From time to time, people ask me exactly what certain abusive tests I perform on flashlights are, so in all of their gory detail, here are the answers.

THE SMACK TEST (occasionally aka. THE THRASH TEST)
This test is where I grasp the test subject first by the tailcap, and swing it against a hard surface (usually concrete) so that it strikes that surface on the side of its bezel (head) five times. Then I hold the victimised unit by the head, and swing it against concrete so that it strikes that surface on the side of its tailcap five times; for a total of 10 (ten) smacks.

The flashlight is then examined for exterior damage and (more importantly) optical & electrical functionality. This test is not specifically designed to see if there is heavy physical damage to the outer casing; it's more to see if the circuitry inside holds up to high instantaneous G-forces (or "shock load"); as if an actual consumer were to drop the unit onto a hard surface from chest-height or so.

Flashlights marketed specifically as being "extremely tough" (Mag Lites, Tektite, Princeton Tec, etc.) may also be subject to an even more brutal version of this test, where I swing the light like a ball peen hammer and strike the concrete. They may also be run over with a 450 pound motorized wheelchair, or intentionally stomped on. Smaller metal lights tend to do well with this particular test.

Some test units are also thrown against a hard surface, kicked, or even struck with a golf club -- these particular tests are actually intended to check for breakage of exterior components.

For additional "consumer level" testing, I will wander around the test area with the lit flashlight in hand and purposely run into doors or corners, being sure the flashlight is knocked to the floor. Lights with belt holsters are mounted, and then I purposefully get jammed in a metal framed doorway so the flashlight takes the brunt of the "accident". If the unit tears away or becomes broken, that is noted in the evaluation.

This is my version of the classic water-resistance test.
Here, I submerge the test flashlight in the cistern (toliet tank) to see how watertight it is.

Flashlights are generally left underwater for anywhere from one to many hundreds of minutes, depending on their claims of submersibility; flashlights are also turned on and off underwater if possible unless forbidden in the instructional materials.

I chose this location for two primary reasons.

1: The cistern is the only water I have ready access to that is over a couple of inches (~5cm) in depth.

2: Water in the cistern is actually potable (drinkable) provided that an "in-tank" bowl cleaner is not used; so I do not have to disinfect or even dispose of the test subject after this test is complete.

This photograph shows "The Toliet Test" being performed simultaneously on several flashlights.

Finally, many of the test units will be "adopted" as an EDC (Every Day Carry) light, and then used in any situation calling for the use of a flashlight. This can go on for several months or even more (YEARS for some units!!!), and any breakage or malfunction that crops up would be noted in the "Updates" section of that light's evaluation.

Do you manufacture or sell an LED flashlight, task light, utility light, or module of some kind? Want to see it tested by a real person, under real working conditions? Do you then want to see how your light did? If you have a sample available for this type of real-world, real-time testing, please contact me at ledmuseum@gmail.com.

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