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CC Mini Trek

Mini Trek, retail TBA (http://www.ccrane.com)
Manufactured by Tektite (http://www.tek-tite.com)
BUY IT AT THELEDLIGHT.COM
Last updated 07-01-04


LED Light


The Mini Trek is a small 3-cell, 2-LED flashlight made by C.Crane. The small black & clear white LED flashlight runs from a set of 3 "AAA" cells, arranged in a triangular pattern to keep the flashlight short and stubby.
Its head is interchangeable with the PLW-3, a 3-LED flashlight sold by Holly Solar.


To use this flashlight, install three "AAA" cells (see below) and close it back up. To turn it on, give the head a clockwise twist until it comes on; turn it counterclockwise to shut it off.
The Mini Trek comes with a "bite tab" that enables one to hold the flashlight in their mouth when both hands are needed for a particular task. It also has a beefy spring clip built in, so the light may be clipped to the bill of a baseball cap, carried on a belt or pants wasteband, or maybe even kept handy clipped onto your automobile visor.


Hard to believe as it may be, I honestly had trouble in both removing old batteries and replacing them with new in the Mini Trek.
The batteries are arranged in a triangular fashion, and the springs hold them in good and tight - this of course means you won' t be having "no contact" problems in this guy any time soon.

The flashlight body is embossed on the outside as to which way to insert the batteries and in what order you need to do so. Even following the instructions, I had to screw with the thing for several long minutes before I got the batteries in, and I had to enlist the help of a friendly local 59 cent Bic pen to assist in this job.

Here's how it goes: Take an AAA cell, facing button side up, and put it in the flashlight where it says "1 (+)". Slide it in at an angle until it clears the springs at the bottom and sits on its own spring, and use the pen to push the top of the battery under the lip.
Do the same with the other battery, but put it in button-end down. The last battery, button end up, slips right in with no trouble at all. Set the LED board on top, place the black retaining ring on top of that, and screw the clear bezel down gently until it lights - then back it off a turn.

To perform funeral services for expired batteries, you may need to gently tap the body of the flashlight on the edge of a desk or table, because they really stay put inside there. Once you get the batteries partway out of the lip, you can use your Bic pen to pry them the rest of the way past the lip where they can be given an appropriate burial.

Note: Do not attempt to open this light directly above the garbage can, because you will end up dumping parts if you do that. Unscrew the bezel and empty the LED board & retaining ring in a safe place first, then make a run for the wastebasket to get rid of the batteries.


The Mini Trek appears to be very sturdy, and should be able to take just about anything you dish up.
The plastic body is robust and thick, and the flashlight's diminutive size helps strengthen it that much more.

A rubber "O" ring seals out water and weather, plus the retaining ring for the LED board contains a pellet of hydrogen-loving catalyst to eat up any hydrogen the batteries might belch up during prolonged operation.

If I can find a weak point, it is probably going to be the built-in clip. If you aren't paying attention and start reefing on this part (such as if the Mini Trek got hung up or stuck in a belt loop or whatever and you tugged on it too hard), it could snap off. Because it is built into the flashlight body itself, it cannot be replaced if it does get broken off.

The bite tab in this particular model is also way too small to be useful. If it didn't have a hole in the end for a keyring, I might be tempted to simply saw it off to shorten the flashlight. But this one isn't mine (it's a loaner) so the hacksaw will stay in the toolbox today.
Another style of Mini Trek that is sold as the same has a larger and better-positioned bite tab (see photo at the top of this article). It is not yet known whether this was done on purpose or if anybody at C.Crane has even realised the two body styles differ in their utility.

All bitching aside, this really is a nice flashlight. It is very bright, outshining all single-LED "normal beam" models tested to date (this excludes the PAL and the Turtlelite), and even outshines a six-LED model I compared it against!

The LED board & head assembly are directly interchangeable with the PLW-3 (Pilot 3), so you can make yourself a very compact light with a bright, w-i-d-e beam using those components!
This sample came with a black foam "head cover" that effectively eliminates all light coming from the side of the transparent head; some people may find this useful to help eliminate glare when using the Mini Trek outdoors at night. The head cover is removable and slips on or off the Mini Trek anytime the user wishes to do so.

LED Light
Beam picture of the 2-LED mini flashlight.

The Mini Trek is waterproof and will work fine in even the wettest of outdoor activities. It will sink though, so please try to keep it away from deeper water unless you like scuba diving for it in cold, cloudy water teeming with sharks and jellyfish. :)



TEST NOTES:
This is a loaner and could not be tested completely.

UPDATE 06-03-01:
I have obtained a new sample of a nearly identical light, the Mini Trek made by Tektite. The only difference between this flashlight and the one pictured at the top of this page is the position of the bit tab.
Most of the updated testing will be related to the batteries.


UPDATE 07-01-04:
A new sample of the Mini Trek was received in May 2003, and just sort of "hung around" until now. This version looks like the Mini Trek on this page, but has a single white LED at the bottom of a reflector instead of two on a PCB. The LED gets that "angry blue color" to it right after turning the flashlight on, letting you know it's being significantly overdriven and it's really pissed. The Mini Trek comes with an opaque black lens shroud, this helps to eliminate the glow from the bezel if it is bothersome to you. If you wish to use the flashlight "candle style" by setting it upright so its beam reflects off the ceiling, you can remove this shroud from the bezel, set it on a flat surface face-up, and set the Mini Trek tailfirst into the hole. The flashlight can be balanced this way fairly easily.

The Mini Trek has a positive focal length lens moulded into its end window; this helps to narrow and brighten the beam.

Let's get a picture of that lens/reflector assembly...



Now, let's get a picture of its beam on the test target...


Measures 35,000mcd using a Meterman LM631 light meter.
This reading is high both because of the overdriven LED and the lens in front of it.

Ehhh doodlebugs!!!
Looks like I already evaluated this flashlight; please see this page for that review.


PROS:
Small and durable
Brighter than #&$(! Parts are interchangeable with PLW-3
Waterproof
Clips to hats or clothing.

CONS:
Batteries unnecessarily difficult to load and unload
Built-in clip is lost forever if it breaks.


          MANUFACTURER: Tek-Tite
          PRODUCT TYPE: Handheld mini flashlight
          LAMP TYPE: LED, White, 5mm
          No. OF LAMPS: 2
          BEAM TYPE: Central hotspot, soft fall-off
          SWITCH TYPE: Twist-on bezel
          BEZEL: Clear lexan with ribbed outer wall
          BATTERY: 3 AAA cells
          CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown
          WATER RESISTANT: Yes
          SUBMERSIBLE: To 1000 feet
          ACCESSORIES: Energizer batteries
          WARRANTY: Lifetime



                PRODUCT RATING:

                DURABILITY: 9
                BRIGHTNESS: 10
                USEABILITY: 5 (hard to change batteries)
                BATTERY LIFE: 7
                BATTERY AVAILABILITY: 10

                OVERALL SCORE: 41


Mini Trek 2-LED light * WWW.CCRANE.COM



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