TorchesTeklite 400LS and Flik.lite LS:3 Dive LED
HIGH-OUTPUT WHITE LEDS have allowed a minor revolution in torches during the past few years. LEDs consume so little power that some burntimes have been extended into days rather than hours. The only problem has been that they were not quite as bright as we had been promised, so manufacturers upped the brightness by clustering a number together.
     That made for a beacon of light that everyone could see, but the inability to position such a cluster at the point-of-focus of a parabolic reflector meant that few of these LED-equipped lamps could throw a very effective beam. The result was always a lamp that was ineffective once you got it under water. Good torches rely on an efficiently designed reflector to focus the light.
     LED designers were obviously aware of this, so they went away and solved the problem. New lamps are emerging that have a single LED which at first glance looks like any conventional tungsten bulb. Its called the Star LED and will last, it is claimed, for no fewer than 50,000 hours.
     The plastic-bodied Tektite 400LS looks very much like a diving lamp that has been around for years. In fact it looks like the Princeton Tec 400, which in our comparison tests of nearly five years ago was reported as giving excellent brightness.
     The Tec 400 had a 5cm diameter transparent front plastic shroud that allowed you to check for minor leaks without taking it apart, and an easily operated on/off switch but with no safety catch. A spare conventional bulb was clipped under the shroud. It had a claimed burntime of 4-5 hours from four alkaline C-cells.
     The Tektite 400LS is one of the first BC pocket-sized lanterns to use the super-bright Luxeon Star LED as a light source.
     As such, the same four C-cells will deliver more than eight hours of solar-quality light (5500ÂK), which is much bluer than your average 3200ÂK underwater torch and has suitably water-penetrating quality. Double O-rings mean that it can be depth-rated to 100m.
     I didnt try it that deep, but I did use it as my primary diving light during a night dive without any worries, though the manufacturer suggests you keep it as a back-up lamp. It seemed more than adequately bright. Its 80 lumens output can be seen (on land) as far as the horizon, so those drifting around the Brothers in the Red Sea after dark might find it comes in handy.
     The LS:3 Dive LED divers torch uses the same Luxeon Star LED as a light source and is equally bright, but its made by Stratford-upon-Avon-based Special EFX. The difference is that it uses modern battery technology by running on two CR1234A lithium cells, is machined from solid aluminium which makes it almost indestructible (says its manufacturer), and has a coating of tactile material claimed to make it resistant to the effects of most chemicals, let alone sea water. It is rated to 100m.
     The LS:3 Dive is also incredibly compact, weighing only 195g and measuring a mere 150mm long. You can fit a lanyard and stow it away easily in any BC pocket. Its one of those things you just want to own.
     Its also known as a Flik.lite, because it has no external switch to spoil its line. You turn it on with a flick on the wrist and turn it off by tapping its base on something hard. Obviously a magnetic switch is tucked away somewhere inside.
     This flicking motion was easy on land but under water it took me quite a few goes to get the knack. Similarly, I could switch it off on land by tapping it firmly in the palm of my other hand, but the damping effect of a water environment found me looking for a harder surface and I resorted to tapping it on my tank. Thankfully the light went out, and other divers didnt know who they thought was trying to attract their attention!
     The Flik.lite LS:3 Dive light was spoiled only in that we couldnt get the first one sent to us to work. Thanks to Enjay Marine of Christchurch for supplying a replacement. We never knew if it was a problem with the battery or its claimed indestructibility.
The Flik.lite LS:3 costs around £80 with two batteries and a lanyard. Replacement batteries cost around £4 a pair. The Tektite 400LS comes with a lock-off switch, lanyard and a lifetime warranty. Expect to pay around £65, including import duties.
  • Tektite 400LS:
  • Flik.lite LS:3:

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    The Teklite 400LS, one of the first pocket-sized lanterns to use the super-bright Luxeon Star LED
    Flik.lite: The flicking and tapping mode of operation was easier on land than under water