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Discussion Starter #1
This could go either here or in "General BS"; any mod feel free to move it if necessary.

I got curious about how long these LED flashlights would "really" last, because mfr claims were just all over the place; anywhere from 20 hours to 200 hours claimed for a 2-AA LED light. Tried several different ones, and came up with this:



1 Brinkman 2-D cell, 4-LED (2-LED selectable) bought at walmart; approx $13. Basically the size of a 2-D cell maglite.
2 Rayovac 3-AA cell, 1-LED (2-red LED / one krypton bulb selectable (walmart - $6)
3 Streamlight 4-AA cell, 7-LED - bought at police supply store @ $32
4 Dorcy 1-AAA "solitaire" size, 1-LED, walmart $5
5 Standard 3-D cell Mag-lite, normal maglite bulb (for comparison)

(All started with new Energizer batteries.)

Lite # and Hours to various levels

1
0-68 hours - very bright for LED light, ok for inside & limited outside use
68-92 - roughly as bright as old-style 'cheap' 2-D cell flashlights
92 hours started dimming, switched to 2-LED mode (rather than 4)
Still ok for use inside, at room-distances
92-190 - virtually unchanged until basically dead at 190 hours
(Yes; from Saturday midnight until 10 pm the following Sunday - impressive)


2 0-60 hours - virtually unchanged up to 60 hours, bright enough for use indoors in a room
60-130 - borderline for "room use", still plenty bright for looking on shelves, in drawers, etc.
130-200 - ok for "desk use", looking in drawers, etc, until basically dead @ 200 hours.


3 0-59 hours - More than adequate for room use; brighter than AA mini-mag
59-120 - borderline for room use; ok for "desk use"
120-180 - ok for desk use untill basically dead at 180 hours


4 0-12 hours - brighter than maglite "solitaire"; plenty ok for desk; borderline for room use
12-26 hours - gradual dimming until basically dead @ 26 hours


5 0-4 hours - brightest by far, with the streamlight a not-too distant second
4-7 hours - grandual dimming until basically dead @ 7 hours.



Obviously, this is subjective, having no light candela meter; but if nothing else, it lets me know that the Streamlights I carry in the truck & wife's car are more than sufficient for any imaginable roadside emergency situation. And the big 2D lite would outlast even a month-long power outage's use, even without spare batteries.

The 2D light is definitely more of a spotlight than floodlight, and more than sufficient for any inside use, and even sufficient (for the first 90-100 hours) for outside use. If it were built as tough as a maglite, I'd buy several and recommend them highly. But in my limited experience with Brinkman LED lights, they've been somewhat fragile, just in the main body construction. (cheap plastic)

The Rayovac is limited, but I did like the red LED option. For some reason, they put in only one white LED for 'normal' use, but two red LED's when you switch to red mode. I would have preferred it setup with two white and one red. The krypton bulb is something I can't see any use for. It's not much brighter than LED use; don't know if they've got some current limiter on it, or if it's just a crappy krypton. (Odds are in favor of "crappy", considering the price of the light.)

The streamlight, bought at a local police supply store, just impressed me a bunch. It's brighter than my Stinger light close-up, but doesn't reach out past 15-20 feet as well. Definitely a floodlight, but great for seeing a work area at night; it lights up the nearby area with a very broad light, where many flashlights give one very bright spot, and a wide dark area (made worse since you're looking into the bright spot). This LED light would absolutely be my choice for night time changine of a tire, campfire use, etc. Also, with its body shape, you can lay it down without it rolling away, and being a streamlight, it's built about like a maglite. Very tough. May use these for some Christmas presents this year.

The little Dorcy AAA light is about what you'd expect. I'll carry it in place of the old maglite solitaire in my shaving kit when travelling. It's bright, MUCH longer lasting, but likely not as tough, even though its body is aluminum, rather than plastic as many LED lights are.

Anyway, just thought I'd pass it along. Have a good weekend.
 

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Very interesting results. Thanks John, you have a good weekend too.

RIKA
 

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Yes thanks.I tried a similar test on a much smaller scale w/a Streamlight headlight.It's one of those w/a single incandescent bulb,1 led,or 3leds.With a fresh pair of double a's I could see to work on the car at night w/either the 3 leds or the regular bulb about equally.It's kinda handy if your expectations are kept low.

A side not on batteries.One of my customers is a machine repair company.They fix machine tools of all kinds.They do a lot of press repair for Ford for example.My bud told me that just last year his crew spent 3 weeks in Mo(IIRC)fixing & upgrading presses at a plant that makes batteries AAA,AA,C,& D cells.Much like car batteries it's all the same battery under the logo.He saw Energizers along with Radio Shack,K-Mart,& a few more that my memory fails me with.All off the same machine with the same internals.
YMMV
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've had good luck with the "Ever Active" brand walmart carries; they're what I usually buy, but went with Energizers for this. May be the same battery underneath it all...

One thing I didn't mention was the "bulb life" side of the equation. With the maglite, this 7-hour test is probably 10-20% of the bulb's life expectancy. With the LED's, 7 hours of use isn't even one-tenth of one percent. May or may not be an issue to someone, but it's worth factoring in, if you're considering a light for long-term (post-shtf?) use.

With the bulbs making the batteries last 20-50 times longer, that means just 1/20th to 1/50th the amount of spare batteries to have on hand. Whether you're going "nomad", or heading out to a Red Cross shelter, or trying to make your way home through whatever situation, having "20 spare sets of batteries worth" of extra time in your flashlight, without the weight & bulk of having to carry extra batteries, would be a VERY good thing.

It also basically eliminates the need for spare bulbs outright.

I haven't tried any other high-end LED lights, but I recommend the 4-AA Streamlight LED light very highly. Smaller than two AA mini-mags side by side (it's a semi-flat shape), yet will provide two hours of very good light every night for four weeks; and then "useable" light (two hours a night) for another EIGHT weeks without any spare batteries to carry... Heck of a deal.

In the car, hunting, camping, etc, one of them is going with me. I'll likely pick up a couple more for the house, the ghb, etc. (Definitely one for the ghb, to replace the 2-AA Brinkman "Rebel" in there now. The streamlight's a much better light.) By far the best combination of size, quality, and useable time I've had so far in a flashlight.

Kind of like the CAR, I guess. Maybe not the "ultimate" for every task, but very versatile and very good at quite a few different tasks. :)
 

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Excellent post, are all of the flashlights available with colored filters. Darn pesky night vision, you only miss it once you loose it!
 

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I want a light for use with a pistol, which means a side button and AA batteries. A solar battery charger, from Campmor, Inc, is a big help, too.Total wt under half a lb, to include a spare bulb and 4 spare batteries. Not bad, for the overal performance potential. Best to have a red lense, tho, with # of tape on it, for stealth use. A headband is a good idea also. I'd like to look into having a small led type light for the headband, just adequate to show where you are walking, but not visible very far away at all.
 

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Andy, just remember that the headlight you wear will be visible at a distance to night vision. Many people have it, including me.

RIKA
 

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John,bulb life vs led life is an excellent point.You get a potentially less effective lamp(depending on size/quantity of LEDs)but the units total life ezpectantcy is,like you said,MUCH greater.

Has anyone seen a LED lamp that uses LEDs that are individually larger than the little 1/8in ones normally seen.For the last couple of years truck taillight leds have gone from having dozens of little LEDs to having five or six much bigger(1/2in?)ones.The bigger ones are MUCH brighter.
 

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LED lamps that clip to your headband or hat bill are great for in camp chores, tunnels, inside unlit structures, etc.

I keep a small LED button light with a wafer battery, run time about 10 hours, on a small mini-carabiner. No matter what, I'll have a light.

The Brinkman Rebel LED lights are great but not as tough, being made of plastic, as the aluminum Maglight.
 

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So does anyone make a tough light like the Maglight in LED trim?

Until then, the Maglight will ride in the truck.
 

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good reading, here!

thanks, for the info, all the way around, i have,mag-lights, 2,#2 d-cell mags,1,#4 d-cell, and a mini-mag,[i'm behind the curve here]

but have had a great interest in the super bright weapon mount lights, since they came out[to much $ still]


oh!ya! and that 3 millon candle power rechargerable[sp] spot light i keep on the night stand[how could i forget that]





thanks for the info
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Garand said:
Excellent post, are all of the flashlights available with colored filters. Darn pesky night vision, you only miss it once you loose it!

The big 2-D Brinkmann has red (and blue, don't know what it's for) filters with it, and the 3-AA Rayovac can alternate modes between single white or dual red LED's. The brinkmann "Rebel" I've had for a couple years also has colored filters.

For my kid to take on a campout, I'd give him the Rayovac light, as the single white LED gives decent light, the dual red LED's give GREAT red night "task" light, it also has the (limited) white "normal" light, and the batteries would never go dead on him. But I don't yet trust its durability, as it's a typical-seeming small, plastic flashlight.

Lack of red light, and the fact that it uses a tailcap switch, are the only two things I'd change about the Streamlight light; it's that good. I used one of them this weekend doing some re-wiring work in an attic and closet. Turn it on, set it down, and it doesn't roll around, and if you leave it turned on for an hour or two, who cares, as it still has more than 95% of its battery life left.
 

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I've carried a Maglite with me daily for about 9 years now along with a Gerber multi tool and on occasion (always at a bad time), my maglite has turned its self on in the belt pouch that it rides in. Which would you recommend, that minimizes the possibility of accidental turn on?
 

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John in AR said:
The big 2-D Brinkmann has red (and blue, don't know what it's for) filters
Blood shows up real good under blue light. Possibly useful for night tracking a blood trail?

DC
 

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I also use an infinity task light with a red led. It's very small (single AA battery), built like a tank and runs forever.

:devil:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Garand said:
I've carried a Maglite with me daily for about 9 years now along with a Gerber multi tool and on occasion (always at a bad time), my maglite has turned its self on in the belt pouch that it rides in. Which would you recommend, that minimizes the possibility of accidental turn on?
Assuming you're talking about a mini-maglite, the 2-AA version...?

If that's the type & size of light we're talking about, the Streamlight is what I'd go with. It uses a tailcap, which I'm not real hot on, but the switch is recessed and protected, so it would take a minor miracle for it to accidently turn on. It uses 4 AA's, in two rows of two, which make it semi-flat so it likely won't fit in a mini-mag-specific pouch.

If you mean to replace a big 2- or 3-"D" maglite, I don't know. The Brinkmann 2-D gives a LOT of light for a LONG time, but I suspect it'd be too fragile for much field use. More of an "in the house in case of month-long power outage" (especially for an elderly person) kind of thing, imo. Five year battery shelf-life, and long-term use-ability when needed, would be good for that; but after handling it, I wouldn't expect it to survive a week-long campout, much less field exercise. (And it's certainly not stout enough to impart the "etilgaM" tatoo on a forehead that the Maglite can... :dgrin: )
 

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Discussion Starter #17
.45 COLT said:
Blood shows up real good under blue light. Possibly useful for night tracking a blood trail?

DC

I never thought of that; that's probably it. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Garand said:
I've carried a Maglite with me daily for about 9 years now along with a Gerber multi tool and on occasion (always at a bad time), my maglite has turned its self on in the belt pouch that it rides in. Which would you recommend, that minimizes the possibility of accidental turn on?
At lunch today was flipping thru a Cabela's catalog and saw some of their own brand LED flashlights. At first glance, I thought they were Surefire's; they look like the old "9N" almost. Don't know who makes them, but they're at least made ouf of 'machined aluminum' and certainly look a lot more rugged than the Brinkmann.

There's a 3-D version with 20 LED's that 'should' give a bunch of light, and still last a long time; 50-100 hours maybe...?

If someone has one or buys one, it would be interesting to see how rugged they really are and how long the batteries last. (It's $59.99, and I'm done buying flashlights for a while... :) )
 
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