I really enjoy reviewing flashlights that are self-powered, not
just because these torches do away with the wasteful need for
batteries, but also because I get a kick from seeing the different
methods companies dream up to generate the power necessary to make
their particular flashlights glow. So far I have reviewed lights
that used hand pressing, shaking a magnet through a copper core,
and rotary cranking. Today I am going to take a look at the
Gadget Brando SOS
Rotary Torch, another light powered by rotary cranking.
Similar in color and body materials to the
Gadget Brando Battery Free Flashlight I reviewed in 2004, the
SOS Rotary Torch’s body is primarily composed of yellow and grey
rubberized plastic. The coating gives the light a non-slip
property, while keeping it comfortable to touch. The torch measures
approximately 6.35″ long x 2’25’ wide x 1.5″ thick, and it features
a built-in compass, shrill alarm and rotary crank on its base.
The shape of the light makes it comfortable to hold, and the
addition of a wrist lanyard gives extra security. There is also a
DC6V power adapter plug on the lights underside, but an adapter is
not included with the light. Because this is a self-powered
flashlight, the adapter is unnecessary.
Powering of the light is accomplished by swinging the rotary
handle’s knob from the built-in storage slot on the body of the
torch. A hinge at the base of the crank allows the mechanism to
flop back 180º, allowing for a
360º cranking motion. The first time I
used the light I gave it 120 cranks – or a little bit less than two
minutes of solid cranking.
Near the torch’s head is a built-in compass. Who hasn’t always
been fascinated by compasses and how they work? I certainly have.
It’s nice to know that when carrying this light I’ll will always
know which direction leads home – assuming I know in which
direction home lies, of course. ;0)
The light is powered on and off with a silver plastic switch
located near its head. On the other side of the switch is an alarm
button, a feature which is supposed to help locate the user when
lost – presumably if they were incapacitated or tired of yelling.
The alarm is pretty loud and it is completely irritating. This is
not a torch to give to the kids to play with – unless they are old
enough to understand that sounds like this alarm’s May cause a
mommy or daddy to have a psychotic break. Be sure to watch
the mini-film on Brando’s site to get a sense of how annoying
the alarm is.
Would the alarm be loud enough to save the user if they were
lost in a cave or trapped under rubble? I don’t know – but it
might be. I would definitely expect it to be if the
searchers were using dogs.
The grey plastic head of the torch unscrews, making it one of
the few LED flashlights I have reviewed which offers the user any
access to the white LED bulb. Considering that these bulbs are
supposed to have lives of approximately 100,000 hours, that access
should never be needed.
Due to the properties of the reflective material in the LED’s
…the glow of the single LED is greatly magnified. While it is
not as bright as some of the battery powered multi-LED torches I
have covered, it is certainly sufficient for making one’s way
safely through a darkened corridor or a forest path.
Overall, the Gadget
Rotary Torch is a pretty handy item to keep in a toolbox or
glovebox. It may be the difference between being found or not, as
long as the user knows the general ideas behind using a compass.
While the addition of the alarm may come in handy when lost, it
will definitely give the owner good reason to keep this particular
torch away from the kids.