The EL8 Solar Powered Headlamp - Solar Panel combination, is a 5
bright LEDs headlamp, powered with rechargeable NiMH (nickel-metal
hydride) battery, or Li-ion (lithium-ion) battery in the newer models,
coming up on July 2008.
This headlamp is extremely light weight, just
about 2 ounces. The NiMH
battery, 3 AAA cells, is rated 3.6VDC at 900mAh.
The first impression I had when holding
it on my hand, it was the light weight feeling, compactness, and easy to
hold it. It can be use as a regular flashlight, and actually feels good
on your hand. Even though the EL8 has been design as a headlamp,
regardless of the oval shape that contrast to the cylinder shape of most
flashlights, the EL8 headlamp can be used easily and comfortably as a
The five-position sequencing switch
placed at the top of the headlamp, is
very accessible and easy to use. The sequencing functions: "bright on",
"photo cell", "dim", "blinking", and "off", are very handy for a number
of different situations and uses, that we'll explore later below. In the
"photo cell" mode the 5 LEDs turn on only in dark situations or places;
a very handy and useful feature when working in and out of a dark place.
An example of that application is working on dropped ceilings, when you
have to go up into the ceiling-dropped ceiling area, and back down the step ladder.
Above picture shows the Photo Cell,
located at the back, right side of headlamp.
The Photo Cell allows the EL8 Headlamp
to turn on, only in dark/low light conditions.
This video shows the EL8
Headlamp controls buttons
operations, and locations: Push Button sequencing,
and Battery Check.
This picture shows the bottom of the
EL8 Headlamp. From left to right:
Battery Check LED indicator
DC In/Out power jack
Battery Check Pushbutton (red)
This picture shows a battery check, done by
pushing the red Battery Check Pushbutton,
while the headlamp is on (on any on mode).
On this case it indicates low battery charge,
red LED light, about less than 30% of battery
As a headlamp, the feeling around your
head is excellent, very light weight and comfortable. The click stops
for angle positioning setting is versatile and easy to use . It allows you to adjust the angle the LEDs point to, which is
extremely useful for a handyman, at the jobsite, or just working around the house.
We found many applications for the EL8 Headlamp working/using it around
and inside the house. To name some:
Many times at night I need to look for
something, in a dark corner inside of a closet, and I
need my hands free to reach for what I'm looking for.
My son falls asleep on our bed, and I
have to pick him up and take him to his bed without waking
anybody up in the house. I definitely need both hands free,
and some light to see my way!
I go to the garage very often at night,
to look for tools, books, etc. Even though I have two sets of
fluorescent tubes, and four light bulbs around the garage,
there is always a dark place where I need some extra light and both
hands free, to look and get what I'm looking for; especially when I
need to climb a step ladder to reach for something in the storage
places above the beams, close to the ceiling.
Headlamp is the best thing it could happen to me and any DIY/handyman!
When I want to read and relax
late at night, laying on the sofa or on my bed, and I don't
want the four or six ceiling spot lights on my face, I just use the
EL8 Headlamp in dim mode.
Working under the kitchen or
bathroom sink, replacing a hose, or fixing a leakage. This
is another invaluable use of the EL8 Headlamp.
I am engaged doing some plumbing under a sink, laying
on my back in an uncomfortable position, and I need a tool
stored in the attic, I lure my 6 years old boy with the use
of the Headlamp, to go and fetch the tool, or tools
bag or box for me. This is the reason I always have two EL8
(This is not exactly the attic, but my son modeling with the EL8
Headlamp, under Manhattan Beach Pier)
Have you ever thought of a peaceful and
enjoyable way to make your kids read their home work, without
arguing and begging for it? Guess what: lure again my 6 years
old boy to read wearing the EL8 headlamp! Of course,
he uses it up side down, which is great for our purpose!!!
Working in the attic.
Electrical jobs, plumbing repair, air conditioning and heating
The uses of the EL8 Headlamp
working around the house are just endless. For some
unknown reason, I always find my self working around the house late in
the evenings or at night.
Fixing sprinklers late in the
afternoon or at night. Many times I find a sprinkler head
broke late in the afternoon, and I can not wait for the morning next
day to fix it; the whole irrigation line won't work, so I have to do
the repair using the EL8 headlamp
Adjusting sprinklers irrigation
pattern or reach
Adjusting the sprinklers timer
control; it just rained and I don't need to water the lawn
for two or three days. I have to go out and press the "Delay" button
on the sprinkler controller, to save two or three days worth of
For same estrange reason, I always
remember to set/reset sprinkler's timer late at night
A trip to the back yard to get
something or fix something
Going to the shed in the backyard
to get the foldable chairs, and put them in the car, for the
next morning volleyball tournament of my daughter (sounds
familiar), or in the near future, for my son's soccer game
Sent by my wife for a trip to the
shed in the back yard to store a step ladder or other tool
that I left behind on a last minute job around the house:
Roofing. Have you ever
find your self on the roof replacing shingles, and all of the sudden
there is no more light? Night caught you working again, and you just
have to finish that job. The EL8 headlamp is just the perfect
lighting device that allows you to work using you both hands,
without interfering with your work
Repairing or inspecting eves, gutters,
a fence, a wall, etc. Last minute paint or masonry job. Electrical
job that can not wait, because your wife is nagging you to have done
right now! (and you were avoiding it for months)
The EL8 Headlamp, is
not just a flashlight, headlamp, or source of light that takes its
energy from the sun. To me the EL8 is a "Solar Charger" and a
Headlamp!!! We are in times when every body speaks about "saving
energy", being green", go green, go solar", "be earth friendly", "help
to reduce pollution", etc.
What about using
energy from the sun to charge/recharge electronics handhelds like iPods,
iPhones, cell phones, GPS, Bluetooth headsets, Game Boys, and many other
handheld devices? Isn't it "cool"?
iPods Classic Video 80GB/160GB, any size!
Charging mp3 players like Sansa, iRiver,
You might be asking,
when will I ever need
to charge my iPod with a headlamp? and how is it done?
You will need to charge your iPod, whenever
you are away from your computer, away from your car, or away from any
power outlet, and your iPod, iPhone, or cell die on you!. Any of those situations could happen more often than we
First, the EL8 headlamp has an embedded
Li-ion rechargeable battery pack (three cells, about 3.6 Volts nominal).
It can be charged with the included solar panel in the EL8 set, or a
quick wall charger, optional. Solar panel charging time is about six to
eight hours; quick charge using a DC adaptor, or wall charger, is about
Here are some real life examples on when to
use the EL8 Headlamp - Solar Panel combination to charge your iPod.
iPods are the hottest, most used
devices to play music in the world. In the US, people, specially
teens and younger kids, call mp3 players "my iPod, or just iPods". In
April 2007, Apple sold about 100 million iPods, making the iPod the
fastest selling music player in history. Just in 2008, about 32
million iPods were sold. Do you know how many of those people
find their iPods running out of battery when they are away from
computers, cars, home, just any power outlet? I do not know exactly the
number, but I can tell you "a lot of them". Just Google any related
phrase, like "charging iPod while hiking, away from computer" and you
will see how many of them run into this situation. Can you imagine a
teen unable to use her/his iPod? It could be a crisis!
When we go to our daughter's all day volleyball tournaments, or our son's soccer game, and we don't have access to the car or an outlet, we
charge our cell phones, iPods, and hand held game systems
with the EL8 headlamp, and some times I even use the Solar Panel
This paragraph comes from an e-mail I
received on April 17, 2008:
"I'm doing a solo month-long hike in the Sierra this
summer, and am really looking forward to no hassles with headlamp
that I could bring my 4GB iPod and some music is really
appealing. How can I charge my iPod and keep it alive for
about 30 days?"
From this e-mail you can realize of the many outdoors applications
of the EL8 Headlamp charging iPods: camping, backpacking,
hiking, at he beach, during a picnic, etc.
Many times some of
my kids needs to charge his/her iPod while driving in the car,
during a long vacation trip. I lend them one of my EL8 Headlamps and the EA6 USB adapter, and they can plug
the iPod right into it, using the iPod's USB cable. This charging
assembly provides about 30 to 50 % charge, depending the iPod
You can charge any cell phone, using
the EL8 Headlamp connected to the EA1 12 Volt car socket converter
and your cell car charger. I was able to charge Motorola Razr, other
Motorola models, LG Chocolate and flip models, Nokia, Samsung, and
just about any cell phone that was on my way!
A few weeks ago my wife was leaving the
house in a hurry, with my 7 years old son, to the beach, for a 4
hour play date. Her cell battery was dead. She told me she was not
going to be able to charge it enough in the car, and asked me if I
had something she could use to charge her cell at the beach?
I am an electronic
engineer, handyman, and fix nearly everything around the house;
so she was expecting a solution from me. I always have two EL8
headlamps fully charged, so I went to her car and connected the cell
to the cell's car charger, and the EL8 Headlamp to the 12Volt car
socket converter. Then I showed my wife how to connect the car
charger to the 12Volt adapter, and how the cell started to charge.
She was able to reproduce the charging assembly at the beach and
keep her cell alive for the rest of the day. Since we have two more
children in school, she really need to be able to have her cell on
I went for a
four days hiking to Ashland, Oregon. When I arrived to
Medford airport, my backpack with all my hiking gear was not where
to be found; it didn't arrived in my flight. The airline people told
me it will arrive later in the evening in a different flight. That
evening I was on my cell constantly calling and receiving calls to
and from my family, the airline, and the driver of the shuttle
service, who offered to bring me my missing hiking gear from the
airport to the motel I was staying. My hiking trip was going to
start next morning. I was roaming around town, and being away
from any computer, car, or power outlet, my cell run out of battery
while talking to the shuttle service. They were telling me they
found my backpack, and my phone went dead!! I didn't have an EL8
headlamp with me at that time. I have to run to the motel to charge
my phone and finish arrangements to get back my hiking gear