LED Lights Win the Nobel Physics Prize!



LED lights have been in the news recently for some very big reasons: they won the Nobel Prize in physics. Okay, the lights didn’t win, but three scientists won for their work in creating this amazing source of light.  If you’re a flashlight aficionado, you already understand the value of the bright, clean light produced by Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). They’ve been used for years in electronic devices such as VHS players, cell phones, and coffee makers. They light everything from your computer monitor to your big screen television. So, why is something that’s been around for a while just now being recognized? It has to do with blue.

Red and green diodes were created decades ago, but the blue diode evaded scientists. They tried for nearly 30 years to create one, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that three Japanese scientists succeeded in creating one. It was only when the blue diode was added to the red and green diodes that scientists could achieve the full color spectrum that allows for true white light. Once that happened, it opened the door to more environmentally friendly, cost efficient bulbs.

According to Per Delsing, a physicist at the Chambers University of Technology and head of the Nobel physics committee, the award was in line with the wishes of Alfred Nobel who founded the award with the aim of honoring discoveries which had the “greatest benefit to mankind.” It was presented to Shuju Nakamura of the University of California at Santa Barbara, Isamu Akasaki from Meijo University and Nagoya University in Japan, and Hiroshi Amano, also of Nagoya University.

The secret to creating the blue diode was the right mix of crystals and chemicals for a semiconductor when electricity was passed through it. In addition to that bright white light for your flashlight, work is underway to develop a portable LED-based device that could someday use ultra violet emissions to sterilize water. The LED requires less power to operate and provides a brighter, whiter light in bulbs that last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. That humble flashlight looks just a little more impressive, doesn’t it?

Flashlight Maintenance

There isn’t a ton of flashlight maintenance you have to know to care for your LED, but there are some simple things you can do that can help your flashlight last longer. Take a look!


Store batteries properly

It’s super important that you don’t leave batteries in flashlights that you don’t use frequently. I keep a small flashlight in the glove box of my car for emergencies, but I rarely use it. In fact, when I’m having car problems, it’s normally at a time when I can wait until daylight to look at what’s going on, so it’s very rare that I actually use that flashlight.

One day I actually needed to use my flashlight to look under the hood of my car at night, and as you might guess, my flashlight wouldn’t turn on. I was really surprised that my LED wouldn’t turn on because I had only used the flashlight once or twice before, so it didn’t make any sense for it to not be working.

When we opened up my flashlight to see what was going on, we found out that the batteries had leaked and corroded inside the flashlight (joy of joys).

To avoid a super frustrating experience like this, don’t leave your batteries inside your flashlight if you use the flashlight only for emergencies or infrequently at all. At the very least, it’s a good idea to check your flashlights every 6 months or so to make sure the batteries haven’t leaked and that no corrosion has taken place.

If you’re storing your batteries outside of your flashlight, make sure to store them in a cool, dry place. But, don’t store them in a fridge or freezer!


Avoid water

This should be obvious, but you don’t want to intentionally bring your LED flashlight into the water unless you have a special dive light or other light that is designed for water use. Many flashlights are waterproof up to certain depths. This symbol on a flashlight package indicates how waterproof the LED is:

Flashlight Maintenance

This symbol will show you how deep a flashlight can be submerged and still function. The test requirements for a waterproof rating are that the light must be submerged one meter minimum for half an hour, and the light must work normally directly after the test and also 30 minutes after the test has been completed.


Don’t abuse your LED

Don’t use your flashlight like it’s another tool. You have hammers for pounding, so don’t use your flashlight for that.



Dissembling your LED flashlight will void any warranty associated with it. If you know that and you want to take your flashlight apart anyway to do maintenance, go for it, but just know that your flashlight will no longer have a valid warranty. Also, I’d only take your flashlight apart if you know what you’re doing. Many a person has taken apart a bike, instrument, or tool only to find out that putting it back together isn’t as easy as they thought.


So those are some of the things you shouldn’t do with your flashlight. I looked online for general care and maintenance that you should be doing with your flashlight, but it seems like only the super hardcore flash-aholics do much at all to maintain their LEDS. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to keep the contacts clean, and some people put lubricant on certain parts inside the light.

As you can see, flashlight maintenance is pretty easy. What other things do you do to care for and maintain your LED flashlights?

If you’re in the market for a new LED, Blade HQ is a great place to look!

FOURSeven Flashlights


FOURSevens Flashlights is a relatively new company. Founded in 2008 with the desire to improve on high-performance LED flashlights, FOURSevens has contributed to the LED flashlight world. Don’t let their company’s youth fool you. FOURSevens design their flashlights with high-performance, quality and affordability in mind. Committed to pushing technological boundaries, FOURSevens helps lead the high-performance LED flashlight market with their innovations.  They have recently re-branded themselves: from 4Sevens to FOURSEVENS.

FOURSEVENS offer affordable flashlights that are high-performance and durable. You can find wonderful deals on FOURSEVENS flashlights at BladeHQ.com.

Below is a flashlight comparison chart of their Quark line.

4Seven Quark Flashlight Line Comparison
Pro QPA Pro QPL Pro QP2A Pro QP2L Pro QP2A-X Pro QP2L-X Turbo QB2A Turbo QB2L
Settings (lumens)
Moonlight 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2
Low 4 4 4 4 2.7 3 4 4
Mid 22 22 22 22 24 65 22 22
High 85 85 85 85 115 160 85 85
Maximum 109 205 205 230 280 360 205 230
Runtime (hours)
Moonlight 240 360 720 720 360 600 720 720
Low 48 60 120 120 72 120 120 120
Mid 6 13 24 20 20 11 24 20
High 1.5 2.7 5 4.5 2.5 4 5 4.5
Maximum 1.2 0.8 1.3 1.8 2.2 1.8 3 2.8
Length(in) 3.8 3.2 5.8 4.5 5.8 4.5 6.2 4.9
Weight(oz) 1.8 1.4 2.2 1.8 2.2 1.8 3 2.8
LED Cree XP-G Cree XP-G Cree XP-G Cree XP-G Cree XM-L Cree XM-L Cree XP-G Cree XP-G
Power 1 AA 1 CR123A 2 AA 2 CR123A 2 AA 2 CR123A 2 AA 2 CR123A
Price: $63.00 $59.00 $66.00 $65.00 $78.00 $75.00 $75.00 $75.00


“One Million Candle Power” Flashlight

Waiven, Inc is demonstrating (today, in Las Vegas) a flashlight that can produce and output of one million candle power using Waiven’s  recycling LED technology and a Luminous SBT 70 round white LED. I am hoping they’ll post a video of this flashlight in action.

Waiven technology takes the wasted light with their recycling reflector and redirects it out the front. They have a flashlight (available to the public) that can throw an ultra narrow beam with incredible intensity over 1500 meters. Believe it or not the flashlight is only 6 inches long!

To add to its uniqueness, this flashlight throws a square beam. I kid you not.

I look forward to seeing more of what else this patented technology will do.


You can buy this flashlight from wavian.com as of now. It’s only $500. 

Night Navigator – Large

What is the ANSI/NEMA FL1 Standard?

ANSI/NEMA FL1 is a standardized guide of definitions and testing methods for flashlights, headlamps and spotlights that was established in 2009. In simple terms, it allows consumers a means of comparing the most important attributes of a flashlight. Each manufacturer abides by the ANSI/NEMA FL1 Standard independently and completely voluntarily. The result is a standard that enables every individual a clear means of comparing products.
The ANSI/NEMA FL1 has six performance measurements which include: Runtime, Light Output, Peak Beam Intensity, Beam Distance, Water Resistance and Impact Resistance. Each element has an icon with values indicating its test results.

Light Output is a measurement of the total quantity of light emitted and is given in lumens. While light output is an important measurement of flashlight performance, it only tells the user the total amount of light projected, not the useful light, which will vary greatly from light to light.

Runtime is the length of time it takes before the light emitted is only 10% of the initial light output. The initial output is the light output 30 seconds after the light is turned on.

Peak Beam Intensity is the maximum luminous intensity, which coincides with the hot spot of the light beam. It is measured in Candela (cd) and is equal to Surface Light Intensity (Lux) x Distance (meters2). Distances for all relevant tests are performed and communicated in meters.

Beam Distance is defined as the distance at which beam intensity is 0.25 lux. It is calculated by taking the square root of Peak Beam Intensity/0.25 Lux.

Water Resistance tests have three types: Temporary immersion at a specified depth (Water proof), continuous immersion at a specified depth (Submersible), and resistance to splashing from all sides (water resistant). To pass any test the light must function right after the test and 30 minutes later. The maximum depth for which it passes is displayed in the icon.

Impact Resistance is the height at which a flashlight, with all of its accessories and batteries can be dropped on a concrete floor without being visibly cracked or broken and while also being fully functional.

Good Lights For Your Survival Kit

We have wanted to do a series of blog posts where we explain great places to use flashlights. When putting together a survival kit, there are several different things to look at, but you can have a good survival kit without lighting. Today, we are discussing lights that you would want to put into a survival kit.

First, lets take a look at a flashlight that provides more than just lighting. It’s called the Eton Microlink FR160 (comes in black, red, and green).

Take a look for yourself:

Not only is this a great LED source, but it is also an AM/FM radio and USB cell phone charger. This piece is powered by solar or dynamo, both of which charge an internal NI-MH (nickel-metal hydride) battery. Also, it features all 7 NOAA weatherband channels. This is a must have if you can’t seem to find enough room in your kit for everything.

If you are looking for something with a bit more of a kick and a more powerful light, I would definitely consider looking at the Fenix TK70 XM-L (2200 lumens). This flashlight is not small or light, but it sure is bright. If you don’t know what lumens are, an easy way to look at it is comparing them to birthday candles. If you have 100 lumens, it provides about as much light as 100 birthday candles when 1′ away from your person. If you have 500 lumens, that’s 500 candles. So yeah… this flashlight would be like standing 1′ away from 2,200 candles.

If you are looking for a “blinding” light, look no further. This beam reaches up to 720 meters (2362 feet)! Not only does this light feature 4 different output modes, it also has 2 different flashing modes (strobe and SOS). Also, another awesome feature of this piece is its waterproofing. It comes with IPX-8 waterproofing. That means it can go up to 6.56 feet underwater.

Last, if you are looking for something that leaves your hands free, then a headlamp is for you. My personal favorite headlamp is the Fenix HP11 Headlamp.

Here it is:


The HP11 is a total high performance headlamp that is more than willing to keep up with all of your outdoor activities. It has a generous output of 277 lumens. Also, it has the Cree XP-G LED in it, which has a lifespan of roughly 50,000 hours. My favorite thing about this lamp is that the light and the battery are separated. The light being on the front and the battery being on the back so you don’t have to strap it to your head as hard. It is a very comfortable light to carry.

When putting together, or updating you kit, keep this in mind and I hope it will at least point you in the right direction.