"Mini Fluorescence Currency Checking Machine"

"Mini Fluorescence Currency Checking Machine", retail $4 (http://ledlight.freeshell.org)
Manufactured by (unknown) (see below for distributor info)
Last updated 04-11-02

This Chinese-made near-UV keychain light with much too long a name is the latest in a rapidly growing market for these things. The "Mini Fluorescence Currency Checking Machine" is a tiny, all-metal keychain light powered by 3 watch batteries.


The "Machine" comes ready to use. Just remove it from the pack and push the button. It has a momentary switch, so press to get light and release to get dark. Very simple mechanism.

Unscrew the two halves of the light and seperate them. The lower half contains the batteries. Discard the used batteries in the garbage. The easiest way to reload one of these is to stack three new batteries, button-end facing down, in the palm of your hand. Lower the rear section of the light onto the batteries, and flip your hand and the barrel over simultaneously while still holding the open end of the barrel against your palm. Then just screw the top back on. This is by far the easiest way to change button cells in lights like this, and eliminates the likely possibility that the batteries will flip inside the barrel or go in cockeyed and get stuck.

This light is small and compact, and appears to be reasonably well constructed, given the nature of most of these things. The momentary pushbutton is easy to press, and gives a positive tactile response. It doesn't have as much of a loose feel to it as some of the others, and the two halves screw together & mate properly. The small circuit board inside (of the same type used in cheap laser pointers and other mini UV lights) is held in place with a dollop of epoxy type sealant, so unlike some others, the board can't spin around inside and break the switch. This is one good thing the "Machine" has going for it.

The unit is not water resistant, so you should try to keep it from going down the drain or falling in the bathtub. Like any small light or electronic article, it will survive the occasional brief rain sprinkle just fine, but you should take it apart, remove the batteries, and allow it to dry if you do manage to give it a good douching.

The LED appears to emit at a longish 405nm, which isn't the best for this purpose - but in most cases it certainly will do. I am as of yet unable to determine who manufactures the die (light emitting chip inside the LED). It isn't Cree and I don't think it's Uniroyal either. Could be one of Toyoda Gosei's "Super Purple" chips, but without having actually seen a known TG Super Purple yet, I just don't know for sure.

Beam photo. Wavelength is too short to get an intensity measurement.
Projects a deep, slightly bluish royal purple beam visible at lower ambient light levels.

The money shot. It works, even though the wavelength
is a touch longer than what might normally be desired.

Initial observations show this light is of slightly higher quality than is the norm for this type of product.

UPDATE: 00-00-00

Small size
Two types of keychain fasteners
Appears more durable than some other lights of this type
Good looking pewter finish

LED is exposed & vulnerable to damage
LED wavelength is longer than desired for this application
Light is not very water resistant

        PRODUCT TYPE: UV "money detector"
        LAMP TYPE: LED, ~405nm near-ultraviolet
        No. OF LAMPS: 1
        BEAM TYPE: Medium circular, fairly smooth.
        SWITCH TYPE: Snap action momentary pushbutton
        BEZEL: None
        BATTERY: 3 AG3 button cells
        WATER RESISTANT: Light weather resistance only
        ACCESSORIES: Batteries, split ring, lobster claw



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