Marinebeam's New Ultra Long Range Flashlight

Illuminator flashlight has to be seen to be believed. I put my camera on a tripod and simply began lighting up a number of boats and mooring buoys about 500 to 700 yards away.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
 The RLT Illuminator beam is powerful and precise

The RLT Illuminator beam is powerful and precise

Illuminator flashlight has to be seen to be believed. To create the photo above, I put my camera on a tripod and simply began lighting up a number of boats and mooring buoys about 500 to 700 yards away. The beam is so tight I was able to do so without blinding either myself or (hopefully) anyone who was on their boat in the outer harbor of Camden, Maine, where I was moored. 

 The light runs on three D cells

The light runs on three D cells

Powered by three D-cell batteries, the Ultra Long Range flashlight is big—13 inches long—and seems to be heavy enough to take down a large mammal if used as a club. Marinebeam (marinebeam.com) doesn’t make claims about its being waterproof, but I noted the light has a pair of O-rings where the big lens screws on to the body. The rubber-encased switch is on the tail end and cycles between full power, half power and a strobe function that would definitely get someone’s attention if your aim was good. 

The heart of the beast is the little LED assembly immediately behind the lens. It uses a technique called Recycled Light Technology (thus the RLT) to multiply and collimate the relatively modest 300 lumen LED chip into a beam with a rated usable range of over 2,100 feet, which might normally take 2,800 lumens to achieve, according to Marinebeam’s detailed write-up.

 A comparison of the light with and without the lens

A comparison of the light with and without the lens

The thick reverse fisheye-style lens also has something to do with how far the Ultra can throw light, as shown in the photo above Without the lens, the flashlight appears to have a fairly normal conical beam, but evidently the lens works with the RLT to produce that highly focused spot. Note that with the lens on, even that bit of light on the table is not spillover, but rather a reflection from the white board. Note, too, that the ability to collimate 300 lumens so tightly is why this flashlight can purportedly run 12 hours at full power on three fresh D cells. According to Marinebeam’s resident geek, Jeff Field, RLT is also why this sort of long-range spot beam will eventually come out in smaller, less expensive flashlights and may also work well in a high-power pan-and-tilt marine spotlight (stay tuned for more on that).

 The super-sharp beam shining from 10 feet away

The super-sharp beam shining from 10 feet away

I had fun trying to photograph the Ultra’s special properties. Above is another composite image showing the LED to the right and, to the left, what the Ultra beam looks like once it’s 10 feet or more from a white surface. The beam is square and so sharply collimated you can make out the two tiny electrical connectors that slightly block the Cree XPG2 LED’s surface (the two dots on the left edge of the square). I believe the black lines around the LED itself are the back of the reflective material that’s pushing high-angle spillover light back onto the LED phosphorus where it becomes more light focused across the harbor. 

RLT was invented by Dr. Kenneth Li, who’s working with Marinebeam and companies serving other niches, like bike lights. It is an unusual and promising technology to keep an eye on in the years to come. 

Ed note: For more of Ben’s insights into marine electronics, go to panbo.com

All photos by Ben Ellison

Related

Meridian-X-Spin_2

MOB: A Whistle in the Wind

Mark Wheeler went overboard a few minutes before midnight. He was in the middle of Lake Michigan, 30 miles offshore in 40 knots of wind. As he fumbled for the lanyard to inflate his lifejacket he watched his racing sailboat, Meridian X, disappear into the night at more than 18 ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Slapper stopper  When I came on deck at 0800 to hoist my colors on a visitors’ mooring recently, there was an awkward slop running in. This doesn’t trouble my Mason 44, which has a traditional counter ...read more

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more

North_new

Gear: North Sails Waterproof Pack

A few years ago, North Sails made a big push into the apparel business with all kinds of sharp-looking button-down shirts, shorts and fleeces. That doesn’t mean, though, that the North Sails Collection isn’t still plenty practical, as is evident in its new roll-over waterproof ...read more