Last Friday I ordered my first programmable flashlight, the Akoray K-106. This light has a lot of fans at Candlepower Forums and it was the first direct-shipped budget Chinese light I thought about getting back in November when I was thinking about getting some lithium ion batteries. You may recall that the first LED flashlight I got was a Fenix L2D, which could be converted to a L1D that takes 1 AA battery. That light has six modes but is not as bright as the L2D with its 2 AA batteries. However, if you up the ante further by inserting a single 3.6V lithium ion battery, you lose all of the lower modes and the light is stuck on High. For this reason, I wound up buying the budget Uniquefire S10, but I blew it out when I tried a lithium-ion battery. So I was still looking for a 1 AA light that could handle a lithium ion battery properly.
Anyway, I didn’t get the Akoray for a few reasons. One was the light was advertised on DealExtreme as a 6-mode light, but people were getting a 3-mode programmable light. But then some people started getting actual 6-mode non programmable lights and couldn’t really complain since that is what it was advertised to be. Another problem is that many of the lights people were getting had a very bluish tint to the beam, which I didn’t want. And lastly, what blew people away about these lights was they were very, very bright on a lithium ion battery, but this was done by badly overdriving the LED. But it seems like some versions didn’t overdrive the LED as much and weren’t all that bright. There was no telling which light you would get, and at $20 that was a big risk to take.
But then some people said they were able to get a light on KaiDomain that advertised the 3 programmable modes and the light wasn’t blue (there is also a similar PDC AK-16 which is a little fatter and is able to take a single CR123 battery or a single AA battery by using plastic rings in the top and bottom of the flashlight that the AA battery fits inside of, but that the wider and much shorter CR123 sits in between with springs filling the gaps at each end). So I thought maybe it was time to try it out. Also, since DX was selling people 6-mode lights, I feared that maybe supplies of the programmable light would be drying up. The advantage of the programmable light is that it has 3 modes but you can set the 3 modes to any brightness you want, including flashing modes and any strobe rate that you want. It would be nice to have one mode as the maximum brightness, then a low mode, and maybe a very low that could be used for reading close up in the dark.
However, I knew that Chinese New Year was approaching. It takes a few weeks to get a light from China under the best conditions, but China pretty much shuts down for the first couple of weeks of the new year. The date of the new year changes from year to year based on phases of the moon, so I made sure I looked up the date which is February 14. I also checked to see if they take time off before the holiday or after or both. They are supposed to take off after, so last week on the 5th, with a little more than a week to go, I ordered the light. It usually takes a few days for KD to actually get the light from their supplier, then a couple of days to package it. However, the next day KD posted a message on their home page saying they would be closing their shipping department from February 7 to 21. However, they must have worked hard to clear out their orders because on February 7 I got a notice that the light had shipped and they gave me a Hong Kong Post tracking number.
However, Hong Kong Post wasn’t ackowledging the tracking number. And even though I had made it through KD barely, the package still had to make it through the post office and customs which would both be affected by the holiday as well. It wasn’t until the 10th that HKP started tracking the light, which they said they had been “posted” on the 9th. On the 11th, they said the package was being processed for export. Then on the 12th they said they were processing it for shipping that day. However by this morning with the 12th essentially over in China, they were now saying that as of the 11th, the package was being processed for export. Soon after that however, the message was that it was being processed for shipment on the 13th. That is Saturday and the eve of the New Year. Now I wondered if it would really make it or if it would wait for the inauguration of the year of the tiger (probably a couple of week into the year, actually). But tonight, I was glad to see that they showed the light as shipped on the 13th. In the past I have gotten the light a week after it actually ships from China, so I hope that next weekend I will get one of the last flashlights to make it out of China in the year of the ox.