LRI Photon Fusion Headlamp / Flashlight

4½ Stars
Very Good/Excellent

Light Type: LED
Light Class: Outdoor / Rough Use / Headlamp

Photon Fusion - headlamp mode

Flashlight 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 light.

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.

White High
115 (10.72)
1160 (11.60)
White Lowest
Red High
4 (2.00)
37 (0.37)
Red Lowest

All throw readings are in Lux at one meter. The numbers in parenthesis are for comparison in the Comparison Charts.

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.

Runtime 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 turns off.

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 blink>sos

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 blink>SOS

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 per minute.

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 details.

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 this situation.

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.

Quick Facts Table:

Item Reviewed.......................... LRI Photon Fusion Headlamp / Flashlight
Review Date ............................. January 2006
Case Material ........................... Plastic
Case Features .......................... Multiple configurations possible
Case Access Type .................... Side door for batteries
Switch Type ............................. Multifunction click, glow in the dark
Reflector Type ......................... Smooth silvered plastic
Lens Type ................................ Clear plastic
Bulb Type ................................. 6 white LEDs, 2 red LEDs
Beam Type ............................... Wide flood
Beam Characteristics ............... Smooth, some artifacts in the red beam.
Throw (Lux) at 1m (click for description) see table above
Overall Output (click for description) see table above
Battery / Power Type................ 3 AA (alkaline, lithium, NiMH, NiCad, carbon/zinc are all acceptable)
Battery Life (advertised) ........... 12+ hours
Battery Life (test results) ........... ~ 10.5 hr to 50% starting output on white/high
Environmental Protection ......... Water resistant - rubber seals
Weight (oz.) with batteries ....... 6.6
Special Items of Note ............... Available in white, red, blue, IR and UV primary LEDs
Warranty .................................. Lifetime
Retail Cost ................................ 57.95 US$ at time of review at


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