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We love writing about flashlights here at Toolmonger, mostly because flashlights are incredibly useful but somehow almost always seem to end up as the least-thought-out “extra” in a combo count. We think (and suspect you do, too) that flashlights are good for more than just increasing tool count. So I couldn’t help but give a mention to Makita’s new offering, the excitingly-named (kidding) LXLM01. The name might be forgettable, but I thought one thing when I saw this sucker: it looks exactly like those awkward lights everyone carried around on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

No, really. Consider:

Every time I saw someone on Trek carrying one of those things, I thought, “Why don’t they carry it like a normal flashlight?” Makita seems to get this. Yes, the Makita is a very similar shape. But they seem to have incorporated some improvements that clearly escaped Trek’s imagination.

Mentally remove the grip strap, and the Makita’s form factor looks pretty similar to the DeWalt light we thought so highly of. Of course, Makita opted for a six-LED fixed array instead of the DeWalt’s single bright LED in a swivel mount. The downside of this is that you lose the DeWalt’s awesome ability to sit upright on its stand and swivel to provide light in almost any direction. I like the grip strap, though, as at least 50% of the time I find myself carrying the DeWalt light around like a normal flashlight, gripping it around the edges. That strap would make it a lot more stable.

Another consideration is power. The Makita is a lot bigger than it looks. That’s a whopping 18V battery attached to it, instead of the small, compact 12V you see on the DeWalt. That easily accounts for its 50-hour runtime; any battery that’ll drive a recip saw will easily drive six LEDs for long enough for you to forget the last time you charged it.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see one of these in person, both to get an idea of whether the strap is really a good thing or not and to find out whether or not this shape of light really works in such a scaled-up size. The light streets for around $20, tool only, and you’ll (surprise) find it included in lots of various combo kits.

18V LXT Li-Ion Cordless LED Flashlight [Makita]
Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

18 Responses to Makita’s New Star Trek Flashlight

  1. BJN says:

    With so many great flashlights that don’t need a frikkin’ expensive 18v lithium battery pack, I just shake my head when I see all the lame lights that tool makers produce. I’d pay $20 more to have these not included in the kits.

    • dave_c says:

      To me the benefit is two-fold.

      1) You have the cordless too set already so instead of it being another expensive battery you have to buy, it’s one less battery you have to buy providing you at least have a two battery set for when you simultaneously use one of the other tools.

      2) GREAT runtime compared to typical flashlights. Some projects take more than an hour or two in the dark and if it’s dark it might be due to having no electricity for who-knows-how-long.

  2. Pruitt says:

    When I saw those lights on Star Trek, I wondered why no advanced scifi civilizations seem to have night vision.

    And, I really like my 12v DeWalt light, but the strap might be nice.

  3. DoItRite says:

    Quote:
    “Why don’t they carry it like a normal flashlight?”

    Answer:
    Everyone knows that alien creatures love to snack on outstretched arms.

  4. maxebitda says:

    i’ve had very good luck w/ the milwaukee 12v led red lithium lites. they are stupid brite and can take a licking…have dropped it off the arms on my lift twice to the concrete and it still works. keep 2 batteries and u can go non stop cuz they charge quick.

  5. John says:

    On voyager, they have wrist-mounted flashlights: I can’t remember the episode:

    http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m204/jlomein/neelixlight.jpg

    • I remember those flashlights from Voyager. I think whoever designed flashlights for Star Trek must want the characters to either not have use of both hands in a strange, potentially dangerous environment, or to hold their arms in such an awkward position to have to choose between seeing in the dark or defending themselves.

    • Kenneth Williams says:

      I like the ones on Voyager much better than TNG

  6. Robert Mclaren says:

    Not sure I can see a field where it could be used. I have a streamlight knucklehead. Now that’s innovation!

  7. DoubleyouBee says:

    I think that ‘The Next Generation’ design was likely to help light the actors faces, while keeping the set realistically dark.

    I don’t normally listen to a lot of movie commentaries, but in the Director’s Commentary for SE7EN, David Fincher talks about a scene where the actors are using flashlights and it’s the only light source in the scene/on set. At one point an actor shines their flashlight at their own face while delivering dialogue, which isn’t what someone would really do if they were trying to see in the dark. You’d be blinded! But they wanted the audience to know who was talking.

    That’s my theory for the way Picard is holding his light, or maybe it was just to make it look different.

  8. Spike Curtis says:

    Light source closer to the eyes…less shadows. Good idea.

  9. tmana says:

    Makes more sense to me to place the light so the grip strap is across the palm, the body held across the base of the hand — that way you can see and hold a tool at the same time. Better yet, for many situations, are headband and hat/helmet lights, which pretty much follow your line of sight while keeping your hands free to do practical things. For tight work, finger lights are another interesting invention.

  10. BaxterT says:

    I always thought that the reason the TNG flashlights were designed that way was, that you hold a traditional flashlight the way they held a phaser in TNG, so you’d want a difference in the way you held a non-threatening flashlight, and a weapon.

  11. Lord Gaga says:

    I use a head mounted light at work . It shines right where I’m looking, casts no shadows I can see, and my hands are free to use tools, like a tricorder, phaser or communicator. The only advantage I can see to the TNG style is if somebody shoots at it.

  12. Dennis says:

    I would possibly use that if it was smaller and strapped around the wrist, having a light shine on where you are working if small enough make some jobs real nice, but way too bulky to be useful. Make it less than an inch off my wrist and I would buy one.

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