POWERFLARE
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PowerFlare, retail $47.95 (www.shopbowhead.com...)
Manufactured by PowerFlare Corp.
Last updated 03-21-13





This isn't a true flashlight, but since it uses LEDs, a battery, and some circuitry to produce light, I guess it counts.

The PF-200 PowerFlare is designed to be a replacement for the old fashioned and dangerous incenindairy (fire-using) road flare. Instead of some flammable chemicals in a stick, the PowerFlare uses 16 LEDs, which have 9 patterns you can choose from; this is designed to attract attention to a roadside problem, house or apartment problem, boating problem, or just for cool special effects at dances and raves.

It is weatherproof and submersible, and it's safe to use around spilled oil and gasoline.

The PowerFlare feeds from one CR123A lithium cell for up to 100 hours of life; and when the battery poops out, you just pop in a new one and keep right on going.


 SIZE



Firmly press and release the small area on the upper surface of the product where you see a short line with a circle going almost all the way around it.


Here is a photograph showing you what the switch looks like.

Doing this once turns the PowerFlare on in "quad flash" mode.
Press and release it again for "double blink" mode.
Press and release it again for "single blink" mode.
Press and release it again for "rotate" mode.
Press and release it again for "alternate" mode.
Press and release it again for SOS (Morse code) mode.
Press and release it again for "solid on - high" mode.
Press and release it again for "solid on - low" mode.
Press and release it again for "flashlight" mode.
Press and release it again to turn it off.

If you press and hold the button for more than 2 seconds, the unit turns off, and remembers the last mode it was in, so the next time you activate it, it comes on in that mode.

It sounds harder to do in print than it actually is to do it.



To change the battery, use the included 7/64" Allen wrench to remove the two screws from the bottom of the unit. Flus...er...uh...set them aside.

Remove the top of the unit, and fl...er...uh...set that aside too.

Inside the body of the product, you'll see a black battery holder with the CR123A cell in it and a red rubber sleeve around the cell.

Use one hand to hold the battery holder down, and use the other hand to pull up on the red rubber sleeve so the battery comes out. Do not discard the red rubber sleeve!!! Remove it from the cell before disposing of or recycling the cell.

Place the sleeve around a new CR123A cell, and insert it into the battery compartment. Be sure the button-end (+) positive of the cell faces the (+) marking at one end of the battery compartment.

If the board assembly comes out or rotates, align it so the (+) sign faces the mounting loop on the outer shell of the product. The button has a black stem that is to the upper left of the battery box if you hold the unit so the (+) is in the 12:00 position. This stem is press-fit to the button. Make sure it is in place before putting the top of the unit back on.

Place the top of the unit back on, orienting it so the screw holes are aligned, and the power button on the top of the unit matches up positionally with the button and post inside the unit.
Be certain that the O-ring in the top piece of this unit does not get out of its groove when you put this part back on, or else water-resistance will be compromised.

Screw in those two screws you removed earlier, and throw the Allen wrench in the garbage ca...er...uh...put it away where you won't lose it.

Run times are as follows:
15 hours "quad flash" mode.
30 hours "double blink" mode.
100 hours "single blink" mode.
15 hours "rotate" mode.
10 hours "alternate" mode.
24 hours SOS (Morse code) mode.
8 hours "solid on - high" mode.
60 hours "solid on - low" mode.
15 hours "flashlight" mode.



The PowerFlare appears to be reasonably durable, and should easily withstand rattling around in a car trunk or being stuffed into a glovebox. I believe it can also survive being stepped on, if you aren't watching where you're going and somehow a shoe or boot ends up on top it for a sec.

From the manufacturer, comes this tidbit:
"I have run it over with Fire trucks, and Semi tractors with no issues. Police departments have indicated that shooting it might be the only way to destroy it."

(Update 03-13-06): With permission, I administered that terrible smack test on it (fifteen whacks against the corner of a concrete stair; five whacks against the top, five whacks against the bottom, and five whacks against the edge), and found NO damage. No optical or electrical malfunctions were detected either.
The orange rubber covering did its job and cussioned the blows; protecting the transparent plastic underneath.

(Update 03-14-06): I drove back and fourth over the product four times using the 10" knobby drive wheels of my electric wheelchair (~400lbs with me in it), and no damage was detected.

The PowerFlare is advertised as being weatherproof and waterproof - submersible to 300 feet actually. And they float, so if it comes off whatever tether you affix them to on divers, they will bob to and float on the surface. Being submersible to this depth means that PowerFlares can be used as dive markers.
***VERY IMPORTANT!!!*** Water-resistance is only guaranteed when the unit is properly reassembled following a battery change.

Let's try "The Toilet Test" and see what happens...BRB...ok, after letting it bob around for one minute in the cistern (toilet tank) at a water temp of 47F (9.4C), I douched it off under the faucet to flush away any chlorine from the in-tank bowl cleaner, dried the outside off with some bungwipe, and no malfunctions were detected. For being submersible to 300', there was absolutely no surprise here.

The LEDs are aimed slightly upward, to help ensure visibility to oncoming vehicles when this product is deployed on a roadway.

"Solid on" really isn't solid; the PowerFlare uses a method called PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) so the LEDs appear on, but in reality they are switched on and off faster than the eye can perceive. PWM was detected by turning it on and then waving it about rapidly; a strobe-like effect was seen when this was done.
This helps to conserve battery power and allow the battery to last longer.


This cute little guy was included with the PowerFlare test sample.
It is made out of foam, and appears to be a novelty item.
I don't believe you'll also receive one, but I could very well be incorrect.



In "flashlight" mode, it measures 11,080mcd on a Meterman LM631 light meter.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this product.


Spectrographic analysis
Same as above; newer spectrometer software & settings used


Spectrographic analysis
Same as above; yet newer spectrometer setting used.


Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this product; yet newer spectrometer setting used.


Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this product; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 620nm and 650nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is exactly 638.00nm.


Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this product; newest (01-13-13) spectrometer software setting used.


Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this product; newest (01-13-13) spectrometer software setting used. Spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 635nm and 645nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is 639.288nm.

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.


ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis.
Image made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.


Quicktime movie (.mov extension) showing one of the PowerFlare's patterns.
This is 4.2 megabytes (4,541,244 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than twenty five minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.


Quicktime movie (.mov extension) showing another one of the PowerFlare's patterns.
This is 4.3 megabytes (4,558,052 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than twenty five minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.




Video clip on YourTube showing the patterns produced by the PowerFlare.
I mispronounced the word "alternate" in this video, just so ya know.

This clip is approximately 14.69345234 megabytes (14,973,650 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than seventy four minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

I cannot provide them in other formats, so please do not ask.





TEST NOTES:
Test unit was sent as a loaner by J.B. of bowhead.com and was received on the afternoon of 03-10-06.

LED colors available are red, green, blue, and white; case colors available are orange and yellow. The model I'm evaluating for you today uses red LEDs and comes in an orange case.

Product was made in the United States. A product's country of origin really does matter to some people, which is why I published it on this web page.


UPDATE: 03-13-06
I have been given explicit written consent (not implied oral consent) to perform "The Smack Test" on the PowerFlare, so I'll do that test later on today.


UPDATE: 09-28-06
I have been informed that there is now a rechargeable version of the PowerFlare; which is supposedly submersible to a deeper depth than this one.


UPDATE: 02-12-07
From the side of the package, comes this list of suggested uses:
  • Vehicle breakdown
  • Traffic control
  • Rescue signal
  • Boating/marine
  • Scuba
  • Tactical police & military operations
  • Helicopter landing zones
  • Hurricanes
  • Power blackouts
  • Earthquakes
  • Disasters
  • Other emergencies



PROS:
Very durable construction
Waterproof - even submersible to 300 feet
Bright enough to be truly useful
Multiple modes of operation easily available via a single button


CONS:
Battery it needs may be expensive and/or difficult to locate
Tool (included) needed for battery change


    MANUFACTURER: PowerFlare Corp.
    PRODUCT TYPE: LED road "flare"
    LAMP TYPE: 5mm LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 16
    BEAM TYPE: N/A
    SWITCH TYPE: Membrane-type on/mode change/off on top surface of unit
    CASE MATERIAL: Plastic & hard rubber
    BEZEL: N/A
    BATTERY: 1xCR123A cell
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    WATER- AND PEE-RESISTANT: Yes
    SUBMERSIBLE: Yes, to 300'
    ACCESSORIES: Allen wrench, CR123A cell
    WARRANTY: Guaranteed against DOA only

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star Rating





PowerFlare * www.shopbowhead.com...







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