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12/27/2006 Archived Entry: "Test report: Maglight"

Field Test Report: Energizer 6-LED Headlamp and MagLite with 3 watt LED

Raving Reporter Thunder here

I figured I'd give you guys a preliminary report on a couple of the Christmas gifts that I received.

With the onset of colder weather, I've needed to beef up the insulation in my RV. With the shorter days of the season, I don't get home from work until after the sun sets. My mini flashlight that has 8 LEDs in its head was starting to wane on me as the battery was dying. Lightning's hand cranked flashlight was all that we had on hand and I was having a difficult time trying to figure out how to position the light so that I could work hands-free. I was eventually able to set the light up using the charging handle as a support, but it wasn't stable and definitely wasn't the optimum way to go.

Along comes Christmas and what do I find? The Energizer 6-LED Headlamp (Link goes to 80k PDF datasheet). As the name implies, it has 6 LEDs (2 Spot, 2 Flood, and 2 Red). It runs on 3 AAA batteries and has an adjustable headband.

I gotta admit, so far, this thing is one of my favorite presents so far. It's just plain handy. The LEDs are bright and the light is positionable by flipping it up and down so that you can get the light exactly where you want it, be it straight out in front of you or up close for detail type work.

The different light settings are Spot which focuses the light into your standard circular flashlight pattern, Flood which opens up and broadens the light pattern, Spot/Flood which most closely approximates a standard flashlight, and finally, Red light in a flood pattern to be used at night when maintaining your night vision is important.

The switching between these patterns is the biggest drawback in my opinion. Instead of being able to go to a particular pattern, you have to cycle through them all until you get to the one you want. This isn't that big of an issue and is more of a pet peeve of mine than anything else.

It's lightweight, relatively comfortable and at roughly $20 or less, it isn't that expensive. If you do a lot of work that requires you to need your hands for something other than holding a light, I think you'll find this lamp fits the bill.

I also received a 2D cell Maglite that utilizes a 3 watt LED. It appears to be of the same high quality that Mag-Lites have been and are known for, but with the energy efficiency of LEDs. It also comes with a spare Krypton bulb that you're used to.

I've liked LED flashlights for their energy efficiency, but I've always thought that they were lacking. The beam pattern of LED flashlights has always been a bit less focused than normal flashlights and sometimes you need that beam to carry in order to see something clearly a distance away.

MagLite delivers! Not only is the beam focusable as on their standard flashlights, it focuses into a tight beam and carries a long way just like their standard flashlights. I'm able to see 30-50 feet up into the treetops with no problems whatsoever. While I do not have a standard MagLite to do a side-by-side comparison with, I have owned some in the past and this seems to work as I remembered how a Maglite should work: Well!

Have a Maglite of your own and want to try the LED thing out? Maglite offers a Upgrade Module that fits in their 2, 3, and 4 C or D cell flashlights. As their website states:

Unlike “LED retrofits” that are not made or approved by Mag, these Upgrade Modules were engineered by Mag and are factory-authorized. Their use cannot adversely impact coverage under the Maglite® flashlight Limited Lifetime Warranty.

I recommend either or both of these lights to anyone that may need to shine a little light around.

Posted by Thunder @ 07:19 PM CST

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