Author Topic: Flashlights -- Then and Now  (Read 1347 times)

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Flashlights -- Then and Now
« on: March 20, 2018, 01:10:35 PM »
Flashlights then and now

My faithful companion for nearly 50 years has been my 2 4-cell and 5-cell Maglites.  I was thrilled when they came out with the halogen bulbs for it and boosted the beam to 160 Lumens!  Adjustable beam width and enough weight to baton a Bowie!  For 20 years all the LEOs I worked with carried them.  When rechargeable versions came out, every patrol car had a charger wired to the dash.  Not only a great light, but an even better backup for a nightstick or PR-24.
But being a technophile, even at my age, I'm more than willing to indulge my flashlight fetish.  My present to myself was a  Nebo Redline Micro LED light.  2 3/4" long, weighing about 0.16 oz, and using a rechargeable CR123 battery, it pumps out an impressive 360 Lu when zoomed in (has a 6x zoom feature, 3 intensities, plus strobe).  It only has two down sides: it's so small it's easy to overlook in a pocket, and a spare battery costs nearly as much as the flashlight!  Doh...
Then for my birthday last year my son presented me with a Uoline flashlight.  It's 5 1/2" long with a slide controlled zoom.  It uses a XML-T6 LED cell, and runs off either 3 AAA batteries, or a single  rechargeable 18650 Lithium battery.  It's advertised as a 600 lu light, but mfgs are rarely honest in how they calculate the lumens of their lights.  All I know is it totally exlipses the 360 lu Redline, and will light up a whole room if you point it at a white 7-foot ceiling. Ha!  The flood zoom at night will like up most of my yard when I let the dog out at night.
Anyway, just thought I start this thread for a campfire chat about what folks have for their favorite lights.  I have a headlamp I use daily when I need both hands free, but it's actually some camo thingy my daughter got me in a souvenier shop at Glacier Park.  Low tech, but gets the job done and has held up for 3 years of every day use.
What do you guys use to see in the dark when there's no moon?

Maglite 4 cell:





One of the numerous XML-T6 LED lights:



Nebo Redline Micro:


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Offline madmax

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2018, 01:27:34 PM »
    Retired the MagLights when I found the Holy Grail.  A headlight.  Never popped for a good one.  I just needed a little light so as not to fumble around as much.  Well I bought a Petzl for caving and climbing but it was heavy.  Now I want a good one with the capabilities like you're talking about but I'm so confused by the choices I have procrastinated for a long time.

     I have to admit having Harbor Freight freebees stashed many places. 
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2018, 01:53:44 PM »
Still have my old 3 D cell Maglite stashed under the kitchen counter.  Converted it to LED some years back.  Don't use it much anymore, but it's still there and still works fine.  Also have a couple mini Maglites converted to LED stashed here and there.  Reviewed these awhile back.  The O lights stay in the vehicles.  One of the Fenix lights is on the back porch so I can grab it to go close up the chicken run after dark and the other is in my nightstand.  FWIW,I said in that review that I removed the tailcap batteries from the O lights.  What I should have said was I removed the tailcap magnets from the O lights.

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« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 05:03:51 PM by imnukensc »
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Offline crashdive123

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 02:18:36 PM »
I have quite a few bright lights and even more lights in general.  For work I keep a couple of 1000 lumen lights and a couple that advertised as 3000 lumen lights.  Not sure where they actually fall on the lumen scale, but they are bright.  I have dozens of smaller lights ranging from 1200 lumens down to bright enough to make coffee lumens.  There are probably six or eight headlamps scattered around.  I've also been hoarding the small, fairly bright work lights with the magnetic back from Harbor Freight (and others that are similar).

Hello.  My name is Crash and I'm a flashlightaholic.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2018, 02:24:00 PM »
I still have my big MagLite in the kitchen.  I figure it is worth keeping around and it would make a good club in a pinch.

I bought several different models of the bright LED flashlights.  Use them most of the time these days.  I have one each vehicle, one in my pack, and a couple around the house.  I have one that is pretty bright and uses rechargeable batteries.  I bought it from a LEO I know when he got a better one. 
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 04:37:53 PM by wsdstan »
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Offline greyhound352

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 04:23:13 PM »
I have a couple of headlamps, a few Surefire lights and few china lights witb overrated lumens but they are bright. One of my Surefire lights has a drop-in replacement that at least doubles the lumens.

I picked up a three cell maglite at a grage sale for a couple of bucks and installed  a drop-in to make it a great light. The drop-in's are made in America and have lasted for many years so far and I imagine many more. The wife loves the maglite when she lets the dogs out at night and they start barking, she can light up the night.

Here is the link for rhe maglite. https://malkoff-devices.myshopify.com/products/3-6-d-cell-drop-in-to-fit-maglite
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2018, 04:30:36 PM »
I have a couple of headlamps, a few Surefire lights and few china lights witb overrated lumens but they are bright. One of my Surefire lights has a drop-in replacement that at least doubles the lumens.

I picked up a three cell maglite at a grage sale for a couple of bucks and installed  a drop-in to make it a great light. The drop-in's are made in America and have lasted for many years so far and I imagine many more. The wife loves the maglite when she lets the dogs out at night and they start barking, she can light up the night.

Here is the link for rhe maglite. https://malkoff-devices.myshopify.com/products/3-6-d-cell-drop-in-to-fit-maglite
I'd LOVE to upgrade my 2 Maglites with that, but at $42 a pop I don't see it happening soon. :-\ (That's about 2x the price of a stock Maglite.)

Here's a possible alternative:

https://www.amazon.com/LudoPam-Upgrade-Conversion-Maglite-Flashlight/dp/B079D7VQ2R/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1521585129&sr=8-8&keywords=Maglite+LED+conversion
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 04:37:15 PM by Old Philosopher »
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Offline Phaedrus

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2018, 01:17:12 AM »
My 80's vintage 3-D Maglight still works but it's in my mom's possession now.   Any smaller light will get lost in the clutter of her house! :P  I'm a pretty hardcore light geek myself, but at least I do use my toys. :D

Offline xj35s

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2018, 08:16:28 AM »
I have 3 of the atomic zoom style xml-t6 lights. I like them because I got them for$9.99 each and they use 18650 which I built a solar charger and a usb charger for them.

The one light has a purple lanyard that was a neck strap key chain thing. It makes finding that BLACK flashlight at night in my BLACK duffel bag easy.

I have a 450 lumen headlamp I got cheap at auto zone. I got it half off of the already sale price because I spent over $150. I use it when working on something at night, welding fabricating, brakes. It's just too heavy to use for wandering around. It uses 4 AA batteries with a heavy battery pack on the back of the head straps.

I have a very small Petzl that uses 2 AAA I think. This is my go to if out with the dogs at night or just a quick bike ride.

I love these two cheap dynamo's too. the green one is OLD and still works perfect.

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 11:00:03 AM »
I need to see if my wife was serious when she said I needed to upgrade my headlamp. ;)  I use it on a daily basis when putting the chickens to bed, and stoking the wood stove in the middle of the night. Seems like I do a bunch of routine stuff in the dark around here. Hehe. It's fairly light, using 3x AAA batteries behind the lamp itself. The straps are getting a bit frazzled though (who isn't?).

My XML-T6 light takes the 18650 batteries, which is great because my Pico vape machine takes the same so I have a charger and 4 batteries to alternate between them.
The only drawback to the Redline Micro is the cost of the CR123 Lithium batteries. A pair of rechargeable batteries cost more than the dang flashlight!  My charger will handle both the 3.7v 18650s and 123s, so all I need to find is a good deal on rechargeable ones.  The problem I've found is the 3.7v CR123 is usually around 700mah, while the NON-rechargeable 3.0v Lithium is 1400mah.  It sounds like the spare battery will spend a lot of time on the charger.
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Offline greyhound352

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2018, 03:44:42 PM »
The only drawback to the Redline Micro is the cost of the CR123 Lithium batteries. A pair of rechargeable batteries cost more than the dang flashlight!  My charger will handle both the 3.7v 18650s and 123s, so all I need to find is a good deal on rechargeable ones.  The problem I've found is the 3.7v CR123 is usually around 700mah, while the NON-rechargeable 3.0v Lithium is 1400mah.  It sounds like the spare battery will spend a lot of time on the charger.

How about a $1 a battery.  https://www.batteryjunction.com/tpen-tcr123a-.html
I have purchased many of these batteries and they last as good as Surefire CR123 IMHO.
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Offline Orbean

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2018, 05:20:13 PM »
I have an Ozark Trails ( i think,the walmart brand) headlamp and flashlight that i recieved as a gift a couple of years ago. They work great. I also have a small streamlight that fits in my pocket. All run on aaa batteries.

Headlamps are key for me. I use them on my bike, when working under a house, night fishing, reading. On bike and pack trips i ditch flashlights for headlamps, they are so much handier.

I remember as a kid, flashlights were either C, D, or those square batteries. I then discovered the small aa battery mag light and have been hooked on small flashlights ever since. It is amazing how different flashlights are compared to even twenty years ago when i started seeing surefires around, and otherreally expensive lights. Now you can get the same lumens or more from a ten dollar light. Not only are they brighter and less dramtically less expensive, but also tougher, they can withstand the abuse that most flashlights i knew as a kid would have destroyed.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2018, 12:17:51 AM »
The only drawback to the Redline Micro is the cost of the CR123 Lithium batteries. A pair of rechargeable batteries cost more than the dang flashlight!  My charger will handle both the 3.7v 18650s and 123s, so all I need to find is a good deal on rechargeable ones.  The problem I've found is the 3.7v CR123 is usually around 700mah, while the NON-rechargeable 3.0v Lithium is 1400mah.  It sounds like the spare battery will spend a lot of time on the charger.

How about a $1 a battery.  https://www.batteryjunction.com/tpen-tcr123a-.html
I have purchased many of these batteries and they last as good as Surefire CR123 IMHO.
Thanks! That's a heck of a deal on the 3.0v batteries!  Of course their 3.7v rechargeable ones are $5.95 ea, and only 650 mAh, but that's still $1 cheaper than I've found them elsewhere.

$4.13 shipping on a $5 order for 5 batteries = $1.83/ea. Great!
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Offline Icepick15

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2018, 01:49:30 AM »
Old Philosopher-------

L A Police Gear has Streamlight CR123 batteries on sale right now for $11.19 a dozen.  They're usually about $16 a dozen.  No idea how long this price will last.  Have never seen them priced this low.  I don't know what the shipping charge is.  They are shipped loose in a zip lock bag.  I have ordered these and Sanyo CR123 batteries from them for several years.  I have gotten good service from both brands in several different SureFire flashlights.  I used them on duty for several years before I retired.

I have 3 or 4 dozen Streamlight CR123s in the closet right now.  I don't "need" any batteries at present.  But, at this price, I'll probably order a couple dozen.

If you decide to check them out, go to www (dot) LAPoliceGear (dot) com.  Go to the "closeout" section and scroll down.  I doubt very seriously that they're really on closeout.  They have been listed on closeout for a long, long time.  I have ordered them 2 or 3 or 4 times while they were on closeout, maybe more.  LAPG does this with a lot of their items.  I have no idea why.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 03:03:41 AM by Icepick15 »
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Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2018, 04:51:15 AM »
I have not really moved into the 21st Century with regards to flash lights.  My main use home lights are still an ancient Maglight rechargeable, a couple of rechargeable Streamlight stingers.
In my Maxpedition bag,  I carry a Surefire Fury and a Fenix PD35.  Oh, and an old Surefire TitanTi light.  That's about it.  I do have one head lamp but don't use it often.  A Black Diamond Rechargeable.   Keep forgetting about it.
They are just not all that important to me.   I am not often out and about after dark anymore.   
Oh,  I did recently pick up a Maglight two C cell light.  LED.  Pretty bright, and you can focus the beam.  It is now the dedicated truck light.

Offline Icepick15

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2018, 06:24:10 PM »
RATS!!!
And various and assorted other words that aren't allowed here.

I found Streamlight CR123 batteries on sale at L A Police Gear last night for $11.19 a dozen, and posted about it for Old Philosopher.  Well....they are back up to $15.99 a dozen now.

I forgot to order them this morning.

AARRRRGGGHHHH!!! <---that's allowed, right?
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Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2018, 07:44:07 AM »
found those for $9.99 (for 6) on Amazon a few years back.  Bought a pack.  Still have not opened them.    A set of CR123 batteries will last me a year or more in my Surefire lights.  I use the 18650 rechargeable batteries in my Fenix light.  I recharge them about twice a year.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2018, 09:23:09 AM »
I use my lights so much I'm recharging about once a week!
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Offline xj35s

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2018, 03:50:18 PM »
Me too. I use mine at work.

I just got an e-mail of this ultra-fire t6 50000 lumen for $3.64 and free shipping. Ya think they added a zero by mistake? is states that multiple times.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tactical-50000Lumens-T6-LED-Flashlight-Zoomable-18650-Military-Focus-Torch-/202199591542

I picked this up for$2.50 on clearance at wally. I like it has two separate buttons for each light. simple on off. red or white. Single AAA. No head band, clips on.



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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2018, 04:56:54 PM »
Me too. I use mine at work.

I just got an e-mail of this ultra-fire t6 50000 lumen for $3.64 and free shipping. Ya think they added a zero by mistake? is states that multiple times.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tactical-50000Lumens-T6-LED-Flashlight-Zoomable-18650-Military-Focus-Torch-/202199591542

That is the EXACT same light I have, just re-branded. I've found that same light under 4 different brands, just on Amazon.  In reality, they are closer to 500 lumen, although I don't have a light meter to verify it. 50K lumen would be closer to a military search light for aircraft! Hahahaha
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Offline wolfy

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2018, 12:08:10 AM »
An even cheaper offering of the same flashlight from eBay.....

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tactical-50000Lumens-T6-LED-Flashlight-Zoomable-18650-Military-Focus-Torch/173231816901?_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D44039%26meid%3Dbdf1770c513e41178766a71a14ae933f%26pid%3D100623%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D6%26mehot%3Dag%26sd%3D202199591542%26itm%3D173231816901&_trksid=p2047675.c100623.m-1
If a person is looking for a dozen to scatter around the home/cars that might be a really sweet deal...if you don't need them before the middle of June.
Equal chance that these offers on evil-bay are the factory 2nds that get dumped on the import market by the gross. 
At $12-$15 each, I'd rather take a chance on Amazon and their 30 day return policy.
All I know is the model I got through Amazon is very good and solid.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2018, 12:28:00 AM »
That's not been my experience when ordering from China......many times the trip from China to my front door takes less time than shipping from sources in this country.   How's YOUR delivery service been lately? :lol:
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2018, 08:48:23 AM »
Wolfy, I was going by the eBay listing that estimated delivery as late as 12 June.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2018, 08:49:15 AM »
I ordered some stuff from Evil Bay earlier this summer.  It was coming from China.  Free shipping.  Six weeks after it was paid for it showed up.  I also ordered some automotive trim tape from China on the bay.  It cost three dollars for shipping.  Showed up at my house in a week.  There are different levels of service from overseas.  China cut a deal with our USPS that favors China over domestic shipping for the same items.  It is flat wrong to do that but they did.  In some sort of feeble protest I buy no more stuff from China.  If I want a new flashlight after reviewing what people on this thread are saying I will try domestic sources only. 

Most of my flashlights run on AA batteries.  The exceptions are the Surefire which uses those big rechargeable batteries and reading this thread I was pointed to some sources for them which I wasn't aware of.  I do have one that uses CR123 batteries but prefer the ones that use AAs.  It seems to me that my lights are bright enough to do what I need to get done with them and anything a lot brighter wasn't any more useful. 
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2018, 09:49:25 AM »
Boys oh boys there are a lot of choices and preferences for lights out there.

I still have my Dad's old 4 D-cell Mag light. It's in my bedside table for when things go bump in the night (the latest bump in the night was two raccoons in my backyard maple. One had chased the other up the tree and forced it out on a branch on a limb and was trying to kill it, as far as I can tell). It's still running on the original incandescent bulb and still has the spare in the butt. I'll do the LED conversion once the bulb goes. At this rate that will likely be in about 2045.

I have a rechargeable mechanic's LED light with a magnetic plate that lives on the side of my fridge. It's useful during the rare power outages.

My go to lights are two Energizer Brand 3x AAA LED headlamps. They have different light/colour combinations from each other. I normally run rechargeable AAA's in them except for occasionally on multiday, sub-zero (Celsius) winter trips.

I like Photon key fob lights for daily carry and in survival kits. They were the first LED lights I can recall. My preference is the Photon II because it has an on/off switch in addition to the pinch grip, but they're hard to find around here.

I often have Dollar Store 3x AAA 9-LED aluminum tube lights stashed in various totes, around the house, in the car. They are inexpensive, decently durable for the price, and I don't mind giving them away when required. (Cub Scouts and Scout Leaders for some reason...). For these lights they normally run on the cheapo batteries they came with and so I'm not giving away rechargeables (worth six times more than the flashlight).



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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2018, 11:09:37 AM »
... It seems to me that my lights are bright enough to do what I need to get done with them and anything a lot brighter wasn't any more useful.

Brightness and field of illumination is important to me.  Because of where I live, when I let the dog out to do her business in the dark of night, there could be anything in the yard from deer, feral cats, skunks, Big Cat, or a black bear.  A compact flashlight that lights up the whole yard before she ventures out makes sense to me.  This Voline on its widest angle has a beam that's ~50' wide at 50' distance.  If you've ever seen the TV ads for "tactical" flashlights that light up the entire front of a 2 story house from across the street --that's it. Works very well in my circumstances.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2018, 12:18:43 PM »
I recall starting a thread on my experiences with the Nite Ize LED conversion kits for MagLite flashlights a couple of years ago.  They are not as bright as the sooperdooper lights we have available to us today, but they are head & shoulders above the original MagLite bulbs.  All three that I own have now been converted and I am happy with the change.  I'm also satisfied with all of the cheap, AA single-cell, Chinese lights that I have stashed around the house and vehicles because it's nice to have a light that WORKS after being stored for months without use.  It's remarkable when I think back to the time when my best flashlight was a 2 D cell Rayovac Sportsman and every time I?d go to use it, the batteries were either dead or dying! >:(
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2018, 02:01:28 PM »
As a side note, and FWIW, I read a lab test on various batteries awhile back.
They used 2-D cell flashlights, and tested many of the top name batteries. They just turned them on, and waited until they were dead out.

#2 was the Duracell alkaline. (15hrs)
#3 was the the Energizer generation of alkaline. (12hrs)

But #1 was the Ray-o-Vac standard alkaline battery. (20hrs!)

And when you can find them, Ray-o-Vac batteries cost 1/2 what a Duracel does, and 1/3 the price of Energizers.
I'm convinced the price break is because Ray-o-Vac doesn't spend $1M/mo on TV and magazine ads.
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Offline xj35s

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2018, 02:26:07 PM »
That's interesting. I haven't used them in 40 years. We are basically in a lithium ion world now but Duracell has always been my go to.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline wolfy

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2018, 05:03:19 PM »
I suppose you can find differing results all over the internet and I do not remember seeing the Rayovac batteries being tested against the other two, but in a test I read in Consumer Reports magazine, the Energizer bunny whipped the light with the Duracell batteries.  That was a few years ago, so things may have changed.  I always buy what they have on sale anyway, so I guess it is a moot point which one lasts longest for me. :shrug:
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2018, 05:59:08 PM »
That's interesting. I haven't used them in 40 years. We are basically in a lithium ion world now but Duracell has always been my go to.
Two years ago you couldn't even find them in my town. Now everyone has a few different sizes on the rack. I find that interesting, too.

I suppose you can find differing results all over the internet and I do not remember seeing the Rayovac batteries being tested against the other two, but in a test I read in Consumer Reports magazine, the Energizer bunny whipped the light with the Duracell batteries.  That was a few years ago, so things may have changed.  I always buy what they have on sale anyway, so I guess it is a moot point which one lasts longest for me. :shrug:

Speaking of sale prices, my go-to batteries (AA and AAA) before going to rechargeable were Panasonic batteries from the local Dollar Store.  For me, they lasted longer than standard EverReady alkaline batteries, and a 4 pack of AA's could be bought for $1.00.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline lgm

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Re: Flashlights -- Then and Now
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2018, 07:01:39 PM »
I view flashlights like I view knives,  can't afford the top of the line & don't bother with the bottom of the line.
A Fenix e05 rides in my pocket,  it is more then enough for most of my day to day needs. When I need to step it up I use my solorforce with a 1000lm p60 drop in running a 18650. I like the modular p60 format. I can buy a new drop in rather then a whole new light.
What a great day to be outside.