Most durable AA light under $20...

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Ian2381
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Most durable AA light under $20...

Hi,

I usually use my lights outdoors as I love Mountain climbing/Hiking/Camping and wanted to know what budget light is the most durable and can withstand minimal outdoor abuse. My tank 566 has been very reliable and has withstand 2 drops for more than a meter but suddenly went bad after the 3rd drop.

- High output

- multiple modes

- Durable

- 1xAA

SirJohn
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Very tough question. The QC on most sub $20 lights is such where you may get one that can get absolutely pounded on with no effect while others a single drop will make it stop working though they are the same model. However, those that break are usually repairable if you have the time and basic skills  (Wire breaking free from the star is a common result of drops and once it is resoldered, it works again). Picking a model that is consistently durable from sample to sample is what makes this tough. Probably sticking to a simpler light or a light from a manufacturer that is known to be a little better on quality control are your best options. The fact that you want multi-mode makes it tougher as well. Lights that I think would be candidates are:

Xtar Wk25 or Wk30

Romisen RC-G2

Terralux Lightstar 100

Get another Tank007

Boaz
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Easy answer  fix it

 

i like the tank alot . i just need a good reason to go in and put a neutral xpg r4 emitter in it ... fix it

 

much easier to fix and upgrade the emitter ..if you want it really really rugged you could pot it ..basicly termally gluing the entire emmitter and driver in place ..put a real  sweet tint in it because there's no opening up ever again ...;)

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old4570
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Just took delivery of a XP-G R5 emitter , seriously thinking it belongs in the TK-566 either that or the XM-L T6 ...  

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

Ian2381
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Thanks for the reply, I actually done fixing the Tank007 and have tried changing the emitter using a neutral tint (I used a lot of force removing the head). I replace back the LED when it stills flicker, but after doing so (with cleaning and using a deoxit) the light seems to wok fine again and stop flickering but now it has the OLD LED back which I'm thinking if the light deserves the neutral R4 LED.

I really love the light but for a camping Light I need it to be the more durable. My Tank E07 seems perfect if only it have a lower mode.

Anyways what will be the output of the Tank 506 if I will replace the emitter with an XM-L T5 led and not replace the driver?

Thanks

Boaz
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 that's why i glibbly tossed out .. the fix it idea .. I'd love to have a broken one ..so i could try and get it open .. if you break it you have nothing to lose . i'd research every trick on how to open tough  lights ,and them give them a  try ..why not ? ... breaking stuff is right up my alley

 

.. oops ..EDIT:

 Before I even posted  this I went out and stuck this light in the vise after wraping it a few times with a towel .. there's cut outs on both sides so the tube will never spin in the vise .. I wrapped the head with strips of that thin  no slip padding you can use under carpets or in kitchen cabinets. I use them to open tough jars too.  I used a piece of that around the head and then wrapped a few times in a strip of cloth around that and broke out the channel locks .It popped free so fast i wondered what I ever thought they were tough to open besides it just being a slick light ... that was easy now what ??  ..NEXT >>>

Boaz Bellissimo !

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Boaz
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Ian2381 wrote:

Thanks for the reply, I actually done fixing the Tank007 and have tried changing the emitter using a neutral tint (I used a lot of force removing the head). I replace back the LED when it stills flicker, but after doing so (with cleaning and using a deoxit) the light seems to wok fine again and stop flickering but now it has the OLD LED back which I'm thinking if the light deserves the neutral R4 LED.

I really love the light but for a camping Light I need it to be the more durable. My Tank E07 seems perfect if only it have a lower mode.

Anyways what will be the output of the Tank 506 if I will replace the emitter with an XM-L T5 led and not replace the driver?

Thanks

I think that's a dang good question .. it depends on the amps it's pulling .. mine is doing   .85 high  .21 med.  .4 low on a 14500 at  4.0 volts.. since the emitter wants 3.6 ? 3.7 ? we can assume it's putting 1 amp to the emitter  modes are 100% 25% and 5%  i think the mode spacing is good on these lights ..

my guess is the xml won;t have a higher output than an xpg at one amp. and won't be any more efficient ..barely at best .. would drop the neutral in it in a heartbeat and wait on a nice 1.5 amp driver with  no pwm like this one has

My question is about the vf   <<I don't understand vf at all .. don't know nutting about it other than xpg's and xml's have lower vf ..what that means is beyond me .

 

my guess is it will do about  300 lumens at 1amp and impress the hell out of you ..

Question is can you just change the emitter and not the driver  and what's the output ??

 Lets wait for smarter people to answer this question ..

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Ian2381
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Is the Xeno E03 XM-L durable enough for outdoor usage? Just Got my second Zebra SC50 but still need that budget light to bring to my outdoor adventures, easy to fix and cheaper.

By the way I started my light collection (online purchases) by getting the Romisen RC-G2 from deal extreme from 2009 and now its upgraded to warm Led and sitting as my shelf queen, I really love the light and has been super reliable. Don't have a backup light that I EDC back then, now I carry 2 at least.

sb56637
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Actually when I saw the title I was going to recommend the Tank007 TK-566 to you. Wink I'm usually pretty careful with my stuff, but one time I handed my TK-566 to somebody who promptly dropped it from about 1.5 meters onto cement. Except for a few tiny paint chips, it's no worse for the wear.

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SirJohn
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Ian2381 wrote:

Is the Xeno E03 XM-L durable enough for outdoor usage? Just Got my second Zebra SC50 but still need that budget light to bring to my outdoor adventures, easy to fix and cheaper.

Good question. Its put together well, but its smaller, thinner than some other 1xaa lights (My ITP C7 has at least twice as much metal in it, but you pay for it in weight and size). The bezel is stainless steel which should provide some protection on drops and I think I read somewhere that Xeno did do drop testing on it. However, I am not one to intentionally torture test a light and my Xeno is not really in a duty situation where it would regularly take abuse. Unless you really beat the snot out of it, the Xeno does come with a 3 year warranty however, so Tactical HID will repair it free, although you have to pay to ship it to them to fix.

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Xeno E03 drop test

trooplewis
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I was going to vote for the Xeno but it is twice the $20 budget that the OP mentioned.

I don't think any of us really know the answer to the OP, because we don't stress-test out lights, in fact I don't think anyone does. I'd say for $20, buy the 4x AA Dorcy yellow light. Probably your best bet, compared to an aluminum light. That is the direction I would go. Also look at the Coleman "Max" products that are Polycarboniate.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

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Very impressive!!

Thoth wrote:

Xeno E03 drop test

Match
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I have some input for you...

    For those that don't know, I work in maintenance/engineering for a large steel mill.  Up to this point, the operators (guys on the deck....around molten steel and heavy equipment) have been using 4xAA incan Pelicans.  They have failed at an alarming rate.  Granted, these guys are extremely hard on all the equipment they use...more so than any police officer or firefighter I've known (quite a few...). If you've never been around a 150MW DC arc furnace, it's a sight to see...and one of the harshest work environments out there.

 About 4 months ago, I was talking to the operations supervisor and he was complaining about the replacement cost of those "damn pelicans".  I casually mentioned a cheaper LED alternative that was 1/4 the price and only used 1 aa, yet would be brighter (didn't mention durability because I wasn't sure myself yet).  He bit, and an order was placed that day to Shiningbeam for 100 Romisons (RC-29's and RC-G2's).  Of those 100, I've had 4 come back to me broken.  3 of them were rc-29's where the pill had unscrewed itself from the body due to constant switching from flood to throw.  A simple fix with locktite cured them.  The one rc-g2 that has come back had a broken connection on the coil to the driver board.  A simple solder fix.  I've seen quite a few of the others hanging from there lanyards off of the guys belts.  They look beat to hell and back, which is no surprise considering the abuse they go through. Despite that, only 4 needed attention.

I feel that I wouldn't have seen any of them if two extra steps had been taken.  Those would be locktite on the pill threads, and the pill potted.

So, take this info for what it's worth.  A sizable sample of the same lights that are all abused daily, and with a fellow flashaholic present to observe.  I'm not going to say that these romisons are the most durable around, but I wouldn't hesitate to bet on one (especially if given a little attention at first).  Only one mode, but could easily be swapped to a different driver (and potted at the same time).

Tough little lights.... that's all I have to say about that.

p.s. - forgot to mention one poor rc-g2 that took a half gainer off of the overhead crane rails, which are 110 feet in the air....it still works.

  

devman
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Sorry to threadjack, but match, have you ever potted a light?

I haven't found any tutorials on how, or what to use. 

jacktheclipper
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Romisen RC-G2 II Neutral White LED Flashlight in Black
Price: $15.75
@ Shiningbeam right now ...
 
( I've bought 4 of these and the Q3 5C tinted one is my favorite . )
jamesearljonesi...
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devman wrote:

Sorry to threadjack, but match, have you ever potted a light?

I haven't found any tutorials on how, or what to use. 

Potting usually means adding a flexible epoxy material for improving shock resistance of electrical components. thermal epoxy would probably work well for this purpose. ive seen them in different color on electrical parts.

03/04/16 

 

8 lives left

Ian2381
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trooplewis wrote:

I was going to vote for the Xeno but it is twice the $20 budget that the OP mentioned.

I don't think any of us really know the answer to the OP, because we don't stress-test out lights, in fact I don't think anyone does. I'd say for $20, buy the 4x AA Dorcy yellow light. Probably your best bet, compared to an aluminum light. That is the direction I would go. Also look at the Coleman "Max" products that are Polycarboniate.

 

I Just bought the Xeno from Ebay(HKequipment) for $32.00 and actually its also available in their website for $30 without insurance and $32 with insurance.

I myself was able to distinguish which of my lights are durable enough due to usage overtime (more than 3 months usage which includes accidental drops). I love my RC G2 and Tank007 E07 but both are single mode. I ask Bryan from shiningbeam if he could sell me a 3 mode version of the RC-G2 but he can't and instead advised me to buy a new driver for it which he also sells. I'm reluctant on moding my lights with new driver as I tried that before and destroyed one.

I actually have several lights that is durable like the Solarforce L2r and L2i but it requires multiple batteries and Now I'm going lightweight for my next hiking trip.

Match
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devman wrote:

Sorry to threadjack, but match, have you ever potted a light?

I haven't found any tutorials on how, or what to use. 

Many. Jamesearljones got it right.  If I'm certain I won't be going back into the pill it gets potted.  The lack of a tutorial is probably due to its simplicity.  For a flashlight, all it involves is filling the void in a pill with non-conductive thermal compound. I've used both arctic silver epoxy and fujik thermal glue.  Basically fill the inside of the pill with however much you think you'll need, then seat the driver.  If it just barely starts to come out of the wire holes in the top of the pill you got the amount right! For extra shock protection, add a bit to cover the wires connecting to the emitter, since they tend to pop off (although this is more due to poor soldering). Pro tip: make sure the wires are all the way through the correct holes and are long enough before seating Smile

I may do this with an extra rc-g2 I have at work.... Change the driver to a 3 mode, pot the entire thing, and seal all the threads sans tailcap with locktite, then give it to the roughest operator at work I know....

For clarification, I'm not stating that I believe the romisans are the toughest budget lights out there....but only the toughest I've had personal experience with on a large scale.

devman
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Thanks Match.  I guess I was reading too much, about how you need different materials, have to worry about thermal expansion snapping off components, should mix alumina into the epoxy to increase thermal transfer, etc etc.

If I can just glub glub it full of (more or less) household epoxy, that's great!

Match
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Although technically you could use standard household epoxy, I'd try and use a thermal based epoxy if you can, especially if you're planning on doing any high powered led lights. A lot of drivers also produce a bit of heat, and it will definitely aid longevity. For something like 3w or less it shouldn't matter as much. The more important thing is ensuring whatever epoxy you use is electrically inert (an insulator).  Thankfully, most are.

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I can also attest the romisens are quality. I study the designs in detail for fun, and they're the only ones of the cheapo bunch who actually bother to make sure the tolerance are correct and design for durability. All the rest you might get lucky but some barely work in a home environment since their entire r&d process seem to "does it fit? does it light up? ok, let's ship it". ITP is also very good. The c7t I have is excellent durability and properly regulated to boot.

Tank might also, but I don't have enough of their lights to say in general.

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I love Romisen lights. They seem to me a notch above most other budget lights. The threads are silky smooth on my Romisens. Never gave them super rough duty but I have confidence in them. The light that I have absolutely beaten the crap out of is my Hugsby P31. That light drops through the engine bay of my car on a regular basis and is always being slid across the concrete and dropped. Hugsby P31, tough as nails.

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

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The inside of a p31 is not. The electronics "pill" is not screwed on even though it looks like it, and I broke the connecting wire when I tried to take it out. Since the head is epoxied on, there's no way to fix it.

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Budgeteer
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The C3 in SS? Seriously that's one tough flashlight. Might not be the brightest but fits all the requirements. I bet you can drive over it till you get bored. Around 13usd.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

agenthex
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I had to fix the tail on mine when I simply fitted a longish 14500 (I'm still not sure what exactly broke, I suspect very subtle contact issue caused by the "height" of one small thing). The design seems finicky inside even though it looks tough on the outside.

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The original Ultrafire C3 is very reliable http://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafire-c3-cree-1xaa-1x14500-flashlight-with-holster-1993 . I ordered it from DX in january 2009, and used it every day at work, with a 14500 battery. I have sold it today for 5 euro, and now i use the stainless steel 5-mode version http://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafire-c3-stainless-steel-cree-q5-wc-5-mode-190-lumen-memory-led-flashlight-1-aa-1-14500-26122 .