8xLED 385nm UV Flashlight, retail $12.95 (http://www.sciplus.com...)
Manufactured by (Unknown/not stated) for American Science & Surplus (www.sciplus.com)
Last updated 04-04-13

This is a small (handheld) source of UVA (ultraviolet type A or "longwave UV") radiation. It comes in an almost all-aluminum body, has 8 UVA LEDs in its "business end", and is powered by three AAA cells held in a side-by-side carriage in its barrel to help keep the length down.

The dominant wavelength (where you would point to on a color chart) appears to be approximately 384.1nm; which is in the long ultraviolet/ super deep violet part of the spectrum.

The light also makes old sweat and urine glow, so it can be used to check garments or bedsheets for evidence of armpit puddles and uranation; however this only works if the fabric itself does not also glow. It can be used on some carpets & rugs to check for dog pee, so you can clean & deodourise that spot so Fido will be less likely to "re-offend" in the same place.

The use for which this light is marketed however, is to check paper money and other official documents for counterfeiting. Newer US money has a strip embedded in it which usually glows under longwave UV. I say "usually" because sometimes this glow is lost if the bill goes through the washing machine once or twice. The strip can still be viewed using a pass-through detection method though.

Other official documents are sometimes treated with UV-sensitive materials. Some postage stamps have glow strips that show up under this flashlight, and some business checks (and a few personal type checks) have fibers that light up a brilliant greenish white in this flashlight's deep violet light. Tickets for official events like baseball and football games often have a pattern on the back that only becomes visible when you shine a light like this at them.

  • Try shining it at your TV set or computer monitor (when they are off, and they have a CRT "boob tube" in them) and see if you notice a greenish white glow on the screen.
  • Try it on glow-in-the-dark watch or clock hands.
  • Try it on different kinds of white paper. Some kinds glow bright sky blue, others just show a dull purple.
  • Shine it on the leaves of different houseplants. Most will show a dull red color.
  • Greenish colored antifreeze fluid should glow brightly under this flashlight (not tested, as I don't have a car)
  • Some compact fluorescent light bulbs will glow a funny reddish salmon color with this light.
  • Shine it on your water closet and the immediate area around it. Prepare to get out your mop, bucket, and bottles of Lysol, especially if you have small boys in the house.
  • See how well they *really* clean around those wall-mounted porcelain uranators in public restrooms. Yuck!!
  • Some clothing like white underwear and T-shirts will glow brightly under this light.
  • Shine it at shirts hanging on the racks in a thrift store. Sometimes, otherwise invisible stains will show up as big glowing white patches under the arms with this light - don't buy *that* shirt. Older stains tend to glow more brightly than something made recently for some reason.
  • Similarly, you just might find "the invisible enemy" in department stores too, if a garment has been worn, sweated through, and then returned with a lie; although your chances of it aren't very high because they catch most of them before hitting the sales rack.
  • Some species of scorpions indigenous to the southwestern US will glow a whitish green.
  • Some types of mushrooms, toadstools, mould and other fungi may also glow under this light. I found some in the soil of a potted plant that was not visible in ordinary light.
Just experiment... you'll find a lot of stuff that glows all funny, and maybe find something quite unexpected.

 Size of product w/hand to show scale SIZE

To use the 8xLED 385nm UV Flashlight, feed it first (see below), and then you can go to town.

Press the black tailcap button firmly until it clicks and then release it to turn the light on.
Repeat the same action to turn it off.

There is no momentary or signalling mode available when the flashlight is off, however, you can blink the 8xLED 385nm UV Flashlight while it is on by partially depressing the tailcap button. If you don't mind the backward or reverse feeling of this, you can blink the light this way.

To change the batteries in your 8xLED 385nm UV Flashlight, unscrew and remove the tailcap, very gently place it on the floor, use your foot to push it to the doorway leading to the basement stairs, and kick it down those stairs so that the hungry, hungry piss ants will think it's something yummy for their insect tummies, find it unpalatable, and take it to the queen -- who just sniffs at it, unloads her bladder on it, and instructs the worker ants to do the same...O WAIT!!! YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead.

Tip the black plastic battery carriage out of the barrel and into your hand. If necessary, remove and dispose of or recycle the used cells if they are present in this carriage.

Insert three new AAA cells into the carriage, one in each compartment. Orient each cell so that its flat-end (-) negative faces a spring for it in its compartment.

Once the carriage is full, insert it into the flashlight's barrel, aiming it so the end with the post on it goes in first. Screw the tailcap back on, and be done with it.
Aren't you glad you didn't kick that tailcap down the stairs with all of those hungry, hungry piss ants now?

Current usage measures 295mA on my DMM's 4A scale.
This equates to a drive current of 36.875mA per LED.
So yes, the LEDs *ARE* overdriven, but not by as much as they could be.

This flashlight is reasonably durable, but could become broken if violently thrown against a hard surface, repeatedly stomped on with hard-soled shoes, or run over with a motor vehicle - although ordinary flashlight accidents should not be enough to do it in. I administered the smack test on it (ten whacks against the concrete floor of a porch; five whacks against the side of the tailcap and five whacks against the side of the bezel), and found only some *VERY* minor gouging to the bare Metalmegaseadramon - er - bare Metalstingmon - um that's not it either...bare Metalarukenimon...ummm that's not it either...bare Metalmalomyotismon...er...uh wait a sec here...BARE METAL (guess I've been watching too much Digimon again! - now I'm just making {vulgar slang term for caca} up!!!) on the sides of the bezel and tailcap where it was struck.
No optical or electrical malfunctions were detected.

It is splash resistant and weather resistant, but it is not waterproof or submersible. I removed the tailcap, relieved the light of its battery carriage, and suctioned it; and a small amount of air got in. So please try to keep it away from creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, puddles of wild boar pee, snowbanks, water-filled ditches, sinks, tubs, toilets, fishtanks, dog water dishes, or other places where water or water-like liquids might be found. If you know or suspect it got dredged, take the tailcap and bezel off, relieve it of its batteries, and set it in a warm, dry place for a day or so, and you ought to be in good shape.
If it fell in seawater or if somebody or something peed on it, douche all the parts in fresh water before setting them out to dry.
It should be OK to use in rain or snow, but I cannot verify this firsthand - it's very early autumn here in Sacramento CA. USA and rain isn't forecast for at least the immediate future. But judging solely by the results of "The Suction Test", it should fare rather well in inclement weather.

This light isn't meant to be used like an ordinary flashlight; its intended use is activating fluorescent materials like the security strips in US paper currency, security markings on some types of postage stamps, security markings on event tickets, security features on ID cards & bank cards, some types of scorpions indigenous to the southwestern United States, defects or repairs made to antique glass articles, and similar.

The UVA output of 384.1nm is shorter in wavelength than what is normally found in "money checkers" or other UV flashlights, so its output will appear dimmer to the eye. But don't let that sickly, weak purple glow fool you. Please do not shine it in your eyes, other people's eyes, or pet's eyes. This light emits copious amounts of UVA (longwave ultraviolet) radiation, and that isn't very good for the eyes if stared directly into.

The LED bodies themselves glow dimly with a bluish violet color. I don't know if this is accidental fluorescence or purposeful fluorescence; and I do not know who makes the LEDs either. These LEDs have a dual-bond construction, so I know right away they aren't Cree parts. Whoever makes 385nm LEDs with a dual-bond construction with the die wires attaching at each end of the die (light emitting chip) inside each LED is responsible for these. Could be Uniroyal or Toyoda Gosei.

These LEDs typically have short device halflives; one tester reports getting under 200 hours to half-intensity at normal drive currents (20mA typical) for UVA LEDs in epoxy bodies, like these.

Beam photograph on the test target at 12".

The target itself fluoresced (glowed) blue; the
actual intensity as you would see is quite low.

Photograph of security features of an ID card and a bank card fluorescing (glowing).

I will not have photographs of the security strip in US paper currency fluorescing
for another 24 to 27 days, because I have no money at the moment.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this flashlight.

Spectrographic analysis
Same as above; spectrometer's response narrowed to a range of 375nm to 395nm.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this light; newest spectrometer software settings used.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this light; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 380nm and 390nm to pinpoint emission peak wavelength, which is 382.770nm.

The raw spectrometer data (comma-delimited that can be loaded into Excel) is at http://ledmuseum.candlepower.us/42/8leduv.txt

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

Test unit was sent by an anonymous website fan along with one other product, and was received late on the morning of 10-06-08.

Product was made in China.
A product's country of origin really does matter to some people, which is why I published it on this web page.

UPDATE: 00-00-00

Very portable source of UVA radiation shorter in wavelength than most other LED sources

Not submersible
UVA LEDs of this vintage typically have short lifetimes

    PRODUCT TYPE: Portable UVA radiation source
    No. OF LAMPS: 8
    BEAM TYPE: Medium spot w/ dim corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Pushbutton on/off on tailcap
    CASE MATERIAL: Aluminum
    BEZEL: Metal; LEDs protected by plastic window
    BATTERY: 3xAAA cells
    WATER- AND PEE-RESISTANT: Yes; weather-resistant at minimum
    ACCESSORIES: 3xAAA cells, belt pouch, small lanyard
    WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated


    Star Rating

8xLED 385nm UV Flashlight *

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