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Review: TorchLED Bolt 220R Remote-Controlled Dimmable Light

Switronix' TorchLED 220R, like the TorchLED 220W, is a compact, dimmable, temperature-adjustable on- or off-camera LED light. The 220R model adds a handy remote control that allows you to operate the light at a distance of more than 175 feet.

A few years back I had the opportunity to review the Switronix TorchLED Bolt 200 light. At the time I felt it offered a great bang for the buck for an on-camera or off camera light. The ability to adjust between 3200K and 5600K was a great addition to what most lights offered.

Switronix later released a 220W version of the light that included a few tweaks which helped it produce about 10% more light than the previous version. I never tested that one but when Switronix asked if I would like to review the new 220R version of the light, that included a remote, I responded with a definite yes. Figure 1, below, shows the light with the new remote. It also comes with an adjustable hotshoe mount that is not pictured.

Figure 1. The Bolt200R with included remote. Click the image to see it at full size.

There was a small-one page instruction sheet included with the light. It doesn't seem like much of a manual, but it covers everything you need to know to get the light working as well as what you need to use the remote. The back side of the light (Figure 2, below) holds a Sony L-Series Li-ion camcorder battery and looks pretty much the same as the previous versions of the Bolt 220/220 light. The one difference you can see is a small button on the right (called out in Figure 2) for setting up the remote control. I tried the directions to set the light from channel 1 on the remote to channel 2 and it worked quickly and easily.

Figure 2. The TorchLED uses standard Sony and equivalent L-Series Li-ion batteries. Note the remote control setup button. Click the image to see it at full size.

Testing the Remote Functions

In testing, the remote worked well up to about 30 feet with the antenna lowered. When I put the antenna up, I was able to get around 175-200 feet of range, and the light still working great, even outside on a sunny day, as shown in the video at the top of this page. This means it is not an infrared remote but instead a radio remote of some sort.

The remote functions worked great. Just install a battery, turn on the power switch, press the number of the light (in my case, it was number 1) and the light comes on full force. You can then adjust the brightness and color temperature with the Bri+, Bri-, 3200, and 5600 buttons on the remote. If you turn the light on and off via the remote, the settings are maintained until you power it off.

I did have one small challenge in testing when it appeared that the remote would not turn the light on and off. After some experimenting I discovered it was user error--I had dimmed the light until it went off, and I was turning it on and off while fully dimmed.