LIGHT  Seacsub X-LED
I remember when the first LED lamps came out. Angry manufacturers phoned to tell me that I was ruining their business because I told people that their unfocused beams from clusters of diodes were useless when it came to use under water.
Then the Luxeon Star LED high-output LED was introduced, and I had to eat my words.
The Seacsub X-LED is hardly bigger than the lamphead of some umbilical lights, but it is quite heavy. Weighing in at almost a kilo, its anatomical shape could make it into a handy cosh if you were so inclined.
It is rated to 200m, and I can believe it. It is strongly made of anodised aluminium and features a pressure-relief valve for any gases given off by the batteries inside.
There are three high-output LEDs, each in its own reflector, and the lamp is switched on by rotating a collar with nice feely bits that will come in useful in poor visibility.
The collar operates a magnetic switch with détente to avoid it coming on inadvertently in your bag.
Eight AA batteries give a total burntime of 16 hours, but this is delivered in a clever electronic way. The lamp will burn for three hours at full power and then gradually reduce its light output to conserve whats left in the batteries.
On a liveaboard trip, I lent it one night to big Dave Knowles, one of the other passengers, to get his impressions. He told me later that it had been the brightest torch on the dive. It had a nice broad beam and its very white light made that from the other torches look yellow by comparison.
Not to be outdone, holidaying firefighter Andy Steele, like Dave from Lancashire, asked if he could try it. He later wrote me a military-style report, when I had been hoping for some George Formby vernacular along the lines of: Ooh er, missus, it werent arf bright!
Andy, known as Steel-Eye to his friends, used it for a night-dive on the Thistlegorm wreck and reported that it was easy to switch on and off with one hand. I was reassured to hear that there was never any danger of him dropping it.
Steel-Eye may be an intrepid and courageous firefighter but he confessed that he was also reassured by the light from the X-LED because, as far as night-dives on wrecks go, he was still a virgin.
He liked its smooth, ergonomically shaped, yet streamlined body and the defined beam with its diffused halo around it. He then went on to contradict himself slightly by saying he thought the lamp cumbersome!
It is certainly low-maintenance, in that there is infrequent reason to change the batteries. Not that it was obvious how you achieved that, as the well-finished body looked seamless.
In the event, I finally used a bit of muscle to unscrew the two sections of aluminium from each other.
Inside, the battery carriage neatly holds all eight batteries and the magnetic collar floats loose. This is a high-quality item of equipment that suited me fine.
The Seacsub X-LED costs£229.
  • Beaver Sports 01484 512354, www.seacsub.co.uk

  • Divernet Divernet Divernet
    + A lamp to take night-diving every night for a week without a second thought

    - Relatively expensive