"Photon" Light Pen, retail $4.99 (www.bartelldrugs.com/)
Manufactured by (Unknown) (URL unknown too)
Last updated 01-18-04

When you see the word "Photon" in this product's name, DON'T figure it was made by LRI, makers of the Photon brand of micro lights. This pen is made in China, and distributed by JFL Enterprises.

What this is, is a ballpoint pen (writes in black ink) with the top 1/3 or thereabouts composed of a clear acrylic with a number of white "filaments" running vertically, surrounding the center of the tube. When the button on the barrel of the pen is pressed, it performs three light functions, plus off. The light is produced by a 3mm LED, and the whole thing feeds from four AG3 button cells.


Batteries are already installed in the pen when you open the package, so don't let the additional ones in the package throw you off - they're spares...or at least, they're supposed to be spares.

Press the button on the side of the barrel once to get a bright, irregular-looking flashing mode. Press it a second time to get a slower, but dimmer and more regular appearing flashing mode (flashes at about 2.5Hz). Press it a third time to run the LED steady-on, and press it a fourth time to turn it off. Lather, rinse, repeat; just like it says on the back of the shampee bottle.

You can unscrew and remove the acrylic piece on top of the pen if you wish, to expose the LED; doing so gives you a beam approximately 30 to 40 wide. You can leave the diffuser attached to the pen though, and still get some light out the end of the pen.

To use the pen portion of this gadget, grasp the unit so one hand is in the center of the barrel, and turn the business end of the barrel clockwise (as if tightening it), and the pen tip should extend so you can write with it. Turn the business end of the barrel counterclockwise (as if loosening it) to retract the pen tip.

To change the batteries, hold the pen so the point (the ink portion) is facing upward, and unscrew the pen portion until it comes off. Throw it away - OH WAIT YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead. ;-)
Tip the open end of the pen upside down over your hand; tap it if that last cell just won't fall out. Dispose of or recycle the batteries as you see fit.
Hold the barrel of the pen horizontally in one hand, and slip the new batteries in, one at a time, with the other hand. Insert the batteries button-end (-) first. Once all four cells are inside, you can turn the pen base-up if you wish, and screw the ink portion back on

I just got this thing today (01-18-04), so I don't have a lot to report yet.

The pen portion writes in black ink, and appears to write in a quality you might expect from any good disposable pen.

The LED did not work when I first took the pen out of the package, so I figured the batteries in it must have been shot. So I installed the spare set of cells, and after {vulgar term for having intercourse} with it for a minute, it started working right. After first uploading this page about half an hour ago, I decided to try the original cells again, and the pen works fine with them. So they're not dead at all. But that still begs the question: why didn't my pen work the first time around?
I guess I'll really never know for sure.
Maybe this pen is just a POSMF (Piece Of {vulgar term for feces} Mother{vulgar term for one who initiates intercourse}).

In modes 2 and 3 (steady flashing and steady on), the LED appears to be pulse width modulated (PWM), with a duty cycle of approximately 66%. That is, it stays on 66% (about 2/3) of the time, and is off the other 34% (about 1/3) of the time. This should help lengthen battery life with those itty bitty button cells it uses, but at the expense of some visible brightness.

Picture showing the upper portion of the pen barrel illuminated.

Picture showing the blue LED light from the end of the pen with the diffuser on.

Picture showing the blue LED light from the end of the pen with the diffuser off.

Both beam pictures were taken approximately 12" from the target.

Test unit was seen and purchased (an impulse buy of course, because it has an LED in it) at Bartell Drugs here in Seattle on 01-18-04. A dozen or two units were on the front counter in a cardboard counter display. Other color LEDs I saw (besides the blue one I bought) at the store were red, yellow, and green.

The pen is marketed (wholesaled?) by JFL Enterprises.
"JFL" stands for "Just For Laughs".

UPDATE: 00-00-00



    RESELLER: JFL Enterprises
    PRODUCT TYPE: Writing pen with diffuse LED top
    LAMP TYPE: 3mm LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    SWITCH TYPE: Pushbutton modes/off on barrel
    BEZEL: Acrylic with diffuser inside
    BATTERY: 4x AG3 Button Cells
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    WATER RESISTANT: I don't think so
    ACCESSORIES: Two sets of batteries
    WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated


    Star Rating

* www.bartelldrugs.com/

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