Milky Candle, retail $45 (
Manufactured by Scott C. ("Milkyspit" on CPF)
Last updated 11-15-09

IMPORTANT: The URL above opens a fairly long thread on Candlepower Forums, and may take a couple of minutes to display, especially if you're on a yucky slow dial-up connection like me.

The Milky Candle isn't a flashlight in the truest sense of the word, but it uses an LED and some batteries, so it's good enough for me.

This product was designed and built by a Candlepower Forums member who wanted a power outage light that would also finish off the already-used batteries from SureFire, Streamlight, and other flashlights that use CR123A cells. Thus, the Milky Candle was born. It consists of a short length of white pipe and two pipe caps, approximately 4.5" long not counting the LED assembly (approx. 5" long with).

In the head of the Milky Candle, you'll find a Nichia 9,200mcd white LED, a regulator circuit (which may be potted), and a three-way slide switch to select three different brightnesses of the LED.


My Milky Candle came to me ready to use right away; you may or may not have to load batteries in yours first. If you have to put batteries in it first, do so (see below), and then you'll be ready to go to town.

To turn your Milky Candle on, twist the tailcap clockwise (as if tightening it). And to turn it off, twist the tailcap counterclockwise (as if loosening it).

On the top of the Milky Candle, near the LED, is a three-way slide switch. You use this to select one of three brightness levels.
For the lowest setting, set the switch in the center position.
For medium, set the switch to the leftmost position.
For highest setting, set the switch to its rightmost position.

The Milky Candle comes with two transparent diffuser caps with ribs moulded into their sides. One is clear, the other is red.
To use these diffuser caps, just pick the one you want to use and pop it over the LED. These caps help minimise the hotspot generated by the LED, and spread some of the light out toward the sides.

To change the batteries in your Milky Candle, unscrew and remove the tailcap, and throw it away...O WAIT, YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead. ;-)
Tip the barrel into your hand, so the two dead batteries slide out. Recycle or dispose of them as you see fit. Insert two new CR123A cells in the barrel, button (+) end first, and screw the tailcap back on. Back it off a bit when your Milky Candle springs to life. Aren't you glad you didn't get rid of that tailcap now? ;-)

On "low", it measures 1mA.
On "medium", it measures 7mA.
On "high", it measures 29mA.
Measured on my DMM's 2A scale to help minimise shunt resistance error.

I was certain to use known-new batteries for this test, as the ones included with my Milky Candle were intentionally partially discharged.

The Milky Candle appears to be a robust and durable instrument. It has a good "heft" in the hand, and stands on its tail quite readily to serve as a cool-running, flameless candle.

It has three brightness settings, which you can select with a small slide switch near the LED.
See the text below for more details on this.

Taken directly from a post regarding the Milky Candle on CPF, originally posted by Scott C.:
Three brightness settings...

"High" runs at roughly Arc-AAA brightness for 43 hours on fresh cells.

"Medium" runs just bright enough to see everything in an average-sized room for 166 hours on fresh cells.

"Nightlight" mode runs bright enough to see everything in at least a 6 foot radius with dark-adapted eyes, for 1000 hours on fresh cells.

All three levels are current regulated, meaning equal brightness for pretty much the entire runtime. As the batteries reach the end of their service life, the Milky Candle drops into direct drive mode, meaning several more hours of gradually diminishing light. (Maybe dozens of hours in nightlight mode.)


Like a SureFire tactical switch. Twist on, twist off, press for momentary activation. No lockout mode, but switch is inset to minimize accidental activation.

From a PM that Scott sent to me via Candlepower Forums:
With the bare LED the light can also be grasped tactical-style (think of the tailcap in terms of a grip ring), and the pushbutton momentary on/off used. It'll project a beam very much like an Arc AAA (at least when on the high setting).

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming, already in progress...
I don't usually "borrow" text from a flashlight maker's website or a forum, but since this is directly from the Milky Candle's maker, I didn't see a real problem in posting his words here. With appropriate credit, of course. :-)

One thing that the Milky Candle excels at is using batteries that are too dead for anything else. Batteries that are too dead to run in SureFire or Streamlight flashlights will work fine in the Milky Candle.

The Milky Candle features a regulator circuit that will provide the same intensity of its LED whether the batteries are new or used. Only when its batteries are just about petered out will the LED brightness begin to decrease.

The Milky Candle is not waterproof or submersible, so please keep it away from lakes, ponds, creeks, oceansides, puddles of mouse pee, rain, snow, snowbanks, toilets, tubs, sinks, or other places where water or water-like liquids might be found. If you know or suspect your Milky Candle got flooded, remove the tailcap and batteries, dump the water out of the barrel if necessary, and set everything in a warm, dry place for a day or so to be sure everything's dried out. It should be good as new after getting douched if you do this. Note: If something went to the bathroom on it or if it fell in seawater, rinse the parts out in fresh water before drying.

Update 03-25-04
As suggested by the maker, I removed & bagged the diffusing cap, set the Milky Candle to "medium", and set it on my bedside table overnight. I turned the bedside TV off at midnight and turned the nightlight off in the bathroom, and I did not find the Milky Candle too bright to sleep with. Yet it was bright enough that I could find my way to the toilet, seat myself on it, get up, flush, and head back to bed. For this test, I replaced the Gentle LED Birth Light at bedside that I had been using as a nightlight for about the last year; replacing it with the Milky Candle.

Update 03-26-04
I did the exact thing as I did the night before last, except I set the Milky Candle to "low". Although I could shine it like a flashlight to find my way to the bathroom, find the commode, sit, then set it on the counter to do my business & flush, then use it like a flashlight again and find my way back to bed; it was overall a bit more difficult than it was with the unit set to "medium". If you use your Milky Candle for this purpose and keep it on "low", set it to "medium" when you first sit up in bed and pick it up; do your thing, and then set it back to "low" when you return to bed.

Note that this is an early version of this page. I still need to live with the Milky Candle for awhile before I can form an opinion about it.

Picture of the business-end of the Milky Candle on "high" with the white diffuser on.

Because this is not a flashlight, I won't be able to
do light measurements or other photometric analyses.

Picture of the Milky Candle on "high" with the red diffuser on.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the Milky Candle.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the red LED in the Milky Tester (which was furnished later on).
USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

The Milky Candle, including two CR123A cells (partially discharged on purpose), a clear diffusing cap, and a red diffusing cap, was purchased a few days ago, and was received on the afternoon of 03-24-04.

IMPORTANT: This version of the Milky Candle has a socketed, changeable LED; the Milky Candle you buy would have the LED epoxied in place.

This is a homemade light, and will not be rated like a commercial flashlight.

UPDATE: 10-28-09
I performed spectroscopy of the LED in the "Milky Tester" that was furnished later on as an accessory to the Milky Candle itself.

UPDATE: 11-15-09
I performed spectroscopy of the LED in the Milky Candle itself -- once I actually noticed that I had the silly thing right nearby all this time...but you know the old saying: "Better late than never".

Milky Candle *

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