Tech divers and cave divers will tell you that one of the most difficult issues they have to deal with — aside from constantly having to make life-and-death decisions every couple of minutes — is how to balance the amount of light they’re going to need on each dive with the extra bulk associated with extra lights, battery packs, and other essential gear.
Joel Clark at Light Monkey believes he may have solved that problem, all while keeping you TSA-compliant when you fly.
TSA limits the amount of battery power you can have, which has kept dive canister lights relatively small, which also means limits in power and run time. Dive Monkey’s 15-24 Variable RB LED is the answer.
The dual battery pack allows divers to mount the two battery canisters behind the BCD on the tank. There are two magnetic isolator switches. The first one isolates one battery from the other. This means the 15-amp-hour battery pack becomes two 7.5-amp-hour batteries. While a 15-aH is prohibited by TSA, two 7.8-aH batteries pass with flying colors. The second magnetic switch activates the light. This configuration provides 330 minutes of burn time at 2,000 Lumens at 6,000 Kelvin and is only 1 pound negative in the water. Retail is US$1,730/~1,489 Euros.
The canisters become essentially invisible once they’re mounted, freeing up gear space on the diver’s BCD or belt and streamlining the diver’s profile. The first question experienced light users will ask is how you turn the light on and off with the switch mounted behind you. Light Monkey’s 5-level Piezo switch turns the light on and off right on the lighthead.
Now, here’s where it gets even better: Each time the Piezo is touched, the wattage is cut in half.
Let that sink in for a moment. A battery/light head configuration that will last 6 hours on 100% (setting 1) will last 12 hours at 50% (setting 2). Pressing the Piezo again reduces the wattage again while doubling the burn time again, so that battery will now last 24 hours at 25% (setting 3). Press again and the light will now last a whopping 48 hours at 12.5% (setting 4).
This means that divers can now plan their dives and their power usage with greater confidence. Light Monkey also has a 20-32 VF LED Dual Heater that has the variable power setting and the added bonus of a focusable LED. It offers 32 watts of power at the highest setting, which equates to 4,000 Lumens. The combined flexibility provides a variety of light options no matter where you dive or what you’re trying to see. As with any dive light, the only way to know how it performs is to get it wet and take it diving.
Always thinking about how to improve their own dive experiences, Dive Monkey recently released a heater base layer. The thin, breathable garment is designed to be worn as the primary layer. Other layers can be added on top. The front and back heating pads have removable serpentined silicone insulated carbon fiber heating elements so the garment can be washed and dried. Each pad consumes 20W-40W total and is designed to be used with the Pitkin heater controller. The Zero Wind membrane guarantees a dynamic osmotic transmission of body moisture from the warm inside to the cold outside. Retail is $400/~344 Euros.
You can see the entire customizable Light Monkey light and gear lines at LightMonkey.us.