Sunday, November 27, 2011


My lovely wife and I live out of town on an acreage.  Our nearest neighbor is a half mile away.  We have no yard light and don't want one, either.  At night, it gets dark outside.  Very dark.  It looks a lot like this:
We also have a dog.  A large dog.  A large dog that refuses to take advantage of modern conveniences like indoor plumbing.  If she has to "go", she has to "go outside".  "Going outside" is her favorite thing in the world, as it is with most dogs.  But our dog is also rarely more than a few feet away from either my lovely wife or myself.  If we try to let her outside to do her dirty, filthy business, she'll just stand on the step and wait for us to come out.  She would probably blow out a kidney waiting for an escort to take her into the tall grass where relief awaits before heading out there to do her business on her own.

Now going outside sometimes means going outside at night.  At night, it gets dark outside (we've been over this - remember?).  And at night, there are various critters that like to come out as well.  We regularly hear the coyote packs howling under the moonlight.  And then there are the porcupines.  Our dog has tangled with these and other critters.  Usually she comes out on top because of her size.  Sometimes, not.  A dog can't win against a porcupine, but they don't seem to be able to figure this out.  These battles can be painful.  And expensive.
Our Dog: Post Surgery after Porcupine Battle #2
So because our dog needs to go out at night, and because it gets dark at night, and because we have to go out with her, and because there are dangerous critters outside at night when it is dark, and because we can't see in the dark, we need a flashlight.  A bright flashlight.  A flashlight that can light up the night for a great distance.  A flashlight that can find the critters before our dog does and hopefully scare them away.  We started off with a four D-cell MagLite flashlight.
Great For Smashing Some Thing's Head In, But Not Great Otherwise
This thing threw a pretty decent amount of light.  We also got a good workout lugging it around.  And it would also go through batteries like Wynonna Judd goes through donuts. Not recommended.
I Am A Mean Person...
Then I discovered the wonders of LED flashlights.  I coincidentally also discovered the wonders of Deal Extreme.  They have Deals there!  And they are Extreme!  After much research a year ago, I picked up this bad boy: an Eastward YJ-XGR2 Waterproof Cree R2-WC 2-Mode 250-Lumen LED flashlight.  It is amongst my most cherished possessions.
Is It Wrong To Love An Inanimate Object?
The first night I tried it out, my lovely wife and I were outside.  I pointed this baby at her eyes and she had to look away.  "Big deal", you say.  "That would happen with any flashlight."  Sure.  But I was 200 yards away at the time.  This thing is light, far brighter than the Mag, and one charge of its single rechargeable batteries last up to 10 hours.  I love this thing.

That is why I was devastated to discover this after the pup and I went for our morning walk-about.
The Lens Was As Shattered As I Was
We don't know how it happened.  But it happened.  This flashlight was in critical condition.  What to do?

There was no way we could go back to the Mag: I am a man of modest means and cannot afford the batteries it chews through.  I had to develop a recovery plan, and fast.  Fortunately, all the pieces of the lens were still in place and nothing of any size had fallen out yet.  If I could only keep the lens together for the short term, I could then work out a longer term plan.  So I dug out a roll of clear packing tape.
You Can See Where I'm Going With This...
 I used a razor to trace around the lens and lightly pressed the tape around the glass.  This held things together enough so I could open up the flashlight and tape the back side together using the same method.  This would hold things together in the short term.

Next, I remembered from my research that Deal Extreme also sold flashlight parts.  I search for flashlight lenses and, lo and behold, they sell replacements.  Yay!  But the replacements come in 20 different sizes.  Time to dig out my calipers make a measurement.  Fortunately I had a banana handy to support one end of the caliper so I could free my hands to take a picture.
Better Eat That Banana - It's Getting A Little Ripe
The measurements vary from 41.6mm to 41.8mm depending on where I measured (smashing a piece of glass tends to affect its symmetry somewhat).  Not shown is my 1.5mm measurement of the lens' thickness.

Back to Deal Extreme.  And wonder of wonders: they sell a 41.5mm Diameter, 1.5mm Thick Replacement Glass Lens.  In ten-packs.  For $2.78.  For all ten.  And free shipping.  And no minimum order.  The well-intentioned recommendation of my cousin to consider somewhere else for a "decent light" falls on deaf ears.
This Makes Me Very Happy
So now that this post is written up, I'm off to put in an order to Deal Extreme.  Unfortunately, the "Add To Cart" button on that site is made of crack cocaine: you can't stop at just one hit.  I have a funny feeling I'll be spending more than $2.78.


  1. At least you found some replacement lenses for the beloved flashlight. Poor Abby & the booboo's. ouchies.

  2. That porcupine incident was back in 2008 or so. She's healed up since then, and probably keen to tangle with one again. Saw your comment on FB, by the way :-)

  3. Well, at least now you can continue to count on lighting up your wife's life! This post gave me the a world where many don't! Thank you!

  4. I carry my Armytek Predator every day and now don't imagine my life without led flashlight.