Say good-bye to your chemical lightsticks. Kriana
Corporation has developed a battery powered,
electroluminescent lamp which has all the benefits and none
of the disadvantages of its chemical cousin.
Advantages over chemical light sticks:
- Can be turned on and off.
- Illumination remains much more consistent over
a range of temperatures and time.
- No need for special cold weather versions.
- Between 50 - 120 hours of operation on one
pair of AA batteries, compared to 12 hours
for the standard chem stick.
- 180 deg illumination is offered, as well as
the standard 360 deg model.
- Considerably cheaper to operate if you have
frequent need for this type of light.
- Virtually unlimited shelf-life.
The secret to the Krill's long battery life is the
electroluminescent (EL) panel. You may already be
familiar with EL technology if you have a Timex
Indiglo watch or a newer cell phone or GPS with a
backlit display. The panel is extremely efficient,
wasting very little energy producing heat. EL panels
are good for a minimum of 2000 hours use, with 3000
being quite normal.
Krills are offered in a variety of colours and four
- 360 Standard
- 180 Standard
- 360 Extreme
- 180 Extreme
360 or 180?
As the name implies, 360 means that the lamp provides
360 degree illumination, much like a regular chem
stick. The 180 models have an EL panel half as narrow
as the 360, providing 180 degree illumination. The
upside to this is that they are brighter and the
light can be directed more like a convention
flashlight rather than spilling in all directions.
During my testing, I found that the majority of my
lighting requirements leaned towards a directed light
source. The 360 was too distracting to my eyes when I
was trying to find my way in the dark. During a
recent power outage, the 360 came in handy for
providing emergency room lighting but I still
preferred the 180. The reduced light coverage of the
180 was never a serious detriment.
Extreme or Standard?
The Extreme models are so named because they provide
greater light output with an attendant decrease in
battery life. 50 hours vs. 120. It's a significant
difference in time but I think the increased
illumination is worth it. Of course, if you can
afford two, get one of each. Speaking of which, the
suggested list price is US$25 for the Standard and
$US30 for the Extreme. Street prices will probably be
The two Krills I tested were very robust products.
The light is activated by twisting the end cap all the
way closed, similar to how you would turn on a small
Mag Lite. That cap also provides access to the
battery compartment which comprises most of the lamp's
diminutive size. The power contact in the cap was
made from brass and the compartment was sealed with an
O-ring. I was impressed with the attention to detail.
I left the Extreme 360 on to see how long the
batteries would last. 50 hours later, the light
finally began to dim but continued to glow for several
hours after that. It definitely met its advertised
battery life. That's a LOT of time when you consider
that most of us would only need a Krill for maybe 2 to
3 hours per night when camping.
In the meantime (no, I didn't stare at the 360 for two
days!), I used the Extreme 180 in a variety of
scenarios. One thing you have to understand is that
these lights (or chem lights, for that matter), are
not replacements for regular flashlights. Luminescent
light is nowhere as bright as a focused, incandescent
light. However, once your eyes adjust to the dark,
the Krill can easily illuminate your surroundings.
Looking for objects in my Jeep at night or in my
office with all the lights off was quite easy.
Walking around in a darkened house at night with the
180 Extreme Krill was about the same as using candle
light but just a bit dimmer.
I will still carry a mini Mag Lite for general use but
the 180 Extreme Krill has found a permanent spot as an
emergency lightsource in my camping gear. Meanwhile,
the 360 has replaced my collapsible candle lantern as
my tent reading light. Its price isn't too much
higher than a high-end candle lantern but it provides
similar light output in a much smaller, more
convenient package without no heat output.