Saturday, September 17, 2016

Review: LOFTEK 50W LED Flood Light

Mostly when I talk about LEDs on this blog, it has to do with hand held LED flashlights. But LED technology is really taking off, from common light bulbs, to street lights, auto head lamps, and even stage lighting. LOFTEK offered to provide a multi-colored LED flood light for review, and I'm happy to oblige since I know a thing or two about LED technology.

Product Description

Price: About $66 online
This is a large, 110V plug-in flood light, though I would call it a "stage light." It's got three banks of different colored LEDs in red, green and blue, and comes with a remote control which allows you to change between all the colors and modes it has.The built in handle also acts as a stand or mounting bracket so the unit can be mounted to a wall or table.

Official Specs (From Amazon)

  • [Flood light Flash Sale]: Save $7 when you purchase 1 or more LOFTEK® 50W RGB Timing Floodlight. Enter code LKSALE07 at checkout. Code end at 09/20/2016 PDT.
  • MULTI-COLOR & DIMABLE: Total 16 color tones and 4 flash modes (Flash / Strobe / Fade / Smooth) provide colorful and bright illumination across wide area. We can use it outside at a stage,garden during party time or inside as a security lighting,etc.
  • MEMORY FUNCTION: More intelligent and convenient , it will remain the previous color on your setting when turn on again. And we can reset it to factory setting by the remote controller.
  • Advanced Materials and Durable Construction: Aluminium Die-Cast Alloy shell and Tempered Glass. Impact tested & Vibration tested and Extreme Temperature tested before packing.
  • IP66 waterproof design: Perfect Sealing design with high-quality material. Work well as outdoor and indoor bright applications/decoration: Especially suitable for garden, grassland, towering trees and building etc.

Initial Impressions

When the manufacturer claimed 50 watts on this unit, I was mentally doing the math on how big the heat sink would need to be. That much power, even from a bank of LEDs, puts out a good bit of heat, and this light didn't look very beefy in the product description.

But when UPS handed me the box, it was much heavier than I expected, which means this thing has a lot of metal, which translates to good "thermal mass," which is a good thing. Without being an electronics guru, the weight of the unit and the size of the cooling fins seem appropriate for 50 watts of output.

Build Quality

The unit looks to be well designed and built. It has a steel housing with a steel mounting lever/handle. I don't think it uses anti-reflective coating on the glass, but the glass itself looks thick enough, and has the IR receiver for the remote glued to the front. I don't think it's impact resistant, so I wouldn't drop it face down.

Everything else is there quality-wise: aluminum reflector, the bank of LEDs is mounted well, good quality cord, etc. They could probably stand to beef up the cord mount, but overall I think they did a good job with the construction, and it feels very solid.


The manufacturer claims 18 watts per color, with a total of 50 watts with all three banks of LEDs turned on. I did some of my own testing with a "kill-o-watt" device that measures the load of any device that plugs into the wall.

My tests ran in the 12 to 15 watt range per color, which isn't too far from their claimed output. However, I couldn't get white, or any other color to run all the LEDs at their full output, for a total of 50 watts.

Maybe I missed a command on the remote, but it's probably just as well not to run this thing at max possible output, because 50 watts is a lot for an LED. 50 watts for an LED is probably equivalent to 500 watts for an old school incandescent bulb that old people like me grew up with.

Green14.5 watts
Red15.4 watts
Blue14.7 watts
White12.6 watts
Orange12.9 watts

Color Modes & Features

The included remote has lots and lots of different color, mode and timing features. I spent quite a bit of time playing around with the remote, and seems to do just about anything you'd expect from a multi-colored LED floodlight. It has lots of flashy "disco" modes and you can even set it all on a timer.

Below is a short video I made running through most of the modes. I noticed on some modes that it uses low frequency PWM, which is apparent in the video. It isn't low enough to see with my eyeballs, but it's close, and some people notice it more than others.


The sensor for the remote is in the front of the unit and only sees commands from the remote when their is a line-of-sight between the front of the floodlight and the remote. It's pretty responsive to commands from the remote, and there's lots of things it can do.

Output of this unit is decent for its size, but it's probably suited to smaller venues like my brother's brewery than a large club or stage. My brother is going to mount it on a wall to point down at a patio for parties and events.


This is a neat toy, and I've had fun playing with it at parties, bathing guests and even the dogs in colors like green and hot pink.

To me this product has a pretty narrow usage. It's a little big for a small apartment, but a little small for a large club or stage. But for a backyard barbecue or small club, it's probably ideal. So, as long as you're using this in the right size area, I think it's a good product.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses

It's been great seeing how far replacement lenses have come in the last few years. They've gone from cheap crap to being better than the manufacturer's lenses in most cases. I used to retire my shades and get a new pair once the lenses got all scratched up. Luckily I saved some of the frames, like my Oakley GasCan pair, which has probably seen and tested a dozen pair of replacement lenses.

And the technology is just getting better. Just having polarized lenses used to be a big deal, but that's now pretty much standard. The process where they etch the lenses to be polarized has become much more precise, and manufacturers like Walleva and Revant Optics are doing all sorts of things with coatings and taper-correction. Every pair of lenses seem to be an improvement and the coatings even look better too ... because, well, I'm vain and don't object to looking good.

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - Product Link

These pair of ISARC lenses provided to me by Walleva come with an inner coating they call "inner side anti-reflective coating" which is supposed to reduce the flare effect from light coming inside the sunglasses at an angle, usually in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is low on the horizon.

Product Description

Price: About $22 online

These are polarized replacement lenses for my Oakley GasCan sunglasses, which have turned out to be great frames to test new lenses. This pair of lenses is polarized (I won't wear non-polarized) and features their ISARC technology, which is just a fancy way of saying they have an inner coating. These ones have a reddish coating on the front. At 22 bucks, I would call these budget lenses.

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - Lenses Mounted

Official Specs (From Walleva)

The lenses are:
  • Polarized (for some models, reduces glare and enhances contrast)
  • Mirror coated (for most models, bring beautiful look and other people cannot see the wearer's eyes)
  • 100% UV protection (exceeds ANSI Z80.3 and EN 1836:2005 standards)
  • Dust repel
  • Water repel
  • Shatterproof
  • Impact resistant - passed FDA Drop Ball Test and Z87.1 Test (standard for safety glasses, for most of our lenses) 
The lenses come with some free accessories:
  • A micro-fiber cleaning cloth
  • A lenses bag and a lenses box
  • A pair of T6 screws(some models only)
  • A screw driver(some models only)


The first time someone offered a pair of replacement lenses, I said no, it sounds like I'd be too clumsy, but at least for these Oakleys, it takes literally a few seconds to pop the old lenses out and pop in the new ones. Now I'll wake up some days and pop in a pair of purple or blue mirrored lenses. I still can't seem to get the stock lenses out of my Ray-Ban Wayfarers, but I've replaced the lenses on several pair of Oakleys, and it's always easy. The stock lenses on Oakleys can sometimes be a little tight, but I've never had any real issues.

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - Lenses Unmounted

Initial Impressions

Opening up the box, I see they come inside the standard micro-fiber pouch, with a little micro-fiber cloth for cleaning. Nothing fancy.

The lenses themselves have a rich, red hue. I wasn't too sure about the color when the lenses were sitting on the table, but inside the frames they look pretty good, and I instantly started getting compliments for the look.

Putting on my shades, I noticed that everything has a blue-ish tinge, probably because of the blue inner coating. Like other lenses I have with this type of inner coating, it takes a little getting used to the tinge but it's something my brain tunes out a few minutes after I put them on my face.

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - In Box 2

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - In Box 2

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - In Box 3

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - Open Box

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - Package Contents

Build Quality

At some point, the quality of replacement lenses got to the point where it's really hard to gauge the build quality because you practically need a microscope to see any flaws. Also, the difference between low and high quality lenses is usually (to me at least) the way they stand up to normal wear, or in my case, extreme wear.

So, having said all that, the build quality seems excellent. The inner and outer coatings look very uniform, and there's no aberrations in the lenses that I can see. The extreme edges have a little bit of distortion, but I have to take them off my face to see it, so it's not really a complaint.

Fit and Finish

Overall, excellent. One thing I really look for is a good, tight fit in the frames, which this pair has. If they fit too tight, they're hard to take out, and you can damage the frames. If they are too loose, they not only rattle and move around, but tend to attract dirt and debris. So, they fit as well as any pair of lenses I've seen. Not too shabby for budget lenses--bravo Walleva!

The coatings look good: no scratches or chips, rough spots, and the polarization seems nice and crisp.  A couple times I thought I found flaws in the coating, but mirrored lenses show dirt and thumb prints more than matte coatings, which is what I've been mostly wearing.


Another thing I'm picky about is clarity. Once you look through a clear pair of polarized lenses, it's hard to go back. The clarity on these is good, but not as good as a few high end pair I have, which I'm assuming is because they're not taper-corrected.

But overall the clarity is acceptable, especially for budget lenses.

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - Clarity

Glare Reduction

One thing about mirrored lenses is that they're very good with glare reduction, and this pair doesn't disappoint. I've never tested it, but it's always seemed like lenses coated red or brown seem to do a little better in direct sunlight. It's been 20 years since I got an A in physics, but that's been my experience, and a couple people have told me the same thing.

So, the red mirrored outer coating with the ISARC inner coating really seem to deliver when it comes to reducing glare.

Look and Feel

Functionality is the number one thing I care about when it comes to sunglasses. Looking good is just a nice little bonus, and these lenses look great in my GasCan frames. I've gotten a few compliments on them, and my brother is jealous because he normally only wears red mirrored shades.

The GasCans in my opinion tend to look better with mirrored lenses.

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - Mark Doesn't Smile 1

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - Mark Doesn't Smile 2

Normally I use my brother as the model, but I made a rookie mistake with the camera auto-focus and he's been working long hours, so this is the best I could do. It looks OK as a thumbnail though.

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - Blurry Matt

And here's a photo of the brewery as I said "Hey Matt, come outside and put on these shades!"

Walleva ISARC Replacement Lenses for Oakley Gascan - Brewery

The couple random shots turned out good, and they like me posting photos of the brewery, so here's a couple more!

(This is also where my sunglasses fall out of my pocket after a couple cold ones.)


So far these have been a decent set of lenses and on par with anything I've seen in this price range. There's nothing really to pick on other than the clarity, and it's something I only notice side-by-side with high end lenses.

They have done pretty well with driving and working outside and seem to do really well with glare. But the funny thing is that sometimes the sun hits at a certain angle and I get a little glare inside the lenses. It's happened a couple times where I get a little bit of red glare on the inside if I hold my head a certain way. It's not a huge deal, and could just be a quirk of this model frames, but I thought it was worth pointing out.

Overall they seem like good lenses day to day for driving and being outside during summer. It's been sunny and in the 90s and 100s here lately, which is good weather for testing shades and lenses.

The real test of replacement lenses is use over the long term. I've seen 5 dollar polarized sunglasses that work great until the coatings get scratched and rubbed off, which starts happening almost immediately. The two weeks I've spent beating up these lenses would probably be enough to pick up a scratch of nick, which hasn't happened.

But I do have a couple pair of their budget lenses that have seen 6+ months hard use in rural areas with hardly a scratch or nick, so I'm pretty confident saying the coatings on this one seem pretty decent. The factory Oakley lenses were unusable after about 6 months. These pair have probably seen a dozen clumsy drops on the ground so far--they like to fall out of my shirt pocket.

Having that little bit of red inner glare has been a little disconcerting, but it's only happened a couple of times, and hasn't been a deal-breaker.


I think Walleva is really nailing it, and I think these are a solid pair of budget lenses. Obviously I usually prefer the higher end lenses, but my guess is that these budget lenses are better than the factory lenses. The best complement I can give a chef is an empty plate, and the best compliment I can give Walleva is to wear their lenses every day.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Review: Morakniv Garberg [Fixed Blade Bushcraft Knife]

Mora has been one my favorite brand of fixed blade knives for years. Simple, cheap, durable: there's not much not to like. I've carried a 15 dollar Mora Companion in my camping gear as a backup, but it always seems to come out for use around camp. I've abused it, neglected it, and drug it across the whetstone when it gets all corroded from neglect.

Many people prefer their carbon steel knives, but just as many people get confused that they stain and corrode. Personally I like both carbon and stainless steel: both have their pros and cons, and Mora makes lots of knives with different steel, thickness and even full tang.

So when someone handed me this Mora Garberg and said "hey you should review this new bushcraft model" I jumped at the chance.

Morakniv Garberg - Product Link

Product Description

Price: About 90 dollars online

The Garberg is a full tang bushcraft style fixed blade made in Sweden from 14C28N Sandvik stainless steel. It features a true Scandinavian ("Scandi") grind on the blade, and it's a good bit thicker and heavier than most of their other models.

Initial Impressions

My very first thought was "wow, pretty knife, but they still can't make a decent sheath." But inside the box is a few attachments to customize the sheath, which is at least an improvement.

The knife itself is gorgeous. I've always liked Mora, but they really outdid themselves on the Garberg. It better be good for being damn near 100 bucks. That price point has some fantastic bushcraft knives from brands like TOPS, Fallkniven, Benchmade, etc. for a few bucks more.

Morakniv Garberg - In Box 1

Morakniv Garber - In Box 2

Morakniv Garberg - In Box 3

Build Quality

Mora has a reputation for really good build quality that's a little rough around the edges. They're known as a budget brand after all, and not many people complain for 15 bucks. But for 90 bucks, it still seems well built.

The full tang, Sandvik stainless blade is as good as I'd expect it to be, and so is the ballistic nylon (plastic) handle.

The sheath, not so much. It feels a little cheap for the price point. It's a step up from their cheap-as-dirt sheaths, but not quite where I'd expect it to be, even with all the sheath paraphernalia it comes with. Other than that, there's nothing wrong with the sheath functionally.

Morakniv Garberg - Product View 1

Morakniv Garberg - Product View 2

Morakniv Garberg - With TOPS Fieldcraft and Mora Companion 1

Morakniv Garberg - With TOPS Fieldcraft and Mora Companion 2
From Top: Mora Companion, TOPS Fieldcraft, Mora Garberg

Morakniv Garberg - With Mora Companion and Mora Craftline Robust 1

Morakniv Garberg - With Mora Companion and Mora Craftline Robust 2
From Top: Mora Garberg, Mora Craftline Robust, Mora Companion

Fit And Finish

Overall, very good. The first thing I look at with a Mora is the spine of the blade. Even their mid-range knives usually come with a rough, unfinished spine. The Swedes are practical if nothing else. But the Garberg has a polished spine--it's more polished than the blade itself, which has a stonewashed finish.

The fit and finish is mostly fantastic and in line with what I would expect from a knife of this price. The etched logo is crisp, the handle doesn't look unfinished like their other models, and the machining and grind are brutally precise. Three's a tiny mark on the bottom of the handle near the blade where the handle was injection-molded.

Really looking hard for a flaw, the best I could find is that the edge isn't as sharp out of the box. It also doesn't look great on the photos. I've had 300 dollar knives with an edge no better than this out of the box, but companies that make knives this nice can do better.

The plastic sheath is well done for looking a little cheap, though I can't find really anything to pick on specifically. The snap is a little tight, but that's pretty much normal. The leather on the strap seems a little cheap, too.


The blade is the heart of any knife, and the heart of this one beats strong. Other than the edge, the blade itself seems perfect. I love full tang fixed blades, and I love blades with a true Scandi grind, and not the "Scandvex" double-bevel (also called "modified Scandi")

There's a pommel, aka "extended tang" where the steel continues past the handle to function as a hammer or striker for your magnesium firesteel rod. Love it! The extra bit of steel also gives the knife a better balance in your hand.

Mora has always made good steel, and most people know them for their high carbon blades which corrode if you basically look at them harshly. It's never been a problem for me, though: just a few drags across a whetstone with the flat of the blade, and the corrosion comes right off.

But the Garberg comes with  Sandvik 14C28N stainless blade, which some people have mixed feelings about. High carbon steel has its advantages, but so does stainless, and I mentioned the Swedes make good steel, right? I think it's a fine steel as long as you're aware of the trade-offs, and most people get really confused when their knife starts corroding from  normal use.

Folks considering buying this knife would do so for the blade, and I don't think would be disappointed.

Morakniv Garberg - Blade View 1

Morakniv Garberg - Blade View 2
Morakniv Garberg - Blade View 3
It's supposed to be a true Scandi, but it sure looks a) like a botched edge or b) like a "Scandivex" grind


The handle is made from hard, ballistic nylon. Some people turn their nose up at "plastic" handles, but they're great if done right. And Mora does it right for this model. From using Moras over the years, I've found that it's almost easier to take a chunk out of the blade than the handle, and that's for their cheap knives.

Some of their cheaper models come with the handle slightly unfinished where the handle meets the blade, but they really paid attention to detail for this model. Again, 90 dollar knife.

This model comes with a beefy looking lanyard hole integrated into the full tang blade near the pommel, and I would expect your paracord lanyard to break before the handle does.

Build quality, texturing, thickness, fit and finish: it's all what I'd expect. It gives the Garberg a solid, grippy feel in my hand. The lighter handle material also contributes to the great balance it has in my hand.

So I guess what I'm saying is that the handle is perfect.

Morakniv Garberg - Handle And Pommel View


I'm not sure how to put the sheath other than it's hard to have a love affair with Swedish knives when they make such shitty sheaths.

They do offer a version of this model with a leather sheath, but it's 20 bucks more and the sheath still looks kind of cheap. For that price, I can get a USA made Benchmade bushcraft knife with a beautiful leather sheath.

The sheath for this model comes with an insert to make the sheath "snapless" as well as a military style molle mount, which at least makes the sheath fully functional for tactical applications if it's not very pretty.

But again, this isn't a knife you'd be buying for the sheath, although these cheap plastic sheaths perform much better in damp or wet environments which would turn a leather sheath into mush. The Swedes aren't much for flash, so again, it's hard to find much to pick on functionally, other than I hate the stock snap-on strap.

Morakniv Garberg - Sheath View 1

Morakniv Garberg - Sheath View 2


This knife is pretty much all business. Don't get me wrong, it looks beautiful, but this is a knife you can be in an abusive relationship with. I tend to beat up my fixed blades, and this knife just reeks of durability.

Some people prefer the dual bevel Scandi grind, but I've found those much harder to sharpen. It's pretty much impossible to end up with anything other than a hair popping edge with a few drags across a whetstone--there's no skill necessary.

The stainless steel isn't quite as tough as high carbon steel, but I doubt most people would ever see a difference in performance. Theoretically carbon steel is better for applications like batoning firewood, where you're pounding on the knife with a hammer, but this is still a true bushcraft knife, and I couldn't imagine this knife being damaged by anything short of intentional destruction.

Morakniv Garberg - In Hand 1

Morakniv Garberg - In Hand 2
It's hefty, even in my gorilla hands!

Weights & Measures

Everyone tells me "find me the best camp knife" and when I hand them a full tang knife, they complain it's too heavy. For a full tang bushcraft knife though, I think the weight of the Garberg is perfectly reasonable. But it's definitely much heavier than their cheaper models.

Morakniv Garberg - On Scale

Morakniv Garberg - Next To Ruler


The Garberg is a well done knife, even compared to higher end knives in its price range. I think it's a good value, but it's still a tough sell for the price point. For 20 bucks more, in some ways my TOPS Fieldcraft knife is in a different league: High end tool steel, high end G10 with liners, etc.

But there's one reason where I would almost carry this knife at any price: it's a Mora, and their reputation is pretty much unmatched. I've seen YouTube videos where people try and fail to destroy their cheap models, and you won't find many hardcore fixed blade enthusiasts who don't at least respect Mora. Plus, I've carried and used them for years, and even the cheapest models continue to impress me.

So, if you are a Mora fan, you will like this knife and appreciate the value and proven performance of their knives. This is a working knife you can beat up on every day. And if you're not a Mora fan, you'll scratch your head and wonder what the fuss is about.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Shadowhawk Flashlights Get More Scammy

I've written extensively about the Shadowhawk Flashlight Scam, which is run by known scammers. Pretty much everything they claim is either patently false or completely misleading. From videos/photos of different products, to fake, sock puppet reviews, they run the full gamut of deception in order to get you to pay for a two dollar flashlight they buy wholesale.

Now it appears they are using geo-location to spam the world telling people that the local police in their city are urging them to buy their product.

It's not even very sporting to point out all the falsehoods. The photo above isn't even a flashlight, not to mention the product they are trying to sell you. And the Portland police aren't urging anyone to buy ultra-cheap, Chinese flashlights, the exact product you can buy direct from China or even from Amazon with very little markup. They certainly aren't urging anyone to buy Shadowhawk flashlights, and neither are the police in whatever location the ad geo-target you with.

I happen to know that none of the "reviewers" exist in the traditional sense of actually existing. How do I know? These are the same fake twitter accounts I wrote about for a different flashlight scam. @mattontheGo is a genuine Twitter account but actually someone else.

The photo above is a multi LED emitter flashlight and much larger, as you can see by the pattern the light makes.Most of these scams just regurgitate the same photos, some of which were stolen from legitimate reviewers like me. Of course, I watermark my flashlight photos for just this scenario!