As a result of this thread, we've had a lot of phone
calls and email
questions regarding the Marinebeam Ultra Long Range Illuminator, so I thought I would respond with some of the details to clear up some confusion.
We have licensed an amazing technology that, while amazingly simple, completely changes the way an LED flashlight works. Its benefit isn't really brightness (flux) per se, but actually the opposite. What it does is create extremely high-lumen density (lux), and incredible beam distance (650M FL1 distance), with very little total light energy (only 300 lumens). It does this by having no wasted spill-over light whatsoever. In other words, every photon it produces is going down range. The best analogy is a laser beam,which uses only tenths of a watt, and has almost no flux, yet can blind a person at several hundred yards.
The big benefit for us as boaters is that you now have a handheld searchlight which out-performs a 2800 lumen LED, but uses about a tenth of the power. So you now have a handheld super powerful searchlight which can operate up to 120 hours on 3 D cells. With this flashlight you can legitimately pick out buoys 750 yards away.
Here is the cool part. It is a technology that everyone can understand, and is amazingly simple. The technology is just a simple optical collar with a hole in the middle, which is positioned in front of a standard CREE LED chip. Its sole duty is to reflect ALL of the spillover light back onto the LED emitter itself, which re-excites the phosphors on the chip, which then re-emits, and sends the new photons straight out the hole in the collar. So, any stay light gets collected by the collar and is sent back to the chip itself, which continues to re-emit and collimate the light thru the center collar and down range. This cycle, is no perpetual-motion device, but much more like a turbocharger on a car, which takes waste heat and recycles it to increase the energy density. Same here. The wasted energy (stray lumens), are collected, and then concentrated and collimated to provide higher lumen density (lux) and a more coherent beam.
So, how is it different than just focusing light with a lens? Well, when you focus a light it has a focal distance, meaning the light converges up until the focal point, at which point it diverges again. The result is the flashlight beam we are all familiar with. You see a bunch of concentric halos of light, hot spots, etc. Imagine now, that with coherent, collimated light, there is no focal point. In fact, imagine that at any distance the beam is truly in focus. This is what happens with the Marinebeam Illuminator. Its light beam is always in focus, very concentrated, and has no spillover, hotspots, etc. While there are plenty of standard flashlight lenses that produce unfocused light, they are not very efficient, and they all have the issue of spillover light, hotspots, etc., and you still need almost 10 times the lumens to get the same beam distance.
While our flashlight and lens is round, the beam is square. Why is this? It is simply proof of the absolutely collimated beam projected from our light. The light projected on a surface (at any distance) is square because the light you are seeing is actually an image of the LED chip itself. in fact, if you point this light at a sailboat 200 yards away, you will see the actual image of the LED chip on its sails
. You can even see the solder joints on the chip!
The other cool thing is that if you point it at a distant object, that object will be the only thing illuminated. Other boats, or people, won't even see the beam.
This is no ordinary LED flashlight. The technology allows a much more useful long-range light, that uses very little power (and the batteries last a long long time). Having said all of this, this is not a general purpose "flashlight", and you likely wouldn't use it for walks on the beach or for general illumination.