When my oldest son turned one, a friend gave him a flashlight for his birthday. Initially, I thought it was a strange gift. Then I turned it on, and he played with it for over an hour.
A flashlight is a most excellent and important thing to have around. Family emergency plans should include a flashlight for everyone in the family. Not only extremely useful in general for comfort and safety, a flashlight is also a source of endless entertainment for babies and little kids. Parenting gold! The beam of light is fascinating. Shine it on the wall. The floor. Beam of light through the fingers! The on/off button! Shadow puppets!
But oh, the downside of traditional battery-powered flashlights. Oh no, you left it on again, didn't you? Now the flashlight's dead. And I'm out of batteries. D'oh!And because batteries also contain toxic mercury that must be properly disposed of at special collection stations so that they don't go into the trash and pollute our groundwater, well...maybe flashlights don't make very good toys after all.
Apart from kids leaving the flashlight on, how often do you find dead or corroded batteries in an unused flashlight when you really need it? Yep, me too. Just about every single time. Frustrating. Expensive.
I set about looking for a solar-powered flashlight because the above scenarios played out in my home over and over and over again. Get a flashlight, buy batteries. Power outage, camping trip, go to use flashlight, batteries are dead. Kids *love* flashlight, but kids don't turn flashlight off. Oops! Battteries are dead. Buy more batteries. Add dead batteries to gigantic drawer stockpile of useless mercury-laden waste. Mentally put off recycling task for another year. Feel guilty. Isn't there a better way? Well actually, YES!
After much research, I found these BogoLight flashlights (yes, there was another flashlight that I offered before I found them...these are much better). They were developed and manufactured by a guy named Mark Bent, who noticed that in developing countries most people are using kerosene lanerns, candles, or battery-powered flashlights for lighting at night. These are neither clean, effective, nor cheap. Mark set about finding a better solution. You can read a Time Magazine article about Mark and his work here.
- Available in Standard and MINI versions.
- TWO MODES OF OPERATION in the Standard BogoLight: 1) Focused beam for reading or doing tasks, and 2) Wide beam for general illumination. Each of these two modes has high, medium and low settings, so there are six lighting variations total. The Mini BogoLight has on and off only.
- EFFECTIVE and easier to maintain than a standard flashlight, with enormous cost savings over time.
- 6-8 HOURS OF LIGHT from each full charge
- CHARGE IN ANY LIGHT - Can be charged in any light: bright sunlight, ambient daylight, or in room light. The brighter the light, the faster the recharge.
- CAN'T OVERCHARGE IT - You cannot overcharge the flashlight, it will stop charging when full.
- ALWAYS READY WHEN NEEDED - When left on a bright windowsill, stays fully charged and ready for use anytime.
- LEDs LAST 10,000 HOURS! - Bright, efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs) last for an average of 100,000 hours! Most flashlights continue to use incandescent light bulbs, which expend most of their energy in heat, not light, and have an average working life of only 1000 hours before the bulb burns out.
- LONG LASTING BATTERIES - The solar panel on the side of the Standard BogoLight flashlight recharges three AA batteries inside. These should recharge for approximately 2-3 years of intensive nightly use before they need to be replaced.
- "I use rechargeable batteries in my standard flashlight, so I'm not creating unnecessary battery waste." OK, but in an extended emergency with no electricity, how will you recharge those batteries?
- HOLDS ITS CHARGE
A normal single battery flashlight, sitting in a drawer unused, has a natural battery discharge rate of approximately 3% a month. This is why you often find your unused flashlight with batteries totally dead or about to die. Won't happen with your BogoLight!
- CARABINER CLIP on the handle allows you to attach the flashlight to a backpack, belt loop, rope, or hang it overhead to serve as a lantern.
- CAN'T FIND THE BATHROOM AT NIGHT WHEN TRAVELING? Bring your solar flashlight next time to navigate that dark house, hotel room or campsite bathroom.
- ECONOMICAL - Solar charging means you can let your child play with it for hours and never replace batteries.
- WATERPROOF/WATER-RESISTANT - Water-resistant, but not waterproof. Do not submerge it in water.
- Use the switch button to turn light on or off. The BogoLight has a a push button that selects either wide or narrow beam at 3 levels with repeated clicks.
- When not in use, face the solar panel towards a light source. The light will start charging the batteries.
- When the solar panel is exposed to the sun, the light turns off automatically. For best results, manually turn off the light when charging.
- For longer run times, use the lower light settings.
- Run times vary depending on sun exposure and mode/power level selected.
- If batteries no longer hold a charge for the expected amount of time, replace with good quality rechargeable AAs. Battery life is typically between 750-1000 nights of continuous use.
- To change the batteries on the BogoLight, use a coin to open and close the battery caps. Replace the three NiMH AA rechargeable batteries in the direction shown on the light.
Developed with the assistance of the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program, supported by NASA, shaped by specific field work on our prototypes in Africa in the harshest conditions by scientists from the Department of Energy, funded by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation...we offer you the next generation of portable, reliable and environmentally friendly lights for nightly use, camping and outdoor activities, and a product which should be in every family's emergency preparedness kit.
- 2 modes: Task Mode has 3 focused LEDs, Room Illumination Mode has 6 diffuse LEDS. Low/medium/high options for each.
- 9 inches long by 4 inches wide by 2 inches thick.
- Powered by three rechargeable AA batteries.
- Water-resistant, not waterproof. Do not submerge.
- Your go-to household flashlight. Keep this one for yourself and get a Mini for the kids to play with.