The Illuminator, retail $24.95 (
Manufactured by (Unknown) for Spectrum Research (
Last updated 03-06-07

This 14-LED flashlight, sold by Spectrum Research, is called "The Illuminator", but I'll likely just call it a "flashlight" on this web page.

It comes in an aluminum body, has 14 screaming bright white LEDs (yes, the intensity is higher than I expected) in its bezel (head), uses three AAA cells in a side-by-side carriage in its barrel to keep the length down, and has a rubbery pushbutton on/off switch on its tailcap.


Press the button on the tailcap until it clicks and then release it to turn the flashlight on. Press the button on the tailcap until it clicks and then release it to turn the flashlight off. Yes, it really is as easy as that.

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

The flashlight comes with a nylon belt holster. The flashlight fits this holster bezel-up; a flap with hook & loop fasteners (possibly Velcro brand) folds over the top, so the flashlight doesn't just fall out. This holster fits belts up to 1.25" wide. I do not own or use pants that require a belt however, so I cannot test this accessory in the manner in which it was intended to be used.

To change the batteries, unscrew and remove the tailcap, throw it to the ground, and stomp on it with old or used bowling shoes...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 AAA cells from it.

Insert three new AAA cells into the carriage, orienting each cell so its flat end (-) negative faces the spring for it in each chamber.

Slide the now-full battery carriage into the flashlight barrel, orienting it so the (+) sign embossed on one of the end plates goes in first. Finally, screw the tailcap firmly back on.
Aren't you glad you didn't stomp on that tailcap now?

Current usage measures 799mA on my DMM's 4A scale.

Photograph of the "business-end", showing the LEDs and reflector.

The flashlight appears to be reasonably sturdy. Ordinary flashlight accidents should not be enough to do it in. I administered the smack test on it (ten whacks against the corner of a concrete stair; five whacks against the side of the tailcap and five whacks against the side of the bezel), and found the expected damage. There is some gouging on the sides of the tailcap and bezel where it was struck. No optical or electrical malfunctions were detected.

This flashlight is splash- and weather-resistant at absolute minimum, but it is not submersible (See 11-15-06 update below!!! This has been fixed!!! See me unsuccessfully try to drown it in the toilet!!!). So please try not to drop it in creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, oceansides, docksides, puddles of pet rat pee, slush piles, mud puddles, tubs, toilet bowls, cisterns, sinks, fishtanks, dog water dishes, or other places where water or water-like liquids might be found. A little rain or snow probably wouldn't hurt it though, so you need not be too concerned about using it in moderately bad weather.

If it fell in water and you suspect it got flooded, disassemble it as you would for a battery change, unscrew and remove the bezel (head), dump the water out of the barrel and bezel if necessary, and set the parts in a warm dry place for a day or so just to be sure it's completely dry inside before you reassemble and use it again.

If it fell into seawater or if somebody or something peed on it, douche all the parts out with fresh water before setting them out to dry. You don't want your flashlight to smell like seashells or urine when you go to use it next. Besides, salt (from seawater or urination) can't be very good for the insides.

The Illuminator has knurling (crosshatch-shaped texturising) on its bezel and tailcap, and a textured, rubberised grip over much of the length of its barrel, so retention (the ability to hold on to the product when your hands are cold, oily, or soaked with water or pee) should not be an issue.

The light output by this product is a cool white, with a noticeable bluish tinge. This tint should not offend many users, but it *IS* noticeable.

Beam photograph on the test target at 12".
Measures 269,000mcd on a Meterman LM631 light meter.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrometer plot of the LEDs in this flashlight.
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from TWO-CUBED.

ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis.
Image made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.

Beam photograph on a wall at ~15'.
I don't normally show the beams of non-Luxeon flashlights from this
distance, but this one is bright enough for this particular photograph.

Those rectangular graphic things near the bottom are marquees from:
Cinematronics ''Star Castle''
Gremlin/Sega ''Astro Blaster''
Jaleco ''Exerion''
Venture Line ''Looping''
Sega ''Hang-On''
Williams ''Stargate''
upright coin-op arcade video games from the 1980s.

And that red star thing on the wall is from an American DJ Laser Widow.

Test unit was sent by J.P. of Spectrum Research on 04-27-06, and was received late on the morning of 05-05-06. He also sent a second (camouflage) unit for me to use.

Test sample emits an odour not unlike a tire (or "tyre") or a plastic spoon burning in a Little Chief® upright electric salmon smoker that had previously been used for its intended purpose and then not cleaned afterward. This odour is not unpleasant by any means, but it is noticeable.
I noted a similar odour coming from an LED headlamp I received in 2001, and a Thor spotlight I purchased in mid-2005. The headlamp had a rubber battery door, and only emitted the odour when the rubber was abused or flexed. The Thor emitted the odour constantly.

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: 05-22-06
The unit now emits a slight rubbery odour; the slightly "fishy" component that was originally there is now gone.

UPDATE: 11-07-06
I received a telephone call today from a woman at Spectrum Research; she told me that the water-resistance issue had been resolved, and that another evaluation sample would be sent. I will commence testing of it immediately upon receipt.

UPDATE: 11-15-06
The new Illuminator arrived a short time ago today (1:44pm PST), and as promised, I immediately put the batteries in and threw it in the toilet (the cistern, not the bowl), and left it there for just over one minute. The water-resistance issue indeed appears to have been solved. When the unit was retrieved from the toilet tank, dried off with some store-brand nasal tissue (functionally identical to Cleanax), and then disassembled for examination, no water was found inside.

Here's a photograph of the new Illuminator.

And here's proof I really did throw it in the toilet.

Beam photograph on the test target at 12".
Measures 369,000mcd on a Meterman LM631 light meter.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrometer plot of the LEDs in this flashlight.
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from TWO-CUBED.

UPDATE: 11-17-06
Slightly stretching the spring in the tailcap helps significantly reduce battery rattle. It does not *ELIMINATE* the rattle, but does noticeably reduce it.

Reasonably durable construction
Bright little {vulgar term for one who initiates intercourse} for its size
Uses batteries that are common & relatively inexpensive
Water-resistant and submersible too

No regulation
Uses a battery carriage - one more thing to lose or break

    PRODUCT TYPE: Small handheld flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: 5mm white LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 14
    BEAM TYPE: Medium spot w/dim corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Rubberised pushbutton on/off on tailcap
    CASE MATERIAL: Aluminum
    BEZEL: Metal; LEDs & reflector protected by plastic window
    BATTERY: 3xAAA cells
    SUBMERSIBLE: Yes, to 1 foot at absolute minimum (advertised 150')
    ACCESSORIES: Small lanyard, 3xAAA cells, belt holster (optional)
    WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated


    Star Rating

The Illuminator *

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