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SAUCE MINI LIGHTWAND
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Sauce Mini LightWand
Color Kinetics, 'Sauce' consumer products, see below for availability

Last Updated: 01-20-13


Color-changing Light



The Sauce Mini LightWand is one of a whole slew of brand new products from Color Kinetics, makers of the famous C-series color changing architechtural lighting fixtures and the original Sauce LightWand.

The MiniWand is a keychain sized version of the original LightWand. It is powered by a single "N" cell, and has a microcontroller and three colored LEDs inside its cheerful, colorful case.

As with the original, the Mini has an assortment of colorful lighting effects that will make you the life of the party or the talk of the next rave.


SIZE



The Mini LightWand comes in an attractive, but once again difficult to open retail blister pack. Remove the wand from the laser-sealed pack in any way you see fit (I used a razor blade around one edge to preserve the instruction card) and start having fun with it, as is it ready to go right away.

The LightWand has five different modes (four actually do something) and several effects you can apply to each mode. To access these modes, just push the button.
  • Color wash - smoothly cycles through the rainbow.
  • Random color - flashes the wand with random colors.
  • Fixed color - the wand stays a single color of your choosing.
  • Strobe - emits intense flashes of greenish white light
  • Off - Turns the unit off.

There are also two "secret" holiday-themed modes and a third "secret" mode available (newly added since the earlier proto), but I won't spoil the surprise by revealing their locations to you.

Press the button once for color wash, twice for random, three times for fixed color, four times for strobe, and the fifth press turns it off.
Once you have a mode you want, pushing and holding down the button changes the effect on that mode. The changing of an effect is announced by the light very briefly winking off, this lets you know to be ready to let the button go when you reach an effect you like, or continue holding until your desired effect does come up.

The single button to control everything also means the wand can be fully controlled with a single hand - a single finger actually. No need to grasp it with both hands or fiddle with multiple switches or worse.

The LightWand will turn off automatically after ten minutes of disuse, preserving battery life.
Unlike my prototype original (very rare, and I'm not giving it to you, sorry!), the Mini LightWand allows you to defeat the Auto-Off mode for extended use. To deactivate Auto-Off, turn the wand off, then press & hold the button for ten seconds. The wand will light up blue to indicate auto-off has been defeated. The next time you use the wand, auto-off will automatically be re-instated.


1xN cell
This cool light keeps its small size because it only needs a single "N" cell battery.
To change the battery, you will need a small or a medium Phillips screwdriver. (They thoughtfully made the screw larger than the one in the original, so you no longer need an eyeglass repair kit).

Remove the screw holding the battery door on, and remove the door (this was also fixed - and the door now lifts out automatically as you unscrew - thanks!).
The "N" cell goes in button-side facing the tailpiece (where the keyring goes) and just slips right in. Replace the door & the screw, and you're good to go.
The fine-threaded screw goes into a brass fitting, so it is less likely to strip or break something than if it simply screwed into a hole in the plastic. Nice touch there.
This new product also places a springy contact on the (+) side in addition to the usual (-) spring, so contact problems should be a thing of the past.

Battery life is stated at approximately 7 hours on a new "N" cell. This will be measured and results posted here in a week or so when I get paid and buy a few "N" cells, as I currently have none of that particular battery type on hand.



The Sauce Mini LightWand appears to be solidly built, but like any fine electronic instrument, you should try your level best to not drop it or whack it against any hard surface.
By its very design, ravers will want to swing it around on a string or cord - it seems to take this well, but don't let it hit anything or you will probably break it.

The Mini LightWand is also not water resistant, so care should be taken to not use it in the rain or in wet locations (such as near a pool where it might accidentally fall in). A 90-day warranty will cover failures due to factory-induced faults, but like most warranties, it will not protect against accidents or abuse. Ravers, you're on your own here.

The LightWand comes with a spring-loaded keychain clip.
It fits in your pocket maybe a bit better than it does on a keychain; however it can be clipped to & carried on your keys if desired.


Here is an animation of the Mini LightWand showing what it might look like when set to "Random" mode.

Server space is a bit short, so I can't make any additional animations showing other modes.




One of the many lighting modes of the Mini Lightwand.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (red) in this product.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (green) in this product.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (blue) in this product.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (all three LEDs on) in this product.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (all three LEDs on) in this product; newer spectrometer software & settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (red) in this product; newer spectrometer software & settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (red) in this product; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 610nm and 660nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is 636.720nm.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (green) in this product; newer spectrometer software & settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (green) in this product; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 500nm and 550nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is 526.210nm.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (red) in this product. Newest (01-13-13) spectrometer software & settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (red) in this product; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 625nm and 645nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is 635.555nm. Newest (01-13-13) spectrometer software & settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (green) in this product. Newest (01-13-13) spectrometer software & settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (green) in this product; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 515nm and 535nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is 525.492nm. Newest (01-13-13) spectrometer software & settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (blue) in this product. Newest (01-13-13) spectrometer software & settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (blue) in this product; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 455nm and 480nm to pinpoint peak wavelength, which is 466.770nm. Newest (01-13-13) spectrometer software & settings used.

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.




This brief video shows the operational modes of this product.

That music you hear is zax from the PC computer demo, "Collapse" by TBS (The Brain Slayer) from 1992.
The Mini LightWand is not sound-sensitive; the zax may be ignored or even muted if it pisses you off.

This video is approximately 9.7734238933 megabytes (9,982,171 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than forty nine minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.


The only real fault I've found with any of the LightWands was fixed in this one - you can defeat the auto-off function.
Physical problems found in my testing of early models were also all fixed, so any model you can currently buy should be completely free of them and work properly for as long as you own it.



TEST NOTES:

I just received this eyepopping toy, so testing (and fun) is currently in progress.
They come in several cheerful body colors, including white, black, red, and purple.


NOTE: The entire line of Sauce stuff is expected to show up in stores (test locations) this month (July). Here is a list of places stolen off the Color Kinetics websites where you might find Sauce:

REI 800-426-4840
Hot Topic 800-892-8674
Claire's Accessories 847-765-1100
Chiasso 877-244-2776
Glow Store Inc. (Spencer Gifts chain) 866-469-2259
Longs Drug Store 808-625-5211
National Record Mart 412-276-6200
SFMOMA Museum Store 415-357-4035
The Ultimate Taxi 970-927-9239


UPDATE 10-23-01:
All Sauce products are now available at amazon.com. (Link opens new window)

Lightwands are now available at:
ToysRUs.com, (which is amazon.com with a different label)
RadioShack Stores under the brand name "MetaMorph"
Discovery Channel stores.


UPDATE 01-07-02:
I had the Mini LightWand clipped to my shirt and running during all of New Year's Eve, and a number of people commented on it and said they wanted one. I'd say this field test was a complete success - and there's still plenty of battery left!


UPDATE 09-25-03:
Just out of curiosity, I took my Mini Lightwand down from the shelf and tried to activate it, but the battery was dead as a doorknob (measured about 0.2 volts). I'm guessing the cleaners turned it on in fall 2002, and left it like that. It won't affect the product's rating, but you ought to know.


Any updates related to this review will be posted as they happen.




PROS:
UNIQUE
Bight enough to see in most lighting conditions (even outdoors; though it is more effective in a dark area)
Seems solid and durable
Good looking case
Easy to learn & use
Smaller size to fit most keyrings.

CONS:
Smaller size may invite some people to put it on a cord and swing it; wand will probably break if struck against a hard object if this is done.
Some people may find the unit a bit large for their keyring or keychain, however it is of an appropriate size to slip into a pocket.
Not waterproof, so please steer clear of sinks, tubs, and toilets. :)


        MANUFACTURER: Color Kinetics
        PRODUCT TYPE: Novelty keychain light
        LAMP TYPE: LEDs: 1 each red, green, and blue
        No. OF LAMPS: 3
        BEAM TYPE: 360 degree diffused
        SWITCH TYPE: Pushbutton on barrel
        BEZEL: LEDs under a translucent cone
        BATTERY: 1 N cell
        CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Not able to measure
        WATER RESISTANT: Light splash-resistant only
        SUBMERSIBLE: NO WAY HOZAY!!!
        ACCESSORIES: Spring-loaded key clasp
        WARRANTY: 90 days

        PRODUCT RATING:

        Star rating


Sauce Mini LightWand * WWW.CKSAUCE.COM








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