#93 why we need an emergency LED tube
While load shedding continues to plague the average south African citizen I noticed that some of the well off citizens were not that phased out with the power going off and water running dry. Upon further investigation I found out that “big surprise” they had proper solar infrastructure and water tanks coupled with the right political connections they don’t need to suffer for decisions made by people who bear no consequence if that decision flops.
There’s nothing new about the facts I mentioned above however it got me thinking about looking for cheaper efficient and longer lasting solutions using technology even if they are not ideal its better to have something rather than nothing… what a shameful thing I had to say taking into consideration its the 21st century and governments are still using their governmental privilege to mess things up without facing a tar a feather spectacle such a shame..
Well unfortunately I can’t control things on a national scale but I can make a review of some affordable LED lights and hopefully that can help someone make a well educated effective decision to mitigate some of the frustrations and pain.
While browsing Takealot I noticed some prices fluctuate quite often but if you keep a price you are willing to pay in mind you can create a sort of mental filter that helps. So for this article I decided to search for LED lights containing these parameters:
- Li-po or li-ion
- LED light
- 5v to charge
- Have an enclosure
- Easy access and battery replacement
- Decent circuit with charge protection
- LED’s must not get too hot
I managed to find a product that came as a value pack (the so called emergency LED tube) and passed all my requirements. The product came as a value 3 pack of generic LED lights each light is about 32cm long and very light with magnetic discs.
I got mine at R210.00 for 3 emergency LED tubes that’s R70.00 for 1 so definitely affordable since I can’t get any 18650 battery for under R100.00 anywhere I have searched online in South Africa. I might just purchase these lights and harvest the battery in future just because it’s cheaper than purchasing the li-ion battery by itself.
The lights come with 1x unmarked 18650 battery and a charge controller chip with 1 button and a female micro USB port to allow charging via 5v
The button allows the light to function in 3 modes: bright, dim and strobe.
Even though the listing claims these lights are 18w when I tested them at a theoretical max of 4.2v (li-ion battery max) I only got around 10w and the LED strip got hot.
A few cons I noticed are:
- Solder wires soldered directly on to the 18650 battery
- Cheap solder
- Some joints were not soldered sturdily
- Blue end caps can come off easily sometimes
All in all the lights did work out of the box however I touched up a few joints and glued one end of the blue cap just so it doesn’t come out when hanging the light via the plastic loop.
Once fully charged the light has lasted through 2-4 hours of loadshedding with a few hours of charge time.
Overall the light does its job and is affordable and the battery can be swapped or cascaded for longer lifetimes.
The only major concern I have it the lifespan of the LED chips and the mystery chip but only time will tell.
Link to listing here.