Tough but cheap CR123A light recommendation

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texas shooter
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Tough but cheap CR123A light recommendation

I’m the light guru at work and have helped the masses get better lights. I’m a bit behind on the budget single cell CR123A line ups. In the past I had supplied Solarforce Z1’s and Z2’s and they worked quite well but lately the failure rate is climbing with some just D.O.A. out of the box. Need some recommendations for under $20.00 single CR123A’s. Three mode preferable, clip and waterproof. These are secondary light usually used to read licences. Most get stored in a shirt pocket then clipped on the Epaulets when used. Any help greatly appreciated.

EyeballFryer
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Check out the On The Road M3. Check some reviews to see if you like the UI. However, I can’t tell you if “On The Road” is a quality brand, since I haven’t had mine for very long, and I don’t have many opportunities to abuse it.

ReManG
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Why a CR123? AA and AAA are even skinnier and carry better in pockets…

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jf_smm
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How about under $10?
XTAR WK42 on clearance at their eb*y store xtarshop

I have had a couple of these banging around in different jackets for most of this year and have had no issues. I wish they were tail clicky instead of side but that’s me.

leroycp
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XTAR WK42 on sellout $10 – $15. Comes on low then m/h/turbo. You don’t have to worry about it switching on in your pocket. Recessed switch. Has memory last used. I use the 16340 but CR123A can also be used. If you can’t find one let me know. I have an extra I can send. It’s now “one” of my favorite EDCs. Anno shows signs of wear but very durable! IPX8

will34
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I have the titanium version of the Eagletac D25C and it’s incredibly well designed for EDC. The clip is really solid and fixed in place, actually it has the best clip of all of my lights, tail clicky has great feedback and it is very lightweight. Output is just ok in stock form but it is very mod-friendly, mine is producing 1,000lm+ with an efest 16340 drawing 4.3A start and throws a nice smooth beam with the XP-L HI, paired with a 17mm FET+1.

MSRP is high but you can often find it in deal prices, I got my Ti for $40 and now illumn has the aluminium nichia 219 version for $30. http://www.illumn.com/eagletac-d25c-clicky-nichia-219.html

$10 above your designated budget but totally worth it if you also plan to mod it later, but as a stock light there are many other brighter alternatives (in terms of output, ignoring build quality).

texas shooter
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leroycp wrote:
XTAR WK42 on sellout $10 – $15. Comes on low then m/h/turbo. You don’t have to worry about it switching on in your pocket. Recessed switch. Has memory last used. I use the 16340 but CR123A can also be used. If you can’t find one let me know. I have an extra I can send. It’s now “one” of my favorite EDCs. Anno shows signs of wear but very durable! IPX8

Thanks for the offer but I work with about 1300+ in my department. I’ll check out those XTAR WK42’s though, thanks.

I put together flashlights for my First Responders in the area and charge $5.00 over cost 350+ lights to date over the last five years. I’ve even gotten a purchase order from an out of area agency for their DA investigators. I’ve learned a lot about what they want, expect and what works. What I put together is a CUXM2 dropin from intl-outdoors or from our own Mountain Electronics. Wrapped with an adhesive Aluminum tape until it’s very snug. This also keeps the pill and reflector from unscrewing which seems to happen from frequent battery changes. Host are SolarForces and I put two layers of Teflon tape on the head threads. Tail switch retaining ring is smoothed out and tightened. I found on a few lights including SolarForce that the switch retaining rings like to loosen over time. This I found was ridges around the dimples grabbing into the body. I take out the retaining ring and hone it smooth with a fine honing stone. Some people want the Pflexpro dropins, at 3.8 amps those get Copper wraps. Top three modes sets are;high/low, high/medium/low and high/low/strobe. Those that say the P60 is past its prime might be right but these lights work hard and only a few ever needed repair.

Off topic again, I need suggestions on where to direct my people when they ask “Hey whats a good backup light to get?” CR123A’s far exceed AA’s and AAA’s in performance and never leak.

RollerBoySE
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Eagletac D25C is probably the best quality CR123A light on the market (for a reasonable price) and with a Nichia 219 it get’s the colors right too (could be important when checking licenses). There are brighter CR123A lights on the market, but at least I seldom need more light than the Eagletac produces.

jack-bkk
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thorfire small and use standard parts easy to mod or change as you wish

www.thorfiredirect.com/ThorFire-Keychain-LED-Flashlight-Ultra-Bright-174-Lumen-Mini-Keychain-Pocket-Size-Torch-Lighting-p-96.html

DavidEF
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The best CR123A light I’ve seen build-wise is the Trustfire Mini-02. It’s made of stainless steel, and it’s fairly thick and very tough. Gearbest has them at $12.04 right now, but I’m not sure how many they’ll have, since it is an older product. No clip, but you could probably buy one separately that would fit. It comes with a key-ring and a Trustfire brand CR123A. If you don’t mind spending some time on it, you could upgrade the XM-L emitter to something more modern. But, if you’re going to be buying over 1000 of them, I’d doubt you’ll want to do that. It already claims 480 lumen output, so might be good enough as is. I had one from Rey (WWEFANS) that had been upgraded for a GB, and I loved it until a friend in need of a good light bought it from me.

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
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quetzalcoatl
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EyeballFryer wrote:
Check out the On The Road M3. Check some reviews to see if you like the UI. However, I can’t tell you if “On The Road” is a quality brand, since I haven’t had mine for very long, and I don’t have many opportunities to abuse it.

1+
the best chinese 16340 lamp in 5C.
DavidEF
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quetzalcoatl wrote:
EyeballFryer wrote:
Check out the On The Road M3. Check some reviews to see if you like the UI. However, I can’t tell you if “On The Road” is a quality brand, since I haven’t had mine for very long, and I don’t have many opportunities to abuse it.

1+
the best chinese 16340 lamp in 5C.

Yeah, but Flash Sale price is ~$20 and only 29 left at that price. The ‘regular’ price is ~$44, which is likely to be a deal-breaker for the OP.

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

scrumpypaul
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At the rate you’re selling them, wouldn’t it be better to maybe get a group buy sorted, to your specifications? Maybe even get them engraved with something special for your particular colleagues/staff etc?

marsalla
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I agree with the on the road m3. I think for the money it is a very good investment

 

 

 

texas shooter
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Thanks for the ideas and input. I personally aren’t buying them, but it really helps when I can point some one in the right direction. You should see the CHAOS when we talk back up pistols and pocket knifes.

DavidEF
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texas shooter wrote:
Thanks for the ideas and input. I personally aren’t buying them, but it really helps when I can point some one in the right direction. You should see the CHAOS when we talk back up pistols and pocket knifes.
Well, I wish I’d have thought of it first, but I think scrumpypaul’s idea of a GB would work for you, if you can get the guys on board with it.
scrumpypaul wrote:
At the rate you’re selling them, wouldn’t it be better to maybe get a group buy sorted, to your specifications? Maybe even get them engraved with something special for your particular colleagues/staff etc?

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

texas shooter
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We buy our own weapons, knives and flashlights. Some will spend extra for the very best other some would use duct tape if allowed. We get issued long arms, vest, uniforms and Streamlights.

wle
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i second the ebay XTAR WK42
from the xtarstore, reliable establishment
great, tiny light
3 or 4 modes
some blinkies, easily avoidable
also runs on CR123 or 16340, it changes what it does based on battery type
16340 will not run down to overdischarge
cr123 it doesnt; care, go down to 0

wle

========
"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
--Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
========
It never gets easy, you just go faster.

--Greg Lemond.
========
,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸
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hank
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Quote:
runs on CR123 or 16340, it changes what it does based on battery type 16340 will not run down to overdischarge cr123 it doesnt; care, go down to 0

Do you mean the light driver protects unprotected li-ions from overdischarge? — that’s really good design.

wle
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yes. that is fairly common, actually.

DQG tiny IV 18650 does it, Manker U11 does it.

When the voltage under load gets too low, they usually either blink or shift to a lower mode, when there is no lower mode they turn off.

The XTAR can be tricked though.

What it does is register
1. here is a new battery [current was interrupted]
2. what voltage is it NOW?
3. if over 3.2, it must be a 16340, so set the ‘ do not overdischarge ‘ flag

however, if you put in a 16340 that happens to be under 3.2 [whatever the threshold is, not sure really], it will assume that is NOT a 16340 and can be discharged to 0
as long as you leave it in, it is fine

wle

========
"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
--Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
========
It never gets easy, you just go faster.

--Greg Lemond.
========
,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸
              __o
    __o     _`\<,_      __o
  _`\<,_   (*)/ (*)   _`\<,_
 (*)/ (*)            (*)/ (*)
,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸
========

hank
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Quote:
however, if you put in a 16340 that happens to be under … whatever the threshold is, … it will assume that is NOT a 16340 and can be discharged to 0

Without warning, eh? That’s really bad.

wle
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right – it works ok if you don;t remove a 16340 and insert it half-rundown

there is no better way to really do that though. you want cr123s to run down all the way, but you don;t want th 16340s to do that..

unless you were to tell it explicitly [button commands] what kind of battery you have.

wle

========
"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
--Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
========
It never gets easy, you just go faster.

--Greg Lemond.
========
,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸
              __o
    __o     _`\<,_      __o
  _`\<,_   (*)/ (*)   _`\<,_
 (*)/ (*)            (*)/ (*)
,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸
========

jf_smm
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The WK 42 can also can be fooled if you have a really fresh CR123. I had a CR123 that was just barely over the bottom limit that lit up the low battery warning on the clicky after a few minutes. I was pretty confused until I re-read the manual LOL.Then I just pulled out the battery for a few minutes to let the light reset and it was all good.

hank
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I’m starting to hope for battery tubes with little windows in them — like film cameras used to show you what kind of film was inside the case.

ReManG
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OK, I get the CR123 thing, but do not dismiss the AA and AAA size used with the L91/92 sized lithium primary batteries. If your department buys the batteries for you, the EOD, Aviation or Incident Command section will have a order number for these, as they use them for stuff that has to work out of storage. If not, hunting around, the AAA and AA lithium primaries can be had at CR123 prices. The main advantage is the use of other stock batteries, alkaline, which I know you do not like, but hear me out.

The 1.5V AA lithium primary have 3000mah capacity, or the equivalent watts of a 1500mah 3V CR123 (1/2 mah, doubled voltage), so they are effectively the same as a CR123, and single AA lights are thinner than the CR123 (more types too). Double AA will of course have twice the run time of the single lights.

The AAA is only about 1200 mah for the Lithium primary, so the run time suffers until you go to a 2x AAA, then it is almost equal to a CR123, and a lot nicer form factor to carry. A 1x AAA is too easy to carry, so there is that plus, even with the detriment to run time and brightness.

The last thing to consider is the dreaded alkaline compatibility. If you have the store chain “Dollar Tree” in your area, hit it up and buy a four pack of the alkaline Sunbeam batteries (NOT the heavy duty, they are lower capacity by 2/3). AA HERE AAA HERE For $0.25 you have a decent alkaline that you can afford to replace daily if you want. I saw a few comments that these are about 90% as long lived as the “brand” alkaline batteries, but are 75% cheaper. I like a ten percent loss for a 75% savings… A 20 work day month will cost you $5 in AA alkaline this route, no worries about leaking if you change them out daily as an extreme example. Plus if you give away the light to someone that needs it, they can get batteries easily and cheaply, unlike “retail” CR123 prices…

Perhaps this information will help in your search…

Tech bulletin on Lithium Primaries

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Trevi_lux
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The new fenix E15 2016, one of my reliable and compact for EDC daily use, only for a few bucks over your price around 25 USD you will get a top light at a budget price!
(not clip)

http://www.banggood.com/Fenix-E15-2016-Cree-XP-G2-R5-450LM-Waterproof-Mini-LED-Flashlight-p-1020987.html

will34
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+1 E15 2016

I had it as a keychain light for a couple weeks and was happy with it, smooth head operation and good throw for the size. Very compact and lightweight.