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Gear talk: Olight Obulb

The Olight Obulb is a small rechargeable LED globe lantern that provides 360° of soft light. It has a wide range of possible applications. The light weight and size, weather proofness, warm low light and runtime also makes it suitable for some backpacking and camping application.

Olight Obulb base is available in four colours. I have three- green, red and grey
Olight Obulb is available in four colours. Three are shown here- Moss Green, Wine Red and Basalt Grey

The full title for this product is the Olight Obulb Mini Light EDC Torch, which seems to be just a catchall for specific online search terms. This is the smallest of the lantern type products that Olight produces, though they do make smaller handheld or keychain lights. The Obulb was also the first generation of a series that has expanded to provide additional or extended features, most of which have added little to the original usefulness of this light.

Olight advertise the Obulb as weighing 55g, though each of mine weighs 59g. Each Obulb has a body diameter of 54mm and is 48.5mm in height. There were originally six colours available- Orange, Purple and Blue, which are discontinued, and Green, Red and Grey. Pink has recently been added to the range. Old colours are still available as new old stock, but they only differ in colour, not features. Each Obulb also has a ring around its circumference in Olight’s signature blue. The lights are made of PC TPE, which is a highly flexible nylon with a thermoplastic elastomer. The plastic build and robust internal electronics will withstand a little punishment, a drop test of 1.5m does no harm.

Low, white
White- low
High, white
White- High
Red
Red

Each Obulb is simple to use with an uncomplicated User Interface. The button is in the base of the light. Single click to turn on/off. When the light is on, click and hold to scroll through the four modes- white low, white high, red, flashing red. There is also a lockout facility- when the light is off, press and hold the button for two seconds. Do the same to unlock.

ModeLumenRun time
White- Low5555 hours
White- High3.53 hours
Red77 hours
Red- Flashing730 hours

The earliest version of this little globe had just three modes. In response to test feedback the lower lumen level was added, and this is now probably the most useful of the four modes on offer. Away from the trail, it will make a decent night light in the home, with the ability to give it a simple additional click to add a little more light when required. The 620nm red light preserves night vision, and the flashing red could be useful to draw attention, hung from the rear of a pack or cycle, or to inform emergency services of location.

Each Obulb has an excess of packaging when purchased
Each Obulb has an excess of packaging when purchased

The Obulb can be purchased in either a blister pack or box carton. In the box, each bulb comes carefully packed. You get the Olight Obulb, a USB magnetic charge cable (with throw-away plastic wrap and plastic tip cover), a little user manual, in English, with detail also in 18 other languages. Finally, each Obulb comes with a 20g metal ‘badge’. Somewhat over-designed, these have 3M 300LSE backing. This is an aggressive Low Surface Energy Acrylic adhesive tape. Make sure you locate this correctly on a kitchen unit, wall etc. as it isn’t easily removed afterward. It would have been good to see more of these discs provided with each bulb, or sold separately, so that a couple could be placed around the house, shed or garage, then the Obulb could be detached and relocated as required. Screwing a large flat washer in place will act much the same. Alternatively, the magnetic Obulb will connect and hold its own weight to metal surfaces such as a household fridge or radiator, or on the top of a broken-down car, with flashing red light engaged.

A single adhesive metal badge is supplied with each Obulb
A single adhesive metal badge is supplied with each Obulb
Obulb is quite small in the hand- larger than a golfball, smaller than a tennis ball
Obulb is quite small in the hand- larger than a golfball, smaller than a tennis ball

There are a couple of accessories available for the Obulb. Olight did produce a simple Ohook, with just a hook attached to a magnetic connector. But these seem to have been switched out to the 27g magnetic Olink. It is a shame that these are not included with each Obulb on purchase as they are a useful accessory. The Olink connects magnetically to the base of the light and has an opening gate to permit it to connect to a thick cord. The design of the circular link itself is flawed in that the gate will not open up sufficiently wide to allow anything wider than 4.5mm to pass through, so you couldn’t use this to clip on to a twig or branch. It is possible to slide the circular link off the 15g magnetic connector. This could then be used with just about anything that will pass through the 6mm hole, even a simple loop of cordage or opened paperclip. Hung from the top of a tent, this provides a soft, 360° all-round light. There is also a 30g silicone sling for the Obulb. The Osling enables an Obulb to be hung and carried from the wrist. Possibly more suited for younger users, Three Points of the Compass has no application for one so never purchased any of these. Finally, the less said about the Olight Obuddy, the better!

A paperclip can be used with the magnetic part of the Olink to hang an Obulb
A 1g paperclip can be used with the 15g magnetic part of the Olink to hang an Obulb
Olink
Magnetic Olink with spring gate is useful, but doesn’t open very wide
Olight Obulb, low
Olight Obulb, on low, hung with magnetic Olink accessory

The Obulb LEDs produce a 2700K white light. This is a good deal warmer than Olight’s normal cool LEDs and is more suited to indoors or camp use where a less stark light is preferable and also rests the brain prior to sleep. Each sealed light contains a non-replaceable 630mAh 3.7V rechargeable Lithium Polymer Battery. These have to be charged via Olights proprietary low amp charge lead with USB-A and magnetic connectors. This is 480mm in length and weighs 15g. Lights take two hours to fully charge and the charge lead’s magnetic connector glows red while charging, and green when fully charged. Obulbs are sealed units and IPX7. Being sealed improves weather resistance to the degree that these can be submerged for up to a metre, and they also float with light uppermost. So, these could be safely used in swimming pools, hot-tubs and baths.

Sealed unit and magnetic charge design ensures greater protection from damp
Sealed unit and magnetic charge design ensures greater protection from damp

The magnetic MCC 1A charge cable is low amperage and is also suited to other low draw Olight products, these are: Olight Seeker 2, Seeker 2 Pro, M2R, S2R II, S30R III, S1R, S1R II, S2R, S2R II, H1R, H2R, PL-Pro, Warrior X, Perun, Perun Mini, Array, Baton Pro, and of course…the Obulb. Of these, I show my little ‘winter use’ Olight H1R Nova below. The 80g H1R Nova was replaced by Olight with the Perun Mini but remains a reliable product that Three Points of the Compass uses when winter backpacking as it is a step up in capability from the lighter in weight lights used for the rest of the year. The Obulb is a suitable accompaniment to this head/hand light for the long winter night hours spent tent bound. This means that the same proprietary Olight charge lead can be used for two electronic products carried. For home charging, Olight also produced a flat charge plate, the Omino, as an alternative. This has four magnetic charging ports. This is not an essential piece of kit as the standard charge lead can be used.

Omino charge plate for Olight Obulbs
Omino charge plate for Olight Obulbs

At first glance, an Obulb can appear a little gimmicky, however they have a wide range of applications. Obulbs come with a two-year warranty and cost is reasonable. Wait, and it is often possible to buy these lights at a discounted price. Three Points of the Compass paid less than £14 for each of those shown here. The Olink is an overpriced but worthwhile accessory that cost me over £8. Oslings are around £6 each.

Charging both Olight Obulb and Olight HR1 Nova from Nitecore NB20000 powerbank, via magnetic charge lead
Charging both Olight Obulb and Olight HR1 Nova from Nitecore NB20000 powerbank, via magnetic MCC 1A charge lead

Other Obulbs are available. There is the Obulb MC and MCS. MC stands for Multi Colour. The MCS has a motion Sensor. These are variously heavier, brighter (75 lumen), have more light colour options (modes). They have reduced runtime and are also a great deal more expensive. The Obulb Pro joined the series in 2022. This bluetooth/mobile phone operated light is larger and at 105g, a great deal heavier than the Obulb.

Obulbs, charge lead and metal 'badges'
Obulbs, MCC 1A magnetic charge lead and metal adhesive ‘badges’

OLIGHT Obulb [pdf] User Manual

This has been part of a series of blogs looking at small lanterns suited to lightweight backpacking, that can also be used in the home and elsewhere:

Olight Obulb MC Christmas pack
Olight Obulb MC Christmas pack, complete with Santa and Astronaut Obulb toppers

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