Pak-Lite

Provided for review
by the kind folks at:

 
 
3½ Stars
Good/Very Good
         

Light Type: 5mm LED
Light Class: Outdoor / Camping / Survival


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 be glow-in-the-dark.

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.

Level
Runtime hrs. (advertised)
Low
1 (1)
19 (0.19)
600
High
17 (4.12)
217 (2.17)
75

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 (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.


Runtime 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 simplicity!


Quick Facts Table:

Review Date ............................. April 2005
Case Material ........................... Polymer plastic
Case Features .......................... None
Case Access Type .................... Snaps directly onto battery
Switch Type ............................. 3 way click lever
Reflector Type ......................... None
Lens Type ................................ None
Bulb Type ................................. 2 x 5mm LED
Beam Type ............................... Wide beam
Beam Characteristics ............... Smooth flood
Throw (Lux) at 1m (click for description) See table above
Overall Output (click for description) See table above
Battery / Power Type................ 9V alkaline or lithium
Battery Life (advertised) ........... See table above
Battery Life (test results) ........... 50% at 34 hours, 25% at 61 hours
Environmental Protection ......... Water resistant
Weight (oz.) with batteries ....... 1.8 oz.
Special Items of Note ............... None
Warranty ..................................  
Retail Cost ................................ 20.95 at PocketLights.com at time of review
 

 

 
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