Rechargeable lights

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LOG20
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Rechargeable lights

Does anyone else think that for EDC lights, a USB rechargeable feature is now a must have in 2020/2021?

My KR4 is the pound for pound best light i own, but i was thinking if weight was a concern and i had to select only one light to carry with me, knowing the difficulty in sourcing the correct batteries in the real world, i would invariably choose one with an inbuilt rechargeable function.

I know there have been concerns over the reliability of the rubber flap, but designs such as the Astrolux HL01 (metal covering) or the internal waterproofing of the MH12 Nitecore show there are ways around this.

May be a bit OCD but anyone else feel this way?

Henk4U2
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I’m afraid I don’t understand your question completely.
IMHO sourcing batteries is not related to having a USB port.

With LiION batteries you can:
- recharge your regular batteries in a lightweight charger outside the light,
- recharge your special batteries with USB port outside the light
- recharge your batteries inside the light, be it via a USB port, or a magnetic port.
Often these batteries are propietary with the brand and/or type of the light.
In all of these cases you need a wallsocket for your charger (110V, 220V, and other).

Your words:“sourcing the correct batteries in the real world” make little sense to me.
Unless you discard of your batteries after one time use.
Primary AA batteries can be bought all over the world.
Question is: how well are they stored.

I prefer the use of regular universally (with a bit of effort) available rechargeable batteries.
Internal charging just magnifies the host of problems that can affect the effectiveness of a light.
Especially since a lot of manufacturers seem to cut corners in order to keep the prices down.

You are a flashaholic if you are forced to come out of the closet, to make room for more flashlights.

LOG20
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Thanks for the response.

I am aware that batteries can be recharged outside of the light, but for convenience in these modern times i feel that EDC lights are more versatile being charged internally, than having to take the battery out every time.

BTW the most versatile external charger i own is the Olight universal magnetic charger.

I find with USB rechargeable lights i frequently just plug in and top the battery up as and when. With non rechargeable lights I tend to wait until the battery is more depleted before i bother to charge them externally, meaning these lights are rarely fully charged compared to rechargeable lights.

Sorry, i should have been clearer; i was reffering to my KR4, so meant 18650s, and of course the Emissar only takes unprotected batteries, which would be difficult to source at retail.

Thanks for your POV; i have not yet had any issues with the USB rechargeable lights i own.

Artiet59
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Henk4U2 wrote:
Internal charging just magnifies the host of problems that can affect the effectiveness of a light. Especially since a lot of manufacturers seem to cut corners in order to keep the prices down.

^ This is where i stand on internal charging. 1/3 of my lights have it, and i never use it. Well, correction, I use it occasionally on my 3×18650 light because I want to cut down on tearing the outside plastic wrap of my double wrapped button top 30q’s.

Maybe its because i’ve been familiar with IC in the vape world for years before flashlights were in my life, but I saw more problems then it was ever worth using the supplied IC, because usually the MFG used subpar parts (whatever they may be) to include the IC, and it failed and sometimes brought the function of the device down with it. Not worth the headaches, especially when You can buy a XTAR VC4s or whatever solid charger for under $30. I think most of us have batteries coming out our ears (at least i know i do) and so being with out a fully charged battery is less of a concern than not using them enough before their life cycle is effected.

pennzy
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Charging multicell lights externally is a pain in my opinion. Lately I look for rechargeable lights only. Add a USB meter to monitor the process helps.

niajef
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i think i would always wanna charge the battery in a charger if i can, this way i can still use the light while the battery charges, especially when you have multiple lights/batteries that need to be charged, its more efficient in terms of ports needed, and more space saving cuz u dont have a clutter of lights lying around the power source. with that being said, even though having built in charger is not 100% necessary for me, i think its definitely a nice to have feature in certain situation. its a big plus as long as it doesnt compromise price or quality.

Serlite
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I think for introducing anyone new to lithium ion-powered lights, gifting them a light with a good built-in charger is a great way to keep it simple for them.
After all, first and foremost is to dazzle them with modern LED technology – the nuances of maintaining an Li-ion cell can wait for later!

manithree
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Serlite wrote:
I think for introducing anyone new to lithium ion-powered lights, gifting them a light with a good built-in charger is a great way to keep it simple for them.

^^^ This. Internal charging is a must for a muggle light.

For me, I have enough 18650s and 21700s I just swap cells then put the depleted one the charger, then it’s available for the next swap when it’s charged. I don’t generally like internal chargers for my personal use.

aginthelaw
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Removing batteries is so last year. The removability should be retained. It will save wear and tear and accidentally putting in batteries backwards. If the usb port goes bad then you can go back to external charging.

never fear shadows…it means a light shines nearby

Lightbringer
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The Muggle™ doesn’t want to pop out cells to charge in an external charger, but to just plug it in like a cellphone.

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Robin Dobbie
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I only wanna charge to 4.05/4.1, how can I do that with internal USB charging? Also, feck USB connectors and cables.

pennzy
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Robin Dobbie wrote:
I only wanna charge to 4.05/4.1, how can I do that with internal USB charging? Also, feck USB connectors and cables.

My Sp 36 overcharges by a little. I am going to start taking it off charge when the current is a bit higher. Hopefully it will be the same current at a certain voltage every time. All my other internal chargers stop between 4.1 and 4.2. The SP36 stops at 4.24. Not horrible but I would like it to be lower.
Robin Dobbie
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Yeah my one 18650 charger drops its current level at exactly 4v to like a half amp and it gets lower and lower, so I imagine a good part of the charge time is the last quarter volt.

Helo
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Internal charging is a godsend for a frequently used light. This time of year, my headlamp gets used for an hour each night when walking the dog. So convenient just to be able to plug the light in as soon as I walk through the door to give it a top-up. Surely, not having to crack open the tail-cap each night saves wear and tear on the springs, o-ring and threads.

how crazy is this
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I would feel better if someone could test and explain the safety and reliability of built in charging. I only have a couple of Sofirns with this feature. Tested in that the light didn’t get particularly hot and seemed to terminate about where my chargers do so I guess its OK. Get the convenience. However, I feel better about doing it on a charger and knowing what my battery is doing. Also, the smart charger seems to be just easier on the batteries and treats each battery different according to the IR of the battery I assume. Just seems like a better route to me. Always have fresh cells available and always walk the dogs with two lights anyway;-) As I live in the city and don’t want to disturb my neighbors I walk with a low enough level that I go weeks in between swapping batteries unless I do something more demanding. With my Andrul light I just wait until it gets down to 3.7 or so.

Serlite
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how crazy is this wrote:
I would feel better if someone could test and explain the safety and reliability of built in charging. I only have a couple of Sofirns with this feature. Tested in that the light didn’t get particularly hot and seemed to terminate about where my chargers do so I guess its OK. Get the convenience. However, I feel better about doing it on a charger and knowing what my battery is doing. Also, the smart charger seems to be just easier on the batteries and treats each battery different according to the IR of the battery I assume. Just seems like a better route to me. Always have fresh cells available and always walk the dogs with two lights anyway;-) As I live in the city and don’t want to disturb my neighbors I walk with a low enough level that I go weeks in between swapping batteries unless I do something more demanding. With my Andrul light I just wait until it gets down to 3.7 or so.

If you have access to a multimeter and a USB tester meter like this one, you could evaluate the charging in your own lights.

With those tools, you can measure the charge current, termination voltage, and you can check if the charger never stops (like some cases of the Wuben C3). Depending on how the numbers look, it can give you a bit more peace of mind using the built-in charging when you aren’t able to bring a proper charger.

LOG20
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This is actually what i noticed with my TC12 compared to the KR4. For my frequently used EDC i had peace of mind just knowing i could plug it in after use and it would be fully charged at all times.

I originally preferred non-rechargeable, but my attitude has certainly changed, which is why i think its such a useful feature nowadays.

darosk
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I find more and more I’m graduating to preferring lights with built-in charging. Got a nice stable of decent chargers and that, but it’s gotten really convenient to just plug a light in. I especially like how Sofirn is putting USB-C in their lights now. Almost all my electronics are USB-C now. Even got a cheapo electric razor which charges via USB-C. Got an SP36 and an SC31 Pro – Anduril with USB-C charging. It’s a type of bliss.

My Lights (Updated: Nov 22, 2020)

Quadrupel
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Integrated charging is useful If you use flashlight near power socket and rarely ( back yard bush crafting) Big Smile

Chicken Drumstick
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I don’t hate on-board charging. But I’m not really a fan of it.

If it adds size and cost to a small light, then I’d much rather they didn’t bother TBH.

I’m also not convinced that all the inbuilt chargers are good ones either.

As for being a ‘must have’. I cringe that people think this way.

Ultimately it is a solution to a problem that probably didn’t exist.

Chicken Drumstick
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LOG20 wrote:
This is actually what i noticed with my TC12 compared to the KR4. For my frequently used EDC i had peace of mind just knowing i could plug it in after use and it would be fully charged at all times.

I originally preferred non-rechargeable, but my attitude has certainly changed, which is why i think its such a useful feature nowadays.


How much do you use the light? 18650’s have tremendous capacity. There should be no need to worry about runtimes. I use a torch daily, although only for short bursts at a time. An 18650 light will last 2-3 weeks before even getting to the point where it needs charging.
LOG20
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Chicken Drumstick wrote:
LOG20 wrote:
This is actually what i noticed with my TC12 compared to the KR4. For my frequently used EDC i had peace of mind just knowing i could plug it in after use and it would be fully charged at all times.

I originally preferred non-rechargeable, but my attitude has certainly changed, which is why i think its such a useful feature nowadays.


How much do you use the light? 18650’s have tremendous capacity. There should be no need to worry about runtimes. I use a torch daily, although only for short bursts at a time. An 18650 light will last 2-3 weeks before even getting to the point where it needs charging.

Because of the ramping feature i frequently use it as lamp of sorts, whilst working, so an 18650 can be depleted in a day sometimes.

But that was not the original point of the topic. I initially saw no point in rechargeables, but now think its usefulness outweighs the negatives. As a relative newbie i wanted to see what the general consensus was in 2020.

Chicken Drumstick
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LOG20 wrote:

Because of the ramping feature i frequently use it as lamp of sorts, whilst working, so an 18650 can be depleted in a day sometimes.

But that was not the original point of the topic. I initially saw no point in rechargeables, but now think its usefulness outweighs the negatives. As a relative newbie i wanted to see what the general consensus was in 2020.

Fair do if you using it a lot. I can see for some the benefit of wanting to plug it in and top it up.

Although for me, I like to swap flashlights when the battery runs flat. So I find I rarely use any of the inbuilt chargers.

pennzy
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I would be able to give more of my lights to friends and family if they only had charging. As long as you have the ability to monitor the charge, I see no negatives to it and feel it is the future. Humans like the path of least resistance. External chargers can have their quirks also. Definitely not foolproof.

niajef
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pennzy wrote:
I would be able to give more of my lights to friends and family if they only had charging. As long as you have the ability to monitor the charge, I see no negatives to it and feel it is the future. Humans like the path of least resistance. External chargers can have their quirks also. Definitely not foolproof.

yes, i think thats the biggest benefit, for people whos not into flashlights, dont have dedicated chargers, built in charger is very necessary, all they need is a cable outside the flashlight, you cant be asking them to also buy a charger, which is kinda pointless if you dont have spare batteries, so then they also gotta buy spare batteries, and thats just forcing them down this rabbit hole…no no no, you gotta slowly seduce them down here with us lol

Lightbringer
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Just give any onboard charger a quick test to see whether/not to even use it.

Wait ‘til it goes from red to green, then immediately pull the cell and measure the voltage. If it’s 4.20V or lower, great. Any higher, watch out, you probably don’t want to use it and overcharge your cells.

Getting most of the way there in case it’s running low, fine, but don’t let it sit ‘til the indicator shows fully-charged.

Eg, my Tacklife goes from red to green at 4.0V-4.1V or so, but keeps slow-charging. So if I pull the plug shortly after it shows green, that’s awesome, as it’ll extend cell life a lot by not stuffing it to the gills, but I won’t leave it overnight, as it might hit 4.25V or whatever (forgot how high it goes).

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80s Fan
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It’s not a must have for me. I don’t like the cheap rubber flap covering a micro USB port. I would rather do without. On the other hand, if I could get a similar design as the K1 has, I would like to have that on some of my lights.

Lightbringer
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Hikelite
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I would rather have a fast charger to reuse the flashlight after it pulled 15-20Amps, especially with low internal resistance cells used for high current discharges.
When you have multiple flashlights, which some have incorporated chargers, some don’t have incorporated chargers, some have 2A rated ones that overheat after awhile and lowers output power (because often these chargers sit in the air pocket of the head), you are better off with stand alone chargers.
If you go to a remote place make sure you get spare cells with you, then all of the sudden carrying a 2 bay charger does not seems bad.

For who isn’t a flashaholic charging cells outside a flashlight body will seems strange at least or deterring to use a flashlight.

Hikelite
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Quadrupel wrote:
Integrated charging is useful If you use flashlight near power socket and rarely ( back yard bush crafting) Big Smile

Backyard survival situations are nothing compared to apartment use of long distance searchlights.

arow55
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Dumb question. Can a battery with USB charging port be charged in external charger?

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