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  • Excellent for the price

    posted by JMC55 on 01/26/2014
    1 0

    Involvement:Expert (understands the inner workings) - Ownership:1 day to 1 week

    Pros:

    This light is surprisingly bright considering it only requires a single AA. It also seems to put out the advertised wavelength of 395-410nm. This means that there is also a considerable amount of visible violet light in the output. However, shining the light on a fluorescent material reveals that a large proportion of the output is still in the UV range.

    The smooth reflector throws the beam reasonably well, and the beam does not have visible rings at anything other than extremely close range.

    I don't have one to compare with at the moment, but the light output seems considerably better than the cheap 9-LED UV lights also sold here. The build quality is far better than those lights at any rate, with this light having the added benefit of a proper drive circuit.

    The light also seems reliable so far. I have not noticed any flickering or connection issues.

    Cons:

    The threads on my light are a bit rough, and certainly aren't as good as those on my regular UniqueFire S10 (white LED) which I bought a few years back. Despite them being a bit gritty, the threads do function perfectly well. The threads and O-rings on my light were also unlubricated.

    I also noted that the head O-ring seems undersized and doesn't seal well. Lubrication may, however, fix both this and the scratchy threads.

    As previously mentioned, the wavelength does result in a lot of visible purple light. If this is an issue for you, then I suggest you choose a light with an LED deeper in the UV spectrum.

    A final con is that the pill in my light was quite loose on arrival. The light functioned fine (surprisingly), but the looseness meant any waterproofing would not work until it was tightened. Luckily there are grooves in the pill for tightening, making it an easy fix with some needle-nose pliers.

    OtherThoughts:

    I have not tested this light with 14500 cells, but I did test with two AAs in series to get 3V. The light worked fine and it continues to work on a single AA.

    I also disassembled the light to get a better look at the guts. The circuit board the LED is mounted to says 'CREE', with the LED itself looking similar to an XP-E. However, I have no confidence that the LED is actually made by CREE. At any rate, it does a fine job.

    Due to the visible purple component of the output, blue-blocking glasses are a wise investment. They will both protect your eyes from the UV, and help reveal subtle fluorescence.

    Also to keep in mind is the fact that this light might be too bright for very up-close work. If that is your intended use, a lower-powered light with a single 5mm LED may be more appropriate.

    Bottomline:

    If you are trying to fluoresce things within the advertised wavelength of this flashlight, then it is an excellent buy. Cheap, reasonable quality, no crappy battery holders and plenty of output. If nothing else, it's a good bit of fun and far better than anything else in its price range.

    Highly recommended, it is among the best value UV lights on DX at the moment.

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