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Great Red Spot Junior - astronomy flashlight

Posted by Dave Bonandrini   06/27/2006 01:43PM

Great Red Spot Junior - astronomy flashlight
I'm sure you guys remember the Great Red Spot shaker light I reviewed last winter:

Its one of those flashlights you shake to charge with a red LED light installed.

I got a package in the mail the other day containing a "Great Red Spot Junior" flashlight (I'm not making this up!). The flashlight is a smaller version of the original flashlight. It's not quite a mini so I guess the title of junior fits. The GRSJ flashlight is about 2 inches shorter and a little thinner around. I wonder what they will come up with if the GRS and GRSJ join together as one big monster spot sometime next month?

The GRSJ flashlight sports a magnetic wheel switch rather than the original's magnetic slide switch. The switch still glows in the dark (nice touch). The internal magnet has a smaller path to travel so you don't shake it quite as hard.

The magnet is quite strong, keep it away from your digital camera. It's so strong it shuts it down!

This time I received a wrist strap with the flashlight, but what it really needs is a breakaway neck cord. I put a shoe lace on it myself. If you do the same, tie the knot so that it will pull through if it gets caught on the ladder. I don't want you guys to hang yourselves with one of my bright iedas.

The enclosed letter said that the internal capacitor had less storage than the original, but it still lasted over an hour, so I didn't see a difference. I could not read the value of the new capacitor, but the original was 3 Farad. It sure does not look any smaller to me. I've found over the months of using the original, that 3 shakes gives exactly the dim light needed to read a chart. 10 shakes or more would be what you would use to find your eyepiece cap in the grass (why oh why do they make caps black?).

The beam is maybe a few mm wider than the original, but it is still a tight beam. This fits its intended use, up close reading and showing someone where the fine focus knob is. On last Saturday's new moon, I left it turned on, hanging around my neck. Not one person bumped into me.

I like this new junior better for astronomy use. I could see no advantage to buying the larger unit unless you need more run time between shaking.

The note from the owner of GRS said to send him a check for $19.99 or to call and he would arrange a pick-up. I'll be cutting a check.

P.S. Read my original review for the full info about shake to charge flashlights, in this review I just highlighted the differences.

Clear Dark Skies

Dave Bonandrini