Best Budget Keychain Light

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brunswick
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Best Budget Keychain Light

Hey guys,

Been lurking on this wonderful forum for quite a while but finally decided to register Smile

I know there are already a lot of reviews and threads about AAA flashlights. http://lygte-info.dk also has a lot of information on AAA lights.

While I really like the Maratec AAA Cu and the DQG II and would consider them great keychain lights, they are not exactly *budget* keychain lights. I already lost an expensive keychain light in the past and I would prefer to go for a rather cheap one this time around.
I am not looking for the cheapest keychain light, but for the "best bang for the buck". A price I would feel comfortable with would be >20$ including international shipping, 25$ tops.

The light should be small enough to be a comfortable keychain light, as bright as possible (multiple modes preferred but not necessary) and run on normal AAA batteries.

With the sheer amount of AAA lights matching this description on DX and co, I can't seem to see the wood for the trees.
Do you have some recommendations to save me from going dark?

 

Thanks in advance!
-brunswick

JohnnyMac
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Welcome to BLF, Brunswick! Glad you came out of the shadows. Smile

Your best bet for a quality AAA light at a good price would have to be the CQG S1 stainless steel.

It's the thinnest AAA light you can get anywhere and is extremely well machined from stainless steel. Here is the thread where it's currently available for $15 shipped. Old4570 has done a review here.

If you want just a cheapie for under $10 look no further than the Black Cat. You can find them at DX and elsewhere and are highly regarded by many of the members here.

Good luck!

Johnny

M3TAL_L0RD
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JohnnyMac wrote:

If you want just a cheapie for under $10 look no further than the Black Cat. You can find them at DX and elsewhere and are highly regarded by many of the members here.

+1, good light after small fixing.

brunswick
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Thank you for the warm welcome, Johnny! Smile
And also for the recommendations - greatly appreciated.

Funnily enough I ordered a couple of Black Cats as gifts a few days back.
What modding do you recommend for these lights, M3TAL_L0RD?

The CQG S1 sounds pretty awesome. Reading the thread now and ordering one.

 

Still open for more recommendations. One can never have enough spare keychain lights. They make great presents, too Smile

JohnnyMac
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brunswick wrote:

Thank you for the warm welcome, Johnny! Smile
And also for the recommendations - greatly appreciated.

Funnily enough I ordered a couple of Black Cats as gifts a few days back.
What modding do you recommend for these lights, M3TAL_L0RD?

The CQG S1 sounds pretty awesome. Reading the thread now and ordering one.

 

Still open for more recommendations. One can never have enough spare keychain lights. They make great presents, too Smile

LOL...I just ordered a CQG S1 myself not 20 minutes ago. I hesitated because I already have a Trustfire F23 and wasn't sure I wanted another AAA light.  Btw, the F23 is a ridiculously good AAA light. Polished SS and CRAZY bright on a 10440 LiIon cell. You can get one of those for $15-$20 and if you like AAA lights you just have to get one.
M3TAL_L0RD
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brunswick wrote:

Funnily enough I ordered a couple of Black Cats as gifts a few days back.
What modding do you recommend for these lights, M3TAL_L0RD?

I have 2 and both had some contact problems in head, so they flickered.

Unfortunately heads are glued to body. I managed to open other "bare handed" but for other needed to use pliers. After opening head, I cleaned threads and fixed solders on pill (need to make contact to body's end when tightened). You might also try adding foil for better heat sinking.

Red Black Cats are different, those have screwable pill.

http://club.dealextreme.com/forums/Forums.dx/threadid.819254

how2
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Welcome brunswick

Langcjl
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Welcome to the forum

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

brunswick
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Thanks guys!

Feeling at home already Smile

 

And thank you for the repair info, ML. I hope the ones I have ordered will be okay, but on the other hand playing around, modding and fixing the light is half the fun of dealing with budget lights, no? Big Smile

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brunswick wrote:

I hope the ones I have ordered will be okay, but on the other hand playing around, modding and fixing the light is half the fun of dealing with budget lights, no? Big Smile

Yeah, you get 2 hobbies at the price of 1 Big Smile

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Hi Brunswick!

 

Good to have you here!

 

When it comes to keychain lights there is a lot to be said for the various Photon lights and their clones. I have a Photon ReX on one keyring and Photon 2 clones on just about everything including zipper pulls.

 

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/white-flashlight-keychain-22000mcd-10-pack-...

 

The Fenix E01 and the ITP A3EOS Upgrade are also well worth looking at.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

brunswick
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I second the recommendation for the Photon lights and their clones.
I always have one on my keychain as a backup light and it comes in quite handy in those tricky situation where even a little bit of light is much better than no light at all.

Don
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Probably bought around 5000 of the things in the last decade. Most of which have been given away. Around 2000 went to customers to give away as promotional gifts. At a bit more than I paid for them.

 

They are also great to give to dog owners at this time of year - a light dangling from their collar is much more visible than a collar light. Gave away 10 of them today in the park to other dog walkers.

 

Usual price round here for them is around $8 each - but then the CR2016 cells they run on are around $6 each and these devices need two of them. If I give one away, I tell the folks to return them to me when the batteries are dead and I'll give them another one.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

scheven_architect
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I like my xtar keychain light i got for free with my xtar 2600 battery order :). Should receive another free one from a promotion on a site in a few days. It's simple and not superbright but it does 'light' up a room.

 

 
CheapThrills
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Don wrote:

Usual price round here for them is around $8 each - but then the CR2016 cells they run on are around $6 each and these devices need two of them. If I give one away, I tell the folks to return them to me when the batteries are dead and I'll give them another one.

 

Don; any idea why these keychain lights are not available with those "flat top" 5mm LED`s?

They should give about 120° beam instead of the regular, what, like 8° to 20° beam. I mean, honestly, is someone using these as throwers Big Smile

I just cut down one 5mm keychain LED, more usable for me.

 

 

Your post also reminded me to order some 2016 from eBay, local prices are very high Flat Stare

E1320
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Welcome to BLF Brunswick

I would highly recommend the coast light from coastportland.com for $3.50.

Click on the free light icon fill out the survey and pay the $3.50 shipping and handling and you hopefully will get the aaa light if not the button battery light is very cool also.

 

I am already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

gcbryan
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That's kind of an odd "free" offer though isn't it? I just checked it out myself. They want to thank me by giving me a free light for a fee of $3.50 and they don't specific the light.

If it is indeed the keychain light then it isn't free at all as that's at the high end for a button style keychain light. It may be worth it since it includes shipping and handling (I presume) but it's hardly free.

gcbryan
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Just for fun I just sent this offer to Coast via their contact us form.

I'd like to give you a free gift for being such a great company. Please send $3.50 via PayPal to my account and I'll send you a return email with some free business advice (I have an MBA so it will be valuable advice).

I will then use that $3.50 to get that free flashlight you so generously offer.

They now have my email address so it will be interesting to read their response. :)


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Us and canada only for the coast freebe Sad

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the 3.50 is for shipping, it seems lately it is the g10 aaa light they are giving away. its a 10+ dollar light, in my book thats free + s&h

Boaz
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Yeah there's no doubt it's a free light ..It's a AAA forward clicky nichia  so it's a tint lottery ...the nifty thing is the smaller one is the exact same light same emitter and a reverse clicky too just a tiny tac instead of a mini tac ..it's a must have  for any flash a holic ...

I'll second the BLF edition S-1 as a nice keychain light and add the new 12$ nitecore nichia T0

Nitecore T0 12 Lumen Keylight - 1xAAA - BlueNitecore T0 12 Lumen Keylight - 1xAAA - Gold, or black , the other colors are odd ...12$ at Battery Junction

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weiser
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gcbryan wrote:

That's kind of an odd "free" offer though isn't it? I just checked it out myself. They want to thank me by giving me a free light for a fee of $3.50 and they don't specific the light.

If it is indeed the keychain light then it isn't free at all as that's at the high end for a button style keychain light. It may be worth it since it includes shipping and handling (I presume) but it's hardly free.

 

I just purchased one, however, I have to agree it's kind of a shady presentation. They don't give you any inkling as to what you might get. I would normally pass it off as a scam except I know Coast is a quality, reputable company. They're obviously looking for feedback and also introducing you to their goods at the same time. As long as you get something that provides some sort of utility (i.e NOT some snazzy Coast decal) then you're technically getting your money's worth at minimum. 

gcbryan
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I think it's a little hard to know that you will be getting your money's worth if you don't know what you are getting at the time you get out your credit card.

Why make what you are getting a mystery at the same time that you are being asked to pay something for a free item.

If I go to the grocery store and they charge me $3.50 to give me something free but assure me I'll get my money's worth they could give me a carton of milk. However, I didn't go to the grocery store for milk and if they told me before hand that the free item would be milk I wouldn't hand them $3.50.

I wouldn't go to Coast to pay $3.50 for a button style keychain light or even a 1AAA if it's some ugly color or if it doesn't work right, etc.

If it's free I shouldn't be handing them money and if it's all above board why not tell me what the free item is?

weiser
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But I come from BLFland and I'm treating it as a lottery. My experience isn't normal compared to the general target market because of my affiliation to a hobby website, which means I'm probably more likely to experiment with something like this. I think you have to treat it as a sort of lottery to make the most of the experience instead of expecting it to be a profitable and successful transaction. Although I do admit they could stand to provide a bit more explanation.

 

BUT, note that I said you get your "money's worth," which is true because it takes into consideration the market value of the product, not your own personal utility value Wink

E1320
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They only ship 2 different lights and they both cost $9.99 at Sears so you are getting a $10 dollar light for $3.50, you just don't get to choose which model or color. I got one of each and I think it's a great deal.

I am already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

gcbryan
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weiser701 wrote:

But I come from BLFland and I'm treating it as a lottery. My experience isn't normal compared to the general target market because of my affiliation to a hobby website, which means I'm probably more likely to experiment with something like this. I think you have to treat it as a sort of lottery to make the most of the experience instead of expecting it to be a profitable and successful transaction. Although I do admit they could stand to provide a bit more explanation.

 

BUT, note that I said you get your "money's worth," which is true because it takes into consideration the market value of the product, not your own personal utility value Wink

Haha...but when you say you get "your" money's worth that means me and that would reflect my own personal utility value Smile  Generally a business has to let you know what it's selling you before you know whether it's a good deal or not.

Business is all about matching products with the right customers. Matching dresses with men doesn't give as much value as matching dresses with women.

I do agree regarding your lottery approach as a hobbyist. Most of my purchases lately have been a reflection of that principle Smile

Boaz
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  I have bought 5 or 6 of these and have gifted most of them ..e1320 is right it's usually one of 2 lights a forward clicky AAA like a fenix e01 or a tiny tac ...I have been hoping for the tiny tac again ...someone got a real big flashlight from them which is the real lottery winner ..My advice to all  is ....shut up and buy one ..

they love them ..

must be good... I recommended it .:)

 

**there is also a new Thrunite light coming out in about 2 weeks...  AAA 2 mode  with a very low low and a 80~100 lumen high twisty like a nitecore AA light .. twist on .2 lumens  and twist tighter and 100 lumens .. price is  less than 20$   in 6 colors ..full knurl ..Nice looking light ...

http://www.cpfmarketplace.com/mp/showthread.php?253973-Do-you-think-two-mode-is-enough-for-a-key-chainlights

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scheven_architect
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entered my information to participate in winning a hp21 flashlight, then saw it's US/canada only... sigh Smile

 

 
BUDGETER
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wish you buy the real thing which are satisified with your requirement and needs.And , enjoy your stay here....so do i !

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OMG............this is going to get confusing with a user called Budgeteer and one called Budgeter.

Anyway, welcome to BLF, BUDGETER.

"You are making progress if each mistake you make is a new one."

Remember - Most great discoveries start with maki

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I would like to add that CR123 is also a decent form factor for a keychain light.  Fatter than an AAA and overall bigger, but a bit shorter.

Best of all, they are capable of using RCR123 (rechargable) batteries, which will slightly overdrive the light and produce 200ish lumens.

"So um..why not use a AAA with 10440?"

a) Not entirely safe.  A 10440 has 350ish mAh, or a safe max current of 700 mA.  Because these lights were designed for 1.5 volts, a 4.2 volt lithium drives them at 1 amp or so...exceeding safety threshold.

b) CR123s are fatter and can use an XM-L emitter and have a decent reflector. AAAs are just too skinny.  XM-L = lots of tasty flood and high efficiency.

c) An 10440 typically requires a SLOWER CHARGER.  If you have typical 18650 chargers, they will charge the tiny batteries too quickly at too high of current.  This means a special charger if you already have 18650.

 

I currently use a Quark MiniX 123, with RCR123 battery.  Produces around 300 emitter lumens, driving the XM-L at 1.4 amps or so.  That's a lotta light when you need it!

Another alternative is to step up to an AA light.  Its bigger, but the AA-sized lithium is safe to use in your 18650 charger.