Off grid, bought 2 blf-Lt1(s) initial impressions

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idahofarmer
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Off grid, bought 2 blf-Lt1(s) initial impressions

First let me say thanks for the AWESOME forum and people here. Such an improvement over cpf!!!. Next I want to thank the folks that put the hard work into the lantern.


I have 2 lanterns in-transit to my location.


I am currently using Fenix 3×18650 (CL30R) lanterns and they have flaws. (Short run-time, uneven battery drain, one slot broken, slow charging, expensive!!$$).


After watching the videos and reviews I ordered 2 of the blfsp1 lanterns. I need longer run-times and it looks like these will do the trick.


Here are my suggestions for the next version lantern:


Lose all the bells and whistles, keep it simple. Hide the fancy features if some folks want those they can still have them. I just need a simple neutral white lantern to cook and live by. If you want fancy features make them something folks use like always comes on in medium and make that a setting that can be changed to low, high, medium or firefly. I wont use lightning mode, orange mode, flickering candle mode, strobe mode, beacon mode,


Add deep red and add a firefly in deep red. Add a direct HOLD from off to red UI (not white first) like long press. Being off-grid solar I shut everything off at night and my house goes dark. Currently I’m running 2 LED headlamps on firefly red hanging in the living-room and bathroom as night lights. It would be awesome to have 2 lanterns that ran firefly red at night.


Add 3×21700 or 4×21700 battery slots for longer run-time. Run-time is the thing us off-griders need most. It may be cloudy for a week straight and my solar panels wont give me any power or charge my batteries during that time. I need long run-times. Not sure if this is possible but what about having a way to program settings you want by editing the firmware or? I prefer click to next level verses hold/ramping light. Thanks again for the nice lanterns. I will have more input once I use them for a month or two.


Lastly have a stocking dealer here in the USA so folks dont have to wait weeks/months to get one

Edited by: idahofarmer on 09/14/2020 - 12:00
ReManG
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This is great feedback on these. I have the opposite need for a lantern, so I am awaiting the Mini version. It does seem that a simple mode and a deep or far red mode would be a great addition for what you are doing, indeed, I would like a deep/far red mode as well on the mini. I think TK is working on a V2 UI for the firmware, and I do believe it is able to be updated with the right gear as of now.

Lightbringer
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Okay, what’s the big appeal of far-red? The deeper into the red you get, the brighter (ie, more current and more output) you’d need to see. Kinda the opposite direction vs longer runtime.

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sbslider
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regarding longer run times, you must have considered this being off grid, but here it goes. Get a simple 12V controller connected to your solar panel, and store when the going is good in a 12V lead acid type battery, so you have more to draw from when its cloudy. Depending on how many storage batteries you get, you could recharge the LT1 several times without tapping your reserves too much, and have 12V power for other things also. I have this setup using old lawnmower batteries, it runs a porch light every night, charges my LT1, and always is charged. The controller typically will have a USB connection so you can charge your LT1 (not sp1?) directly from the controller.

Redesigning for different cells won’t happen soon I don’t believe, but it never hurts to ask. Smile

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I see no appeal to the “deep red”. Regular red xpe2’s work just fine to keep bugs away at the campsites. I do agree this LT1 needs to be simple though. I have no use for the blinky modes. Simple off/on, 3500k white light, and red xpe2’s, both ramping but separated (no blending). Boom, perfect camp lantern anyone could easily use. 18650’s work fine for me and last all week

fluke
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What is an SP1?

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fluke wrote:

What is an SP1?

He meant LT1

idahofarmer
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Maybe I spoke wrong, red is all im looking for in 1-10 lumens. Im not even sure what deep red is other then I saw people saying “deep red”.

Big Smile
Mr.Scott
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Quote:
Add 3×21700 or 4×21700 battery slots for longer run-time. Run-time is the thing us off-griders need most. It may be cloudy for a week straight and my solar panels wont give me any power or charge my batteries during that time.

Since you have two lanterns coming, have you considered getting 12- 18650 batteries? You could have a set of 4 batteries for each lantern plus a spare set of 4 for a rainy day.

idahofarmer
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Mr.Scott wrote:
Quote:
Add 3×21700 or 4×21700 battery slots for longer run-time. Run-time is the thing us off-griders need most. It may be cloudy for a week straight and my solar panels wont give me any power or charge my batteries during that time.

Since you have two lanterns coming, have you considered getting 12- 18650 batteries? You could have a set of 4 batteries for each lantern plus a spare set of 4 for a rainy day.

Thats what I do now, replace or charge every day. I was trying to get away from that and go to once per week.

ReManG
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Lightbringer wrote:
Okay, what’s the big appeal of far-red? The deeper into the red you get, the brighter (ie, more current and more output) you’d need to see. Kinda the opposite direction vs longer runtime.

I was assuming that since he is off grid, there is little light pollution and therefore a far red might have been better for absolutely preserving night vision and even better for not attracting bugs. 660nm would be fine as well.

If you have lived without light pollution, it is amazing what you can see with little light or even “dim” red light.

idahofarmer
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ReManG wrote:
Lightbringer wrote:
Okay, what’s the big appeal of far-red? The deeper into the red you get, the brighter (ie, more current and more output) you’d need to see. Kinda the opposite direction vs longer runtime.

I was assuming that since he is off grid, there is little light pollution and therefore a far red might have been better for absolutely preserving night vision and even better for not attracting bugs. 660nm would be fine as well.

If you have lived without light pollution, it is amazing what you can see with little light or even “dim” red light.

So thats why the little gnats fly around my headlamps at night. Yeah we are 70 miles from the Canadian border. I see the entire milky way and satellites flying over. Even see the solar particles interacting with the magnetic field.

So deep red is a better choice?

Any headlamps come with deep red/white combo? Low 1 lumen red and direct red from off UI?

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idahofarmer wrote:

Any headlamps come with deep red/white combo? Low 1 lumen red and direct red from off UI?


I have a nitecore Nu17, I bought it to use during a 2 week grand canyon trip. Didn’t need it a ton, as when it was dark I slept. Red light on low is great for near objects, red light on high makes walking around camp at night easy. Best part was lack of bugs when using the red light vs white. I picked up two on sale somewhere for less than $20 each. Good deal, only downside could be built in battery which makes you throw away the light when the battery dies.

A review of the nitecore NU17

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Lightbringer
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ReManG wrote:
If you have lived without light pollution, it is amazing what you can see with little light or even “dim” red light.

I can see like a cat at night, and keep most lights off (not even nightlights), so yeah, I know how little light I actually need to see where I’m going.

Still, if the main objective is runtime, for the same visible light, you’d be able to minimise current and stretch runtime with regular-red.

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idahofarmer wrote:
‘Here are my suggestions for the next version lantern:

Lose all the bells and whistles, keep it simple. Hide the fancy features if some folks want those they can still have them. I just need a simple neutral white lantern to cook and live by. If you want fancy features make them something folks use like always comes on in medium and make that a setting that can be changed to low, high, medium or firefly. I always use my lanterns on medium. Short press to go right to medium. I wont ever use lightning mode, orange mode, flickering candle mode, strobe mode, beacon mode, coffee grinder mode, etc.’

Anduril 2 will have features hidden more but you can use yours according to your suggestions already.

If you set memory mode to your favorite ‘mid’ level that will give you 1 click to mid, push hold to low, double press to high.
Don’t level up your clicker hero skills on the power button and the other modes stay hidden. Beer

idahofarmer
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Holy crap thats awesome. Im glad I got 2.

I guess anduril-roid 2 is the firmware? Can I upload that version to mine when it comes out or does it mean a whole new lantern? Sorry I didnt read all 12,000 pages of the lantern thread (yikes).

Can I bore the lights out and drop in 4×21700? Could I make a 4×21700 battery holder and plug into charge port for extended run-times?

Any plans on going to a 21700 format?

jp9mm wrote:
idahofarmer wrote:
‘Here are my suggestions for the next version lantern:

Lose all the bells and whistles, keep it simple. Hide the fancy features if some folks want those they can still have them. I just need a simple neutral white lantern to cook and live by. If you want fancy features make them something folks use like always comes on in medium and make that a setting that can be changed to low, high, medium or firefly. I always use my lanterns on medium. Short press to go right to medium. I wont ever use lightning mode, orange mode, flickering candle mode, strobe mode, beacon mode, coffee grinder mode, etc.’

Anduril 2 will have features hidden more but you can use yours according to your suggestions already.

If you set memory mode to your favorite ‘mid’ level that will give you 1 click to mid, push hold to low, double press to high.
Don’t level up your clicker hero skills on the power button and the other modes stay hidden. Beer

sbslider
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idahofarmer wrote:
Holy crap thats awesome. Im glad I got 2.

I guess anduril-roid 2 is the firmware? Can I upload that version to mine when it comes out or does it mean a whole new lantern? Sorry I didnt read all 12,000 pages of the lantern thread (yikes).

Yes and yes, you’ll need some parts to change the FW though.

idahofarmer wrote:
Can I bore the lights out and drop in 4×21700? Could I make a 4×21700 battery holder and plug into charge port for extended run-times?

Any plans on going to a 21700 format?

No, I think its unlikely you could get 4×21700 to line up with the brass ring where the positive terminal would be. So yes, it would be much easier to plug in a power bank to the USB C charge port and get extended run-times. Could be 4×21700, 40×21700, or anything else that provides roughly 5V. And no, see the previous response regarding the positive terminal aligning with the brass ring. You could do some measuring and math to see if it might be possible and let us know. Smile

jp9mm wrote:
idahofarmer wrote:
‘Here are my suggestions for the next version lantern:

Lose all the bells and whistles, keep it simple. Hide the fancy features if some folks want those they can still have them. I just need a simple neutral white lantern to cook and live by. If you want fancy features make them something folks use like always comes on in medium and make that a setting that can be changed to low, high, medium or firefly. I always use my lanterns on medium. Short press to go right to medium. I wont ever use lightning mode, orange mode, flickering candle mode, strobe mode, beacon mode, coffee grinder mode, etc.’

Anduril 2 will have features hidden more but you can use yours according to your suggestions already.

If you set memory mode to your favorite ‘mid’ level that will give you 1 click to mid, push hold to low, double press to high.
Don’t level up your clicker hero skills on the power button and the other modes stay hidden. Beer

[/quote]

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Perception
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3 21700s might work, but the LT1 is already on the edge of being too big to be useful in my opinion. You could easily supplement the run time with something like a XTAR PB2S loaded with 21700s. Plug it in for an extra ~10,000 mAH, and recharge when necessary. You could even recharge both at one time, leave the PB2S plugged into the lantern, and connect the charger to the PB2S. It will charge all the batteries at the same time. I haven’t tried that, but I think I will tonight to see how well the lantern runs while hooked up that way.

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idahofarmer wrote:
Mr.Scott wrote:
Quote:
Add 3×21700 or 4×21700 battery slots for longer run-time. Run-time is the thing us off-griders need most. It may be cloudy for a week straight and my solar panels wont give me any power or charge my batteries during that time.

Since you have two lanterns coming, have you considered getting 12- 18650 batteries? You could have a set of 4 batteries for each lantern plus a spare set of 4 for a rainy day.

Thats what I do now, replace or charge every day. I was trying to get away from that and go to once per week.


Going from 3500mah 18650s to 5000mah 21700s means going from one day to just under a day and a half, you won’t get a week. The lantern does run off the USB port though without any 18650s installed so you can run it off 5v USB batteries though you won’t get full power that way as the USB input is current limited. (I think to 1.5A so still very usable).

I’m glad someone else pointed out that the lantern is already programmable yet simple in use as you wanted, you don’t have to access all the extra features, set the mode you want and it’s a simple on/off to that mode every time (with shortcuts to low and max as mentioned).
I don’t want to knock your enthusiasm but i find it strange you’re offering suggestions for improvement without actually knowing how they work.

idahofarmer
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Yep you are correct. I thought i had watched enough videos on operation and read the info to know how it worked. My bad!

I have the lantern in my hands now. Its an amazing light. Very nicely done!

The only thing I see that would improve the light are making orange button flash battery voltage instead of main light. Also when I changed the 3000mah batteries it came with to 3450mah it made screwing the lower body onto the top difficult. The bigger batteries are longer and stick up just enough so that you have to compress all 4 batteries under spring pressure while not cross theading body to base. I also worried about concaving longer batteties under so much compression, which I have done before in other lights.

Back to the 21700 batteries. One half day extra runtime would add 3 more nights of running. We use it 4hrs per night.

We ran it 4hrs last night. Battry v went from 4.2 to 4.11 with all 4 being exactly the same. I am impressed! My feniix lantern would have drained the batteries 50% and all 3 would have different voltages.

I will report back again with how long it runs for us.

I have the tint ramp set to neutral white on high and warm white on low. Just an amazing light. I wish I would have bought it sooner

Marc E wrote:
idahofarmer wrote:
Mr.Scott wrote:
Quote:
Add 3×21700 or 4×21700 battery slots for longer run-time. Run-time is the thing us off-griders need most. It may be cloudy for a week straight and my solar panels wont give me any power or charge my batteries during that time.

Since you have two lanterns coming, have you considered getting 12- 18650 batteries? You could have a set of 4 batteries for each lantern plus a spare set of 4 for a rainy day.

Thats what I do now, replace or charge every day. I was trying to get away from that and go to once per week.


Going from 3500mah 18650s to 5000mah 21700s means going from one day to just under a day and a half, you won’t get a week. The lantern does run off the USB port though without any 18650s installed so you can run it off 5v USB batteries though you won’t get full power that way as the USB input is current limited. (I think to 1.5A so still very usable).

I’m glad someone else pointed out that the lantern is already programmable yet simple in use as you wanted, you don’t have to access all the extra features, set the mode you want and it’s a simple on/off to that mode every time (with shortcuts to low and max as mentioned).
I don’t want to knock your enthusiasm but i find it strange you’re offering suggestions for improvement without actually knowing how they work.

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[quote=idahofarmer]Yep you are correct. I thought i had watched enough videos on operation and read the info to know how it worked. My bad!

Back to the 21700 batteries. One half day extra runtime would add 3 more nights of running. We use it 4hrs per night.

We ran it 4hrs last night. Battry v went from 4.2 to 4.11 with all 4 being exactly the same. I am impressed! My feniix lantern would have drained the batteries 50% and all 3 would have different voltages.
/quote]

Idahofarmer, do you happen to have another powersource besides 18650 batteries? maybe AGM batteries etc…
I also think you could plug in your LT1 into a charger, DBSAR mentions that it could handle 5V-70V
Check his video at around 7:40 pretty cool solution:

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caramba wrote:
DBSAR mentions that it could handle 5V-70V

70V would ruin it for sure. Maybe 15V is the upper limit for safe operation.

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I have no value to add to this conversation – but i just want to say thank you to everyone chipping in here! I have learned valuable info about why i may want a good lantern on 18650 for my camp trips, and the value of red light. love this forum. learning a little everyday.

drewski
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+1 for simple UI. Seeing how friends and family have reacted to the Anduril UI has convinced me not to buy more as gifts. Current muggle mode has its issues IMO.

As soon as they can get Anduril 2.0 in the new batch of LT1, or even an LT1 Simple Edition, I’ll be buying a lot more. I would really like to see something with a dimmer knob (like a car stereo— push knob to turn on/off/other functions, rotate knob to adjust brightness.)

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Reporting back after 2nd night of use. Battery meter is saying 4 long one short meaning 4.0v after 2 nights running. The fenix would be dead at this point. If this drain holds true this thing should go 10 nights running. I will report back tomorrow with voltage.

Also the days are getting shorter here in N Idaho so usage will go up.

idahofarmer
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3rd night voltage dropped to 3.8, astounding!

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So maybe you don’t really need the 4×21700 design?;-)

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idahofarmer
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sbslider wrote:
So maybe you don’t really need the 4×21700 design?;-)

Looks like your right. It should go 9 or 10 nights. Ran it on high 4.8hrs tonight.

End day 4 voltage reporting 3.7v

Im stunned the voltage only dropped .1

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sbslider wrote:
… store when the going is good in a 12V lead acid type battery, so you have more to draw from when its cloudy. Depending on how many storage batteries you get, you could recharge the LT1 several times without tapping your reserves too much, and have 12V power for other things also. I have this setup using old lawnmower batteries, …

Lawnmower batteries? Are these deep cycle type? I say this because, if going lead-acid, one must be specially careful with them. They don't tolerate well being discharged, particularly starter batteries which can get killed with just a few deep discharges. Deep cycle types do well until half depth, or so they say.

A stationary li-ion, or better, LiFePO4 battery does a better job in these regards, in my opinion. If there's need, of course.

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Barkuti wrote:

sbslider wrote:
… store when the going is good in a 12V lead acid type battery, so you have more to draw from when its cloudy. Depending on how many storage batteries you get, you could recharge the LT1 several times without tapping your reserves too much, and have 12V power for other things also. I have this setup using old lawnmower batteries, …

Lawnmower batteries? Are these deep cycle type? I say this because, if going lead-acid, one must be specially careful with them. They don’t tolerate well being discharged, particularly starter batteries which can get killed with just a few deep discharges. Deep cycle types do well until half depth, or so they say.


A stationary li-ion, or better, LiFePO4 battery does a better job in these regards, in my opinion. If there’s need, of course.


yes, sealed lawnmower batteries from my 10 year old lawnmower that couldn’t make it around the yard anymore. I purchased a new set and used the old ones in my solar setup. If I kill them then I’ll move onto another plan, but most days they are charged with .3A, and only are used at night at .05A. New they were each 10AHr, so I don’t think I’ll be over discharging them soon. But thanks for the warning.

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