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OR - THE SAFE-LIGHT SUPER BRIGHT - David Wilkes

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  • amatbrewer
    URL to HTML version of report: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/OR%20-%20SA FE-LIGHT%20SUPER%20BRIGHT/
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 26, 2008
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      URL to HTML version of report:
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      FE-LIGHT%20SUPER%20BRIGHT/
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      THE SAFE-LIGHT SUPER BRIGHT
      BY DAVID WILKES
      OR
      January 23, 2008

      TESTER INFORMATION

      NAME: David Wilkes
      EMAIL: amatbrewer@... <mailto:amatbrewer@...>
      AGE: 42
      LOCATION: Yakima WA
      GENDER: M
      HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
      WEIGHT: 210 lb (95.30 kg)

      I did not really start backpacking till about 13 years ago when I moved
      to Washington State. Since then I have backpacked in all seasons and
      conditions. I have usually only managed time for 1-3 trips a year
      ranging from 2-5 days and as many day hikes as I can. I am currently in
      training to start climbing some of the mountains in the area, starting
      with Mt Shasta. I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation
      gain and consider inclement weather or poor conditions some of the
      things that make trips interesting and memorable.

      PRODUCT INFORMATION

      Manufacturer: Safe-Light Industries - Longmont, CO
      Year of Manufacture: Purchased in 2007
      Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE -
      "http://www.safe-light.com <http://www.safe-light.com> " LINK TEXT =
      "www.safe-light.com <http://www.safe-light.com> ">>
      MSRP: US$18.99
      Listed Weight: None
      Measured Weight: 2.3 oz (65 g) [4 oz (113 g) with battery]

      Other details:
      Safe-Light [original] 4 mode "Palm Size" waterproof LED survival and
      utility flashlight.
      Operates on a single 9V battery (included).
      Four modes of operation
      1) Constant - "Find-in-the-dark" glow
      2) Power-Save - long running low power mode
      3) Full Beam - Bright mode (approx 20 hr operation)
      4) Emergency Strobe
      Detachable (swivel) clip/hanger/magnet included
      Shock-resistant rubber casing

      FIELD USE

      I received this as part of a survival kit my company purchased for me. I
      had seen these advertised and the innovative design intrigued me. The
      unit arrived fully assembled and included a battery.
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1" IMAGE CAPTION = "Top View">>
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2" IMAGE CAPTION = "Side View">>
      It is rather small (not much bigger than the 9v battery it was designed
      around) and mostly covered in rubber (mine is Black, but it is also
      available in Blue and Orange) except for the battery cover and removable
      clip, giving it a very rugged feel. It has a single button that is
      slightly recessed making it unlikely the unit will be turned on
      accidentally. I found the button easy to locate in the dark with my bare
      hands and easy to operate while wearing thin gloves. The battery is
      accessed by removing the entire bottom of the light after first using a
      coin (or something similar) to turn a large screw about 1/4 turn.
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3" IMAGE CAPTION = "Back view with
      battery cover removed">>
      Attached to the back of the unit is a removable pivoting clip. This clip
      has a magnet embedded in it as well as a hole for attaching a lanyard
      (not included).

      Unfortunately, I disposed of the instructions and documentation soon
      after receiving it, and the manufacturer's web site does not provide
      much in the way of details on this product. Since the device is so
      simple to use this has not been a problem for using it, but it does
      present some issues in regards to creating a comprehensive review. So I
      sent the company an e-mail requesting a copy of the operating
      instructions and they sent me an electronic copy the same day.

      The light was clearly constructed to be rugged so I wanted to see how it
      would stand up to some rough handling. Dropping the light from about
      chest height on dirt as well a wood floor resulted in no visible damage,
      even when dropped directly on the lens. Accidentally dropping it in wet
      snow seemed to have no affect and a quick dunk (about 10 sec) in a
      bucket of water resulted in no detectable moisture inside the battery
      compartment.

      Over the course of about 6 months, I have used this light in various
      activities including:<UL>Under my desk - trace computer cables and view
      connectors.
      <UL>Worked quite well, Magnet comes in handy for storage.</UL>
      In my vehicle - Read maps & documents, find things (under seat, in
      console, etc)
      <UL>Worked well, but small size made it as hard to locate as the
      items I wanted to use it to find.</UL>
      While using camp stove at night - look into pot to see if water is
      boiling
      <UL>Too heavy for use on hat and I needed both hands free.</UL>
      Around camp while car & tent camping in the Cascades (summer) at around
      4000 ft (1200 m)
      <UL>The performance was unremarkable, no better or worse than many
      standard & LED flashlights I have used.</UL></UL>
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4" IMAGE CAPTION = "Front View">>
      I thought the Find-in-the-dark mode was an original and interesting
      feature and so the first thing I wanted to test.
      The Constant On or "Glow" feature (activated/deactivated by holding the
      button for a few seconds) seemed to be a very good idea, but I found the
      basic configuration of the lamp being recessed rather far into the
      housing to limit its functionality. In order to gain the long battery
      life (up to a year according to the manufacturers web page) the lamp is
      understandably dim. But it is bright enough to see clearly in very dark
      conditions, such as a power outage or in a tent. However, the design of
      the housing makes the lamp only visible from a rather narrow angle
      making it almost invisible from the sides and rear. It appears they may
      have realized this as I see on their web site they offer a newer version
      ("SAFE-LIGHT COMPANION") of the light that has been redesigned such that
      the LED is surrounded by clear plastic making it visible from almost any
      angle, and another version ("PALIGHT SURVIVAL") where the lens extends
      slightly beyond the housing.

      The basic modes of operation (Glow, Power-Save, Full Beam, & Strobe) are
      selected in order with each successive click of the single button. This
      is similar to other Multi-Function LED lights I have operated.

      The bright setting ("Full Beam") is bright enough to be used in low to
      moderate lighting conditions such as tracing computer cables under a
      desk (where mine has seen its most use) as well as enough to read by in
      the dark. The beam is well suited for utility work where it might be
      desirable to cast light on something specific at close range, and did a
      reasonable job for lighting the ground before my feet in the dark. The
      manufacturer's web page states it should have 20+ hours of operation in
      this mode.

      The "Power-Save" or dim mode I found to be of little use except in VERY
      dark conditions, in which case it works very well for tasks such as
      locating things in a dark tent, or even reading without disturbing a
      tent mate. Moreover, given its >20 hr of operation in the Full Beam
      mode, it should run for quite some time at this lower power setting.

      Again, the configuration of the lamp recessed into the housing limits
      the usefulness of the safety strobe function. While the lamp is bright,
      it is only visible from directly in front of the light so it would be
      necessary to know where to point it for others to see it, thereby
      greatly limiting its use as an emergency strobe. However, I must note
      that most of the headlamps I have seen and/or used that have a flash
      feature have this same limitation to various extents.

      The magnet has plenty of holding power to keep hold it in place on most
      metal surfaces. But after using it in my office, vehicle, home, and
      while backpacking, I have yet to find many situations where it was
      effective at holding the light in a location/position to make it usable
      'hands free' except for maybe above my desk (where it is currently) to
      be used in the [unlikely] event of a power outage.

      I found the operation to be to be straightforward with a single button
      that cycles through the 3 basic modes and if held for a few seconds
      toggles the constant on function. However, it is notable that it is
      necessary to cycle through all of the modes every time the unit is
      turned on or off. All other multi-mode LED lights I have used function
      in such a way that after spending more than a few seconds at a
      particular mode the next click of the button will skip all remaining
      modes and go directly to off. While this is not a major flaw of the
      unit, I once thought I turned it off by clicking it once (as I do for my
      other lights) and put it away. The next time I went to use it I found
      the battery dead. Since the battery was new and the unit was not in the
      constant on mode, I believe I left it in the flashing mode and therefore
      drained the battery.
      Note: If the light was visible from a wider angle, I would have been
      more likely to notice that it was on.

      The idea of designing a flashlight around a 9v battery seemed like a
      very good idea. They pack a lot of power in a relatively small space.
      However, after using a few other types of lights (Mini-Mag and various
      LED headlamps) I found it to be rather heavy and awkward. For example, I
      tried clipping it to the brim of a ball cap as illustrated in their ads
      but found it to be so heavy that it was annoying. Clipping it to
      something like a belt or backpack strap makes it easy to access but
      again I had a hard time finding a configuration that would make it
      usable while clipped. One exception was when I had it clipped to the
      chest strap of my hydration pack. In this position, it did a fairly good
      job of illuminating the ground before my feet as well as allowing me to
      read a map. However unless the straps are fairly tight (uncomfortably
      tight for me) the weight of the unit causes it to swing too much while
      walking. In addition, since it is shining down from chest height it does
      not illuminate obstacles that are head high, such as branches (found
      this out the hard way..."ouch, that's going to leave a mark").

      One note of CAUTION: It is possible to install the battery facing the
      wrong way (see "Back with battery cover removed" image above). The metal
      clips that hold the battery door closed will short across the battery
      terminals. This will quickly drain the battery and it will get VERY hot!
      I know because I did this while preparing the pictures for this review.
      I do not know if it can get hot enough to damage the unit, but I am not
      going to try to find out.
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 5" IMAGE CAPTION = "Inside Battery
      compartment">>
      It is also possible to install the battery backwards (reverse polarity).
      According to the instructions I received (and verified), if installed
      correctly the light will go into Glow mode.

      SUMMARY

      I found the light to be a clever and original design. It is rugged and
      compact, and functions well as a general utility light, as such will
      most likely end up in with my tools. As part of a survival pack its long
      battery life and small size are beneficial.
      Overall, despite some items that simply did not work for me personally,
      I like the design and construction. Unfortunately try as I might I
      simply could not find a space for it in my pack or survival kit (I use
      an LED head light in its place).

      THINGS I LIKE

      Waterproof
      Rugged
      Always on Find-in-dark mode
      9v battery provides lots of power in a space effective size.
      Did I mention it's rugged?

      THINGS I DON'T LIKE

      Heavy
      Design limits effectiveness of Find-in-dark and Safety Flasher modes
      Need to cycle through all 3 modes to turn off
      Easy to drain battery (and possibly damage unit) by installing the
      battery the wrong way

      SIGNATURE

      David Wilkes



      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jamie D.
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 26, 2008
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        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner
        Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. Do
        not worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our
        Editors are volunteers and your report will be subject to an
        official edit within fourteen days. If you have not had a response
        from an Edit Moderator via the Yahoo Groups list within this
        timeframe, please let me know directly at jdeben@....

        To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask
        that you post only ONE Owner Review for edit at a time. Our
        experience is that it is more efficient for both the Editors and
        yourself, if you post your first review, have it edited, approved
        and uploaded before you post your second and subsequent reviews.
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        edits which you can incorporate into your second and subsequent
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      • rayestrella1
        Hello David Thank you for your Owner Review. You have done a very nice job on your first one, and since the HTML is in the test folder we will work from it.
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 6, 2008
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          Hello David

          Thank you for your Owner Review. You have done a very nice job on
          your first one, and since the HTML is in the test folder we will work
          from it. Your initial edits will follow. They will take the following
          format;

          EDIT: must be changed
          Edit: should be changed but will be left to your discretion
          Comment: just that or something to think about

          When you have made the changes please repost here with REPOST added
          to the subject line. You can put a new HTML in the test folder too.

          Ray


          EDIT: One thing I notice is missing is a section of Field Data, Field
          Conditions, Usage Conditions, something like that. This should have
          the locations that you have used the item. (At least enogh of them to
          give us an idea of how much use you have given the item and where.)
          Weather conditions should be noted along with temperatures.
          Elevations and terrain should be listed. An idea of the distance used
          is good for things like footwear and packs, although it is not
          necessary for a light. This only needs to be a paragraph or two. Look
          at some other reviews and reports for an idea of what I am talking
          about.

          I saw the reference to work and camping, but can you give us some
          backpacking examples?



          ***LOCATION: Yakima WA

          EDIT: the state needs to be spelled out for the sake of our
          international readers



          ***I am currently in training to start climbing some of the mountains
          in the area, starting with Mt Shasta.

          Comment: I love that area and am climbing it again in June. Maybe I
          will see you.



          ***Manufacturer: Safe-Light Industries - Longmont, CO

          EDIT: you don't need to put where they are from, but if you do the
          state needs to be spelled out.
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