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Coast HP1 Focusing LED Flashlight

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Review of Coast HP1 Focusing LED Flashlight, made by Coast Products

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)

Reviewer:

LED flashlights have been around for a few years, now. We usually recognize them by their honeycomb-looking array of small LEDs. And, like some of the people you have to deal with, they aren't very bright.

However, this flashlight uses a single LED as the lamp. And it is stunningly bright. The output is 220 lumens. If you use an Li-Ion battery, it will cast the beam 171 meters (560 ft). I didn't test this distance with this or any other battery type; it's the mfr's spec. What I can tell you is that beam goes really far. Whatever the exact distance might be, it's impressive just from eyeballing.

Now, this is not the 5 D cell Mag light that I carry in my car. You aren't going to be able to bash an attacker over the head with this or use it as a baton to stop a knife attack. In fact, at about 4 inches long it fits nicely into my fist. So maybe don't count it completely out as a weapon. But I think its main purpose is to be a dependable, very bright, multi-purpose portable light.

It reminds me of the Mag lights that I own, because of these features:

  • Spare bulb in battery compartment cap.
  • Constructed of aluminum (not sure if it's aircraft grade, as used by Mag).
  • Adjustable focus (turn the barrel) from "light the room up" flood to an awfully narrow spotlight.
  • Adjustable intensity, from low to high.
  • On/off switch, separate from focus or intensity adjustment.
  • It's water-resistant, as the Mag is. I have seen competing products that appear to be water-resistant but are not. I consider this a necessary feature.
  • Shock-resistant.
  • Black color. Not a selling feature particularly, but my Mags are all black so it reminds me of them for that reason also (Mag makes lights in several colors, it's just that when I bought my Mags you could get any color as long as it was black).

An additional feature is that it has a clip you can attach to a shoulder strap, pocket, or possibly a belt loop. This isn't one of those cheap "watch me break, sucker" plastic clips like the one on the SanDisk MP3 player, several models of Panasonic cordless phones, and other products that become far less useful once the clip is gone. This is a metal clip, and it is attached in a substantial manner.

The flashlight's extreme output and light weight combined with its clip make it a great choice for hiking, biking, climbing, camping, and other outdoor activities. I think it would also make sense to clip one to a door pocket in your car. It's also a great light to have around the house for those inevitable power outages. Keep one by your bed, and you can temporarily blind a home intruder while you reach for your "equalizer".

For climbers, this clip is not going to work with a 'biner but probably you can attach it to your harness. I did test it on my harness and found a few places it could clip to. It will not open wide enough to attach to the 'biner clips on  your harness.

It accepts one AA battery, which is perfect for me because I use rechargeable AAs in all my AA-using items. In this flashlight, you can use an AA alkaline, NiMH rechargeable, or Li-Ion rechargeable battery. You'll get about an hour of output per battery. So if going on an outing, carry spare batteries. If using as an emergency flashlight, keep a bank of charged batteries ready.

The fact this has an AA battery is a huge selling point for me because I have a "rotate the batteries through the queue" system for rechargeable AA batteries. Too bad nearly all smoke alarm manufacturers insist on 9V batteries; that's a bad design decision that is wasteful and toxic to the environment. Because this has AAs, I can just rotate the battery through my queue of AA batteries. That is much better than buying replacement batteries and sending the old ones to a landfill that will leach the toxic components out probably into somebody's drinking water. Use rechargeables whenever possible.

The lamp should last at least 100,000 hours before you need to replace it. That's the standard spec for this type of lamp. It's actually quite a bit of run time. It might even be more hours than it takes you to file you federal 1040 taxes every year.  :)

For those of you who decide to use rechargeables

The amount of time it takes for a rechargeable battery to recharge depends on two factors:

  1. The size of the battery (its mAH rating); this determines how big a bucket you are trying to fill.
  2. The mAH rating of the charger. This determines how fast you can fill that bucket.

Technical Notes

Charging is not linear. As the battery becomes increasingly charged up, its rate of charge diminishes. After the first few hours of recharging the typical device battery (sized 300 mAH to 1200 mAH), the rest of the time is the equivalent of "topping off the tank."

 

 

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