I WAS SITTING IN A TRAFFIC JAM in my turbo-diesel VW when my daughter asked if I would rather be in the Porsche Carrera 4S in front. As neither car was moving, it was a moot point. However, it did make me think about the satisfaction we get from owning certain things.
The lamps of the Dutch manufacturer MetalSub are made to a specification not often required by amateur divers, but its undeniable that its nice to own high-quality kit.
After all, what do you need from a lamp, apart from a good output of light with a good burntime, and total inwater reliability
This MetalSub KL1242 Cablelight does all this, of course. Like many comparable lamps, it uses a number of high-output LEDs grouped in a cluster to provide a satisfyingly even beam of light that leaves it at an angle of about 10°.
Its powered via an umbilical cable from a ni-mh battery-pack.
So why is it worth the money asked for it Lets start with the anodising of its heavyweight aluminium. Its impregnated with Teflon, and meets the appropriate US military standard. Its for the diver who demands and can afford to pay for nothing but the best.
And though the price is high, the biggest surprise is that its a lot cheaper than some of its American-made competitors.

Lamphead
Five 4W LEDs are arranged in a group behind a single front glass, which measures around 55mm in diameter.
The complete head is about 21cm long, and weighs very little at 0.5kg in air. It is almost neutrally buoyant when submerged.
The KL1242 has a permanently connected 1m pressure cable (the electrical wire runs within it) that can be attached to one of a range of battery-packs. The plug has a bayonet connection and spring-loaded contacts.
The head comes with a manly stainless-steel clip ring for a lanyard, and a Goodman-style handle is optional.
A visible LED changes from green through yellow to red, depending on the state of charge. The head has deep discharge protection that allows it to run only at reduced brightness for the last part of its charge. It is shaped to sit comfortably in the hand.

Switching
Sequential switching, via a magnetic switch at the back of the head, is effected by pulling back an easily gripped detent to twist the controlling ring around the rear end of the lamp. There are three brightness settings, plus continuous flashing, fast flashing and SOS signal.

Beam
This proved to be a well-focused tight cone of light that was very even, ideal for poor visibility when light spilling elsewhere is reflected back at you from the suspended particles in the water.
It was fairly neutral in colour, easy on the eye, and certainly bright enough.

Power Supply
MetalSub can provide a range of ni-mh battery-packs. Most come with a marvellous tank-mounting system, reminiscent of part of a self-loading rifle.
In this case we were supplied with a smaller unit, good for travel. It had a simple fixed bracket that slips under the camband of the tank.
That said, it still aroused a lot of interest with the TSA security operatives at Miami airport when they searched my bags on the way home.
I watched one guy as he held it in suspended animation and wondered what to do next. In the end he decided, discretion being the better part of valour, simply to put it back in my bag.
The cable plugs into this battery-pack via a bayonet connection supplied with a single O-ring to keep the water out. This is the only point at which there might be any danger of a leak.

Charging
The MP1100 intelligent charger can be plugged into almost any typical mains power supply. The head cable is simply disconnected via its plug and O-ring, and the charger plug substituted.
The charger has what is called a Delta-V controller, which switches it back to trickle-charging once the battery is full.

COMPARABLE LAMPS TO CONSIDER:
Halcyon EOS LED, £795
Hollis LED16, £875

SPECS
PRICE £499
LAMPHEAD 5 x 20W LED
OUTPUT 1200 lumens
VARIABLE BRIGHTNESS 30-100%
BATTERY 12V ni-mh 3.8Ah
CHARGING TIME 4.5hr
BURNTIME 140min at full-power
DEPTH RATING 240m
CONTACT www.cpspartnership.com
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