EF-12K Electronic Flare Kit, retail $28.99
Manufactured by Build-It Electronics (No longer in business)
Last updated 05-31-09

The EF-12K Electronic Flare Kit looks like a "tubular" red "flare"; (using red LEDs instead of fire), and when you've finished building it, is enclosed in a tubular (cylindrical) transparent housing.

It has 12 red LEDs, and feeds them with four AA cells.

The LEDs flash instead of remaining steady-on; and they don't all flash in unison (together) either - they flash in banks of three, but the flashing is such that it appears as though they all flash together unless you view the LEDs directly.

 Size of product w/hand to show scale SIZE

To use the flare, first you'll need to put it together. Yes, you need to assemble it, but you only need to do this once.
Follow the instructional material included with the kit to solder all of the components to the PCB (printed circuit board). Then you can deploy it (set it out) if you get a flat tire (or "tyre" if you prefer).

Remove the red cap from the top of the product (the end closest to the LEDs). You'll see a circuit board in there. Near the end of the circuit board is a small slide switch. Slide the little lever on this switch to the right (as the top of the circuit board faces forward), and press that red cap back over the end.

Deploy it as you see fit; preferably so that the LEDs face the traffic in your lane (if you're replacing a tire or have experienced some other breakdown).

To deactivate it, repeat the above steps, but slide the switch lever to the left instead.

To change the batteries in this product, remove the rubbery red cap from the top of the unit, take it to a bridge over deep water (the Golden Gate Bridge would be ideal; however, the Juneau-Douglas Bridge would also do in a pinch), and throw it over the side so that it goes "blub blub blub" all the way to the bottom of Gastineau Channel with all of the bowling balls that were lobbed over that bridge in the 1950s and 1960s...O WAIT!!! YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead.

Tip the entire "insides" (a thick grey plastic pipe) into your hand, and set the transparent cylinder aside.

Carefully tip the black plastic battery carriage out from the bottom end of the "innards" (I say "carefully" here because if you reef too hard on it you might break the wires that connect it with the rest of the circuit), and remove and dispose of or recycle the used AA cells from this carriage as you see fit.

Insert four new AA cells into the carriage, orienting them so that their flat-ends (-) negatives face the springs for them in each chamber.

Slide the now-full battery carriage back into the grey pipe, slide the transparent cylinder back over this pipe (so that the battery-end goes in first), and then press that rubbery red end cap back over the top of the transparent cylinder.
Aren't you glad that you didn't throw that red cap over the side of the Juneau-Douglas Bridge now?

This is what the Jueau-Douglas Bridge looks like...or what it lookED like anyway before it was replaced in 1976.

And this is what the bridge looks like now.

Unable to measure current use due to how the product was constructed and how it functions.

The EF-12K Electronic Flare Kit is intended for use as an emergency beacon, not as a flashlight meant to be carried around, thrashed, trashed, and abused - so I won't try to drown it in the toliet tank, bash it against a steel rod or against the concrete floor of a patio, let my mother's big dog's ghost or my sister's kitty cat spring a leak (uranate) on it, run over it with a 450lb Celebrity motorised wheelchair, stomp on it, use a small claw hammer in order to bash it open to check it for candiosity, fire it from the cannoņata, drop it down the top of Mt. Erupto (I guess I've been watching the TV program "Viva Piņata" too much again - candiosity is usually checked with a laser-type device on a platform with a large readout (located at Piņata Central {aka. "Party Central"}), with a handheld wand that Langston Lickatoad uses, or with a pack-of-cards-sized device that Fergy Fudgehog uses; the cannoņata (also located at Piņata Central) is only used to shoot piņatas to piņata parties away from picturesque Piņata Island, and Mt. Erupto is an active volcano on Piņata Island), send it to the Daystrom Institute for additional analysis, send it to Ventax II for Ardra to mess with
*, or perform other indecencies on it that a flashlight might have to have performed on it. So this section of the web page will be ***SIGNIFICANTLY*** more bare than this section of the web page on a page about a flashlight.

The flare's light output is quite directional; when you place this device on the roadway, aim its LEDs to the rear if you put it near the back of your car, or forward if you put it near the front of your car.

The LEDs in the kit are Fairchild Semiconductor MV8114 super bright red lamps. They have a typical luminous intensity of 2,400mcd at an If of 20mA, and a viewing angle of 12°.

The LEDs don't just flash at the same time; they flash in groups of three, and the entire cycle time (between the time the first three LEDs in the group of 12 LEDs flash and the time the last three LEDs in the group of 12 LEDs flash) is 72mS (72 milliseconds).

I'm not an electronics expert, and I don't play one on TV or on the internet, so I can't tell you *exactly* how the circuitry works.

The kit consists of the following:
  • Pre-drilled PCB (printed circuit board)
  • 12 bright red 5mm LEDs with water-clear epoxy bodies
  • 5 mylar capacitors
  • 5 electrolytic capacitors
  • 1 zener diode
  • 11 axial lead resistors, all 1/8 watt
  • 1 14-pin DIP IC
  • 1 14-pin DIP IC socket
  • 2 8-pin DIP ICs
  • 2 8-pin DIP IC sockets
  • 1 SPST slide switch
  • 1 4xAA cell battery holder
  • 2 Curved plastic pieces
  • Length of red wire
  • 2" diameter x 8" long transparent tube
  • 2 red plastic caps - one is longer and is very flexible
  • Segments of grey PVC pipe
  • Instructional material

Before the company went tits-up in mid-2006, this product was superceded (followed) by the EF-3K Electronic Flare Kit.

I was unable to furnish a beam photograph, so I just took a photograph of the LEDs in their "on" state.

Here's a beam photograph from its original web page,
which I was able to find a part of on the evening of 05-30-09.

After a number of attempts, I was able to get the beam photograph.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this flasher.
USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis.
This analysis shows the beam somewhat off-axis, but it was the best I could provide considering the flashing nature of this product.
Image made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.

WMP movie (.avi extension) showing the product flashing.
This clip is approximately 2.887 megabytes (2,912,612 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than fourteen minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide it in other formats, so please do not ask.

Test unit was sent by its manufacturer sometime in 2004.
I ***KNOW*** that I had it on this website, but damned if I can find it now...so I'll just evaluate it all over again.

* From the Star Trek: TNG episode "Devil's Due".

UPDATE: 05-31-09
I found part of the original web page. Turns out that the original EF-12K did *NOT* come equipped with that thick, grey PVC pipe inside; a new, improved prototype was sent by P.L. of Build-It Electronics on 03-30-05, and was received on the morning of 04-05-05.

The company actually went down the tube on 03-26-06; hence you see the "" icon appended to its listings on this website and no URLs to where the kit was made are on this web page.

Uses LEDs instead of fire
Reasonably water- and weather-resistant
Uses batteries that are common and relatively inexpen$ive

A bit on the large side for a replacement "flare"
Activation/deactivation is a bit more complex than might be desired
More "directional" than might be wanted in a flare

    MANUFACTURER: Build-It Electronics
    PRODUCT TYPE: LED "flare" kit
    LAMP TYPE: 5mm red LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 12
    BEAM TYPE: Medium spot w/soft corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Slide on/off inside top of housing
    CASE MATERIAL: Plastic
    BEZEL: LEDs protected by transparent plastic cylinder
    BATTERY: 4xAA cells
    SIZE: 8.0" L x 2.25" D
    wWARRANTY: Unknown/TBA


    Star RatingStar Rating

EF-12K Electronic Flare Kit *

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