LIGHTFa & Mi Power LED-4
My dad only ever spoke about things that happened Before the War. Its a pity, because I was born some time after it finished. Its amazing that he never noticed things changing. Today things seem to change from moment to moment, and diving lamps are a good example.
     They used to be big and heavy, if you wanted a bright output with a useful duration. If you dont believe me, you dont have to ask your dad - it was only a couple of years ago. Surely a diving lamp is simple. Not so long ago we would make them out of a sealed-beam car headlight, a battery and a length of plastic drainage pipe. Its only a battery and a bulb connected via a switch in a watertight container, right Not any more, chum!
     Ive been using the latest LED lamp from Italian manufacturer Fa & Mi. Yes, I know, last month I told you about two new diving lamps that used the super-bright Luxeon Star LED. Well, Im already out of date, OK
     There is a good reason why this lamp is called the Power LED-4 - its powered by four AA-size alkaline cells.
     They might have called it the Power LED-Triple, because it employs three high-output Luxeon LEDs, and although each consumes only one watt of electricity, the combined equivalent output is more like that of a traditional 40W.
     So its bright but it has a huge duration, something akin to eight hours from one set of alkaline batteries.
     Not only that, but the light it gives is akin to daylight at 5500ÃK. That means it penetrates water better than older-type tungsten bulbs, which burn at a warmer 3200ÃK.
     Blue light goes further than red light in water. Look around next time youre in clear water in daylight. Everything looks blue and thats why. So you get more light and it goes further for longer.
     Although the Fa & Mi Power LED-4 is the first such lamp to come into my hands, Im sure every other manufacturer will soon be on this particular bandwagon. So what else has it got
     Well, its a neat little unit in an anodised aluminium housing that measures around 14cm long and is 6cm in diameter. Its milled to give a good grip for a gloved hand.
     It has a magnetic switch - so no through-body connections to leak - operated by a large collar that pulls down and twists.
     It also has a little screw that can be tightened down to prevent the light coming on in your bag while travelling. I suggest you remove this while diving, or else you will soon be missing it.
     A lanyard is attached to the back end of the torch, and this end will unscrew to reveal the battery chassis. An over-pressure valve is set in this end to vent any gas given off by the batteries, and the rotating cap is protected by a large O-ring.
     We have seen manufacturers try to increase light output from earlier lamps that employed the first bright LEDs. They, too, did this by grouping three or more together. However, their problem was that they always seemed to mount them in a single reflector, so that none could be positioned correctly at the point-of-focus of the parabola.
     They inevitably made bright beacons, but were useless when it came to projecting a beam. Never was this more evident than when you used one under water.
The front end of the Power LED-4 is interesting in that it has three LEDs mounted each within its own reflector, and because of this Fa & Mi seems to have steered neatly round the problem. Not only is the Luxeon LED much brighter than earlier white LEDs, but this lamp has three of them, and it really throws a beam. It costs £195.
  • Submerge 01484 310130

  • Divernet
    The Fa & Mi Power LED-4 throws a powerful beam with its three Luxeon LEDs
    + Compact
    + Long duration
    + Cool light-output

    - Not a cheap back-up lamp!