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Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - Solar > GoSun SolarLight Flashlight > Test Report by Mike Lipay

GoSun - Solar Assisted Flashlight



Reviewer Information
Gender:Male
Height:5' 6" (1.6 meters)
Weight:155 lb (70.3 kg)
Email:mike-at-pahiker-dot-com
Home:Southwest Pennsylvania, USA
Background:I’ve been hiking since ’65 with occasional backpacking trips (backpacking became a love affair in the early 80’s). My first sleeping bag weighed in at 8 lb (3.6 kg) by itself! These days my loaded pack only weighs about 15 lb (6.8 kg) sans food. While most of my adventures are in the Northeast I’ve also been spending a good deal of time in the desert Southwest and most places in-between. My trips tend be in the cooler months - September through May - as I’m not much of a hot-weather person.



Initial Report May 17, 2021

Note that this is a solar assisted flashlight, not a fully solar flashlight. The primary charging method is via a USB cord, the solar cell provides a trickle charge to help keep it at a full charge.



Product Information
Manufacturer: GoSun, LLC http://www.gosun.co

Weight: Mfg: 0.4 lbs (180 g)
Weighed: 5.5 oz (157 g)
Dimensions: Mfg: 6.68” x 1.38” x 0.98” (17 cm x 3.5 cm x 2.5 cm)
Measured: 7” x 1.38” x 0.98” (17.8 cm x 3.5 cm x 2.5 cm)
Light Options: Top is a standard flashlight with two brightness modes of 280 & 140 Lumens.
Side is a lantern-style flashlight with two brightness levels.
Side also operates as a red strobe light with two speeds.
Charge Time: 24 hours solar
4 hours USB
Use time: Mfg: 20 hours
MSRP: $29 US



Initial Impressions

After removing the flashlight from its (ugh) blister packaging I noticed two things about the area that holds the lantern style lighting. First is that the lens is plastic which, being unprotected from contact (unlike the main light lens) is open to scratches. That is also part of the second thing I noticed, there were already minor scratches on the lens and what appears to be either chips or dust on the inside, very disappointing for a brand-new item.

The GoSun Solar Assisted Flashlight comes with a charging cable to be plugged into a USB power adapter, computer, or power pack. Doing this it is supposed to take 4 hours to fully charge, but after attempting to charge the flashlight for 4 hours I found that it had not charged. I contacted GoSun support to find out that there is a piece of cardboard between the battery and one of the contacts, this cardboard has to be removed before the flashlight would charge (there is no mention of this piece of cardboard anywhere in the instructions) to remove the cardboard unscrew the bottom of the flashlight. This annoyed me because the instruction specifically state not to open or disassemble the flashlight to prevent shock or damage to the flashlight.

After removing the cardboard and plugging it back in the flashlight did start charging (a green light flashes to show it is charging), about 4 hours the green light went solid to indicate a full charge.

One nice feature is a clip that fits over the power button when stored to keep the flashlight from being turned on by accident. I like this feature because I have had other flashlights die on me from being stashed in my backpack then turning on from the jostling, only to find the batteries dead when I get to camp.

GoSun has also added a magnet on the bottom to attach it to something metal for hands-free use. I can’t imagine a use for it while backpacking, but I can see it being handy on a camping trip or while working on a car. What I would prefer to see is a split ring that could be used to hang the flashlight from the guy line in my tent or hammock. Flashlights don’t stand on the floor of a tent set on uneven ground.

Another useful feature, and a reason I am considering this as a permanent addition to my vehicles emergency kit, is the flashing strobe light. Set out ahead or behind the vehicle would make it easy to spot on the side of the road. Of course that would depend on how much of a wind it could take before falling over.

Tech specs say that the beam can reach 1,000 ft (305 m), that is something that is going to be difficult to measure, and I’m not sure what it means by “reach”. I find it hard to conceive that it would be a useable light that far away. The average step is about 2.5 ft (0.76 m), so that brings the “reach” to 400 steps. I’ll have to see if I can find somewhere to mark off that distance.

The main light has three modes that are accessed by pressing the button to cycle through them. First press activates full brightness; the next press cuts the brightness to half; press one more time and the light enters strobe mode; a final press turns the light off.

To use the flashlight in lantern mode press and hold the button until the lantern lights come on to full brightness; a second press lowers the brightness level 50%; a third press turns the light off.

Finally, there is a red strobe mode, this activates by holding the button until the light cycles through the lantern mode into red strobe; a second press slows the strobe to half speed; and, as in the other two modes, a third press turns the light off.

I have some very cold weather coming up the in next few weeks (before the Field Report is due) so I will have ample time to try the beanie cap and headlamp out, especially different types of batteries.




Included Documents:
A note card explaining the solar functionality and the reason for the USB port.

Usage instructions and explanation of the flashlights features.



Long Term Report - September 16, 2021

Date Location Activity Weather
June 1, 2021 Prescott, Arizona Caving About 60F (16C), damp.
July 5-6, 2021 Deep Creek Lake, Maryland Base Camping Hot, 75-87F (24-31C), dry.
Aug. 19-21, 2021 Dryden-Kuser Natural Area, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Base Camping 55-72F (13-22C), stormy (TS Fred came through).
Sept. 8-11, 2021 Elk Neck State Park, Maryland Base Camping 65-88F (18-21C) Mild days, stormy nights.

I have used the Solar Assisted Flashlight religiously every time I needed a flashlight, whether for hiking, working on my cars, or general work around the house. Overall I like the flashlight and its various options, though I am not sure about the solar function, and the magnetic base is not as great a feature as I had hoped it might be.

Regarding the solar assist feature, it’s difficult to say if it really extended the life of the charge or not. I can say that the flashlight never died on me, even on a 4-day (3-night) trek where I used it an average of 3-1/2 hours per night using both the standard and cob lighting features.

For use in camp to read by or just to see around inside the tent I find the light too bright (as does my hiking partner). In a 1-1/2 person tent it just floods the tent with light. After this first experience I never charged the light to 100%, with a lower battery power it was easier to see by. I find the same when hiking around at night trying to find the bathroom tree, when turning the light off it took several minutes for my eyesight to re-acclimate to the darkness. I never used the red light because it is only a strobe setting, I would prefer a full-time red or green light for getting around the campsite.


One trip was a 4-hour expedition into an abandoned silver mine in Arizona, a good chance to test a flashlight, right? I don’t take cameras into caves because of the uncertainty of what I might run across, and the potential of damage to the lens, so no photos of the trip beyond the cave entrance. The Solar Assisted Flashlight worked admirably in this condition, both the standard flashlight for finding my way through the caves, and the cob light for lighting up the caverns. It did last the entire 4-hour trek, though I kept it on the low setting the vast majority of the time. The only time I used the bright cob setting was inside a large cavern.


My biggest issue with the Solar Assisted Flashlight has been the magnetic base. At one time this would have been a great help when working on my cars, but more and more car hoods are non-metallic (fiberglass or carbon fiber) so the magnet is worthless. In camping I find the same issue, tents and trees don’t tend to be made out of metals, so the magnet is worthless. I actually made a loop out of a clevis pin and a ring that I attach to a carabiner and hang from the tent. Personally, for a camping flashlight, I would prefer a ring to a magnet.


One last comment, and just something odd I noticed. After turning off the standard flashlight I noticed that there was a green ring around the light portion (see the photo), I’m not sure what the purpose of it is, it seems to last (at most) about 25 minutes, so not something that would help me find it when I wake up (though that would be a handy feature).





Summary

What I like about the GoSun Solar Assisted Flashlight:

  • Nice fit in my hand. The diameter of the flashlight isn’t too small nor too large, it just fits right.
  • Protecting clip to keep the flashlight from turning on accidentally.
  • The light lasts a long time, not sure if it is because of the solar cells or high-efficient LED’s, but I have never had it die on a trip.

What I don't like about the GoSun Solar Assisted Flashlight:

  • Too bright for use, even at the low setting.
  • I don’t find the magnetic base usable in a camping/hiking setting, would prefer a hoop so that I can hang it inside the tent.
  • The red strobe light. I would prefer a solid red or green setting for getting around at night.



Acknowledgement

This ends my Long Term Report of the GoSun Solar Assisted Flashlight, I’d like to thank GoSun and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this very interesting flashlight.



Read more reviews of GoSun gear
Read more gear reviews by Mike Lipay

Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - Solar > GoSun SolarLight Flashlight > Test Report by Mike Lipay



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