Thursday, May 28, 2020

Another LED Light

I write a lot about lighting. I've mentioned before that I have a family member who doesn't react well to darkness, so emergency lighting is important to me. Since I need lighting to prevent a mental meltdown that would distract me from other things, I spend a lot of time (and money) researching lights. I also work in an old facility that was built shortly after electricity was introduced to the rural area I live in (don't laugh, there are people alive around here who recall life before household electricity was available) and lighting was “optional” in a lot of the spaces I have to crawl into. Having good portable lighting makes my job easier, so I'm always looking for good options. I hit one of the big-box stores the other day and found something that looked usable.

This is a Chinese-made LED work light with an American brand name slapped on it. Honeywell used to be a well-known and respected brand, but like many old brands they couldn't compete in a world of cheap knock-offs, so they “license” their name as a way to stay alive financially. Once known for making things that would last decades, their name is now attached to a lot of cheap plastic crap that you'll find in the “as seen on TV” aisle of stores and on late night TV ads.

This one comes with a limited 5-year warranty, so they have some faith in it.
$20 for a pack of two of these lights was a cheap investment in research, so I picked them up. I'm still in the testing phase, but here are my first impressions:

  • Weighing less than a pound, the all-plastic construction makes them easy to carry. 
  • The downside to being light is that the sealed batteries are going to be small. 
  • The all-plastic case is questionable for durability; only further testing and use will show how well it holds up.

At about 1.5” thick and roughly 5” x 7” in size, they don't take up much room in a tool bag or drawer.

  • Four different lighting modes: high, medium, low, and strobe. 
  • Battery life (still being verified) is rated at 50, 100, 500, and 120 minutes respectively. 
  • The 28 surface-mounted LEDs provide a good white light at 1000 lumens (LM) on high, 500 LM on medium, 100 LM on low. 
  • The strobe function is annoying, but will attract attention if you need help.

  • The carry handle rotates to form a stand and there are four magnets of the back to let you stick it to a steel surface. 
  • The handle is more rugged than most plastic lights I've seen and the magnets are strong enough to hold the light upside down with ease. 
  • When rotated completely “up”, the handle makes a good way to hang the light above floor level.

  • While not water-proof, it is listed as suitable for wet environments. 
  • The only openings (for charging the internal battery) are behind a rubber seal, so rain and dust shouldn't be a problem. 
  • The single push-button switch is behind the same rubber cover, a simple way to reduce the number of openings and seals during construction.

  • Sealed batteries, so it has a ubiquitous micro-USB port for charging.
  • The instructions recommend charging for 10 hours before first use, and I'm testing recharge rates from various levels of discharge. 
  • So far, the listed battery life at the different settings has been within +/- 10% which is about all I expect from Chinese-made goods. 
  • There is no indication of battery capacity, so I'm going to have to use a few different chargers to get a ballpark figure.

Once I get a better idea of battery life, I'll probably keep one of these in the SUV and the other at work. So far I'm happy with them; a $10 work light that will make it easier to change a flat tire on a dark night or let me see that piece of machinery that has been hiding from the sun since before I was born is a good thing.

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