Photon RAV'N, retail $37.95 (
Buy them here or here.
Last update: 06-06-08

Photon 3

The Photon RAV'N isn't a flashlight you work with, it's a flashlight you play with.
Built into a transluscent blue body the same size as all of the other previous Photon models, this fun party light is guaranteed to turn heads and cause a few double-takes.

Powered by the same CR2016 lithium batteries as the original Photons, this guy has an RGB (Red, Green, Blue) LED and a miniature microprocessor inside that does strange and scary things with the special LED.

The RAV'N comes in two models; one which produces a band of continuously changing color, and another which produces strobe-like flashes of color.


The RAV'N comes in a more attractive than usual retail package, which contains the RAV'N itself, three 'crystals' that fit over the LED, a set of Energizer lithium batteries, and a little velvet drawstring pouch to keep the light & 'crystals' safe. The light is equipped with a small split ring in the tail, which itself is affixed to a larger keyring.

You will need to install the batteries (very easy for this Photon) before using it.

To turn the RAV'N on, just give it a squeeze on the main part of the body anywhere from the center to near the tail ring. Squeeze again to turn it off. You can see the shiny brass switch contact inside, so you can tell where to press if you get amped up on "X" and forget. :)

The RAV'N will produce a funny looking, somewhat whitish pulsating light - until you move it. Then you are rewarded with an explosive shower of brilliant, saturated colors.

Changing baby's diaper is easy here. Just flip the light upside down, take a pen or the tip of a nail file and lift up on the tab you see by the tail ring. Lift off the cap, pour out the old batteries, and slip in two new ones positive (flat) side facing up. Be sure the second battery catches the little metal tab you see on the inside edge of the battery compartment.
Line up the tab on the battery lid with the notch by the tail, and simply snap it back on like you might the lid on a Tupperware bowl.
No, the RAV'N won't 'burp', but you will feel a satisfying tactile snap when the lid is fitted into place.

There are no figures available on battery life, so this is where you will likely read them first.

Like all Photon products, the RAV'N is made from a special glass-filled polyurethane compound, and is essentially indestructible. The rave & dance crowd will appreciate the fact that there is no small plastic switch to break off, something that occasionally happens when you swing the lights around and they hit something or each other. Unlike the Photon II, there *is* a circuit board inside though, and like any electronic device, this *could* be damaged if it were abused badly enough. From what I can tell by what I can see though, such an event is highly unlikely as the board is supported by the batteries on one side, and a sturdy spring leaf & four LED leads on the other; thus giving the board some very valuable protection from accidental impacts.

The only possible vulnerability I can see is that the plastic 'crystals' could become broken if the light were to strike a hard surface while being swung on a cord; however the manufacturer will sell replacements for a reasonable cost.

The LED itself is protected from damage by a transluscent hosel surrounding it; this projecting piece also allows you to securely attach the special diffractive 'crystals' to the light to enhance its visibility.

The guts

Picture shows the "guts" of this new digital toy.
The hosel you affix the 'crystals' to can be seen on the left.

The RAV'N is not shown as being waterproof, but the package does come with instructions for reviving a wet light. I would keep it away from pools, beaches, and tubs; but if someone throws a drink in your face, dousing your light, just dry it (and yourself) off and go about your business; as it appears to be nicely splash-resistant.

The RAV'N comes with several accessories.

Pictured here are the three 'RAV'N Crystals', the light itself, and a little velvet pouch to keep everything in. The back of the instruction card is a neat holographic rainbow thingie, shown here as the surface on which the other stuff is sitting.

To use the RAV'N Crystals, just press them over the small hosel on the end of the light. They will then light up all pretty inside, and intensify the explosive rainbow of light, plus give you some different patterns when swung or moved about.
There is no handy way to describe exactly what these 'crystals' look like all lit up at night; this is something you'll have to find out for yourself. Three different 'crystals' are included.

Both models produce a very wide, diffuse light that can be seen from almost all directions. As far as I can tell, they use a Nichia NSTM515BS RGB LED, which is the best and brightest that money can buy.

The RAV'N doesn't need to be swung about on a cord to be effective; it was designed so that holding the light in your hand and flailing your arms about produces the same colored ribbons of light.

UPDATE 06-06-01:
Both models of the RAV'N are being played with. That means I'm going clubbing sometime this week. Or I can try them at a Mariners game (that should guarantee me a spot on the Jumbotron!).

UPDATE 06-12-01:
I still haven't made it to a club or to a ball game... money's a bit tighter than usual this month, so I may not be able to get out until early July. In the meantime I will be running a battery life test on one of the lights, so stay tuned to your favorite LED guy's website for details. :)

2:15pm: Started up the strobe version, and I will now sit here and watch it until it's dead, dead, dead.
The other light will be used as a comparision for relative brightness throughout the test, and after dark I'll better be able to determine a useful low limit.
9:15pm: It's going probably just under half its orginal brightness (perhaps a bit less) but it's still very visible in typical club lighting levels. It has been in continuous operation for the last seven hours - in normal use it would get a lot of resting time and go even longer. 1:15am: Eleven hours, and it's still bright enough to cause a scene in typical club lighting. At this point, I turned it off because I couldn't sleep with the thing pulsing away in the room. :-O
The test will resume later today.

Look at em go!
This grainy picture shows that even my poopy camera can capture the rainbow explosion like electric Skittles. Because even my slowest shutter speed is so fast (around 0.015 second), I swung the lights on rubber bands.

UPDATE: 06-06-08
It has come to my attention that this product is no longer being manufactured. Therefore, the "" icon will appear next to its listings on this website.

*VERY* unique
Extremely eye-catching
Diminutive size
Easy, tool-free battery change
Comes with accessories that most or all projected users of this light would actually use - no wasted effort here
Handy-dandy storage pouch helps prevent loss of parts.

Crystals *can* become lost or broken if badly abused, but replacements are easily available.

          PRODUCT TYPE: Mini keychain party light
          LAMP TYPE: LED, 5mm, RGB
          No. OF LAMPS: 1
          BEAM TYPE: Diffuse, 180
          SWITCH TYPE: Squeeze on, squeeze off digital
          BEZEL: Transluscent hosel with flange
          BATTERY: 2 CR2016 lithium coin cells
          CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Not yet measured
          WATER RESISTANT: Yes
          ACCESSORIES: Batteries, "crystals", velvet drawstring pouch
          WARRANTY: Full lifetime



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