The Triatholight: A 300-Hour Flashlight That Seems Too Good to Be True
Crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo let inventors appeal directly to the public for funds. They’ve made a lot of entrepreneurial dreams come true.
If you’re inspired by the inventor’s pitch video, you send some money. It’s not an investment; you don’t get rich if the invention becomes a hit. But you do get some memento — a T-shirt or a discounted version of the invention once it’s manufactured — and the rosy glow of knowing that you helped bring a cool idea to life.
Until now, there’s been only one problem: You had no way to know if the invention was actually any good. You had to trust the inventor’s video.
That’s the beauty of our Kickstarter reviews. We actually test the prototype, find out how much promise it has, and help you decide if the thing is worth funding or buying.
Today’s invention: The Triatholight flashlight. It’s on Kickstarter here.
The claim: This LED flashlight burns brightly for well over 300 hours on a single D battery. (Normal D-cell flashlights last about six hours.) Also, your battery doesn’t slowly drain in this flashlight when it’s stored for months.
Status: With eight days left in the Kickstarter campaign, the project has already met its funding goal.
What I tested: The creators shipped me a fully working prototype: a flashlight containing a single D battery. The final version will be “IPX-5 rated waterproof” and will have improved LEDs, more reliable placement of the battery-assist module, and minor refinements.
What I learned: As a tech reviewer with a passion for invention, how could I pass up an email pitch like this one?
I’m Brett D’Onofrio. I started Enduring Technologies with my dad and my grandfather, who’s been an electrical engineer for 50 years with over 25 patents, including electroluminescent indiglo for Timex watches.
We came up with a battery assist module that greatly enhances the life of batteries. We put it in a flashlight because that’s something that everyone needs in an emergency — and the battery’s always dead.
We decided to start a Kickstarter page to fund our product, the Triatholight. It’s a compact waterproof flashlight with 32 LED bulbs, rated at 20,000 millicandela. It runs on just one D cell battery for 300+ continuous hours — and has NO draw on the battery when it isn’t in use.
Well, wow. If the three-generation D’Onofrio team is correct, then it’s really on to something.
My family has managed to accumulate five flashlights. When Brett’s email arrived, I went to see how many of them would still turn on.
All of them were dead.
So Brett sent me a prototype of the Triatholight. It’s just what you’d expect of a compact flashlight: black aluminum, one D battery inside, 32 tiny LED bulbs, excellent brightness. If such a flashlight really could last, say, 50 times as long as a regular one, well, that’d be worth buying.
But how could I test his claims?
The longevity question should be easy to answer. I bought a hardware-store flashlight with the same number of LEDs. I noted the time and date, turned them both on, and let them sit.
As I write this, the Triatholight has been shining for 216 hours. It’s only slightly dimmer now than it was nine days ago. (I’ll update this statistic until the Triatholight battery is dead, but I wanted to post my review while the Kickstarter campaign was still in progress.)