Psycho-Spinner and Psycho-Strobe, retail $(See below) (http://www.psycholights.com)
Manufactured by (Various manufacturers)
Last updated 07-29-02
Psycho-Spinners and Psycho-Strobes are two somewhat related LED "rave lights". Psycho Strobes feature a blue and an amber LED, plus an IC that flashes the two in a predetermined sequence. Psycho-Spinners feature a series of red and green LEDs along the edge of a larger disc; its IC flashes the LEDs in sequence so that the whole apparatus appears to spin or rotate.
Both are equipped with tiny but very powerful magnets that allow you to affix the tiny lights to various places, including clothing, body parts like lips or ears; or to ferrous surfaces like bicycles and metal components of automobiles.
To use either one, just give them a gentle but firm clockwise twist. Careful, not TOO hard, especially on the Spinner. Although reasonably robust, that's still a glass circuit board and if you really manhandle it, there's a chance it could crack where the metal collar is affixed to it. Turning them off is just as easy; twist the other way until they go off.
Both units come equipped with a small, thin disc magnet; you can use this to affix the lights to clothing, thin body parts (earlobes work especially well), or other thin surfaces. The magnet will "suck" the body of the light through a surprisingly thick material; they're quite powerful. A second magnet is built into the bottom of the light; this gives it that extra grab.
Because these lights use powerful magnets, you should not use or carry one in the same pocket as your bank card or other card with a black or brown magnetic stripe on the back, and you should not bring them within a foot of computer diskettes, computer hard drives, music cassettes, cassette players or walkmans; or video tapes & players. These lights will also cause discoloration of the picture on TV screens and computer monitors if brought to within 6" or so of the screen or placed on top of the set, so you should not store or leave these things on top of the TV between uses. When not being used, sticking them to a larger piece of ferrous metal, such as the refrigerator or a metal doorframe, greatly reduces the emitted magnetic field so your bank card won't become scrambled if you happen to walk by the lights with your wallet in your hands. :)
Both lights use tiny AG-3 watch batteries. The Spinner uses two of them; the Strobe uses three.
Just unscrew the halves to get at the batteries. The magnet built into the bottom of the case (not the disc magnet you can take off) tends to make them stick, so your best strategy for removing them is to fight fire with fire: remove the disc magnet from the outside, and use it to "suck" the batteries out of the battery chamber.
Reload the chamber by putting the button cells in with the button side facing upwards, and screw the halves back together. The magnet inside the battery chamber will try to grab onto the first battery pretty hard, so just be sure it goes in button-side facing up, and use a pen or fingernail to get it reasonably centered inside. Mutual magnetism will grab the other(s) but not as strongly; though strong enough to prevent them from falling out by themselves.
IMPORTANT: A white, collar-like paper insulator should be present in one of the two halves; if it is missing, the batteries can short out against the inside of the battery holder and your light will not work properly, if at all. If this collar is missing (which it was from the sample Psycho-Spinner), a new one can easily be fashioned using any ordinary thin paper, such as from a grocery store receipt or a school notebook. As soon as I find a ruler, I'll provide exact measurements for this. I simply cut a strip that "looked" right without measuring anything, and inserted it into the battery chamber to form a ring around the inside surface so the sides of the batteries don't touch the sides of the battery chamber.
If you love colorful things that blink, then you'll go ga-ga over these! I saw something similar to the Psycho-Strobe being sold over the 4th of July holiday at Seattle's "4th of Jul-Ivars" fireworks show, but it had two blue LEDs in it, instead of a blue and an amber. Cost me $10.00 too. And I've never seen anything like the Psycho-Spinner. I think I'll debut them both tomorrow night (July 27 2002) at the big Seafair Torchlight Parade in downtown Seattle if I can find batteries in time (the Spinner's shorted out because of the missing paper insulator).
Closeup of the Psycho-Spinner.
Samples of Psycho-Spinner, Psycho-Strobe, and Psycho-Brights received July 26, 2002.
My compliments to the chef.
Psycho-Strobe is $6.50 for 1-4 units; $5.25 for 5-9 units.
Pricing for Psycho-Spinner is not yet known.
I used both of the lights during Seattle's annual Torchlight Parade. The Psycho-Strobe did start to fade about an hour after I turned it on, but the Spinner was still shining brightly three hours later as the parade came to an end. Without having new batteries of this type on hand, this should *NOT* be taken as any evidence of a defect in the light; the batteries were probably already weak. Remember, the Spinner had them short out because of the missing insulator, and I swapped batteries between the two several times before going out. So it looks like the Strobe got the bad battery in the end.
I also watched the crowd carefully, looking for similar products in use. The only ones I saw were the same ones I saw on July 4th; a Psycho-Strobe type light with two blue LEDs; not the blue and orange combo I was using. And I did not see any product like the Spinner anywhere. That was definitely unique.
The next opportunity I'll have to really show these off will be Halloween, again on the day after Thanksgiving when the city stages its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and again on New Year's Eve. However, I'll probably find several more opportunites to sneak them into my wardrobe before then. Such as my birthday in mid-September, traditionally a day to go out and party, and to any night Mariners games I attend between now and the obligatory home closer - a game for which I already have a ticket, but it's a day game.
Bright and eye-catching
Easily affixed to clothing, earlobes, etc. using magnet
Batteries can be changed without tools
Strobe model is reasonably durable and tough.
Magnets are strong; can erase diskettes & bank cards
One sample arrived missing an insulator
Spinner model will break if stepped on, may break if dropped.
MANUFACTURER: Import, manufacturer/country not known
PRODUCT TYPE: Rave/party lights
LAMP TYPE: Chip-type LED
No. OF LAMPS: Varies with product
BEAM TYPE: 180° wide-dispersion
SWITCH TYPE: Twist on/off
BEZEL: Clear acrylic domes
BATTERY: AG-3 / LR41 button cells
WATER RESISTANT: Light splash resist only
ACCESSORIES: Batteries, neodymium disc magnet
WARRANTY: Guaranteed to light; otherwise unknown
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