limited production :: hand crafted :: high performance :: rechargeable :: premium flashlights

This is my blog about creating a startup LED flashlight business. I'm a designer, fabricator, and strategist and I'm passionate about making ideas real. I believe that products are about people, that they should be built to last, deliver real value, and that we need to do a better job than we have in the recent past.

Most of my career has been contract or freelance work and I've crafted products and strategies for both big international companies and startups. I also used to work in the "industry" fabricating special effects for film and TV, along with the occasional hot rod. Bottom line, I love making things.

I'm starting this blog so you can follow along, from day one, and see what it's like to start a business, or fail in the process. Only time will tell, but I hope you find this interesting enough to stay tuned, comment, link, like, tweet, and (most importantly) participate in turning this idea into something tangible and valuable.

For a good place to get started with general info about who, what, why, etc., check out the "Stickies" on the left side of the page. Thanks for stopping by and please don't hesitate to ask questions and get involved!

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

VIDEO: Drop testing the Alpha

I guess I forgot to post the YouTube video from a while here it is! I hosted a Candlepower Forums gathering at my shop a few months ago. Just to spice things up I asked everyone in attendance to help me drop test one of my lights. I'd never actually done this before so it was pretty frightening to do in front of a crowd. Makes for good TV though right?

So as you can see, after 37 drops and some pretty massive hits, the tailcap switch broke. Does that mean the light failed? I don't really know. It would still turn on in momentary mode...but the switch would not latch. So, you decide. I think the bottom line is that if your own flashlight ever sees that much probably have some other broken stuff that is higher on the priority list.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the McClicky switch is literally the best aftermarket clicky switch that exists. Since my light is designed for easy repair, putting in a new switch is really easy and (if you have strong fingers) can be done completely without tools.


This disclaimer is present in order to manage your expectations. Impact is a funny thing and people often have unrealistic expectations with respect to dropping flashlights. For example, in the video above, we dropped the Alpha 37 times and the UCL glass window did not break. I put the light on my bench. When a friend visited the next day I dropped the light from waist high...and the window shattered. Why? Impact is a funny thing.

Flashlights are not meant to be dropped. They are meant to produce light. A good light is engineered in a way that will minimize the statistical probability that something (anything) will break. Engineering is largely balanced by practical considerations like cost and physical size. They key (and the point of my previous anecdote) is that pesky statistical probability. When you drop a light, even from waist high, about a bazillion dice get together to determine the final outcome. Could I make a light that is guaranteed not to break, ever, when dropped from an airplane? Sure, you show me $10,000 and I'll show you an indestructible light. In fact, I'd welcome the challenge :)

I have seen tons of messages on Candlepower Forums where people are irate that they dropped their light, it started working funny, and now they think the light and the entire company are terrible. Do you drop your laptop (or your phone) and then complain to the manufacturer that it broke? No, BECAUSE YOU DROPPED IT. If you drop your light, you should expect it to break. If it doesn't, send the manufacturer a nice letter.

Of course I talked to someone the other day that was really mad at Apple because their iPhone had broken. I said, "What happened to it?" They said, "I dropped it." I had a hard time not saying something really rude in response.


  1. "If you drop your light, you should expect it to break. If it doesn't, send the manufacturer a nice letter."

    I dropped my Alpha from a height of about 4 feet and although it marked up the exterior, it still works great!

  2. Jason,

    I just watched your destruction video and it almost made me cry and sick to my stomach.
    I was sold on buying a Alpha, but now I have no doubts I will own one of your awesome lights.
    Hope to talk with you soon, email please ;-).