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Want/"Need" Bright AAA Flashlight

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by veriest1, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. veriest1

    veriest1 Loaded Pockets

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    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?
    I'm looking at the Surefire Titan Plus very closely but figure there's some lights out there I know nothing about.
    This light will be my EDC light and replace my Surefire 3P in that role. I've taken to carrying a Maratac AAA daily because of the cheap batteries, the output on high is generally good enough, and to get some weight off of my daily load.
    That said, a small key chain light would give me a backup to my 18650 light at work. In this regard it would need to be bright enough for target identification at moderate distances and have a low light mode to work by in the even of a power outage. It needs to be able to stand on end and run for 12 hours or more on its little battery on the lowest setting. I live in the country and being able to make out critters at 100 yards during the night is a plus but that doesn't take long. It'd only be ran at full power for a minute or two at most.
    I'd prefer it to have a memory so that it came on to the last setting used.
    AAA is preferred because my headlamp uses AAA's and I don't want to have to keep a stores worth of batteries around to feed my lights. I want to get rid of the Surefire 3P and stick with AAA and 18650 lights.

    Edit: I guess with a light this potent the headlamp could be done away with and the light clipped to a cap. With that in mind AA isn't outside the realm of possibility. I carried a AA Fenix for a while... until it took to many drops ans quit working.

    2) What Region/Country/State will the light be purchased in?
    [X] 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
    [X] I have no limit!

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

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

    PART C
    Width:
    [X] 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.
    [X] 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".
    [X] 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)
    [X] 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)
    [X] I want to light an entire campground or dazzle an intruder. (200+ 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)------------X----------|----------------------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. ;)
    [X] 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.)
    [X] Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Self-defense, Survival.)

    11) Switch Type:
    [X] I don't care as long at it doesn't come on in my pocket.
    [ ] 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:
    [X] 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.)
    [X] 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.
    [X] 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, _________)
    [X] Waterproof – how deep: ____2 or 3 meters or highly water resistant is fine_________
    [ ] 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
    [X] Belt/Jacket clip
    [ ] Holster
    [ ] Wrist/Neck Lanyard
    [ ] Kuboton/self defense features
    [ ] Non-sparking Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments​

     
  2. O_G

    O_G Loaded Pockets

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    Sky Lumen ToolVN
     
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  3. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    Actual model number is Lumintop ToolVN - Al & Cu AAA Size EDR R. It does require the special IMR10440 3.7Volt rechargeable battery. One of my underlings is a bit of a geeky flashaholic. He owns one of these. The output is remarkable.
     
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  4. veriest1

    veriest1 Loaded Pockets

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    I like the look of those Lumintop Tool lights a lot. Especially the Ti one and the aluminum one with a magnetic tail cap.

    I suppose those custom ones run a long time on low mode still. His site isn't the most informative for a guy like me who doesn't geek out over lights.

    I didn't see where he mentions run time with those ridiculously high outputs. Any ideas there?

    Do they have to have special batteries to operate? From reading reviews that's the impression I'm getting. Having to use special batteries would negate the convenience of using AAA batteries. Normally I carry a spare lithium battery in my pack and keep whatever AAA I scrounged up in the Maratac for day to day use.

    How reliable are these modded lights? The soldering he does on the lights I saw reviewed looks like a potential failure point. Soldering to spring just doesn't seem terribly reliable. The Surefire and Streamlight flashlights I've used have all been excellent and that's one reason I've been leaning towards the Titan Plus.
     
  5. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    Stick with the Surefire Titan+.
     
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  6. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    The Titan seems to be a decent light and to my mind likely more rugged and dependable than a modded light too and it would be my choice between this 2 but…….

    I got 2 Streamlight ProTac 1aaa instead of the Titan when in the same deciding mode.
    The Streamlight I think is more of a thrower than the mostly floody Titan and because of this they also seem more similar in output than you might think as well.
    The Streamlight also has a forward click switch on the back which I far prefer especially for quick target ID outside at night for just a few seconds.
    The Streamlight is also a little longer for it I think but not a problem for me and overall I am happy with the quality and features and this light is designed to run on disposable batteries too unlike the Titan which can but is not optimized for them in the end.

    I also really like the ET D25aaa and have a few of these and the venerable Fenix are really great in aaa too.

    But no one ever got fired for buying SF as they say.
     
  7. veriest1

    veriest1 Loaded Pockets

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    The videos I've seen of the Titan+ are pretty impressive for such a little light.

    I have the Rev. 2 Maratac at 115 lumens and it's a bit floody for my tastes. Because of this I'm hesitant to upgrade to the Rev. 3 maratac at 138 lumens. I have a couple of the Fenix AAA lights and they're fine. About on par with my Maratac from what I can tell

    The Eagletac D25aaa at 145 lumens looks promising if the beam is tight. If it's floody it probably won't do any better than the Maratac.
     
  8. CV801

    CV801 Loaded Pockets

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    Another vote for the Titan plus. I've had many AAA keychain lights and this is by far my favorite. It's carried everyday. I made a leather keychain case for it because I prefer not to have it all scratched up by my keys.

    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  9. veriest1

    veriest1 Loaded Pockets

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    Well I ended up getting a Zebralight H52 AA. I'm hoping it can replace my headlamps and my 6P Clone that takes 18650's.

    I may still get a Titan+ in the near future. I can see the Zebralight and the Titan+ fulfilling all of my flashlight needs other than weapons mounted stuff.
     
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  10. davidt1

    davidt1 Loaded Pockets

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    The H52 is very versatile. Don't think of it as a headlamp. Think of it as an all in one light. For me it really is. Let me suggest some very simple mods to turn it into the all in one light that I am talking about:

    1. Replace the stock light holder with Velcro. Velcro lets you attach and detach the light faster. With the Velcro you don't have to take out the clip to in order to use your light as a headlamp. Velcro takes up less space and compresses the headband for storage.

    Velcro on the left. Factory light holder on the right. With the Velcro it only takes a few seconds to go from headlamp to pocket to handheld to utility light, etc.[​IMG]

    Headlamps are too big to EDC on your person. We have all heard that. Well, not if you have an angle headlamp attached to a cord headband. The cord headband will decrease the overall size and increase the convenience factor by a lot. With a cord headband, you will rarely need to use the bulky regular headband (it is still needed when you run or working underneath car or something like that).
    [​IMG]

    The H52 has a clip-on clip that can rotate. By attaching some magnets to the clip, you can transform your H52 headlamp into a utility light.
    [​IMG]

    But all the versatility in the world doesn't mean crap if you don't have your light with you when you need it. That's why I have my H52w with me all the time as my main light. It doesn't look like a bulky headlamp, a gigantic shop light, or even a flashlight, but its is all of those things. And it fits inside my pocket.
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. veriest1

    veriest1 Loaded Pockets

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    I think it was your post in another thread was one of the ones that pushed me towards the h52.

    I think this Zebralight may simplify my flashlight situation a lot.
     
  12. veriest1

    veriest1 Loaded Pockets

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    Did you just use some velcro around the body of the light to attach it to some bungee cord?

    Most of the time I wear a polo shirt of some sort with a loop under the buttons. I use it to hang sunglasses when I'm working outside but I think the h52 would clip there and work as a hands free solution in lieu of a headlamp. It'd probably clip on under the buttons on shirts without such a loop but be a little less stable.

    I also figured that attaching one of the (rubber?) headlamp attachment pieces Zebralight provides to the front of my duty belt just to the side of the buckle could be really handy.
     
  13. davidt1

    davidt1 Loaded Pockets

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    I use Velcro and paracord.

    The solutions are as boundless as your imagination. Whatever works for you.
     
  14. veriest1

    veriest1 Loaded Pockets

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    [​IMG]

    For comparison. It's not big enough that I notice it in my pocket versus the Maratac. It actually feels like it weighs less than the copper Maratac.

    I've been playing with it tonight and I'm very impressed. It has a lot of performance for a very small size increase over a AAA light. It's not as bright as my Solarforce L2P with an advertised 500 lumen drop in but that's to be expected.

    Now I want the 18650 version too.
     
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  15. davidt1

    davidt1 Loaded Pockets

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    Use 14500 battery in the H52 and you will get 500lm too, but only for one minute at a time. I need that extra brightness at work to check on things for about ten seconds at a time. Works out perfectly for me.

    The XM-L 18650 is on sale for just a few bucks more than the H52. I am tempted to get one, but I have more than enough lights already. Still.....very tempting.
     
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  16. veriest1

    veriest1 Loaded Pockets

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    Yep, that 500 lumen setting with the 14500 battery is what pushed me over the edge on it. I've got to get a couple but for now lithium AA's are getting me by.
     
  17. davidt1

    davidt1 Loaded Pockets

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    I am sure you know already, but just in case -- buy quality Sanyo based 14500 battery for your light. I bought 4 from Zebralight the same time I bought the H52w. That was 3 years ago. I am still on the first set (2).
     
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  18. jester8798

    jester8798 Loaded Pockets

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    I like my Streamlight MicroStream.
     
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  19. davidt1

    davidt1 Loaded Pockets

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    It's a good starter light. It was my first light many years ago.
     
  20. Dingle1911

    Dingle1911 Loaded Pockets

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    I know that you said you didn't want rechargeable batteries, but if you really want a bright light you could head over to candlepower forums and buy a TOOLvn from vinhnguyen54.

    I don't know how practical it would be to use it on high all the time, but you definitely have the cool look at this factor. If you just want a stock light then I would go with the SF Titan as others have suggested.

    TnC products and Peak also have some bright AAA lights. I usually buy mine at em-mgt.