LAMP Beaver Astro
Less is more. Its a motto often used, and often used by me. I wanted a lamp to take with me to the Pacific. I wanted a lamp that would fit discreetly into my BC pocket and not cost me £15 per kilo in excess-baggage charges for the journey out.
     I wanted a lamp that I could use without resorting to an instruction manual and I wanted a lamp that would give me adequate illumination in tropical conditions, with a bulb that could be replaced easily if it broke in transit.
     The little Beaver Astro light seemed to fill the bill. Only about 16cm long, it has a 6V charge or top-up at anytime ni-mh battery pack and used a domestic low voltage 6V bulb contained in a simple aluminium tube that has a handle and an end that unscrews for charging. It also costs an economic £149, including two spare bulbs of 35W and 50W to augment the standard 20W bulb already fitted.
     Not only that, but it switched on by means of a simple magnetic on/off switch at one end. Even I could understand how to use it! I charged it overnight using the conventional 6V charger supplied.
     Under water, it was not the brightest lamp on the block and was easily outshone by other, more expensive, 12V rivals, but it did well for me and I was able to use it as a focusing light for macro shots during day dives. It lit up everything nicely during simple penetrations into wrecks and on the numerous night dives that I undertook.
     The burntime is said to be one hour, but as I never managed more than that on a single tank, thanks to some of the currents I encountered, I never found out what happened when the battery went flat.
     This light fits well between inexpensive plastic torches that generally sell for less than £100 and the much more expensive devices which I tend to call Super-Teutons, as most come from German-speaking countries.
     You wont find the fishes donning their Raybans, nor will you encounter nudibranchs done to a crisp thanks to the output of one of these.
     Neither is it engineered to the same high standard as lights made in Europe. In fact, it looks a little cheap. However, look after it and it should prove a useful alternative to other possible choices you might find in your local dive shop.
The Beaver Astro costs £149.
  • Beaver Sports 01484 512354, www.beaversports.co.uk

  • Divernet
    + Very inexpensive
    + Straightforward design

    - A bit cheap-looking