The Tektite Expedition-50 is the baby brother of the well-known Expedition-7, also known as the C.C. Expedition.
The Expedition 50 comes in the same high-impact plastic case as the other Tektite 3 "C" flashlights.
It features a bright white Nichia LED at the bottom of its big reflector, and is designed specifically to give hundreds of hours of light on the same set of batteries.
The Expedition 50, like its bigger brothers, comes packaged with three Energizer alkaline "C" cells. Install them (see below) and you're good to go with no additional assembly.
To turn the light on, twist the Lexan lens bezel clockwise; to switch the flashlight off, unscrew the bezel 1/4 turn or so until it shuts off.
When you receive your Expedition 50, you will undoubtedly hear a faint "Please feed me!" issuing from the clamshell packaging.
To give Baby's first feeding, unscrew the lens bezel completely until it comes off. Then remove the silver reflector assembly.
Holding the light at an angle with the open end facing upwards, slide in the three "C" cells with the button-end facing up.
Place the silver reflector on top of the batteries and screw the bezel back on.
With some care, you can open this light and not have parts going all over the place. But be aware the bulb/reflector assembly will drop out if you're not watching what you're doing during the infrequent but necessary battery changes.
Battery life is stated at 400 to 500 hours. This is one light made to last while using as little resources as possible.
I am currently burn-testing the sample at a rate of 12 hours on, 12 hours off.
Perhaps not that realistic, but much more so than just letting the thing burn 24 hours a day. It is entirely possible that some may use this flashlight as a nightlight, so the 12-on, 12-off scheme might not be that out of this world after all.
This way the batteries get a chance to recuperate, as they would in real-life use.
The Expedition 50 is a tough, though slightly brittle feeling flashlight. However, like all the Tektite LED flashlights, the body is composed of ABS plastic, and the lens is made of G.E. Lexan, the strongest transparent plastic made by Man. So it should never break as a result of common flashlight accidents like falling off a table, car hood, or out of a backpack.
It is also visibly sealed with "O" rings and is guaranteed waterproof to 1,000 feet.
These "O" rings also help seal out dust & dirt, making cleanup of a dirty flashlight a simple "hose down" operation.
The ABS case is resistant to oils and various other materials (presumably also including gasoline) so this light should fare well in a garage as well as it does on the campground.
When dropped or tossed to a missed target, the Expedition 50 just bounces loudly with a plastic-like clattering sound. It is not damaged by short falls or being whacked against a hard surface, but it could break if it were shot out of a cannon into the side of a toilet tank - something I hope you never do with your flashlights! :)
Drop tests have been limited (the neighbors are bitching) so later on I'll take a bunch of these things for a little road trip and see what they can take.
The Expedition 50 comes with an adjustable wrist lanyard with a length of rubber tubing covering part of it for a comfortable, secure, non-slip fit around the arm or wrist in any weather. An optional hands-free strap can be fitted into the two wide loops located just behind the flashlight head.
Expedition 50 on the left, compared to the reference light, the Expedition-7 (7 LEDs)
(This is an older photo).
New picture taken of the light at both wide and narrow focus. Readings ranged from 30,000 to 60,000mcd depending on how the beam focus was adjusted.. High readings are caused mainly by the reflector concentrating the LED's light, especially at the tightest focus setting.
Spectrographic analysis of the LED in this flashlight.
USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.
You will probably notice the color of the Expedition 50's light is more of a cross between a good incandescent and a standard white LED. It does not have much of a bluish tinge.
If anything, the color reminds me of those free fluorescent light bulbs the power companies are handing out to keep us out of rolling blackouts.
The business end of the Expedition 50.
Any updates related to this review will be posted as they happen.
The Expedition 50 has been running an average of 13 hours a day since March 21, and it is finally petering out.
Usable battery life with this cycle is approximately 260 hours so far.
This is a lot less than the 400 hours quoted on the package, but if one were to use the light intermittently, say an hour or so per night, you just might get close to that 400 hour mark by the time you're reaching for the battery drawer. Burning the light continuously for 13 hours a day is pretty rough on the batteries, so I wasn't surprised to not see them last a full 400 hours.
The light is still usable, it just isn't very bright any more. One can still make their way around indoors if already partially adapted to the dark, and one can also read with it. So you still aren't left in the dark, and there's no reason this test can't be continued.
UPDATE 04-18-01: It's dead, Jim.
After two more 13 hour cycles and a single 30 hour period, the Expedition-50 is dead.
During this last test period, the flashlight was rather dim, but usable if one were to be left in total darkness with it.
Battery life for this test totalled around 316 hours, give or take a couple of hours.
This is well short of the 400-500 hours promised, but is still a LONG time for a single set of batteries to last in a flashlight.
If the Expedition-50 were used intermittently, say... an hour or so a night, I have no reason not to believe one could come close to the 400 hour mark. This gets good marks in my book.
Durable construction, waterproof, uses cheap & common batteries, potential for the longest battery life of any LED flashlight.
Sinks like a rock. It *feels* brittle, but does not seem to be so in reality. Get used to it.
PRODUCT TYPE: Handheld flashlight
LAMP TYPE: LED, 5mm, white
No. OF LAMPS: 1
BEAM TYPE: Adjustable, mostly central hotspot with corona
SWITCH TYPE: Twist-on bezel
BEZEL: Clear lexan bezel with ribbed outer wall
BATTERY: 3 C cells
CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Not yet measured
WATER RESISTANT: Yes
SUBMERSIBLE: To 1000 feet
ACCESSORIES: Alkaline batteries, generous padded wrist lanyard
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