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They say that a good company doesn't sit on its....well....you know....they
don't sit around once they have brought a good product to market. And
it would seem that the folks at AIT
haven't been sitting around either because they just introduced another quality
to their line, the NightStar CS.
Weighing in at a mere 5.4 ounces, this 7" long version is boldly following in its big brother's footsteps....and I would have to say that it has no problem doing so. Like the bigger NightStar, the CS uses a magnetic power system. Due to the slightly smaller size of the CS's generator, a full charge is achieved in 3 minutes of shaking which gives you 20+ minutes of light. In contrast, the larger magnet and charging coil on the NightStar will efficiently charge its storage capacitor in about 30 seconds. Having had the opportunity to use both models, I don't mind the increased charge time in consideration for the smaller size. Besides, a little extra exercise never hurt anyone.
As you can see, it's not as big as its predecessor which means you can stash this smaller model in a lot more places. It is waterproof to a depth of 160 feet and like the bigger model, it floats too. (Did I mention it floats with the shiny end pointing up?) It is made from the same heavy duty polycarbonate material used in the NightStar. Just for the record, my NightStar has been bouncing around in my Jeep for the past 16 months, tucked down along side the driver's seat. The stuff is rugged, plain and simple. I would hesitate to subject a regular flashlight to the same conditions.
The CS has a removable lanyard attachment (base) that can be popped off. This really slims down the body of the light and makes it easier to stash it in a pocket or purse. I've seen some of those nylon loop holders (kind of like a holster) that are designed to hang an item from your belt. The CS should fit nicely in one of those. I think I'll see if I can find one for the Jeep and attach it to a vertical section of the rollbar. That will keep the CS within easy reach, even during a rollover. (DOH!)
The switch on the CS is a little different from the original NightStar but it works on the same principle. When rolling this switch with your thumb, a tiny magnet rotates into position and closes the contacts on an internally mounted magnetic reed switch. By doing it in this fashion, AIT keeps the housing free of holes and leaky rubber seals. The power switch is also luminescent so it is easier to find rolling around the floorboards of your Jeep, not that I know anything about that! I checked with the folks at AIT and they verified that the internal electronics and lens used in the CS is of the same high quality as those used in the NightStar. When asked why the switch design was changed, I was told, "The reason we changed from a sliding external switch to a rotary switch was to eliminate the problem of clogging (in the NightStar, mud can get trapped in the sliding mechanism). With the CS, this problem is avoided because there�s no where for mud or debris to get trapped, and even if the mechanism gets caked with mud, the wheel will still rotate.)"
OK....so we all know that the glove box in the TJ isn't exactly the world's biggest (are any of them?). The CS fits nicely into the smaller dimension of the glove box, even when loaded with the usual junk mine manages to accumulate.
So there you got it.....a smaller sized version of the NightStar, the NightStar CS. And as though those things I mentioned above weren't enough, I noticed that the included documentation mentions a way you can make the CS into a compass by attaching a string at the middle of the body. When you do this, the front end of the CS will point North. Yeah, try that with your energizer bunny and see what happens!
Space is always at a premium in a Jeep, you know and I know it. Not having an emergency flashlight in your vehicle is just plain careless, you know that too! The NightStar CS provides more than enough emergency lighting and it won't suck up valuable space. Do yourself a favor and get one of these. They would make a great Christmas or birthday present. Every Jeeper needs one, including you. You can order one right now, before you forget, by clicking on the NightStar graphic directly below.
Good trails and TREADLightly! (even at night!)
It's been a few years since I've done this product review. I still have several NightStar flashlights located around the house and in my Jeep. All of them continue to work as expected and are just as good as the day I got them.
Some things have changed since the above review was written.....one being that my wife and I have been blessed with our first grandchild. Aidan turned one year old earlier this month. He gets into everything (literally) when he comes to visit (that would be several times a month) and grandma discovered some time back that he likes flashlights.
Well, why let him kill the batteries in a conventional light when he can use a
So Grandpa being the good guy that he is lets Aidan borrow one of his NightStar flashlights when ever he comes over to visit. When Aidan is not using it, it sits on top of computer desk in the office. When Aidan is over, it is frequently in his hands.
You would be smiling too if you were 1 year old and had a flashlight that wanted to be shaken. In case you were wondering, it has happily survived the drops onto the hard tile floor, being used as a drum stick, and any number of other things that a 1 year old might do with a flashlight. Toddler proof? So far it is.....time will tell how it survives the long term affects of my best buddy under 36" tall.