The Pak-Lite is available from PocketLights.com
A loooooong time ago I was messing around with LEDs and I decided to solder a
RadioShack amber LED and a microswitch directly to a 9V battery I had laying around.
I wrapped the switch and LED with electrical tape to cover the connections and, surprise
of surprises, the LED didn't burn out. I had a flashlight which was surprisingly bright
and was just a touch longer than the 9V battery it used for power.
15 years later
the folks at Pak-Lite took the same idea, made the light removable from the battery,
added a tiny driver circuit, a 3 way switch, and a second LED, and have found a great
market for the little lights - campers and hikers.
The "Body" of the light consists of a little plastic case which contains the
9V contacts, driver circuit, switch, and LEDs. Well, actually, that's the whole thing!
This is the ultimate in mini lights. The battery is over twice the size of the light
unit itself. The LEDs are available in white, red, blue or green, and the plastic body can
From the front all you see are two 5mm white LEDs. The LEDs are exposed so they may be
subject to scuffing and/or impact damage. The epoxy capsule of the LEDs is pretty tough
so they should take a pretty good beating.
Output is in the form of a wide flood of light. Just right for around the campsite.
The switch on the side of the light allows you to select 2 modes of brightness - high
and low. Low mode should be sufficient for most tasks when you're out in the "deep woods"
since a little light goes a long way when it's pitch dark.
Runtime hrs. (advertised)
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 (enhanced for clarity)
Runtime Plot: Here it is! 72 hours of runtime graph
thanks to a 9V battery adapter that I had to use to
power my light meter. Otherwise the light meter would
have run out of power before the Pak-Lite! High output
mode reached 50% at 34 hours, 25% at 61 hours. Output
at that time was still very usable in the pitch dark.
The discharge curve does not appear to indicate the
presence of a driver circuit.
completed with included "Duracell" batteries.
More information on runtime plots is available HERE.
The switch is on the side of the unit. It is a tiny little lever which activates
low and high modes when pressed to one side or the other. Center is off. It rests
in a recess so that accidental activation is unlikely.
The Pak-Lite is advertised as "Water Resistant". The circuitry is
supposed to be sealed against water entry. If it gets wet, shake it out really well and
let it dry.
Ergonomics: Well, it's tiny. You hold the unit by the battery for use. The switch is
also very small and generally you have to activate it with your fingernail. It is not
difficult to use, regardless.
Size compared to a common 2AA aluminum light
A single 9V battery powers the light and serves as the light "body". Simply
pop the light off of the 9V and place it on a new one when you need to replace the battery.
The Pak-Lite can run off of 9V lithium batteries as well for longer runtimes, lighter
weight, and better cold resistance.
What I Liked: Really small, Long battery life,
Two output levels, Easy battery change, Lightweight, Stands up
What I Didn't Like: Water resistance may not be the best.
Other Things I Noticed:
Conclusions: The ultimate lightweight
camping light? Quite possibly! Great to throw into your
emergency kit at home or at work as well. I love its