Arc AAA RGB, retail $24.95 (
Manufactured by Arc Flashlight, LLC (
Last updated 11-15-06

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

It looks like an Arc. It feels like an Arc. And it smells like an Arc - well, Arcs are odourless, so I guess that last one doesn't count. But when you turn it on, you'll KNOW why it's called an Arc RGB.

Instead of a single color LED that lights up constantly, the new Arc RGB has an RGB (red, green, blue) LED in it with a built-in controller IC that flashes the LED in several patterns, automatically. Just turn the Arc RGB on, and let it do the driving.

The Arc RGB has a hard-anodized (HA-III) and knurled case, is colored a kind of light grey with just a hint of olive or greenish color, is waterproof and submersible to 50 feet, and comes with a pocket clip, small split ring on the tail (both already attached to the flashlight), and a Duracell alkaline AAA cell. So you can take it out of the package, pop in the included battery, and start using it right away, without having to first go to the store and buy batteries for it.


The Arc RGB is almost ready to use right away. Just remove the flashlight and its included battery from the package, pop in the battery (see below), and you can go to town.

Assuming you have the battery in, just give the bezel (head) a little clockwise twist (as if screwing it in) to turn the light on, and twist the bezel counterclockwise (as if unscrewing it) a little to turn it off. Things don't get much easier than this - well, not flashlights anyway.

To change the battery in the Arc RGB, 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 is around (or maybe a bit over) 6 hours on its single AAA cell.
Because this light is not steady-burning, my usual PV cell/DMM battery life test won't work.

Like its brothers, the Arc RGB is a very durable instrument. The Arc RGB is basically indestructible - even more so than its commonlaw brother, the standard Arc AAA. 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, whack it against a metal doorframe, hell it will probably even survive a trip through the garbage disposal - though I highly recommend avoiding doing that to any flashlight. :)
And if it falls in the john, just fish it out and wash it off in the sink - good as new. But the toilet bowl might have a chip, crack, or hole in it, if the Arc RGB happened to hit it just so when it fell in.

The pattern the LED produces is something like this:
  • Rapidly flashes red, green, and blue. Each color stays on for about 0.15 second.
  • Pattern repeats.
  • Rapidly flashes at least two color LED chips on at once. Each stays on for about 0.15 second.
  • Pattern repeats.
  • Slowly ramps up the red chip, stays at full intensity for a couple of seconds, then ramps it back down.
  • Slowly ramps up the green chip, stays at full intensity for a couple of seconds, then ramps it back down.
  • Slowly ramps up the blue chip, stays at full intensity for a couple of seconds, then ramps it back down.
  • Slowly ramps up the red and green chips, stays at full intensity for a couple of seconds, then ramps them back down.
  • Slowly ramps up the green and blue chips, stays at full intensity for a couple of seconds, then ramps them back down.
  • Slowly ramps up the blue and red chips, stays at full intensity for a couple of seconds, then ramps them back down.
  • Slowly ramps up all three chips, stays at full intensity for a couple of seconds, then ramps them back down.
  • Pattern repeats at least once; possibly twice.
  • Lather, rinse, repeat.
The LED pattern is fixed, and cannot be altered. That is, you can't turn it on and expect to cycle to a specific color and leave it like that. All of the controller functions are built into the LED, and cannot be altered or changed by the user.

This is a special, limited edition light, so if you want one, you'd better hurry. I don't know *how* limited it is though, so please don't ask.

Here's a closeup of the head, showing the LED.
I couldn't get the camera to focus right; that's why it's furry. :-p

The Arc RGB is hard anodized (type III) so it stays looking newer, longer. It comes in a somewhat serious and businesslike "natural" (NAT) case color, which is a greyish color with a slight hint of olive or green. The entire flashlight (head and body) also has knurling (texturising) on it, so you can hold onto the flashlight even if your hands are cold, wet, or oily; or if you're using gloves. This knurling does not feel aggressive (sharp), so it should not wear out your pants pocket if you carry your Arc RGB that way.

It is waterproof, and submersible to 50 feet. So you need not be afraid to use it in the rain or snow and worry about getting it wet. And if it falls in a puddle, creek, river, or whatever; just shake it off and keep going. You probably wouldn't use this light camping or hiking, but if you happen to have it, don't worry about it.

Beam photo at ~12". All three beams are shown here.
I can't measure the brightness because the LED doesn't stay steady on.

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

Here is a video (.AVI) showing the entire sequence.
The video is courtesy of Peter Gransee at Arc Flashlight, LLC and was used with permission.
The video doesn't show the "white" mode (all three LED chips on at once), but shows all of the others.

Unit was purchased on the evening of 10-27-03, and was received this morning, 10-31-03. Cheers to Arc for getting the flashlight out the door quickly, and cheers to Federal Express for getting it to me so quickly.

NOTE: This flashlight is intended to be a novelty light, not a true flashlight per se. But you could still get out of a burning house with it, if that's all you had on you at the moment. In my opinion, it's bright enough for that purpose, even if that's not what the Arc RGB was made for in the first place.

UPDATE: 06-20-04
As I understand, the Arc RGB is very, very close to no longer being available. Please follow this link to read a bit about it.

UPDATE: 08-09-04
Here is a photograph of my Arc RGB being used as a Christmas tree topper.

The Arc RGB is that bright spot at the top of the photograph.
The glowing white globes below it are part of a white Forever Bright LED Christmas light set.

Very durable construction
Weather- and water-resistant; submersible
Decent brightness for what it is

Not a "work" flashlight - use a regular Arc-AAA for that - but it could still get you out of hot water if it's all you had

    MANUFACTURER: Arc Flashlight, LLC
    PRODUCT TYPE: Novelty LED flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: RGB LED with integral IC
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Varies, depending on LED colors lit up
    SWITCH TYPE: Twist bezel on/off
    BEZEL: Brushed aluminium reflector, recessed LED
    BATTERY: 1x AAA cell
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    SUBMERSIBLE: Yes, to 50 feet
    ACCESSORIES: AAA cell, split ring, pocket clip
    WARRANTY: N/A (company has gone out of business)


    Star Rating


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