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As part of one of my volunteer activities I’m always on the lookout for new safety items, especially flashlights (which works out well because, as a subset of my Toolmongerish personality, I’m a flashlight junkie). So when I saw the L.E.D. Wand™ from Nite Ize, I was intrigued. It comes complete with an Inova® Microlight™ (the red version is shown above; you can also get white, blue, and green versions) that, when turned on and inserted in the wand’s cap (as shown below), makes the wand a high-visibility unit. The Microlight™ has four modes (high power, low power, strobe, and signal), is powered by two 2016 lithium batteries (included), and provides “up to 15 hours of light per battery set.”

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Or, based on the picture, maybe this post should be titled Flashlights In Space! Now I like flashlights as much as — or probably way more than — the average Toolmonger, but the mPower Emergency Illuminator that I recently saw on Gizmodo is a bit much even for me. Porsche Studios designed it, and mPower, a wholly-owned consumer products division of mPhase Technologies, uses its parent company’s AlwaysReady Smart NanoBattery technology to produce a two-tubed flashlight with two standard CR123 batteries in one tube, and an unactivated NanoBattery in the other. The NanoBattery side has a minimum 20-year shelf life with no power dissipation until activation. It’s to debut at CES in January, and should be available in March 2010 for a mere $250–$300. For that price you do get a “high power” LED  and an accessory USB connection for charging cell phones and PDAs.

Think there might be something better in the next 20 years?

AlwaysReady Smart Nanobattery [Manufacturer’s Site]

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The latest issue of Milwaukee’s Heavy Duty News alerted us to their upcoming LED replacement bulb.   Not only will this bulb upgrade your M12, M18, and V28 lights to LED, it should be able to upgrade most other flashlights that use similar sized bulbs running on 9.6V to 28V.

Milwaukee claims the bulb will give you 3X the run time and last 50,000 hours over the standard bulbs.  Being solid state it, has the added bonus that if your flash light can survive a fall, the bulb should too.

No wording on the price yet or when the bulbs will be available.

LED Upgrade 49-81-0090 [Milwaukee]

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I just replaced my trusty but annoying 3AA Maglite with the incandescent bulb and twist-on lens. I’ve never been too much of a Maglite fan, but it’s hard to argue with the sheer number of them out there. They work, but now there’s a new hotness in my roll cab’s top drawer.

It’s Dorcy’s 160-lumen, 3AA K2, model number 41-4297. I’ve had it for about six hours, and I have no idea why the switch took me so bloody long. It’s a pocket rocket; I’d swear it’s brighter than a lot of car headlights. At about 5″ long, it’s pretty compact, though the flared lens housing makes it a little uncomfortable in one’s pocket. It’s a small price to pay, though, for swapping my peashooter for a tactical nuke. The switch on the rear is translucent, showing a battery status light that stays green until the battery life drops below 20%, then it switches to red.

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We’ve covered faucet lights that change color with water temperature before, but what’s even cooler about Sylvania’s ECOlight is that it provides both temperature indication and shower illumination without batteries or electrical wiring — water pressure provides the power for this self-contained unit.

The ECOlight has an LED that glows blue when the water is cold and red when the water gets warmer.  It uses Sylvania’s high power golden dragon LED to provide light so you don’t need to turn on any extra lights on when you’re showering. There’s an on/off switch if you don’t want to use the light.

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“Light saber” work lights are cropping up all over the place nowadays, and there’s a good reason for that. Light-emitting diodes are durable, cheap, and very bright, making them perfect for a hard service life. Fluorescent tubes, on the other hand, are fragile, fairly dim, and notoriously power-hungry. LED lights draw so little power that even a cordless trouble light with a hundred of them can run for six hours on a charge.

Jack’s Tool Shed has a $35 trouble light available, which is a pretty low entry price for one of these beauties. It’s a bit sketchy, since the manufacturer isn’t listed (unless “Professional Mechanic’s Ultra-Bright” is a maker I’ve missed), but having laid hands on similar units, they’re plenty good for occasional use. If online tool purchases aren’t your thing, you can find similar units all over the place, right up to trouble lights with multiple modes and three-digit price tags.

Mechanic’s Ultra-Bright Cordless 100-LED Work Light [Jack’s Tool Shed]

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