The flashlight or dive focus is that great little companion that often goes unnoticed. It is very important and necessary especially when we do night diving and very, very useful when we dive in wrecks, caves, deep dives and we don't even tell you about it for those who are passionate about underwater photography.
And if we talk about safety, the flashlight can be a passive security item that can get us out of trouble.
There are a lot of different models. By sizes, by luminosity, according to needs. Which diving flashlight to choose?
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Determining an approximate budget will help us to know in which range we will move and which will be the best for our needs to find the model that best suits the immersion needs that we usually do. Keep in mind that within the same price range we can find a wide variety of models with different features.
Something The focus is on the type of batteries used by the flashlight or bulb in question. The ideal whenever you dive more than once a year are usually the models with rechargeable batteries, in the long run you will always save money. Not to mention the environmental benefits that this entails.
It is important to know the recharge time to avoid surprises. It is the time it takes for the battery to be fully charged for a new use and will depend on the type of batteries and the charger used.
The type of lamp : there are different models of bulbs (tungsten, halogen, xenon, HID, LED). Xenon, tungsten and halogen bulbs are the least expensive, but they have two disadvantages: They are slightly less powerful and use the battery faster. For comparison, a 10-watt HID lamp lights up, as well as a 50-watt halogen lamp, while using only 20% of the energy required for halogen. LED lamps are the best at the moment and have the advantage of being the longest lasting.
It never hurts to value the models that offer bulbs of different intensities, which will allow us to use one or the other during the dive, depending on the circumstances we face in each case.
We must also look at the beam of light and its power . The more reach our flashlight has, the greater distance we can observe and the more it will help us in our progress.
The material in which the lantern or spotlight casing is made is undoubtedly another of the most important variables to take into account when selecting our product. They are manufactured mainly of two types: aluminum and plastic .
Aluminum is light and highly resistant, having the only drawback that it is affected by marine corrosion, which is why good care is necessary; To avoid this type of corrosion, many have a protective treatment (almost always anodized). Aluminum has the advantage of being a durable material but at the same time very light.
Regarding plastic, new technopolymers have now been developed that allow the construction of lights that can resist high temperatures, as well as corrosion, blows, pressure ... with the advantages that they require almost no maintenance and that their weight is practically the half with respect to aluminum.
Finally we must also evaluate comfort . The size and weight of the flashlight as the comfort to carry it. We must bear in mind that, especially in the case and night dives, we will have to carry the flashlight continuously in our hand, unless we have an adapter to place it fixed.
OTHER POINTS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT
When selecting your focus, you should also keep the following points in mind:
Power : refers to the consumption of the bulb. It is measured in watts. The higher the figure indicated, the greater the light offered by that model and the greater its consumption. If you have a power regulator, it will make our spotlight much more versatile.
Autonomy : this term defines the amount of time that the bulb is able to offer us light continuously (without the need for recharging). It depends on the capacity of the battery, the power of the bulb and the voltage.
Weight and buoyancy: It is clear that the lower the weight of the bulb, the more comfortable it will be both in and out of the water. The relationship between the weight of the light and its volume will determine the degree of buoyancy of the device: if it is positive, it will tend to rise to the surface, while if it is negative it will sink. For this reason, it is always advisable to carry some type of security cord that allows us to keep the focus constantly attached to us.
Watertightness: it is achieved thanks to the O-rings, a main element of the light that must be highly protected to prevent wear (which would mean saying goodbye to the device). Every time the casing is opened, we must clean the gasket and its seat, grease it lightly with silicone again and proceed to reassemble it with great care so that it is properly seated.
Maximum depth: depth beyond which the tightness of the light is not ensured.
Automatic disconnection: essential for the most forgetful.
Low battery alarm : a very helpful feature to avoid running out of power just when we need it most.
Thermostat: disconnect the batteries when they are overheating, which will undoubtedly help us prevent the bulb from being damaged by excessive heating.
Restraint: not to lose focus during the dive. Almost all models include a cord that allows us to secure it to the wrist or to any part of the equipment, if you do not bring it you will have to put it on yourself. The most powerful lights usually have, in addition, a handle parallel to its longitudinal axis.
Finally, once you have chosen the most suitable dive light for your needs, follow these simple maintenance tips to extend its useful life:
After a dive, make sure 100% that the light is off to avoid overheating and premature wear.
If you buy a flashlight with rechargeable batteries, the first thing you should do is read the battery instructions to get the best performance and longest battery life.
As with any component of scuba gear, rinse your scuba flashlight with fresh water as soon as possible after use.
Inspect the battery contacts and clean them, if necessary, with a cleaning brush.
Remove and inspect the o-rings for any cuts, wear, or deterioration.
Store your dive light in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Protect it from bumps or rubbing. If you are not going to use the flashlight for a long time, please store the batteries separately.
Be very careful with the blows (very common in boats).