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TEKTITE EXCURSION LS4



Tektite Excursion LS4, retail $179.95 (www.tek-tite.com)
Manufactured by Tektite (www.tek-tite.com)
Last updated 03-07-07





The Excursion LS4 is Tektite's first foray into the illuminating power of the new LS3 (Luxeon Star 3 watt) LED.
It comes in a virtually indestructible aluminum housing which is very thick, and has a 3-watt Luxeon Star LED powered by 3 D cells. It is waterproof (submersible) to 1,000 feet, so you don't need to worry about this flashlight in rain or snow.

You don't want to aim this flashlight at your eyes and turn it on, or else you'll receive a rather unpleasant surprise.


 SIZE



To use the LS4, remove it and its included batteries from the package - this is an easy proposition. There are three "buttons" near the top of the package that hold it together; just pull the package halves apart starting at the top, and there are your flashlight and batteries. Insert the batteries (see below), and you're ready to rock.

To turn the LS4 on, twist the head clockwise (as if tightening it) about 1/4 of a turn. Twist the head counterclockwise (as if unscrewing it) about 1/4 of a turn to shut the LS4 off. Things just don't get much easier than this - well, not flashlights, anyway.



To change the batteries in your LS4, unscrew and remove the head (bezel) with the LED assembly inside, and set it aside. Tip the three dead D cells out of the barrel, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit. Insert three new D cells in the barrel, button-end (+) aiming outward. (the flat (-) negative side goes in first). Insert the LED assembly back in the bezel so the circuit board is facing upward (toward the open end of the bezel) if the LED assembly fell out. Screw the bezel and LED assembly back onto the barrel after you have all three cells in, and unscrew it slightly when your LS4 springs to life. A battery change can be done in total darkness (strictly by feel) if necessary.

Advertised battery life is 10 hours at high brightness, and another 10 hours at diminishing brightness.
I haven't run this flashlight through my computerised battery destroying satanic robot death machine yet, but I think the above quoted battery life figures are reasonably accurate.

Current consumption cannot be measured due to how the flashlight is designed, but I've heard from Tektite that it's supposed to be ~1,000mA (~1 amp). 1 amp at 4 volts (remember, the battery voltage will decrease from 4.5 volts when a load like this is placed upon them) equals 4 watts.
4 watts - LS4 - get it? ;-)



The Excursion LS4 and Excursion Pro (a 19-LED flashlight) are identical in size and shape. Only the Excursion LS4 is finished in a black anodizing, has a slightly more aggressive (sharp) knurling, and it's significantly brighter than the Excursion Pro.

This flashlight is serialised, like all good flashlights ought to be. Mine is serial # 3D-1000-030712 if you really must know.

The knurling (texturising) on the barrel is fairly aggressive (sharp), but that's probably a good thing with a flashlight of this size and weight. So I don't at all consider it a negative, as I might consider it with really small, pocketable flashlights. In this case, the aggressive knurling really is a good thing.

The Excursion LS4 is completely watertight and submersible to 1,000 feet, so you do not need to be concerned whatsoever about using it in the rain or snow, or dropping it in a tub, toilet, sink, fishtank, pond, creek, river, oceanside, snowbank, puddle of wolf pee, or any other place where water or water-like liquids might be found. If dog pee or something else nasty gets on it, just hose it off...good as new! Trying to drown the Excursion LS4 in a toilet or sink is likely to be an excersize in futility...I don't have handy access to water 1,000 feet deep, so I won't be able to test the flashlight in that manner.

The flashlight appears to have a Type II anodized finish on it. It was only with great difficulty that I was able to scratch through the finish with a Swiss army knife blade. (Would I really deliberately try to cut up a brand new flashlight? You bet your sweet patootie I would, if it's in the name of science!)
So it should resist scratching and other visible damage if you give it a modicum of care. You don't need to baby this flashlight or anything, but it would be possible to mar the finish if you really, really tried; or after a really high fall onto concrete or something. But just because the outside looks beat up, doesn't mean the light itself will quit working. I don't think that's going to happen. Not very readily, anyway.

When the Excursion LS4 is dropped or knocked over, it makes a solid metallic "clinking" sound, not that hollow-sounding clanking noise other metal flashlights make when they're dropped or knocked over. I beat the flashlight against the side of a steel bedframe a number of times (it produced a very loud metallic sound, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who heard it), and no damage was found.
The flashlight is CNC machined from a solid billet of type 6061 aircraft aluminum, so it's very, very strong.

The optic in the Excursion LS4 appears to be the same as used in the Expedition Star.
And that is a 10 Fraen acrylic optic.
There's an opening (hole) right at the center of the optic - but don't worry, because that hole is covered by the Lexan polycarbonate bezel, so nothing can get in there. There was some kind of thin fibrous material curled up in the bezel of mine; this was on the inner face of the bezel and was easily brushed away though. The Excursion LS4 you buy probably won't come with this, so please don't expect to receive any with yours. ;-)

The beam that comes out of the Excursion LS4 is a very, very pure white, with none of that blue, purple, yellow, or "rotten cat urine green" tint visible anywhere in the beam. When it was compared with a Tektite Expedition Star, the light's overall color temperature was cooler (higher) than that produced by the Expedition Star. I thought the Expedition Star had a pure white beam, but the Excursion LS4 has an even purer white beam. Not that the Expedition Star is a bad flashlight - it isn't - just that the Excursion LS4 has a cooler white color to its light than the Expedition Star has.

The Excursion LS4 uses a twist-on mechanism which is totally non-destructive. Instead of a springy metal strip going up the side of the flashlight and contacting the LED board at one point, there is a lip or shelf milled into the body of the flashlight which contacts the whole circumference of the PCB at once, putting an end to any worries of the traces on the PCB being dug out and eventually becoming intermittent or failing alltogether. In my opinion, the twist-on switching mechanism of this light is the most reliable twist-on switch tested to date.
The Excursion Pro, the Expedition 1900 Limited Edition, and the Trek 4 Limited Edition are the only other flashlights that use this switching mechanism, and none of them have shown any signs of failure.

The Excursion LS4 will stand on its tail for ceiling illumination, but because of its length, it's a bit unstable. To help alleviate this somewhat, remove the black shroud from the bezel, set it down wide-end first on a flat surface, and insert the tail end of the flashlight into the top of this shroud until you hit bottom - when the base of the flashlight is at the same level as the base of the shroud. This effectively widens the base of the flashlight, giving it a little more stability when stood up like this.
This technique works with any other Tektite flashlight that uses a black shroud over the bezel, not just the Excursion LS4.



Beam photo at ~12".
Measures 841,000mcd with a LM631 light meter.
This is a very nice level of brightness.
The beam angle is advertised as 10. It uses a Fraen optic.
The beam has a pure snow-white color, with no blue, yellow, or "rotten cat urine green" in it.


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


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




Here's a shot of it about 5 feet away on a wall.



TEST NOTES:
Test sample was received late in the afternoon of 02-11-04, and is in its initial stages of testing. I received it at 5:02pm, the second-latest in the day I've ever received something.


UPDATE: 02-12-04
I beat the flashlight against steel a number of times, and was not able to damage it.


UPDATE: 02-13-04
If the plastic bezel on your Excursion LS4 does somehow manage to become broken, you can take the bezel from any other Tektite C cell flashlight or from the Excursion Pro and use that on the Excursion LS4. Yes, I tried the bezel from an incandescent C cell Tektite flashlight, inserted the LS4 module, screwed it onto the Excursion LS4 barrel, and it worked just fine.


UPDATE: 02-17-04
According to Scott M. at Tektite:
"The Excursion LS4 is also available in a machined Billet-stock Titanium body for $450, for those who believe the aluminum body is too wimpy."


PROS:
Very tough and durable - especially the barrel
Very bright, pure white light
Uses common, easily available batteries
Waterproof and submersible to 1000 feet



CONS:
Bezel could become broken - but see 02-13-04 update for a quick fix
Not regulated; but a product using D cells doesn't need to be. Will not affect rating


    MANUFACTURER: Tektite Industries
    PRODUCT TYPE: Large handheld flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: White LS3 LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Soft spot with wider corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Twist bezel on/off
    BEZEL: Polycarbonate; protects LS lens
    BATTERY: 3 D alkaline or NiCd cells
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure (reportedly 1.00 amp)
    WATER RESISTANT: Yes
    SUBMERSIBLE: Yes, to 1,000 feet
    ACCESSORIES: Three Energizer D cells
    WARRANTY: Lifetime

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star Rating





Tektite Excursion LS4 * www.tek-tite.com







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