Wag-A-Flag, retail $4.95 (www.myvirtualzone.com...)
Manufactured by Wag-A-Flag (URL not known)
Last updated 07-04-12

Well, it's not a flashlight, but *is* a programmable thingie that uses LEDs to make its point. So why not...

The Wag-A-Flag is an unusual little gadget, approximately the same shape as, and somewhat larger than a New Year's noisemaker. It has four "AAA" cells in its handle, and six white, seven red, and seven blue LEDs on the business end. Three buttons located on the rotating head allow you to change to any of six messages, with the American flag appearing in each message. It also plays any of six patriotic songs as you whirl it around.

You're supposed to hold the thing over your head and whirl it about by its handy-dandy handle, and messages, spelled out in blue LEDs, are supposed to "magically appear in mid-air".
And you know, the darned thing actually works!

Even though it was purchased in mid-December 2006 (and seasonal discounts were no doubt in place), the under-$5.00 price was REALLY NICE!!! I'd have been surprised to find this for $20.00.


The Wag-A-Flag comes with batteries already installed, so it's almost ready to rock right away. Just pull out the plastic tab at the top of the unit; this functions as an insulater that prevents unwanted activation and subsequent battery drain before you receive it.

Press the "ON/FWD/RVRS" button to turn the unit on - whirl it counterclockwise as you might whirl around a new year's noisemaker. You should see an American flag and a patriotic message displayed, and a patriotic song being played. If you wish to whirl it clockwise, just press the "ON/FWD/RVRS" a second time within three seconds or thereabout; this reverses the display so the images & words are displayed correctly when the unit is whirled clockwise.

The Wag-A-Flag comes with six songs and six messages:
  • Star Spangled Banner
  • America
  • America, the Beautiful
  • You're a Grand Old Flag
  • Calvary Charge
  • Yankee Doodle

  • USA
The unit turns itself off after 3 to 5 seconds when not being waved; this way, you do not have to remember to turn it off and will subsequently not be rewarded with dead batteries the next time you go to use the Wag-A-Flag.

To change the batteries in your Wag-A-Flag unit, use a medium phillips screwdriver to unscrew & remove the phillips screw from the top of the unit located between the handle and the blade thingie that spins around. Swing the battery lid up, and if necessary, dump out & dispose of or recycle the used AAA cells from inside the unit.

Insert four new AAA cells, orienting them as shown in the photograph directly below.

Photograph of the top of the battery compartment, showing the correct cell orientation.
The display part of this product was facing the right and the handle facing forward (toward the top of the photograph) when this photograph was taken.

Swing the battery door back down, insert the screw (assuming of course, that you did not dispose of it or flush it away ), and gently but firmly tighten it.

The Wag-A-Flag appears to be reasonably durable, but like any electronic instrument filled with ICs and other goodies, you probably don't want to swing this around and hit stuff with it, and it would also appreciate not being dropped too many times. That said, it does seem to withstand *minor* accidents, such as falling off a table, or being dropped from chair-height while you are sitting there screwing with it.

But if you deliberately beat the urine out of the poor thing, it will probably retaliate by ceasing to function.

I would have preferred it if the time to auto-shutoff were extended a bit to...perhaps 10 seconds. But for less than five dollars batteries included, I'm not going to complain too loudly.

Photograph of the product in use.

Same as above; just slightly different time during the spin.

Spectrographic analysis
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this product; it simply does not stay on for a sufficient period of time to take spectra of the red, white, and blue LEDs individually.

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

WMP movie (.avi extension) showing the unit in use.
This clip is approximately 1.1 megabytes (1,210,552 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than five minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide it in other formats, so please do not ask.

The image was somewhat washed out when this movie was made; the colors of the US flag aren't visible.

Video clip on YourTube showing the Wag-A-Flag in use.

This clip is approximately 4.914565678456 megabytes (5,047,774 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than twenty four minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

Another video clip on YourTube showing the Wag-A-Flag in use.
My Digigr8 DV182 Digital Still/Video Camera was used this time.

This clip is approximately 0.512332145355 megabytes (565,644 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than two and a half minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

Yet another video on YourTube showing the Wag-A-Flag in action -- displaying both a patriotic message and playing patriotic zax. This time, I used my new Nikon Coolpix S4300 Digital Camera.

This video is approximately 72.777345342811 megabytes (72,991,960 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than three hundred sixty three minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

Music Made by This Product

Audio (sound) file in Windows Wave (.WAV) format to allow you to hear the music produced by this product.

This audio file is approximately 1.38634423783 megabytes (1,578,922 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than seven minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.

Test unit was purchased from the www.myvirtualzone.com website on 12-08-06, and was received on the afternoon of 12-21-06.

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

UPDATE: 07-04-07
I was not able to find the Wag-A-Flag to use today.

UPDATE: 10-25-07
The product unexpectly turned up yesterday afternoon while I was looking for a flashlight.
I briefly tested it, and it does still function.

UPDATE: 07-05-08
The product has been boxed up for a move that was to have taken place on several previous dates; therefore, I was not able to use it yesterday.
This is the second year in a row that the product could not be used on Independence Day.

UPDATE: 07-05-09
I have kept the Wag-A-Flag in a known location since moving to Federal Way WA. USA just after New Year's Day 2009, so I had it at my fingertips when I went to use it yesterday..."third time's a charm" I guess.

Reasonably sturdy
Patriotic LED colors (red, white, and blue)

Auto-off time is way too short - this is what nocked off so many points off its rating.

    PRODUCT TYPE: Motion-activated "readerboard-type" thing
    LAMP TYPE: 3mm diffused LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 20 (7 red, 6 white, 7 blue)
    SWITCH TYPE: Momentary pushbuttons for on/off, ctrl, message change
    CASE MATERIAL: Plastic
    BEZEL: N/A
    BATTERY: 4xAAA cells
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    WATER- AND PEE-RESISTANT: Splatter-resistant at best
    ACCESSORIES: 4xAAA cells, wrist lanyard
    WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated


    Star RatingStar Rating

Wag-A-Flag *

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