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Flashlight Recommendation Checklist *want a new light, START HERE*

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by Lunal_Tic, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Lunal_Tic

    Lunal_Tic Empty Pockets

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    Instructions for use:
    Copy the form below, and create a new thread with your answers.

    Please delete the options that you are not interested in. This will make it easier for other users to read and for them to make proper suggestions.

    If you are confused, or need clarification on options, a good article to read is carrot's guide to high end lights

    Thanks,
    -carrot

    _________________________________________________

    This is originally from Candlepower Forums (CPF) a dedicated flashlight forum. I believe that it is a good way to help people decide what light will be best for them. It also helps other members help you by offering suggestions that match your criteria rather than taking a wild guess. Hopefully it will make the selection process more efficient so you can get your light quicker.

    To those wanting to help people select a light, please point newbies/inquiring minds to this thread so we can make the best use of our abilities and time.

    The idea is to have this list visible as you make a thread/post about the kind of light you want. If you want to copy and paste parts and answer the questions directly in your post that would work too.

    As are most posts of this sort here on EDCF, if you have suggestions for this process please post here. Please keep comments restricted to ideas regarding this list. If you are looking for a new light, please start a thread specifically for that.

    Thanks,
    -LT
    _________________________________________________



    Flashlight Recommendation Checklist
    by CPFer ThomasH with edits and additions by EDCF members


    Recommend a Flashlight Checklist: (Don't worry about all the questions, just the ones you feel strongly about!) Please mark "x" inside the [ ] to indicate your choice and please delete the options that you are not at all interested in.

    1) Short Essay Question: What do you intend to use this light for?

    2) What Region/Country/State will the light be purchased in?
    [ ] I will be mail-ordering or buying online, so this doesn't matter.
    [ ] I am in _______(country) and __________(state/providence).

    3) Price Range: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :broke:
    [ ] $1-15
    [ ] $15-30
    [ ] $40-60
    [ ] $80-$120
    [ ] I have no limit!

    4) Format:
    PART A
    [ ] I want a flashlight.
    [ ] I want a headlamp.
    [ ] I want a lantern.
    [ ] I want a portable spotlight.

    PART B
    Length:
    [ ] 1-2 inches. (Keychain sized)
    [ ] 2-4 inches. (Pocket carry)
    [ ] 4-9 inches. (Holster carry)

    PART C
    Width:
    [ ] I prefer a long narrow light.
    [ ] I prefer a short wide light.
    [ ] Doesn't matter.

    PART D
    Weight:
    Lights of a similar size can be very different in weight and may turn the perfect sized light into a paper weight. In general a lights of the same size will stack up like this; plastic and aluminum will be your lighter choices brass, stainless steel, bronze will be heavier. I won't put numbers here because everyone has a different weight sensitivity. For the purposes of EDC specifically I'll limit the choices here to the more easily carried sizes pick 2 sizes to represent a range of weight.
    [ ] Very light, can't tell it's there.
    [ ] Light, no heavier than a few keys or a small car remote.
    [ ] Medium light, about the weight of a AAA MiniMag
    [ ] Medium, slightly heavier than a AA MiniMag
    [ ] Heavy Medium, can of Coke
    [ ] Heavy, PDA or small digital camera

    5) What kind of "bulb".
    [ ] LED - more rugged, unlikely to burn out in your lifetime, less accurate color rendition, in general less output but more efficient (longer runtimes)
    [ ] Incandescent - can be very bright, more accurate color rendition, burn out or can be damaged more easily, shorter runtimes, very noticeable dimming as batteries deplete
    [ ] HID - like new car headlights in color, very, very bright, can be had in lights as small as a Mag 2 D cell but generally larger spotlight sized lights, no dimming turns off when battery depletes
    [ ] Don't care, just want the best fit for my needs.

    6) What batteries do you want to use? Alkaline batteries are easier to find and less expensive but don't pack as much stored energy and are don't work well in cold temperatures. Lithium batteries have long shelf life (10+ years, great for stored emergency lights) and are not as affected by cold but must be kept dry and are more expensive. Rechargeable start expensive, but if used frequently pay off quickly.
    [ ] I want common Alkaline batteries. (AA, AAA, C, D)
    [ ] I want lithium batteries. (coin cells, CR123, AAA, AA...)
    [ ] I want a rechargeable system. (an investment, but best for everyday use)

    7) How much light do you want? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is impossible).
    [ ] I want to read a map, find a light switch/keyhole, or get around the house at w/o disturbing anyone. (5-10 lumens)
    [ ] I want to walk around a generally paved area. (15-20 lumens)
    [ ] I want to walk unpaved trails. (40 lumens)
    [ ] I want to do Caving or Search & Rescue operations. (60+ lumens)
    [ ] I want to light an entire campground or dazzle an intruder. (100+ lumens)

    8) Throw vs Flood: Which do you prefer, lights that flood an area with a wide beam, or lights that "throw" with a tightly focused beam? Place an “X” on the line below. Sometimes a flood is better particularly closer up or indoors. You won't have to "sweep" the light back and forth to see what you need to see. You can also just set it down pointing the general direction rather having to point it right at that which you are working.

    Throw (distance)----------------------|----------------------Flood/close-up

    9) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims (like some LED lights). but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries. Understand that runtime is a function of brightness and capacity of your batteries. If you want 6 hours you'll either have big batteries or dimmer light, they haven't made a setup yet that lights up like the sun, runs all night, and fits in your watch pocket. ;)
    [ ] 20 min. (I want the brightest light for brief periods)
    [ ] 60-240 min. (1-2 hours)
    [ ] 240-360 min. (4-6 hours)
    [ ] 360+ min. (More than 6 hours)

    10) Durability: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.
    [ ] Not Important (A “night-stand” light.)
    [ ] Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood.)
    [ ] Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box.)
    [ ] Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Self-defense, Survival.)

    11) Switch Type:
    [ ] I don't care.
    [ ] sliding switch (Stays on until slid back.)
    [ ] clickie switch. (Stays on until pressed again.)
    [ ] momentary switch. (Only stays on while held down.)
    [ ] rotating switch

    12) Switch Location:
    [ ] I don't care.
    [ ] I want a push or sliding switch on the body near the head.
    [ ] I want a push switch on the back end of the body.
    [ ] I want a rotating head switch.
    [ ] I want a rotating end-cap switch.
    [ ] I want a remote control.

    13) Operational Modes: Check all that apply.
    [ ] A simple on-off is fine for me.
    [ ] I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
    [ ] I want multiple light levels. (some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
    [ ] I want a strobe mode. (blinks to show location.)
    [ ] I want a tactical strobe. (Flashes rapidly to disorient an opponent.)
    [ ] I want S.O.S. flashing

    14) Is it important whether the body is metal or plastic/composite? In this case "plastic" and it's variants does not mean "cheap" or poorly made. In many applications a plastic bodied light is preferable, hard use and water resistance comes to mind; think caving or lights that get dropped or abused.
    [ ] I don't care.
    [ ] I want a metal-bodied light.
    [ ] I want a plastic/composite light.

    15) Special Needs: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Circle any below or write in your own comment(s).
    [ ] Red (night vision preserving) filter
    [ ] Other filter colors (Amber, Green, Blue, _________)
    [ ] Waterproof – how deep: _____________
    [ ] Non-reflective/dark finish (stealthy/hard to find)
    [ ] Polished silver or brightly colored finish (for easy locating)
    [ ] Corrosion resistant or hard-anodized finish
    [ ] “Hybrid” light (bright incandescent combined with long running LEDs)
    [ ] Built-in second (or spare) lamp or filament
    [ ] Belt/Jacket clip
    [ ] Holster
    [ ] Wrist/Neck Lanyard
    [ ] Kuboton/self defense features
    [ ] Non-sparking Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments
     
    silver2478 likes this.
  2. Lunal_Tic

    Lunal_Tic Empty Pockets

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    Re: Flashlight Recommendation Checklist

    reserved

    -LT
     
  3. LowWorm

    LowWorm Guest

    LT, on #12, can rotating switch be added?
     
  4. Lunal_Tic

    Lunal_Tic Empty Pockets

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    12 and 13 are very similar IMO. Until I can think of a better way to I'll add "rotating switch" to 12.

    -LT
     
  5. Dogliness

    Dogliness Empty Pockets

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    For purpose of the checklist, consider adding brightness or light output, tint,  beam quality, and simplicity of operation.

    Factors I consider that I think are not included in the checklist include the bin code of the Luxeon LED, whether the flashlight has a 1, 3 or 5 watt emitter, the simplicity of operation, and whether the beam has a donut hole.  For example, the Surefire U2 is a multi level light that is simpler to operate than the multi-level Firefly III, but the U2 tends to have a donut hole.  As another example, a McLux III 27L with a UXIK LED would not be as bright and would have a cooler tint than a McLux V 27L with a WWOT, although a 3-watt tends to have a more concentrated beam and thus more throw. 

    I find the Luxeon bin diagram to be helpful to understand the tint.  Luxeon LEDs are described by four letters, such as TYOH, UXOK, UVIJ, WWOT.  The first letter of the 4-letter bin code refers to the flux (range of lumen output; the higher the letter, the more lumens are emitted), the second two letters to the tint, and the fourth letter to the Vf (forward voltrage).  The following chart relates to the second two letters.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Lunal_Tic

    Lunal_Tic Empty Pockets

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    Thanks for the input Dogliness.  You'll find much of that info contained in the Acronyms and Terminology thread, including that chart.  Also Luxeon LED names are Lux I, Lux III, and Lux V and are not actually 1W, 3W, or 5W LEDs as commonly referred to by many manufacturers.

    Bin codes and part names, e.g. Lux III, Lux V, are perhaps less important here than the result of lights using those parts; i.e. Lux V floody light, Lux III more throw.  Also there is seldom the option in production lights for a customer to chose bin codes.

    While the questionnaire has a lot of parts I think it was intended to be a starting place and more general for people that are less familiar with lights. Once a person gets through the list the light choices can be fine tuned from there.

    -LT
     
  7. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    I quickly read the first post a few times and did not see mention of weight. This should be added methinks. ;D
     
  8. runruhn

    runruhn Empty Pockets

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    ACK. I missed this thread before making a new topic.. I'm sorry!
     
  9. Lunal_Tic

    Lunal_Tic Empty Pockets

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    runruhn, don't worry just copy the parts that apply to the first post of your new thread. That will help everyone more easily understand what you want.

    Good luck finding the "perfect" light. ;D
    -LT
     
  10. runruhn

    runruhn Empty Pockets

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    Thanks a bunch ;D
     
  11. greenLED

    greenLED Empty Pockets

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    this is a great place to start when you're looking for a new light, even if you're a seasoned flashaholic
     
  12. Lunal_Tic

    Lunal_Tic Empty Pockets

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    :bump:

    Updated and revised.

    -LT
     
  13. techwg

    techwg Empty Pockets

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    for small edc usage, FENIX P2D ce
    for an average (medium/small), FENIX P3D ce
     
  14. petebroccolo

    petebroccolo Empty Pockets

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    Thanks for posting this thread, Lunal_Tic - I have made a copy and will send it along with my other files when my partners ask my advice on illumination tools.
     
  15. Codeman

    Codeman Loaded Pockets

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    I dunno. I'f I'd used such a list, I wouldn't have 130 lights to choose from. Course, I would have a nice chunk of change in the bank instead...
     
  16. Lunal_Tic

    Lunal_Tic Empty Pockets

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    No problem I always thought it was an underutilized tool over on CPF. It kind of got lost in the mass of info there.

    I have managed to use it and still not found the "grail" so my collection rate is still fairly high. I do manage to hit stretches where I am covered but then the itch strikes again and I'm off looking for something new.

    -LT
     
  17. jzmtl

    jzmtl Loaded Pockets

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    I think it's time to revise a few options, namingly where it say led are generally lower output, and lumen range which only goes to 100+, consider today's led easily puts out over 200 lumens and exceed most of the high output incan light of similar size.
     
  18. DSC
    • +4 Supporter

    DSC Banned

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    From the first post in this thread:
     
  19. sbiner

    sbiner Loaded Pockets

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    oh, didn't see it. thanks for pointing that out.
     
  20. tmedina

    tmedina EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Nah, you're just in denial. ;D

    -Trevor