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Old August 26, 2006, 04:47 PM   #1
clipse
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Flashlight Review: Borealis

[center]

I recently received a flashlight dubbed 'Borealis'. The name 'Borealis' comes from the term Aurora Borealis with is more commonly known as the Northern Lights. If you have never seen the Northern Lights, then let me tell, they put anyone at awe. They are an amazing sight to see. Similar the Northern Lights, the Borealis flashlight is something that many people will look at in awe. Sound over the top? Maybe it is. But, let me tell you, my wife could care less about flashlights (unless there is a power outage) and when I turned on my Borealis her eyes lit up (no, not because of the intense light). She actually said,”Wow, I'm impressed.” That is an amazing feat, to impress my wife. Enough about that, lets talk about the light.


The Borealis looks innocent enough in its 3D cell Mag-Lite body. But when you look closer, you see that there is much more going on inside this light. From the outside the only difference you can see is the LOP (light orange peel) reflector, and bulb. The reflector is aluminum with a coating over the shiny part. Like all flashlights, if you touch the shiny part of the reflector it will never go back to normal. Also the reflector is of the camless variety, meaning that twisting the head won't push the bulb up and down for adjustment. You can still adjust the beam from spot to flood by turning the head but, the bulb stays in same place in relation to the body of the light.



The bulb is a Welch Allyn 1185 which is rated for 9.6 volts. At 9.6 volts this lamp puts out 816 lumens and has a life of about 50 hours. Remember thats at 9.6 volts. This light drives the lamp at closer to 12 volts, bringing the lumens to 1050. You may be wondering how badly that hurts the bulbs life. Well, not that bad actually. I asked the make of this light how long the bulb lasts and he stated 35 hours. My light has 28 hours and counting. The bulb handles being overdriven very very well.



The lens has been replaced as well. It is made of Pyrex and is formed in such a way that it is very very resistant to heat shock. The lens is more specifically called a borafloat lens, referring to the method used to make and for the lens. It may not mean much to a lot of people but rest assured, with the amount of heat coming out of this thing, you won't have to worry about the lens busting. That is, unless you do something really stupid, like try to light a newspaper on fire. Yes the flashlight puts out enough light to set paper on fire but don't do it. That is how I broke my lens and had to order a new one. It is dangerous and stupid. It does prove one point though, this flashlight is bright and with all bright flashlights, you need to be careful about how you pack this thing. If you leave it in a bag where it could be accidentally turned on, then unscrew the tail cap just enough so that it won't come on in transport. There are several stories of Surefire flashlights coming on in peoples pockets and burning a whole though the material. Just be cautious about handling any high intensity flashlights. Which brings me to another warning, don't flash this or any other flashlights in someones eyes. Especially your wife's. You are liable and very likely to get a black eye as a result.


“What is this thing running on?”, you ask. Well, I'll tell you. Nine AA rechargeable batteries. They come in a neat little battery carrier and they are stacked in series to bring the voltage up to 12 volts. Now you may be wondering, a AA is 1.5 volts and 9x1.5=13.5 volts so, why do I keep saying 12? Simple, you don't want to use this light right of the charger, It is going to be too much for the bulb. If it doesn't just flash and blow instantly then it will dramatically shorten the life of the bulb. If you wait about 1 ½ hours after the batteries are off the chargers, the batteries will calm down and stick around 12 volts. Now if you don't want to wait that long, there is another option. Juan sells a bleeder lamp. Basically it is a lamp that you can plug into the battery carrier to bleed off the extra power. You plug it in for 40 seconds and you're ready to go. Here are pics of the battery carrier, charger, and bleeder lamp.

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Old August 26, 2006, 04:48 PM   #2
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The charger plugs into the negative end of the battery carrier. There are two different kinds of chargers. There is a quick RC charger and the one I have. It is slower but still not bad. The quick charger takes about 1 ½ hours to charge while the one I have takes about 4 ½ hours. On mine, while the batteries are charging the LED indicator on the charger will be red. When it is done charging it will blink green. At that point it will start a trickle charge. Since these batteries are NiMH, they don't need to be trickle charged so I take them off the charger as soon as I can. Pretty simple and straight forward. Here is a picture of the charger connected to the battery carrier.



I almost forgot. I said earlier that the bulb stayed in one spot compared to the body. Well there is a reason. The stock bulb holder in the mag-lite has been replaced with something new a more robust. Here is a picture.



After all that, you would think the flashlight would be bright enough, right? No! Juan went even further and modified the switch itself so there is as little resistance as possible between the bulb and batteries. Everything has been gone over with De-Oxit and Progold to further reduce resistance and keep the contacts from oxidizing. You don't find that in production flashlights. Juan takes a lot of time and plays some serious attention to detail on each flashlight.


So, now I suppose your wondering just how bright this thing really is. I'll tell you, then I'll show you. We have a decent sized back yard. Maybe 200 feet from my back door to the fence. I have struggled for a flashlight bright enough so I could see well when I let our dogs out. I have used everything I have from a Surefire G2, A2, Streamlight Propolymer 4AA Lux LED, TL-2 LED, and many many more. Well, this think obviously puts all of them to shame. It lights up out back yard light it was daylight. Absolutely spectacular. Here are some comparison pictures between my Surefire A2 (90 lumens) and the Borealis (1050 lumens)

Borealis on left, A2 on right.


Same as above only underexposed.


As you can see, the Borealis completely dominates over the Surefire A2. This is the brightest flashlight I've ever seen. There are many many applications I can see for this light. Many times you see Law Enforcement carrying a tired old mag-light that isn't even rechargeable and when they turn it on, you notice that sickly yellow beam. This is a huge upgrade. What makes this even better is that it can still be used as a club/impact device. It could even make for and excellent search light for SAR teams. Here in my local, we don't have many stretches where you see more than 5-600 yards. On a recent trip to the Lake of the Ozarks I lit up trees that were easily 500 yards away. I could see animals eyes light up. Power outages? This thing pointed at the ceiling lights up a room as good as a 100 Watt light bulb.

Just in case anyone is really really curious, here is proof you can make fire from this flashlight. (Warning: Don't try this at home.)

Here is the setup.


It will start smoldering in just a few seconds.


continued in next post
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Old August 26, 2006, 04:50 PM   #3
clipse
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And here you see fire.


For more info on the Borealis please check here


Enjoy,

clipse[/center]
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Old August 28, 2006, 09:48 PM   #4
raymond-
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...small point

secondary (ie rechargeable) batteries in the popular sizes (AA, AAA, C, D) will
nearly always be 1.25 volts. times 9, that would come to approx 11.25vdc hot off
the charger.
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Old August 29, 2006, 07:26 AM   #5
black bear 84
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Hot of the charger the Sanyo HR3U 2500's are clocking 1.4 volts per unit, after a couple of hours they still meassure 12. 1/2 for the 9 pack. The overvoltage is dropping down)

After several hours and some use of the light the pack still meassure over 12 volts.



cheers
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Old August 29, 2006, 09:47 AM   #6
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thanks for the firsthand results. can you provide these while you have everything out?....

the specs on the cell is still 1.25v yes?

what about amperage rating? (2500?)

specs on the transformer, in/out?

tnx!
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Old August 29, 2006, 10:15 AM   #7
black bear 84
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Raymond,
The high current of the cell is the real value on driving high intensity bulbs, for example alkaline cells with their 1.5 voltage will not have enough power to drive this bulb for long as they quickly will drop below 1 volt.

The capacity of the cell in mah is 2500; the amperage of the bulb is 3150 mah.
This is a direct drive set-up no transformer is involved.

I will counsel against pen and paper, as the important thing is what happens in real life.
After 160 of these lights made and one year and a half of making them the results are well proven.
Take a look at THE HIGH ROAD link with over 20,000 opening and many posters testifying for the effectiveness of the light.

Here is what the light can do against the Surefire M-6 (500 lumens running for 20 minutes on six disposables 123's batteries)

This is a ceiling bouncing test
(A dark room illuminated only by the reflecting beam of the flashlight)

Surefire M-6



BOREALIS (1050 lumens 45 minutes run time, rechargeable)





black bear
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Old August 29, 2006, 10:45 AM   #8
raymond-
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sorry if the engineer in me prompts queries. not pencil and paper, but simple
electronics and physics. i am trying to determine how something works,
resulting in how well....not just in knowing the end result. wasnt fencing with you, rather asking in good faith. i'll just dig for info elsewhere.
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Old September 1, 2006, 06:47 AM   #9
black bear 84
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Here are two more pictures of the comparison with the Surefire M-6.

Surefire M-6 (500 lumens, 20 minutes run on six 123's disposables batteries)



BOREALIS (1050 lumens, 45 minutes run, rechargeable)



black bear
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Old September 1, 2006, 07:43 PM   #10
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WOW! I'm very impressed, more with how great your review was than anything else, but THANKS!!
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Old September 7, 2006, 06:14 PM   #11
black bear 84
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WHERE ARE MY MANNERS?
I WANT TO THANK CLIPSE FOR A GREAT REVIEW AND THE BEATIFUL PICTURES.

And here I have two more left over from the Surefire M-6 shoot-out.
Notice that I always select dark backgrounds because with my light is not need to shoot a white wall.

Wall is 18 feet from the light

Surefire M-6



BOREALIS



Regards
black bear
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Old September 17, 2006, 06:26 AM   #12
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Many people interested in the BOREALIS, want to know how much more powerful than a military-police flashlight my torch really is.

To answer that question I have pitted it against a Magcharger, Streamlight Ultra Stinger and a Surefire M-6.

Here are the contenders, from left to right: Surefire M-6, Ultra Stinger, Magcharger and my red BOREALIS.



Magcharger, 40,000 candlepowers, 200 lumens



Ultra Stinger, 75,000 candlepowers, 295 lumens



Surefire M-6 (500 lumens for 20 minutes on six disposables 123's batteries)



BOREALIS (1050 lumens, 45 minutes run time, rechargeable)



Regards
black bear
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Old September 25, 2006, 08:43 PM   #13
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If you're willing to trade some light output for some extra runtime, black bear also makes a "Search & Rescue" Flashlight. It's externally identical to a 4Cell maglite but puts out 850 Lumens for over an hour!

It also runs off the NiMH rechargeable batteries. Here's a comparison thread I did with my S&R, the Black Bear Bearcub and some common flashlights.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthrea...=1#post2443961

I probably need to re-run the results. As impressive as they are, I believe that I may have been using a set of damaged batteries in the S&R for the photos!
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Old September 28, 2006, 07:34 PM   #14
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Good review

Great review Clipse.

This light is amazing. He is right that this light is better than a 100W bulb. I remember taking this to a surprise party and I think I stole the show for awhile with my light. I felt a bit selfish but I can't help it! This light is just that amazing! When it came time to surprise the guest of honor, I used the Borealis to light up the room! I managed to beat the person to the light switch and everyone looked at me. How embarrassing but flattering at the same time.
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Old September 28, 2006, 08:42 PM   #15
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A FAIR Comparison!

I got to thinking that all of the comparisons I had done with my Black Bear Search and Rescue had been to other flashlights.

With 850 lumens, that's not really fair to the other flashlights.

SO...

I decided to give it some competition! So I called Lisa away from the computer: "Honey, go get your camera while I start the car."

Ok, here are the pics.



The highbeams might be a little brighter--it's a judgement call. On the other hand, it's pretty hard to carry a set of highbeam headlights around with you.

If that's not bright enough for you, the Black Bear Borealis puts out about 24% more light!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg S&R vs Lowbeams.jpg (27.7 KB, 14201 views)
File Type: jpg S&R vs Highbeams.jpg (30.1 KB, 14132 views)
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Old September 29, 2006, 09:16 PM   #16
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If you've already got a Mag-Lite, you might want to replace the bulb with an Ever-LED

http://www.leddynamics.com/EverLED/

I've got a couple of them, and they'll outlive me. The Surefire tactical light was driving me broke. CR123 batteries aren't cheap, only lasted about an hour, and the bulbs were outrageously expensive, and only good for 20 hours. I junked the Surefire.
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Old October 5, 2006, 09:01 PM   #17
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The LED replacement bulbs are very impressive and provide decent brightness with good battery life, but if you're going for raw power, they really pale in comparison to the Black Bear flashlights.

Here's a shot comparing the Maglite 3D cell with a three-watt Luxeon LED replacement bulb to a Surefire 6P and a six D-cell maglite. You can see that it holds up very well in this comparison and is over-exposing the picture in the center of its beam.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachmen...7&d=1147486350

Here's the same Maglite 3D cell Luxeon LED compared to a Black Bear Bearcub flashlight putting out about 220Lumens and the Black Bear Search & Rescue with over 850 lumens. Now it looks like a dim blue spot.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachmen...0&d=1147487091
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Old October 5, 2006, 09:38 PM   #18
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That thing is almost as bright as the plugged in lights movie studios use. When those things break they can send 1000 degree glass flying 20 feet, it will set stuff on fire just passing through it.

Impressive!
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Old October 24, 2006, 08:28 AM   #19
black bear 84
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Hi guys,
The BOREALIS new home is under construction, the temporary address is this:

http://www.monitoramerica.com/blackbear/home.htm
check it out.

In a couple weeks or so the address will be www.blackbearflashlights.com


Best regards
black bear
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Old November 11, 2006, 02:01 PM   #20
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Comparison

Hey Black Bear, how does the Borealis compare with a 2 million candlepower spotlight?
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Old November 11, 2006, 03:15 PM   #21
black bear 84
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Hi Cerbera

It just happened that I have finished doing some testing comparing the BOREALIS with some spotlights that I have around, including a 2 million one.

And here are the results:

Spotlights Versus BOREALIS flashlight


Except for some HID’s barely portable lights like the “Beast” from Surefire (a $3,000 light working on 20 disposables batteries, outputting 2,000 lumens) and others HID’s that don’t qualify as flashlights as they are considered “searchlights” and take quite a few seconds to get them going, no other flashlight that you can get in the store can compete in lumens output with the BOREALIS 1050 lumens flashlight that is made in the 3 D format.

So the question arose as how the BOREALIS will compare with an incandescent two million candlepower spotlight.

I have a closet full of spotlights of 15 years ago, lights that plugged into the cigarette lighter of a car and at that time were state of the art at 250,000 and even 500,000 candlepower’s.

Later the portable, rechargeable 500,000 and one million spotlights come about and of late you can get a good spotlight by LSI or Q. Beam of 2 million candlepower.

How does the little 2” reflector and 35 watt bulb compare with the monstrous 5 ½ inches reflectors and 50 to 75 watts bulbs in those spotlights?

To find out, I did a round up of what I have in the house: a couple of 1 million Q Beam I had disposed off when the batteries ran out of life, but I have a brand new LSI Nite Tracker 2,000.000 million candlepower, a 1 million spotlight from Aid Auto Stores and a new PN 46224 5 million from Heartland America catalogue.
Actually this is the second one, because I returned the first as the light don’t seem to my eyes to output more than a million, the second is still delivering the same output, so maybe where they come from the candlepower’s have a different value than the American ones!

I gave all the spotlights and my light a good charge to run a fair test.
The shootout was made against a tool shed at 30 yards and my appreciation of what I saw is this: The Aid auto Store spotlight seems to be a thru and thru one million candlepower light as the output is well matched against what I have seen before from other one millions.
The BOREALIS will overpower this spotlight plenty, washing the beam of it when the BOREALIS beam is made to coincide.

The second spotlight I tried was the LSI Nite tracker, 2,000.000 million; this is a great light (but also great in size and weight) and is obviously what the BOREALIS has to compete for.
I have found that the BOREALIS beam is more useful than the LSI as the spread is wider (more floodlight), I can see much more landscape to the sides of the shed than with the beam of the LSI. As per the intensity at the shed door, here are the pictures so you can judge it yourself.

Of the Black and yellow 5 million light from Heartland, to my eyes it is barely 1 million, maybe 750,000 more likely.

Yes, the LSI two million can do almost the same as the BOREALIS, but that light is much more compact, lighter and of incomparable quality in its components, the modified switch, reflector and battery carrier are a work of art and the power source are the best high current high capacity Nimhs in existence.

The Contenders, from left to right; My red BOREALIS flashlight 1050 lumens,
the 5 million Heartland of America black and yellow spotlight, the LSI Nite Tracker 2 million, and the Aid auto stores 1 million spotlight.




And I am going to show the beamshots in the opposite sequence:

Aid auto stores 1 million candlepower



LSI Nite Tracker 2 million



Heartland of America 5 million (The text explain what I think of this light)



BOREALIS 1050 lumens rechargeable, 50 minutes run time.



cheers
black bear
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http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...=169074&page=3
and www.BlackBearFlashlights.com
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Old November 13, 2006, 11:04 PM   #22
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Impressive results...

I did some comparisons to other flashlights and rapidly reached the conclusion that there is NO COMPARISON.

That was when I started comparing my Black Bear Search & Rescue to my car's headlights. I was curious about how it would compare to a searchlight--it appears that 2 million candle-power isn't enough to beat it...

Neat shootout--saved me the money of buying a searchlight and doing the test myself.

Have you ever tried to characterize your lights using candlepower? I'd say from the photos that the Borealis is putting out something more than 2 million candlepower easily. Is there any way to get more precise numbers?
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Old November 20, 2006, 03:55 AM   #23
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Im happy that you have made these homemade high quality flashlights for a realy cheap price. I searched for the most powerful flashlight and found one that was 2000 lumens for almost 5,000 dollars. Its output is probably 1800 lumens. Id rather buy this transformed Maglite. Ive sent an email asking if you take payments per month. Also Id like to mention if you would be interested in starting a store on ebay and selling these flashlights, I can help.
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Old November 20, 2006, 11:18 AM   #24
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How much is this unit, anyway? Very impressive!
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Old November 20, 2006, 11:24 PM   #25
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There are three models of the Borealis available--click on the link in my sigline for more information.

I have a Search & Rescue and a Bear Cub from Black Bear--both are very well thought out products, so I would expect exactly the same from the Borealis.
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