Appeared in DIVER August 2007

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John John Bantin has been a full-time professional diving writer and underwater photographer since 1990. He makes around 300 dives each year testing diving equipment.

LIGHT OMS PHANTOM CANISTER

THE AMERICAN-MADE OMS Phantom HID Flashlight torch had a good write-up in this magazine, but it was expensive to buy and cost a lot to run with use-once-only lithium batteries. These lasted for less than a couple of hours of burntime.
The same lamp is available as a small lamp-head, permanently attached to a separate battery-pack by an umbilical lead.
This lead runs inside a thick pressure hose that is both robust and keeps water out.
The lamp-head is also built like a fitting from a military vehicle, but the PVC battery-pack is more functional than an item of sculpture to admire. If checked-in weight is important to you, the OMS weighs only 1.3kg. In the water it is virtually weightless, as the battery-pack substitutes for weight on the weightbelt. The main disadvantage of the light is its high price.

Light source
The 10W HID head is so small that you could almost conceal it in the palm of your hand, but
it is built to a military specification in hard-coat anodised aluminium, with the front bezel held down by titanium screws.
There is a piston-clip for clipping the lamp-head off to a convenient D-ring when not in use, and you can use it with a Goodman handle or mount it to a helmet.
HID lamps produce a lot of light for a low wattage, so you get a long burntime for any given battery. This lamp has a 5sec restart time, very good for its type, but we recommend switching it on and leaving it on during a dive.

Power source
The battery can be either nickel-metal hydride or a bigger lithium version, and is housed inside a tough PVC plastic canister. Access for charging is via a large threaded end-cap protected from leaks by an O-ring.
Fully charging the ni-mh battery takes four hours, but the lamp will burn for 4.5 before needing a recharge - enough for most dives!
The battery-pack has two piston-clips that allow you to mount it on a BC, nestling between twin tanks or even on a waist-belt. It is less than convenient to charge the OMS lamp with the lamp-head permanently attached.

Switching
The lamp-head has a magnetic reed switch that avoids the chance of a leak with any through-bulkhead connection, and this has a lockdown screw to prevent accidental operation.
It proved fairly difficult to operate with a heavily gloved hand, however. A thermal cut-out prevents damage from overheating.

Beam
The Phantom lamp-head reflector is fixed at a tight 6 angle and the HID bulb gives a penetratingly cold bluish light. Once warmed up to full strength, the combination was found to give an even soft pool of light that was quite diffuse across its width


Divernet Divernet
SPECS
OMS PHANTOM CANISTER

PRICE £500 including charger
BURNTIME 4.5 hours
WEIGHT 1.3kg
DEPTH-RATING 300m
EXTRA Goodman Handle
CONTACT Otter Watersports, drysuits.co.uk, 01274 307555
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