The VestLED is a fluorescent orange safety vest, much like those worn by city workers; however this one has a twist: it is filled with flashing red LEDs for greately increased visibility
in darkness. Powered by a pair of "AA" batteries hidden in a tiny pocket, the LEDs flash in unison a little faster than once a second.
The vest itself is your standard safety vest, and comes in neon-orange, neon orange mesh, and neon-green mesh.
All come equipped with yellow-green reflective tape and a long strip of LEDs extending down both front sides and across the upper back.
The whole point of this vest is the LEDs, so let's get the other stuff out of the way first.
Since the batteries come pre-installed, the VestLED is ready to wear right out of the pack.
The vest is fitted to each individual user by means of nylon webbing & quick-snap buckles; normally you need only adjust the webbing just once and from then on, simply buckle together.
A Velcro closure on the front of the vest makes it easy to get in and out of without fiddling with messy straps.
You will find a small black box in one of the pockets - a slide switch on the bottom of this box turns the unit on and off. While it is on (even if it is disconnected from the LED strip), a green
LED on the front of the box flashes to let you know it's on.
Features listed on the packaging include...
Flashing LEDs for high visibility
Low battery drain - brilliant light for up to 240 hours
Uses inexpensive AA batteries
Adjustable straps to fit all sizes
Durable, high quality, lightweight construction
Highly reflective yellow tape
One thing you should check is that the black control box is connected to the LED strip. The connection is by means of a standard 9v battery snap, and it should never work loose
during even rough use. Never hook up a 9v battery directly to this snap though, or you can kiss all of those nifty LEDs goodbye. It should only be used with the control
box that comes with the vest.
Although the batteries last 240 hours, eventually they'll need to be changed.
To do this, reach into the small inside pocket of the VestLED and carefully lift out the control box. Unsnap the connector, and the box will be free.
Unscrew the single Phillips screw using a small or medium screwdriver, and carefully seperate the halves of the case.
One side will have the batteries and circuitry; the other will have a single wire going to it - be careful not to pull on this too hard and break the wire.
Remove the old batteries, and install two new ones the same way as the old ones were facing. (As you're holding the case upright, the left battery goes in upside-down; the right one goes rightside-up.
Put the case back together, screw in the screw, plug it back into the VestLED, and slip it back into the little pocket. Done with that.
The battery case (controller circuitry) appears to have been built well, and should live a long and useful life despite life's bumps and bruises.
Falling down while wearing the VestLED isn't that likely to break this part; however I have a long ways to go in actually testing this product before I can make
any further determinations.
To help let you know if the LEDs are unplugged, green light on the control box flashes when the unit is switched on, regardless if the LEDs are plugged in or not.
The vest itself seemed a little flimsy when I first received it, but it does indeed appear to be well-built after all.
It survives being balled up and stuffed into a compartment (although this is not recommended) and it is lightweight - you might almost forget you're wearing it.
It also survived a bizarre accident where my wheelchair tipped over on top of me while I was wearing the vest. It didn't rip or come off, and just kept blinking happily away.
One minor complaint I have is that the weight of the control box drags one side of the vest downwards, both while it is on a hanger and while you are using it.
If you're the type of person where everything has to be absolutely, perfectly symmetrical, then put two or three dead "AA" cells in the other pocket to balance out the weight. :)
Now, this isn't the kind of thing you would just toss in a toolbox or locker and pile a bunch of heavy wrenches, hammers or other tools on top of - if you do that it really will break eventually.
Taking the time to hang it up or even drape it over a shovel handle will ensure you have this vest for years to come.
The VestLED uses a whole bunch of tiny SMD LEDs, each with its own resistor, enclosed behind a clear plastic strip that runs all around the vest, starting on the front, going across the upper back, and then coming back down
the front on the other side.
Closeup of one of the individual LEDs and its companion resistor.
Spectrographic analysis of the flashing red LEDs in this product.
Quicktime movie (.mov extension) showing the vest's flashing LEDs.
It is approximately 2.6 megabytes (2,821,168 bytes); dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than fifteen minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide it in other formats, so please do not ask.
Sample arrived with one of the batteries leaking and corroded. A defective battery is suspect; as they have a "use by" date code of September 2003.
Updates will be posted as the product is tested out in the wild.
The VestLED survived a fairly rough day at a "construction party" held by a local tavern. The entire building was filled with construction-related paraphernalia (signs,
barricades, flags, etc.) and customers were invited to dress accordingly.
With the VestLED in my batting order, I did just that. It was first loosely but somewhat carelessly rolled up to fit in a small compartment on my wheelchair. Then it was worn at the party. The LEDs were highly visible, and it was the only safety vest
with LEDs on it that was seen there. I also wore it for the long trip home in a light rain, and received several positive comments about it during this trip.
Although this was but one test, at very minimum it shows the vest isn't flimsy at all. The LED wires and plastic encapsulation slowly became a little more pliable and less stiff as the vest was used - apparently it must be broken
in like a good pair of shoes.
Can you spot the VestLED in this picture?
There it is... look low in the photograph at the front of my chair.
This is how the vest was wadded up and stuffed into my wheelchair's carrier for another night mission.
Don't worry, the vest was OK. And besides, isn't the whole point of this website punishment of LED products?
Once it became dark, out it came and on it went.
The product performed admirably, and was very visible at night. I adjusted the flash rate to a higher frequency; this helped aid visibility when I was moving along at ten or fifteen miles an hour.
The VestLED is also still on its first set of batteries and there is no sign of dimming becoming evident. Stated battery life is very probably accurate.
For best results, keep it on a hanger when not in use for any length of time, and if you aren't going to wear it for more than a month, please remember to take the batteries out.
Once the vest is initially fitted, it goes on and comes off easily with a simple Velcro fastener. The LEDs are bright, and there are enough of them
to make it worthwhile to wear. Daytime visibility is aided by the fluorescent "day-glo" orange color, and nighttime visibility is enhanced by yellow-green reflectorized strips
that always work even if the LEDs are off. Seperate light on control box indicates power-on even if disconnected from the vest's LEDs.
Control box appears to be sturdy. Innovative, original idea that I hope catches on. Thin weave and no side fabric should help for warm climate wearers.
The vest felt a little flimsy at first, but apparently, initial impressions can be deceiving. Thin ribbon-style wiring could become fatigued at some point, but this has yet to occur.
PRODUCT TYPE: Illuminated safety vest
LAMP TYPE: LED, SMD, red-orange
No. OF LAMPS: 16 on vest, 1 on controller
BEAM TYPE: N/A
SWITCH TYPE: Slide on/off
BATTERY: 2 AA cells
CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Not yet measured, likely around 20mA average
WATER RESISTANT: Weatherproof only
WARRANTY: Limited Lifetime
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