NOTE: ARC is once again available! There was
a short hiatus where you couldn't get this excellent light.
They are now available again!
The ARC AAA-P is a single LED pocket or keychain light. Produced
by ARC Flashlight, they represent a step up in quality over
the standard Arc AAA flashlight. These lights use the new
brighter Nichia CS white 5mm LEDs. The case is machined knurled
aluminum with a Hard Anodize Type III finish with an olive
("natural") color. The head includes a the patented
Arc step-up inverter as well as a voltage regulator allowing
the ARC to run on a single AAA battery at near full brightness
for about 5 hours before switching to a low light level known
as "moon mode". The body includes a split ring attachment
point at the end and a small split ring allowing the ARC to
be attached to a keychain or lanyard. The head is sealed with
an O-ring, creating a watertight seal. The electronics in
the head are embedded in epoxy and are not susceptible to
water damage. The inside of the head of the light includes
a foam ring to minimize battery rattle when off. The light
is turned on by twisting the head until the inside of the
head contacts the battery.
Body: The body of the Arc AAA is an exercise in machining
precision. Knurling adorns the light nearly from end to end
for grip, with only a small ring at the top and bottom left
smooth for the laser engraved label which displays the product
The checkering is coarse enough to provide a very sure grip
regardless of environmental conditions, yet not rough enough
to damage to the pocket in which it is carried. At the base
of the unit is a rounded tab pierced with a hole for the attached
small split ring, allowing easy lanyard or keychain attachment.
Inside you will find the entire surface covered with a product
called Chemkote - a conductive and protective layer which
prevents corrosion. At the very bottom of the light there
is a stainless steel rivet to ensure solid contact with the
negative terminal of the included AAA alkaline battery.
Bezel/Reflector/Bulb: The LED sits in a polished aluminum
reflector to direct all of the sidespill light forward toward
the subject being illuminated. Behind the perfectly centered
LED is the electronics which boost the measly 1.5 volts from
the single AAA battery up to a level where the LED can emit
a 'serious-for-its-size' beam of light. In addition, those
electronics help maintain the brightness of the LED throughout
the life of the battery as it is being drained to the point
of becoming nothing more than a paperweight. Once the battery
can no longer supply enough current to maintain the set brightness
of the LED, the light switches to "moon mode". This
low light mode is there so that you are not left completely
in the dark, while at the same time consuming the last little
bit the battery has to give.
The head of the light now has an external taper at the top,
which is new for the Arc and allows this version to be distinguished
from the previous models.
Output description: Directional flood of light with a brighter
center. The beam has a bluish tint as is typical with 5mm
white LEDs. This new model of the Arc-P uses the new Nicha
CS LEDs and as a result it puts out about double the light
of the previous model with about the same runtime.
throw readings are in Lux
at one meter. The numbers in parenthesis are for comparison
in the Comparison
Beam at one meter at target center and at target edge to show
Runtime Plot: Runtime plots were completed with both alkaline
and lithium cells. Look for about 5 hours to 50% output, just
completed with Duracell Alkaline and Energizer Lithium batteries.
More information on runtime plots is available HERE.
Switch: The head of the light is the switch - tighten for
on, loosen for off.
Seals: The electronics and LED are potted in epoxy making
the entire head completely waterproof. At the base of the
head is a foam ring which protects the battery from impacts
and at the same time prevents the battery from rattling inside
the compartment. On the outside of the head unit you will
find Chemkoted threads, an O-ring which can be kept lubricated
with silicone grease and gives the light a 50 foot depth rating,
and knurling at the top to make twisting the head easy for
turning the light on and off.
Ergonomics: Keychain sized, easy to use.
Size compared to a common 2AA aluminum light
Batteries: A single AAA alkaline, lithium or NiMH cell powers
the light. To change out the battery simply remove the head,
drop out the old cell, drop in a new one.
Accessories: Included with the light in the package are a
chrome plated pocket clip, the attached split ring at the
base of the light, and a AAA alkaline battery.
Important things to note: I was a "Beta Tester"
for Arc for this new version of their AAA-P. Here are the
results of that testing:
10,000 full on-off cycles which includes 9,000 on-off cycles
at room temperature and 1000 on-off cycles completed while
the lower half of the light was frozen in a block of ice.
100 drops from 1 meter onto a wood surface at various angles
50 hours underwater at 1.5 foot depth
Several thousand "rattles" while off... No attempt
at counting was made.
No damage or malfunctions. The o-ring required lubrication
several times. The rivet in the bottom of the light seems
to be as solid as it was when it first came.
What I Liked: Regulator circuit - near
constant brightness, Brighter than normal LED, Extremely hard
protective anodize, Easy to grip bezel and body, Watertight,
Cheap battery, Recessed (protected) LED, Good beam, Great
What I Didn't Like: Nothing
Other Things I Noticed: n/a
Conclusions: If you are looking for a
light which could be considered simply the very best keychain
light that will likely last you a lifetime, the Arc AAA should
be at the top of your list.