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Princeton Tec Impact LED Flashlight Final Review

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  • Jeff Widman
    Below is the final review for the Princeton Tec Impact LED Flashlight. Feel free to ask questions. Also please point out any typos, poor grammer, or the like.
    Message 1 of 3 , May 1, 2002
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      Below is the final review for the Princeton Tec Impact LED Flashlight.
      Feel free to ask questions. Also please point out any typos, poor grammer,
      or the like.
      Jeff
      --


      Item being tested: Princeton Tec Impact LED Flashlight
      Report Number: Final Report (Report #3)

      Name: Jeff Widman
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6'3"
      Weight: 164 lbs.
      Age: 15 yrs
      Area of Residence: Bellingham, WA (two hours north of Seattle.)
      E-mail address: jeffwidman@...
      Date: 4-29-02
      (Please see end of report for a short biography of my backpacking exploits.)


      Manufacturer: Princeton Tec

      Manufacturer's Website: http://www.princetontec.com/

      Year of Manufacture: 2001

      Intro/Description: The Impact is black, about six inches long, and with a
      highly impact resistant plastic body. I received the flashlight in the mail
      Tuesday afternoon, six days after it was shipped. I opened the package to
      find the flashlight in the standard plastic style of case that all Princeton
      Tec lights come in. There was also an invoice, nothing else. The plastic
      wrapping/case contained the flashlight, four Duracell AA batteries, and a
      nice lanyard, which even had a Cord lock.

      Test Duration/Location/Conditions: I have tested the Impact for over one
      hundred and seventy-five hours of actually having the light turned on. Those
      175+ hours spanned temperatures from 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) to 87 degrees
      (Fahrenheit). I have taken it on several night hikes, three night runs, and
      one youth retreat. The youth retreat was probably the most serious test, as
      we played several night games, including Capture the Flag (time ran out
      before either side could win.) I have used it during full moons, half moons,
      and pitch black (no moon.)

      Price: Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price is $29.95. (It can be found for
      a slightly lower price a few places on the Internet.)

      Weight: "Manufacturers stated weight with batteries: 5.7 oz (161.5g)
      Tested weight: Lanyard/with included cord lock: 6 grams Flashlight weight
      w/o batteries: 63 grams (2.26 oz) The included four Duracell AA batteries:
      98 grams (3.49 oz.) Total weight: 167 grams (5.96 oz) Obviously, the lanyard
      was not included in the stated weight. I would have been surprised if it
      was. That leaves my measurements within .5 grams - extremely accurate on
      Princeton Tec's part." - As plagiarized from my initial report.

      Convenience/Ease of Use/Performance: Continued testing has verified the
      extreme convenience of this light. It puts out more than enough light, much
      more convenient than the lower output of my Pulsar IIs (button cell LEDs.)
      The high quality reflector, coupled with the magnifying glass style of lens,
      means that the light is able to illuminate objects beyond the manufacturer's
      stated 50 yards. It does not illuminate the objects very well at that
      distance, but on a night with no moon, it is possible to see trees at up to
      175 feet away. The actual ergonomics are extremely comfortable. The combo
      head/switch is easy to turn, even with cold hands encased in thick gloves.
      The light is well balanced, and the 4 AA design is big enough that I am not
      clenching the light (a problem that I sometimes had with 2 AA designs.) The
      long battery run time (150 + hours) and bulb life (10,000 - 100,000 hours)
      let me confidently go on a trip without needing to take a spare set of
      batteries.

      Maintenance/Durability: I have had to change the batteries once. I did not
      spend time clocking the exact amount of hours. However, I would guesstimate
      at around 130 hours, long enough that I would be confident taking the light
      on a two week trip without spare batteries. When the batteries started to
      fail, they did so rather suddenly. The light started growing dimmer and
      dimmer, and within a half hour to an hour it would probably have been
      totally dead.
      I did have another issue, but not any fault of Princeton Tec. Please see
      the section entitled "Customer Service" for more info.

      Drawbacks: The battery problem (see below under Customer Service) makes me a
      bit nervous to take this light as my sole flashlight, at least, without any
      spare batteries. I would most definitely take an extra button cell LED light
      as backup.
      Before I sent the light back, I performed a scratch test on the lens. Using
      my Swiss Army Tinker knife, I put several scratches in the lens. I had to
      press on the knife blade quite heavily to cause it to scratch the lens.
      Based on the high amount of force that was required to cause the scratches,
      I doubt that I would ever scratch the lens, no matter how many times I
      dropped it. The design of the head also protects the lens. The lens is not
      scratch-proof, but it is very scratch-resistant. I feel very comfortable
      with the durability of the lens, bulb, and body of the case. Yes, the case
      did snap in half, but that was because the battery acid weakened it. The
      battery acid would have destroyed most any flashlight. Buying quality
      batteries is the main way to prevent the broken flashlight. I was using
      Kirkland Signature (Costco Brand) batteries. I found it interesting that the
      last few times that I have been to Costco, they no longer sell Kirkland
      Signature branded batteries.
      Weight is a big drawback on this light. 5.7 ounces with alkaline batteries,
      approximately 4 ounces with lithium batteries. (I don't know how much
      lithiums weigh.) Contrast that with my normal, summer backpacking lighting.
      Two Princeton Tec Pulsar IIs, for a total weight of 16 grams.
      Price is another issue. The $30 pricetag is quite spendy for a flashlight.
      However, now that I have the used the Impact, there is no doubt in my mind
      that I would buy another if I lost this one. This light is the cream of the
      crop for full powered flashlights. The light is also easy to find for around
      $25 on the Internet, some places even less.

      Customer Service: On the night of 3-1-02, I was reading my Bible before I
      went to bed, using the Impact. "After a few minutes, the light blinked out.
      I thought it rather strange that the batteries (Costco; Kirkland Signature
      branded) were dead, as I hadn't put more than 50 hours on them. The ones
      that I replaced had lasted for approximately 140 hours (+ or - 1 hour.) I
      turned the light off, waited a minute or two, and turned it on again. Once
      again, the flashlight went dead about ten seconds later. I turned it off and
      went to bed, intending to change the batteries the next morning. About 5 am,
      I awoke to feel something hard underneath my back. I pulled it out, and
      discovered that it was half of the flashlight. The main, plastic handle had
      broken about three quarters of an inch down from where the light connects to
      the lanyard. I also discovered the four batteries. One of them was leaking
      battery acid. I woke up, washed out the flashlight (though not the head part
      that contained the circuitry/LED,) and cleaned up the mess as best I could."
      (From the message that I posted to the group the day after it happened.)
      I now had a problem. No working flashlight. I contacted Jerry, mentioned
      that Costco would undoubtedly replace the light, but the paperwork process
      might take a while to complete. Jerry forwarded my message to Princeton Tec,
      and they said that they normally wouldn't replace damage due to faulty
      batteries. However, because I was testing their product, they were willing
      to replace the light. I sent back my broken flashlight, and they sent me a
      new one. About a month later I received it. I posted the following to the
      list; "Approximately one week ago I received the replacement. After using it
      for approximately 10 hours, I am satisfied that this light is just as nice
      as the original. My experiences with this light are mirror images of what I
      wrote in Reports 1&2 (Now designated Report #1 according to the new
      format.)" Further testing has corroborated that the replacement is just as
      nice as the original. The incident makes me a bit more nervous of using the
      Impact as my sole source of light, but I figure that as long as I take one
      backup light, I'll be fine.

      Possible Modifications/Improvements: I mentioned the weight, and the price.
      The flashlight uses four AA batteries. If it is possible to use two AA
      batteries, that would allow me to carry a spare set of two batteries. The
      flashlight would not fit my hand quite so well, but it would weigh slightly
      less (less plastic needed for the case.) Far more importantly, if something
      happened to one set of batteries, I could easily replace all two batteries
      instead of needing to replace four batteries.

      Other applicable items: I would just like to thank Princeton Tec for going
      out of their way to replace my original broken Impact. It was not their
      fault, and they do not normally replace battery damaged equipment, but I
      appreciate them taking the time to fix the problem.

      Overall impressions/Quality: I would say that the light has been great for
      having around the house, and for trips where weight is not a concern. It is
      a great car camping flashlight. I have also found it great for reading in
      bed. However, the 5.7 ounces is quite heavy, compared to the 0.5 ounces of
      my normal summer time lighting. The convenience of the light is unmatched.
      This light is also a great winter backpacking light, where thick gloves, and
      cold (battery life is heavily reduced) are the norm.
      Has this light earned a spot in my normal backpacking list? Sadly, I must
      say no. It is a very handy light, but I am willing to put up with a bit less
      light, a lot less runtime, and a much smaller profile in my Pulsar IIs, for
      a lot less weight. When I backpack during the summer months, I seldom night
      hike. The main thing that I need a flashlight for is a quick trip to the
      John. The tradeoff for convenience and features is more weight. During the
      summer months, I am more concerned about the weight. During the winter
      months, I appreciate the convenience of the light, and am willing to pack
      the Impact. This light has earned a spot in my wintertime backpacking list,
      but not in my summer time list.

      About the author (me): I have spent around 15 nights actually backpacking.
      During those three trips, I have covered close to 100 miles actually
      carrying a 35+ pound backpack. However, my parents (especially my dad,) have
      been enthralled with the outdoors since long before I was born. As my three
      younger siblings and I have grown, we have day-hiked over 1000 miles as a
      family. Over the past year and a half, backpacking has become a natural
      extension of day-hiking. The summer of '01 was the first summer that my dad
      really started taking my siblings and I backpacking. For this coming summer
      ('02,) we have already tentatively planned another 15-20 nights (125+ miles)
      of backpacking.
      On another note, I am a very analytical person, more commonly known as a
      gear freak. I have spent many tens of hours learning about gear on the
      Internet. I have also spend many hours testing gear, returning some gear,
      keeping other gear, as I continually strive to achieve that perfect balance
      of weight-function-durability-cost. My current shelter is an old Sierra
      Designs tent, but I have been seriously considering either a hammock or a
      modified tarp design (ID Silshelter, HS Tarp Tent, etc.) I live and backpack
      mainly in the North Cascades. I have day-hiked in the following National
      Parks: Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Yellowstone,
      Glacier, North Cascades, and quite a few others that I am forgetting. My
      family currently averages between 2-3 mph while both day-hiking (faster,)
      and backpacking (slower.)
      Our average day-hike is approximately 10 miles long. Currently, our favorite
      backpacking trips are 4-6 nights long, and approximately 50 miles long. My
      current base pack weight is around 25 pounds, depending on conditions.
    • Kraft, Toby
      grammar not grammer :) _Toby K. ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Message 2 of 3 , May 1, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        "grammar" not grammer :)
        _Toby K.
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Jeff Widman [mailto:jeffwidman@...]
        > Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 9:46 AM
        > To: BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [BackpackGearTest] Princeton Tec Impact LED
        > Flashlight Final Review
        >
        >
        > Below is the final review for the Princeton Tec Impact LED
        > Flashlight. Feel free to ask questions. Also please point out
        > any typos, poor grammer, or the like. Jeff


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jeff Widman
        Thanks Toby, I was wondering if anyone would notice. :-) Jeff -- Jeff Widman Reputable, Small, Part Time, Internet Dealer in Error/Variety Coins Member ANA,
        Message 3 of 3 , May 1, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          Thanks Toby,
          I was wondering if anyone would notice. :-)
          Jeff
          --
          Jeff Widman
          Reputable, Small, Part Time, Internet Dealer in Error/Variety Coins
          Member ANA, CONECA, BCC, WINS

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Kraft, Toby
          To: BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 1:52 PM
          Subject: RE: [BackpackGearTest] Princeton Tec Impact LED Flashlight Final Review


          "grammar" not grammer :)
          _Toby K.
          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Jeff Widman [mailto:jeffwidman@...]
          > Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 9:46 AM
          > To: BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: [BackpackGearTest] Princeton Tec Impact LED
          > Flashlight Final Review
          >
          >
          > Below is the final review for the Princeton Tec Impact LED
          > Flashlight. Feel free to ask questions. Also please point out
          > any typos, poor grammer, or the like. Jeff


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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