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Gary_Gough

Let there be light

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Don't see anything on the go yet so.... I'll start with some observations on stuff I use. Good and bad ( sometimes both surprises ). To start with , 3 on the left are EDC . the blue keychain one breaks one of my "rules" as it's tighten to turn on. Those in general also come apart in pocket sometime. The brown one with the USB thumb drive was a good surprise, $3.00 , switch operated, uses 1 AA battery and is as bright as the $70 Fenix E20, also has rubber seals so at least water resistant. The Prime Lite is a multiple magnetic mount, switch controlled "trouble" light that lives in my vest pocket. 2 AA. Diffuse work light B|.  The Fenix is water proof, and very well made. Almost too well, the batteries can be dead and leaking before the light fades. Aluminum and leaking alkaline batteries aren't great together. The orange unit is combo white light, black light, laser pointer ( $10, co-op hardware ) 3 AAA,  works well. Silver unit older Canadian Tire light  3 AAA lives in tool box. the two end ones are also nice surprises, $3 each, "Voltax" , one 3 AAA and the other a single AA , bright and take a beating. Have several of each in packs, computer bags, car :D. Head set is a "Dorcy" about $35 , well made and bright 3 AAA , three intensity. good hands free work light. Bad news, not shown , Mini Mag light, LED died in the first week, and it's a loosen to light. For $65 I would have been much better off with 21 of those small brown units. Power is optional where I live, ( generally multiple short failures every day ) with good odds of one or two hours out any time a storm comes through, so I always have something within reach.

 

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Sweet Collection Gary:

Bet You got some dielectric grease for those sticky battery terminals in your electronic boxes..

Party weekend here in Pike Lake..smell of bbq wafting up the Lake...coyotes will be howling at

the big moon again tonight I venture..Lot's of people enjoying the outdoors today here in SK..

cheers

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Sweet Collection Gary:

Bet You got some dielectric grease for those sticky battery terminals in your electronic boxes..

Party weekend here in Pike Lake..smell of bbq wafting up the Lake...coyotes will be howling at

the big moon again tonight I venture..Lot's of people enjoying the outdoors today here in SK..

cheers

Sounds nice. You'd be right on the grease, but I often cheat and use moly CV joint grease for allot of things ( once did a roadside repack on a "sealed" bearing in an alternator that was rust balls to start, 20,000 km later when I had new bearings they still hadn't failed. ) Thunder up here ( near Meadow Lake ) and I'm off to work in 25 mins...

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Ran into this today. That's right a $1.25 flashlight including 2 * CR2032 lithium button cells, a push button toggle switch, 5 LEDs and a light duty carbiner. It's like a 2 for one discount 2032 plus a free flashlight. Crazier still, it's not half bad.

 

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As far as intensity goes. The brown one is about 3 times as bright at 30 cm as the small blue, longer red and camo trouble light. the larger red is about twice as bright. Measured with a solar cell and amp meter.

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Should make an ok headlight in a pinch, Was looking at a 2600 lumen Li-ion but this has the "club an angry badger" feel to it, plus inertia. Besides it holds a full replacement set of batteries for the scintillometer .

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Update on lights ( yes I'm addicted to toys )... pretty much changing everything over to Li-Ion batteries due to the huge shelf life at room temperature and lack of corrosive leaks. ( that and I now have about 200 good 18650 cells for free ) Best lights ... Been carrying a Thrunite TN12 (2016) for four months now. Uses one 18650 Li-Ion cell ( most dead laptop battery packs have 6 to 9 of these so easy to find free batteries ). Was comparing this to the tactical light one of the RCMP carries a couple of days ago.. brighter, and more options, and less money then his. Two buttons, a tail on/off and a side mode button, 5 intensities.

Keychain has a Thrunite Ti on it now. Three intensities and I'm using a 10440 Li-Ion battery. Might as well be a "tactical" light, top intensity is blindingly bright.

Both of those are firmly in the EDC category now. 

Lots of the old equipment is getting changed over to Li-Ion, sometimes by adding a dummy battery. 18500 Li-Ion directly replaces a 3 AAA pack in some lights. A single 14500 ( AA size ) and a dummy works great in the eTrax Legend GPS handheld 

On the super cheap but good front. I've been having great luck with the "Skywolfeye" brand lights. TLY-6501 uses one 18650 and are about $4 CAD http://www.aliexpress.com/item/High-Quality-Skywolfeye-Brand-Outdoor-Flashlight-T6-LED-18650-Tactical-Flashlight-Zoomable-Aluminum-Alloy-Flashlight-VEJ93/32660461276.html?spm=2114.01010208.8.49.XdlzDY

I've got 10 of these distributed between every pack and anyplace I might need light when the power fails. Don't believe the power numbers listed, measured I get between 1/4 and 1/3 the claimed value, but that also means they run 3 to 4 times longer on a battery charge. Speaking of batteries, most of the cheap Li-Ion cells are also over-rated. Pretty much normal is 1200 MaH ( 1.2 Amp hours ) that's also about right for the early laptop cells. Newer laptop cells average about twice that, I've measured as high as 2.8 Amp hours of discharge on all 9 cells from a "dead" laptop pack discharging at 500 Ma. Measured real values on that cheap flashlight, 600 ma on high and 150 ma on low intensity , so 5 hours or 20 hours use on one charge with the better cells. Not too shabby and on low it's still too bright to look into.

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They just keep getting better, and cheaper. Picked up one of these  https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Super-Powerful-2x18650-LED-Flashlight-6000-Lumens-XML-T6-Torchlights-LED-Flashlights-tactical-lamp-lights-promotion/1000000308031.html

It's about as long as the old 2 battery D cell lights, but that's about all that's equal. The old ones were plastic or pressed tin, dim and prone to leaking if left for 6 months. This one is machined aluminium, 3 intensity ( along with two basically annoying flash modes ) adjustable focus and with a little care selecting 2 good 18650 cells, it will probably work just fine after sitting in a pack for a few years.

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I'm a bit of a lumen nut myself.

20170107_035240.jpg

I've been making a big effort to simplify my battery situation, AA and AAA are only around for medical devices, and remotes, etc.

 

Everything else is Using CR123A. Might be a bit more expensive, but it keeps thigs simple. I got some of these things, and they're pretty cool

20170105_115100.jpg

 

They hold 8 CR123A's

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Some of the better lights will use CR123As or 18650 ( 2X the length of a CR123A ). It does take a circuit that can handle anything from 8.5 volts down to 3 through. My Thrunite TN12(2016) for instance. I settled on the 18650 because I have 250 of them for the effort of pealing them out of old laptop battery packs. ( and I am very frugal (( not to say cheap))  ). 4 cell holders for these are dirt cheap too, but I have melted a couple by drawing way too much current while playing ( anything over 3 amps and the wires start cutting through the plastic until something opens up ).

There was a live video yesterday of the ISS pulling out their NiMH batteries and installing Li-ion, they have a much bigger budget then me to test comparative merits ( way bigger batteries too ).

One addendum about those cheap lights from Aliexpress. On the literature they haven't yet learned how to use disclaimers. For instance power ratings. The one that claims 10 watts in fact it draws .9 amps at 8 volts, so 7 watts max ( and .45 amps and .09 amps ). Lots of finned aluminium and actually seem to be thought out in general. I'm also happy for them to draw a bit less then claimed as it translates into longer run times.

But, looking around I've also spotted flash lights claiming 30 and 100 watts... quick observation , not a chance.

They could use what Sears used to do in the 1960s "Our best 200 watt system" .. the main fuse was 1 amp, the output tubes were rated 5 watts, and the add had a disclaimer in fine print " ** Sears Watts , an industry standard which may differ from other ratings"

They could rate the lights in a new standard say "dimsum watts" and add disclaimers along the same lines. Some of the inflated numbers are obviously doing that but without the legalese for "we lie like a side walk".

For context, the vast majority of the energy , even with LEDs, is still leaving as heat. 5 watts in a compact package can get hot enough to burn.. More surface area = better heat dissipation . A 10 watt light will need the whole case as a heat sink and still be an ok hand warmer. If they claim 20 watts + and don't have a fan, expect something not to measure up.  A small soldering iron will melt lead, and draws 20 watts. In fairness those try not to lose heat but flash lights can be a similar area. ( My TiS , using a 10440 Li-ion draws 1 amp at 4 volts on high, and as it's smaller then my little finger it does get quite warm. Generally use the lower settings though. )

Anyhow, there are some great lights available for very cheap, and some of the sellers do understand what they are talking about. I take anything up to double as being fairly honest but cherry picking.  I've also seen ratings that make no sense at all, confusing units between watts, volts, amps, lumens, milliwatts and have lights with charger inputs with no ratings. I've asked what those take for voltage on the charge port and been told "a battery" so pretty sure I was talking through a machine translation program. Also gotten 50 milliwatt lasers with the add claiming 50,000 watts ( someone getting confused using a calculator I expect. ) Would make an interesting bit of bushcraft, just a few waves across a tree and have a pile of flaming wood fall on the spot.

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5 hours ago, kiwitransient said:

Hey Gary, those Strobe lights are supposed to be annoying.

Try turning it around and aiming it at someone else..

One of the RCMP I work with refers to it as "rave mode" :P 

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21 minutes ago, zackmars said:

Keep in mind not all CR123A lights can take an 18650. On my surefire g2x's, a 16650 is required

Yep. I've got a few that take an 18500 and 17500s too, but they'll take a 14500 ( AA size ) with a bit of packing foam in a pinch, often work on a AA that way too. The two CR123A are pretty much an exact physical match for a 17650 which are rare as hen's teeth.

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Variable quality when you go silly cheap.  I just bought some $3.50 CAD pen lights ( AAA battery, water proof maybe, nice and bright with a standard battery, great using a 10440 Li-ion but not rated for so they could fail ) reading the reviews the thing that stands out is a total lack of quality control. Some have rubber O rings ( like mine ) some don't, and the fact the one I'm playing with is working ( like a tac light ) on a 10440 is likely to mean a shortened life, and probably instant failure on some. Still at the price they are throw away items ( 3 for the price of a coffee at Starbucks in Shanghai ) I'll guess under 15 mins per battery charge maybe 30 on a new AAA

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Basic on/off tail switch. Everything gets warm after 30 seconds.

At home did a couple of tests, draws 1.4 amps , so 5 watts which seems about right for the intensity. batteries I'm using are rated 600 maH so 25 mins from full to dead.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Portable-Mini-Penlight-XPE-R3-Q5-LED-Flashlight-Torch-Pocket-Light-1-Switch-Modes-Outdoor-Camping/32736549245.html

if you want to check them out.  I'll give a bit more info after I torture a couple for awhile.

Oh and I'm using these batteries. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2pcs-600mAh-3-7V-TR-10440-AAA-Rechargeable-Lithium-Battery/665009512.html

They are supposed to have internal safe limiting and shutdown at 2.75 volts discharging ( and cost almost as much as the light itself , so budget $5.50 per set )

Edited by Gary_Gough
More information.

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I have always rocked Fenix lights (LD-20 and LD-22) but these days I am EDC'ing a O-Light ST25 and its working out pretty damn well. 

 

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On 2017-04-06 at 7:31 AM, Thomas said:

I have always rocked Fenix lights (LD-20 and LD-22) but these days I am EDC'ing a O-Light ST25 and its working out pretty damn well.

The Fenix LD20 was one of my favorites for years. I gather Fenix has some 1.5 volt lithium cells now too. Not sure about what the chemistry is on those, but getting away from leaking alkaline cells would be a big improvement. I found the LD20s still threw a fair amount of light with dead leaking cells. Just turning them on wasn't a good enough test of battery condition.

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Interesting comment about leaking Alkaline cells Gary.

I've had that issue. I tend to have Torches stashed around and even with good intentions, forget to check them every 6x months. Result is ruined torches. I now suck up the expense and insert Lithium in stuff not used / checked often. e.g. Man over board light, Buoyancy Aid torch etc.

I'm still a fan of NiMh rechargeables where practical for environmental reasons though..

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Update on those really cheap lights. I've given a few away so decided to stock up again. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/800LM-Hugsby-XPE-R3-LED-Mini-Flashlight-Ultra-Bright-Penlight-Torch-Mini-Pocket-Portable-1-Mode/32728757956.html   Yep the price has dropped to $2.5 CAD. After 6 months I have yet to have a single failure using 10440 cells ( rechargeable Li-Ion ). That combo is so light I wear one inside the collar of my T shirt and don't notice it. Those come in two case styles ( single and double battery ) and rated for 1 to 3 volts, so NiMH will work. I'm going over the rated limit at 4 volts with a fully charged Li-Ion. So 6 months of hard use on one and lots of short uses on several and they seem rock solid.

In use, great for momentary, but they'll kill a battery in 20 mins. So use them to find a bigger light, start the gen set, find the keys, find the car, read the screen on a laptop with a failed backlight, blind whatever you point it at etc.. ( will light up reflective signs at a huge distance ). Not really a good replacement for the room lights for more then 10 mins  About as much light as a 30 watt incandescent.  Consider, when we had 6 volt vehicles that was the rating for a headlight.

And spoke too soon, the light I was using constantly for 6 months finally burned out the LED, from being pushed a bit past it's limit too often. Measured 4.4 volts open circuit across it. Still not going to change the way I use them . Now that I've had one apart too, they are built very well. Step up boost circuit has lots of reserve, and there is an aluminum heat sink behind the LED ( dissipating 4 watts, that's the only reason it lasted as long as it did ). If using disposables, a 3 volt Lithium would be in spec.

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