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Heliotek HTE-1 Electronic Flashlight, retail $99.50 (www.heliotekinc.com/)
Manufactured by Heliotek, Inc. (www.heliotekinc.com/)
Last updated 03-05-07

The Heliotek HTE-1 Electronic Flashlight (hereinafter, just called the Heliotek or Heliotek flashlight) is a relatively compact flashlight featuring a 1.2 watt HD (high-dome or lambertian) Luxeon LED, which feeds from two AA cells - Energizer L91 lithiums are both recommended and supplied.

The switch has both momentary and constant-on modes, selectable by "clicking" it sideways. The exterior portions of the switch are purely mechanical; a magnet in there activates the real switch inside the Heliotek. A reed switch, if I'm not mistaken.

The Heliotek comes in a black Lexan brand polycarbonate case (the barrel is stainless steel with a black Santoprene® covering) with red trim (bezel ring, switch, and tailcap), and comes equipped with a break-away safety lanyard and a belt holster that has a lens cap and "kangaroo" pouch built in.


To use the Heliotek, feed it first (see below), and then you'll be ready to paint the town red.

For momentary (signalling) mode, be sure the switch is positioned all the way to the left in its holder (as it should be when you receive the Heliotek), slide the switch forward, and hold it there for as long as you need light. Let go of the switch, and a spring-loaded mechanism of some kind inside the switch automatically returns it to the "off" position and extinguishes the Heliotek flashlight.

For continuous mode, slide the switch all the way to the right in its holder - this action is relatively stiff and will emit a clearly audible and tactile "click". Now, slide the switch forward until it clicks to turn the flashlight on, and slide it backward until it clicks to turn the flashlight off.

The switch can be slid to the left or right whether the Heliotek is on or off - no need to place the flashlight in a specific state first; that simply isn't necessary.

The Heliotek comes with a generously sized belt holster, which it fits into bezel (head) up. A black lens cap is present on the flap of the holster; this helps to prevent any damage to the flashlight's lens during carriage. A patch of Velcro is present on the flap, allowing you to secure the flap closed.
A "kangaroo" pouch is also present on the outside (front) of the holster, intended for carrying a spare set of batteries. This pouch is lidded with a Velcro-backed flap, so you can't lose the batteries in it.
A belt loop is present on the back of the holster; it accomodates belts up to approximately 2" wide.
Since I do not own or use pants that require a belt, I will not be able to test this holster in the manner in which it was designed to be used.

The belt holster for the Heliotek flashlight, showing the lens cap and the "kangaroo" pouch, intended for carrying the spare batteries.

The Heliotek flashlight comes with a break-away lanyard. If you get tangled up in something, the hook-and-loop fastener on one side or the other of the lanyard will break free. The lanyard is "repairable" by just pressing the hook-and-loop fasteners back together. Unlike some other break-away lanyards, you aren't out a lanyard every time you get your ass in a sling.

To change the batteries in your Heliotek, grip the Santoprene®-covered stainless steel barrel firmly, slowly unscrew the bezel (head) (slowly, so any buildup of gases inside the flashlight can be vented away), throw it on the ground, and stomp on it with spiked golf shoes...O WAIT!!! YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead. ;-)

If there are any used cells in the barrel, tip them into your hand, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit.

Insert two new lithium AA cells (Energizer L91 cells are readily available) into the barrel, flat-end (-) negative first. Put them in there so the button-end (+) positive faces out. Grasp the barrel firmly. Screw the bezel back on until the Santoprene® barrel covering starts to spin. There, you're done.
Aren't you glad you didn't stomp on that bezel now? ;-)

It is advised that you change the batteries as soon as the flashlight starts to dim; the battery discharge analysis chart below will tell you why with a picture.

Due to the way the flashlight was constructed, I was not able to obtain a current usage reading.

I'll run a battery discharge analysis as soon as I can, and post the resulting chart on this page when it's ready.

07-23-04: I'm running that battery discharge analysis as of 3:20pm PDT. This test will be on Energizer L91 lithium cells. And if the test somehow becomes queered, I have enough of this type of battery to run as many as several more tests.

And here's the chart; around 8:10am PDT 07-24-04:
Runs for about 6 hours 55 minutes in regulation, then drops off like somebody slammed the toilet seat on its head. This sudden fall-off is indeed indicative of a regulator circuit, which is a GOOD thing. Runs for about 7 hours 10 minutes to 50% intensity, and 7 hours 20 minutes to 10% intensity.
Total time for this test was 8 hours 10 minutes.

Since the battery lifetime appears to be somewhat temperature-dependent, I'll state the temperature:
Ambient temperature in the testing area was approximately 85°F (29.4°C) to 90°F (32.2°C).

Photograph showing the business-end of the Heliotek, with the deep reflector and LED visible.

The Heliotek HTE-1 Electronic Flashlight appears to be a very durable instrument that should provide you with years of trouble-free service. I struck it ten times against a steel rod (five on the tail/barrel, and five on the bezel), and did not damage it in any way that I can detect, and did not cause it to malfunction either.

I don't normally show flashlights under the wheels of a 400 pound electric Rascalator chair, but in this case, it's appropriate because the Heliotek HTE-1 Electronic Flashlight was tested this way by somebody else in an electric wheelchair, and was not damaged. This sample was not damaged either, even after several crushing back-and-forth trips over the flashlight. This "run over" test was, as usual, conducted on carpeting with a height of approximately 0.08" and no backing or padding, laid over a linoleum floor.

The bezel (head) is made of GE Lexan brand polycarbonate, and the barrel is made of Santoprene®-covered stainless steel. Try to break this flashlight, and you'll probably give out (or give up) before the flashlight does.

I checked its water-resistance by putting it in the bathroom sink full of water, and noticed it tried to float. But the sink wasn't deep enough, so I took the lid off the cistern and threw it in there. The Heliotek floats in the water bezel-up, and stays dry inside too. So it's waterproof and floats - at least it will float with Energizer L91 lithium cells in it.
It was tested submersible to 150 feet (45 meters), so you won't have any problems at all regardless of how hard it's raining or snowing when you use this flashlight in foul weather. You can also go diving with it if you wish; the reed switch will not activate or deactivate by itself when subjected to water pressure because it's sealed inside the bezel, and the external portions of the switch contain a magnet that operates it right through the bezel.

But because the HTE-1 uses a reed switch, please do not store it where a strong magnetic field might exist, such as on top of an unshielded loudspeaker or on top of the boob tube (the degaussing coil in there might damage the magnet in the switch assembly when the TV set is turned on).

Picture showing the HTE-1 lighted when turned off because of the magnet in the blue clip assembly (for another product) near the HTE-1's bezel.

There is a regulator circuit in the bezel of the HTE-1. I tried alkaline cells of unknown prior usage, and got a reading of close to 920,000mcd (based on a quick reading, not a carefully aligned and scripted one), so the circuit does appear to be doing its job. Lithium cells are recommended primarily because they will provide longer life (runtime) - the regulator circuit was specifically optimised for them, and the flashlight will float if dropped in water. Although lithium cells are highly recommended, you can use alkaline cells in an emergency situation.

The bezel has some notches cut or moulded into it, that serve to remind you the light is still turned on when it is set face-down on a flat surface. The flashlight can also be balanced on its tail for ceiling illumination, even with the lanyard attached.

Beam photo at ~12".
Shows the most accurate color rendition of all three photographs.
Measures 939,000mcd on a Meterman LM631 light meter.
This high reading is in part due to the narrow hotspot produced by this flashlight.

Beam photo at ~5'.

Beam photo at ~5', underexposed by 2 stops to show narrow hotspot.
That goldish-brown color was caused by the underexposure, and does not exist in the beam.

Test sample was provided by Heliotek, Inc. and was received on 07-22-04.
Two sets of batteries, a spare "O" ring, and a "kangaroo" pouch belt holster were included with the flashlight, and more batteries are on the way...thank you!!!

I later received an ammended set of instructions and a steel pin for the lanyard-to-flashlight-tailcap connection.

The website for this flashlight is expected to be available in early August 2004; when it is available, I'll post the URL on this page.

Even at this very early stage, I don't forsee giving the HTE-1 any less than 4 1/2 stars - possibly even the full 5 stars - when I do eventually rate it. So when the website opens in early August 2004, you can buy this flashlight with confidence even if a rating does not yet appear below.

UPDATE: 07-26-04
I have decided to award this product a full 5 stars, and place it in my website's Trophy Case.

UPDATE: 08-11-04
I heard from the HTE-1's manufacturer today, regarding a problem that may cause the reed switch to stick in the "on" position. Here's what he had to say - paraphrased to protect the identities of two people:

We are having pick and place issues with the PCB manufacturer and while we have placed a relatively large production order with them have only allowed two 50 piece runs until we are 100% sure we will get a high yield of good boards. Two flashlight reviewers noticed the same reed relay hang up: we decided the flashlight was defective and sent one of the reviewers another light and had the old one returned to us for analysis. It turned out this was a very good thing because in spite of extensive testing by the reed relay manufacturer and ourselves the part they recommended is having sticking-on problems. Working with them we appear to have a very reliable substitute which will have to be customized for the SMT pcb. As of today it has gone thru 100,000 cycles but we will not be satisfied until we get 1/2 million operations.

There has been some speculation that the performance of the light is not real and that we sent specially selected units to the reviewers. The performance of the light IS due to deep discharge of the batteries, an extremely efficient circuit, and minimal reflector losses. We did not select special units for the reviewers.

UPDATE: 08-16-04
I've decided to EDC (EveryDay Carry) the HTE-1 by hanging it from the left armrest of my electric wheelchair, winding the flashlight's lanyard around the upper arm pylon so the HTE-1 would not strike or rub against the tire.
I'll post updates here if necessary.

UPDATE: 03-18-05
I received a revision 2 HTE-1 today (approximnately 4:40pm PST), and it's different enough to warrant a few new photographs and some intensity measurements. So, without further adoo, here they are:

Photograph of the flashlight itself.
Notice if you will the entire product is black, instead of black with a red bezel ring, switch assembly, and tailcap.

The new revision of this flashlight comes with a "tip off" beam diffuser, which is removeable if you desire.

To operate the diffuser, locate the two ribbed regions on the sides of the diffuser assembly, and firmly squeeze them. The diffusing lens should pop off and swing on its spring-loaded hinge, positioning itself on the side of the bezel just in front of the switch. To put the diffusing lens back on, just swing it back over the front of the flashlight, and gently push down on it until it clicks.

The new HTE-1 also comes with a removeable, reversible pocket clip. This clip can be removed or reversed by removing the bezel assembly (as you would for a battery change), and sliding the clip up the barrel until it comes off.

You can still use alkaline cells in it, but it is STRONGLY advised you use lithium cells only.

The belt holster has also been slightly redesigned in at least two ways: to accomodate the "tip off" diffusing lens, and there is a two-piece Velcro strap that fastens around the flashlight's bezel.

Beam photograph at ~12" with the diffusing lens in place.
Measures 197,700mcd.
The beam is very significantly wider with the diffuser in place, which accounts for the lower reading.

Beam photograph at ~12" with the diffusing lens flipped out of the way.
Measures 1,150,000mcd.

Both measurements were performed on a Meterman LM631 light meter.

UPDATE: 05-22-05
Heliotek now has a PocketPod and tripod adapter for the HTE-1 available.
Cost is $10 a set.

The PocketPod (made out of ABS plastic) is made by Assia, and the tripod adapter (made out of black Lexan plastic, and goes around the HTE-1's barrel) is made by Heliotek. The tripod adapter is affixed to the flashlight by removing the flashlight's bezel (head), and pressing the loop in the adapter over the barrel. Screw the HTE-1's bezel back on, mate the female brass bushing to the male screw on the PocketPod, and use the thumbwheel on the other side of the PocketPod's screw to tighten the screw into the bushing until it's snug. No tools are necessary - no tools are recommended for that matter; you don't want to overtighten this screw and then not be able to get it back off.

In the following photograph, the HTE-1 is affixed to the PocketPod via the threaded brass bushing in the tripod adapter, and the PocketPod's legs are fully extended.

The PocketPod also fits my Nikon CP-775 digital camera, so some photographs I was not able to take after 10-11-04 (when I moved, but not everything came along with me) may now be possible.

The PocketPod's legs can be folded flush with one another, so you really can put it in your pocket.

UPDATE: 05-23-05
The tripod adapter has a 10 year warranty - same as the HTE-1 flashlight itself, but the PocketPod, being a third-party accessory, does not.

INSTRUCTIONS: To install the tripod adaptor to the flashlight, unscrew the battery case and slide the adaptor over the SantopreneŽ handle. The tapered portion of the adaptor should be towards the flashlight head. Re-install the flashlight handle. The PocketPod can then be attached to the adaptor by tightening the thumbwheel until snug. Do not over tighten The legs of the tripod can be extended by loosening the lever screw, pivoting the long leg, and then carefully pulling the two remaining shorter legs apart to form approximately an 80° angle. Do not force the legs of the PocketPod, or damage may occur. The PocketPod may be closed by first closing the two small legs and then closing the longer leg. The tripod adaptor can be removed from the flashlight by reversing the previous process.

NOTE: The tripod mount adaptor is molded of LexanŽ polycarbonate, an extremely impact resistant thermoplastic and a stainless steel thread insert. The PocketPod is made of ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) which is not as strong as LexanŽ. Heliotek is not the manufacturer of the PocketPod, which is purchased from an outside supplier. The Heliotek 10 year warranty applies to the tripod adaptor but not to the PocketPod.

UPDATE: 03-05-07
Spectrographic plot
Spectrometer plot of the LED in this flashlight.
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from WWW.TWO-CUBED.COM.

ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis, tip-off diffuser lifted away.

ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis, tip-off diffuser in place.
Image made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.

Longer than usual "throw" for an LED flashlight
Bright, thanks to that 1.2 watt Luxeon LED
Scalloped bezel lets you know it's on even if set down face-first
Durable construction
Can be stood on its tail for ceiling illumination, even with lanyard attached
Water-resistant and submersible to 150 feet
Floats, if lithium L91 cells are used in it
Regulated, for constant brightness throughout battery life
Although lithium L91 cells are recommended, you can use alkalines in it
Comes with reusable break-away lanyard and versatile belt holster

Not very pretty to look at - but most tools aren't meant to be. Will not figure into my rating.

Most flashlights are designed to be tools, not jewels.
So, as Seven of Nine on Voyager might say, "Appearances are irrelevant".

    MANUFACTURER: Heliotek, Inc.
    PRODUCT TYPE: Handheld flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: 1.2 watt Luxeon LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Narrow spot, with dimmer penumbra and even dimmer corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Slide/click on/off/momentary at bottom of head
    BEZEL: Plastic; LED and reflector protected by coated Lexan plastic window
    BATTERY: 2x Energizer L91 lithium AA cells (recommended)
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    SUBMERSIBLE: Yes, tested by another user to 150 feet (45 meters)
    ACCESSORIES: 4x Energizer L91 cells, break-away lanyard, belt holster, spare "O" ring, spare steel pin for lanyard connection
    SIZE: 8.25" long, 1.75" diameter at its widest point
    WARRANTY: 10 years


    Star Rating

Heliotek HTE-1 Electronic Flashlight * www.heliotekinc.com/

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