I'm ready to get some big-boy lights! Torch/battery advice requested.

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vigilandy
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I'm ready to get some big-boy lights! Torch/battery advice requested.

I registered as a user a while back and I’ve learned a lot just reading everyone’s posts. I haven’t had much to contribute though! And now I’m asking for advice… Silly

Some background:

My regular EDC is a ITP EOS A3 Upgrade Edition attached to my keychain. When I’m not going to the office, I use a Quark AA^2 X. Around the house I use couple Rayovac Roughneck 2D LED torches and a 3D MagLite with a Fusion 36 showerhead. Our vehicles have a 2AA Icon Rouges or 3AA MiniMags.

After living in the city for the past 10 years, we are moving back to the family farm. I’ll still be working my day job part time, so I think my EDC lights are still good. However, I think the “around the house” lights need to be upgraded to “around the farm” lights. Instead of a small backyard to light up, it’s going to be a 30 acre orchard. From the hours I’ve spent reading this forum, this seems to necessitate a move to 18650 based lights. I know for sure that I want to have the safest possible setup. This means protected batteries and a good charger.

Advice Needed:

1. Which 18650 cells are considered the most reliable/safe? I am only going to need 3-4 so I don’t mind spending a bit more on each cell.

2. What is most “hands off” charger? I understand the need to manually check batteries to confirm voltages and heat, but I would like a charger I can trust.

3. At this point, I would like to stick to single cell or parallel setup 18650 lights. I need good thrower, a “universal” light that would serve the same duty as a 2D/3D Maglite, and a flooder that I can stand and point to a work area. These lights will not be babied— they should not overheat or fail even if used extensively. I’m willing to give up lumens for reliability.

With this move, I don’t have a lot time to learn how to change drivers/emitters, etc. I would love to get into this hobby more, but it’s not feasible right now. Of course, the farm comes well equipped with a drill press, bandsaw, MIG and TIG welders, a lathe, etc. in the shop. I’ll put these to good use once I’m there, but for now, I just don’t have the time!

Any and all advice is welcome. I am really new to rechargeable lithium batteries. I’ve done a lot reading, but nothing beats advice based on actual experience. Thanks for reading this long post and I’m looking forward to hearing from you all.

Edited by: vigilandy on 11/13/2012 - 00:10
vestureofblood
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Hi vigilandy,

 

Welcome to the party!!

 

I dont have much to say about the best cells and charger.    I am with you on the lights though.    My Quark AA2X is one of my all time favorite lights.   It's a great user.

 

For the SUPER high powered stuff I still use a modified maglite.    They are so tough.   There is enough metal in em too they can run super bright and not burn ya.

The focasabilty is nice too.  Hot spot when you need it, flood when you dont.  

 

If you think you would still like to use a Maglite or two I can hook you up with a light engine powered by what ever cells you like.   I like a single 26650 in a cut down mag my self, but a 2 D with a pair of 18650s etc works fine too.

 

Good luck with your search. Smile

In Him (Jesus Christ) was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
http://asflashlights.com/ Everyday Carry Flashlights, plus Upgrades for Maglite.

crystalcai
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then maybe a protected 18650 will be suitable for you. When the battery is full ,it will stop charging automaticly.So it will not overcharged and the temperature will not get to0 high .As to the charger ,you can choose a all-in-one charger ,which will be suitable to all batteries not just 18650 ones.And as to the brand, you can just choose a brand you trust or like .

Keep going ,next stop—>LightsCastle
Web: www.lightscastle.com
Email: service@lightscastle.com or marketing@lightscastle.com
Official Skype:lightscastle

ChiggerPepi
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Here is a really good starting point:

A very well rounded highly recommended flashlight at a reasonable price: XinTD

Pretty much the best protected batteries you can get: Panasonic 3400

And a very good charger: INTELLICHARGE I2

$78.54 for a superb setup. $108.49 if you wanted two of the flashlights. (you get two batteries anyway)

That’s what I’d do.

fusion_m8
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Playing with the big boys now eh? Time to pick out a HID thrower for youself… Like the Microfire 65w 4300K HID, if its back in stock at CNQ! Those things sold out pretty fast.

borstar_micke
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Why not try the 26650 BLF A8 that is much written about now?
Kit with battery, light and charger for $48 shipped…

Great runtimes with 26650:s..

pretzy
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HD2010 is a good light and throws a long way.

But I would highly recommend a ThruNite TN31 for a larger property. It will cost a bit more but is an awesome light, superb quality and UI and will let you see a long way out. Runs on 3 protected 18650’s in series. Since you will be using quality cells it should be no problem.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

MarioSS
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borstar_micke wrote:
Why not try the 26650 BLF A8 that is much written about now?
Kit with battery, light and charger for $48 shipped…

Great runtimes with 26650:s..

Please ignore my ignorance is it shipping already?

jacktheclipper
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ChiggerPepi wrote:
Here is a really good starting point: A very well rounded highly recommended flashlight at a reasonable price: "XinTD":http://www.intl-outdoor.com/xintd-c8-v3-xml-u2-910lumens-flashlight-p-30... Pretty much the best protected batteries you can get: "Panasonic 3400":http://www.intl-outdoor.com/2-pcs-panasonic-ncr18650b-3400mah-protected-... And a very good charger: "INTELLICHARGE I2":http://www.intl-outdoor.com/nitecore-sysmax-intellicharge-i2-universal-d... $78.54 for a superb setup. $108.49 if you wanted two of the flashlights. (you get two batteries anyway) That's what I'd do.

Yep . That's what I'd do too .

What I do

 

borstar_micke
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MarioSS: sorry, no it’s not shipping yet, there’s still some debate about the naming of the light… Smile

And I ‘m not sure if the UI and driver is decided yet.

But I’m surely gonna get one! Smile

Slewflash
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Hm.. 30 acres.. that’s a really long distance to shine with a flashlight.
I think around 130kcd is needed to see close to a kilometer. And you probably can’t see further than 500 meters.

I suggest a quadbike with a light bar, and a very powerful flood light, a skyray king comes to mind.

Slewflash 

MarioSS
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borstar_micke wrote:
MarioSS: sorry, no it’s not shipping yet, there’s still some debate about the naming of the light… Smile

And I ‘m not sure if the UI and driver is decided yet.

But I’m surely gonna get one! Smile

Thanks buddy Beer

Chicken Drumstick
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vigilandy wrote:

Advice Needed:

1. Which 18650 cells are considered the most reliable/safe? I am only going to need 3-4 so I don’t mind spending a bit more on each cell.


Personally I’d buy quality only batteries and stay away from too good to be true Ultrafires….

So far I’ve got cells from AW, EagleTac, In’t Outdoor and Solarforce. I’ve been happy with them all.

I’ve also got some Trustfire Flames from DX which are ok. Nothing against them, although I don’t think they last as long as my AW RCR’s powering the same drop in. But they were cheap.

I’d also got some blue and grey Ultrafire’s. These are fit only for the bin, which exactly where they’ll be heading.

vigilandy wrote:

2. What is most “hands off” charger? I understand the need to manually check batteries to confirm voltages and heat, but I would like a charger I can trust.

I’d say buy quality. You may also consider several chargers if you are going to have multiple lights or multi cell lights.

I’ve got a 4Sevens single bay charger which I’ve been happy with so far as it’ll charge just about anything from an RCR right up to a 26650. But it’s only one cell at a time.

The Sysmax i4 seems popular on here, but I have to say I’m not convinced by it. Seems it’s not the best charger around and can be rather slow.

HKJ seems to like the Xtar SP2, this is the charger I’ll be buying next. Here’s a good review of it: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/11081

vigilandy wrote:

3. At this point, I would like to stick to single cell or parallel setup 18650 lights. I need good thrower, a “universal” light that would serve the same duty as a 2D/3D Maglite, and a flooder that I can stand and point to a work area. These lights will not be babied— they should not overheat or fail even if used extensively. I’m willing to give up lumens for reliability.


Do you have a budget in mind? I think there are many many options open to you. But if it really needs to be durable and hassle free without modding you might want to consider some premium lights as well as budget ones.

For example the HD2010 is liked a lot on BLF. But nearly everyone has moaned about it being very prone to dents and scuffs, even while in transit to them. For me this doesn’t make it a rugged reliable work light. Also it direct drives the LED in high, so while being superbright I think one or two people have had burnt out ones. For casual use and for fun I think it’s a fantastic light, but I think it’s budget origins do show up if you truly want to depend on it.

The Sky Ray King is another BLF favourite light, super bright. But it’s chunky, uses 4 × 18650’s and you can’t run it on high for long periods without it getting very hot.

Also my experience of most budget lights is the PWM on med and low modes can often be detectable and certainly annoying if you are looking at moving objects with it. To this extent I’d personally want something constant current or with a high frequency PWM.

In terms of charging, there might be some other options that might, or might not appeal.

For example the Klarus RS11:
http://www.klaruslight.com/plist_show.php?id=31&lge=en

Several companies are making lights like this with an integrated charger. The biggest down side is you can’t charge a spare battery while using the light. But it does offer up a nice integrated package for a single price.

The RS11 is itself a general purpose light, not the most throwy (although ok), but bright, compact and capable.

Other lights I think are capable and maybe worth considering:

Niteye EYE25

http://www.niteyelight.com/product/?type=detail&id=60

Foursevens MMU or MMU-X

http://www.foursevens.com/product_info.php?products_id=2877
http://www.foursevens.com/product_info.php?products_id=2874

I also like many of the lights sold by Int’l Outdoors as you can often choose the emitter, modes, reflector, etc, etc:


http://www.intl-outdoor.com/shadow-tc750x-double-xml-u2-1200lumnes-21865...


http://www.intl-outdoor.com/cyclone-c88-xml-u2-910lm-flashlight-p-349.html

And a budget offering, this is a good thrower:


http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/small-sun-zyt08-xml-t6-1200lume...

vigilandy
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Wow! I woke up expecting a few comments, but now I see there is a whole page of info! Thanks for all the input.

I have had my eye on the XinTD C8. I’ve seen reviews but have nothing to compare to it. Is this a good all-around light?

One reason I prefer single 18650 is for safety. My wife has no interest in lights and batteries. I want her to be able to just pick up a light and use it. I figure the 18650 size is unique enough to avoid errors. I mean, once I found a bunch of generic carbon-zinc AA batteries in our charger because she “didn’t look at them.” She’s not allowed to use the charger anymore. This is the same reason I prefer single cell or parallel cell lights. I would much prefer to over-discharge a battery than have the risk of mismatched cells. I’ve read enough scary stories!

I am definitely getting quality cells and a quality charger. I just don’t know enough. Is the Xtar SP2 better than the Nitecore I2? How about the Pila charger which I’ve seen referred to as the “gold standard?”

As for batteries, I’m scared of of the *fire brands. Seems to be too many threads on fakes and bad QC. What are reliable brands and sellers? Are Intl-Outdoor branded batteries ok?

Chargers and batteries are my biggest concern. Bad flashlights don’t generally hurt anyone. Right? Please correct me if that’s wrong.

asval
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vigilandy wrote:
Wow! I woke up expecting a few comments, but now I see there is a whole page of info! Thanks for all the input.

I have had my eye on the XinTD C8. I’ve seen reviews but have nothing to compare to it. Is this a good all-around light?

One reason I prefer single 18650 is for safety. My wife has no interest in lights and batteries. I want her to be able to just pick up a light and use it. I figure the 18650 size is unique enough to avoid errors. I mean, once I found a bunch of generic carbon-zinc AA batteries in our charger because she “didn’t look at them.” She’s not allowed to use the charger anymore. This is the same reason I prefer single cell or parallel cell lights. I would much prefer to over-discharge a battery than have the risk of mismatched cells. I’ve read enough scary stories!

I am definitely getting quality cells and a quality charger. I just don’t know enough. Is the Xtar SP2 better than the Nitecore I2? How about the Pila charger which I’ve seen referred to as the “gold standard?”

As for batteries, I’m scared of of the *fire brands. Seems to be too many threads on fakes and bad QC. What are reliable brands and sellers? Are Intl-Outdoor branded batteries ok?

Chargers and batteries are my biggest concern. Bad flashlights don’t generally hurt anyone. Right? Please correct me if that’s wrong.

HD-2010 is brighter, although its technically a 26650 light.
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/8564?page=1

Here’s some beamshots for comparison, scroll down to see them

http://.taschenlampen-forum.de/beamshot-vergleiche/14631-beamshotschiess...

Most people look at hkj reviews when choosing a battery or charger, sanyo 2600ma and the protected version sold by intl outdoor seem to be good. There’s a user here that sells the unprotected sanyos pretty cheaply if you want them, I prefer single unprotected lights because there’s always a risk of the protection PCB getting damaged in shipping or just by the taillight spring crushing it if it’s a tight fit.

I use intl outdoors Charger ML-102
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/12462

I use a Crelant 7G5v2 sold by user madecov, it cost me $65 and now it’s selling for $60 Crying . It’s a really nice thrower and can be used with a single 18650 or 2 18650 for more lumens and runtime, not too crazy about the way it changes modes though.

vigilandy
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Charger: Xtar SP2 (almost double the price of the Nitecore i2, but seems to have fewer problems)
Batteries: NCR18650A 3100mAh Protected (Panasonic) from intl-outdoor
Torch: XinTD, neutral white, 3 modes, no strobe.

What are your opinions on this setup? The XinTD seems like a good all around light right?

Does the SMALL SUN ZY-T08 have batteries in series or parallel? There’s a review that describes it as parallel cells, but the specs list the voltage as “7.2-9V.” Would it be better to purchase from dx.com or manafont.com? or somewhere else?

How about the Jacob A60 from dx.com? It seems to be considered a good thrower.

Mr_Krabs
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The best general duty light I’d definitely have to recommend a Solarforce L2P or even a couple of them. Very high quality, waterproof, and you can get lots of different modules, tints, and upgrades for it. XM-L for flood and an XP-G for middle distance. Actually the XP-G throws quite far especially if you’re in a pitch dark rural area. And also what might be nice is getting a High CRI XP-G warm white module.

As far as throwers the C8 is always a good choice, even with the XM-L in it they do throw quite a distance. But the HD2010 is probably now the king of budget throwers.

If you’re looking for a compact light. I really like my FandyFire 2160. It’s a cylindrical style 18650 light so it’s very compact and easily pocketable. I did however modify mine with a NANJG 1 amp 3 mode driver for low-mid-high because the PWM is so fast as to be invisible plus if I leave it on high continuously it won’t overheat and the runtime is spectacular. I get pretty much 3 hours of almost perfectly steady light, the last hour does dim slightly but you never really notice. On low which is still surprisingly bright enough for walking around and working I get theoretically 40 hours of use, I never bothered to run it continuously for that long though but nice to know it can.

ChiggerPepi
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vigilandy wrote:
Charger: Xtar SP2 (almost double the price of the Nitecore i2, but seems to have fewer problems)
Batteries: NCR18650A 3100mAh Protected (Panasonic) from intl-outdoor
Torch: XinTD, neutral white, 3 modes, no strobe.

What are your opinions on this setup? The XinTD seems like a good all around light right?


Perfect.

The XinTD is good in quite a number of ways. It’s quality construction, Very good throw + flood combination, your choice of LED, highly desired driver type with no visible PWM, selectable driver modes, low voltage warning, not overdriven, not underdriven… etc etc etc.

There is a reason so many people recommend it. Especially if you want a “foolproof” light.

Are there better? Yeah probably. But they likely cost a lot more.

Chicken Drumstick
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vigilandy wrote:
Charger: Xtar SP2 (almost double the price of the Nitecore i2, but seems to have fewer problems)
Batteries: NCR18650A 3100mAh Protected (Panasonic) from intl-outdoor
Torch: XinTD, neutral white, 3 modes, no strobe.

What are your opinions on this setup? The XinTD seems like a good all around light right?


Reckon that sounds like a cracking setup. I don’t have a Xin yet, but it’s one on my hit list for next year and I’ve never seen a bad word typed about it yet.

I know the charger is more money, but I do think it’s a worthwhile investment.

As for the batteries, yep no probs there either. Although one thing to consider if you are wanting to keep an eye on cost, is capacity. While it’s nice to have the latest and greatest, if you don’t have a need for the longest runtimes possible, then you can always consider lower capacity cells such as the 2600’s. These will still offer up good run times overall, but will require charging slightly more often.

vigilandy wrote:

Does the SMALL SUN ZY-T08 have batteries in series or parallel? There’s a review that describes it as parallel cells, but the specs list the voltage as “7.2-9V.” Would it be better to purchase from dx.com or manafont.com? or somewhere else?

How about the Jacob A60 from dx.com? It seems to be considered a good thrower.


I belive the T08 is parallel. Sadly the specs posted on many Chinese sites are often wrong or misleading.

As for where to buy, I’ve bought from Manafont and DX, I think they are much of a muchness with similar risks all round.

The A60 is popular, but I think it’s due to it’s price. It throws well but I believe it’s a narrow beam. But I think the overall quality of the light isn’t great (from what I’ve read). There again for the money you could almost consider it as disposable.

vigilandy
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Alright, time to get everything ordered! I have a feeling that once I have my hands on some 18650 cells, it’s going to be very hard to resist getting more lights. The fact that I have about a dozen AA/AAA lights is a bad sign!

hyde
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one of us, one of us , one of us.

Maxwell
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If I were you I would try the 732 5 4 4 Micro foil version 3.2 from hgd, It is really good for lightening up your backyard and other places like that

-Maxwell