LED COLOUR - WHITE IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT
When choosing the right flashlight, LED colours are a factor which is very often overlooked.
An LED is a three letter achronim for ‘Light Emitting Diode’ and is a computer chip-like device that emits light when power is applied.
Why choose an LED flashlight in the first place?
LEDs have an epoxy protective coating to prevent damage and increase durability, this epoxy can also act as a lens or optic. Their solid-state construction makes LEDs very durable and tend to last a very long time compared with traditional incandescent bulbs, offering up to around 100,000 hours of life. Doing the maths, if you left your flashlight on constantly, that equates to nearly 11.5 years so by all accounts, you should never need to replace a quality LED.
Another key aspect about LEDs is that they are very bright and can be seen up to about a mile away while, at the same time, they are good for close work due to wide dispersion and soft focus.
The industry talks about run-times which is the time that a flashlight will run with the life of the battery before it needs to be replaced or re-charged. The power consumption of LEDs is extremely low and can therefore run for hundreds of hours at low illumination levels.
Choosing the right LED colour
LEDs consist of several layers of semiconductor material and light is generated when a current is applied. LED light is monochromatic; the color depends on the materials used and there are basically two material systems (AlInGaP and InGaN) used to produce LEDs in all colours from blue to red.
These colours have various benefits that are best shown in the following tables as a check list that should help you decide which LED colour is best for your specific requirements:
· Most popular for all round use
· Close to natural light
· Allow you to see “true colour”
· Extremely bright
· Ideal for applications such as leak detection
· Similar to black light and used in forensics
· Used for checking for body fluids (Military/Law Inforcement)
· Used with night vision equipment (Military/Law Inforcement. Military pilots use blue to look around night vision devices. They visually check co-ordinates, while in stealth blackout modes).
· Extremely bright
· Great for hunters
· Preserves your night vision and won’t spook game
· International Health Economics Association teaches students t associate a green light with another hunter
· You can see red lines/arcs on maps
· Used by military aviation
· Ideal for aviation, signalling (some) map reading & pest control applications
· Best for preserving night vision
· Less useable light than green
· Best colour for covert operations (Military/Law Inforcement)
· For fluorescent detection of fraudulent documents, money and for use in forensic investigation
· Used in some applications to detect fluorescent vehicle fluids and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems
· Used in covert marking in the military and federal law inforcement markets
· Out of the spectrum of light your brain functions in (your eyes see it but your brain does not – Dangerous!)
· Used exclusively with night vision goggles and equipment.
There’s no doubt that you don’t need to be signed up to a special forces team to build a valid argument that you need more than one flashlight LED in your life!