I carry a Photon as my primary light and a backup in my emergency kit—they can’t be beat. However, when we camp in the winter months with long hours of darkness and particularly in areas where campfires are not permitted, we always carry some sort of lantern as a Photon is not suitable for continuous lighting. This is usually my solar powered one made from the guts of a landscape light However, it is still heavy even though we don’t have to carry extra batteries and the light is pretty low level and dim. I have really never found anything I considered satisfactory for general lighting (lanterns, etc.), until yesterday.
At Radio Shack I bought a package of Brinkmann waterproof GO-LED lights. They come in a package of 4 for $5 ($1.25 each), have a stated life of over 170 hours of continuous use each and are waterproof. I tried one last night and they give off a lot of light in a wide pattern—they are terrific! They are rounded on one side, about the size of a golf ball and weigh only .8 oz (22 grams) each. Those who count grams could probably tear the plastic case off the back and cut the weight in half. Ask for Model: 809-3054-1, Catalog #: 63-156.
I checked them out online and they look like a good solution for a tent lantern. In the description they say they "don't require batteries." My question is do they have a replaceable battery or are they disposable? They do look like a low cost, light weight solution to the non-combustible lantern option.
Believe, then you will Understand...
Thanks, I had not seen the flashlight review site before last evening and then couldn't get into it. I did this morning and Brinkmann has made some design changes since that was written as the 4-pack of lights I bought have some differences in the case design. The back half is now fastened to the front with what appears to be a rolled lip but it is not glued. On and Off is achieved by holding the top half of the case and twisting the bottom 1/8 turn. There are batteries inside.
This review also rates the performance as way below the claims. In actual use I would probably want to use it for a maximum of continous use for 2 hours per night. Over the next few days I will run it in 2 hour cycles to see how many I get before the light level is too low to be useful and report back. I will also attempt to open it at that point.
Looks interesting - especially with the 3 dollar price tag! mind, you, for $25 you can get a petzl e-light which weight basically the same amount (.95 grams) and has user replacable CR2035 batteries. Your critter definately has the elight beat for price though! I've ceased wanting "tent illumination" a long time ago since LED headlamps came out since they are fine to read by.
OK, here are the results of my minimal testing. It is no where near the life as advertised but I believe more than serviceable for backpacking and it can be repowered.
I have put it through 7 cycles that were between 2 and 2.5 hours each (a weeks trip). At the end of the last cycle it was pretty dim but in the dark I could still easily read fine print though I had to hold it over the page and in the beginning it was a bright overhead light. Even so, 7 decent cycles for $1.25 isn’t bad.
The new design (not like the one on the review site) is sealed very well and has an excellent twist “on-off” design where a tab pushes a contact and there is no glue tabs you can cut apart. It is two halves that when pressed together, locking tabs are sprung into place. To really see how it works, you will have to cut the first one open by cutting off the clear bezel and pulling up the reflector foil. Then through slots you can see the tabs and using a thin knife blade, move them back to the release position and take it apart. Once you see the bottom half, you can see how you could drill small holes, take one apart, replace the batteries and reuse it. On the bottom half you would drill a small hole through the side, in line with the tab (they are actually marked for you on the bottom). Using a small wire (a paper clip would do) you can push through the hole against the tab and release it. Push the tabs, pop it open and replace the batteries (will they cost more than $1.25? Doesn’t matter—it’s better for the environment) and push the two halves back together and the tabs will lock into place.
If you're going through all the trouble of replacing batteries, replace the 3 alkaline coin cells with 2 lithium coin cells of the same size and a little more thickness. You'll get a bit more run time, a bit more brightness, and drop the weight by a few grams.
If you replace the resistor with one about twice the value you'll double the run time and half the brightness. I'd experiment with the resistance until you find something that gives you just enough light to read. That will max out the run time.
Oh yeah, those 3 alkaline batteries are about 40 cents apiece if you buy them in a 10-pack from an internet store. You save a whopping 5 cents by replacing them. If you have to buy the batteries from Radio Shack, you could buy all 4 lights for a lot less money. Therefore, if I was trying to be "green" I'd smash the the dead lights and throw the pieces in the recycle bin (so the metal could be separated out).
Loc: Rock Springs, WY
I really like having an led lightstick. I use a red one to preserve night vision, but i can also read and cook by it. they are cheap, light weight. I just hang mine from the top loop in the tent, or from a string on a tree or the like outside the tent for cooking or doing things in the dark. the one i have seems to be waterproof also.