Interesting combo light - reviewed

Minjin

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I saw the Arc-white today at Sears. Considered buying it. Looks like it uses the standard PR base bulb so all the typical incan and led mods can be done there. What really interested me was the tube. How much overdriving can tubes handle? Would they be able to handle using lithiums rather than alkalines? Or do fluoro's not like being overdriven?

Mark
 

Charles Bradshaw

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At the price shown, I would not consider it a big loss, if one got it and found out it did not handle Lithium AAs.

Other than that, it looks like a thoughtful combination in a small package.

I doubt that I'll get one, as I try to stay away from incandescant bulbs due to runtime cost and my budget.

I suspect the correct way to use it, would be the LEDs most of the time. Short use of the xenon when you really need that, and the same for the CCFL.

I just don't care for bulbs with those too delicate filaments and battery hogs at that.
 

bmsmith

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Vcal, do you know where else to buy one of these lights? I just want to compare prices since some of the other lights at Gadgetbabe are more expensive than other places.

Minjin, I just found the Arc-white yesterday at the Sears web site. I hadn't looked before (call me slow)
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CCFL tubes use an inverter circuit to run so I'm not sure the circuit would like too high a voltage. I'd think +/- 10% would be OK but beyond that you're on your own. What voltage are lithium AA's?

Thanks for the comments!

- Brian
 

vcal

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Brian-if you can find an Arc-White for less than 15-$16., I'd consider it a great buy. The performance is terrific, but the case is made kinda cheaply.

Not knowing who makes the Lifestyle light makes it difficult to shop elsewhere for that light.
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As far as CCFLs: the 4AA alks. are OK, but the voltage total is a bit too high using L91 Lithium AAs (4x 1.7v or 6.8 volts total).
But what's great about CCFLs is their LOW voltage tolerance. Those type tubes are highly resistent to "blackening" on the ends because of operating on weak batteries. Also, they only draw 300mA or so, and I consider them to be very efficient, as well as having a very long operating life of 10,000 hours+!
 

MarcV

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The Lifestyle light has "Favour Light" printed on the outside. That, coincidentally, is the name of a Hong Kong flashlight manufacturer.

I have it and the Arc White. I prefer the Favour Light for the 3 led and 6 led modes. Also, it seems more likely to survive an accidental drop. The lanyard is handy, too.

Frankly, this light seems well worth $30 US.
 

bmsmith

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Tree, I saw that light too. Looks nice. Are the LEDs luxeons? I thought they were just 5mm LEDs at first but now I don't know. 8 hours on 4 lithiums seems short.

I ordered one of the combo lights. Curiosity got the best of me.
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- Brian
 

Tree

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Cool, give us the full report when you get it.
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And let us know if indeed it can "light the eyes of a spider on the side of the road".
 

bmsmith

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Very quick review of the "Favour Light 3 in 1 Handtorch".

I received my light today via USPS from http://www.gadgetbabe.com . Ordering was trouble free and I had nice email confirmation of item ordered and shipping method along with tracking info. I would definately order from Gadgetbabe again.

The light is packaged in a retail clear plastic blister pack, with the edges all fused together to create an almost hermetically sealed package. I won't go into the details in how much scissor-cutting I had to do to open the package...

But! Once I had it out of its packaging, I was impressed. It is quite well made, actually. Feels solid, not cheap. No thin plastic feel, even though the whole thing is plastic and rubber-coated plastic. Squeezing the light in my hand, I don't feel it bending or straining. It just feels solid. Even the CCFL cover on the top of the handle portion of the light is solidly mounted to the handle and doesn't creak or strain when pressed or squeezed. The bottom part of the hand grip is rubberized as is the front bezel. The switch is a rubber push-button type and the feel is pretty good when using it.

It comes with 4 Panasonic R6-AA Industrial duty AA batteries, though I decided to use 4 new Duracell AA's that I had already opened from an 8-pack.

Opening the back end for battery insertion was interesting. The back cover is an oval shaped piece of plastic with a spot in the middle for the lanyard (already installed) to go through. To open the back cover, twist the cover counterclockwise about 20 degrees or so until it stops. Then pull the cover off straight. There is an o-ring in the cover which offers quite a bit of resistance when there aren't any batteries installed. I had to look at the instructions twice before just yanking pretty hard to open the cover. I thought I wasn't doing it right and would break it. Once the cover gives way, it will not completely come off, however. There is a flexible plastic sliding retainer that is attached to the cover that prevents the cover from being lost. You can pull the cover about 2 inches before the retainer stops you from going further. To install the batteries, just bend the cover to the side and drop them in. There is a label inside the battery compartment that shows the direction of polarity. Push the cover back in all the way, then, while pushing, turn the cover clockwise until it locks closed.

Now for the fun part!! The instructions say there are 4 modes: Xenon bulb mode, CCFL mode, 3 LED mode, and 6 LED mode. There is only one push button, so it works by cycling through the modes like so: OFF - Xenon - CCFL - OFF - 3 LED - 6 LED - (repeat)
I'm not sure why there are 2 OFF modes, but that's how it works.

Xenon mode: The amount of light produced is reasonable (sorry, no beam shots unless you guys really pressure me into taking some) for a 4 AA light. Nothing exceptional, but it's probably not the reason to buy this light anyway. The bulb is a 4.7V 0.4A PR-based type. The front bezel is rubber and is designed to be rotated in order to narrow or widen the beam as desired. In my opinion, this feature isn't very useful at all due to the design of the front reflector. Since the 6 LEDs and xenon bulb all poke through the reflector, the reflector (which is made of chrome coated plastic) does not rotate with the rubber bezel when the bezel is twisted. As you unscrew the bezel, the reflector moves outward with the help of a spring that pushes the reflector against the bezel. It's not a perfect design and the reflector moves fairly easily. Also, once the bezel is out a turn or two, it becomes very easy to turn and feels loose, like it's about to fall off. Even at its widest beam, it's not very wide at all in comparison to the narrowest setting. I'm guessing narrowest is about a 1 foot beam at 10 feet from a wall and a 3 foot wide beam at the widest setting at 10 feet from the wall. Somewhere around there anyway. The packaging says the xenon bulb mode will last 3 hours on a set of batteries.

CCFL mode: This was one of the main reasons I bought this light and I wasn't disappointed. This is cool! It produces a nice blueish white light with a 4 inch Cold Cathode Tube. I believe this tube is very similar to the types you can now buy for modding your computer to light up the inside when you have a computer case that has a side window. It has a nice area effect light that isn't too bright but plenty bright if your eyes are adjusted to the darkness a little bit already. It's not as bright as the Radio Shack Osram Fluorescent lights that were $2.97 a couple months ago. The CCFL tube will instantly light up when switched on, unlike a normal fluorescent tube that has a short warmup period. The packaging says the CCFL mode will last 7 hours on a set of batteries.

3 LED and 6 LED modes: The LEDs are somewhat blueish white in color, and produce a good amount of light. I can't tell (and didn't test) if they are being overdriven or anything, but I can see diodes and resistors on the circuit board when I remove the front bezel and remove the reflector. The LEDs are aimed pretty well and produce a 2 to 2 1/2 foot beam of blueish-white light at 10 feet from a wall. Good area lighting, but not as white as you'd see with an ARC AAA LE. The difference in the amount of light between the 3 and 6 LED modes was less noticable than I thought it would be, but it's probably just my eyes tricking me because all of the LEDs are aimed at similar points. The packaging says the 3 LED mode will last 80 hours on a set of batteries, and the 6 LED mode will last 50 hours.

Due to it's design with o-rings, I would not hesitate to use this light in the rain. I don't think I would try to dunk it underwater or let it fall into a puddle, but I doubt rain would hurt it at all. Also, I'm not too sure how the light would fair if it were dropped onto a hard surface. I think the casing would be fine, but I'd worry about the CCFL tube and the electronics inside. If the light were to be dropped just right so that the lanyard hole-mount hit the ground first, I think the lanyard would break off since the mount sticks out.

So that's about it. I really like the light so far and I'm really glad I decided to buy one. Hope this helps you, Tree.

- Brian
 

lemlux

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Bsmith:

I first saw this light and thought it looked very fragile and forgot about it. Your review forces me to reconsider. Thanks.
 

Spidey82

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I saw one in my local hardware store but without the Leds only xenon and CCFL at abt S$24 (US$13) the look of the light looks almost identical but without the LEDs.
Brian, is there any branding on the package of your light? the one i saw have a White background "Water resistance" Logo.
Linfeng
 

ledled

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How bright are the LEDs compare to other popular LED lights? LW 3000, Opalec? Are these Nichia LEDs?
 

Sean

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Hey, nice review! I might have to pick one of these up. Nice price too.
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It would make a nice emergency light for the glove compartment in the car.
 

Joe Talmadge

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Yep, nice review, touched on all the things I would have asked. Well, except two:

How hard is it to get replacements for the incandescent lamp and CCFL?

You probably don't want to answer this, but: how resilient is the light? Tried dropping it on carpet? I wonder about that CCFL tube, considering how clumsy I am with my lights.

Joe
 

vcal

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Joe T. -you will indeed be a very old man when replacing that CCFL becomes necessary.
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IMO-it's service life rivals our much admired LEDs. EASILY 10,000 hours+.
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bmsmith

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Spidey82: There is no branding that I can find on the packaging. The packaging says "Model no. FX-8806" and "Made in China". The title lettering on the packaging is in gold lettering on a black background that says:
"COLD
CATHODE
Fluorescent / Xenon Handtorch
- 6 Ultra Bright LEDs (100,000 hrs)"

The flashlight itself has white lettering on either side of the main body. Side one says "Favour Light" and it is printed in a manner that looks like a company logo. MarcV mentioned this in his reply, above. It could be that this light is manufactured by Favour Light.

- Brian
 
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