Multi-Color Flashlight arrived...DOA

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gcbryan
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Multi-Color Flashlight arrived...DOA

I received the Multi-Color Flashlight from ThinkGeek today and it is essentially DOA. This is annoying of course. If you buy cheap products from China in China you expect this and pay less. When you buy cheap products from China in the U.S. you get them faster but pay more. When they don't work it is especially annoying (to me) for some reason.

Technically it's not DOA. When you turn it on you get red light. However it's supposed to be white light. This is with the on/off switch in the tail cap. There is a button (switch) in the head that is supposed to cycle through 9 colors. That doesn't work at all.

The thing is it appears to be well made and it's a really interesting light. I don't know how to take it apart without tearing it up and since I want to return it I won't be trying that.

It is all shinny aluminum (no paint) with a firm feeling tail switch. You unscrew the tail cap to put in 3 AAA batteries in a cylindrical carrier. I checked to see if a 18650 would fit but even a flat top is a little too long. The head and the body unscrew as well and that appears to be it. No bezel that can be unscrewed. It has nice knurling in several areas.

When you look into the head after separating it from the body you see a disc with two holes rather than the little indents that are more common. I thought it would be easy to unscrew this with needlenose pliers but my pliers would break before the disc would move. Maybe it's glued in as well.

The other interesting thing is when you look into the head from the lens side. It almost appears empty! The front lens is curved (think aspheric) but is protected by the head extending out far enough that you can sit the light on its head.

After the front lens all you see is the shinny empty interior and then just before the area where the leds must be is another white covering. It must be diffusion material of some sort. So that's all you can see in the head. You never see what's producing the light.

On white it's supposed to be 30 lumens and less than that with the other colors.

All I can go by at this point is what the red beam looks like and unlike one picture I saw online somewhere where are no rings or artifacts. Nor would I expect there to be with the diffusion material in there.

When you shine it on the wall from about 8 feet away I'd say the diameter of the beam is about 4 feet and it's a completely clean and even light.

If it were easier to get into the head I might be able to fix the switch (or not). I'm going to return it and rather than get my money back I'm going to have them send another one just because the effect is much cleaner than I expected.

If the new one works for a while and quits (due to the side switch) I'll probably put the whole light in a baggie and boil it in water and then see if I can unscrew that disc. It's too bad the side switch seems to be the weakest link since that would be the hardest to replace (no standard sizes).

This should cost $15 rather than$25 however. It might be worth the $25 if the side switch (and the rest of the light) turned out to be robust. It sure looks well made and thought out.

When I was first messing around with this light one of the other colors come on for a minute so I think there is just a loose connection in the side switch but I can't get it to do anything.

There are very few reviews of this light. I found two from several years ago. One guy said the light worked well until his 2 year old threw it in the swimming pool but another guy said eventually his light just quit working. None of these people appeared to be the flashaholic types so there wasn't a lot of detailed info.

Edited by: gcbryan on 10/14/2011 - 20:30
Pantaloonie
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Shame, I was looking forward to your review of something a little different.

Hopefully the replacement will arrive this year.

gcbryan
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Pantaloonie wrote:

Shame, I was looking forward to your review of something a little different.

Hopefully the replacement will arrive this year.

Yeah, I'll be pushing them to send the replacement before they receive the defective unit. It's a U.S. company so it shouldn't take too long. I even suggested that their cost probably wasn't as much as return shipping in case they don't want it returned.

If they go for that I'll tear it apart. You can't see the LED otherwise! This thing is built like a tank. It's got a one piece head and a thick retaining disc (which I did get off). Then there is the circuit board but I can't see how to get that out nor can I see how it's attached or what it's attached to.

I have a feeling the assembly method was one time only gluing everything as they backed out.

For entertainment value I'll repost the color descriptions in the next post Smile

gcbryan
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Colorful & Full Functions

 

White light is the highest brightness. It can be applied to any illumination situations.

Red light is the most obvious and noticeable. It can be used as an warning color or signal.

Green light is the healthiest. It is good for eye sight and can be used to check map.

Blue light is the coolest and bright in the night. It can be used to relax the fidgety mood.

Orange light is the warmest. It is part of warm color. It can be used to make peace mood.

Light green light is mysterious. It can be used to make strange mood such as Halloween.

Purple light is glitter. It can be used to make romantic mood or environment.

Yellow light is glaring and with good penetration. It can be used as a fog lamp.

Light blue light is the tranquillest for composing the emotion. Also can be used in camping.

Pink light is romantic. It can be used to increase the temperament and interest of life.

gcbryan
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I'll be getting another one (shipping today) and I get to keep this one as well. So, I took it apart more fully. It actually has no soldered connections other than on the circuit board of course as the whole thing is connected by pins.

The light comes from a 5mm RGB LED so there are actually 3 LEDs on one die and 4 pins come out of the back. One for each color (RGB) and a common pin. These pins plug into the circuit board. The selector switch also plugs into the board (this is the defective part I believe).

The RGB die has a glued on white translucent dome so you don't actually see the LEDS. This insures that the colors look mixed rather than discrete and it insures that focusing at different wavelengths (colors) isn't an issue. There is also a clear lens at the front of the head but instead of it being a flat lens it's curved. The translucent lens is actually about the size of an aspirin but when you look in the head (through the front lens) it appears to be the size of the diameter of the head (in other words the front lens serves to focus the emitted light beam.

The light is supposed to be around 30 lumens in white mode and a little less in color mode. I haven't seen white mode yet but through playing around with this (defective) unit I have seen red, green, and blue at separate times although it's been random and not something I'm controlling. The beam is totally clear just not super bright. As an example it would be fine for walking around in your yard at night.

The colors are mixed using PWM for each emitter. Without doing this (controlling each LED separately in an on or off only setup you would only be able to get 6 colors (red, blue, green, cyan, magenta, and yellow). This light should also produce orange, purple, pink, lt. blue and lt. green.

At least I know how it works now and how it's put together. Hopefully, the next unit I receive will work correctly. I figure that should arrive about next Monday.