When one thinks about the important pieces of equipment that one should have in the home, the car, or even on one's keyring, the humble torch (or flashlight or flashlamp) is not the first or second that typically springs to mind. People normally think of hammers and screwdrivers and drills etc. It is my contention however that a torch is a vital element on the essential tools that one should possess. With the fairly recent advances in LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology, LED torches now give greater brightness in a smaller and lighter package, and because the require a fraction of the power required by standard incandescent lights, the batteries last longer. So you gain in terms of light quality and at the same time you also gain in terms of longer battery life. A win-win situation.
Let me mention a few scenarios.
In the car: You are driving along a country road, it's a winter's evening and it's dark and raining. You hear that rattling and flapping noise that every driver dreads; it can only be a puncture. You fumble in the car boot for the spare tyre and the car jack and then you set to work on changing the tyre with only the car lights - which shine off in the wrong direction - to assist you.... To cut a long story short, after an hour of stress, expletives and hardship - that included crawling on hands and knees searching for wheel nuts - you slump back into the car and think how much easier it could have been if only you had a torch in the car.
In the home. Powercut. It's 3.30am and you're fast asleep in bed. You wake to hear the 30 second warning of your house alarm that tells you that the power supply to system has been cut. Half asleep you look around and notice that the bedside clock is not lighting, it must be a power-out. If you are like me, you fumble for your specs even though they'll be useless to you, and you stumble in complete darkness following the noise of the alarm beacon, trying not to fall over anything and get there before the alarm starts shrieking at full belt and wakes the children and the neighbours. With LED Torches technology, you can now get a torch that glows very dimly even though the torch is switched off. So in the complete darkness of the bedroom, the torch emits a glow that makes it simple to find. The torch can run for two years in this 'standby status' meaning no more stumbling if there is a power outage.
In the Tool box. There are a number of torches that are particularly suitable for the professional or DIY toolbox. My own personal preference is a headlamp. The primary and overriding advantage of these torches is that they leave the two hands free to carry out the work. Whether it be working in a cupboard to fix a leak, or flooring an attic, the LED Torch is a huge asset, and with LEDs you get the required power in a very compact and light package.
Walking. In Ireland there is a tagline used by the Road Safety Authority; Be Safe - Be Seen, and many people have taken note of this, because the sightings of High Visibility vests and jackets are now much more commonplace than was the case a few years ago, however it is my belief that while a high-vis vest is a good start, that a torch will enhance the visibility of that person to oncoming drivers in addition to assisting the walkers with lighting their paths.
Safety and security.
Advances in torch technology have delivered additional functions in torches such as adjustable beam strength, strobe function and SOS function.
It is also possible to get LED torches where the beam can be adjusted from flood to focus and vice versa, and also to get torches with a mixture of flood and focus.
Finally because LEDs are solid state devices with no moving parts, they are more durable and shock resistant, and will last for thousands of hours if treated with a small amount of care.
I should now outline my interest in LED TOrches; together with my colleague Roland Vachet, I own LED Powerhouse a webstore selling LED Torches to customers in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
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