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LAMP Glo-Toobs

When the glowing gets tough

Those chemical lightsticks are perfect for tagging individual divers during night dives. The only problem is that they cost a fortune, and although they might last as long as eight hours, you can use them only once.
  Not only that but they dont always work, especially if air has permeated the plastic while in storage.
  Then, if they get abandoned in the sea, there is the ecological threat to marine life to consider.
  Electronic marker strobes can be more cost-effective in the long run but if you attach one to your body and run it the whole time during your night dive, it might not drive you crazy but it will certainly have that effect on anyone down there with you. Some say they bring on epileptic fits. That may or may not be true. I know that if I see flashing lights behind me when Im driving Im prone to have a blue fit, but that has nothing to do with diving.
  Flashing strobe beacons are better for marking a particular spot, such as the shotline or anchor line of the boat, rather than individual divers.
ÂÂÂÂ Various examples of low-powered lights have been produced to do this job and we have brought them to your attention on these pages. Generally they have light-emitting diodes that are powered by small yet long-lasting lithium batteries.
ÂÂÂÂ The latest version to come my way is called a Glo-Toob and it does exactly what it says. Its a thick Perspex tube that glows.
  Glo-Toobs come in a choice of red, green, yellow or blue. If a dive boat were to supply them to divers for use during night dives, for example, there would be the opportunity to identify buddy teams. That is to say, the reds should stay together, and so on. Fat chance of that, I hear you say.
ÂÂÂÂ My first challenge was to turn mine on. I had expected the knurled plug to be the switch, but this simply gives access to the battery. No, the tiny nipple with a ring for passing a cable-tie or thin lanyard through, and which forms part of the knurled plug, actually twists and works the switch.
  Why didnt they say that I asked Mike, the importer, after phoning him up and telling him that it didnt work.
  Embarrassment over (Ive had far worse), I took the little light diving and found that it was totally unobtrusive to me yet everyone else knew where I was, even when I tried to fool them by turning my main torch off - and thats a bad habit, because the bulb might easily have blown when I turned it back on. Dont try that when not at home!
ÂÂÂÂ The LED is said to last up to 1000 hours and each little 12V lithium battery should be good for around 30 hours. Thats enough for a months worth of liveaboard night-diving.
   The manufacturer claims that a Glo-Toob is watertight to 100m. I will have to accept that as unproved by me, although I did get past half that depth without anything untoward happening. All in all, its a simple bit of kit but quite effective.
Glo-Toobs are around 6cm long, are made in South Africa and cost £25 each. You can get them from any franchisee of Mikes chain of dive stores.
  • Mikes 0800 0180151, www.mikesww.com


  • Divernet
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    + An alternative to costly chemical lightsticks


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    - Not a very cheap alternative