Which is the Perfect Flashlight Mode Selection?

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Rusty Joe
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Which is the Perfect Flashlight Mode Selection?
One mode (high only)
1% (1 vote)
Two modes (high and low)
3% (2 votes)
Three modes (high, low, and moonlight)
9% (7 votes)
Four modes (high, medium, low, and moonlight)
19% (15 votes)
Five modes (typical Chinese C8-style - high, med, low, strobe, sos)
1% (1 vote)
Programmable
43% (33 votes)
Other (explain)
23% (18 votes)
Total votes: 77
raccoon city
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I changed my vote to other because I prefer ramping like Andúril provides.

zoulas
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5 modes makes the most sense. No manual needed .

Chicken Drumstick
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Depends on the light and its intended use IMO.

e.g.

A thrower does not need a moonlight mode

Unless strobe is instantly accessible in a tactical sense, they are pointless to have. So no need for them at all.

Purpose built tactical torches should have strobe, but only if it is instantly accessible.

For an EDC light I think it needs to two things from off:

-be able to switch on to moonlight
-be able to switch on to High/Turbo

From either setting I want the ability to increase or decrease brightness, i.e.

turn on in moonlight, pump up to low, then drop down to moonlight without turning it off or blinding myself.

or

turn on in Turbo, but able to drop it down to High, then back again to Turbo without turning it off or cycling through loads of modes.

If the above needs to be done via multiple clicks. Then as a rule, when I want moon or low light levels I’m not in a hurry — nobody is. But when you want High/Turbo you kind of want it there and now.

But of course you don’t want to blind yourself to get to moonlight.

e.g.

Click to turn on to moonlight
——> long click to Low
-> short click back to moonlight

And

Click to turn on to moonlight
-> short click to Turbo (so essentially a double click to turn on)
——-> Long click to High
->short click back to Turbo

Number of modes will depend on the output of the light. The higher the output, the bigger the spread you will need. However I see no reason why you’d ever need more than 5 brightness modes; (Moonlight, Low, Medium, High, Turbo). But some lights might only need L-M-H or Moon-Med-High.

Turbo should step down, either by temp sensor or timer.

High should be flat regulation where possible.

Dual switch or the head loose/tight options give greater ability to enable you enter the output range at either end of the spectrum with ease (moon or turbo). Yet I’m still to find a light that get remotely close to this.

I do not want different mode groups, as the UI becomes too complex (Manker U11 I’m looking at you!) and you need a printout of the UI at hand in order to use the thing.

Programmable …. meh. Usually that just means they haven’t bothered offering what is really needed.

Battery check would be nicer by a separate LED warning light that only works when the light is on (so as not the drain power and allow mechanical lock out and mechanical switches). Red, amber, green is all it needs really to let you know battery health.

As for other blinky modes. I think the use case for them is so small, that 97% of lights should not have them at all. Worst is the awful blinking and flashing modes people use on bikes. What stupid ideas they are to try and dazzle and blind cars coming to towards you. Completely idiotic.

If blinky modes are really required, a small toggle switch on the driver could be used to enable/disable them. That way people who want them can use them, while everyone else (the vast majority) can live more happily without them.

Smile

kramer5150
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My fave UI remains the 4Sevens Quark AAT. Its basically a 2 mode light selected by loosening/tightening the head. Tighten the head for mode 1, loosen it just a tad for mode 2. Each mode is independently programmable from .5 Lumen up to about ~100, including various disco strobes. Not a lumen scorcher, but its honestly rated with AA alkaline. So it will do more OTF with different cell chemistry. I find it more than enough for a constant-ON EDC task light. I updated mine with a neutral tint XPG3 and with a 14500 IMR it remains my main EDC light. I have it programmed for .5 lumen low and turbo as my 2 modes.

So even though its basically a 2 mode light… my correct poll response is +1 for programmable.

Artiet59
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Anduril, for everything.

I used to think anduril was “overkill” for a thrower, but when using my Astrolux ft03 xhp50 and my ft03s with anduril, I ultimately realized I even prefer anduril with my thrower. I can have 1 step, 2 steps, 10+ steps, ramping, EASY battery check (easy is very important, opposed to going to strobe sequence to check my battery status), strobe only if I really want it, but don’t have to change my programming to get it. Not to mention other fun stuff like lightning mode.

Anduril is really just the best of all worlds for me, in all of my lights.

Rusty Joe
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kramer5150 wrote:
My fave UI remains the 4Sevens Quark AAT. Its basically a 2 mode light selected by loosening/tightening the head. Tighten the head for mode 1, loosen it just a tad for mode 2. Each mode is independently programmable from .5 Lumen up to about ~100, including various disco strobes. Not a lumen scorcher, but its honestly rated with AA alkaline. So it will do more OTF with different cell chemistry. I find it more than enough for a constant-ON EDC task light. I updated mine with a neutral tint XPG3 and with a 14500 IMR it remains my main EDC light. I have it programmed for .5 lumen low and turbo as my 2 modes.

So even though its basically a 2 mode light… my correct poll response is +1 for programmable.

That does sound nice.

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I’m a big fan of infinitely-variable rotary, but no need for strobe or colors in my collection. My Sunwayman V11R is perfect—tail switch for on-off, rotary for moonlight to turbo, and that’s it.

Streamlight ProTac HL - SureFire P2X Fury - Fenix PD35 v2.0 - Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 - Fenix PD25 - Sunwayman V11R XML2 6A3 mod - Olight Warrior X Pro

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Anduril, please.

Perception
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Another for Anduril. It’s about as perfect as it gets. Instant access to moonlight and high, and quick ramping everywhere in between.

After thinking about it a little more, I guess there are two other UIs I’ve really loved over the years- the Surefire gas pedal switches, and the 4 sevens 2 mode loose/tight head UI. I hate nearly all forms of mode memory. I want to be able to turn the light on where I want it, not where it was last.

kramer5150
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Rusty Joe wrote:
kramer5150 wrote:
My fave UI remains the 4Sevens Quark AAT. Its basically a 2 mode light selected by loosening/tightening the head. Tighten the head for mode 1, loosen it just a tad for mode 2. Each mode is independently programmable from .5 Lumen up to about ~100, including various disco strobes. Not a lumen scorcher, but its honestly rated with AA alkaline. So it will do more OTF with different cell chemistry. I find it more than enough for a constant-ON EDC task light. I updated mine with a neutral tint XPG3 and with a 14500 IMR it remains my main EDC light. I have it programmed for .5 lumen low and turbo as my 2 modes.

So even though its basically a 2 mode light… my correct poll response is +1 for programmable.

That does sound nice.

Its definitely unique. I have it set like this… tighten bezel=turbo, loosen bezel=low. I usually keep the bezel just a little bit loosened. So it starts off on low-candle every time, and If I want to activate a momentary turbo I just press the bezel with my thumb. No click switch required. Of course if I want a constant-ON turbo that requires 2 hands to fully tighten the bezel. It works for me. Others will dislike the 2 hand operation for sure.

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Chicken Drumstick wrote:
Depends on the light and its intended use IMO.

Absolutely 100%.

However, for general use and, IMO, for most torches, I would suggest a selection of modes.
I mostly deal with EDC type situations, so I need a light that covers as many as possible, with the simplest possible UI. It must be one-handed operation, as I so frequently find I need light right at the moment when I have to keep something held in place (engine parts, PC parts, weapon parts, dogs, children) with the other hand. Most of the time that means a tailswitch.

Chicken Drumstick wrote:
Unless strobe is instantly accessible in a tactical sense, they are pointless to have. So no need for them at all.

Many normal lights can be pressed into service for a ‘tactical’ situation, which in non-tacticool speak means used to blind an attacker, in the one and only situation you’re likely to need it.
This means the strobe would need to be separate from the main cycle, still instantly accessible, but not in a way that is easy to trigger accidentally.
Otherwise, I hate it and would want it gone entirely!

Chicken Drumstick wrote:
But of course you don’t want to blind yourself to get to moonlight.

Or any other mode, and for that reason I think any light that has Mode Memory should include the option to disable it, with the torch always starting on Low.

Chicken Drumstick wrote:
The higher the output, the bigger the spread you will need.

I think there would come a point of diminishing returns, though.
For most EDC, I would suggest 1,000lm as a turbo and perhaps a High of around 2-300lm, Medium about 50-100lm and a Low somewhere further down around 15-30lm… I’m thinking mostly of battery runtimes when not blazing like the sun, so even with 4000lm Turbo, would you really use the 500, 1000, 2000 sorts of levels?

Chicken Drumstick wrote:
Dual switch or the head loose/tight options give greater ability to enable you enter the output range at either end of the spectrum with ease (moon or turbo). Yet I’m still to find a light that get remotely close to this.

I really like the TK11 TAC method of a switching collar. It allows one-handed use, provides a physical lockout, and you can switch between two different modes (Low-Mid-High/Strobe, or High/Strobe). The main switch still gives you momentary and on, with hold for Strobe, but really you could have several mode sets, each neatly separated, simply laid out and readily accessible.

Chicken Drumstick wrote:
Battery check would be nicer by a separate LED warning light that only works when the light is on (so as not the drain power and allow mechanical lock out and mechanical switches). Red, amber, green is all it needs really to let you know battery health.

I’m also a fan of that, although I am very partial to Nitecore’s LCD screens!! Big Smile

Chicken Drumstick wrote:
As for other blinky modes. I think the use case for them is so small, that 97% of lights should not have them at all. Worst is the awful blinking and flashing modes people use on bikes. What stupid ideas they are to try and dazzle and blind cars coming to towards you. Completely idiotic.

I agree in part… I think high level blinkies are too dangerous for the average human to have, and *really *bright white/yellow lights belong on dedicated rescue strobes only.
However, I use the red blinkies on my LD15R on a very regular basis for work, as a safety marker. For a light that people EDC in various situations, that will include emergencies (usually vehicle based) where a low-medium brightness red or orange beacon would be of considerable use… even as a ‘just in case’ feature.
Other colours may also be of use, depending on the country.

Chicken Drumstick wrote:
If blinky modes are really required, a small toggle switch on the driver could be used to enable/disable them. That way people who want them can use them, while everyone else (the vast majority) can live more happily without them.

Simply holding the switch long enough seems to work, for the most part. But again, a switching collar could do all that.
Oli
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The question and choices is sort of trying to blur the lines between the UI and modes and there’s no reference to Turbo at all. Ramping is good. It’s got to have moonlight and it’s got to have turbo and a fairly quick and easy way to get to both of those for EDC. And of course it has to have mode memory. If it doesn’t have ramping it’s got to have at least five modes. Moon, low, medium, high, and turbo.

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eicca wrote:
I’m a big fan of infinitely-variable rotary, but no need for strobe or colors in my collection. My Sunwayman V11R is perfect—tail switch for on-off, rotary for moonlight to turbo, and that’s it.

Glad you’re liking it Wink

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eicca wrote:
I’m a big fan of infinitely-variable rotary,

me too..

with just a rotary dial, no tailbutton:
Jetbeam RRT-01 (2012)

Penny wise but ...
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I dont like the overly simple UIs like on my convoy 3/5 modes with the strobe/sos in the main rotation.

 

I tried very programmable lights with Anduril and found those overly complicated, with too many functions to memorize and had a fear of messing up the settings.

 

I find my favorite lights have something in between.  The Thrunite T1 is one of my favorite EDC UIs.  Click and hold moonlight, click on/off then hold for ramping.  Double click for Turbo, Triple click for Strobe.  Let the factory set the temperature limit to throttle turbo, LVP etc. I dont want the responsibility.   Oh and a little led in the switch to alert me when battery is getting low is nice.

 

 

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ramping, or selectable number of evenly spaced levels – like anduril

lots of modes but none of them in the main sequence, main sequence should just be plain light levels – like anduril

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I chose programmable.
Bistro HD OTSM and Anduril are my favourite so far!

I also like the guppy3drv but I tend to use it less. I believe I would like the programmable lucidrv2.

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jon_slider wrote:
eicca wrote:
I’m a big fan of infinitely-variable rotary,

me too..

with just a rotary dial, no tailbutton:
Jetbeam RRT-01 (2012)

!https://i.imgur.com/FXXmVLE.jpg!

Me too, too

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I'd like to see a 1xAA with two selectable menus:

 

1) Moon>L>M>H

and

2) H>M>L>Moon

 

Menu 1 for a gentleman's pocket light, where starting on Moon (or low) is advantageous for reading a menu in a dimly lit restaurant for instance.

Menu 2 for a service/utility light where starting on H is convenient for observing under vehicle hoods, inside wiring closets & such, where H is most useful.

 

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1.) Instant access to turbo
2.) Instant access to moonlight
3.) A way to disable mode memory by ramping from moonlight to low (severely lacking in many lights)
4.) Strobe should be a hidden mode – personally never found a real life use for it
5.) Moonlight, low, medium, high, turbo

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Depends on the light . 

 

Two mode keychain light / low high 

 

I like the ability to on the fly change any mode into anything I want it to be . Old Archeon driver is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to it .  Downside was it was two modes fully programmable and sos strobe . Upside is you could just shut off the light and it would start in the first mode you just set ,skipping the sos / strobe ..... i’d Make it a three mode and drop or hide the flashy stuff . << perfect .Simple ... easy to learn and change in seconds .

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Not quite sure what to vote here. For my own use, I really like a UI such as ZL or AT uses with direct access to lowest, highest and memory/middle mode. Anduril fits here as well. For more of an emergency light (first responder, structural fire fighting, tactical, etc) I want simpler- maybe 1 mode or low-high. And a general purpose light for loaning or family use? Well the L-M-H simple UI is hard to best….

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Love the magnetic control rings for smaller lights

1 mode for when I'm out in the middle of nowhere doing beamshots at night.. If I hit that button 1 or 100 times, I know it will have 1000 lumens each and every time, and not accidentally hit a progammable mode. When your life depends on a flashlight, you don't want to have programmable modes. 

2 modes could be okay for a thrower. High Low 

4 modes for most other instances. 

 

Ramping is fine as well, but not on every light.

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Perfect?

That would be ON-OFF
Always comes on in correct mode and never needs re flashing.
Doesn’t need a manual or grandkid to explain it to Gramps
With protected battery does not need LVP, when it dims Recharge it, if it shuts off-Recharge it.
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Programmable all the way. If you program your light yourself, you can program to whatever way you want it to behave. Single mode? Can do. 3 modes? You got it. Blinky modes? Pick how you want to access them. Ramping? Sure, why not. More options is ALWAYS good, you can just not use them and program your UI to not feature them

Of course, you need a UI suite that gives you all these options to pick from, but that’s a given for anyone that ain’t a muggle.

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I voted other. Could have voted programmable or 4 mode just about as well. As others have stated: Instant access to moonlight and turbo along with a memory works well for me. Love Andruil. However, not sure appropriate for gifting. Thrunite and AT do a good job with UI and I very much can live with those. Different lights different needs so Andruil wins. However, Something like the Manker or AT lights with the adjustable moonlight really is preferable but I think that is a hardware and UI issue.

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I just saw this on Simon’s AX Convoy store, for the ramping M3-C mode selection / UI. I think this is pretty close to perfect for me. Simple and nice options. From the listing

Mode operation instructions:
1.click the button ——> flashlight is turned on with last brightness ——> press the button,brightness ramping up ——> release and press the button again,brightness ramping down
2.flashlight off, press the button ——> moonlight mode 0.01A (0.2%) [This brightness will not be remembered]
3.flashlight on or off, 2-click the button ——> turbo 100%
4.flashlight off,3-click the button ——> strobe
5.flashlight off,4-click the button ——> tactical mode, only 100% ,4-click the button again to quit tactical mode.
6.flashlight off,5-click the button ——> voltage detection (* means “flash” , *** pause ******* means 3.7V, )
7.flashlight off,6-click the button ——> normal ramping mode switch to 4modes 1%-10%-40%-100%
8.flashlight off,10-click the button ——> Lock mode,The flashlight will flash once under any operation, which means the flashlight is locked.10-click the button again to quit lock mode,Please note that this is the only way to unlock.

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I’ve never used strobe. Never will.
I think a bullet will call the attention
of the assailant the most.

I find the SOS important. For a car or for a boat.
Never being stranded in any of the two at night,
but it can happen in the boondocks.

So Hi-Low-SOS.

Cheers.

Lighting up the world one flashlight at a time.

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Boaz wrote:
Depends on the light

+1

Despite my attempts to make a “universal” interface, I think the UI really needs to be tailored to each light… or at least, each category of light. Change the hardware, and the “best” interface changes too.