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Sauce LightSaucer



Sauce LightSaucer
Color Kinetics, 'Sauce' consumer products, see below for availability

Last Updated: 05-10-02


Color-changing Light



When you see a LightSaucer hanging on a wall, you might at first think it's just one of those Tap Light things. But don't be mistaken: the LightSaucer does tricks that no tap light could possibly do.

It is about the size of a traditional tap light, and is powered by 4 "AA" cells. A screw slot on the back allows you to hang it on a wall, or just set it on any flat surface on its four non-slip rubber feet, and let the fun begin.



Size, as compared to some familiar things.



The LightSaucer comes in an attractive, but as usual, difficult to open retail blister pack. Remove the LightSaucer 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 LightSaucer has five different modes (four actually do something) and several effects you can apply to each mode. To access these modes, just gently press the white dome.
  • Color wash - smoothly cycles through the rainbow.
  • Random color - flashes the LightSaucer with random colors.
  • Fixed color - the saucer stays a single color of your choosing.
  • Strobe - emits flashes of bluish 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 first Sauce product came out), but I won't spoil the surprise by revealing their locations to you.

Press on the dome 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 dome 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 dome go when you reach an effect you like, or continue holding until your desired effect does come up.

The single switch to control everything also means the LightSaucer can be fully controlled with a single hand, a single finger or even a toe, actually. No need to grasp it with both hands or fiddle with multiple switches or worse.

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

If you only need to eliminate the auto-off function once in awhile, this is simple enough. But with this particular Sauce product, there's an easier way: just turn the LightSaucer over and flip the switch you see on the bottom to the "OFF" position! So you don't need to fuss with the thing every time you use it.
If you want to go back to the original "auto off" setting (moving, storing the light for a time, taking it to a party or whatever), just flip this switch back "ON".


4xaa cell
The LightSaucer uses 4 "AA" batteries, held in a screwed-down compartment on its underside. To get at the batteries, lay the saucer upside-down on a towel, on the couch, in your lap, or other soft location; and remove the small Phillips screw holding the battery door on.

Remove the battery door - careful not to lose that screw - and replace the four "AA" cells following the polarity markings inside each battery holder. Replace the door & the screw, and throw the dead batteries in an incinerator. Oh wait, you aren't supposed to do that, are you? Better just put them in the kitchen wastebasket. :)

Published battery life is approximately 20 hours.



Treat the LightSaucer as you would an expensive Tap Light. It wasn't meant to be an adrenaline-rush outdoor kind of thing that is designed to be thrashed, but it won't just fall apart by itself either.

Although it probably wouldn't survive an 8-foot drop onto concrete without severe damage (at least to the outer casing), it seems to handle everyday bumps and bruises well. So it won't break if a drunken party guest knocks it off the coffee table.

The brightness was a bit less than I expected. Enough to make me open it up & change the batteries as soon as I got it, as I thought the ones it came with were duds (it was glowing inside the box it had been shipped in when I first opened it). But there was no change.
This is definitely a toy to use in subdued lighting; as it won't be that effective at higher ambient light levels or in a sun drenched room.
As I tried it around the house after dark though, I find it really doesn't need to be any brighter. After all, it is a decorative accent light, not a source of real illumination. Hang them on an otherwise bare wall, set one on top of the TV, put them on coffee or end tables, they even work on the back of your toilet or on a nightstand where you usually don't put a light.

It would be nice though if this light were made in a version that could be plugged in, using an AC adapter that plugs into a jack on the base of the light. I can see people going through a lot of batteries over time if they use this light nightly.

The "tap on/tap change/tap off"" mechanism has an soft but clearly audible "clunky click" sound and a tactile sensation so you know for sure when the switch has been hit.

The LightSaucer comes in 4 case colors: black, white, red, and purple.


TEST NOTES:

I just received this eyepopping toy, so testing (and fun) is currently in progress.

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

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 05-10-02:
The unit continues to function as it should.
I have noticed that a mild static charge is enough to "set it off". The act of taking off a sweter nearby is sometimes enough to cause the unit to come on, especially if the air is very dry. I also had it mounted to the seatback of my wheelchair, and it seems every time I turned around the thing was on, even when I knew I shut it off. It really wasn't meant for this type of use though; it is a product more intended to be set somewhere and pretty much left undistrubed except to tap it on & off and play with the various modes. For this purpose, it does work as intended.


PROS:
UNIQUE, seems solid and durable for what it is, good looking case, easy to learn & use.
Makes a nice mood enhancer without having to resort to drugs.


CONS:
Not as bright as I thought it would be, but see above first.
Not waterproof, so be careful with them around sinks, tubs, and toilets. :)
Would be nice if an AC powered version were available.
Unit appears to be quite static sensitive; will turn itself on when a static charged item (a sweater you just removed amidst crackling sparks, for example) is brought nearby or brushed up against it. No damage has yet been caused though.


    MANUFACTURER: Color Kinetics
    PRODUCT TYPE: Novelty "tap lite" style lamp
    LAMP TYPE: LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 3 (red, green, and blue Nichia)
    BEAM TYPE: Soft, diffuse glow
    SWITCH TYPE: Momentary switch under lens
    BEZEL: Milky colored dome lens
    BATTERY: 4ea. "AA" cells
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION:
    WATER RESISTANT: No
    SUBMERSIBLE: No
    ACCESSORIES: Alkaline batteries
    WARRANTY: 90 days

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star Rating






Sauce LightSaucer * WWW.CKSAUCE.COM



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