LED flashlights

Handruin

Administrator
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Messages
12,874
Location
USA
I guess it all depends on why and how you're carrying it. Certainly it's not an EDC or something you'd put in your pocket, however it's not any larger than a 2D Maglite and I don't think that's an unreasonable form factor.
It's a large and heavy flashlight that's less convenient than a pocket light so with something that size and that powerful I was just curious what people use it for and how they'd normally travel with it. It doesn't look like a light I'd go walking with because it's bulky and heavy. I wouldn't likely carry around a 2D Maglite either but maybe you or other's do.
 

mubs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Nov 22, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Somewhere in time.
Blinding potential attackers. If you shine a 100,000 cd flashlight in someone's eyes, especially at night when their eyes are dark adjusted, they won't be able to see a thing for at least 20-30 seconds. That gives you time to either escape, or if the light is heavy enough, use it to beat the crap out of the attacker. Some lights have crenelated bezels for exactly that purpose.
If the victim's eyes are light adjusted, I think 100 - 150 cd shone directly into the victims eyes will be enough to blind them for at least half a minute, no?
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
3,680
Location
Flushing, New York
If the victim's eyes are light adjusted, I think 100 - 150 cd shone directly into the victims eyes will be enough to blind them for at least half a minute, no?
Probably but some people like overkill. 100,000 cd will ensure they won't see much for a while even if they quickly blink their eyes shut. That said, I personally think small form factor lights are better as defensive weapons. If an attacker sees you whipping out a big light, they'll probably shut their eyes or turn away. One the other hand, a light small enough to conceal in your hand but bright enough to blind can be used to catch an attacker off guard. Surprise is always part of a good defense.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz
I'm starting to question the value of the 'name' brand options. For instance, I'm not sure what's wrong with a MG P-Rocket II for $39?

I already have the older version with an XP-G emitter that yields 25,000-30,000 lux @1 meter. The XM-L emitter doesn't throw as well, but obviously you get a lot more light overall.

Or this Romisen RC-T602 with 3C bin (<5000K neutral white) T6 emitter for $30? There's a brighter U2 version, but it's a 1A tint (>6500K cool daylight). Either looks like a bargain.

My take is that I have to spend over $100 to noticeably improve on these - what do you guys think?
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz
Sorry, out by miles with the lux number - I grabbed it from someone's graph without double-checking. :oops: My XP-G is actually below 10,000 lux in the center.
 

Stereodude

Not really a
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
10,250
Location
Michigan
There are some decent mid grade lights. The bottom end is mostly junk. Going name brand doesn't necessarily buy you a ton more performance, but usually you get a more refined product and a warranty that's worth something.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz

mubs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Nov 22, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Somewhere in time.
I did a lot of homework and ordered, among others, the Sunwayman D40 Neutral and the Zebralight SC52w Neutral White.

The Zebralight SC52W and the Olight S15 seem too close to each other in terms of output; you may want to get one or the other instead of both.

Same applies to the Romisen and the MG-X.

If you want to see an appreciable differnece in light output, you need to double the lumens. 700 and 850 lumens will look the same to the human eye.

Other than the ouput and power source, you may want to pay attention to the switches for controlling on/off and for changing modes. These can be major irritants if you don't carefully decide which type you want.
 

Stereodude

Not really a
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
10,250
Location
Michigan
This time around, I plan to get:

Romisen RC-T602 neutral white
MG RX1 X-Thrower
Sunwayman D40A neutral white
Olight S15 with the extender tube

Plus some of those multi-chemistry Nitecore chargers, some 3400mAh Li-Ion 18650 batteries, and some Eneloop 2500mAh AA batteries.

...

Any thoughts?
The Romisen and the MG are probably both using using multiple AMC 7135 drivers in parallel. It's a linear regulator. It works, but light output does fall off when the voltage from the battery - the voltage drop in the 7135 is less than the Vf needed to maintain that current level. I have several P60 drop ins using the 7135 that way, so it's not something I wouldn't do, but it's something to be aware of.
The D40A is a great light. Mine is cool white since I bought before they made cool white ones. :( I do plan to replace the emitter and make it "neutral" (5000k).
The Olight looks pretty nice.

Why the 2500's over the standard 2000s? The 2500's are rated for only 500 cycles, and they they do self discharge faster. Are the Nitecore chargers very good with NiMH cells? I've never paid any attention to how well they can charge them.
 

mubs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Nov 22, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Somewhere in time.
That's the fastest, sure-shot way to kill them thar batteries.

It's not that difficult or time consuming to use the Maha.

I have some new, unused Eneloops bought in 2007 (left untouched) that I reconditioned a couple of days ago with the Maha and they're now at 99% of nominal (max) capacity. Eneloops are awesome (the white ones) and so is the Maha.

For an avowed gadget freak, you surprise me sometimes.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz
The Romisen and the MG are probably both using using multiple AMC 7135 drivers in parallel. It works, but light output does fall off when the voltage from the battery ...
Thanks for that quite useful info, but my expectations were already set by the very low price. :) Having said that, several more expensive flashlights also don't maintain flat regulation, either steadily declining or reducing in distinct steps.

Why the 2500's over the standard 2000s? The 2500's are rated for only 500 cycles, and they they do self discharge faster.
I'm not concerned about the 500 cycles, but the cells were not readily available here, so I may well have been lumbered with the original version with the 75% retention. :( The second generation maintained 85%, while the latest Panasonic-branded version is just as good as the old 2000mAh Eneloops, with up to 90% retention. Oh well, they're still way better than anything else.

Are the Nitecore chargers very good with NiMH cells?
I found nothing but good reviews. I think it was Selfbuilt who compared it favorably with his Powerex ('Maha') CH-9000. I've ordered 3 for starters. It's hard enough to find a decent NiMH smart charger, let alone one that can also manage Li-Ion at the same time!

As a side note, it's interesting how member research here converges. Much of my selection overlaps with Mubs' (and even Stereodude to a lesser extent), and I'd already made up my mind to grab a Nitecore Intellicharger when Ddrueding revealed he'd already bought one.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz
Mubs, I don't want to start a flame war, but I don't believe the 'Maha' Mh-C9000 adds value except as a capacity measuring tool, which is why I bought one.

I recently had a cleanup and checked about 20 old Sanyo NiMH of various vintages. After many days carefully tending the "Break-In" mode that's supposed to be unique in recovering old batteries, I realized that the Powerex couldn't deal with anything that my Canon smart charger (thrown in with an A series camera) rejected. Batteries 'thrown to the wolves' on the Canon charger seemed to do just fine and ended up with the same capacity as those with the benefit of all the TLC. It's worth noting that the Canon is a remarkably close facsimile of Sanyo's own legendary smart charger, which no-one seemed to have any complaints about either.

At the end of the day, if the charger doesn't overcharge, the batteries will be just fine.

BTW, most of the old non-Eneloops failed this process, so I consider it a 'real' test.
 

mubs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Nov 22, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Somewhere in time.
time, no flame war, I'm just interested in learning.

Oddly, I've never heard of chargers made by Canon for AA/AAA batts.

I thought Dave was replying to my post about the C-9000; my understanding is that he has one but doesn't use it.

You nailed it when you said overcharging kills, and most chargers do. Even the C-9000, which defaults to Charge mode at 1000 mAh if you don't make a selection after sticking in a batt will kill your AAA batts in short order, because it doesn't understand if you've stuck in an AA or AAA. The C-9000 has other limitations (doesn't discharge before Break-in or Refresh & Analyze, etc.), but these are well known and can be worked around.

I guess to each his own; those that just want to throw batts in the charger should use a simple charger that does just that. I prefer the C-9000 since I can control what goes on, and know the health of my batts. I have a simpler "throw it in" Maha charger C401FS and two similar Sanyo chargers that came with the two sets of Eneloops I bought at Costco. I don't use any of them.

Battery matching is quite important when more than one battery is used in a camera or flashlight, or the energy capacity will be dictated by the weakest battery in the set. I have numbered all my batteries and track their health in a spreadsheet. I usually don't split hairs this much, but realize to my chagrin that I'm slowly turning into a flashaholic. This tracking business started only after buying the many flashlights.

I'm already thinking about an AA powered keychain light (if such a thing exists) and a multi-18650 (3 or 4) powered monster :(
 

LunarMist

I can't believe I'm a
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
14,935
Location
USA
Meh. I have both the 2-cell and 4-cell Nitecore chargers. Intelligent they ain't. They are very lightwight, but quite large to accommodate both AA and 18650. I bought the Nitecore for travel to eliminate needing two types of chargers, and it will work with a stub plug directly into a wall outlet. It's OK for that, but I prefer chargers that are faster and do not overcharge AAs so much. The 18650 charge time is forever. I did not measure the terminal charge voltage, so I don't know if it is safe or not.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz
Lunar, what makes you think it's overcharging AAs? The test I referred to concluded the Nitecore stopped at about the same point as the MH-C9000. The MH-C9000 actually undercharges cells slightly - it's not the benchmark for maximum possible charge.

As long as your batteries are not overheating, the chemical reaction will still work without damaging the cell. It's just that as charging rates increase, it becomes more critical to stop the process at the right time.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,303
Location
Monterey, CA
I was talking about the C-9000. While I don't doubt that it has more capabilities than other chargers, I don't believe the difference is worth the extra effort most of the time. I do still have the C-9000, but the charger I throw Eneloops into 2-3 times a day is a BC-700. So much easier.

I think this overlaps with the earlier conversations about antivirus and sleep functionality. For me at least the concept of "worth it" has become more significant than "optimal".
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz
Received the Olight S15 "Baton". Meh. :(

It's exquisitely made and all that, and I know it has excellent battery life, but I would have been more impressed 5 years ago.

The tint is woeful. It's not supposed to be neutral, but it's not really daylight either; just green. :(

With the clip attached, I need a light to find the power button - it's not obvious by feel.

The Moonlight mode is good, but with the two NiMH batteries I tried (with and without the extender tube), there's really no perceptible difference between medium and high.

The instructions are poor. The method to engage the strobe seemed incredibly Byzantine, but when I played around with it, it was dead simple. I can live with the interface, but I don't think Zebralight has anything to fear ...

And of course, it's not even remotely bright. In terms of usefulness, it came off second best compared to a 3-year-old Romisen RC-29 zoomable aspheric that sells for under $20. But the real killer was comparing it to my 5-year-old twisty CR123A mini-flashlight, which had a vastly better beam color and more light from an ancient LED. It cost me $10 at the time, albeit a bargain.

Oh yeah, also the magnet can't hold the flashlight horizontal if you stick it on something like a fridge door (or car). That's because it's barely strong enough for the 1x AA configuration, let alone the 2x AA setup.

In short, it's a serviceable low-powered flashlight that you would expect to pay about $10 to $20 for, but definitely not the crazy amounts they're asking for the titanium limited edition variants (which thankfully I skipped).
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz
OK, disregard that premature review. I was using 2 of the old NiMH that I 'salvaged', i.e. that the Maha reported as fine. I swapped to two Eneloops and the difference was (literally) like night and day.

Green tint gone, now excellent color, maybe 5000-5500K? Clear difference between medium and high levels. Took it outside and lit up the neighborhood. Now I'm impressed. :bstd:

Who knows, maybe I'll even get used to finding the button by remembering it's opposite the clip.

Fortunately, I had already ordered replacement NiMH cells, so guess where the old ones are headed?
 

Stereodude

Not really a
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
10,250
Location
Michigan
In short, it's a serviceable low-powered flashlight that you would expect to pay about $10 to $20 for, but definitely not the crazy amounts they're asking for the titanium limited edition variants (which thankfully I skipped).
It sounds like you should at the very least exchange it for another one, or return it.

Edit: never mind then...
 

Howell

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Feb 24, 2003
Messages
4,740
Location
Chattanooga, TN
I may be behind in my understanding of current battery chemistry but I thought eneloops were better than NiMH. Aside from the total capacity difference that is.
 

mubs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Nov 22, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Somewhere in time.
I was using 2 of the old NiMH that I 'salvaged', i.e. that the Maha reported as fine.
If those batts were not LSD, they probably self-discharged at a super-high rate. I always thought NiMH batts (the HSD ones) were crap, and when I bought Eneloops I gave them away to someone that wanted them. Some 30-40 of them.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz
I'm not concerned about the 500 cycles, but the cells were not readily available here, so I may well have been lumbered with the original version with the 75% retention. :( The second generation maintained 85%, while the latest Panasonic-branded version is just as good as the old 2000mAh Eneloops, with up to 90% retention. Oh well, they're still way better than anything else.
They arrived and are indeed second generation HR-3UWXB with 85% retention and 2550mAh typical capacity. :)
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz
OK, I realize my Olight S15 review was schizophrenic, but here's a more considered review after a couple of weeks usage:

It's exquisitely made and all that, and I know it has excellent battery life, but illumination is still limited by the 2xAA battery configuration and the tiny reflector.

It's not supposed to be neutral tint, but it's not really daylight either; just slightly green tinged. I've read that this is due to Olight's anti-glare coating.

With the clip attached, it can be a bit slow to find the power button - it's not immediately obvious by feel.

Modes are Moonlight, Low, Medium, High (or Low, Medium, High, Turbo if you're an optimist). The Moonlight mode is reasonable and Medium is ok, but High is probably what you want.

The instructions are poor. The method to engage the strobe seemed incredibly Byzantine, but when I played around with it, it was dead simple. YoU just need to spend a few seconds to get to a particlar modee I can live with the interface, but I don't think Zebralight has anything to fear ...

The magnet can't hold the flashlight horizontal if you stick it on something like a fridge door (or car). That's because it's barely strong enough for the 1x AA configuration, let alone the 2x AA setup.

In short, it's a serviceable low-powered flashlight that you would expect to pay between $30 and $50 for, but definitely not the crazy amounts they're asking for the titanium limited edition variants (which thankfully I skipped).
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz
Sunwayman D40A mini-review:

I can't believe I thought this truncated brute was "relatively small". :) With 4x 2550mAH XX Eneloops onboard, it's definitely a solid, even hefty flashlight. You would have to have seriously baggy pants to accommodate this in your pocket. :eek:

The other negative would have to be the tiny 2-button interface. In the dark, you can eventually figure out where the buttons are and which one to press. Too bad if you were hoping to ward off would-be muggers. It's not the best use of an extra button, although it seemed to make some sense when I'd just read the instructions and practised for a while. Of course, now I've forgotten and it just seems weird.

The positives are simple enough: it has absolutely fantastic beam distribution, big output, big throw and presumably big battery life. Color of the neutral white version is very pleasing, despite the noticeable purple-fringed spill that seems to be de rigueur these days. Obviously, it's very bright, maybe even 980 lumens as claimed.

I'd just like to bang on about the beam, because I don't think "beamshots" really convey the optical variations in flashlights. I've needed to monitor how an adjustable-pattern mechanical sprinkler is watering my new turf at night, and the Sunwayman just blitzes all my other flashlights for efficacy. This is on Medium brightness, not High or Turbo.

The experience has made me more interested in other Sunwayman products, but hopefully with bigger buttons and a slightly saner interface. If you want the brightest flashlight that can be serviced by a 4xAA charger, this is it.

P.S. I also bought a Nitecore 40mm diffuser for this - it fits just fine but IMO ceiling bounce is probably a better technique inside a house.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,801
Location
Brisbane, Oz
As mentioned, I also bought an MG RX-1 "Thrower" and a Romisen RC-T602 for less than $30 each (the MG was discounted due to minor cosmetic damage).

The MG has a particularly big, but orange peel, reflector. Predictably, it throws very well (lights up trees a couple of hundred meters away), but on my sample I'd guess overall light output is somewhat less than the 800-odd lumens claimed. It comes with a holster and both reverse-clicky and 'tactical' forward-clicky switches. When I asked some people to compare it to the Romisen, they preferred the shape, balance and matt anodized finish of the MG. So really good as a gift, but probably no longer available. :(

The Romisen has more of a gloss finish (painted?). But as a flashlight, it's significantly brighter than the MG and very probably delivers the claimed 730 lumens, despite the 5000K (3C bin) neutral-white tint. I was worried that the spot was a teensy bit doughnutty, but in practise the focal length seems to be spot on. Spill is good. Three power-levels, including a truly useful 5% (<35-40 lumens). Build is very good to excellent, with lubed threads and of course O-rings. Actually, I doubt there is a better flashlight for the price. The only possible weakness might be regulation over time, which I have yet to test, and of course the investment in an 18650 LiIon battery and charger (but I don't think that's much different from a NiMH kit).
 

mubs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Nov 22, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Somewhere in time.
I should be able to get my hands on my Sunwayman D40A Neutral + Nitecore diffuser in about a month. Thanks for the review and for confirming I made a good choice.
 

pfrcom

What is this storage?
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Messages
8
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Hi everyone - first post from another, Melbourne-based, Aussie

I have a Sunwayman D40A too, but take it only occasionally for evening dog walking because it's an annoying heavy lump to carry in a pocket, or anywhere else

My current favourite is a Jetbeam BC20, tempted by a seller offering a special on eBay - nice & compact, very bright, and simple to operate

Only two modes - normal & turbo, either of which can be pre-activated simply by twisting its head assembly in a single direction

Doesn't have blinking or strobe modes, turning off of which requires cycling through an electronic control

Predecessor to the BC20 was an Olight T20 which developed a flakey On-Off button they call a "tactical momentary-on forward switch" which often requires three presses to turn off - and occasionally turns itself on in the middle of the night, good value when you're asleep and it's nearby

And cycling through its multiple modes by twisting head assembly back and forth is often a pain in the @rse

It put me right off Olight - never wanted another one

And my most recent, a Niteye MSA20 - very impressive for a dual-AA light, although seems less bright than the BC20, even though claimed lumens are ~300 for each

MSA20 also has simple operation - no need to cycle though multiple modes

Unfortunately it's noticable in the pocket also - the BC20 has set a high standard for imperceptible

I've resigned myself to buying CR123s - would like rechargables, but selecting something compatible is too mind-boggling, what with dimensions, voltages, chargers, and quality considerations

Storage I hear you say - my first exposure was an IBM 1405 RAMAC when I started as a computer operator - I'm now a retired SF member also
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,303
Location
Monterey, CA
A friend got to use my EagTac MX25L3 last night was was impressed. He is looking for something larger to replace his 3-D Cell Maglite. Doesn't need more performance, but is hoping for longer battery life. The light will live in his truck, so some kind of wired trickle-charger would be awesome. The EagleTac MX25L2 Turbo seems to support car charging at least.

Thoughts?
 

mubs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Nov 22, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Somewhere in time.
Welcome, pfrcom!

Thanks for the comments on the Sunwayman D40A and the Jetbeam BC20. Every user experience shared is useful.

I bought the D40A as my "power" flashlight. No plans to keep it in the pocket.

I also bought a Zebralight SC52W as my "pocket" light. Remains to be seen how well it fits that role.

For my bedside, I bought a Fenix LD12. Remains to be seen how well it works for that in terms of ease of turning off/on, etc. I certainly didn't want a twisty for the bedside light.

IBM RAMAC. eh? I cut my teeth in the computer industry programming the IBM 1401 ....

-----------------

DD,

Eagletac's quality is supposed to be very good. I think SD will be able to comment better.
 

Stereodude

Not really a
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
10,250
Location
Michigan
A friend got to use my EagTac MX25L3 last night was was impressed. He is looking for something larger to replace his 3-D Cell Maglite. Doesn't need more performance, but is hoping for longer battery life. The light will live in his truck, so some kind of wired trickle-charger would be awesome. The EagleTac MX25L2 Turbo seems to support car charging at least.

Thoughts?
Why does he want larger? Just for the physical clubbing size?
 

Stereodude

Not really a
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
10,250
Location
Michigan
I also bought a Zebralight SC52W as my "pocket" light. Remains to be seen how well it fits that role.
I use a P60 host (Solarforce L2P) as a "pocket" light. That said, I don't keep it in my pocket too much unless I'm working on a project. I have a small CR2 powered 4Sevens Quark Mini on my keychain that's with me pretty much all the time. The MX25L3's are fun lights to take on a walk. :)
 
Top