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A bright, indestructible, burn-proof, energy saving mechanic's lamp

Posting in Energy

Mighty Light. The DropLED Pro survives treatment by rough mechanics.

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Work lamps: Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

That could be the mantra of any mechanic, plumber, electrician or anyone who regularly spends hours toiling away in the garage, workshop or crawl space under the bright light of those caged bulbous things also known as "drop lights" or "inspection lamps."

Even if that's not you, I'm sure you've seen one hooked at the end of a long cord over a V-8 or under a wheel well down at the local repair shop.

My baby. Mechanic Paulo admires his DropLED Pro. He couldn't even think of touching a conventional work lamp like this. They're too hot.

While they shine some amount of light on those deep dark places (often not enough, some say), they come with a couple of big problems. They routinely break when bashed. And they're hazardously hot.  It's practically a mechanic's rite of passage to get burned by touching one of these things. In rare instances, drop lights can ignite a fire when exposed to the flammable stuff you might find in a garage.

Lumen LED, a small Hayward, Calif. company, is on the case.

It is developing a work lamp called the DropLED Pro that it says is so indestructible you can drive a forklift over it (watch the amusing video below to get the point).

And it is relatively cool to the touch. At a mere 135 degrees F compared to the usual 295 degrees F, "You can grab it with your bare hand," Lumen CEO Sheldon Norberg says on the company's fund raising web page.

The DropLED Pro is cooler because it's a lot more energy-efficient than a conventional lamp -- its LED bulb converts energy more into light than into heat compared to drop lights that use incandescent. So it cuts down on electricity bills too.

It's also twice as bright as conventional work lights, at 1100 lumens, Norberg claims.

Jesse Kaufman, owner of the Tredz auto repair shop next door to Lumen, welcomes the brightness. While holding up a conventional drop light in a DropLED Pro promotional video he noted of the old one, "This thing really sucks and it doesn't pump out enough light for anybody to see what they're doing."

Don't try this at home. They already did in Hayward. The light won.

Kaufman is among the real experts - end users - who have been helping Lumen put the DropLED Pro through its paces.

"Over the last six months, he has beaten it mercilessly, and we have refined every aspect of it, such that it is now practically indestructible, perfect for the harsh environment of a repair shop," Norberg says.

The insightful development team has also included, "the Pit Crew at Insta-Lube," "Paulo at Roger's Autoworks" and "Gary at Guaranteed Auto Service," the web page shows.

Lumen LED hopes to start shipping in May. It is raising funds through the Indiegogo crowd funding website. Crowd funding allows individuals to pledge money to a company. Crowd funding sites do not, at least for now, permit equity investing.

Watch the DropLED PRO defy brutes and tires in the YouTube video. If you listen closely, you might hear the word "indestructible" -

Images are all screen grabs from the DropLED Pro Indiegogo web page and its embedded YouTube video.

Beating the LED point some more, on SmartPlanet:

— By on March 10, 2013, 10:19 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure