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Flashlight Tuner



Flashlight Tuner, retail approx. $32 (http://www.out-tec.com)
Manufactured by Out-Tec Technologies (http://www.out-tec.com)
Last updated 02-01-08


Flashlight Tuner


The 'Flashlight Tuner' is a neat tailcap replacement for your Mini-Mag or other metal 2-AA flashlight. The precision-made German instrument has two LEDs (bright white and bright red) and turns your Mini-Mag into something that's actually useful. It features a built-in DC-DC converter to allow the LEDs (especially the higher voltage white) to keep working even when the Mini-Mag's batteries are far too flat to run the regular bulb.





To use the Flashlight Tuner, just remove the existing tailcap from your Mag and remove the spare bulb from the plastic sleeve. Put the bulb in the opening found for it in the Flashlight Tuner (accessible by popping the spring off), and screw the device on the back of your Mag. Tighten it on by using the heavily knurled collar at the base of the threads, rather than by grabbing the moving part.

When you first put it on the butt of your Mini-Mag and are ready to use it, turn the Flashlight Tuner counterclockwise until it stops. In this mode, your Mini-Mag will function exactly as it did before. Turning the bezel of the Mag turns its bulb on and off and focuses it. When you use the Tuner's LEDs, turn your Mini-Mag on first, then turn the Flashlight Tuner clockwise until it is at the desired mode. One "click" gives you a moonlight-white LED, bright enough to read by or walk around with once your eyes have adjusted to the dark. Turning it some more will make it "click" again, turning the white LED off and the red LED on. This LED has a wider beam angle, and according to the packaging, is to be used for signalling. However, it also works for seeing things by if you're already adjusted to dark.

Flashlight Tuner


To turn it off without being blasted by the Mini-Mag's bulb (for example, if you don't want the flash to wreck your night vision), just turn the Mini-Mag itself off first, and then turn the Tuner counterclockwise until it stops.



Change the batteries exactly as you would the Mini-Mag itself. The Flashlight Tuner acts as the Mini-Mag's tailcap, and may be treated as such. Just try to remember to unscrew and replace it using the knurled collar right above the threads, rather than manhandling the large part of it where the LEDs are. But don't worry if you forget; the Tuner appears to be able to withstand this kind of abuse (yes, I did try that).




The Flashlight Tuner is made of aluminum, and appears to be quite durable. The sample I received is not anodized, but it may have been a prototype or an early model. The rotary switch has a secure, positive feel and isn't wobbly or loose feeling. A soft "click" is heard when changing modes, along with a positive detent or "stop" that you can feel while turning the switch. It has a sturdy, high-quality feel to it that lives up to its German heritage.

While the LEDs aren't blindingly bright, they are bright enough to make this a truly useful addition to your Mini-Mag. The white LED is approximately as bright as a CMG Infinity, and as such it is bright enough to serve as a reading light in the tent or a light to navigate through a darkened house, camper, campsite, or tent at night.

The red LED is being touted as mainly a signalling aid; but I've found it to also be useful for late-night foraging and as a nightlight. You can also use it to read a map, but please remember any red features on a map will *vanish* when viewed using only red light. As for signalling, I would probably want a *brighter* LED for true, long-range signalling purposes (like flagging down a rescue helicopter), something like a red Photon II would fit the bill here. The Photon is bright, but some may find it *too* bright for using it as a night vision preserving flashlight or a reading light. That's where the Flashlight Tuner has a distinct advantage. And if you need a bit more light but don't mind a funky color, it is possible to position the Tuner's rotary switch in between the red and white setting, and both LEDs will come on at once.

The Flashlight Tuner is *not* submersible, but from what I can determine, it should be at least weather resistant. The Tuner will happily beam away in rain, sleet or snow without damage (provided you don't throw it in a river), so don't hesitate to take it camping or hiking with you.


Flashlight Tuner Flashlight Tuner
This is the beam from the front of the Mini-Mag when the Flashlight Tuner is turned off.

Flashlight Tuner Flashlight Tuner
These are the beams from the Flashlight Tuner. Red on the left, white on the right.

Measures 1,110mcd (red) and 5,510mcd (white) on a Meterman LM631 light meter.

Flashlight Tuner
Need a touch more light? Then turn both beams on at once.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the white LED in this product.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the red LED in this product.



The LEDs are powered by a built-in DC-DC inverter, so that even when the flashlight's batteries are too low to burn the regular lamp, the Flashlight Tuner still works.


TEST NOTES:
IMPORTANT! The bulb in the Mini-Mag must be intact for the Flashlight Tuner to function. That's why it is advisable to carry a spare, and why there is a compartment for one in the Tuner. Although some people now consider the Mini-Mag to be obsolete, this product makes it worth keeping.

All of the websites selling this product appear to be in non-English, but I did claw through one and eventually came up with a listing. On this page, the Flashlight Tuner is selling for just under 36 Euros. I do not know what that translates to in US dollars.
(Edit... looks like that comes to $31.60 at the current exchange rate).


UPDATE: 04-12-02
The test unit has been used almost nightly for the last several weeks. That's why this page hasn't been worked on in awhile.


PROS:
Unique product - nothing else like it.
Turns a Mini-Mag into a true multi-function flashlight.
Allows you to obtain usable light even with very low battery power.
Durable, all-metal construction.
LEDs deeply recessed for extra protection.
Operates for up to 500 hours on one set of batteries.


CONS:
The LEDs are a bit dimmer than those in most other flashlights. However, remember the Tuner was specifically made to provide light for a LONG time and therefore to be really easy on the batteries.
Unit is not submersible; light water resistance only.


        MANUFACTURER: Out-Tec
        PRODUCT TYPE: Illuminated tailcap for Mini-Mag
        LAMP TYPE: LED, 3mm, white and red
        No. OF LAMPS: 2
        BEAM TYPE: Medium width red, slightly narrower white.
        SWITCH TYPE: Rotary with tactile "click" detents.
        BEZEL: LEDs are countersunk in individual compartments.
        BATTERY: 2 ea. AA cells
        CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Not yet measured
        WATER RESISTANT: Yes, weather resistant
        SUBMERSIBLE: No
        ACCESSORIES: None
        WARRANTY: Not yet known



        PRODUCT RATING:









Flashlight Tuner * WWW.OUT-TEC.COM



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