Saturday, May 03, 2014

Tell Me What to Do Before What Not to Do

I just became the happy owner of a Coleman CT-70F LED flashlight. Flashlights have changed in recent years with the advent of LED technology. Instead of the two-D-cell flashlights that throw a whole 9 lumens into the dark, it is now possible to shine 50, 100, and even 1000 lumens into the night. The Coleman CT-70F (available at Walmart) is rated at 700 lumens.. However, apparently there can be problems with the LED if the voltage is sent through backwards.

The package says in a prominent, upper right corner, "Warning: Do Not Install Batteries Backwards." In the "Important Safety Instructions" inside the package, we read, "Warning: . . . 1. Do not install the batteries backwards. Follow the + and - symbols as shown in the instructions. . . . Save these instructions." Now, unless there is another instruction sheet missing from my package, there is no other set of instructions about battery installation.

So, I figure that maybe there are markings on the flashlight itself. I look all over inside the cap and on the inside back, but can't see any. Then, as a last effort, I shine another LED flashlight (a Rayovac that puts out 120 lumens) into the battery chambers of the Coleman, and Lo and Behold, there are some tiny + and - diagrams inside each tube.

This is a long winded way of saying that it would be far better to put on the package and on the instruction sheet, "Be sure to install all the batteries with the + end toward the front of the flashlight."

The point then is, instead or scaring people by warning them about the (unspecified) dire consequences of doing something incorrectly, just tell them that it's important to do the task correctly--and tell them what that means.

Coleman CT-70F LED Flashlight Review.

In the event you are interested in owning a high-output LED flashlight, I can recommend the Coleman CT-70F. Camping or even outside in the dark, or in your basement, you'll instantly exclaim, "Now THAT is what I call a flashlight!" the moment you turn it on.

With the six AA alkaline batteries installed, the CT-70F has a reasonable heft, weighing in at 15.8 ounces (just under a pound). The aluminum body gives you a feeling of quality and solidity. Length is about 9.25 inches. (As a comparison, my plastic, 2 D-cell no name flashlight weighs 13.1 ounces. My old technology, 3 D-cell aluminum Mag-Lite weighs almost two pounds--1 lb 15 oz--and puts out what some say is 37 lumens.)

Unlike some multifunction flashlights that require you to cycle through all the functions until you reach the one you want, the CT-70F has a smart switch. Click and you get the full on, night-piercing blast of light. Click and it's off. Click and hold and the light goes from bright to dim--just like a dimmer switch. Double click and you get a 700 lumen strobe light. The adjustable bezel (just twist) allows you to select a light throw anywhere from narrow spot to wide flood.

I realize that it's a total cliche to say, "Makes a great gift," but I think any man would be overjoyed to have this flashlight. It may be that not many non-camping men would indulge themselves with a $40 flashlight (it took a somewhat dicey nighttime driving experience through a very dark, iffy neighborhood, unable to read street signs until too late, turning around on a dead-end street amid barking dogs and angry residents, for me to make the final decision).  So, if you want a manly gift idea, here it is.

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