The Stanley Maxlife 369 Tripod gets its name directly
from its function. It can run on 3, 6, or 9 AA alkaline
cells, its entire body converts to a tripod configuration
and when loaded with 9 cells it will run an advertised
200+ hours on its lowest setting. The number of LEDs
illuminated is selectable; 1, 3, or 6. The head can be
angled into position and it also has a low battery indicator.
Body: This light has one of the most interesting
designs I have yet encountered. It has three aluminum
tubes which run the length of the body. In between these
are rubbery fins which serve as spacers and to provide
some continuity between the tubes, giving the light
a generally round cross section and providing good grip.
At the front of the light is the adjustable angle head
with two buttons - one is the LED selector switch, the
other causes the legs to pop outward turning the entire
contraption into a tripod. The legs are held in place
by two disk magnets on a stalk. The opening button moves
the magnets away from the contact points on the legs
causing the magnets to loose their grip. At the bottom
of its stroke the button also gives the legs a little
push to pop them out. The legs are spring loaded, but
do not open with excessive force. Oh, did I mention
that the legs are also the battery tubes?
Bezel/Head: The head contains 6 LEDs
in a triangular configuration which protrude slightly from a silvered reflector surface.
In front of the LEDs are individual lenses which focus the
light into individual overlapping spots. The head itself is
sealed with a rubber gasket and screws. The head can pivot
to 4 different positions, including slightly downward relative
to horizontal when the unit is placed in the tripod configuration.
Each position is held by slight detents that provide resistance
to position changes. The head moves rather easily and does
not appear to be able to be tightened.
Output: Output is in the form of a spot of bluish
white light. You may choose 1, 3, or all 6 LEDs lit.
The number of LEDs used is selected by clicking the switch
in series. When the outermost 3 LEDs of the triangle of LEDs is
lit, a ring artifact appears around the central spot. Since the
single LED mode lights only one of these LEDs, the result is a
1/3 ring around one side of the central beam on the single LED
setting. The 3 LED setting lights the three central LEDs, so
the artifact disappears. The 6 LED setting lights the three
central LEDs and the outer 3 LEDs, resulting in a full circle
ring artifact on the high setting.
The white light produced by the LED
is a high color temperature and produces good color
rendition weighted toward the blue end of the spectrum.
A bit of a bluish tint is detectable as is normal for
most 5mm white LED lights.
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 and at < 1 foot
to show spillbeam.
Runtime Plot: Just what I expected - no regulation,
just a simple direct drive system. It'll keep going
for a very long time, diminishing throughout.
completed with Energizer brand batteries. More information
on runtime plots is available HERE.
Switch: The switch is on one side of the head,
just above the tripod release. In front of the switch you
will see a red LED which blinks when your battery life
is low. Click the switch in series to go from 1 LED to 3
LEDs, to 6 LEDs and then off again.
Seals / Water Resistance: There are seals on
the light, but I'm not sure how well they work. The seals
on the feet/battery covers require the feet to be screwed
in very tight to engage the rubber ring seals. I'd call
it splashable, but I don't know if I would trust
it to a dunking.
If it gets wet inside, just disassemble as much a possible
without tools and let it dry before using again.
Ergonomics: It is pretty large and feels awkward
when used as a hand-held light. The rubbery fins do assist
with grip, but if using the light in one place you are better
off just setting it up with the tripod.
Size compared to a common 2AA aluminum light
Batteries: 3, 6 or 9 AA alkaline cells power
the light. Each leg holds 3 AA cells and the light
will run with only 1 or 2 legs loaded batteries. Maximum
battery life is achieved by filling all 3 legs with cells.
To change out the batteries: unscrew the tripod foot,
drop out the old cells, place in new cells observing
proper polarity (- toward the foot cap). Reattach the tripod foot and you're
ready to go.
What I Liked: Multiple output
levels, Runs on as little as 3 cells but can take up to 9,
Long battery life, Stands up, Adjustable angle head.
What I Didn't Like: Water resistance
questionable, A bit awkward to hold as a handheld flashlight.
Picky Little Things: Head pivots
rather easily - wish it could be tightened.
Conclusions: Very clever design. When
fully loaded with cells it has significant heft and since
the batteries are in the legs it won't tip over easily in the
tripod configuration. The pivoting head puts the light
where you need it. Great utility light for around the house
and fantastic for power outages. Plop in 9 cells and it'll
run for days on only one LED. Aim it at the ceiling for
an area light inside the house or point it at a specific area
for directional illumination. The spot lenses give decent
throw while there is still enough spillbeam to see your immediate