LED lighting is one of my favorite technologies. From flashlights to electronics indicator lights to automotive (dashboard lighting and overhead, tail lights and even auto headlights), exterior lighting and pool lighting, next-generation LCD TV backlighting and computer display backlighting, and now to household and industrial lighting duties, LED technology is a happening thing.
LED flashlights are everywhere, in many shapes and sizes, and with a wide range of performance variables. I’ve ditched all of my non-LED flashlights. Those old flashlights just can’t pass muster against LED flashlights, both in performance, including ruggedness (LEDs can take a beating like no filament-based light source can, and they last virtually forever) and for their superior battery life. The size equation, from small to large, is obvious. As for the performance variables, that is altogether another thing. Just as a high-performance, high-horsepower sports car may be small in size, its high-performance pedigree dictates that it be thirstier for fuel than, say, a hybrid or some other fuel-pinching vehicle that can still be large in size.
Today, the focus here is on a new powerhouse flashlight. Actually, it is a conversion kit for old or new standard 4-D cell Maglites. As LED technology improves, so, too, does the intensity of the flashlights using LEDs. And so does the efficiency of the LED, yielding better battery life – not so much different from the challenges facing automakers with fuel economy versus performance (read more about cars and LED lights at www.diodedynamics.com).
Mike Boyd, proprietor of upstart InReTECH, contacted me in recent months as he does from time to time to let me know of his latest advance. Mike specializes in creating unique high-performance upgrade kits for Maglites that are head and shoulders above anything the Mag Instrument Company has ever done or likely would ever do. These are extreme upgrades for LED enthusiasts and for those niche markets which require super-high performance from this type of flashlight.
Lens, reflector “hoods” and LED module
Mike’s new QuadLite Turbo replaces the single bulb or LED from the original Maglite with four super-bright LEDs built onto a proprietary circuit board. The kit consists of the light assembly, four reflector “hoods” that are seated over each LED and a high-quality glass lens that replaces the plastic lens of the original Maglite.
The conversion process takes only a couple of minutes. It is a must to replace the lens with Mike’s. The original plastic is not as optically pure as is the glass, so more light will be available with the conversion. In addition, after the conversion, those “hoods” will be flush up against the lens, which would scratch the plastic lens yet not effect the glass. With the conversion, focus is fixed whereas all Maglites in original form allow adjustable focus. This is not a big deal, in my view.
My tests were simple. I went out in the dark of night, along with my reference flashlight, the outstanding $140 Pelican 7060, the official LAPD flashlight. The 7060 is rated at a value of 130 Lumens of light output, more than enough for the overwhelming majority of users. The numbers do not do it justice. The 7060 is just superb. It packs a 4.3-Watt wallop from it single LED.
Down a street NO additional light
Down a street lit by QuadLite Turbo – Note beam center
Down a street lit by Pelican 7060 – Note the tighter, more concentrated beam
Now, on to Mike’s QuadLite Turbo. This is a beastly 1,000 Lumen flamethrower unlike anything on the market about which I am aware. Yikes, it is so very bright! NEVER, EVER shine it in any living thing’s eyes. NEVER. Built-in shock-and-awe. That’s what it has.
From about 20 yards – QuadLite Turbo – Note the floodlight effect
From about 20 yards – Pelican 7060 – Note tight pattern and less surrounding light than with QuadLite Turbo
The Pelican is well mannered, yet very powerful and small, with a nice tight beam all the way out as well as a lit “corona” out about 12-feet from the central beam in normal near-field lighting. On the other hand, the InReTECH QuadLite Turbo floods the area, near and pretty far out with daylight lighting from its four Luxeon K2 LEDs, each rated at 275 Lumens. Not tested, though worthy of mention is Mike’s “standard” QuadLite conversion, which uses four 160 Lumen LEDs.
I think of the QuadLite Turbo as a flamethrower floodlight for extreme near field lighting out to maybe 50 yards and the Pelican 7060 as more universal, capable of sending a powerful, tight beam over great distances. I know in my tests I could shine the Pelican more than 250 yards away to a hillside and see the reflections from the eyes of yipping coyotes.
QuadLite Turbo could not do that. Ah, but the QuadLite Turbo is just such a beast of a light. Take it camping or to the beach for unsurpassed lighting. Or for that night watchman to provide daylight-like lighting for patrol as well as for the shock value if an intruder is spotted.
I did not have the sample long enough to get a sense of useful battery life. Mike indicated it produces “usable light” for five to seven days in continuous use. That’s impressive!
To say that the new QuadLite Turbo is an attention getter would be a gross understatement. It is the most powerful handheld flashlight (conversion) I’ve ever seen and just may be the most powerful of its type available today.
The QuadLite Turbo has the advantage of being a retrofit to an existing familiar and popular flashlight. Many consumers already own a four D-cell Maglite. Purchasing one new is only about $25. The conversion is easy.
Admittedly, my lousy photos do not do justice to either light cited. You’ll have to take my word on this. If you get the InReTECH QuadLite Turbo, it will not disappoint.
The InReTECH QuadLite Turbo conversion kit is priced at $150, direct from InReTECH. A ton of light for anyone in need or for a high-tech flashlight nut like your writer.