Photon Fusion - headlamp mode
The Photon Fusion is LRI's "everything" light.
It's a headlamp, it's a flashlight, it's an emergency
signal, it's an astronomer's light, it's a table floodlight,
it's a clip-on belt light... I'm sure I'm forgetting
something, but it can do a lot, that's for sure. It
uses 3 AA cells to power 6 white LEDs or two red LEDs.
One switch allows for infinite dimming in either red
or white mode, and it has 4 blinking signaling functions
as well. There is so much this light can do I'm bound
to miss something, but here goes!
Body: The body of the Photon Fusion consists
of two main parts, and two mounting assemblies. The
first main part is the light module. This contains the
8 LEDs, reflector, switch, and regulation circuitry.
It is attached to the second main part via a thumbscrew
and two blade contacts. There are three "keys"
to make sure you to not assemble the light assembly
and battery assembly incorrectly. The lighting head
can be pivoted forward and back it's support arms and
it ratchets into place.
The second main part is the battery assembly.
It holds the three AA cells (alkaline, lithium, NiMH,
NiCad, carbon/zinc are all acceptable) and has gold
plated contacts inside for good connections. Externally
it has two mounting areas (again with gold plated contacts)
for the light assembly. One on the end of the assembly,
one on the side. The side mounting is for use as a headlamp,
the end mounting is for use as a flashlight/table light/clip
Here is the head mounted on the end of
the battery assembly:
The first mounting assembly is a belt
clip. Once the head is placed on the end, you can place
the clip on the side using the same thumbscrew connection
system to turn it into a belt-clip light.
The headband strap is the second mounting
assembly. It is attached via the forehead plate. The
plate has a clamp that snaps onto the side of the battery
compartment. It requires a small coin (a US penny works
great) to unclip the light from the headband assembly.
Bezel/Head: The light assembly is where all
the magic happens. On top is the single switch, inside
are the LEDs, circuitry, and reflector. Surrounding
the bezel is a rubber cover which is removable, and
provides some impact protection and controls sidespill
to some degree.
The 6 white LEDs are across the middle
and the two tiny red LEDs (very hard to see in the photo)
are at diagonals to the center.
Output: You have two primary options with the
Fusion: white or red light. Click the switch for white,
hold the switch instead for red light. White starts
at the highest setting, red at the lowest.
All 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 - White and Red
Runtime Plot: Very nice! Over 10 hours to 50%.
This is at the highest white LED setting so this headlamp
will last a long time on any of the other modes.
completed with Energizer brand batteries. More information
on runtime plots is available HERE.
Switch: The single switch for operation is on
the top of the head. It is covered by a glow in the
dark plastic cover. The head can be pivoted backwards
to prevent access to the switch for packing, and the
circuitry system includes "smash" protection.
If the switch is held for 45 seconds or more the light
Yes, it glows!
So, how does it operate? This will take a while...
It's very easy to use, but there are a LOT of options.
White LEDs: From off: Click = On; white LEDs
at highest setting. Press and hold to dim. Light blinks
once at lowest setting. Keep holding to move to signal
mode - slow, medium, fast strobe, SOS. Release at desired
level or mode.
Modes: On>dim>slow blink>med blink>fast
Red LEDs: From off: Press and hold = On; red
LEDs lowest setting. Keep holding to brighten. Light
blinks once at brightest setting. Keep holding to move
to signal mode - slow, medium, fast strobe, SOS. Release
at desired level or mode.
Modes: On>brighten>slow blink>med blink>fast
Red LEDs Energy Saver: From off: Press and hold
= On; red LEDs lowest setting. Release as soon as red
LEDs turn on. Press and hold to increase output, and
release as soon at the light blinks at the highest output
setting. You will now be in "energy saver"
mode with the circuit pulsing the LEDs at 90 cycles
SOS Mode: If you are quick, you can go to SOS
mode without having to cycle though the other blink
modes first. As soon as the light blinks at the end
of the brightness cycle, watch for the first blinking
mode flash. Releasing the button very quickly goes directly
to SOS instead of slow blink.
It also has a morse code mode and a demonstration mode.
See the instructions included with the light for more
Seals / Water Resistance: I'm not too sure about
this. I think it's dunkable. It has good seals everywhere
I can find, and is advertised as "water resistant".
If it gets wet inside, just disassemble as much a possible
without tools and let it dry before using again.
Ergonomics: Very comfortable in headlamp mode.
The straps are fully adjustable using plastic sliders.
The forehead plate has slots in the strap attachments
so the straps can be removed and laundered. The only
problem I had is that in headlamp mode the light assembly
cannot be tilted downward very far due to the battery
compartment. You cannot point it straight down for close
hands-free work. This may be a problem for some people.
In "flashlight mode" it's a
little awkward to hold in the hand due to the triangular
shape of the battery compartment.
Batteries: Three AA cells power the light (alkaline,
lithium, NiMH, NiCad, carbon/zinc are all acceptable).
When your batteries start to get low, the secondary
(red) LEDs blink to let you know it's time for a battery
change. After that, the secondary LEDs turn on constantly
and the headlamp starts to dim, continuing to do so
until it will not stay lit.
To change out the batteries, use a penny or other small
coin to pop the end compartment door open. Place in
the batteries as indicated by the painted white polarity
indicators inside the cap. Note that you may have to
remove the lighting assembly from the unit if in headlamp
mode to change the batteries. The battery door hits
the lighting assembly and doesn't open all the way in
Accessories: In addition to the belt clip shown
above, it includes a nylon bag for storage.
What I Liked: Water resistant,
Seems fairly tough/impact resistant, Long battery life,
Bright, Lightweight, Multiple configurations.
What I Didn't Like: When attached
to the headlamp straps the light cannot be pointed downward
for close-up work.
Picky Little Things: Battery door
doesn't open all the way if the lighting head is attached
to the side (such as when in headlamp-mode), Need a
tool (small coin) to remove light from headlamp strap
assembly, Need a tool (small coin) to open battery compartment.
Conclusions: It's small, it's lightweight,
it has a variety of possible configurations, and is
capable of providing light levels from almost nothing
to a great general purpose beam. I like almost everything
about this one. A very good all-purpose headlamp, clip
light, table light, and flashlight. I especially like
the incredibly low red LED output mode for preserving
your night vision. The Fusion could potentially serve
as the "only light you'll ever need" for general
use and some special purposes as well. Couple it with
one bright, far reaching light and you'll have a combination
that should suffice for nearly any situation you encounter.