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Light, Suunto Finn Light Navy 209

SOMETIMES I COME ACROSS A PIECE OF EQUIPMENT which is very good indeed. The Suunto Finn Light range is a case in point. These underwater lanterns have now been upgraded with even more sophis-ticated charging electronics, so I make no excuse for telling you about them again.
  The main difference between the Navy 208 and the new 209, and the Navy 80 and the new 90, is that the charging circuitry is now inside the lamp unit. The power feeders are of universal voltage (120-240V) and come with two-pin Euro connectors with a three-pin UK plug on a secure adapter.
ÂÂÂÂ They each take about four hours to charge from flat and, because of the electronic wizardry, during concentrated diving trips you can leave them permanently on charge between dives without fear of harming the battery, knowing that your unit will always be fully charged at the start of the next dive.
ÂÂÂÂ These Finn Lights have charge-at-any-time ni-mh batteries, high colour-temperature xenon bulbs, and sequential switching which allows you to vary the output (and burntime) from quarter- through half to full power, and with a setting for permanent flashing of an SOS signal. Positive click-and-twist operation makes accidental switching almost impossible.
  The sleekly designed, anodised aluminium casings are double-O-ring sealed but there is no routine need to open them, as the charger leads connect to the outside.
ÂÂÂÂ Open one up to change a bulb and youll find the electronics all neatly sealed behind a second, inner sleeve.
  Both models have tempered-glass fronts that allow you to use them both in air and under water. Light output is controlled by electronics too; a built-in microprocessor adjusts voltages so light output is constant throughout the battery charge.
  When it nears the end of its charge, the lamp is dimmed to around a fifth of normal output for a short period before finally switching off, to preserve the life of the battery-pack. It also knows if any gas is given off by the battery and switches the lamp off as a safety precaution.
ÂÂÂÂ Both the Navy 209 and Navy 90 provide soft, even beams. My only criticism is that on the full-power setting during a night dive, fish were waking up and reaching for their suntan lotion!
  The larger Navy 90 is nearly 30cm long and has a burntime of around an hour with its 14V battery and 50W bulb. The 208 is around 8cm shorter and has only a 20W bulb powered by a 7V battery, but offers an additional 20 minutes of burntime for one charge. Both weigh around half a kilo when submerged and an optional neoprene sleeve can mitigate this further.
  The convenience of both size and burntime of the smaller Navy 209 makes it the better choice for most applications. Unless you dive alongside someone with a much brighter lamp, you will never notice the difference in light output. Either will make a satisfying purchase.
The Suunto Finn Light Navy 209 costs £269, the Navy 90 £359.

  • Suunto UK 01420 567272, www.suunto.com


  • Divernet Divernet
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    + Excellent build quality
    + State of the art


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    - No cheap bargain