Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Ferei W170 Dive Light

Red Hat Diving
Ferei  W170 Dive Light
The Ferei W170 is the top of the range dive light from this Chinese manufacturer. On unboxing first impressions were of a very high quality piece of kit, which comes in a very nice bag ideal for stowing the torch, straps and chargers. It’s a nice package.
Turning on the light is amazing as the pure cool white light is very bright at 2200 lumens.
Wanting to charge the torch up and get it diving was my priority as it is an exciting product but the instruction booklet supplied with the torch is terrible and in no way tells owners all the information they need to know about the torch features. I found out more by getting hands on and finding things like the 3 power modes by accident. The torch comes with 3 charging parts. A car charger which is highly useful. There is the standard charging cable which as normal goes into a box and then plugs directly into the torch and this is the setup for the AC charging at home. I am unsure if you use the box section when charging in the car?? But I think not. I haven’t found any info on that yet, which isn’t very good (clearer manual required). Good points though are that the torch is fully sealed so you do not have to open up the torch to charge it. This does leave the charging point exposed to salt water. It’s clearly stated that this charging point needs to be rinsed and dried after every dive in salt water.
Once I figured out how to charge the torch a red LED illuminated on the plug and after 3 hours it turned green. This torch takes 5 hours to fully charge but after 3 and 4 hours the charging is at 80% and 90% respectively.  Full charge is said to give a run time of 95 minutes at full power. This should just about give you time for 2 good wreck dives. If you are like me and like to do long shallow scenic dives this run time may be a bit short. You don’t need to use full power all the time though and can easily move to mid power which will suit this type of diving.  I would have liked to see a slightly longer burn time on full power though, as you do need it if you are in murky water.
The head of the torch is also sealed and contains an American Cree LED surrounded by an aluminium reflector all behind a toughened ultra-clear optical lens.
The torch itself is a lantern style and has a very comfortable rubber coated handle, with lanyard attachment points fore and aft. It is constructed with a Type III military grade hard-anodizing aerospace-grade aluminium body (sounds good). This is said to resist scratching and corrosion. I will need more time to see if this is the case but after my testing so far the unit is bearing up remarkably well.
So this package on the face of it looks good, here is how I got on underwater.
On land the light was very bright with a large intense hot spot surrounded by a nice even halo. Underwater I noted as you would expect that the halo focused a bit making the beam narrower. This was good as too wide a beam is like full beam in the car in the fog. So at full power (because I hadn’t as yet found out about the other settings) the torch performed very well illuminating the murky depths of Loch Long. One thing I did note was a slight fogging of the lens. The cold water and the intense heat from the LED must have caused this although the torch does have inbuilt heat sinks. This cleared as soon as I left the water and I have found no information to know if this is normal when in cold water?
It was on my second dive of the day when I experienced a brilliant feature built into this and I believe all of the Ferei dive torch range. After 60 minutes run time the torch blinked. Initially I got a bit of a fright but I did remember reading about this. When the battery level reaches around 20% the LED will blink once every minute for the remaining 20 – 30 minutes of burn time. As LED torches either have power to work or not this I think is a brilliant idea, once you know about it that is!
After the dives
I had a good look over the torch after the dives. All trace of the lens fogging had disappeared. After the rough treatment I had given the torch there were only a few light scratches. What I did note was that a fine coating of rust had formed on one of the exposed charging terminals. The worst of this was removed with a cloth but it will require dedicated attention after every dive trip to keep it in tip top condition.
This torch retails for £676 if you look it up on Amazon and you do have the option to buy it in gold as well as black colours. Thankfully though you will not need to pay that amount as John Hewitt of Red Hat Diving is selling this torch at around £300.  Check out John’s website at http://www.johnhewitt.com where you know you will be able to buy with confidence.
This torch is powerful and well made from quality products. It produces a brilliant white light with a pleasing beam ideal for diving in UK waters.
Great plug in charging without opening the torch.
Reasonably fast charging 80% charge after 3 hours 100% after 5hours.
Excellent low battery warning.
Can be charged in a car ideal for the traveling, camping diver.
Very comfortable to use.

I would have liked to see a bit longer burn time to ensure 2 dives on full power. This will only be a problem if you are in the water for more than 95 mins with the torch on.
I didn’t like the fogging of the lens. It’s likely just due to the heat of the LED but I can find no information about it.
Lastly that exposed battery terminal will corrode if not cared for.
At time of writing an up rated version of this torch has become available with 3 LED’s in the head. This produces around 2960 Lumens and has a burn time of over 2hrs. This all sounds good if it can do all this.
Mike Clark

No comments: