Tritium Torch, retail $105.00 (
Manufactured by MB Microtech (
Last updated 05-16-09

This is the 20mm MB Microtech torch, with a variable brightness knob on top. It contains 3 curies of tritium (a mildly radioactive gas), so it will glow for a very long time (halflife ~12 years), never needs batteries, and since there are no electrical components, should be waterproof and immune to EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from a nuclear bomb if one is detonated anywhere nearby (assuming you yourself survive, of course).

It comes in a plastic body with what I believe is a glass positive (magnifying) lens on its front face.

This torch is designed to be used when your eyes are already adapted to darkness; not a torch designed to throw (project light) for one and a half kilometres.


This torch is ready to use as soon as you receive it; you never need to buy batteries for it, charge it under a lamp, or wind a crank.

Turn the knob on top clockwise (as if tightening it) just over 1/4th of a turn from the fully off position to expose the tritium glow material inside (it's protected by a glass lens); turn it counterclockwise (as if loosening it) 1/4th of a turn to cover up the tritium glow material inside and effectively douse or extinguish (put out) the light.

You can set this knob in any "in between" position to control how much light you want.

Since this product never needs batteries, never needs to be charged in the light, and never needs cranking, this section really isn't necessary here.

The tritium has a halflife of ~12 years, meaning this product will reach 50% intensity in ~12 years - whether it just sits in a drawer or gets used every night.

Because this torch contains a mildly radioactive material in a glass housing and because I would probably not be able to obtain another, punishment testing will not be performed on it.

Despite being mildly radioactive (when the tritium gas is exposed by product breakage), these devices are safe.
Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen, in that instead of one proton and one electron (a normal hydrogen atom), tritium is hydrogen with two extra neutrons. When this nucleus decays, it emits an electron (which strikes the phosphor inside and generates a flash of light), and the atom changes into helium 3. This isotope of helium is naturally occuring and stable, but there is very little of this isotope actually found in nature. The kind of helium in balloons is helium 4 - the other stable isotope. That's what most helium is.

Tritium is what's known as a "soft beta emitter", and the electron (beta particle) it emits is the lowest energy of any radioactive material. Even if the product becomes broken, the gas cannot penetrate the skin, and what small amount you might inhale is not absorbed in bone marrow, and is instead pissed out relatively quickly. So these devices are safe.

This is a very low level light emitter, designed to be used when you are already adapted to darkness, not a torch or flashlight designed for maximum intensity.

Beam photograph.
Light intensity is waaaaaay too low to measure on my instruments.

Photograph of the front of the torch itself, showing the greenish glow.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the fluorescence of this product when irradiated with The Laser Box V2.1 (TLBV2.1) (Blu-ray Violet Laser).

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the light emission from this torch at maximum candiosity (
pronounced "")
Beam "shutter" was opened all the way for this test.

Test unit was purchased in a group buy on Candlepower Forums on 11-04-05, and was received on the afternoon of 12-27-05. The long lead time was already known and explained; no problems there.

UPDATE: 02-05-06
I have decided to rate this product 4 1/2 stars and place it in The Trophy Case on this website. I rated it faster than I'd typically rate something that uses an LED or an incandescent light bulb as its light source.

The thing that nocked that last 1/2 star off is its very low brightness. Although this torch was never designed to be an "eye-killing toliet destructor", I think it could have been at least a little brighter.

Never, ever have to buy batteries or blubs for it
Self-luminous - never, ever have to charge it under a light
Water-resistant and submersible too
Appears at very minimum reasonably durable
Light output is continuously variable from 0% to 100% via a knob on its top

Not all that bright - one must be at least partially dark-adapted for this product to be TRULY useful for the average person

    MANUFACTURER: MB Microtech
    PRODUCT TYPE: Low-level tritium torch
    LAMP TYPE: 3 curies of tritium
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Medium spot
    BEZEL: Plastic; tritium light source protected by glass lens
    SUBMERSIBLE: Yes; depth unknown
    ACCESSORIES: Lanyard
    WARRANTY: Unknown


    Star RatingStar Rating

Tritium Torch *

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