MARTIN IS A BRAVE MAN. He used to have a small business importing some cheap diving kit from Taiwan. One of the items was a nice little torch in anodised aluminium. It proved a successful seller, and the manufacturer got grand ideas and looked for a bigger company to be its UK distributor.
Martin decided to get a similar torch made in mainland China. He had some great ideas that developed over time into something a lot more ambitious than originally planned.
He saw a bright future for the ultimate diving lamp, but was soon to learn the lesson that many European manufacturers learnt when they first outsourced their production to a country with a different culture, a long way away. You have to have a man on the spot, checking quality continuously, or it will all go horribly wrong.
As Martin put it, once they got into production, his inscrutable suppliers would cut corners any way they could. They would substitute rice paper for a rubber gasket or an O-ring if they could, is how he puts it.
As a diver, the one thing that you demand of a lamp is that it works. The result was an unmitigated disaster. The lamps flooded.
So Martin had to decide whether to give up or try harder. He had got his teeth into the project and, like a Jack Russell, wasnt going to let it go. Aqua Sun UK has no connection with EDI-T of China, but the parts for these new lamps are still manufactured there. They are, however, assembled in a little workshop in New South Wales in Australia, as well as in our own West Country.
The question remains: has Martin made the ultimate divers lamp, be it a back-up or primary torch?
The Aquasun AQ-370 is small but heavy.
It weighs 400g, quite a lot for something that measures 19 x 4.5cm in diameter. It has a marine-grade aluminium body, hard-anodised to a military specification. It may be slightly too big to fit into the pocket of some BCs.
The AQ-370 has a depth-rating far beyond that to which anyone wants to go. Its only fault is its suspect styling. I dont know how to put this, other than to say that its ugly.

Light Source
The latest Cree chip technology is applied to the AQ-370s single LED light source to get the most out of it. This is not only set in a deep parabolic reflector, but the light from it passes out through a unique Pyrex optical lens.
It will burn for 100 minutes at full power, and continue for over an hour more, with electronically diminishing output.

Power Source
The fixed 3.7V 2.6Ah lithium-ion battery is charged by unscrewing an end-plug, and that is protected from water ingress by two large O-rings in line. This plug has a generous fitting for a lanyard, but I was surprised that no lanyard was supplied, and had to improvise something.
The battery can be recharged fully in five hours and uses both a mains voltage charger and one that will run off your cars 12V supply (formerly called a cigarette-lighter). The rechargeable nature of this lamp sets it aside from others that may appear similar.

Switching
You dont need to be an Einstein to understand the switching system, a magnetic switch operated by a revolving collar. There are no through-bulkhead connections to leak.
Different positions give different results. There are full-, half- and quarter-power settings, together with regular flashing and an SOS signal mode.

Beam
At a rated 6000°K, the light from this lamp is very cool in colour, but it penetrates well because it is the longer, warmer wavelengths that get filtered out by the water.
The focusing effect of the lens has the property of revealing the segments of the Cree LED when shone at a flat, even surface, and Im not sure how disturbing this is. It is certainly not as nice and even as lamps that dont use such a lens.
The angle of the beam is 7°, and thats tight.
In the water, the Aquasun AQ-370 worked well. My unsuspecting buddy was given it to use around a big wreck in bright daylight, and he came back well-impressed by its performance.
We took it down to 40m, and it worked impeccably. I hadnt told my buddy how to switch it on and off, but even at depth he managed to find all the settings, and came back ecstatic.
This may be the only lamp youd ever need.
I'd have given it a full set of marks if it wasnt for its unappealing looks!

COMPARABLE LAMPS TO CONSIDER
(ALL WITH ALKALINE BATTERIES):
Oceanic OP33, £180
Fa & Mi Pocket LED40, £243
Scubapro Nova Light 230, £79

SPECS
PRICE £139
LAMP Cree LED
BURNTIME 100-180min at full-power
DEPTH-RATING 500m
BATTERY Rechargeable lithium-ion
WEIGHT IN AIR 400g
CONTACT www.aqua-sun.co.uk
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