UView 'MicroLED-Lite' Rechargeable UV Light, retail TBA (www.uview.com...)
Manufactured by UView (www.uview.com)
Last updated 02-15-09

Here's another rechargeable LED "leak detector" light that uses Cree near-UV LEDs and a rechargeable NiMH battery. But this one is different from that other NUV LED leak detector light in a few important ways.

The UView light comes in a small, red body; and looks a lot like a 2 C-cell incandescent flashlight, but once you throw that switch, all similarities end. 12 Cree near-UV LEDs are found on the light's business end instead of a bulb and reflector assembly. Like any light using these near-UV LEDs, you don't want to aim it at your eyes and turn it on. Instead, reach into the beer cooler, pop cooler, meat cooler, ice machine, AC unit, or whatever refrigeration unit you're troubleshooting, and aim it at the compressor and the pipes and the condensor and stuff, and turn it on there. This assumes, of course, that you've injected fluorescent dye into the system and allowed it to circulate for awhile first. Near-UV light ought to come out of the light's business end and illuminate any leaks in the refrigeration system you're testing.

The light features a rechargeable NiMH battery and a jack on the end for you to plug the included AC charger into when the battery poops out.


The light should come out of the box ready to use, but like any rechargeable device, you ought to charge it up for 8-12 hours first. Don't charge it for any more than 1 day, or the battery could become damaged.

To get a shot of NUV light whenever you need it, grasp the barrel of the flashlight firmly with your thumb over the switch (being sure the flashlight is pointed away from you), and (using your thumb) press the back end of the switch down until it clicks. Keep holding the switch down for as long as you need the light. Release the switch to shut the light off.

The UView light is rechargeable, so this section can be (for the most part, anyway) skipped.

To charge this light, plug the wall-wart type charger into the wall, then plug the charger plug at the end of the wall-wart's cord into the charger jack on the tail end of the flashlight. For a full charge (when the flashlight's battery is totally pooped out), leave the light connected to the charger for 8-12 hours. Do not, under any circumstances, leave the light plugged into the charger for more than 24 hours, or you could damage the battery, and you don't want that to happen. There are no LEDs on the flashlight body to indicate when the charge is done, and the charger doesn't stop charging when the batteries are topped off, so it is possible to overcharge them and damage them if you leave it on the charger too long.

If you charge up the battery before it's used up, you can tell when it full because the flashlight body will warm up a bit, so you ought to be able to unplug the charger when the flashlight feels warm and be assured the battery is fully charged.

In fact, any time you charge the light up, feel the barrel and if it feels warm, the light should be unplugged from the charger and be considered fully charged.

A well-respected LED guy got 1.25 hours of runtime on the UView light before it needed to be charged, while the light claims to get 3 hours. The NiMH battery inside is 4.8 volts, 600mAh, and the unit draws 533mA. There's no way the battery can deliver 533mA for 3 hours.

Here's the battery discharge analysis chart. Looks like it runs for about an hour before it gets to half brightness; I terminated the test at about two hours so I would not damage the battery. The LEDs were pretty dim at this point, so it made no sense to run the test any farther.

The flashlight feels good in the hand, and seems at least somewhat durable (I dropped the flashlight a couple of times by accident, and it kept right on ticking).

The switch is momentary only; not the best choice in my opinion for this flashlight. Not only does the barrel-mounted rocker switch cut down on the light's water resistance, but it could possibly get turned on in a bag or toolbox. The switch is spring-loaded to automatically turn off when pressure is relieved from it, so it will turn itself back off once the pressure is relieved. But this spring-loaded mechanism has a dark side too - if you're using your thumb or finger to hold down the switch, it could become tired within a minute or two, and the light will turn off on you.
Momentary-only operation also means you can't hold the light by its tail to reach farther in the refrigeration unit to get the NUV light closer to hidden or far-away pipes.

The UView light has a rubbery bezel to help protect it from falls and other accidents. But if this rubbery bezel comes off (and it comes off remarkably easily), the LED board will fall off. You won't be totally screwed though, because the LED board will hang on by its two wires and continue to work. Use another flashlight if necessary, and put the round LED board back in place and put the rubber bezel back on and you'll be back in business.

Five of the 12 LEDs appear to be of a shorter wavelength than the others. Although this *could* be considered normal, it doesn't look right in a light like this. The LEDs are also rated for 100,000 hours, while they will probably only last a hundred hours or so, if you're lucky. Testing by another well-known LED guru showed that these near-UV LEDs last for no more than a couple hundred or so hours to half life; the LEDs in this light are significantly overdriven, so that figure will be even less. The LED board can't easily be changed because it is wired to the rest of the flashlight using connectors that aren't easy to un-do. If you're handy with a soldering iron and a pair of wire nips, it's no problem. But if you aren't, you're probably SOL if you need to change it. When the flashlight's rubber hood is in place, the LED board can be moved by finger force. The LEDs don't have external lenses to focus them, so you get a wider, dimmer beam than another manufacturer's UV light made for the same purpose - snooping around in refrigeration units looking for leaks.

You can hear some wires rattling around inside when the light is shaken. While the UView light doesn't sound like a pair of maracas (a mexican musical instrument) when shaken, I still don't care to hear wires rattling around inside.

The UView light is not water resistant, so you'll want to keep it away from those Auto-Chlor sinks, the fronts of ice machines, or other wet locations on your job. If it falls in water, water will probably get in through or around the charger jack, through and around the switch, and around the LED board. If this happens and you think water got inside your UView light, remove the rubberized bezel, pull the LED board out a bit, dump the water out of the light if necessary, and set the still-disassembled light in a warm, dry place for a few days to fully dry out before reassembling it.

Beam photograph at ~12".
Color is *not* the bright magenta as the picture shows.
It's more of a deep royal purple shade to the human eye.

Wavelength is too short for my instruments, so I can't
provide an "mcd" value or get it on my Prometric system.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of this light.

Spectrographic plot
Same as above; deliberately "overexposed" to show the weak broadband emission from the LEDs.

USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

UView calls this light "true UV", yet most of its LEDs (though not *ALL* of them) emit light above 400nm, which I would consider to be "violet" or "near-UV".

Sample was provided as a loaner by a user of my website, and did not include the amber or yellow UV blocking goggles, so I can't test those.

The AC "wall wart" charger is rated at 6VDC 60mA. The barrel (center) is positive; the shell or can (outside) is negative. Open circuit voltage is 7.14 volts DC. This is consistent with an unregulated, transformer-type charger.

The front of the flashlight head reads "CAUTION HOT" just like UView's halogen flashlights. This notice may be disregarded, though the LEDs become hot after a minute or two - that can't be very good for them. But you won't burn yourself on a hot bulb, if that's what you're worried about.

UPDATE: 11-23-03
Another UView owner tested the lifetime of the LEDs in the unit. He got around 100 hours to half-life. You can't change the LED module without a soldering iron and some very basic electronics skills (insomuch as you know what the black and red wires are for and that you get the polarity correct). In my sample, the positive (+) red wire goes on the underside of the board close to the resistor, and the negative (-) black wire goes on the other side of the board.
So if you aren't handy with a soldering iron or don't have one, you may be SOL.

UPDATE: 11-29-03
A fan of this website is going to send me a test LED board and a soldering iron (to replace the one the cleaners stomped on or threw, and the one they stole or got rid of), so I'll be able to do a battery runtime test, and do it using that board instead of wasting the one that comes with the UView.
Guess I'd better get my computerised automatic battery destroying satanic robot death machine ready. :-)

UPDATE: 12-05-03
I ran it through my computerized automatic battery destroying satanic robot death machine this afternoon, and came up with the battery discharge chart you see in the battery section farther up this page. It runs for just a hair under 1 hour before really starting to circle the drain.

UPDATE: 05-18-04
The direct-entry URL to this light's page on the UView website no longer functions, so I changed it to one that does. Note that this is a .PDF file; you'll need to have Adobe Acrobat or other .PDF reader installed before you can read it.

UPDATE: 05-22-04
Here is a photograph of the MicroLED Lite illuminating acrylic pieces from 13" away.

This acrylic fluoresces very similarly to the dye used in refrigeration systems.

Feels good in the hand
Can be used as a dim flashlight if need be
Rechargeable - never buy disposable batteries for it

Not too water resistant - definitely not submersible
Short lamp module life (~100 hrs) vs. the 100,000 hours claimed
Momentary-only switch
"Dumb" charger - battery can get wrecked by overcharge
No charge level indicator of any type
Battery life is misrepresented
LEDs were binned a bit on the crappy side
Radiation density is approx. 25% of the competitor's NUV light at 14"
Rubberized bezel could fall off if the light is used roughly

    PRODUCT TYPE: Rechargeable near-UV lamp
    LAMP TYPE: NUV LED, probably Cree Megabright 400nm
    No. OF LAMPS: 12
    BEAM TYPE: Fairly wide-angle; hotspot with slightly dimmer corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Momentary snap-action rocker switch on barrel
    BEZEL: Black rubbery material; naked LEDs very slightly recessed behind it
    BATTERY: Internal NiMH rechargeable, 4.8 volts 600mAh
    WATER RESISTANT: Light splash resistance only
    ACCESSORIES: AC charger, UV-blocking goggles
    WARRANTY: Unknown/TBA


    Star RatingStar Rating

UView 'MicroLED-Lite' Rechargeable UV LED Light * www.uview.com

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