ARC LE (Limited Edition)

Arc LE Flashlight, retail $35 (
Manufactured by Arc Flashlight, LLC
Last updated: 03-24-10

LED Light

IMPORTANT! Effective 09-22-04, this product is no longer being made, but here is information on it anyway.

The Arc LE is a very tiny, single "AAA" cell LED flashlight, very similar to the original Arc AAA but with special enhancements made only for this limited edition manufacturing run. Smaller than a Mag Solitaire, this is easily one of the smallest and brightest single cell white LED flashlights in existence today. A miniature step-up power converter inside the tiny head makes it possible to run a 3.6 to 4 volt white LED with only a single 1.5 volt AAA cell.
The easy-grip body is composed entirely of hard anodized aircraft aluminum, and is, for all intents and purposes, indestructible.

This is the limited-edition Arc, and it boasts a type-3 hard anodized finish and a brighter & whiter LED than the so-called "standard" Arc-AAA.

Update 06-07-03: Here is the new Arc-LE, only it's not called the "LE" anymore. It is now known as the Arc-AAA Premium, and it comes with a Duracell AAA cell, small split ring, and a spring pocket clip.

To use this miniature marvel, you will first want to feed it with a single "AAA" battery. Getting light is as easy as turning the head clockwise until it lights up; turn it the other way to plunge yourself back in darkness. The Arc LE comes with a small keyring attached to the tail. This is meant to be attached to larger keyrings, like what your house & car keys are probably already on; and for attachment to a lanyard to hang the Arc LE around your neck or around a nail or tree branch.

The knurled surface makes the light easy to grip and use.

The new Arc-AAA Premium (formerly the Arc-AAA LE) also comes with a springy clip that allows you to clip it into a pocket instead of carrying it on your keychain if you wish.

[image 1 'AAA' cell]
To get your Arc LE powered up and ready to face the world, unscrew the head until it comes off (don't worry about losing parts or bulbs), and drop the included Duracell AAA battery in so the button end faces up. Screw the head back on, and you're finished. A foam gasket affixed to the head prevents that annoying rattling sound from the battery moving around inside when the unit is turned off.

Published battery life using an ordinary alkaline cell is stated at approximately 5-6 hours at near full brilliance, then relatively quickly falling off to a dimmer state where it will continue to function for another five or six hours. The power converter keeps the LED current constant until the battery's pretty much fried, so it doesn't just dim out from the moment it's turned on. There is a period near the end of battery life where the light does dim out slowly; this gives you enough of warning (15-30 minutes?) that you need to buy a new battery or rummage through the battery drawer for a new one. The Arc is protected against installing the battery backward, so if yours doesn't light up, dump out the battery and see if you might have gotten it in wrong.

Here's a battery test I ran on it using a Lenmar 700mAh NiMH cell.
Runs for approximately 2 hours 40 minutes to half-intensity.
The test was ran to 25% intensity, so the battery would not be damaged by overdischarge.

The Arc LE is basically indestructible - even more so than its commonlaw brother. The type 3 hard anodized aluminum case combined with its small size make for a tag team of reliability that just can't be beat. Run it over, step on it, hell it will probably even survive a trip through the garbage disposal - though I highly recommend avoiding doing that to any flashlight. :)

I ran over the Arc-AAA PE with the rear drive wheel of a 400lb electric wheelchair four times, and did not damage it in any fashion.

The light is sealed with an O-ring, and should be completely waterproof to at least three feet. New Arc-AAA Premiums (early June 2003) are submersible to 50 feet, and have been tested even deeper.

One difference between the Arc LE and the original Arc flashlight is a special super hard type 3 anodized finish (known as HA-III) that keys and coins can't punch through; so the finish of your LE will stay looking newer, longer. The color of this anodizing is a brownish olive green. The people at Arc Flashlight call this "natural" finish, though I have a few other words to describe it. People who like really bright cheery colors may need a short time to adjust to the very business-like and serious color of the LE.

The other notable difference between the LE and the standard Arc is the LED. The LE uses a brighter than average Nichia white LED. This LED is their hard to find rank B1S (color rank B1, brightness rank S) that is both brighter than usual and less blue than usual for this type of LED. As a result, the Arc LE has a noticeably brighter and slightly warmer appearing light than the regular Arc. Most flashlights use LEDs of rank A3R, A2R, or A1R, (color rank A, brightness rank R) which are dimmer and bluer than the LED used in this light.

LED Light
Bright beam on the right, compared to a regular Arc AAA flashlight on the left.
As the photograph shows, the Arc LE is noticeably brighter than the original Arc.

LED Light
The Arc-LE by itself on the test target.
Brightness was initially measured at 20,100mcd at beam center.
As you can see, brightness was over 20 candelas, and unlike coin cell lights that usually reach this brightness, the Arc-LE will be able to maintain this level for much longer before falling off. I would expect to see this light still beaming brightly at over 10 candelas after an hour or two; while a coin cell light would reach this level within the first five minutes!

The Arc-AAA Premium I tested in early June 2003 came in at 20.8 candelas (20,800mcd). Let's see if I have a beam picture...

Ahh, there it is. :-)


I just received the Arc LE, so testing will be an ongoing process for awhile. The next thing in store for the Arc-LE is a trip through the ProMetric beam profile analyzer. My computer's been sick, so I haven't been able to fire this bad boy up in quite a while, but I think it's working alright now.

Prometric analysis
Beam profile analysis.

Prometric analysis
Beam contour analysis.
Equipment provided courtesy of Radiant Imaging.

Update 06-07-03:
A new test unit of the Arc-AAA Premium (functionally the same as the original Arc-LE) was received in late May 2003, and is in its initial stages of testing.

The Arc Premium Edition was introduced in early 2003; and is functionally identical to the Arc Limited Edition - only the name was changed.

Update 10-03-03:
This picture is of the 2003 CPF (Candlepower Forums) Arc-AAA. Functionally, it is like the Arc-AAA Premium, but comes in a hard-anodised red color, and the user's choise of embossing along the bottom. Mine reads "2003 The LED Museum CPF #14" along its base. So this is one flashlight I won't sell or give away, because it's quite personal. There's only one like it in the whole world, and it's MINE. :-)

Here's a picture of my 2003 CPF Arc-AAA.

And here's one of its beam.

UPDATE: 01-12-06
Bad news to report today.
No, not bad news about the flashlight itself.
I was at Wallgreens late this morning, and my keys got jammed in my wheelchair. When I got home, I checked my keychain, and the Arc LE (PE) was gone.

UPDATE: 01-14-06
Guess what I found on the street at the corner of Greenwood Ave. and N. 87th St. this morning?

As you can see, it's beaten and dented (I believe it was run over by heavy vehicles like articulating busses and beer trucks at least 100 times), but I have no reason to believe it will not function when I remove the bezel and affix it to an undamaged body.

Using a pair of pliers, I was rather easily able to remove the bezel, try it on the body from my Arc AAA P, and surprise surprise (not!), it works.

UPDATE: 03-06-06
Spectrographic analysis of the white LED
Spectrographic analysis of the white LED in the Arc PE.
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from TWO-CUBED.

UPDATE: 03-24-10
I have given this light (plus one other) to my aunt; therefore I no longer have it at my disposal for future analyses or comparisons -- and the dreadful "" icon will now be appended to its listings on this website.

Very small
Starts bright and stays that way till the end
Cheap & common batteries
Extra durable case
Tool-free battery change
Product is continually being improved upon.
(The Arc-AAA Premium is the latest incarnation of this!)

Limited run-time when compared to some other flashlights
Inexpensive batteries make up for this however.

    MANUFACTURER: Arc Flashlight LLC
    PRODUCT TYPE: Keychain flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: LED, White, 5mm.
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Central hotspot with smooth corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Twist bezel
    BEZEL: Incorporates LED + electronics, integral reflector.
    BATTERY: 1 "AAA" cell
    SUBMERSIBLE: To 3 feet (to 50 feet with the new model)
    ACCESSORIES: Small split ring, Duracell AAA battery
    WARRANTY: N/A (company has gone out of business)



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