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The burrlight Manual - operation

Note: The drawings are derived from the graphics files used for the paper Manual, and are included for reference in case the Manual is lost. The paper-printed drawings are of much higher quality.

In the 'switched off' position, the location of the front strip is not at all critical, just as long as the magnet has been pushed away from the burrlight case. Note that the label, or most of it, remains stuck to the back of the case.

Burrlight operation

The burrlight torch body is completely sealed. Inside the torch is a a reed switch which lights the LED when a magnet is brought close to it. The magnet is mounted outside the torch on a strip of 'hook' type hook/loop fastener, better known as Velcro (TM), after the original maker. This strip carries the 'burrlight' label at one end, followed by a short shiny section that holds the twin magnet. If this shiny section contacts, or gets close to the torch body just above the internal reed switch, on goes the light. The front section of the strip is used to lock down the magnet onto the torch body when light is needed. To switch off, lift the front section, push it backwards until the magnet lifts clear of the body, and stick it down again to hold the magnet in this position.

Normally the back (label) section of the magnet strip stays down all the time. If you are, for example, expedition packing and want to be sure the torch is not accidentally switched on during the rough and tumble of travelling to your chosen area, remove the strip and stick it round one end of the torch, where it cannot possibly turn the LED on. If you stick the strip over the LED window, it will protect the window from scratches during transit.

Before you remove the magnet strip, make very sure you know where it goes back! The switch is exactly under one of the stitch lines marking the boundary between white and black, and exactly under the middle of that stitch line. Locate the magnet first, see the light come on, then stick down both ends of the strip. Any sensible expedition member (the only ones that come back) will also practice locating the magnet and strip in the right place by feel in the pitch dark. Locate the LED window by feel, and then the stitch line by feel. I had no trouble locating the magnet position that lit the LED, with both eyes shut. It may be pitch dark the first time you take out your carefully expedition-packed torch.

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Mounting the burrlight on a hat

Most places you want to hang the burrlight, for example the wall of your tent, or your jacket, a simple strip of 'hook' fastener, Velcro (TM) for example, 25 mm wide (1 inch) and 80 mm long, sewn in the required location, is all that is needed. Making a good hat-mount is not as simple, since the result must allow the angle of the light to be varied, and also not bob up and down when you are running. The burrlight hat-mount only adds one and a half grams to your load.

The hat-mount is made from two vertical strips of 'hook' fastener sewn side by side on the front of your hat, with a 27 mm gap between them. When the burrlight is pushed onto the hat-mount, a strip contacts the loop fastener on the torch body at each end, leaving the centre torch area free for the switch to function as usual, so you can just reach up, pull the switch tag down, and have immediate light. The drawing can only show one hook strip, but notice hooks on the strip are in contact with loops on the body over more than half of the torch end. This mount does not wiggle, and you can't feel the torch on your head.

If the beam is at the wrong vertical angle, pull off the strips, turn the torch body round a bit, and stick them on again. The most useful position is generally when the lower end of the hook strip just clears the LED window on the burrlight body. If the vertical angle is right but the beam points off sideways, turn the hat round a little!

The hard work

You need a metre or less of one inch wide (25 mm) black hook/loop fastener. This can be found in a sewing, fabric or haberdashery shop. Adhesive-backed fastener is now available. Don't buy it. Cut two lengths of the hook strip 85 mm long. You do not have to be within one mm accuracy, but keep dimensions as close as you can.

Fold over about 6 mm each end with the hooks on the inside, and put a line of stitch down the centre of each fold to hold it down. You can hand-sew since the stitch lengths are so short, or use a sewing machine with the power off, rotated by hand to put in the very few stitches. You can use alternative 'ending' methods such as stitched down self-adhesive cloth backed tape, or bias binding, as long as the resulting strip is the right length.

Here is the stitch line spacing when you sew the strips down to the hat. You will have to mark these spacings (on the hook side) so you can see where to sew. Marking the two edges of the strip is sufficient. Personally I cheat, and use 4 mm wide double sided adhesive tape to hold the strips to the hat while sewing, rather than the conventional pins, and this both locates the strip and marks the sewing lines at the edges. 4 mm tape is a professional product, and may be hard to find. I was lucky enough to find a wholesale adhesive tape distributors that was prepared to sell a single roll.

Pin or use double sided tape to hold both strips to the front of the hat while sewing down. The bottom edge of the strips is about 20 mm above the inside edge of the hat brim. If you are using a sewing machine, the four stitch lines can be put in neatly as parts of one sewn rectangle 21 mm high and 75 mm wide. Strong polyester thread is the best.

Living with the hat-mount

As previously suggested, leave the burrlight on your sunhat all day - you will not notice it. If you are caught by the dark and about to get lost, being able to switch the burrlight on so easily is a good way to avoid panic. I speak from personal experience. You will find putting up a tent is now as easy in the dark as it is in the day. If you are following a long trail in the dark, adjust the beam so it shines into the distance when your head is looking forward. This shows you what is coming up while keeping your eyes fully dark-adapted. If you need bright light near your feet to avoid obstacles, lower your head. The only nasty surprise is using a hat-mount in fog, or low mountain cloud. The light scatters back from near your eyes, and you can't see a thing. Hand-hold the torch, or stick it on your belt or pack strap.