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FIRE~FLY II FLASHLIGHT



Fire~Fly II Flashlight, retail $140 (No web URL known)
Manufactured by Doug Speck ("DSpeck" on Candlepower Forums)
Last updated 03-05-08





The Fire~Bug II - er - I mean - Fire~Fly II is the latest incarnation of the original Fire~Fly flashlight.
It uses the new Luxeon III, a 3 watt Luxeon LED, as its source of light. In the barrel, a single CR123A lithium cell powers that LED, and this particular version has a two-stage rotary bezel switch, so you can operate the LED on "low" or "high", plus of course, "off".

The Fire~Fly II is made by Doug Speck ("DSpeck") from Candlepower Forums, and represents an improvement over the original Fire~Fly. The two most noticeable improvements are the LED itself, and the two-stage switch. Other changes from the original are the dark greenish grey anodizing color, and the "Fire~Fly" graphic laser-etched on the barrel, near the tail.

The Fire~Fly II has knurling (texturising) on the head and three bands on the barrel, so retention (the ability to hold the flashlight when your hands are cold, wet, or oily) should not be a problem.


 SIZE



The Fire~Fly II came to me ready to use, only needing to be removed from the little zip-lock bag it came in. If you need to feed yours first, do so (see below), and then you can go paint the town red.

Turn the bezel clockwise (as if tightening it), and your Fire~Fly II will come on in "low". Careful in turning it here; the two-stage switch appears to be fairly sensitive. Turn the bezel clockwise some more, and the flashlight will switch to "high" mode.

Turn the bezel counterclockwise (as if loosening it) to turn the Fire~Fly II back off. Be sure it's all the way off, not in "low" mode.

The Fire~Fly II can be stood on its tail for ceiling illumination, even if you have a key ring or lanyard attached.


Photograph of the Fire~Fly II's tail end, showing how it can stand unaided even if something's already attached via the provided hole. Note: Dust motes in this photograph do not come with the Fire~Fly II; please do not expect to receive them. ;-)



To change the battery in the Fire~Fly II, unscrew and remove the bezel (head), throw it in the commode, and flush it away...O WAIT!!! YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead. ;-)

Tip the used CR123A cell out of the barrel, and dispose of or recycle it as you see fit.

Insert a new CR123A cell in the barrel, flat-end (-) negative first. Screw the bezel back on, and back it off a bit when your Fire~Fly II springs to life.
Aren't you glad you didn't flush away that bezel now? ;-)

Due to the way the Fire~Fly II is constructed, I am not able to obtain a current consumption reading.




Picture of the Fire~Fly II's business-end, showing the optic over the Luxeon Star LED.
You can also see that copper from the extensive heatsinking in the Fire~Fly II.

The Fire~Fly II appears to be a durable instrument that should provide you with years of trouble-free service.

I vigorously smacked the Fire~Fly II against a steel rod ten times (five on the barrel near the tail and five on the bezel) and did not damage it in any way I can detect, and did not cause it to malfunction either. Very few flashlights are actually destroyed by this test though; maybe I ought to come up with something even more brutal.
The Fire~Fly II has a Type III hard anodizing ("HAIII" as us flashaholics call it), which is the toughest exterior treatment you can get on a flashlight.

I tried to cut the Fire~Fly II's window with the blade of a Swiss army knife, and I was not successful. This indicates the window is made of glass, not plastic or acrylic.
Would I really try to cut up a brand spanken new, limited release flashlight?
You bet your sugar-coated bunghole I would, if it's in the name of science.

I have heard the window used in this flashlight is a 2mm thick, multicoated glass disk.

The Fire~Bug II - I mean - Fire~Fly II was placed in approximately 1 foot of water at 76F (24.4C) for three minutes (to simulate a user dropping it into a creek), and after drying the outside off with some toilet paper, no water was found inside. So, yes, it is weatherproof and submersible to at least 1 foot (12").
I used a sink for this test, not a toilet bowl. I swear.

The beam is very white, with just a hint of blue or blue-green in it. But if you showed people the beam and asked them what color it was, I guarantee that everybody would holler out "WHITE!!!".

The central hotspot has a somewhat eccentric diamond or square shape to it. This is surrounded by a circular penumbra and a circular corona, so the center of the beam is not at all bothersome.

The Fire~Fly II is beautiful to look at even when it's off. The barrel is made of slightly greenish grey hard-anodized aluminum, and the head is made of a slightly greenish grey hard-anodized aluminum with a copper insert to serve as a heatsink. There's a strip of copper visible about 1/4 of the way down the flashlight; you can also see some of that characteristic coppery color when looking at the business-end of the Fire~Fly II when it's off. The copper is part of the Fire~Fly II's heatsinking (necessary with large junction, high current LEDs like the Luxeon Star), and is an integral part of the flashlight. It was used primarily because it makes a better heatsinking material than aluminum in small flashlights like this. An aluminum heatsink assembly was included with my Fire~Fly II, however since I don't have a pair of snap-ring pliers (necessary for removing the copper heatsink assembly, and replacing it with the aluminum heatsink), I cannot test it. Not yet, anyway.

There is knurling (texturising) on the head and on the barrel, so retention should not be an issue. This knurling is relatively aggressive (sharp), so it *could* wear or abrade the inside of your pocket over the long term if you carry the Fire~Fly II in your pants regularly. Carrying it on a keyring, on a lanyard, or in a holster may be a good idea with this flashlight if you carry it regularly. The occasional pocket carry will NOT be damaging whatsoever though, so please don't be afraid to carry it that way every now and again.

The split ring included with the Fire~Fly II was difficult to install, but in my opinion, not as difficult as it was on the original Fire~Fly. Using the standard screwdriver blade of a Swiss army knife, I had the ring installed in about two minutes. And I did not drop it or stab myself like what happened when I installed this ring on the original Fire~Fly.



Beam photograph (on "low") at ~12".
Measures 43,800mcd.



Beam photograph (on "high") at ~12".
Measures 370,000mcd.

Both measurements were taken on a Meterman LM631 light meter, and
the NX05 acrylic optic that was already installed in the Fire~Fly II.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED in this flashlight (low).



Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED in this flashlight (high).
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from TWO-CUBED.



Beam photograph (on "high") at ~4', showing the hotspot and the left edge of the circular penumbra.



TEST NOTES:
Evaluation sample was received on the afternoon of 07-28-04, and is being evaluated. It was made and sent by Doug Speck ("DSpeck") on Candlepower Forums
Sample package included the Fire~Fly II itself, a Battery Station CR123A cell, a split ring, an aluminum collar to replace the existing copper heatsink, and what I believe is a Fraen acrylic optic.

Doug Speck (the creator of the Fire~Fly II) has his own forum on Candlepower Forums, right here if you're interested.





UPDATE: 08-01-04
Here's a beam comparison between the original Fire~Bug - er - I mean Fire~Fly and the new Fire~Fly II:


Original Fire~Fly on the left, Fire~Fly II on the right.
Photograph was taken at a distance of approximately 5' against an almost-white wall.


UPDATE: 03-05-08
From an email I received this morning (and I know this is true, so this is *NOT* libel!):

Hundreds have paid tens of thousands to preorder FireFlys from Doug since his last production run 2 years ago. I am one of them unfortunately. This is well documented on CPF. He no longer answers emails nor phone calls. We (a group on CPF) have tried to seek justice but the Canadian legal system has yielded little satisfaction from either criminal or civil venues.





PROS:
Bright little {vulgar term for one who initiates intercourse} for it's size
Durable construction
Water-resistant; submersible to at least 12"
Two-stage switch is a nice touch
Optics, sandwich assembly, and heat sink assembly are user-changeable
Scratchproof glass window (or "lens", if you are more comfortable with that term)


CONS:
Beam in the test sample is slightly cockeyed


    MANUFACTURER: Doug Speck ("DSpeck" on Candlepower Forums)
    PRODUCT TYPE: Small Luxeon flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: 3 watt white Luxeon LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Narrow flood; square hotspot with dimmer, round corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Twist bezel, two-stage (low and high)
    BEZEL: Metal; optic and LED are protected by a glass window
    BATTERY: 1x CR123A cell
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    WATER RESISTANT: Yes
    SUBMERSIBLE: Yes, to at least a foot
    ACCESSORIES: Small split ring, battery
    WARRANTY: TBA

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star RatingStar Rating





Fire~Fly II Flashlight *







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