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LED flashlight conundrum

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by JackD, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    Over the years our old flashlights just gave up. We had a couple of those little give-away 8 LED array light that work well enough to find a real flashlight...if you have one. We didn't. I returned a worthless xmas present to the Big 5 and using the money, bought a Nebo 5587 U.S. Army Strong Tac-180 . This is my first super LED flashlight and was really impressed with the sharp focused penetrating beam. It uses 3 AA batteries which is also very nice. Too bad it did does not have a variable focusing feature. Batteries last seemingly forever. It alway comes on bright after ~5 seconds between off and back on. After ~2 years of go-to use, it has never failed.

    Looking for an inexpensive gun light, I bought an Ultrafire SA9 which uses three AAA or one 18650. It has a focus ring and a XM-L T6 LED. A single 1" UTG ring makes a perfect mount. Easy on and off. This light only cost me ~$10 and seems well made. Threads are smooth and focus ring is also smooth. It also has a beam that penetrates well out to 200-300 feet with sharp focus or 150' easy on flood focus. Actually this is the second SA9 that I have purchased. The first one had a Q5 LED and after almost 2 years, I smoked it by trying to use 2 CR123 (6V) batteries. 1 1/2 amps was too much for the Q5 LED. The new one can take it so I can use either 3 AAA's or 2 CCR123's or one 18650. This light always comes on bright after ~5 seconds between off and on.

    Being impressed by the quality and price of the Ultrafire lights, I just purchased one that seems to be lacking a model. It has multiple battery options, 2 18650's, 6 AAA's or, by removing the extension tube, 2 CR123's or 2 RCR123's. This light is also of seemingly high quality, for the price ($16). I tested it on bright with 2 CR123's and it ran 2 hours before it began to dim appreciably. It has 3 brightness settings, High, Medium, and Low as well as strobe and SOS. This light comes on the step after it was turned off. Not a big problem for me. A light touch on the on/off button brings up the next stage. Because of the multiple battery options there is excess room in the battery compartment. I use a filler tube with the CR123's and even a business card wrapped around that to keep it from rattling. Somehow, I just can't bring myself to spend any more than this for a light that really doesn't do much more than these do. Nothing wrong with Surefire, I'm sure, but I can buy 5 of these for the price of the cheapest Surefire I can find. It is focusable and on spot beam it penetrate well out to 400 feet. The Lumens is certainly not 2500. The T6 LED throws 900 Lumens at 3A max. I haven't checked tha amperage of this light at 9v (6AAA). This light is seen here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/360844417284?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649
     
  2. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    check out the rayovac's using 3 c cells, a decent 500 lumen light, focusable, and the batteries last forever, cree technology and 3 position switch. 2 for 25 at costco, with batteries.
     
    Sgt Nambu likes this.
  3. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    I forgot to mention that I also converted my Maglites, one 3D cell and the other a Minimag. What an improvement!. Retains focus control, but only one speed....high. These were both TerraLUX conversions. Two Minimags one on left with TerraLUX conversion and one on right stock incandescent bulb.

    http://www.terraluxportable.com/products/led-conversion-kits/

    003internet.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  4. 7SFCW4

    7SFCW4 Out and About, Oregon Active Member

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    I am a big fan of the STREAMLIGHT Polytac C4 LED handheld. They are robust (my dog chewed the snot out of one, after replacing the tail cap [replacement parts are available and affordable], it just has kept working). They are light, affordable, available locally (usually in stock at Sportsmans).
     
  5. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    +1 for the Costco 500Lu two pack and the 250Lu three pack, although mine were sold under the Duracell name. Heavy guage aluminum, comes with Duracell battery's, adjustable, no wait intensity changes. Very sturdy, if you smacked someone with the larger 500Lu model he will stay smacked for a while! At under $20 per pack I could afford to stock up! I love these things, my more expensive FL's are regulated to chest rigs now. SRG

    PS: I forgot about the Duracell head lights! Same deal, three packs, battery's included, low, high and strobe. Comfortable strapping.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  6. WashCoDad

    WashCoDad Beanerton Active Member

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    I seem to be the only guy i know that cant stand led flashlights. The super white messes with my eyes.
    Anyone else?
    Have used a non led streamlight stinger for years. Bright as hell yet doesnt freak out my eyes.
     
  7. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    It used to bother me, but I've gotten used to the white light and like it better now. The earlier LED had a blue tinge and I didn't like that at all. Newer ones are soft white and more like natural sunlight.
     
  8. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I have a number of the amazon special chinese LED flashlights (ultrafire, tangsfire, etc) I bought a few of the 1000lum lights... when mounted to my scoped AR, I can make out targets past 800 yards.

    My suggestion... drop the primary batteries. The 18650 batteries are really impressive, at $2-3 each, they offer a lot more juice oh and they're rechargable.
     
  9. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    My experience with rechargeables isn't good. It seems every time I go to use something with rechargeables they are dead. I haven't tried the 18650's simply because I don't have a charger for them and didn't want to spend the money for one right now. Flashlights might sit for months before being needed. A dead flashlight is worthless. Energizer Lithium Ultimate's have a 10+ to 20 year shelf life. Chances of them being dead after sitting a long time is slim. Now a flashlight that is used often is a different matter. I might use rechargeables there, but the Nebo light has been my go-to light for over two years and it had alkaline AA's. Originals were still going strong after two years. I recently changed them to Energizer Ultimate's just because I wanted fresh cells with long shelf life. I tested two AA Energizer Ultimates in my Minimag TerraLUX LED conversion and it ran for over 4 hours steady before beginning to dim appreciably. I think there is a place for both primaries and rechargeables in flashlights.
     
    Sgt Nambu likes this.
  10. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    I have a 5 d cell maglite converted to LED using 6 c cells, it will likely run continuously for a week before dying. Who needs rechargeable flashlights?

    BTW an easy conversion using a length of plastic conduit, and 6 c cells are the same length as 5 d cells.
     
  11. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of batteries, the Eneloop rechargeables are a hybrid, in that they hold a charge "on the shelf" a long time like regular batteries, but are also rechargeable.

    I've had great luck with them in flashlights.

    Anyway back to the weaponlight issue, I am not sure if there was a question in there or the post is a statement: though it's not technically rated as a weapons light, the Surefire 6PX Tactical has withstood some real-life duty on my 5.56 carbine, and never a problem. It's been on there a couple of years now.

    About $60 most places. If needed, you can use the Surefire clip-on IR filter for either IR scope use or to stop visible light reflections in the daytime.
     
  12. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I didn't bother with the LOOONG OP cause it's talking about flashlights
    They are everywhere. All kinds
    Buy more and see which one works best
    I think I have about 10 different kinds lying around right now
    Not a conundrum
     
  13. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    MJB is right, you'll lose most of them eventually anyhow. there might have been a question in there someplace. We just like yakking about lights, knives 'n guns, let's face it. :cool:
     
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  14. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    No question. Just my experience and thoughts and a desire to know others experience and thoughts. It took many hours of study to sort through the new (to me) technology in flashlights.

    I'm still puzzled over the very large differences in prices. Some lights may be designed for a specific purpose and that may account for some of the difference. Country of origin and labor costs probably account for much of the difference. I like to buy USA products, but in flashlights, it's hard to beat the bang for the buck in some of the Chinese lights. I was just looking at the spec's. for a $175 Surefire light that looks very much like one of my $10 Ultrafire lights. The differences mean little to me...average home owner...glass as opposed to plastic lens, momentary option on the tail switch...certainly not worth an additional $165...at least to me. Military or police would be an entirely different matter. I'd rather buy 17 $10 lights of similar quality than one light of a little higher quality. But that's just my opinion. I'm interested in hearing yours.

    I can't remember ever losing a flashlight. They are usually thrown away in disgust when they don't work.
     
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