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AITEC 'COLLIMATOR' SERIES



Aitec "Collimator" Series Luxeon Star LED Flashlights, retail $TBA (www.powerleds.com)
Manufactured by Aitec Co., LTD
Last updated 11-19-06





The "Collimator" series of LED flashlights is produced by Aitec, a Korean company which produces a number of different LED products. The smaller of the two, the AT2005L, has been available through Shoplifestyles.com and several other paper catalogues for a number of months now. I was not aware of the C cell AT2000L until Mr. Chang of ISP Korea contacted me and arranged to have samples tested by my prestigious (cough, sputter, sound of a toilet flushing) laboratory.

Both lights are made from "aircraft" aluminum, and are color-anodized in a baby blue finish and have a satiny smooth texture. Both feature the Luxeon Star LED, a single LED emitter that is generally known to be as bright as approximately 10-15 regular white LEDs.

The AT2000L uses three C cells, while the much smaller AT2005L uses three AAA cells held in a special carriage to keep the length of the unit as short as possible and thus make it pocketable.


SIZE:



To use the C cell version, point it at something and press the rubberized button on the barrel. A light press will allow for momentary use; pressing until it clicks allows it to stay on. Click it again to turn it off.

To use the AAA cell version, press the large button on the tailcap until it clicks. Press the same way again to turn it back off. The button does not have a momentary or "blink" function while in the off position, but it can be blinked when it's in the on position. A bit odd and unnatural feeling, but if you have no other choice, you can blink it this way.



Both units will need batteries when you get them. For the C cell torch, unscrew & remove the tailcap, and slide 3 C cells, button-end first, into the barrel. Then screw the tailcap back on.

For the AAA cell model, unscrew the tailcap/switch (or the bezel) assembly, and slide out the white plastic carriage.



Insert three AAA cells into the three chambers of the carriage, observing the (+) and (-) legends embossed above and below each chamber. Insert the full carriage into the barrel of the light, spring-end aimed towards the LED-end of the light. Then screw the tailcap/switch (or bezel) assembly back on.



These flashlights have a unique look and feel to them. The bodies are made from color-anodized aluminum, and have very fine ridges; so fine that you can hear musical tones when you rub the flashlight briskly. While this gives them a unique, satiny appearance, it does little to aid in retention - that is, they can slip out of your hand unless you grip them relatively firmly. Physically, they're actually very beautiful and classy looking flashlights.


Here's a 90x photomicrograph of the very fine ridges milled into the flashlight bodies.

When I first handled the 3-C model, I quickly looked it over and figured that the black plastic cone on the end would "go" quite quickly, maybe even break the first time the unit was dropped - that is, until I later realised it wasn't plastic at all, it was aluminum. Just just like the rest of the flashlight. That doesn't say how well the internals will do, we'll find that out soon enough when I start beating the hell out of it. :)



An examination of the AAA model also showed it was made entirely of aluminum, even though some components initially appeared to be plastic. This includes the bezel and the large button for the switch - all metal.

Neither unit is submersible. Applying a light vacuum to either end of the AAA light resulted in considerable air leakage; the C cell model leaked from the bezel end and through the switch rubber but not through the tailcap. If it fell into mud tail-first and stuck upright, nothing to worry about. :)
So while these may be alright in a light sprinkle or if you're caught in a very brief rainstorm, you would do best to keep them off lake and river bottoms and out of sinks, tubs, and toilet bowls. They're fine to take camping, but only if you limit your trips to sunny weather.



The smaller 3-AA AT2005L Collimator at 5' from a wall.
Produces 141,000mcd while drawing 560mA.


And here it is on the target. Exposure reduced to show beam details.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrometer plot of the LED in this flashlight.
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from TWO-CUBED.



The larger 3-C AT2000L Collimator at 5' from a wall.
Produces 312,000mcd while drawing 1.29 amps.


And here's the big guy on the target. Exposure reduced to show beam details.






TEST NOTES:
Samples provided by Mr. Chang at ISP, and arrived on 09-16-02.
Testing is still in its earliest stages and there is still plenty to do. Consider this a page for preliminary information, not a fully-blown, finished review.

In order to get the 3-AAA version to work, I had to use a knife to trim about 1mm off the (+) guide rims in the battery carriage.



Apparently, the (+) button of Duracell brand AAA cells does not protrude far enough to reach the contact before the battery is stopped by this guide rim. Once I did that, the light worked as intended. I do not have any other brands of AAA cell to test in the unit; though I do have an unaltered battery carriage I can use for this test in the future.

The listed physical specs are:
AT2000L, length 23.8cm, weight 230 grams.
AT2005L, length 8.90cm, weight 150 grams.

    Published common features:
  • Highest flux per LED in the world.
  • AT2000L available in white, green, blue, cyan, red, and amber.
  • AT2005L available in white, green, blue, royal blue, cyan, red, red-orange, and amber.
  • Waterproof and shockproof. (They aren't!)
  • Complete unit in elegant aircraft alloy, virtually indestructible.
  • Durable anodized finish, unique design
  • Blister or clamshell package is available for retailers
  • "Lanyard strip" is available as an accessory
  • Other body colors are available.



UPDATE: 09-20-02
I've been using the C-cell version more and more as of late. Despite its less-than-perfect beam, I'm really beginning to like this flashlight. It feels good in the hand, and it is comfortable to hold and use both underhanded (how most people use a flashlight) and over-the-shoulder (like how a police officer usually holds his or her flashlight). Because the degree of beam misalignment is higher than usual, you end up with a wide angle flood that's particularly useful for close to medium-range tasks.

I did experiment with using a new style optic in this light. That collimator produces a solid, even beam with soft fall-off at the edges, but unfortunately it's too small in diameter so it just falls out of the flashlight. So I put the original, older-style collimator back in.


UPDATE: 09-22-02
I have now been using the smaller AAA cell version of this light more frequently, and have found it to be quite nice to use around the house, both for walking around at night and for snooping around those musty, dark closets looking for something. The beam of the AAA version is surprisingly good in quality, with no green tint or dark spots noticeable when using the light for what most people would use a flashlight for.


UPDATE: 11-01-04
These flashlights are also available at www.aitec-usa.com. As of ths date, this website is still under construction; use www.aitec.co.kr in the interim.


UPDATE: 11-02-04
I have heard that these flashlights are no longer being offered by ISP Korea (Powerleds.com).


UPDATE: 11-19-06
I went to run both Collimator torches through the spectrometer, and in the C cell light, one of the C cells leaked and left battery poop inside the barrel - and more importantly, the cell does not come out using the tools at my disposal. So this flashlight appears to be a total loss.


PROS:
Very nice looking products
Reasonably durable aluminum construction
Bright enough to be truly useful


CONS:
Not waterproof or submersible
Could flicker or go out unexpectedly (I found this in both samples)


    MANUFACTURER: Aitec Co., LTD
    PRODUCT TYPE: Luxeon Star based handheld torches
    LAMP TYPE: Luxeon Star, low-dome
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Varies, see above
    SWITCH TYPE: See above
    BEZEL: Metal cone protects LS optic recessed into it
    BATTERY: 3x AAA, 3x C
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: 560mA (small) to 1.29A (large)
    WATER RESISTANT: Light splash/sprinkle resistance only
    SUBMERSIBLE: No
    ACCESSORIES: None standard
    WARRANTY: Unknown

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star RatingStar Rating









Collimator Series LED Flashlights * www.powerleds.com







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