I would have laughed at you.
Just such an animal exists today, for $10.96 delivered from DealExtreme.com. Better still, using a AAA-sized Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, this light will give you 110 lumens of diffuse light, in a similar pattern to the old Sure Fire incandescent lights.
Ladies, it’s a perfect Birthday or Christmas present for your man to drop in his pocket alongside his change.
Gents, this is a great light to present your domestic supervisor to put in her purse to help her illuminate her way out of an unforeseen dark spot – without taking up much real estate in her purse.
I’ve carried one of these for about two months and for indoor use, it’s almost perfect for most tasks.
Outdoors, it’s not ideal, yet it makes dark trails very navigable out to twenty-plus yards.
Run time seems to be about twenty to thirty minutes continuous on an alkaline battery. (It either over-heated and a thermal circuit cut in or the battery died, I’m not sure which). In either event, AAA batteries are common and cheap.
I haven’t run it with a Li-Ion battery yet, but I’m quite happy with its performance with regular alkaline batteries.
UPDATE: The spring on these seems a little weak and a little judicious stretching of the spring a tiny bit now and then with a long pair of forceps or surgical clamps will keep the light running reliably. Without a little stretching, the light will dim now and then as the contact isn't ideal. It's not perfect, but certainly works well enough for rudimentary lighting in a pinch!