Budget LED flashlights for C-cells or D-cells for under 20 $? Suggestions? Update: With self-built 4xAA XP-G R5

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Vectrex
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Budget LED flashlights for C-cells or D-cells for under 20 $? Suggestions? Update: With self-built 4xAA XP-G R5

 

Hi there,

I bought and looked at many AA/AAA/18650 lights. But after having contact again with some good'ol Maglites... I wanna have a bigger light... mainly because I always misplace my little lights. (where is that damn Maratac SS... oh.. in my pocket.. lol Wink).

I made a list what's available from Kai and DX some time ago (with the old prices):

 

112 Flashlight 3W (3*c)       15.58
           
SMALL SUN ZY-777 CREE Q2 1-Mode Flashlight (3*D) 17.99
           
Police 3W 3*C SSC P4 Flashlight     17.40
           
POLICE(3W) SSC P4 Flashlight     14.54
           
Police 3W 3*C Flashlight       12.19
           
Police-3W Luxeon Long-Runtime LED Flashlight (3 x C-Cell) 14.43

 

Am I missing some good deals, or newer emitters? C/D-cell lights haven't been updated in a while, can't find Q5 or R2 budget lights anywhere.

Suggestions are welcome...

 

Update 1:

ZY-112 5W 3xC Flashlight Torch Black  8.92   more for modding I guess

 

Some slightly more expensive flashlights

SmartFire M-504C Cree Flashlight (4xC Cells)  28.55  and a Review of a similar light

SmallSun ZY-C56 Cree Q3-WC  (3*D)  31.90

Edited by: Vectrex on 09/27/2010 - 09:00
Don
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As you have just found out, there aren't a lot of options out there - at least that I know of.

 

The LED Maglites are good value in the US, but not anywhere else on the planet. Round here they want about $50-60 for them.

 

The incandescent Maglites aren't very good but are often found cheap in retail stores here - the last two (2D) I bought cost about 9 euros each in a retail store clearance. Add the $23 showerhead LED dropin and you get a lot of light.

 

Personally, I think that 4D and larger Maglites are too big to be useful - though they can be fun.

 

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

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

FlashPilot
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I've really enjoyed the 3 x D cell maglite. In the US, you can purchase a 2 pack of maglites equipped with the newer Rebel emitters and redesigned body with deep reflectors. (pack contains one 3 x D and one 2 x AA maglites with Duracell batteries and holster). I paid $25 per package before Christmas at Costco and bought several as gifts. The 3 x D will burn for days if left on. Also, it will accept 4 x C cells if you invert the tail spring. I get used C cells free with 80-90% capacity remaining so I usually keep it loaded with C's. To bad these aren't distributed cheaply around the world because they are far higher quality/tougher than most Chinese lights, and extremely reliable.

The SMALL SUN ZY-777 CREE Q2 1-Mode Flashlight (3*D) SKU: S008923  looks interesting. Id like to see the pill, switch and heat sinking inside before I buy. It might make for a good mod host. I wonder if its a P60 dropin.

 

Vectrex
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The Smallsun would also be my favorite of the above. But it seems no one bought it before.

I also saw the SmallSun ZY-A21 Cree Q3 3-Mode which is a 4XAA, but I dislike the   large_head/thin_body  ratio.

Vectrex
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A little disappointing that there are no newer LED available in the budget segment. So my new plan:

I will try to set up a P60 4xAA light. A L2 Flashlight Body Tube with Extension Tube  +  Solarforce L2 Flashlight Extension Tube would make a nice 18P light = 4xAA. Together with a R5 drop in ... wait the SB 1400 mA driver has a voltage range of up to 6 V ... hehe just had an idea and Ebay Germany has just the spacer I need.

Don
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Vectrex wrote:

Ebay Germany has just the spacer I need.

 

Sounds perfect. It will take even the fattest of AAs and should fit nicely in an 18mm tube. And it is a lot cheaper than 15mm copper plumbing pipe which is what I think of for such things.

 

Compared to the usual prices for metal tubing, that is an excellent price.

 

I'll be very interested to hear how you get on with this.

 

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

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

Vectrex
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L2 Flashlight Body Tube with Extension Tube and spacer (2m) are already ordered. I got some requests from friends, if I can build more than one. Wink

agenthex
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I've had this one above in my kaidomain wish-list for a while (waiting for some other sucker to review it first Smile

 

SMALL SUN ZY-777 CREE Q2 1-Mode Flashlight (3*D)  17.99

 

On the subject of the Mag ebay showerhead, they told me that they're getting a new batch of warmer ones next month (only $2 more). May have to get that (and a new maglite to go with it, still deciding on 4-5D or 2D with 6aa's in series).

Reading this makes you smarter: http://lesswrong.com/

Vectrex
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The best price for a 2D or 3D Maglite here in Germany is about 24 € = 31 $. Together with that drop in that would make it a ~55 $ light. For that kind of money I would rather buy a nice QUARK or something else. My new 4XAA plan is also more versatile 1/2/3 18650 or 3/4 AA with one flashlight and most important ... a nice beam.

agenthex
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Well, if you were looking for the indecently long AA light: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.44713

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xP.1337
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got to admit one thing about C and D cell flashlights! if they had quality leds in them, youd never replace batterys

 

the LED maglites i have are UTTERLY useless against EVERY FLASHLIGHT I OWN.... even the 9 LED ones from Ocean state job lot outshine it!!! stupid 3 watt luxeon!

this is prior to the new rebel luxeon ones tho

 

either way, there is one thing the maglite is good for

 

http://www.britelumens.com/images/j103.JPG

 

thats right, my next project.... instead of making a pocket rocket with an SST-90, i decided it would be better to use one of my many useless Maglite batons sitting around

a 3 cell gives me the option to use it for either 3 Ni-MH OR 3 li-ions (and drastically reduce the incoming amperage with a higher voltage!)

 

 

since a regular mag (3 cell) puts out a sad 70 lumens, side by side with the older LED mag, id say they are about the same, the led MIGHT be 90 lumens at best!

 

 

that zy-112 looks like a great option for a p7 mod tho!

 

Vectrex
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Agenthex  - look at post #3 of this thread.. LT had it for ages (well kind of)... they already made a VIDEO.

 

xP.1337 - for Mag modding you might consider the new batch of FUSION 36 drop ins

xP.1337
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yea 400 lumens... honestly, i dont see how they get that rating with STANDARD leds lol

those look like nichia leds.  not exactly powerful.  either way, id rather mod to 2250 lumens and have that WOW factor flashlight lol

Vectrex
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Some people over at CPF said that the Fusion 36 is nearly as bright as a P7 or a MCE... but all flood.  If I had a Mag already, I would have pre ordered it. The certified "Don's Optical Tree Test"™ Wink  has given out over 300 Lumen. They are now available in warm white to get rid off that purple tint.

And your link to BRITELUMENS is just the heatsink, you need the P90 emitter, driver, special batteries and so on. This will add up to a nice amount of money.

But good luck with that and show us your results, even if it will not be a budget light anymore.

Don
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xP.1337 wrote:

yea 400 lumens... honestly, i dont see how they get that rating with STANDARD leds lol

those look like nichia leds.  not exactly powerful.  either way, id rather mod to 2250 lumens and have that WOW factor flashlight lol

 

They are Nichia GS/K1 LEDs - with 6 good cells they will do 400 lumens: 

Lumens at 0, 30 and 120 seconds.

 

Fusion 36 dropin 3D NiMH 251 248 242

Fusion 36 dropin 6D NiCd 347 335 321

Fusion 36 dropin 5C Alk. 358 343 314

Fusion 36 dropin 6D NiMH 398 386 368

 

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

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

xP.1337
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yea but my point is for that money, id rather have a pocket flashlight. the MCE p7 i have, with the shining beam regulator would blow that out of the water

 

and its under 40 bux for that! (including 2 CR123 lithium primaries, which draw 2.8amps on the nose)

 

a mag is 30 bux, then anotherr 25 for that.... and only 400 lumens.... no thanks lol

 

where as, sst-90

mag for 30

LED for 50 (direct from avnet)

custom driver circuit (maybe DD if i stay with Ni-MH) ill say 20 bux since im gonna build it myself out of components

heat sink 28 bux

so at worst a 150 dollar project, with 2250 lumens, seems like a better use of a mag. something that size is NEEDED for.

which btw is a budget flashlight. why? cause its the best lumens per dollar out there!

 

 

but hey, to each their own!

 

Vectrex
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I just think that the Mags are not the best hosts for an SST-90, even if they are better heatsinked. There are likely better hosts, which deal better with the heat from an SST-90. In a 150 $ project the 30 $ for the host is almost the smallest investment and in my book 150 $ is not budget any more, even if it is worth the money. But you are right - to each their own - and I can understand the fascination of a "standard Mag" with 2250 lumens with included bragging rights.

BTW do you have an actual application for such light output, or do you just wanna have it? (which is totally fine by me Wink )

And I wanna see photos of the whole modding process and beamshots ... maybe you can convince me to shell out 150 $ too.

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lol i will post pics once i start getting the parts in. all i have right now is two mags

 

for me, i sell alot of these budget flashlights (buy em in semi-bulk, 10 at a time and resell) to friends and craigslisters lol

people do it cause they know if they have a problem with a flashlight, ill replace it for them, and take care of the whole over-seas returns processes lol

 

sooo, i want to prove my flashlight knowledge to some skeptics (the Surefire devotees lol)

the MTE p7 mod was pretty impressive to most.  most people have never seen a 900 lumen flashlight before

however, the maglite would be the ultimate flashlight.

with 3 D sized cells it should last a decent amount of time, even at 9 amps.  at over 2000 lumens its comparable to HIDs, except no expensive ballasts!

yada yada yada

 

as far as practical goes, yes and no.  I want it for show, but when im out hiking, it would be nice to have that much power in my book bag. 

thats where i think about having modes on something that bright would be nice.....

 

thing with modes is, im not an EE, so im not very good at designing circuitry lol

 

 

since i have two mags, ill probably have a p7 build and an SST-90 build.

the p7 will be for usability.  with Ni-MH i should get at least 2 hours of battery life on high. (3 D cells) and maybe more with Li-ion!

the SST-90 can be usable as a high beam on my car Big Smile

 

 

speaking of, once i get back on that bandwagon, the SST-90 and SST-50 should be the answer to my LED headlight questions.  so power is taken care of, now onto optics and cooling lol

charlestt
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How hard would it be to mod a 2d mag with a sst-50? I know where to get the driver and heat sink but what else would i need? metal reflector ! glass lens !!

I was thinking of using C nimh cells to drive it would that work?

 

Sorry for all the questions but have the modding bug now after seeing this.

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

Don
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charlestt wrote:

How hard would it be to mod a 2d mag with a sst-50? I know where to get the driver and heat sink but what else would i need? metal reflector ! glass lens !!

I was thinking of using C nimh cells to drive it would that work?

 

Once FNF comes back (If it does),take a look there.

 

C Ni\MH are the best way to do it - but they need to be Cs that can handle a lot of amps - the junk that Maplin sells won't cut it.

 

If you can get a big lump of copper machined to fit then all is good. 3Cs will do a good job. Look up the Varapower 1000 (http://www.lambdalights.com)

 

If you email Kevin he'll probably tell you

 

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

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

charlestt
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Don wrote:

charlestt wrote:

How hard would it be to mod a 2d mag with a sst-50? I know where to get the driver and heat sink but what else would i need? metal reflector ! glass lens !!

I was thinking of using C nimh cells to drive it would that work?

 

Once FNF comes back (If it does),take a look there.

 

C Ni\MH are the best way to do it - but they need to be Cs that can handle a lot of amps - the junk that Maplin sells won't cut it.

 

If you can get a big lump of copper machined to fit then all is good. 3Cs will do a good job. Look up the Varapower 1000 (http://www.lambdalights.com)

 

If you email Kevin he'll probably tell you

 

What sort of Cs are we talking about Don? do you mean decent branded cells is Duracell or panasonic

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

agenthex
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There was a guy on CPF who was selling the pills for Maglight in assorted states of machining/emitters for ~$15. You will need to cut off the top of the switch and the reflector and just soldier the emitter either direct to the switch or via the driver. I think the mag reflector should be able to take it fine, especially since the point of the pill is to keep things cool.

 

Another simple maglight project I wanted to try was the universal bi-pin adapter that does Mr-16's for also ~15. DX sells a bunch of mr16 multiled spots for cheap.

Reading this makes you smarter: http://lesswrong.com/

Don
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I was meaning NiMH - I got 15A capable ones from Kevin when I ordered the light as decent C NiMH are hard to find here. Mine are Tenergy branded 5000mAh cells. It might be easier to get good Sub-C cells here, plenty of places sell them and the good ones will produce crazy current all day long. The Component Shop has a good selection as do many others. They are available at the same capacity as the Cs I use and are a bit smaller which might give you more flexibility in design. Three of them direct driving an SST-50, maybe with some resistance put in to keep the current sane ought to do the trick. You'll easily get three SubCs in a 2D Mag with plenty of room for a huge heatsink. If I had access to a lathe I'd turn a big chunk of copper so it is a tight fit in the Mag body then thermal glue it in place.

 

The stock Mag switch should handle 5A with no trouble - they used to be capable of 11-12A but I suspect recent ones are not as good. 

 

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

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

charlestt
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I was thinking of using this driver but is 2.8A going to be enough to run an SST-50 ?  

http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/the-132/3-dsh-Mode-Regulated-Circuit-...

 

and then this heatsink

http://www.britelumens.com/images/j101.JPG

 

What do you guys think of these parts so far

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

Don
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A good P7/MC-E will probably do better at 2.8A than an SST-50. It really does need its 5A to light up like it is meant to. Someone did mention a 5A driver - I think from KD - here a week or two ago.

 

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

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

charlestt
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 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

Don
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Looking good. The only thing that may be a problem is that the KD driver wants 5-12V so you'd want to use 5 cells - those cells are the ones I have and they do work well. Apparently they perform well up to 15A - the Varapower takes 13 or thereabouts. You'll need a 4D host as you aren't going to get 5 Cs into a 3D Mag. 4Ds are 248mm long and 5 Cs are 250mm so there should be no problems in a 4D. It might be possible to get 5 sub Cs into a 3D but I doubt it as they'd come to 220mm long but if the spring is completely removed they are narrow enough 22.5mm to fit right into the tailcap and there might be enough length.

 

B&Q ought to be able to supply you with some appropriately sized plastic plumbing pipe to make an adaptor. See my pictures of the Varapower for an example.

 

The alternative is 6AAs in a 2D or 9AAs in a 3D but the adaptors to use these are expensive - the 9AA-3D is $45 plus postage from the US. The Fivmega ones cost more. Runtime would be short with this approach though.

 

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

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

charlestt
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thanks for the heads up Don, how about running it on 2 18650 would this work if i get some decent AW IMR ones? what sort of run time do you think i would get with that set up 20mins 

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

Don
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2 18650s should work fine. It is roughly a 15W device so:

 

We need 15W + driver losses from the cells. We have let's say 7.2V on average so we are asking the cells for 2 and a bit amps. This means ordinary 18650s, even protected ones ought to work. Say the 2400mAh Trustfires which ought to give you around an hour depending on the efficiency of the driver which is probably around the 80% mark. You probably won't need a metal reflector at that wattage, just cut down the Mag one a bit. If you are getting a new Mag for this, go for one of the new Rebel ones which have a much deeper reflector so should throw better. But check that the heatsink will fit first. Just make sure the back of the reflector can't touch the LED contacts and short the driver. That would not be good...

 

If you kill a Mag reflector trimming it, I have more somewhere.

 

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

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

charlestt
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Cool thanks Don so now were moving somewhere i was going to use the mag i already have it's one of the old incan bulb ones so that should be ok ?

I'll start getting some parts together Smile

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

charlestt
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Of course i have totally forgotten the most important component here.. THE LED !! dohh 

Where can i get a DECENT sst-50 led from?

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

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