Wind-up torches are great, as you'll never be without light and don't need to buy any batteries. However, most wind-up torches use small rechargeable batteries, either NiMH or lithium based. While these have good energy storage capacity, they need to be kept topped up - if you forget to wind your torch for a few months, perhaps while it's sat in the car glove box, then the battery can be permanently damaged, leaving you needing a new torch. Even if you do keep winding it, after a few hundred charge/discharge cycles, the battery will be worn out anyway, once again leaving you needing a new torch, as the internal battery is not easy to replace - I know, as I've tried!
Rather than using a rechargeable battery, it stores the energy generated when you wind it in a an ultra-capacitor. This is not damaged by being left empty, so you can just wind the torch when you need some light, and it can also be charged over 100,000 times, perhaps even a lot more than that! It's also very quick to charge, with two minutes of winding giving you up to 17 minutes of light.
The LightStorm SL1 has seven LEDs in it. The main Quasar LED is rated at 0.5W (105,000 mcad) and is used as a bright floodlight. There are also three lower power white LEDs which output 15,000 mcad each, creating a wider beam for flood-lighting an area, and three red LEDs of the same output, which operate in a flashing mode for use as a warning light. Pressing the power button cycles between the three LED modes and power off.
The SL1 has a fold-out handle which can be used to hold the torch or to prop it up on a level surface, and the handle also includes a hook, so the torch can be hung and used as a lantern. There are also magnets fixed in the base of the torch, so it can be attached to suitable surfaces, such as the rear of a car - ideal when using the flashing red LEDs as a warning light.
Mobile phone charging
The LightStorm CL1 also has a built-in power socket and comes with a charging cable and Mini USB connector which is suitable for charging various mobile phones as well as MP3 players. Other mobile phone connectors are also available separately - see below for pricing to include a Micro USB connector as well, as used with most smartphones.
Uses for the LightStorm SL1
- Home, Vehicle and Work Emergency Kits
- Backpacking and Hiking
- General utility work
- 3 light settings: Bright Floodlight, Floodlight and Flashing Red Light (once per second)
- Built-in power connector for charging MP3 players and mobile phones
- Durable and water resistant construction
- ABS housing will withstand diesel fuel and motor oil
- Reflective LED panel enables SL1 to be used as a signalling mirror during the day
- Luminous center band allows the light to be easily found and operated in dark environments
- Quasar 1/2 watt (105,000 mcad) LED will spot illuminate a 4m (12ft) diameter area at a distance of 8m (25ft).
- 3 StarCore® (15,000 mcad) white LEDs will flood illuminate a 6m (18ft) diameter area at a distance of 5m (15ft).
- 3 StarCore® (15,000 mcad) red LEDs operate in flashing mode to catch the attention of anyone up to a mile away.
- Bright floodlight duration on a full charge: 15 minutes
- Floodlight duration on full charge: 17 minutes
- Flashing Red light duration on a full charge: 15 minutes
- Two minutes of winding fully charges the ultra-capacitor power cell
- Ultra-capacitor can be recharged over 100,000 times
- Storage temp: -40C to 60C (-40F to 140F)
- Operation temp: -45C to 70C (-49F to 158F)
- Luminous band will glow for 8+ hours after only a few minutes exposure to artificial or sun light.
- Diameter: 10cm (4")
- Depth: 4cm (1.5")
- Weight: 243g (8.6oz)
- Color: Black Housing with Yellow Luminous Centre Band
- Two minutes winding at two revolutions per second will charge the capacitor fully
- The red charging LED lights up to show when you are winding fast enough. About two turns per second is fine - going faster will put unnecessary stress on the gears
- Because ultra-capacitors work in a different way to batteries, the torch will not store a charge for very long - it is better just to wind it when you need it. Unlike batteries, ultra-capacitors are not damaged by being left discharged.
- The voltage from an ultra-capacitor reduces as the charge is used, which means the light reduces gradually as you use it. For best light output under continuous operation, wind the torch again for 20-40 seconds every 5-10 minutes.
- The above means the performance may seem lower than wind-up torches that use batteries, but the advantage is the durability - this torch comes with a 5 year warranty.
I'm afraid I've stopped selling torches now, due to being busy with other work, but you can buy them direct from the manufacturer at www.havelight.com or perhaps ask them about being a local distributor if there's not one in your country already.