A bright idea? - Woodshop News

A bright idea?

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This seems to be an especially prolific time for new product ideas. Some are amazing, while others leave you scratching your head.

The other day, I was working on a machine and needed a flashlight. The batteries were dead so it was off to the hardware store fort some new ones. While I was standing in line at checkout I had plenty of time to peruse the impulse buy items. The one that jumped out was a solar-powered flashlight.

I remember the first time I saw a solar-powered calculator and I thought that was a pretty cool idea. As long as you never needed to perform mathematical calculations after the sun went down, you should be OK. But thinking about the idea of a solar-powered flashlight unleashed my Monte Python side.

I get that the solar cell charges the battery so that you can use the light when there is no sun. I have one of these. It's a big orange thing that was designed to be given to people living in undeveloped areas so they could read books at night. But it really is not very useful as a flashlight because the lamp is an LED that emits a weird, diffused greenish/blue light that would be totally insufficient in a situation where you needed a strong, bright, focused light.

I know there are some pretty decent solar flashlights on the market that probably work well. But I wish they would call them "solar chargeable" or something because "solar-powered flashlight" just hits my funny bone a bit too hard.

D.D.

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