UView 'UV-Phazer' NUV Inspection Light, retail TBA (www.uview.com...)
Manufactured by UView (www.uview.com)
Last updated 05-22-04

The UView UV-Phazer is a small, handheld near-ultraviolet (NUV) "leak detector" lamp, used for finding leaks in refrigeration systems like reach-in coolers, beer coolers, ice machines, air conditioners, etc. It has a slightly curved barrel, and looks a bit like the hand phaser weapons used on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager.

When I used to work on beer coolers, ice machines, etc., we had a "halogen detector", a device that had a negative air pressure wand, and who's tone would change if you brought the business-end of the wand near a freon leak.
Back then, we used a refrigerant called "R-12"; I'm not sure if that detector works on the "R-22" that's in common use today. But the Phazer would! If you can introduce the dye into the system, this light should show the leak right away. Couple that with the violet/UV blocking goggles/glasses included in the package, and that pesky little leak that's been pissing you off and making you waste freon will be even easier to find.


To use the Phazer, install the batteries (see below), then you'll be ready to roll.

The Phazer is meant to be a "leak finder" for refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

Remember, you must first introduce fluorescent dye into the refrigeration unit and allow it to circulate for a short time before looking for leaks with the Phazer.

To turn the Phazer on, press and release the button on the barrel of the light. To turn the Phazer off, press and release the button the same way again. For intermittent operation, press the button less firmly (before it locks on), and hold it that way for as long as you need the light. Release to shut it back off.

Using a small or medium phillips screwdriver, unscrew and remove the screw on the right hand side of the body, near the tailcap. Hold the Phazer with the bezel facing down and the tail facing up when you do this, or the tailcap and all those batteries will come out and clatter to the floor. Once the screw is out, set it aside where you won't lose it. Lift off the tailcap, and set that aside too. Tip the four used batteries out of the barrel, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit.

Insert two AA cells in the left-hand side of the chamber (as the light is facing forward and is right-side up) button-end (+) first. Insert two more AA cells in the right-hand side of the chamber flat side (-) negative end first.

Turn the flashlight so the bezel once again faces the floor, and place the battery lid back on. Be sure it fits on properly; holding it down if necessary, and screw the screw back in.
NOTE: It is possible for the screw to fit while the battery lid itself isn't all the way on, so be sure it fits flush with the light body before tightening that screw.

If the Phazer does not come on, check the polarity of the batteries to be sure you installed them correctly.

Battery test.
Looks like it runs for just a hair over 10 hours to the half-intensity point.
And it ran for just under 22 hours for this test. The test was stopped at this point, as its light output was deemed too low to be truly useful. Yes, it was still generating light, but I don't think it was at usable levels anymore.
This test was conducted with a 100% duty cycle, and a set of Duracell alkaline cells.
This is a typical unregulated alkaline battery discharge curve.

Measures 287mA (41mA per LED) on 4 new Duracell alkaline cells.

Photograph showing the business-end of the Phazer.

The Phazer produces a tightly collimated beam of near-ultraviolet light, peaking at what I believe is 408nm or thereabouts. My spectrometer is broken, so I cannot measure it and determine the peak wavelength for certain. Two of the seven LEDs in the Phazer produce a peak wavelength around 5nm shorter than the other five. This is noticeable only when the light is shone on a non-fluorescent white surface at close range (an inch or two), and the individual beams are observed on that surface. These shorter wavelength beams appear dimmer and less blue (more violet) than the beams from the other LEDs. I doubt the average user of this light would even notice. But I noticed, so on this web page it went.

The Phazer feels nice in the hand, and has a ribbed rubbery piece on the bottom to help you "keep a grip on things", even if your hands are a little greasy from tinkering around the compressor, hooking up hoses, cold from digging ice cubes out of the ice machine, and whatnot.

There is no anti-roll fin anywhere on it, but the Phazer's slightly curved shape should help prevent it from getting away from you if you set it down on a sloped surface.

The Phazer isn't waterproof, so if you're working near one of those Auto-Chlor sinks, try to keep the Phazer from falling in. It does appear to be splash-resistant, so if it gets a little wet, I don't believe you'll have to worry too much about it. Just try not to drop it in water or let the dog go to the bathroom on it. And for heaven sakes, please try not to drown it in the crapper on purpose.
Because this is a loaner sample, I cannot try to get it wet on purpose to see what happens.

The manufacturer of this lamp claims the LEDs will last 70,000 hours; independent testing by another well-known LED expert places the half-intensity point of these types of LEDs at under 200 hours. LEDs which are overdriven like the LEDs in the Phazer are might only last 100 hours to half-intensity.

The instructional material that comes with the Phazer warns you to "protect eyes and skin during operation". I don't believe there is any risk to your SKIN, but you should not shine the Phazer in your eyes, anybody else's eyes, pet's eyes, etc. There should be no problems with skin, however. The wavelength is just too long to cause any UV-related skin damage.

Battery rattle is evident when the light is shaken or manhandled; you don't even need to shake the light vigorously to hear this.

Beam photo at ~12".
Light does NOT appear white or magenta like this picture makes it appear.
Beam appears to be a deep royal purple when viewed with your own eyes.

Beam photo at ~12".
Camera was set to a -2.0 exposure value, so the white hotspot would be rendered more correctly.
Again, light does NOT appear magenta like this picture makes it appear.
Beam appears to be a deep royal purple when viewed with your own eyes.

Two fluorescent rulers illuminated by the Phazer from 12".

Test unit was provided as a loaner by a fan of the website, and was received on 05-14-04.
It came with the original box, the instructional material, and a pair of yellow (UV-blocking) plastic goggles or glasses. I will need to send these all back when asked of me, so comparisons between the Phazer and other NUV products may not be possible.

UPDATE: 05-18-04
This URL takes you to the Phazer's page from UView. Note that this is a .PDF file; you'll need to have Adobe Acrobat or other .PDF reader installed in order to read it. File size is also large (900K), so dial-up users please be aware of the long download time.

UPDATE: 05-22-04
Here is a photograph of the Phazer illuminating acrylic pieces from 13" away.

This acrylic fluoresces very similarly to the dye used in refrigeration systems.

Feels great in the hand
Wierd looking lenses really do work
Batteries are readily available
Light's curved shape acts as an anti-roll mechanism, in addition to giving it a nice feel

Not waterproof or submersible
Short lamp module life (~150-200 hrs) vs. the 70,000 hours claimed
Lenses could get banged up in a toolbox or if set down on a crappy surface
Box says it produces "true UV", but the dominant wavelength is more of a true violet
Significant battery rattle is present
Awkward battery replacement
Tools needed for battery change
The screw will wear the plastic in the boss (during battery replacement)
Does not produce a uniform and sharply defined beam
Does not have regulation, so light output will continuously decline (not good in a lamp designed for leak detection, where you would want the highest total luminous flux you can get)

    PRODUCT TYPE: NUV leak detector
    LAMP TYPE: LED, ~408nm violet/near-UV
    No. OF LAMPS: 7
    BEAM TYPE: Tightly collimated
    SWITCH TYPE: Pushbutton on/off/momentary
    BEZEL: Custom-made lenses protect LEDs underneath
    BATTERY: 4 AA cells
    WATER RESISTANT: Light splash resistance only
    ACCESSORIES: 4 AA cells, yellow goggles/glasses
    WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated


    Star RatingStar Rating

UView 'Phazer' NUV Inspection Light * www.uview.com...

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