Involvement:Expert (understands the inner workings) - Ownership:1 day to 1 week
This 5 LED light stick is a great substitute for a glow stick. It's about the same size as a large stick, and generates more light. Better, it can turned off and the batteries can be replaced for long-term use.
The stick draws 48mA with fresh batteries in constant-on mode. A typical LR44 battery has a capacity of 100-150mAh, so you can expect a 2-3 hour battery life.
The flashing modes draw less power, but the average is difficult to measure. Even the "solid on" mode requires careful measurement since the control circuit appears to be rapidly pulsing the power to control the average current through the LEDs. I used a Fluke 8026B true RMS meter, confirmed with an analog meter. Other digital meters gave erratic readings.
The clear plastic tube is molded in two lengthwise halves. It's held together by two small screws at the end, and the battery compartment screw in the middle. The seam is not sealed against immersion, and even rain might leak in. It's easy to disassemble to dry or adjust the battery contacts.
All but mode 1 flashes the LEDs rapidly -- good for attracting attention, but annoyingly fast for long-term use. You can see the power-control pulsing in mode 1 only when moving the stick rapidly.
LR44 batteries will self-discharge in a year or two, making them a poor choice for long-term storage in an emergency kit.
Modes 2 and 3 draw only slightly less power than peak, flashing single LEDs more intensely in sequence. Modes 6 and 7 draw about a little more than half the peak power and are a better choice for power-saving.
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