Anatomy of a flashlight
LENS: Most torch lenses are made from scratch resistant glass. Its important to keep your lens as scratch free as possible because it is the final barrier between your light source and the world.
Some torches have a raised bevel around the lens to keep debris away, another option is to keep your torch in a holster, especially if you keep it in a vehicle where it is bound to roll around.
REFLECTOR: Reflectors come in two types:
-Smooth reflector: Ideal for a long throw, helps direct the light into a strong spotlight
-Orange Peel reflector (OP): Ideal for a distributed beam with a wide angle.
LED: The LED is where the light is emitted from and therefore is one of the most important parts of a torch.
A vast majority of high performance LED’s are manufactured by CREE.
LED lights can vary in colour from “cool white” (the whitest beam) to “neutral white” (a slightly “warmer” more yellow beam, more ideal for hunting etc where you need more accurate depth perception at long distances)
New LED technology is constantly developing, you can check out the cree wiki for more information: http://flashlightwiki.com/Cree
DRIVER: The driver is a small transformer that takes the energy from the battery and makes it into a usable form of power for the LED.
The driver is also responsible for any modes the torch may have, such as SOS mode, Strobe mode or high, med and low modes.
New driver technology is being constantly developed, you can find more information here: http://www.videofoundry.co.nz/ianman/laboratory/research/driverlist.php
BATTERY: Most advanced LED torches are powered by rechargeable lithium batteries.
These batteries come in various sizes with “18650”s being the most popular / industry standard for most advanced high output devices.
They have a high output, a long run time and can typically be recharged around 500 times.
Lithium batteries are volatile / can explode if shorted out in a bad way. “Protected” lithium batteries have an inbuilt protection fuse that runs down the side of the battery. In the event of a short circuit this fuse will blow before the battery will have a melt down.
For more information please check out our page Lithium batteries explained
SWITCH: The switch turns the torch on and off, and also controls the modes (e.g strobe, high, med & low -for torches that have modes). Most switches are located at the rear tailcap of the torch (as above) but can also be found towards the front of the torch handle torch where you would place your thumb.
Most switches are covered with a replaceable rubber membrane that makes them waterproof and long lasting.
There are two types of switches:
Basic switch: A basic switch simply works by clicking it on and off. Often you can change output modes on the torch by turning it on and off a few times.
Memory switch: A memory switch is the high tech brother of the basic switch.
Often you can program certain commands to turn on certain modes. e.g) hold down the switch for 2 seconds and it goes straight to strobe etc.