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gibson1525
10-23-2007, 14:37
I'm looking for a new backup light and found the Ikelite PC-A, it looks like a nice and compact light but I've read a few comments on how it's not too rugged. Anyone out there have one or used one?

bperrybap
10-23-2007, 20:36
My wife has one. She used it for a year or so as her
primary light. She loved it. Its a great little light. VERY bright and
a very tight beam. Easily fits in most BC pockets;
my wife clipped it on her BC.
I see quite a few of them on dive trips being used
by dive masters as well as other divers. Works
great even in bright sunlight when looking up under
ledges.

It does have some draw backs.
It really eats batteries. Gets about 2
hours on duracell type batteries. At 6 at a time, if
you are on a liveaboard or in a remote place, thats a lot
of batteries you have to take if you are using it on
many night dives.

I tried using NiMh batteries but the light exploded underwater
after about 70 minutes into a dive due to excess hydrogen
build up.
We recovered all the parts and the light still works!
Just won't use rechargeables again.

Bulbs on the PCa are a custom bulb from Ikelite.
You can use a standard bulb, if you have to, but you
won't get the same brightness as Ikelite's custom bulb.

If you turn the light on above water for more than a few
minutes the light will get so hot that it will melt the
reflector or front lens.
-----------------------------------
My wife recently switched over to the UK SL4 eLED light.
Its LED based so there is no worries about blowing a bulb.
Its a bit bigger/longer and it uses 4 C cells instead of 6 AA.
Its about twice the cost of the PCa but
it gets about 10 hours on set of 4 C batteries. It has
a very white light with a tight narrow beam. Its not
quite as bright as the Ikelite is with fresh batteries but it
definitely lasts a lot longer on a single set of batteries.
SL4 eLED can use rechargeables as the module goes into
a low power/dim mode when batteries get low, which
will reduce the hydrogen buildup (which mostly
starts to occur when batteries get low).

If you can live with the limitations,
I think the PCa is a great little light.

--- bill

Capt Hook
10-23-2007, 20:58
We have one for at least 5 yrs. now, great small light.
Good backup.

BobbyWombat
10-23-2007, 21:33
I have one. Nice little light, no problems with ruggedness. I even accidentally left on on out of the water for a couple hours. It heated up pretty good, but kept on ticking, no problem. I'm sure I shortened the bulb life, but that is replacable.

awap
10-23-2007, 21:59
The only down side is you will have to get a pretty expensive primary light to outperform it. It sure is bright.

gibson1525
10-24-2007, 14:37
Great!, Thanks for all the advice everyone. I think I'm sold, PC-A it is!

Tod
10-25-2007, 15:43
For what it's worth, I've had one since the summer of 2002 and I use it quite a bit. I've read that some found it to be not as rugged as others but I've never had any problems with mine. (I do take pretty good care of my gear.) Little powerhouse!

bversteegh
10-30-2007, 13:08
Switch to LED lights. Batteries last much longer.

gibson1525
10-30-2007, 13:50
i looked at some of the LED lights but i really like the size of the PC-A. if i was using it for a primary light, i'd look into LED but this is only my backup so i don't plan on running through too many batteries.

what's your suggestion for a small LED light i could use for a backup?

BSea
10-30-2007, 14:02
i looked at some of the LED lights but i really like the size of the PC-A. if i was using it for a primary light, i'd look into LED but this is only my backup so i don't plan on running through too many batteries.

what's your suggestion for a small LED light i could use for a backup?
As far as lights go, I have several of the less expensive dive lights that are now just expensive flashlights. So this is 1 area I've upgraded. I bought a Rat light by Salvo (http://salvodiving.com/10_100_103) & love it. It's bright enough to use a primary till you go to a can light. If money wasn't an object, I'd go with the Oxycheq backup light (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=OxyCheqLedbackupLight). It's smaller than the rat light, and it's supposed to be brighter. In fact it may be my next light.

gibson1525
10-30-2007, 17:26
i wish money was no option, thanks for the suggestions.

teknitroxdiver
10-30-2007, 17:55
I have used a PC-a for many years, and have to say that I love it. No, it is not the brightest light around, but for it's size and price it does incredibly well. It's bright enough to be used as a primary in the daytime and a backup at night (or a night primary if you like darker night dives, I do sometimes).

I don't know what they're rated for, but mine not only survived but worked well at 200+ feet.

gibson1525
10-30-2007, 19:28
thanks, glad to hear it's rugged. all i want it for is a nice backup that is small. now all i have to do is make it to 250 posts so i can use my ST gift card!

floater
10-30-2007, 20:42
i looked at some of the LED lights but i really like the size of the PC-A. if i was using it for a primary light, i'd look into LED but this is only my backup so i don't plan on running through too many batteries.

what's your suggestion for a small LED light i could use for a backup?

I use the Ikelite PCa and UK Mini Q40 eLED Plus as backups. Both have worked great so far and offer very good bang for the buck. I have experienced a failed bulb on each, but UK replaced the one of the Q40 and I bought a replacement for the PCa bulb from a dive shop in Cozumel (it was cheap). The only drawback on the Q40 is that there is no attachment point for a boltsnap at the back of the light, though I read here that you can add one yourself using plasti-aid (sp?) or some such.

There are better lights of course, but not in the $22-25 range as far as I known and given my preferences (I like the backups with AA batteries among other things).

bversteegh
11-01-2007, 00:07
i looked at some of the LED lights but i really like the size of the PC-A. if i was using it for a primary light, i'd look into LED but this is only my backup so i don't plan on running through too many batteries.

what's your suggestion for a small LED light i could use for a backup?

The UK Q40 LED (4 AAs) is what I carry every dive in my BC pocket - pretty sure I got it at ST (current catalog doesn't show it, not sure why). Think they are around 25 dollars. I also have a Phantasea 45 LED light (they are around 70); I mount it to my camera; more than enough light for a primary dive light. I have never had to change a bulb (My old Ikelite's mini-C's I think they were called - 4 c cells) ate bulbs and batteries - could only get 3-4 night dives before battery change; My LED light easily lasts 2 weeks on a liveaboard on one set of batteries.

gibson1525
11-01-2007, 07:39
The UK Q40 LED (4 AAs) is what I carry every dive in my BC pocket - pretty sure I got it at ST (current catalog doesn't show it, not sure why). Think they are around 25 dollars. I also have a Phantasea 45 LED light (they are around 70); I mount it to my camera; more than enough light for a primary dive light. I have never had to change a bulb (My old Ikelite's mini-C's I think they were called - 4 c cells) ate bulbs and batteries - could only get 3-4 night dives before battery change; My LED light easily lasts 2 weeks on a liveaboard on one set of batteries.



how did you mount the light to your camera? i'm looking into doing this before my trip over christmas.