Advice Needed

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Colm
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Advice Needed

I am looking for a little advice please.

I have a wonderful Coast HP550 torch which I absolutely love. It’s a genuine 1075L and lasts ages on one set of batteries. However it has one big drawback. It’s quite heavy. For many applications this isn’t an issue, but I am using it for hiking and I really need to cut my weight down!

So I thought about buying some of these cheap Chinese torches. You know these ones with all the fake output claims! It seems that most claims are way off the mark, but often people seem to say that they are still quite bright. They seem really cheap, so I thought I could try and see if they would allow me to bring something less capable, but lighter.

So what I’m looking for is this:

- Runs off AA batteries – not rechargeable lithiums. (Easier to carry spares and interchangeable with other equipment).
- A genuine max brightness of at least 250-350L
- A dimmer mode that does 50-100L
- At max brightness a run time of 90 min + would be ideal, with 60 min really the minimum
- At dimmer mode a run time of at least 6 hours.
- 2 AAs would be ideal
- Zoomable would be nice, but if zoomable should be of a bulls eye design.
- Cost less than $10 delivered to Europe.

Let me explain these so that you can better understand my needs. I’d prefer AA’s that rechargeable lithium batteries as they can be easily swapped with other equipment when camping, and replacements are easier to get than it is to find somewhere to recharge!

The max brightness should be good enough that in an emergency I have plenty of light. I’d be far away from city lights, so I be dependent on enough light from this. Imagine my tent collapsing during a heavy wind/rain storm. (I hope that never happens!) I’d need enough light to be able to work comfortably, but would need it for too long.

The dimmer mode is what it would be used for most of the time. I’d use the dimmer mode for general camping chores, cooking and just hanging out etc. Six hours should be enough to get me through one nights camping without much difficulty. I should be well asleep 6 hours after dark. My Coast HP550 does 50L on dim mode, and that’s fine for general camping use. The Coast is zoomable which means that I can get more light on a spot if needed without having to go to high mode.

2 AAs- I figure two makes it last longer without having to keep changing half used batteries. Two isn’t very big or heavy. The Coast has 9 which makes it far too heavy! I’d be ok with 1 AA, but figure that will probably give too short of a run time.

The zoomable is nice for being able to see something far away temporarily. The Coast has a really nice zoom where the centre is focused onto a point, but there is still light around it. It makes walking in the dark easier as you can still see where you’re walking while throwing the centre of the beam further. I see some youtube videos of cheap Chinese zoomable torches but they zoomed everything to a spot, with little surrounding light.

$10 because I’m sure these aren’t going to last a long time, and I’ll probably need to carry a second one as a backup due to low build quality.

Do you guys have any suggestions? Do any of these ultra cheap Chinese torches match the requirements, or are they all rubbish?

Thank
Colm

Tangra
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For 10 to 13$ I saw in Aliexpress Sofirn 2xAA light with 5500K which seems OK.
I also like AA battery, but in 4xAA format.
If you give 15$ for LiIon you will get much more lumens and run time. My EDC is Eagle Eye X2R and it covers 100% of my needs. It has USB port so I can charge it in my car and with solar panel. Also has diffuser which make it good lathern.
Run time is very good – over 2 hours in 550 lumens.
Anyway,good 2xAA do not cost 10$. I would advise to get Jaxman L2 with warm tint or Trunite Archer 2A NW version.

khas
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Lightbringer
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Working my way through college doing sales, one thing I learned pretty quickly is to not sell the customer what he wants, but to sell him what he needs. Big Smile

I’d recommend the Jetbeam Jet-I for the AA light. Small, lightweight, durable, waterproof, nice modes. Even if you burn down the AA so “high” is more like medium or even low, keep using it ‘til you need the brightest light possible, then swap cells. And keep the spent one for when you just need low or moonlight modes.

 

For doing stuff hands-free like dealing with a wind-blown tent, chopping wood, wrestling bears, etc., nothing beats a headlamp. For <10bux, spring for a Boruit RJ02. Yeah, it’s an 18650 light, but on high it should last you about 3hrs and on its lowest setting probably a few nights’ worth, easily. I use mine on’n‘off for weeks at a time, and don’t even recall when I charged it last.

There are AA-based headlamps out there, but not even close to 10bux.

Oh yeah. What you said about getting crap for 10bux and needing a spare is absolutely right. You buy cheap, you get cheap. Carrying 2 Jetbeams is the best arrangement you can have, eg, one “low” for burning down spent cells, the other for “bright/emergency” use.

They’re small and light enough, and while inexpensive, ain’t cheap.

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Tangra
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I had Jetbeam Jet-I. Good light on good price. But awful cool bluish tint. Finally I give it away.

Colm
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Thanks guys for the advice. Much appreciated.

I can’t find the Sofrin 5500k light that Tangra refer to. The Eagle Eye appears to be 18650 batteries which I really don’t want.
I can’t find anything with a search for Jaxman L2 on Amazon, Ebay, Aliexpress nor Banggood. I can find some Jaxman E2 though. Likewise for “Trunite Archer 2A NW”

The SF13 looks interesting. Is this something you have yourself, or just something you’ve seen online? If you have it yourself,
what’s the runtime like?
Is the 300lm output pretty genuine?
What is the focus like? Bullseye with strong centre and weaker outline, or even everywhere?
What’s the build quality like?

The Jetbeam Jet-I also looks nice. It’s a little over budget, but if it’s a better build quality, then maybe it makes sense to just buy one of these.
The down side seems to be that it’s just one AA, so a shorter run time. I prefer a longer run time as changing batteries while in the dark isn’t so nice Wink The bluish tint wouldn’t bother me.

Some supplementary questions:
I see some of these, like the Jetbeam, list the batteries as AA or 18650. Does this mean that if I use them with AA, then the output will be much lower than quoted due to lower voltage?

I see some people bought a torch on this site through a group buy called a Lumintop ED25. It’s a bit more expensive at $18. At this price level could I expect the build quality to be much better, so that I might not need to carry a backup?
It appears to satisfy most of my conditions except the zoom function, but only would satisfy the cost if it would be sufficient by itself. How you any experience of this mode, and if so would you recommend it given my list of needs above?

Thanks for all the advice. Much appreciated!
Colm

Edit:- I see that the Jetbeam 1 Mk, while it’s listed as a 480Lm, it’s only 150Lm while running on AAs! the 480 is only when running on 14500 batteries, so doesn’t really met my requirements unfortunately. Otherwise it looked interesting!

Lightbringer
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Colm wrote:
Edit:- I see that the Jetbeam 1 Mk, while it’s listed as a 480Lm, it’s only 150Lm while running on AAs! the 480 is only when running on 14500 batteries, so doesn’t really met my requirements unfortunately. Otherwise it looked interesting!

The difference between 300lm and 150lm is not “twice as bright”. It’ll definitely appear a little brighter, but the eye’s response is logarithmic(?), so it may appear, say, 30% brighter, but definitely not 100% brighter.

That’s why when I “roll my own”, I don’t overstress the LEDs, but keep them tame enough that I can run down the light at full power from fully-charged to LV cutoff, and the LED won’t cook. And they’re still plenty bright. And have great runtime.

Don’t get too hung up on numbers.

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Tangra
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Sorry. JAXMAN M2.
https://m.aliexpress.com/item/32794173177.html#autostay
88 minutes at 320 lumens run time. NW and WW option.
Do not give 10$ for flashlight 2XAA. It is not well spend money.

khas
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I don’t have the SF13 but the quality is normally very good with Sofirn (re branded Thorfire I think).

I do on the other hand have both the Lumintop ED25 and the JAXMAN M2 :

Both running on two AA batteries but very different in size. Both have great build quality and finish. I think the SF13 is very much like the ED25 but it’s just a guess.

I would take the M2, it really has a premium feel to it and very well made, there is only two modes and it always start on low but I think that is a good thing.

If you are dead set on the budget I don’t think the Sofirn SF13 is a bad deal.

Colm
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Hi guys,

Thanks very much for the advice.

What I’ve sort of come down to is this:

Buy the Sofrin SF13 ($10) + Lumintop ED25 ($18) = $28.

or

Jaxman M2 = $28 incl delivery to Ireland.

Both options put me over my budget by 40%! The first option give me backup, but I get the impression from you guys that the second one gives me a better device?

Faceed with this choice do you guys have any advice? I’m tending torward the first option…

Thanks
Colm

Tangra
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It is up to you.
Keep in mind that cold white tint wash out the colors. Very bad for our eyes.
Anyway.
Flashlight with 2xAA and 600 – 500 lumens mode is nonsense. 2 x AA can not maintain such a lumens long time. For example: Thrunite Archer 2A is offered as a 500 lumen in max and has 90 minute runtime.
But when you look at the lumens/time chart you can see that the 500 lumens output is only in first 5-10 minutes when battery are full charged. After 10 minutes it drops to 300 lumens.
When I see review in youtube where someone saying: amazing 500 lumens with 2xAA and I am strat laughing.

Colm
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Thanks guys for all your help and advice.

In the end I ordered the Sofrin SF13 & Lumintop ED25. I suppose in a month I’ll know if I made the right decision!

I am aware that the 500-600 lumens don’t last very long. A review I found of the ED25 shows that is dropped to 350lumen after 3mins 30seconds, and stayed there for the remainder of the time. To be honest, this suits my use case. I like having access to the higher power, but it’s not needed for very long.

Thanks again for all the help and advice. It’s was very helpful and much appreciated!

Colm

Colm
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Hi All,

Just by way of follow up.

I’ve had both the Lumintop ED25 and Sofrin 13 for a number of months now, and taken them on 2 or 3 camping trips.

Both are very similar to one another. While the Lumintop is rated with 600 lumens compared to the Sofrin’s 300, in practice it’s not a lot of difference. Both are equally as bright at the spot centre, with the extra power from the Lumintop seeming result in a spot that is twice as large as the Sofrin but the spot itself is of similar brightness.

To be honest, I think most people would be happy with either one, and they seemed well made.

My only complaint would be about Sofrin’s after sales care. The torch is supposed to be safe for a drop of 1 meter and ok in water up to 2 meters. On a recent camping trip I was kneeling over the edge of a small stream when I dropped my SF13. It fell for approx half a meter landed in water that was about 5cm deep. It stayed there for about 5 seconds before I retrieved it. Now it doesn’t work any more.

I was prepared to buy a new one as I was happy with it, but thought I’d ask if it was covered by a warranty. They told me it’s covered by a full replacement warranty for 3 months (I was too late for that) and a warranty that would send the replacement part for 12 months. But since asking for the replacement part to be sent 3 weeks ago, they’ve stopped answering emails. Very disappointing for a torch that I was happy with up to that point.

So don’t trust its shock resistance and waterproofness, and it’s not a bad item. But don’t expect any help if you need to make a warranty claim.

Colm

Lightbringer
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Hmm, that doesn’t sound good. Wonder if any wired got crossed…

There are a few Sofirn threads floating around here, so maybe you can follow up with Tracy Wan. If someone in CS is dropping the ball, I don’t imagine the company would want to let that slide.

As for the light, I had a Thorfire TK4A go boom on me, pretty much tipping over and getting killed by a Dell. Big Smile (It’s since been resurrected.)

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/58619

I imagine most reputable companies would have pretty good CS, and wouldn’t want to leave you hanging like that. I’ve had good experiences with Sofirn, and they’re incredibly responsive here on BLF, so yeah, contact Tracy and see if she can help, or point you to someone who can.

‘Though hurry, ‘cause CNY is coming up fast, if it hasn’t already.

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Jiffy
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There’s another thread about dropping sofirns here:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/58866

Perhaps a switch problem? Hope you get a resolution anyway.

I do a fair bit hiking, some of it in pretty extreme situations (eg: Cairngorm plateau in winter) and one things I always do is carry a spare torch and spare batteries so well done in getting 2 torches. Oh and yes TORCHES!!!! Not flashlights lol Thumbs Up Big Smile