OR - THE SAFE-LIGHT SUPER BRIGHT - David Wilkes
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THE SAFE-LIGHT SUPER BRIGHT
BY DAVID WILKES
January 23, 2008
NAME: David Wilkes
EMAIL: amatbrewer@... <mailto:amatbrewer@...>
LOCATION: Yakima WA
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.
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> ">>
Listed Weight: None
Measured Weight: 2.3 oz (65 g) [4 oz (113 g) with battery]
Safe-Light [original] 4 mode "Palm Size" waterproof LED survival and
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
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
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
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
<UL>Worked quite well, Magnet comes in handy for storage.</UL>
In my vehicle - Read maps & documents, find things (under seat, in
<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
<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
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
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.
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
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
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
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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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
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.
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
I saw the reference to work and camping, but can you give us some
***LOCATION: Yakima WA
EDIT: the state needs to be spelled out for the sake of our
***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.