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I am done with AAA (and AA).

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by el_murdoque, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Loaded Pockets

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    I remember getting my first Surefire lights back in the early 2000s, when they were advertising them as being a dazzlingly bright, blinding self defense flashlight with a whopping 60-65 lumens and 20 minute runtime on two CR123 batteries.

    Nowadays I can get a single cell AA light with easily triple (and more) the lumens and at least double the runtimes...in an led with multiples settings that also allows for less lumens and phenomenal runtimes.

    Yeah, having thought those Surefires were the bees knees, I’m quite happy with the performance of AAA and AA lights today. Shoot, my 4xAA Thrunite TN4A (which I keep in every car, and several around the house) gives me over a thousand lumens if I want more than my pocket edc...but to be honest, I still think those original 60 lumens were plenty for most anything I need a light to do. I keep some Eneloop AA and a couple of chargers around, and I haven’t purchased a battery in years (but if I ever need to buy some, I can find them anywhere and everywhere). I just wish I could convince my wife that her TN4A doesn’t need to be run in turbo mode at all times.

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    #101 dmattaponi, Dec 16, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
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  2. aicolainen

    aicolainen Loaded Pockets

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    You're both right... and wrong. I don't think anyone will argue @vadsoom that the accessibility to AA/AAA make them a good choice in certain situations, but it's not obvious to me that they're at hand exactly when you need them. Speaking of Murphy, chances are you're 30 miles from 7-11 when you need to change a tire, and charging your light from the sig outlet would be significantly faster than walking back and forth.

    It's also hard to argue @el_murdoque on personal experience. We prefer what we prefer, nothing is wrong or right in that regard, but I'm not sure you went out of you're way to make AAAs work for you.
    Anecdotally I just walked my dog on very icy trails, and had to use my light all the way to stay on my feet. I didn't expect these conditions in that area, so I only had my EDC light, a AAA/10440 Reylight. It came from Reylight with a 10440 cell that gives a max brightness of 240 lumens. Not blinding bright, but with 240 lumens of high CRI beam I had no issues finding a safe path. And it lasted the whole way even though the battery wasn't topped up in a while.
    Personally I've found the AAAs to be my perfect EDC lights. The slim form factor lets me carry most AAAs without noticing. CR123s, even though often shorter, creates a noticeable bulk. And as for the power source I have no issues. The lights that are compatible with 10440, I run with 10440, everything else is running on Eneloops or Eneloop pro. That's with the exception of my Four Sevens Preon, that came with a AAA with internal micro-USB charging. It's from a company called Pale Blue, seems to be good quality and proves that even AAAs can be easy to charge on the go.
    In my experience, AA and AAAs gives me the best of both worlds. Rechargeable and good availability of primaries for backup. And it's the ideal form factor for me to carry, which assures it's always there when I need it.

    In my extended EDC, or whatever the correct definition of my everyday outdoor gear is? I currently carry a Lumintop Tool AA 2.0. It's not much bigger than the AAAs, but is significantly brighter, it's almost unreal for it's size. And the slight additional thickness is of no issue in outdoor pants. I almost don't notice it, but still have ample light if required.

    Both these lights are my just in case EDCs, and I will also take other dedicated lights when I know I'll be needing one.
     
    #102 aicolainen, Dec 18, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2020
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  3. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    Thinking about AA batteries, there's just so many other items that take them so I doubt that you would have to walk 30 miles to get some, chances are, you could borrow some from another item in the house/garage if you really had to.
     
  4. Sentinel-14

    Sentinel-14 Loaded Pockets

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    I am slowly making the switch to Li-Ion rechargeable, though for my preference the battery MUST be removable. I refuse to buy anything rechargeable that does not have a commonly-sourced user-replaceable battery.

    (As a sidebar: I've had a beard trimmer for years and eventually the internal rechargeable battery wore out. It took hours to charge and would barely last long enough for a single trim. I was going to buy a new trimmer, but upon inspection it looked like the battery might be replaceable: it looked like a rechargeable C-cell. So I took it to a local battery shop and they were able to find me an appropriate replacement battery; cost me less to buy a new battery than it would have to get a new trimmer. So yeah, user-replaceable batteries are a must for me.)


    Had alkaline AA and AAA electronics as a kid. Batteries had terrible lifespan and the potential to leak and just destroy things. I lost my favorite workhorse light, a 2 D-cell Maglite, when one of the batteries blew and trashed the innards. :(

    My two primary lights are a Wowtac A2S and a Thrunite TH10. Both run 18650s, both can also run on a pair of CR123s, and both put out way more light (lumens and throw) than any alkaline-powered light I've ever had. They're smaller too. Yes, I have to stay on top of them to keep the batteries charged, but that's no more difficult for me than setting my phone down to charge every night. The lights get checked every couple of weeks, and they've always got power. If they're dead, I can swap in a pair of CR123s while the 18650 is charging, and i know the 123s will work because they have a 10-year shelf life. But so far I have never picked up either light and found they were dead. Low enough that it wouldn't let me use the turbo or High modes? Sure, but never completely dead, even after months of neglect. If I can ignore a battery for months and it still have enough usable charge when I pick it up, and it didn't leak and destroy the light, I'm happy.

    I have bought packs of batteries to have on hand for my old AA and AAA lights, and then a few years later when I needed them, they were completely dead. Wasted money because alkaline batteries don't have a great shelf life. Alkaline, NiCad, and NiMH are dead to me because I cannot rely on them to work when I need them to and not destroy my equipment if left sitting unattended for months on end.

    Furthermore, I have owned a number of laptops over the years with Li-Ion batteries in them. Never had one leak. My phones over the years have been the same: Li-Ion with no leaks. Also the batteries lasted for many years and countless cycles of charge/discharge before they started having problems with capacity. My old cordless drill with NiMH batteries? Yeah... no: cells leaked and trashed the batteries, and they wouldn't hold a charge for more than an hour. When it takes 2 hours for your drill to charge and you get 30 minutes of use out of it? No thanks, that's not good enough for me. All my drills plug into the wall now.

    I still have a few AA and AAA lights around the house, mainly lights that I already owned before switching to 18650s. They work so there's no point in throwing them out, and I have them for backup purposes, but I wont be heartbroken when they stop working. The AAA lights are the cheap little black ones you get from Harbor Freight, and I have some of the little blue worklights from there as well. I keep them in every room so that no matter where I am, I have light if the power suddenly goes out. They're not great lights: they dont throw at all, which means they're useless past 15 feet, but they do okay for their intended use. However, I've lost 2 to leaking batteries. My remaining AA lights are all older 2-AA lights I had as a kid, including the old Mini Maglite. They all work but dont get any use.

    Going forward it's 18650s for me, as long as they keep making lights that use them. Otherwise it'll be CR123s, or maybe 14500s as long as the light is built to use a AA as well. I dont mind having AA capability as a backup option, but for primary use I want a battery that's going to give me a lot of lumens and good shelf life, which means Li-Ion.
     
    Last edited by Sentinel-14, Dec 26, 2020
    #104 Sentinel-14, Dec 26, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
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  5. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Loaded Pockets

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    I switched over to rechargeable AA & AAA Eneloops in 2016. Been using them ever since. A few charges after the initial expenditure of buying the Eneloops, and it basically like free batteries for the duration. I’ve recharged them many times. They are still working fine. They hold a charge for a long time, have plenty of shelf life, and don’t leak.


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  6. rodia77

    rodia77 Loaded Pockets

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    Of my AA/AAA lights, I only do alkaline in my keychain Lumintop. All the other ones are packing lithium (not to be confused with rechargable Li-ion).
     
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