Electronic markers - a color overview of colored lights
Probably a lot, if not everything, has been written about tactical flashlights and popular chemical lightsticks. There is less information about electronic markers. These are so-called electronic lightsticks. This article will be about them in the form of an overview of products available on the market. For their presentation, I used the marker models available at Gunfire and the GFC Tactical Patch Wall. If you are interested in the topic of how to marked yourself, gear, airsoft replica or anything else without spending "millions of coins" - read on!
Chemical lightstick and electronic marker
Classic lightsick is a chemical self-luminous object, usually made of plastic, containing a chamber inside in which two substances are placed, which, when mixed, glow in the selected color. Lightsticks come in very different sizes, the most popular are the military, stick-shaped ones that we break to make it glow. Its biggest disadvantage is that the period in which it emits light is limited. Usually, Lightstick "burns out" after about 8-12 hours, depending on the mixture used. The colder it is, the longer it glow. You can throw the lightstick into the freezer to prolong its operation - the side effect is that it will glow a bit less.
Flashlights are a separate topic, including tactical ones, but they emit light in a completely different range and are designed for completely different purposes - that's why I consciously let go of them.
In the meantime, electronic tags have emerged. They differ from lightsticks in everything - except that they also emit light in the color we choose. Electronic markers use battery power which, in combination with a bright diode, gives us light. Interestingly, the manufacturers use special materials and designs of these markers, which together give the effect of light diffusion over almost the entire surface of the marker. The biggest advantage of such designs is that they do not burn out like Lightsticks.
Electronic tags - how does it work?
The classic electronic marker that I want to show in the article can be spread into 3 basic, most important elements:
Markers are powered by different types of batteries. The largest, less popular ones are, for example, CR123A batteries (e.g. MANTA type and similar). Smaller markers are usually powered by built-in CR2032 batteries and similar. The disadvantage and at the same time an advantage is that the power supply battery is not replaceable, usually it is embedded in a silicone casing, which limits the possibility of damaging the entire system or flooding it.
2. Electronic circuit and diode
The markers are equipped with circuits and diodes that allow for continuous operation for a long time. The use of LEDs extends the service life and reduces power consumption. Such a marker should glow from several dozen to even 120 hours without any problems, depending on the diode used and the power source! It is worth saying that the electronics allow you to use the constant, strobe lighting mode and some models send an SOS signal, i.e. 3 short signals, 3 long signals and 3 short signals.
Marker housings are made of durable plastics and, in some models - silicone. The first solution makes them very resistant to external factors and mechanical damage. The second one makes them flexible, allowing them to be adapted to the equipment (usually A-Lite type).
Types of electronic markers
There are many shapes and sizes of markers. From large strobes (like MANTA) to smaller types like A-Lite markers. In the article I would like to deal with the latter due to their universality and good price in relation to their quality.
1. E-Lite tags:
Tags of the E-Lite type are characterized by the classic design described above. They are basically only available in the version with Velcro fastener, thanks to which we can attach it to the equipment - e.g. a vest a cap or helmet. The marker is large and its construction makes the light diffused quite strongly. A perfect solution for marking a hit at a milsim or other night party. It will also work well as a backup light source, e.g. for map lighting. In the upper part there is a ring through which the rope can be threaded - e.g. to hang it around the neck.
2. Markers of the WST type:
The WST cushions are a solution, in my opinion, dedicated to helmets and uniforms, and only then to other parts of the equipment. The tag is not as flat and narrow as the Lighbuck or E-Lite. Its operation, however, is very intuitive and the light is not as strong as in the larger markers.
3. Lightbuck tags
Universal Lightbuck tag system introduced to our market by FMA. The system is based on replaceable keyhole-shaped "inserts". The markers have different colors, continuous and strobe lighting mode. What distinguishes this model from others is its versatility and, thanks to dedicated accessories, the possibility of adjusting it to the user's preferences.
Lightbuck accessories come in the configuration:
- For 22mm RIS rail
- Fastex buckle 28mm wide (fits perfectly on the Helikon waist bag buckle!)
- Rectangular Velcro panel
- Lightbuck in mini version with velcro
- Version with a clip - e.g. on a belt
- Version with Velcro tape
- Version designed for Molle straps
Some versions of special accessories have been designed so that apart from the light "forward" they give directional light, eg downwards.
A few photos showing the usual "home" use:
Summarizing a few words
Electronic markers, due to their construction and materials used, are a very universal tool that allows you to mark any object in everyday activities, as well as in skirmish and milsim. You do not have to spend money on disposables - you can buy a marker for a dozen or several dozen PLN, which will be enough for a longer period of use and will not run out in an unexpected moment. Another issue is universality. Especially with the Lightbucks. The whole range of accessories allows it to be mounted in many places, so that we can take tactical lights with us everywhere, no matter what we take with us.
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