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Afraid of the dark?
January 6, 2011 9:23 AM   Subscribe

The Torch, at 4100 lumens, may be the world's brightest handheld flashlight. It also lights fires.

While the "without" / "with" examples best demonstrate the light's power as a source of illumination, its ability to quickly light stuff on fire might be the scariest most impressive way of showing off what it can do.

Battery life: 5 minutes.

There is also a neat use of the flashlight, a low light camcorder, and a 950nm IR filter here. [Wicked Lasers Previously 1, 2]
posted by quin (70 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
You can hold the body of the flashlight as the heat-resistant lens burns plastic, lights paper on fire, and cooks eggs and marshmallows.

Don't illuminate me bro!
posted by three blind mice at 9:27 AM on January 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Discussion on CandlePowerForums (Yes. There is quite a large community of flashlight enthusiasts on the Internet. I don't get it either.)
posted by schmod at 9:27 AM on January 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


From the technical specs:

Battery Lifetime: 5 Minutes

lol
posted by DU at 9:31 AM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Keep this beside your bed instead of a gun. Blind anyone who breaks into your house.

IT'S LIKE A TASER FOR YOUR FACE!
posted by blue_beetle at 9:32 AM on January 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


$200, eh? Seems like $200 is starting to become the de-facto price for any kind of cool flashlight, laser, or gadget that rolls out.
posted by crapmatic at 9:33 AM on January 6, 2011


So... how long before the IR filter melts?
posted by The Mouthchew at 9:33 AM on January 6, 2011


Battery life: 5 minutes.

The light that burns a hundred times as bright burns for one hundredth as long - and you have burned so very, very brightly, toy.
posted by googly at 9:34 AM on January 6, 2011 [49 favorites]


Not only a five-minute battery life, but it also takes twelve batteries. Twelve. I bet the guy down the block from me who drives the monster truck already has two of these.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:37 AM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


googly: " you have burned so very, very brightly, toy"

I want more lumens, fucker.
posted by boo_radley at 9:38 AM on January 6, 2011 [32 favorites]


I am looking all over that candlepowerforums site, but can't find any recommendations for a really strong smelling pumpkin spice candle. What gives?
posted by orme at 9:38 AM on January 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


No shit, my cousin got one of these for Christmas and set his bed on fire.
posted by odinsdream at 9:40 AM on January 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


Just ordered one for my four-test-old's upcoming Mother/daughter camping trip. Can't wait to hear how it goes!
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:40 AM on January 6, 2011


I also like that one page says it uses "military grade aluminum" and the technical specs say they are "aerospace grade". Where do I even
posted by DU at 9:41 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Battery life: 5 minutes.

So. Functional uses?

- blue_beetle's facetaser
- Battery powered firestarter
- Short emergency flare when you can see rescuers but they can't see you.
posted by yeloson at 9:42 AM on January 6, 2011


(Yes. There is quite a large community of flashlight enthusiasts on the Internet. I don't get it either.)

Ha, there are alot of "preparedness" enthusiasts. I know at least one guy who carries several flashlights, lethermen, first aid kits, knives, compasses and signaling devices at all times. They do stuff like buy expensive flashlights and modify them to be as bright as humanly possible to enable them to signal passing planes if they are ever stuck on a raft in the middle of the ocean.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:43 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get it either

Some of us just really like flashlight. It's like an addiction. I honestly couldn't explain it beyond, "Oh, it's dark, and in my pocket, I have a solution to that."

Some people do take it to a bit of an extreme though.
posted by quin at 9:47 AM on January 6, 2011 [11 favorites]


It's the flashlight equivalent of Crocodile Dundee's knife, grossly impractical but boy do you get respect when you pull it out.
posted by tommasz at 9:51 AM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


It might be wrong, but I still think that thing is awesome! (Not sure I'd point it toward my face to light a cigarette though.)
posted by troublewithwolves at 9:55 AM on January 6, 2011


This reminds me of the guy who built the world's brightest bicycle light. He had ordered a highway / street lamp, put heat sinks over the back, hooked it up to one hell of a battery and went for a ride. :) Do you see me now? Total jack-assery, but vicariously thrilling.
posted by ecco at 9:56 AM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Battery life: 5 minutes.

I accidentally the whole battery.
posted by The otter lady at 9:58 AM on January 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


So, if there's any sort of Moore's Law for flashlight technology, in a couple of centuries there will be handheld flashlights that can start fusion reactors.
posted by XMLicious at 10:02 AM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


quin: Some of us just really like flashlight. It's like an addiction. I honestly couldn't explain it beyond, "Oh, it's dark, and in my pocket, I have a solution to that."

No offense but that really doesn't explain anything.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:03 AM on January 6, 2011


I read the FPP as "brightest handheld fleshlight." Ouch. [link is Wikipedia, but potentially NSFW]
posted by chavenet at 10:05 AM on January 6, 2011


Meh, I'll just stick with dressing up like a school girl and packing a light saber.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 10:07 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would try a fleshlight that took 12 batteries and consumed them in 5 minutes.

Sure would.
posted by everichon at 10:07 AM on January 6, 2011 [15 favorites]


Fools, wasting their money on such impractical things. Surely their money could have been better spent on, say, video games or sporting events.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:08 AM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pater Aletheias: Just ordered one for my four-test-old's upcoming Mother/daughter camping trip. Can't wait to hear how it goes
You typed this comment on an iPhone, didn't you?

Fucking $teve Job$, man...
posted by hincandenza at 10:08 AM on January 6, 2011


Yeah, I seem to have a weird thing for flashlights and knives. I don't collect them, but I do have 2 or 3 really good flashlights and 2 really good knives---but I'm always looking for better replacements. I've wondered if it has to do with some primitive, subconscious fascination with fire and cutting-tools), or if there's a simpler explanation. It took me twenty years to realize my desire to one day own a cattle-dog (blue heeler) was based on seeing Mad Max as a child.
posted by whatgorilla at 10:08 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would try a fleshlight that took 12 batteries and consumed them in 5 minutes.

Sure would.


A fleshlight is another... thing...
posted by odinsdream at 10:14 AM on January 6, 2011


- Short emergency flare when you can see rescuers but they can't see you.

Look hey, it's a plane, we're saved!

Oh Shit, they don't see us, just a second I got this awesome flashlight to signal them with.

-five minutes later-

Dude.... you just took down a figgen plane with a flashlight!

oh, shit.
posted by edgeways at 10:16 AM on January 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


By "handheld flashlight" I guess they mean battery-powered? When I was a lad we used to keep a 12V Q-Beam marine rescue searchlight in the car and use it to censor the drive-in movies — from the highway! 4100 lumens is about 50,000 candlepower; the Q-Beam was something like 500,000.
posted by nicwolff at 10:18 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


4100 lumens is about 50,000 candlepower
Is it that straightforward of a conversion? Because I got this puppy at home, and it's a helluva lot brighter than 50,000 (or 500,000) candlepower, and battery powered.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:23 AM on January 6, 2011


Is NicWolff correct on the 4100lumen = 50,00 candles?

Because downstairs I've got a hand held battery powered torch that claims to be 2 million candles. Fecking thing looks like it has a car headlight bulb in it and a battery pack the size of two motorbike batteries...

I'm guessing that by "torch" they mean "Maglight style handheld light"
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 10:24 AM on January 6, 2011


Because I got this puppy at home
Oh, way to make me look inadequate. It's cold, alright?
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 10:26 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like how the 21st century is just quietly inventing things that seem to come from Strange Tales. and nobody blinks bout it.
posted by The Whelk at 10:29 AM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dude.... you just took down a figgen plane with a flashlight!

Give us some figgin pudding out heah.
posted by DU at 10:46 AM on January 6, 2011


Lumens are a measurement of total light output, and is mainly a function of how much power a light source consumes and with what efficiency it converts that power to photons.

Candlepower is a measurement of the intensity of light radiation in a given spot, and is mainly a function of how well a beam of light is focused or concentrated.

Lumens and candlepower aren't strongly connected and aren't convertible. Lamps designed to light large areas (like streetlights) produce lots of lumens, but not much candlepower. Flashlights and spotlights that are designed to throw a beam a long distance usually have relatively modest lumens but high candlepower.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:55 AM on January 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


grossly impractical but boy do you get respect when you pull it out.

Yeah, I get that a lot.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:03 AM on January 6, 2011


Wicked Lasers also sells this bad boy. And it'll set fire to kindling several feet away. The beam from it can also be seen from miles away when shinning into the sky.
posted by hellslinger at 11:04 AM on January 6, 2011


Gives new meaning to the phrase "Stay away from the light!"
posted by banishedimmortal at 11:18 AM on January 6, 2011


For God's sake, don't let it fall into the wrong hands! (plus a Hulu video for North American MeFites)
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 11:18 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love flashlights. I go through a lot of them - I tend to lose or break them on a pretty regular basis.
posted by item at 11:30 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I accidentally the whole battery.

The whole thing?!
posted by utsutsu at 11:32 AM on January 6, 2011


Battery life: 5 minutes.

Oh, so it runs on Android.
posted by hrbrmstr at 11:32 AM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dude.... you just took down a figgen plane with a flashlight!
Give us some figgin pudding out heah.


Oh, bring us a figgen pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgen pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgen pudding and a cup of good cheer.

We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here.
posted by Naberius at 11:34 AM on January 6, 2011


Never buy anything from wicked lasers. Everything they sell is overpriced and underspec'd. They sell lasers for $2000 when you could get the exact same thing, built with better quality, off ebay for $100. Their Arctic 1W blue was probably their best deal on anything they've ever made, but the batteries are known to explode, the aluminum is so cheap that if you misthread the cap even once it strips the threading... They're just overall cheap shitty chinese goods, but somehow they've got this reputation as the best.

This is NOT the most powerful flashlight in the world, there are many handheld HID lamps available. I've seen people on candlepowerforums and laserpointerforums and photolexicon build their own from scratch for $20. You just need a halogen bulb a reflector and a battery.

Never, ever, even consider buying anything from wicked lasers.
posted by inedible at 11:37 AM on January 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


paisley henosis : No offense but that really doesn't explain anything.

Fair enough. For me it started when I transitioned from using a big maglight type flashlight to one of those little Surefire ones that the cops were making popular. My buddy saw it and got one a little better, and the brinkmanship began. At first we were obsessed with brightness, but at some point it became useless because the lights were so bright that you couldn't use them to, say, find something on the floor of your car while driving because you'd blind yourself.

After that it became about size, the smaller the better. You wanted a light you could carry in your pocket and not notice, But at that time, the realities of what batteries were available, and what bulb types were being employed meant that there were limits on how small and powerful a light could be.

Then LED lights came on the scene, and it changed everything. It was all about the run time; a bright flashlight was cool, but a flashlight that produced usable light and could be left running for weeks? Awesome.

For people who like this sort of thing, the last couple of years have been really great. LED lights have allowed for amazingly small, stupidly bright flashlights that run on common AA batteries. Now attention is being focused on a light that can serve multiple needs, like this. Bright, but dimable. Regular batteries with a reasonable good run-time, but a secondary red LED that will let the light run constantly for unbelievably long times.

Really, the short answer is that like any hobby or fascination, there are people who really enjoy playing with all the permutations and exploring all the possibilities to eke out the best possible performance along any axis of the interest. Flashlights are no different, and this is an example of one of those extremes.

But for nearly everyone who develops the interest, it nearly always comes from the simple, primitive joy of being in the dark, and knowing that you have the power to change that.
posted by quin at 11:39 AM on January 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


But for nearly everyone who develops the interest, it nearly always comes from the simple, primitive joy of being in the dark, and knowing that you have the power to change that.

For some people, being in the dark requires no change and is a primitive joy in and of itself.
posted by blucevalo at 11:44 AM on January 6, 2011


Walm@rt sells a HID that puts out at least 3500 lumens for about $72.

Or you can build your own incandescent firestarter.

Second the opinion on WL from inedible.

The claim of "Brightest handheld flashlight" is patently false, but might be correct for a mass manufactured unit.

For those who don't understand the fascination of small bright things - if you don't feel it yourself, you may not ever understand, until you find yourself in the dark, and would like to see...
posted by JAHxman at 11:49 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter fears hobbies it doesn't understand!
posted by adamdschneider at 11:52 AM on January 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Untrue, Polaron PH40 HID, it's 4200 lamp lumens with a runtime of 80 min.
posted by gallagho at 12:10 PM on January 6, 2011


I accidentally the whole battery.

You accidentally what, the otter lady?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:30 PM on January 6, 2011


Come on baby light my (house on) fire.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:13 PM on January 6, 2011


This looks like a nice unit. "[P]roducing 3200 lumens (approximately 15 million candlepower in a retail setting)."

90 minute runtime. $400. A lot of accessories.
posted by bz at 1:34 PM on January 6, 2011


Wicked Lasers will gladly take your money and not ship your product.
posted by Shike at 1:52 PM on January 6, 2011


I've always had good luck with o-like for lasers, but they don't have flashlights. Their 1 w blue laser is $209. Pew!
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:49 PM on January 6, 2011


Built for the 21st century.

What does this even mean? Obviously it's not built for the 16th century. But why specifically for the 21st century? Can you get facebook on it or something?
posted by the noob at 3:32 PM on January 6, 2011


"It's better to burn out than fade away."
posted by slipperytoast at 3:58 PM on January 6, 2011


There is quite a large community of flashlight enthusiasts on the Internet. I don't get it either.

I didn't get it either, but I've glanced at CPF from time to time -- mostly with the idea of buying a cheapo laser from DealExtreme.

Then, at some point, about three months ago, I just got a yen to buy a decent flashlight. (ie, something that costs £50 rather than £5). Not sure why I got the urge -- I've never used one for anything more than changing a fuse when it pops -- happens maybe once every three or four years.

But it was something about the aesthetics, and something about being able to buy some high quality engineering for not very much money.

I agonized for ages, but ended up buying a 4Sevens Quark123 Tactical -- mostly because they were on sale at the time, and CPF members got an additional 8% discount.

Here's the weird thing. No sooner had it arrived than I immediately wanted another one. The one I'd bought was a lovely thing -- tiny, but threw out a beam like the police helicopter. But it uses CR123 batteries, which are expensive, and hard to find. You can use rechargables, but they're prone to exploding. Obviously, I needed another one -- something that'd run on a single AA battery. Or maybe something that ran on a couple of AA batteries. Or what about that 4Sevens Quark Photon, that runs on 2 AAA batteries and looks like a penlight, but also throws out a huge amount of light for the money. They look sweet.

Then there's the whole seduction of Surefire flashlights. While a China built thing might cost you £50-75, the US built Surefires can easily cost double that. But they do look so robust and reliable.

And before you know it, you've become one of those light nerds who hang out at CPF. But there's definitely something seductive about the aesthetics of flashlights, and even the high end ones aren't *that* expensive.

Well, until you start getting into the custom build jobs...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:19 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Lumens are a measurement of total light output, and is mainly a function of how much power a light source consumes and with what efficiency it converts that power to photons.

Candlepower is a measurement of the intensity of light radiation in a given spot, and is mainly a function of how well a beam of light is focused or concentrated.

Lumens and candlepower aren't strongly connected and aren't convertible. Lamps designed to light large areas (like streetlights) produce lots of lumens, but not much candlepower. Flashlights and spotlights that are designed to throw a beam a long distance usually have relatively modest lumens but high candlepower.


Candle power is defined as (roughly) how well you can see a candle. So if a flashlight across the room is twice as bright as as the candle, it has 2 candle power. (In theory, I believe this means you can see it from twice as far away.)

If you have a source that puts out 100 lumens, you can focus the light with a mirror and still have 100 lumens of light coming out of the thing, but because you are pointing it into a narrower angle you are going to get twice the candlepower. So a laser has a shitload of candlepower, but almost no lumens.

Think of the difference between looking at a movie screen and looking into the projector lens.
posted by gjc at 4:27 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well... I'll be darned. A community dedicated to flashlights... why not, right? I really do love my little headlamp... it's remarkable how far these things have come.
posted by ph00dz at 4:28 PM on January 6, 2011


rou_xenophobe: I didn't know what she meant either, but I suspected something so I headed over to google. I was trying to figure out how to search for what I wanted, when google instant told me as I paused to think after "I accidentally".
posted by ryanfou at 4:35 PM on January 6, 2011


Keep this beside your bed instead of a gun. Blind anyone who breaks into your house.

IT'S LIKE A TASER FOR YOUR FACE!


blue_beetle, you may have hit on the ultimate weapons law loophole. If the packaging were remade "unthreatening" (thin aluminum/heat-resistant plastic), this thing would pass through TSA with only a few questions.

Blind an attacker to render them helpless, in a way that probably can't be tried as "aggravated" (while using a weapon). Stop an intruder two rooms away down a hallway, with no worries about police permits.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:36 PM on January 6, 2011


MetaFilter: you get respect when you pull it out
posted by bwg at 4:51 PM on January 6, 2011


For only $1499.99 you can get 10,800 lumens.
posted by El Mariachi at 5:02 PM on January 6, 2011


Tell me that for the money, these high-dollar flashlights go "Bwowwwwwmp" when you power them on.
posted by everichon at 5:06 PM on January 6, 2011


rou_xenophobe: I didn't know what she meant either

I knew what she meant and was trying to set her up so that she could come back and say "The battery." Like in this, which I find inexplicably hilarious.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:25 PM on January 6, 2011


these high-dollar flashlights go "Bwowwwwwmp"
No, but they don't turn off instantly, instead fade out. That's kinda cool.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:19 PM on January 6, 2011


I still just want a dual mode (LED/Halogen) headlamp with an on-off switch and a mode switch. Not a single toggle through all modes.

Also, it has to be smaller than the Pelican headlamp I found that meets this requirement, but is the size of an actual pelican.
posted by flaterik at 10:44 PM on January 6, 2011


You know when someone is driving behind you at night with their high beams on and don't realize that, given the height disparity between their hulking tactical vehicle and my squat British-inspired 2-seater that they're effectively illuminating the entire goddamned cabin?

Well, that's why these flashlights were invented.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:00 AM on January 7, 2011


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