Stanley Tripod mini-review
Stanley (the tool manufacturer) has a pretty neat
looking flashlight out now... I just bought one today (11-16-05)
although Wal-Mart has had them on the shelves for about a month for
just under $23.00. Rather than describing the basics and taking
photos, I'll just refer you to their website which has a full
description, photos and even a Flash presentation: http://www.stanleytools.com/default.asp?TYPE=PRODUCT&PARTNUMBER=95-112
While the concept is neat, the execution IMHO leaves
much to be desired. Here is what I found:
With one leg filled (3AAs) Lux readings
@ 1 meter:
1 LED : 26 LUX
3 LED : 61 LUX
6 LED : 121 LUX
All three legs filled: (9AAs)
1 LED : 26 LUX
3 LED : 65 LUX
6 LED : 135 LUX
So, contrary to the blurb on the package, it is a little brighter with
all the batteries with 3 & 6 LEDS, the 1 LED is the same.
One LED / about 10-12 ft of useful brightness... Enough to get around
the house in a blackout, or walk slowly through the woods. Three LEDs
not much more throw, a little more brightness though.
With all 6 LEDS running maybe 30 ft of useful throw.
I don't even know how to describe the beam. I don't like it myself,
but other people may.
Here are some beamshots: The
light is one meter from a 20X30 inch white foam board with the dot
grid on 2 inch squares, and the words RED
written in those colors with a Sharpie felt pen of the appropriate
color. The camera is about 1.5 meters from the target, with F
stop 2.8 and exposure length 1/60th second for each shot. The
images should be pretty close to reality, depending on your monitor
settings. All done with a full 9 fresh AA alkaline cells
The first shot is with one LED on:
The next is with three LEDs operating:
And this one is with all 6 LEDS on:
And this one, the light is about one
foot away from the target to show the kind of weird beam pattern, with
six LEDs operating:
As you can see there are a lot of
artifacts that may or may not be distracting to you.
As a worklight, ... say for wrenching
on your car, the the 3 LED setting is barely, barely adequate for
non-detail work. 6 LEDS almost adequate, but leaves much to be
desired. My Petzl Myo 5 headlamp with the 5 LED beam is better.
It isn't a positive mechanical latch that holds the tripod legs in
when you are using it as a handheld. Just a couple of small magnets,,,
and they don't hold very securely. the "open" button just
slides the little rod that the magnets are on out away from the little
steel buttons on the tripod legs. All in all, that setup is a waste of
materials and manufacturing steps IMO. Coulda just used solid mounted
magnets if that is the way they wanted to go... I suppose a mechanical
latch would have either had to been more bulky or would have been to
delicate for extensive use. so I don't know which would be preferable
in the long run.
In the hand, it feels like holding a M*G 3D, except a little softer
grip due to the rubber center. Length is about an inch shorter then
the 3D, so, about halfway between the 3D and the 2 D.
The lens/optical assembly is held on
with a rubber? bezel and three small TORX screws. I think a
#4... This may be important, as this light is just begging for a
modification. I'm not sure what LEDs are in it, but the new
18,000 MCD Nichias should be one way to improve it....
I just opened up the head... Man, there
is a lot of electronics in there.... Considering the battery
configuration, I don't see the point. Ten transistors two
ICs and assorted capacitors and resistors. wow.
Here are some photos of the
electronics. Click them to see a bigger view.
On the reflector assembly, there are two transistors
per side (total 6) so I guess there is one per LED.
I have no idea what all this stuff is for... This
light would be better off as a direct drive with a simple resistor to
drop the current, and it sure doesn't take all that stuff to make a
four way switch work.
OK, I won't pretend to
understand the circuits, but I have learned a couple of things and
measured a couple of things...:
It is a "smart" (electronic) switch that turns it off and on
and changes 1-3-6 modes. The mechanical part is just one of the
ubiquitous super sub-mini momentary contact switches that you see in
everything from computer keyboards and reset switches, garage door
openers and whatever.
Click for bigger
The LEDS may be LCK type... They have that stippled pattern on the
metal parts on one side of the die... but the ones on the Stanley OEM
have about 1.5 X- 2X as many stiples (dots) as my 26,000mcd LCKs.
Sorry, I'm not up to doing a super-macro photo of the LEDs tonight, to
show you, You'll have to just take my word for it.
Here is a photo of the LED circuit board with the reflector removed
CLICK FOR BIGGER
I de-soldered the LED that comes on with the one LED setting and
swapped in a few different LEDS: Well, the Stanely OEM is DEFINITELY a
low mcd LED... under 10,000 mcd at least. A single OEM gives you 26
LUX at 1 meter:
A COU bin 18,000 mcd Nichia puts out 53 LUX drawing 65ma@ 3.7V (load).
Unfortunately, the led gets that "angry blue' color.
A 26K mcd LCK pulls 75ma @ 3.6V(load). Keeps a nice white color, but
we all know how short a life these have at >30ma
A TXOK LuxeonIII draws 107ma... so, we can assume that somewhere
around 100ma is about all the circuit can supply... at least per
channel... Maybe by paralleling all three channels you could get 300
ma out of the circuit??? I don't know, and I don't intend to bother to
find out. Or, I wonder if the 3 & 6 LED channels push out more
current... Hmm, I guess that is possible.
So, as it stands now, I'm not sure how to best mod this unit. Nichias
would seem to be the best idea for simple, direct replacement since
they handle overdriving a little better than the LCKs. But I don't
like the color exhibited by the one I tried.
You could modify this to DD one or more Luxeon... I did figure out how
to heat sink it moderately well, but it would be a lot of work; Not
worth the hassle unless you are just trying to prove something or have
a specific need for such a configuration.
Could put in some higher value current dropping resistors in series
with some LCK 26Ks, but that is a lot of extra work too.
If I can find them, I'm going to try some of those supposed 35,000mcd
LCK dual die white LEDs that are spec'ed to run at 40ma. I haven't
been impressed with them in the couple of things I've tried them in,
but maybe they would be OK in this application. Hmmm... Where did I
Or, Maybe some MJ LEDS??? Don't they run at 100ma? Oh well, never
mind, I don't have any anyway.
If I can find the dual die LCKs, I'll post the results of that here
Oh, Wait! I just checked something out: The Stanley OEM LEDS are
exactly the same as the LEDs in Emillion's inexpensive PhotonII clone
keychain lights.... So, definitely low end China manufacture.