A flashlight is a hand-held portable electrically-powered light source, and is often called a torch in areas outside of North America. Usually the light source is a small incandescent light bulb or light-emitting diode (LED). A typical flashlight consists of a light bulb mounted in a reflector, a transparent cover (sometimes combined with a lens) to protect the light source and reflector, a battery, and a switch. These are supported and protected by a case.

The invention of the dry cell and miniature incandescent electric light bulbs made the first battery-powered flashlights possible around the year 1899 A.D. Today flashlights use mostly incandescent lamps or light-emitting diodes and run on disposable or rechargeable batteries. Some are powered by the user turning a crank or shaking the lamp, and some have solar panels to recharge a battery.

In addition to the general-purpose hand-held flashlight, many forms have been adapted for special uses. Head or helmet-mounted flashlights designed for miners and campers leave the hands free. Some flashlights can be used underwater or in flammable atmospheres.

Read more on

Guides that use

Applying underbody sealant

Where to apply sealant On a fairly new car, covering the underbody with sealing compound will di...

Checking rack and pinion steering

Points to inspect when checking a steering-rack. There are also ball joints and gaiters on the o...

Checking damper units

MacPherson struts at the front with telescopic dampers at the rear is a common layout on many ca...

Checking for oil leaks

The pulley wheel will spray oil from a leaking timing-cover seal. If an engine needs topping up ...

Checking hoses and the radiator cap

The parts of the cooling system most likely to give trouble are water hoses. Age and the movement...

Checking steering-box mountings

Places where vital components are mounted on the bodywork or chassis should be inspected at least...

Checking steering-rack security

Clamps or brackets secure the steering rack to the front cross member or bulkhead. Most modern c...

Lubricating hinges, pedals and locks

Use a screwdriver if necessary to remove or to fit a pedal pad. Oiling foot pedals Most brake an...

How to replace an exhaust

Manifold joints A damaged or worn exhaust system allows waste gases from the engine to escape be...

Checking for coolant leaks

Hidden core plugs Use a mirror to locate hidden plugs. A leak in the water-cooling system can be...