What are your most annoying flashlight features?

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Dioda
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What are your most annoying flashlight features?

With LED flashlights being available for good 10+ years, one would expect the manufacturers to have their designs, quality control, performance and user’s ergonomics under total control. However exactly the opposite seems to be true in many cases. My recent search for a pocketable budget friendly option on XHP50.2 mixed beam light got me thinking how many lights i ruled out of the selection due to various flaws which I guess could be easily avoided. While some are just minor nuisances, others were legit deal breakers for me. Even though I doubt any manufacturer will pay attention, what are your features you DONT want to see on your light?

For me here are some serious red flags:
- ridiculous long press to turn on or off – this ruled out the JetBeam T4 Pro for me, where it took nearly 3 seconds to activate
- lights which shut down even with slight bump – like the haikelite MT01 Trekker
- high parasitic drain – seems this plagued the nitecore EC4XY series
- crappy UI with either wrong mode spacing , strobe modes in the cycle (not hidden)
- poverty quality control – do you remember the early overdriven XT11GTs?
- no lanyard hole or a microscopic one – seriously, it would be great if a paracord sized hole would be like the norm
- sluggish, mushy switches – again something that could be rather easily avoided
- poverty PWM drivers
- ugly designs like look ruined by cheap white plastic switch

Feel free to throw in yours!

Edited by: Dioda on 02/14/2018 - 10:16
clemence
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- Long press ON/OFF
- Green or magenta tint are worse
- Faster than 1 Hz strobe
- Visible PWM
- High standby drain
- Non waterproof
- Rattles
- Threadlocker, glue
- Too much branding/logo/texts

- Clemence

derfyled
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For me, long press to turn off is terrible…

netprince
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clemence wrote:
- Long press ON/OFF
- Green or magenta tint are worse
- Faster than 1 Hz strobe
- Visible PWM
- High standby drain
- Non waterproof
- Rattles
- Threadlocker, glue
- Too much branding/logo/texts

- Clemence

Ditto for me, I would add strobe being not VERY well hidden.

MtnDon
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The need to go through the entire mode selection to reach off.

kramer5150
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Updated comment… see below

Dioda
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I will throw in another one: Cheap ass lanyards on heavier flashlights. Either include a good, strong one or dont bother.

clemence
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MtnDon wrote:
The need to go through the entire mode selection to reach off.

This is crazy! Is this just your nightmare or is it ever used before?

- Clemence

Bob_McBob
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Overly easy access to strobe in a non-tactical light. The Manker U21 has a very frustrating UI. Long press for on to anything other than moonlight, double click shortcut to strobe rather than turbo, click to advance between modes, and long press for off. At least they got rid of the double click strobe in later lights.

SKV89
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Don’t like strobe mode or any blinky modes in the general sequence. They should be really hard to get to to prevent accidental triggering.

kramer5150
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Thought about it some more. These are my deal breakers. In order of magnitude.
No proprietary or glue-sealed battery designs = I must be able to replace a dead battery of common size/chemistry. I do not want to field re-charge a dead battery with a battery bank and USB cable. Totally impractical.

No CR123 only = Its 2018, I have been posting this one for almost ~15 years (!!!) on CPF well before BLF days. I can’t believe I still need to post this as a bullet, but none the less, there are still designs out there. If it only takes CR123 cells, its totally useless to me.

No 3AAA & 4AAA = Inferior in so many ways, although I would take a 3xAAA light (of comparable quality) any day over a CR123 only light.

Battery carrier/caddy = No thanks, just one more thing that can fail. Physically its another thing to get in the way when field reloading cells.

Mechanical power lock out = Must have, I have nearly burnt my hand on lights that were accidentally turned on for lord knows how long in my pack… annoying as hell

Low frequency PWM = I am very sensitive to this, although it can be fixed with a DIY driver mod. Still as long as I have a choice, I will pick a light without low frequency PWM.

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Lousy tint (too green or too blue).

Any blinkies, or at the very least, any blinkies that aren’t sufficiently buried.

h/m/l instead of l/m/h.

No memory that doesn’t start on low/moonlight. (“Aaaugh! My eyes! My eyes!”)

Bad mode-spacing (too scrunched up on high, huge jumps between lowest).

Ugly beam (rings or other artifacts, ugly corona, overly fried-egg beam).

Glued tight.

Blink-on-low or any other weird-ass intrusive way of changing mode-groups.

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greenlight
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Too small
Too bright
Too expensive
Too many modes

I like to keep my flashlights simple.

.

Persechini
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  • low frequency pwm
  • bad mode spacing (huge gap or too close modes)
  • unhidden blinkies
  • start in anything other than low or user memorized mode
  • gritty threads
  • green tint

In my Tree

My collectionEmisar: D4 / D1 / D4 (broken) ― Convoy: C8 Clear / S2+ Clear / S2+ / S2+ UV / S6 ― Nitecore: Tube / Thumb / Concept 1 / HC30 / HC33 / TIP / TIP CRI / TINI ― Lumintop: Tool AAA / Tool AA / HLAAA / EDC05 ― Sofirn: SF10 / SF12 / SF12 / SF14 / SF14 / SF14 / SP10A / SP10A (gifted) ― Jaxman: E3 ― UTorch: UT01 ― Trustfire: Z2 ― Skyfire: SF-065 (trashed)

zespectre
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Dislike a Long (3+ sec) turn on, long off doesn't bother me.

PWM (bad PWM actually makes me feel sick)

Cycling through STROBE or even more than a couple of modes to turn off

Non hidden strobe and signal modes in general

High parasitic drain (most of my lights are on standby a lot)

Sharp blue or green tint

No lockout (prefer mechanical but will take electronic types)

If I have to choose, I want a light to turn on in the lowest mode, NOT the brightest

Shallow or tiny thumb buttons

Side buttons that you can't find by feel alone

No low warning (a flash or whatever) before shut-down

Tonights forecast, 100% chance of dark.

TBone
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  • Power/mode buttons that I cannot feel or see in the dark. Angry

Imalent perfected that on the DN11 and DN70. Obviously not a single one of the designers ever tried to take the lights out of his pocket and switch them on in the dark /with gloves.
Nice lights otherwise, with an impressive design fail on the first and major feature of a flashlight. Facepalm

pennzy
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I stay away from UIs I need to carry a book to operate .

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Strobe being in the main sequence, as in L/M/H/Strobe/L/M/HStrobe

The very annoying “blink on low” convoy 3/5 mode lights use to signal when you can change modes to include/exclude strobe and SOS. I use low a lot and it’s a pain to have the light blink a few seconds after you turn it on

UI’s that take a PhD in rocket science to figure out / program

Gritty threads on tailcaps

Lights that come from China without instructions, usually received in crushed cardboard boxes.

FPV
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Most UI things I hate are combined in my Astrolux S42! Can’t believe I bought this despite the reviews on here.

Dioda
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Imalent had another massive fail.. those electro-sensitive buttons (or how that junk was called properly) did not operate in wet conditions, even in rain or wet hands. There were videos of users unable to change modes or even turn off that damned things.

Delta_V
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Adding to the OP:

- Forward clicky switch with next mode memory – Using your light on low and turn it off? Next time it turns on medium, even if you want Low again.
- Proprietary battery packs. Let me use multiple 18650s, that way the batteries can be swapped out when dead, instead of having to wait for the pack to recharge. Oh, and if that battery pack wears out in the future? Good luck getting a replacement. While with a multi-18650 light, you can easily get new batteries. I’m not buying a Nitecore, Fenix, etc. multi-emitter light if it requires a proprietary battery pack.

Lightbringer
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jch10400 wrote:
The very annoying “blink on low” convoy 3/5 mode lights use to signal when you can change modes to include/exclude strobe and SOS. I use low a lot and it’s a pain to have the light blink a few seconds after you turn it on

It ain’t the blink that bugs me, so much as the actual modegroup change.

I usually keep my lights on low(est) anyway, so if I’d just flick it on for a few sec to check out something, and click it off right as it blinks… oh, crap, don’t tell me… yep, turn it back on and cycle it through, and the damned blinkies are back. Then I gotta wait again for the blink to change it back, then go through another cycle to verify it.

And let’s face it, most times for a quick flash’n‘dash, you just want the light on for a few sec to check out what’s in the closet, where you dropped that whatchacallit, etc. And it’s about the same time window needed for the damned mode-change.

That’s what bugs me.

jch10400 wrote:
Lights that come from China without instructions, usually received in crushed cardboard boxes.

Ya mean, like, most of ‘em? Big Smile

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Kalihi
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Lightbringer wrote:
jch10400 wrote:
The very annoying “blink on low” convoy 3/5 mode lights use to signal when you can change modes to include/exclude strobe and SOS. I use low a lot and it’s a pain to have the light blink a few seconds after you turn it on

It ain’t the blink that bugs me, so much as the actual modegroup change.

I usually keep my lights on low(est) anyway, so if I’d just flick it on for a few sec to check out something, and click it off right as it blinks… oh, crap, don’t tell me… yep, turn it back on and cycle it through, and the damned blinkies are back. Then I gotta wait again for the blink to change it back, then go through another cycle to verify it.

And let’s face it, most times for a quick flash’n‘dash, you just want the light on for a few sec to check out what’s in the closet, where you dropped that whatchacallit, etc. And it’s about the same time window needed for the damned mode-change.

That’s what bugs me.

My thoughts exactly.

And as for my most annoying feature, how about a lack of a feature: not having multiple interface buttons. Seriously, how hard is it to have one button for on/off (maybe with long-press or double-tap options for shortcuts to min or max power), then one button for “brightness +” and one button for “brightness -”? Instead, we keep getting Dilbert-style interfaces: http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-06-12

Yokiamy
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‘Low’ modes which are not low enough, but even brighter then my incan mag3D (74 Lm)

Hurts my eyes at night when powering up one of those.

Thijsco19 wrote:

a regular symptom of flasholism Big Smile

“Flasholism is the most severe form of flashlight use and involves the inability to manage your flashlight use habits. It is also commonly referred to as flashlight use disorder. Flashlight use disorder is organized into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category has various symptoms and can cause harmful side effects. If left untreated, any type of flashlight use can spiral out of control.”

Yokiamy
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Kalihi wrote:

And as for my most annoying feature, how about a lack of a feature: not having multiple interface buttons. Seriously, how hard is it to have one button for on/off (maybe with long-press or double-tap options for shortcuts to min or max power), then one button for “brightness +” and one button for “brightness -”? Instead, we keep getting Dilbert-style interfaces: http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-06-12

Lol at the Dilbert style UI

Thijsco19 wrote:

a regular symptom of flasholism Big Smile

“Flasholism is the most severe form of flashlight use and involves the inability to manage your flashlight use habits. It is also commonly referred to as flashlight use disorder. Flashlight use disorder is organized into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category has various symptoms and can cause harmful side effects. If left untreated, any type of flashlight use can spiral out of control.”

clemence
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Kalihi wrote:
Lightbringer wrote:
jch10400 wrote:
The very annoying “blink on low” convoy 3/5 mode lights use to signal when you can change modes to include/exclude strobe and SOS. I use low a lot and it’s a pain to have the light blink a few seconds after you turn it on

It ain’t the blink that bugs me, so much as the actual modegroup change.

I usually keep my lights on low(est) anyway, so if I’d just flick it on for a few sec to check out something, and click it off right as it blinks… oh, crap, don’t tell me… yep, turn it back on and cycle it through, and the damned blinkies are back. Then I gotta wait again for the blink to change it back, then go through another cycle to verify it.

And let’s face it, most times for a quick flash’n‘dash, you just want the light on for a few sec to check out what’s in the closet, where you dropped that whatchacallit, etc. And it’s about the same time window needed for the damned mode-change.

That’s what bugs me.

My thoughts exactly.

And as for my most annoying feature, how about a lack of a feature: not having multiple interface buttons. Seriously, how hard is it to have one button for on/off (maybe with long-press or double-tap options for shortcuts to min or max power), then one button for “brightness +” and one button for “brightness -”? Instead, we keep getting Dilbert-style interfaces: http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-06-12

Looks like Dilbert button is the norm these days. Luckily, not too many Dilbert twisty

Lightbringer
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Kalihi wrote:
And as for my most annoying feature, how about a lack of a feature: not having multiple interface buttons. Seriously, how hard is it to have one button for on/off (maybe with long-press or double-tap options for shortcuts to min or max power), then one button for “brightness +” and one button for “brightness -”? Instead, we keep getting Dilbert-style interfaces: http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-06-12

Then it’s getting to be 100% proprietary, no possibility of modding it. You’d have to be happy with the light right out of the box, else you’re SOL. Just as bad if not worse than gluing the crap out of the light after potting the innards.

Most lights with an e-switch on a board soldered to the main driver board are already nigh impossible to mod. With multiple switches, forget it.

Hell, I’m happy with a 1-mode ’502 for my EDC, but for other lights, simple modes (with memory) is fine.

Eg, my SP10B, I pretty much keep on firefly mode, so just turning it on will get me that without blinding me. But a quick doubletap for turbo gives me full brightness. Anything in-between, I turn it on firefly, then click higher as needed. Done. Then back to firefly before turning it off.

My Jet-II, same dealy, only it’s a twisty that always starts on low. Works for me.

SF31W, again, I always reset it to low/moonlight, then click higher as needed, then reset it back.

Some lights, like my C8Fs (old and new), Hell, I always keep ‘em cranked up to 11. Otherwise, what’s the point? Big Smile

Otherwise, just get a light like a DV-S9 with its slider, and set it to whatever you want. Parasitic drain? Uncrank the tail ½-turn. Done.

I agree with whoever said that he dislikes lights which pretty much require you to carry a book to work the UI.

Like, how hard is it to just reset the light to low/moon/firefly before turning it off? Why does there need to be separate shortcuts for each mode, like the 27% half-press, etc.?

A nice simple tail-clicky is always easy to find (hardly so with a side-clicky), so the simple on/off is the only way to control the light. That’s why I like the SF31W so much. It does pretty much everything with that nice simple interface. Just remember to reset it to low to avoid getting blinded at night.

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andyflash
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I hate having to charging the battery

Lightbringer
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andyflash wrote:
I hate having to charging the battery

Wellp, until zero-point energy cells become commercially available, we’re stuck with that rather irksome necessity.

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Kalihi
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Lightbringer wrote:
Kalihi wrote:
And as for my most annoying feature, how about a lack of a feature: not having multiple interface buttons. Seriously, how hard is it to have one button for on/off (maybe with long-press or double-tap options for shortcuts to min or max power), then one button for “brightness +” and one button for “brightness -”? Instead, we keep getting Dilbert-style interfaces: http://dilbert.com/strip/2016-06-12

Then it’s getting to be 100% proprietary, no possibility of modding it. You’d have to be happy with the light right out of the box, else you’re SOL. Just as bad if not worse than gluing the crap out of the light after potting the innards.

Most lights with an e-switch on a board soldered to the main driver board are already nigh impossible to mod. With multiple switches, forget it.


Why do the buttons need to be soldered to the driver board? How much is it really going to add to the cost of a full size, multi-cell light to add one more board with three buttons on it, three pairs of wires (or fewer) soldered to it, and then a six-pin (or fewer) connector for those wires soldered to the main driver board?
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Dioda wrote:
Imalent had another massive fail.. those electro-sensitive buttons (or how that junk was called properly) did not operate in wet conditions, even in rain or wet hands. There were videos of users unable to change modes or even turn off that damned things.

 

Another imalent basher tongue-out   My switch works just fine.  I wish batteries would last longer in higher modes, that would be my only annoyance.

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