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September 22, 2014 Comments (0) Outdoor Tech, Reviews

ASP Scribe Handheld LED Light

Back in April of this year, I hesitantly received an ASP Scribe LED light for review from the editor of Woodsmonkey.  Why do I say “hesitantly”?  Because I know in my current course of employment as a Code Enforcement Officer that I need a light that reliably offers me, at the very least, 100 lumens of light output to adequately conduct inspections.  Anything less does not put out sufficient light to see if sprinkler heads mounted 30 – 50’ overhead have been damaged or are otherwise contaminated with paint, dirt or debris.  A quick look at the Scribe’s blister pack gave absolutely no indication of light output or anticipated runtime.  Hence, I was skeptical, and, yes, even somewhat reluctant to do this review.  Here’s a quick peek at the packaging insert from the Scribe’s blister pack:

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So why am I doing this review?  Because in my previous career, I had LOTS of experience with other ASP products and I have full faith in ASP’s ability to make serious, useful gear.  To this day, eleven years after retirement, I still carry an ASP whistle and an ASP Key Defender on a regular basis.  I was pretty sure the Scribe would follow suit.  Here are some specs on the ASP Scribe:

–          5.5” long                                                         – Approximately 2 ounces

–          Type III hardcoat anodizing                           – Removable pocket clip

–          6061 T6 aluminum body                                – Ground and coated glass lens

–          Mirror polished aluminum reflector               – Cree XPG2 R5 LED @ 130 – 145 lumens

–          Constant current circuit                                  – Heat management system

–          Momentary or constant on tail cap switch     – Single full power functioning

The Scribe came with two fresh alkaline batteries, so I loaded it right up and put it to good use for the last two nights at the Practice What You Preach campout we were attending.  I was pretty impressed with the Scribe’s initial performance.  Circumstance, however, would not allow me to put the Scribe into full service until mid-May.  Since May and through the first week of September, I have used the Scribe exclusively at work, at home and at camp.  That equates to a LOT of momentary use and very little constant on use.  What do I mean?  It has been at camp for no less than 10 days and nights lighting trails, outhouses and our camper.  It has been used to conduct at least 75 fire inspections of  businesses and places of assembly while at work, as well as providing primary personal lighting for me at two fire scenes.  The Scribe has also been used numerous times at home and in the Jeep to perform a host of required lighting tasks from finding lost screws to reading maps.  To date, with the exception of two pairs of batteries sacrificed to conduct the constant on light test discussed below, I have used a total of three sets of batteries to perform the tasks listed above.

Here’s where ASP is going to take a few shots on the chin.  Their marketing SUCKS.  They are not packaging lights with compliance standards information.  They rely on the purchaser to use their website to obtain info prior to purchase.  However, ASP’s website is full of  inaccurate or misleading information. On their own website, ASP states the Scribe is 5.5” long and then on another page of the same site, they claim it is less than 4” long.  [It is 5.5”]  On one page they list the Scribe at 130 lumens, on another page they list it at 145 lumens.  I don’t have a light meter, but here’s how it compares with two other lights from different makers.  For the purposes of this article, all three lights had factory fresh batteries installed.  3’ distance from light to subject.

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As you can see, the ASP Scribe compares very favorably with both lights at close range.  The 180 lumen light comes into its own when used at long range.  In the 80 yards from my door to my neighbor’s fence, the ASP allows me to recognize objects.  At the same range, the 180 lumen light allows for human facial recognition and/or provide the ability to discern between cat, opossum and skunk.

ASP’s marketing debacle continues with constant on run time.  On one page of their website, they list run time as 90 minutes, while on another page they list run time at 1.75 hours.  On their YouTube video, they state run time as about “an hour.”  They also state on the YouTube video that use of Energizer Lithium Batteries with provide 8 or 9 times longer output.  So here’s where I sacrificed factory fresh pairs of Duracell Coppertop Alkaline batteries and Energizer Lithium batteries to get a realistic handle on what one could expect for performance from the Scribe.

Energizer Lithium Batteries:

30 minutes 45 minutes 60 minutes 75 minutes 90 minutes
No different than initial output – Hot to handle Noticeable difference in light output – Very warm to handle Still on with output >/= to a 35 lumen light – Cooler Still on with output at < 10 lumens Dead

 

Duracell Copper Top Alkaline Batteries:

30 minutes 45 minutes 60 minutes 75 minutes 90 minutes
Slightly different than initial output – Warm  to handle Light output down to between 10 – 35 lumens – Cooler Dead

 

ASP lists the MSRP of the Scribe at either $58 or $60, again, depending on which page of their website you look at.  Is the Scribe worth that price?  My answer is NO with a caveat.  The caveat is that the Scribe can be found on line with minimal search effort for as little as $47 and change.  I would pay that price.  The Scribe is a good, compact powerhouse of a light that can perform very well as a light duty primary light or as a backup to a more powerful light.

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