RRP $643.50 $579.00
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Author: Geoff Smith Date Posted:15 April 2022
X-Hunter’s online shop has sent us a new battery powered search light to review. It seems inappropriate to call this device a “torch” since it is breathtakingly powerful for a small handheld unit. Probably forty years ago, when teaching a part time course in lighting at TAFE I predicted to the students that solid state devices would soon revolutionise the efficiency and size of light sources. Even so, modern light sources have ridiculously exceeded what could then have been imagined. Thomas Edison would be astonished by today’s LED light sources, and the ones used in our subject lantern are certainly no exception.
The SI base unit of light intensity is the Candela (Cd). From this is derived the other units including the Lumen (Lm, light flow) and the Lux (Lx, illumination). Although beyond the scope of this article to explain these units in detail, the Candela was derived from a “standard candle” (some readers may remember “Candle Power”) and has, with modern technology, been re-defined to be precisely reproducible. Intensity pushes the lumens out, and the number per unit area provides the illumination required to render objects visible. Light units all relate back to the relative sensitivity of the human eye. The subject lantern is claimed to produce a maximum of 180,000 Cd enabling a beam throw of 800 metres.
The unit is not a spotlight but rather has a wider beam angle of 120o through which it pours out a staggering 40,000 Lm on its maximum setting. (By way of contrast, our old 40-watt domestic incandescent light bulb produced about 600 lm). The colour temperature of this light source is “Cool White”, or 6500K, although the Acebeam range also contains a “warmer” 5000K light source. The light source consists of eight individual Cree XHP70.s light emitting diodes mounted in a cluster of highly polished reflectors behind a hardened dual anti-reflective coated glass bezel. These combine to produce an exceptional beam that is adjustable in six steps. On maximum output, the LED junctions operate at 85oC, meaning care must be taken to avoid burns to users or materials in close proximity.
Physically the unit weighs 697g, is 130 mm long and the body tapers from 75mm in diameter at the front to a 53mm diameter body. It is made from 6061-T66 grade aluminium that has been hard anodized in black and is supplied with an anodized handle that attaches to the body with a ¼” UNC screw. The internal 10.8-volt 4.25 amp-hour Lithium Ion battery is recharged via a type C fast charge USB port. From completely discharged, the charging time is 1.8 hours, although the unit will be up to 90% charged in 90 minutes. It features an inbuilt “safety charge-discharge over-heat protection system” which steps down automatically if the unit gets too hot in use. Interestingly the lantern with its USB port can also double as a power bank to enable recharging of phones and suchlike.
The supplied 65-watt charger unit unfortunately uses a fold back, flat bi-pin connection that doesn’t match Australian standard power sockets, so an international adaptor (not supplied) must be used. As with all modern charging systems, care must be taken to prevent overheating by ensuring free air flow around the charger, which in this case, reached 50oC after about 40 minutes operation. Charging involves plugging the USB cable into the base of the lantern and into the charger unit. When switched on a red indicator alongside the input socket lights up until charging is complete, at which point it goes out. The other indicator light is alongside the on/off switch. When battery voltage is between 100-30% the light is green when the lantern is switched on, and it then changes to steady red as voltage declines to 10% after which it flashes to warn of imminent loss of power. When in use, as the voltage declines to preset levels the output shifts down in stages so the unit doesn’t cease functioning immediately. Similarly, when the temperature of the unit reaches 65oC it will downshift successively to avoid overheating.
The unit is supplied in a robust box and comes with a nylon holster, a lanyard, charger unit and type C usb cable, plus a spare rubber charge-socket protector and two spare O-rings that help seal the battery pack to the lamp head. The level of waterproofing is IP66 (ingress protection from dust and water jets or splashes) provided the seals are maintained.
I took the unit along on a beach holiday and after dark, wading in the shallows of SA’s Spencer Gulf we were able to attract garfish in and generally marvel at the huge amount of light that the unit can emit.