"BIG UFO" UV LED Keychain Lights, retail $4 (http://ledlight.freeshell.org)
Manufactured by (unknown) (see below for distributor info)
Last updated 04-05-02

The "Big UFO" style number 1 is a fat, keychain sized violet LED flashlight. The decidedly *cool* looking unit is equipped with a wide-angle near-UV LED emitting at just under 400nm, and is powered by a pair of CR2016 lithium coin cells.

What makes this violet/near-UV light different from the rest isn't its cool looks, but it's beam. This light produces a very wide angle beam, which some people prefer over the narrow beam for tasks like checking UV security features in documents and illuminating vaseline (uranium) glass.

The sample being tested on this page is the clear/blue model on the left in the above photograph.


The Big UFO is ready to use right out of the package. Press the silver button down to light it up, quit pressing to turn it off.

The light comes with a split ring type keychain attachemnt that is affixed to an eyelet on the light with a smaller split ring. This tidy arrangement allows for some degree of swivelling, and makes it possible to change batteries without having to remove it from your keychain.

To change the batteries, follow these steps.
1: Unscrew & remove the four screws holding the case together.
2: Flip the light upside down, so the button is facing the table.
3: Remove the bottom half of the case.
4: Lift the entire white assembly (including LED) straight off its posts.
5: Carefully remove the batteries, being certain the metal switch dome doesn't fall off.
6: Replace batteries, flat side (+) facing you. The negative (-) side should face the dome switch.
7: Replace entire white assembly back onto its posts, replace the lower half of the flashlight, and screw in the screws.

Take care not to overtighten the screws, as it is possible to strip the screw holes. The screws are very slightly countersunk; so stop screwing as soon as they're just below being flush with the flashlight body. They should turn easily until you reach the end; even with a narrow handled eyeglasses screwdriver. Once they stop turning easily, that should be it. Don't force them or you're almost sure to break off or strip out the screw posts.

The "Big UFO" style 1 (wide angle) is made of various transparent and transluscent plastics, and is not durable enough to withstand being run over or stomped on.
However, given a modicum of care, it should happily provide you with years of service. It did survive being dropped onto no pile/no backing carpet and on bare flooring.

It is not waterproof, so you should try not to toss it into a lake, drown it in the toilet, or let it go through the washingmachine. Like most small personal electronics articles though, it will survive a quick rain shower without any problems.

What I found attractive about this light isn't the cool shape and case colors, but the fact it has a wide-angle beam. This is the only unit I'm aware of with this beam, and I've heard through various sources that people like glass hunters looking for uranium glass prefer the wide-angle beam as opposed to the narrower beams found in all other UV/near-UV LED lights currently on the market (as of 04-05-02).

The LED in this unit appears to use a Cree MegaBright UV chip, and appears to be emitting its peak between 396 and 398nm, which is well within the "useful" range of these new LEDs. I define the "useful" range as being anything shorter than 400nm.

Beam photo. Photometric tests/measurements are not
possible due to short wavelength and wide angle beam.

The money shot.

Light is being tested alongside a narrower-beam "Big UFO" that arrived with it.

UPDATE: 00-00-00

Wide-angle beam
Looks cool
Easy pushbutton operation

Not as durable as some others
Tools required for battery change

        MANUFACTURER: Unknown
        PRODUCT TYPE: UV/near-UV 'money detector'
        LAMP TYPE: LED
        No. OF LAMPS: 1
        BEAM TYPE: Wide angle with slight central ring
        SWITCH TYPE: Dome type momentary pushbutton
        BEZEL: None
        BATTERY: 2 ea. CR2016 lithium
        CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Not known
        WATER RESISTANT: Light weather resistance only
        ACCESSORIES: Split ring, batteries
        WARRANTY: Not stated


Big UFO 1 (wide-angle) * http://ledlight.freeshell.org

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