ZLED compass/LED light review.

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Woods Walker
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ZLED compass/LED light review.

Post by Woods Walker » Sat May 24, 2008 9:09 pm

I was looking for a small compass to add on the neckchain and found this little model. All new gear items are subjected to field testing before being packed. Untested gear is a risk I am not willing to take. Here is the technical information from the company.

Technical data:

http://www.highgear.com/prod/ZLED74.cfm ... egoryID=18" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

ZLED Features:

• Hi-Intensity White LED Flashlight
• One-Button Operation
• Liquid Compass Module
• Molded-In Grip Zone
• Detachable Key Ring
• Consumer Serviceable Battery
• Dimensions: 2 3/4’’ x 1 3/16’’ x 5/8’’
• Weight:0.9 oz


I like the small size and removable LED light. However the compass component must work. I tested this using my Suunto M-2 and Silva Polaris as controls. These have proven themselves in the field.


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The compass uses a floating plate rather than needle. This has the advantage of being easier to read for the novice as North, South, East and West are more clearly visible. True it is easy to work out the directions with a needle too. I did find the ZLED needed to be more level to find it’s mark and was slower to react.

The ZLED is small but not too small. Here it is compared to a mini Bic.

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The shape fits my hands well.

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The LED light snaps on to the compass. This removable feature is nice especially in the kayak as I can place the flashlight section in the dry sack. Lots of cheaper lights are dunkable but I would not trust many to handle a good roll in the yak. The red button takes some pressure to work and is momentary only. This is both good and bad. I would like it to be hands free but sure would hate for the battery to rundown unintentionally. The LED output is about what can be expected from a keychain type light. Workable for a keychain but I wouldn’t explore any caves with one.

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The battery is accessed from the back via single screw.

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Pros:

1. Inexpensive. Usually around 10 dollars.
2. Small and lightweight.
3. Has a LED light.
4. LED light is removable.
5. Easy to manipulate in my hands. Not too small as to be unworkable.

Cons:

1. Comes in three colors. All of which would be hard to find if dropped face down.
2. Compass slower to react than my control compass. Needed to be more level.
3. LED light momentary only. No constant on setting.

Conclusions:

I think for a keychain or backup compass this is workable. For serous navigation I would recommend a full sized compass with more features. Overall considering the price I like it.
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Re: ZLED compass/LED light review.

Post by JIM » Sun May 25, 2008 6:26 am

Nice review. I've got a couple of those to.. But beware of which on you buy and for the knock-offs, because they will have bubbles in the compass.
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Re: ZLED compass/LED light review.

Post by mk_ultra » Sun May 25, 2008 10:20 am

Thanks for the review , I too have been looking for a small compass to add to my car bag.

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Re: ZLED compass/LED light review.

Post by Woods Walker » Mon May 26, 2008 11:26 pm

Did about 20 miles of day hikes over the holiday weekend. Would have done more but needed to work on Monday. I really have to drop about 30 lbs. Took a day to recover. :( Anyways hit some new trails using just the ZLED and got turned around for about an hour. Took a blue/yellow side trail that connected to some dirt roads on the 9 mile loop. The Compass did its job confirming what I already knew. Backtracking is a much smarter move than l trying to turn a mistake into a short cut. It kept me going in the right general direction and linked up with the correct trail. So I guess this compass is a keeper. I could have taken the Garmin as is often the case when checking out new areas but nothing beats a little old school compass work. :D
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