LAMP Jonta Wind-up
JET-LAGGED AGAIN. I went to bed early, but awoke to a strange sound. It was the burglar-alarm in my house bleating to tell me that the electricity mains had failed.
     I opened a blind and saw that the night sky over London had lost its characteristic orange glow. It was obviously a massive power outage. Most of the surrounding houses were in darkness but gradually the flickering glow of a candle or the wandering light of a torch revealed my neighbours coming to grips with living, albeit temporarily, in a darkened world.
     If you are in your own home, you probably have a rough idea of where you left the nub-end of a candle, and perhaps a book of matches, or a torch with questionable batteries. But if you travel a lot, and regularly wake up in a strange place, things arent so easy.
     Thankfully disasters rarely happen, but what that means is that if you stash an emergency torch somewhere handy, youre never quite sure of the state of its batteries.
     There are places in the world that have no power outages because they have no power. And theyre usually a long way from Woolworths, so new batteries can also be a problem.
     The Jonta wind-up lamp was designed for use in such parts of the world, but you might find it useful. Max Ammer operates an eco-resort in the Raja Ampat islands, 75 miles north of West Papua. Its a long way from the shops.
     I showed the Jonta to him and he was very taken by it. So taken, in fact, that he still has it!
     Crank the Jontas handle for a minute and you get 10 minutes worth of light. Thanks to a Luxeon Star high output LED combined with a ni-mh battery, its quite effective. It is light, though not very small, and took up quite a bit of space in my bag.
     No batteries or bulbs required, ever. Thats what it says on the box. However, I note that the manufacturer also includes a conventional charger that takes four hours to fully charge a flat battery.
     There are three light options, including full power, energy saving and signal setting when it flashes. You change the setting by cycling through the options with the on/off switch, which also doubles as the activation for the charge level indicator. Pressing it for more than a second indicates full, two-thirds, or one-third power left, or whether you should get winding again.
     There were drawbacks. Navigating across the shallow lagoon from Maxs eco resort back to my bungalow, I sought out the deeper water with the lamp so that the boat did not run aground.
     Eventually the jetty loomed up in the darkness, and we were just about to tie up against it when the light went out. There followed some frantic cranking before we could see where we were again.
     This is not a specifically diving-orientated product, but as most divers have to travel away from home to pursue their activity, it might be worthy of your attention.
     And if it saves you discharging your diving lamps battery, or burning the bulb while not cooled by water, your diving lamp might prove that bit more effective under water.
The Jonta wind-up lamp costs£49 from John Lewis.
  • Tango Group 0870 609 1541 www.freeplayenergy.com

  • Divernet Divernet
    + Eco-friendly light
    + No additional batteries

    - Could go out just when you need it most