LazerBrite Multi Lux Unit and Accessories
After having used my Krill light for years I decided to see what else was out there. I was looking for an electric glow stick with a few extra features and one that was a bit brighter. I think I read about LazerBrite on Kit-Up and decided to give them a try. I picked a few Multi Lux Units that have low, high and flash as a setting. I was impressed with the range of accessories for the LazerBrite units and picked up a few that I figured would be useful. I will be reviewing multiple items so each section will be broken down into the item that is being reviewed. I can honestly say I was impressed with most of the features and accessories of this modular light.
-Bright and adjustable modes depending on lighting needs
-Wide range of accessories to tailor the glow stick to the job at hand
-The accessories all attach within a few seconds
-Lack of a common battery (the Krill uses an AA while this uses a button cell)
-The Iris has lesser quality to it than the rest of the accessories
-The unit is a bit taller then I think it needs to be
-Map case’s plastic covering blurs maps unless smoothed out
Multi Lux Units (red, green, blue, white and IR)
Each full glow stick consists of two ends which you can choose the colors for and a translucent body tube in the center which acts as the stick that light shows through. The other part that comes with the full unit is a glow dome which is a smaller one head version which is very handy. Below you can see a comparison from left to right of a standard IR glow stick, Krill light and LazerBrite unit.
The body of the unit has threads on both ends that allow you to screw on a head with light facing in or out depending on how you want it set up. This allows you to have the stick in a pouch with a glow dome and IR head screwed on facing out poking from the top of the pouch to be used as a modified strobe. An interesting point about the IR heads is that they don’t just do a slow strobe they do SOS instead. The body of the unit is very sturdy and even with me giving it a good squeeze it didn’t crack. I also dropped it on the floor multiple times with no ill effects. It’s just tube with some writing on it and threaded ends.
The other translucent body the full unit comes with is the glow dome. It’s made of the same material but roughly a third of the size and rounded at one end. This only allows one head to attach but provides a good range of light and is very compact.
I favor using one of these with a lop attachment hooked up to a Grimloc on my vest. This allows me to turn it on and let it hang from me if I need some area lighting or if I need to read something I can take it off and hook it to my thumb allowing the rest of my fingers to be free to work a radio or flip through some papers.
The other hand use of the glow dome is being able to use it as a candle/lantern when attached to a head with no loop accessory on the base. This allows you to place the unit flat on the table giving off a good amount of light to work. My following picture doesn’t do the light output on high justice but does help to illustrate what I mean with it used as such.
The multi lux heads consist of three different output levels low, high and high strobe. The only issue with this is the mode selection requires you to rotate through a mode if you are not between the two you want. This is why I leave my units between low and strobe. That way if I need high I have to go through low to avoid producing too much light unnecessarily. This way I can use low light when I quickly need to read something and not blind me or others. Each head has a run time of up to 75 hours which means you have quite a bit of time between having to change out a battery. This means that every glow stick has 150 hours of total run time due to having two separate heads. These units take a button cell battery that you can get packaged from LazerBrite for quite cheap and they don’t take up much space. The Krill series of lights wins sort of in this category. They use a single AA battery which is plentiful from pretty much every supply or store. For this reason I bought a bunch of extra coin batteries to tuck away in my kit if need arises for a battery change. The Krill also wins at ease of battery change you just twist off the bottom and toss a new battery in while the LazerBrite requires you to use a coin to twist off the battery cover. Not huge just something to note. They have made it so the battery cover does have a second function though. The cover has two plastic loops that you can use as a lanyard point. It’s nice that they found a way to make this area not wasted space.
The side of each head has markings you can feel in the dark to show where you are on the mode selector. The markings consist of a convex marking for high, concave for low and two sharp points for strobe. These markings were easily distinguishable by bare hands and were fairly easy to figure out with gloves on. One shortcoming of the system is it doesn’t allow you to discern which color light you are about to select. To alleviate this I keep a glow dome or lanyard loop at one end so I can tell how the unit is oriented even under stress. The head of the unit rotates and clicks into each mode. It is easy to tell if the unit is off even with the IR head as it moves loosely between the two points. This ensures you don’t accidentally leave an IR one on when you meant to turn it off leaving it dead for the next time you need it.
These units are waterproof up to 50 meters and there is a good video on YouTube showing a diver playing with them. I haven’t tested these for that as I have no diving experience and don’t require that feature. I will say they do keep out moisture as I forgot one outside when I was using it to find something in the shed during the rain. I sat it on my back step as I was dragging the garbage out and it sat in the pouring rain all night because I went in the front door.
The loop accessory is just a grey plastic threaded loop. The loop threads onto the back of a LazerBrite head allowing you to hang it off your gear by a carabiner, hang it off a hook, tie it to something etc. This is a really useful accessory as it fits over my thumb allowing me to flip through a book and keep it close to the pages on low light. The loop accessory and the glow dome are the two most used attachments for my LazerBrite unite. It allows me to have a compact lighting system at the ready on my gear. If I need more of a glow stick to mount to something like a tree or an aerial the full kit is used.
I thought I would like the Iris a lot more then I actually did upon receiving it. The idea behind it is good it allows you to dim the amount of light coming from the glow stick and it keeps it shining in only one direction. This allows you to read things or see what you are doing without it being a giant beacon. It also works well for an arc marker as it would only be visible to the trench line and not units advancing on the trench. I will start by saying the rotating covering that allows you to adjust the hole size for the light to come out of is well built. It has no sharp edges and the fit and finish of the cover is superb like the rest of the LazerBrite items. The part it rotates around was not built with the same quality and looks like a temporary solution. To me it looked like I got a prototype where they took a blackout tube cut a hole in it and jammed a translucent tube down the center. The translucent tube doesn’t appear to be anywhere near the quality of the other tubes that come with the sticks and mine had cracks in it. The black outer shell that covers the translucent tube looks like it was hastily cut as a proof of concept. The shape is correct it just has burrs and nicks all over it and is kind of sharp in places. I would have liked to see a purpose molded tube with a stronger insert. They have the technology so why not utilize it. That said the tube does work as described. The large oval section on the inner tube is revealed as you rotate the outer black covering. As you rotate it the hole will go from a tiny opening that barely lets any light out to a opening that is roughly a fourth of the surface area of the stick. I actually used mine as a light when using some electronics without a back light and it managed to light up the key area and screen quite well.
Deluxe Map Case
The LazerBrite map case is a pretty interesting idea. It allows you to store several accessories and a glow stick unit in it. Not only that but it allows the glow stick to illuminate your map through a hole in the side of the pouch. The map case consists of a 8.5 x 11 inch map pocket, a glow stick pouch, an iris pouch, a glow dome pouch and a miscellaneous pouch to hold batteries and grease pencils. The whole case rolls closed and is held shut using a Velcro strip. On the outside of the case are two D-rings allowing you to tether it to a surface with rope or crabiners. So if you have a place you could string it up in a tent or vehicle. This way when it’s not being used you can roll it out of the way bit when you need it the case can easily be deployed.
Once unrolled to enter the map compartment to put in your document for reading and protection you just go to the D-ring end and separate the Velcro closure. I would have preferred to have to pull tabs to open it as it can be a bit harder with gloves on. The pocket is well made and stores a piece of paper easily in it. This pocket can store anything from maps to radio codes. The pocket is backed on one side with Cordura in my case Multicam Cordura and the other side is a clear rubbery window allowing you to see the contents of the pouch.
The edges of the rubber are finished in tan webbing and then stitched to the backing. This should provide a good deal of wear resistance on the rubber window. When a glow stick is in its pouch and turned on it provides decent illumination of the map area. It does require you to lift up the glow stick pouch to see the further end of the paper in detail.
The other small issue is that the rubber window surface requires you to smooth it out when reading in an area. I would have preferred a clearer rubber like the ones in the HSGI admin pouches. The other issue about smoothing it out is that if you have grease pencil markings you may smear them causing them to be illegible.
The other pouches on the case are well built although the stitching can look a bit sloppy on the lids that close the pouches. It will hold fine it just doesn’t look as nicely done as the rest of the stitching. I would have liked the glow stick pouch to have a shorter main body. This would allow you to rotate the heads easier without removing the flap sliding the glow stick partially out and rotating it.
The opening to allow light through on the glow stick pouch is a good size and works like it should. The Iris pouch holds the Iris snugly and has a drainage grommet at the end to allow dirt and water to fall out. The Glow Dome pouch is perfect for holding two Glow Domes. Between these two pouches and the glow stick pouch I would have liked to see a single grease pen pocket.
The miscellaneous pouch on the other side doesn’t have a dedicated pocket and I feel this area would be a good spot for it. When the pouch is rolled that area is wasted space otherwise. The miscellaneous pouch on the reverse side is great for storing extra batteries, alcohol wipes to clean off the map surface, or you can put a few writing instruments in there.
I don’t want to sound overly negative about this pouch because I think it’s a great idea I just think it needs to go through a revision or two before being perfect. I have used it to navigate in the dark a few weeks ago when I was home just to see how well it fairs and it works but requires some manipulation to see clearly. I am not sure if I will modify the window of the pouch or not yet.
The LazerBrite glow stick is a terrific unit. It does have some tradeoffs from a traditional chemstick or a Krill light. It is larger than either in both thickness and length. Unlike the chemstick it is not disposable. It does require a harder to source battery but it does last for a very long time on the coin cells it uses. The ability to control brightness and modes makes it better for wider array of tasks. This won’t completely phase out chemsticks because they have their time and place. You can strap them to things and not worry about losing them. If you lose the LazerBrite your out $40 dollars versus the dollar or two a chemstick may cost you. These are more of a personal lighting solution for inside a vehicle, to read a map etc. It does have a very wide array of accessories that attach to it allowing it to adapt to metal surfaces, to be stuck in the ground etc. I am quite pleased with my purchase and I think it’s finally time to donate my Krill light to a friend. I hope my constructive criticism is looked at by LazerBrite and they take some of it into consideration. If you just want one that turns on or off LazerBrite does make a single mode version that is a bit cheaper which Chris picked up. I plan to write about it and some of the other accessories down the line.