Customer Reviews: Hand Crank Illuminator Wind-up LED Flashlights - 2 Pack
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on December 11, 2008
We purchased two units. Our kids love reading in bed, and they sometimes prefer using a flashlight rather than a reading lamp. Plus, there are all the other good reasons to have dependable emergency lights.

These units provided a moderate amount of light - a bit dimmer than typical 2 D cell flashlights. And, that was OK with me.

However, the amount of time that the unit would provide light quickly decreased. After just 5 or 6 uses, light output would last only 90 seconds or so, and the brightness level also decreased. It soon became too much hassle to try to sustain light output for more than a few minutes - the frequent cranking was annoying, and every use further decreased battery life and light output.

The light's concept is appealing - but the implementation is poor. The light might be OK for a few uses, but based on the quick deterioration of performance I would not feel very confident that it would dependably work when needed and as long as needed in an emergency. Maybe the best use is in a car when you are unlikely to need light for a long period.

Another OPTION, if also less than perfect: Amazon is selling slow self-discharge rechargeable NiMH batteries. These cells retain 85% of their charge level after 1 year of sitting on a shelf. So, there is the option of buying Sanyo Eneloop (or similar) AA NiMH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries and adding them to a few quality flashlights. Recharge once per year, and you have viable emergency lights, and perhaps keep some extra batteries around. These long shelf-life batteries are selling like hotcakes to photo enthusiasts, because you can immediately shoot photos even if your camera has been stored for 12 days or 12 months.
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Back in 2006/07, I bought two each of Illuminator Wind-up LED Flashlight,Garrity Power Lite, and Duracell Crank Light. The Illuminator lights worked great in the beginning - able to shine for nearly one hour after one minute of cranking. But after a few months, their run time has dropped to under 10 minutes. Lately, they can hardly sustain 10 seconds of dim light. The Garrity lights are marginally better, in that they can still provide 1-2 minutes of useable light. The two Duracell lights, on the other hand, are working just fine.

The difference is due to the rechargeable batteries used in those crank lights:
- The Illuminator contains a single 3.7V Lithium-ion battery with very low capacity (around 36mAh)
- The Garrity uses three 1.2V NiMH cells with slightly higher capacity (80mAh)
- The Duracell uses three NiMH cells with the highest capacity (300mAh)

All rechargeable batteries must die eventually, just that some sooner than others. Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries are particularly delicate and will be damaged when over-charged, or over-discharged. But over-charging is inevitable in a crank light, since the user has no way to know when the battery is fully charged. That explains why the two Illuminator lights failed so quickly. In contrast, the NiMH cells used in Garrity and Duracell lights are more robust and can withstand more abuse. But sooner or later, the lower capacity battery in Garrity light will became damaged. The Duracell lights are still doing well, mainly because I have been slow-charging the battery through USB port, instead of fast-charging with the crank.

Knowing its short lifespan, I cannot recommend the Illuminator crank light. Unfortunately, the Duracell crank light has been discontinued. So your only choice left is the Garrity. Personally, I have mostly given up on crank lights. It is more reliable to use low-self-discharge batteries (such as SANYO eneloop) in LED flashlights that accept two AA cells.
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on March 2, 2013
First one litterly the first time it was used. The second one broke the third time it was used! I use crank lights for my kids so that I do not have to buy batteries every time they fall asleep with thier flash lights on. I had similar ones for them before that lasted over a year. But these two were absolutly JUNK! My son unwrapped his Christmas morning, when to crank it and the handle came off in his hand. My daughter's broke that night.

At least the company did not give me any problems with the return.
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on March 30, 2014
I really love this little flashlight. I keep one in my car and one at home. It puts out a really bright light and I don't have to worry about batteries going dead. When the light starts to go dim, I just crank it up again and it is recharged. The charge lasts for a good while when fully charged. The length of the charge depends on how well you crank it up. It is great to have in an emergency, as you do not need to worry about having batteries on hand or running out of them.
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on November 10, 2012
I just received these lights today. I instantly got one out of the package & started cranking away. I turned the switch on & got NOTHING AT ALL. So i decided to leave the switch on & crank the handle. It did light up but not as I had hoped for. After I continued playing with the light for a while I could get it to hold a charge for about 20 seconds(MAX). It is far from the 20 minutes of use the instruction sheet states though. I had read somewhere that if these lights sit for any extended periods of time they need to be conditioned for use again. Which consisted of cranking, letting it die completely, then repeating till an optimal charge is held. So I have been doing this & it does seem to be getting better with each time but it sure is tiresome. I may give them to my young kids to play around with to see if the can get them back into condition.
I guess it is not a complete loss though. Some light is better then no light & these will provide some light, even if you do have to crank the light while using it. I have only checked the one light out I got so far... Getting ready to open the other package & see if that light is the same way. I do believe I will not be buying these lights anymore. I have been doing some better research online since I had bought these I believe I will be buying almost any light that the American Red Cross would sell on their website. Seems like they would most likely know what crank style emergency light would be best.

I did open the package to the second light. it is worse then the first one I opened. I have been playing with it like I had stated before about "conditioning" it with the previous one. This one seems to be taking a lot longer to get light that will stay on more then 3 seconds after I stop cranking. Been working at it for 20 minutes to get the 3 seconds of light & in order to get any type of light I had to turn the switch on while I was cranking it, then I eventually was able to turn switch off to get the 3 seconds of light. So maybe if I continue I will be able to get something more satisfactory. Reviewer before had stated about having the Garrity lights, I also had one in the past. I believe the Garrity lights were far better then these.
Something now crosses my mind... I wonder if I could buy a new lithium Ion battery a little stronger & soldier it in place of the weaker battery.
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on May 7, 2015
Perfect little do-dad for your home emergency kit or your auto travel kit. No dead or rotten batteries to worry about, just there when you need it. Great for kids back packs for sleep overs and camping trips. Throw one in your tackle box too.
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on January 2, 2013
I got this pair of LED hand-crank flashlights to have as emergency lights. They both charged easily, but the center LED did not work on one of the flashlights. I disassembled that flashlight and found that the solder joint was broken on one of the wire leads for the center LED. Luckily, my job involves electronic repairs, so I fixed it by re-soldering the LED lead back onto the circuit board. However, most people would not be able to do this job, since a soldering iron and soldering skills are necessary. The concept behind these flashlights is great - however, the workmanship has a LOT to be desired. ALL of the solder joints (melted metal that connects the internal wires, switches, LEDs, etc.) were done very POORLY. I had to 're-flow' the solder to get good, solid connections. Still, if you don't beat them up too much - and the price is low enough - then these flashlights are worth having for some emergency lighting. HOWEVER, as a comparison, I also bought an 'Energizer Weatheready 3-LED Carabineer Rechargeable Crank Light, Red' from Amazon. That LED light used 'Nichia' brand LEDs and it was a MUCH brighter flashlight than THIS flashlight. The light output from the Energizer was more like that from a regular D-cell battery-powered flashlight. Personally, if I had to do it again, I would spend a little more money for the Energizer flashlight.
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on January 26, 2013
battery won't hold a charge. If I crank long enough, it will work, but quickly uses up any stored electricity. The pic looks different than the actual unit. I have some that look just like the pic and they work fine, costs 2x or 3x this model but work properly and keep stored energy much better.
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on January 8, 2013
I keep this in my car just in case I need it. I got tired of flash lights with dead or ruptured batteries, or burnt out bulbs. This fixes all those problems, the light is a little week and it fades quickly but a good flash light.
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on November 7, 2012
This two pack was cheap and for good reason. The knob on the crank handle is terrible, one came already broken completely off the other held long enough for me to start rotating the crank and then came off in my hand. Have purchased two Garrity crank lights in the past and very satisfied. Sent these two back and spent the extra money on two more Garrity lights.
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