Appeared in DIVER September 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 AQUATEC AQUA STAR 3

 The bigger Aqua Star 3 uses a 3W LED but is made of lighter-weight aluminium, so feels cheaper. I took it to the Bahamas in my BC pocket.
Someone on the liveaboard had the original, so we were able to compare beams. The Aqua Star 3 was no brighter, and if anything a bit patchy by comparison.
One can anticipate a long burntime of 6-8 hours, though I cant confirm that, as will become clear. The torch runs on six AAA batteries carried on a separate chassis inside its body, and is switched on by screwing down the front reflector assembly to make contact.
Double O-rings are there to ensure a watertight seal. Current-control circuitry is designed to ensure that the torch maintains its output throughout the battery life.
The problem with this system of switching is that you never know if you have undone the lamp enough to prevent it switching on under pressure in your BC pocket without you knowing. Neither do you know if you have unscrewed it too much and caused a flood.
Either way, the result is lack of a backup light when you need it. So after a long trip with around 26 dives, I found myself in a very dark Bahamas inland cave system - a Blue Hole.
I decided to get my backup light up and running, but had no luck.
It was either out of battery power or flooded.
I also noted that the rubber grip had come loose on the barrel.
Back at the hotel, it started to work again. Taking it apart revealed traces of water inside - enough to stop it working when pointed horizontally but not enough to stop it when pointed up, as one does out of the water to see it if is working.
Sorry, Taiwans Aquatec - youll have to do better if you want to maintain your reputation.


Divernet
SPECS
AQUATEC AQUA STAR 3

PRICE £49 including lanyard
LIGHT SOURCE 3W high-output LED
POWER SOURCE 6 AAA batteries
SWITCHING Screw-down front
BEAM narrow
BURNTIME 6-8 hours
EXTRAS None
WEIGHT 200g
DEPTH-RATING 100m
CONTACT Wets Best, 0117 902 7800.
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