Flashlights for Emergency Prep

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sabre cat
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Flashlights for Emergency Prep

Hi everyone, I recently accepted a position I was offered by my local church leaders. The position is strictly volunteer but it should be lots of fun. I am now in charge of building an emergency preparedness program for the congregation.

The basic plans and organization are in place and now I am working on what goes in a 72-hour kit.

So what type of flashlight would you recommend for a basic bug out bag? What do you have in yours (if you even have one)? What would you put in your car or truck?

I figure that because I am Noob when it comes to lights, this should be a learning experience for me.

Thanks.

-SC

BlueSwordM
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Something like a Sofirn SP10S with a lithium primary would be your best bet.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

sabre cat
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Only one response? I am surprised. I guess everyone is on the same page about this.
I figured there would be many more opinions.

raccoon city
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Since this is for muggles, I suggest something that takes one AA eneloop battery.

I don't know what would be a good choice, though.

pommie
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How about hand cranked, no batteries to worry about in fact they are cheaper than a set of batteries, I have had one in the glovebox for years now.

Cheers David

Nothing to see here folks, move along...

raccoon city
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madness
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I’m not sure of the reliability/quality of those dynamo torches. I suspect the output is pretty feeble also. They might also be hard to use by someone elderly with arthritic hands.

The main thing about an emergency torch is that it MUST work when you need it. It’s no good turning it on to find it doesn’t work and the battery has leaked and corroded the terminals.

Firstly you need to ask yourself how much light you actually need. You probably don’t need that many lumens. My emergency back-up caving light is a puts out 100/50/15/2 lumens. It’s fine for finding your way out of a cave, but wouldn’t be much good searching for survivors after a disaster .

Secondly, the battery type you need must have a long shelf life. You don’t want them going dead on you before they’re needed. They must not leak in the torch and not be effected too much by low temperatures. Perhaps store them outside the torch? But this leaves the issue of potentially having to fumble around installing them in the dark.

If you decide to have the batteries in the torch then the torch must not have any parasitic drain.

I’d suggest finding something that uses multiple AA cells and buy lithium primary cells. Have a look at the Sofirn SF13 or the Sofirn SF11

There’s probably a lot more lights that fit the bill also.

You can never have too many torches........just not enough darkness

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Xtar Moon RC2

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lampliter
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Put some i3eos in a pill bottle; 20 dram will hold about 5; put some aaa batteries in another bottle and put into storage; when the lights go out hand them out to the congregation.

P7210186

Out of clutter find simplicity---Einstein

Jack Kellar
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lampliter wrote:
Put some i3eos in a pill bottle; 20 dram will hold about 5; put some aaa batteries in another bottle and put into storage; when the lights go out hand them out to the congregation.

P7210186


Good idea, doesn’t get much simpler than this.

hank
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Lampliter’s suggestion makes the most sense to me. Bunch of little AAA lights and batteries within easy reach.
That’s how my share-with-neighbors earthquake kit is equipped.

Of course you’ll want to plan to be able to recharge the batteries for people when you discover the power will be off for three days or three weeks.

https://www.renogy.com/the-phoenix-portable-solar-generator-20w/

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If they’re gonna be left unattended for extended lengths of time, I’d stick with either eneloops (and charger, even solar or crank, just in case), or a pile of ’123s which last nigh forever.

So that means either AA lights or 16340 lights.

Style would be up to you, but stay away from any lights that have parasitic drain. Even locking out a SP10 via the tailcap would be problematic, because those cowering in fear of being swept up by the mudslide or whatever might not have the presence of mind to twist it tight to unlock it.

I even have to remind a muggle whose ’10 “stopped working” after recharging the cell, to tighten both head and tailcap.

Best to just get a ’123 light with tailclicky. A pile of NexTorch nylon-body lights and box of ’123s should be best.

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SIGShooter
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You also need a headlight since there will likely be times when you need both hands free. I have a 2AA flashlight with Eneloops in it (lithium primaries in a plastic bag next to it) and a cheap AAA headlight with Eneloops in my car.

xevious
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Crank flashlights are really indispensable emergency lights. Cheap and useful. I still have a Freeplay Sherpa X-Ray LED crank flashlight with original cells. They’re not as long lasting as they used to be, but they’re still working after 10+ years. The good thing about this model is that it has an AC socket, so you can recharge it without having to crank it. But even after being dead flat, a full minute crank already puts out some light and you still get a decent runtime after a few minutes of cranking.

But I also think it’s a great idea to have a USB rechargeable flashlight as well. These days it’s pretty easy to obtain portable power banks that can charge devices via USB, so a rechargeable flashlight can be topped off by that. Those solar power banks do a fair job of using sunlight to recharge and provide useful power to recharge other devices. The Renogy Phoenix rechargeable generator linked above is super expensive at $470, because it has serious specs for long term power outages. It can charge an iPhone 6S 32 times before going flat.

If anyone knows of a good quality reasonably priced solar recharging power bank, please post! Smile

@ lampliter — I really like the idea of reusing pill bottles for AA and AAA cells. I’d been buying the small plastic clam shell cases for a few bucks, tossed in when placing flashlight orders. They’re useful, but those plastic hinges have built-in obsolescence… they split after “X” open/close completions.

lampliter
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hank wrote:
Lampliter’s suggestion makes the most sense to me. Bunch of little AAA lights and batteries within easy reach.
That’s how my share-with-neighbors earthquake kit is equipped.

Of course you’ll want to plan to be able to recharge the batteries for people when you discover the power will be off for three days or three weeks.

https://www.renogy.com/the-phoenix-portable-solar-generator-20w/

!{width:45%}https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-fhnch/images/stencil/2048×2048/products...!

For sure; living here in paradise(Florida); I have a full solar set up for recharging; 100W panel, 100ah deep cycle battery, 800W inverter, charge controller, digital meter.
There’s a lot of good info on YouTube on how to set up a solar system.

I saw this on Amazon; I know nothing about it but it looks interesting.

solarpaneldokioamazon

Out of clutter find simplicity---Einstein

Mr.Scott
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I did the same thing - but for my dad's hurricane bag, not an entire congregation. I suspect the requirements are similar.

 

Batteries

  • AA Lithium primary (non-rechargeable) batteries.
    • One major requirement was a long shelf life. I don't trust alkaline batteries not to leak and my dad didn't want to have to deal with rechargeable batteries.
    • You can get Lithium primaries in AA, AAA, and CR123. But if there was a long-term power outage, emergency relief organizations are more likely to hand out AA and AAA than CR123.
    • Stress they shouldn't save money and go with Alkaline. These flashlights will be in the kit, not in daily use, so they won't be going through batteries.

Lights

  • There are lots of suitable AA LED lights.
    • I assume you are providing your congregation with a suggested shopping list, not the actual kits. I would suggest providing a list of 2-3 lights in 1xAA, 2xAA and 4xAA sizes. They can let their individual budget inform their decision.
    • Make sure the lights are available at Amazon and/or at the big box hardware stores. (No waiting for lights from China like many of us do.)
    • An easy to use User Interface would be better. You don't want to have to read the flashlight manual in an emergency.
  • 1xAA
    • There are a number multi-packs (typically 5-packs) of cheap 1xAA zommie lights. Congregants can go in together and get these for about $3 each.
  • For better lights, pick several off of these reviews:

 

For my dad I got:

  • One Lumintop SD4A flashlight
    • 4xAA batteries
    • Two buttons, one for on/off and one for modes. No complicated interface (fast/slow, double/triple clicks) to remember.
    • 4 regular modes, blinkies are hidden
  • Several Jetbeam, JET-1 MK flashlights
    • 1xAA
    • Twist on, twist off, no buttons, no complicated interface
    • 3 regular modes
scosgt
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I find myself in disagreement.
The entire purpose of this light would be:

1. Guide people out during a blackout
2. Guide people out in a fire.
3. Search for people who are hiding, whether victims or bad guys.
4. Search for injured
5. Signal for help (trapped in fire).

So, I think the requirements would be:
Powerful narrow beam. A flood would be worse than useless in a smoke condition.
Strobe for signaling.
Rechargeable, because an emergency light should be mounted on a rack where it can be charged and easily grabbed
Side switch, because a tail switch would be confusing to a person in the dark who is not a flashaholic.

Now I know I am going to get beat up here, but I suggest this light:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KK48HG5/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_...

Reasons:
Cheap
Narrow powerful beam that quite frankly is right up there with a Convoy L6 (maybe I will do a beam shot).
Recharges.
Comes with batteries (two alleged 4000 in a pack – they do work well but I personally would replace with quality batteries).
Does NOT require high drain batteries. Protected cells work fine.
It defaults to HIGH when you press the side switch.
Ramping!
Double click for strobe.
Works a very long time on the included batteries.
Glass lens
Did I mention cheap?
I may sell my L6 and S70S. This cheap light outperforms them in real world, at least as a thrower.
I greatly dislike the dual switch system on the Convoy and Thorfire.
And for sure THAT DOES NOT BELONG ON AN EMERGENCY LIGHT.
Any cop or firefighter will tell you that needing to do two things in an emergency, and needing to use two hands, is just a no-go,
Great for fanboys like me and you, NOT an emergency light.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Fire away.

scosgt
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Here are some beamshot comparisons.
Another thing is this company is really good to deal with
I bought a one cell light from them and mentioned in the review that the LED in the button did not seem to work right.
They sent me another light, did not have to send back the old one (which of course works outside of the funky LED)
And they sent me a two cell 8.4 charger on the house.

https://imgur.com/a/yrKv93S

sabre cat
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This is great. Keep the suggestions coming.

Let me fill in a little of the background, if I may. The church is not providing or purchasing any of the gear and no member of the congregation is forced to own an emergency kit if they don’t want too.

We are asking members to prepare their homes with a first aid kit and a 72-hour emergency kit of some sort. A second first-aid is expected for their automobile. That is the minimum standard. Of course, members are welcome to do more than this. Church leaders will encourage members to do more if anyone has the desire but, as I said, no one will be forced to do anything.

Part of my job is to compile data on any special needs of the membership in case of a disaster. Who is handicapped and will need help. How much help and for how long, that sort of thing. Another one of my duties is to collect information about the skills and resources of the members that the church may use in times of need.

The third part of my job is to train members on disaster preparedness and to help them meet the minimum standards.

For me, one of the enjoyable parts of all of this is the research I have to do. I get to ask questions of people (like yourselves) that have more knowledge than I do. I learn quite a bit.

Thanks again.

SIGShooter
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Are you asking them to store water? They should have enough water for 5 days for each person.

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For a 72-hour kit the demands are not that high. A 500 lumen light with 26650 cell may be all you need. Especially with a diffuser.

For longer durations it depends…
It’s great if a light takes many cells. AA and AAA lights would be the best in that respect. But shops will quickly be sold out. Prices will jump up to insane levels.
Solar chargers in combination with rechargeble cells is a more long term solution.
Crisis situations usually mean you won’t have time to babysit your charger.
No time to swap cells all the time. That again brings me to the 26650 cells.
They store more energy, so don’t have to be swapped as often.

And… ignore the lumen monsters and focus on efficiency.

Chargers: 1xBasen BD01 5/5, 1x Gyrfalcon All-88, LiitoKala: 3x100 4/5, 2x202 5/5, 1x402 3/5., MiBoxer C4-12 3/5.
Flashlights: BLF Q8 4/5, DQG Tiny III 26650 5/5, FiTorch MR35 3/5, Haikelite SC26 HD 3/5, Lumintop Tool AA/AAA 4/5, Nitecore LA10, Sofirn C01 BLF 3200k/5600k, Zebralight H600Fc 3/5.
Powerbanks: EasyAcc 26800 mAh 3/5, Xtar PB2 4/5.
Waiting for: (DQG Tiny) 21700 EDCs. Xtar powerbank that (also) takes 20700, 21700, 26650

KevinZA1988
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Lumintop Tool 2.0 AA is great. Very bright with 14500 Li-Ion, and bright enough with AA. Very tough, compact.

Acebeam L16, BLF Q8, BLF A6, BLF FW3A, BLF FW3C, Convoy L2, Convoy L6, Convoy C8+ , Convoy S3, Convoy M21A, Convoy S11, Emisar D4, Fireflies E07, Jaxman E2L, Olight S1R Baton II special edition series, S2R Baton II, Nitecore HC65, Olight H1R Nova.

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sabre cat wrote:
This is great. Keep the suggestions coming.

Let me fill in a little of the background, if I may. The church is not providing or purchasing any of the gear and no member of the congregation is forced to own an emergency kit if they don’t want too.

We are asking members to prepare their homes with a first aid kit and a 72-hour emergency kit of some sort. A second first-aid is expected for their automobile. That is the minimum standard.

I think you have a better chance of success if you make the kits as ‘every day life’ as possible. You know like a first aid kit is not only useful during a hurricane, but also when a (grand)child has cut or burn wound.
To many people equal preparedness with “Doomsday Preppers”.

Chargers: 1xBasen BD01 5/5, 1x Gyrfalcon All-88, LiitoKala: 3x100 4/5, 2x202 5/5, 1x402 3/5., MiBoxer C4-12 3/5.
Flashlights: BLF Q8 4/5, DQG Tiny III 26650 5/5, FiTorch MR35 3/5, Haikelite SC26 HD 3/5, Lumintop Tool AA/AAA 4/5, Nitecore LA10, Sofirn C01 BLF 3200k/5600k, Zebralight H600Fc 3/5.
Powerbanks: EasyAcc 26800 mAh 3/5, Xtar PB2 4/5.
Waiting for: (DQG Tiny) 21700 EDCs. Xtar powerbank that (also) takes 20700, 21700, 26650

Bort
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sabre cat wrote:

We are asking members to prepare their homes with a first aid kit and a 72-hour emergency kit of some sort. A second first-aid is expected for their automobile. That is the minimum standard. Of course, members are welcome to do more than this. Church leaders will encourage members to do more if anyone has the desire but, as I said, no one will be forced to do anything.

Then my Moon RC2 suggestion is out, its discontinued and while its still available it won’t be for long.
That said a lantern is a good idea, one that runs on AA batteries is ideal. Keep an extra couple packages of NiMH on hand and not alkaline, they leak over time. Ikea NiMH are great as well and cheaper in many places.
I know places like Home Depot sell AA powered LED lanterns, you can get some cheap.
I’m sure members might have some ideas as well.
Also a flashlight and a diffuser could do the job.

You don’t actually need that many lumens, 30-50 lumens will light up a room enough to function. More is just gravy.

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Sidney Stratton
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Being a noob on flashlights, the comments here will send you into a rabbit hole.

Some have a personal bias towards such or such light, and others will add a solar charger (with a discontinued link – go figure!). The better commenters will be more thorough and add some links.
Be wary, make listing of what is requirement, to what purpose and whom will use. Overly complicated light is out, seldom used means long storage – Alkalines are not reliable (manufacturer says otherwise, never believe company marketing. We all had our electronic devices ruined by leaked batteries).

As you had stated, a 3 day emergency. Spare batteries are a must. Rechargeables – well that won’t recharge without the grid. Throwaway Lithium cells have very long storage life.

Then there is the preparedness of any emergency. Items put in a box and left unattended are going to falter. My personal experience with a dedicated emergency box: I regularly use some items and replace / repair / remove or add to.

There is more than one light. For medical use, needed something I can hold in mouth while performing CPR or bandaging (plastic light versus the all too robust aluminium). For power loss, a light that doubles as a lantern and has very long runtime. For a fire, a light with throw on the lower temperature (4000º K) to cut thru smoke. Then a general purpose light with simple UI and lanyard (amidst the confusion and darkness, too easy to turn off and misplace).

In my parts, winter sleet / snow storm does have some power outages. We use lights frequently but also the humble candle. They provide heat also, albeit a fire hazard. Can warm up some food too.

Edit: some have suggested a light with strobe option (for signaling). The common ‘strobe’ is a rapid alternating flickering meant for deterrence. A beacon mode is what you need. Slow constant 1 Hz flashes signals distress and uses little power.
Spare batteries are a must. Stores will be out of stock or simply won’t be opened. Scrounging about relying on common battery types as AA or AAA is a better choice than CRA123. The 6 volt lantern is outdated and so are the D celled lights. Mixed feeling on C types – may be common in your locality.

Blue’s suggested Sofrin SP10s is an all around good light that runs on AA (NiMH). Unfortunately, may be a confusing UI to a first time user. Long press to off is not first nature, I still get it wrong often.

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The light.
simple and easy. Cheap, reliable.
Each person. Little clip top plastic food box.
with..
1 x Astrolux AO1 with a 6 pack of decent AAA cells off the shelf.
or 1 x Jetbeam Jet-1 MK Pro. similar pack of AA cells.
Or/and, A cheap Headlamp each. for around $15 ea.

Have at least one. Much more powerful light there for signalling.
Convoy L2. Convoy L6. C8+, per group or group of groups.

Trick with the small torches is.
Keep them EMPTY of battery. Carry a sealed pack to suit torches.
(They normally have a 10 yr shelf life).
and put first one in when ready to use it.

Plus. one of you try to have a Hand Held UHF/ VHF Radio there.
For emergency contact.
Everybody else WILL be looking for you and others.

Water. and food.
I carried a 3 month rolling over stock of dried. Tinned foods on my yacht for 40 yrs.
But we were influenced by the cold war in the ’60’s.
I was with the Nuclear Missiles in West Germany pointing them to the Kremlin.
An awful lot of sailors. Caravanners, in my age group did so.
Ocean boats. 3 to 6 months at sea. come in for a look
then back out agin if not good.

Water salination tablets are good. Taste like shit.
But you can drink your own piss. SAFELY… If you have to.

We had desal units on yachts to drink sea water.
AND your own wee wee. Hand and electric.
AC MUCH more efficient than DC if you going that way.
EXPENSIVE.

Weather. Clothing to suit.
ANd PLEASE…. Have a spare/second pr of BOOTS or very strong shoes on your feet, or with you.
If your current wearing Shoes get cactus.
You ARE NOT going anywhere far on your feet.
Believe me.
Same as head. and gloves for hands.
Leather garden gloves x 2. a few of those paper face emergency masks.
Hat with peak or preferably a hat with all round brim, chin strap.
Beanie if cold (we in tropics)
Band aids. clips. Plaster bandages/splints.
. and SERIOUS pain pills.
and somebody please have some SUTURES in med kit.
You know how many cut themselves?.

It’s like insurance. Do the best you can. and just hope you never have to use it.

Have fun.

OH a handful of those little black flat cell lights with LED on the front.
Coupla cents ea,
VERY handy to have everybody stick one in pocket.

sabre cat
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I guess that I could tell everyone what kind of light I have in my gear and why.

A few months back it dawned on me that I had a mix of different kinds of flashlights. I knew I wanted to make some changes and streamline things a bit. I considered the same type of battery for all my lights and quickly dismissed that idea. What if I had to restock and the stores were out of the battery I needed? This was also dismissed because of cost.

Then I had what I feel is a stroke of genius. I just had to standardize the controls of the light. Nothing more. This offered me some flexibility but still offered the simplicity of the same UI across the board. I think UI is the proper term here.

Anyway, I wanted something simple that could be easily used by someone half asleep. Something easy to find in the dark. Tailcap controls. That was the answer. Click on, click off. The fact that I had been given a Sofrin SF14 and three Surefire lights over the last year or so was a help. Plus, I have a Nitecore MH25 in my nightstand.

So, now, my bug out bag has a Surefire 6P, my wife has another on her side of the bed. Her KIA has a C cell Costco special in the glove box and, the Sofrin is used at the office. All with the same basic controls.:)

I just have to come up with something for my Jeep Cherokee. Any and all suggestions welcome.

sabre cat
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Macka17 wrote:

…OH a handful of those little black flat cell lights with LED on the front.
Coupla cents ea,
VERY handy to have everybody stick one in pocket.

Thank you for your insight. You gave me a lot to consider.

What are these “little black flat cell lights” you are talking about?

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Wellp, the tried’n‘true S2+ in all colors will fit 18650s stock and 18350s with the shorty tube, swap a TIR lens and shorty tube to squeeeeeze in an 18500. Tailswitch, can be backlit with a little effort. Easy to swap LED/driver. Drops in 20mm TIRs for whatever pattern (flood to throw) you want. Find a buck driver to fit, and you could even use a pair of ’123s in a pinch.

Forgot which ones “fit” together, but some Sofirns can now take the shorty tube from the headlamp. Only thing is, they’re only in black, and I don’t think they (yet) sell the shorty tube as a separate item. ‘Though all bets are off if anything’s glued.

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I have some lights I’m selling over here: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/68140 that would be perfect for handing out in an emergency. And the AA and AAA ones are next to free.

sabre cat
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Lightbringer wrote:
Wellp, the tried’n‘true S2+ in all colors will fit 18650s stock and 18350s with the shorty tube, swap a TIR lens and shorty tube to squeeeeeze in an 18500. Tailswitch, can be backlit with a little effort. Easy to swap LED/driver. Drops in 20mm TIRs for whatever pattern (flood to throw) you want. Find a buck driver to fit, and you could even use a pair of ’123s in a pinch.

Forgot which ones “fit” together, but some Sofirns can now take the shorty tube from the headlamp. Only thing is, they’re only in black, and I don’t think they (yet) sell the shorty tube as a separate item. ‘Though all bets are off if anything’s glued.

You lost me. I have no clue what an S2+ is or most of the other things. I know what 18650s are and ’123s but, that is about all. Don’t forget, I’m a Noob.

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