Do you like charging built in to a flashlight?

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dave1010
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Do you like charging built in to a flashlight?
Yes!
47% (41 votes)
No!
38% (33 votes)
Other
15% (13 votes)
Total votes: 87
dave1010
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There’s been some discussion in other threads about built in charging on certain flashlights.

What are people’s preferences here?

Does it depend on the type (EDC/soda can/tactical)?

USB-C Vs proprietary magnetic?

Charging built into cells?

zoulas
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I voted no for three very significant reasons.

1-The charging port is a significant entry point for liquids. BAD

2-You cant use the light while you are charging it. BAD

3-You cant beat using a quality charger for speed and accuracy. The built in chargers all seem to be plagued with problems. BAD

If you are going to carry a USB cable around to charge the light, just carry a spare battery.

pinkpanda3310
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I’m not entirely against it. I have 1-2 lights that I’m happy to have the feature. For example when the kids go on school camps** I send them with an in-charge light and wall wart.

**school camps aren’t really camping, it’s staying in a dormitory.

Generally speaking though I tend not to want or use the feature.

  

Lumen9000
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Charging circuits are so small today, that there is no excuse not implementing it.
USB is the most available standard there is, there is always a USB cord around where there’s power. Makes it possible to top up the light easily in the office, in the car or at a friend’s place.
It’s just a matter of implementing it right.. you don’t have to make an open usb port. You already have a vastly built up network of usb chargers for your phone/ family phones/ iPads etc. There’s no need carrying around more chargers and cables.

Kwispelhond
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I do not need it but I can see advantages too. As I typed this I just put two 21700’s in the charger from lights that both have on board charging: I guess that using the charger standing ready is less of a bother than finding two USB cables and connect the both of them? Maybe it’s just because I’m used to but I know I haven’t even given it a single thought.

On some I’d rather not have it: I like my small lights being as small as possible and I like my outdoor lights as waterproof as possible. Then again, I can see it handy on a travel-light to just bring the cable and a wall-socket or a power-bank but in the end I’d rather buy without than with thou I wouldn’t totally dismiss a light just because it has USB.

As for the the magnetic systems: I’ve bought my mother an Olight S15R some years ago, she loves this system with the magnetic base and it’s one of the few systems she can handle at 93, we’ve made a system that can also charge her phone and automatic corkscrew and some more stuff and that works for her, I don’t need it myself thou.

WL27
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Yes, and i dont buy average size flashlights anymore that dont have usb charging built in. But on small lights its ok if they dont have usb charging built in like the ones you can use with AA or AAA Batterys

mattlward
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I voted no… for the following reasons.

1) Makes a light harder to keep moisture out of. The only kind I find tolerable are the ones that you must unscrew the head to get to the port, but it must have top and bottom o-rings to fail to have a chance of being done right.
2) Built in charging circuits have more issues with charge termination that external chargers. Cells are expensive and somewhat dangerous and should be well cared for.
3) Modification of #2, multi-cell lights increase the danger of in light charging. Worst case is in-series cells in lights with lithium ions, but I will not even charge a 3 or 4 parallel light that way… lot of energy if something goes wrong!
4) Makes mods to a light much more difficult, either when the charging board is stacked or the circuit is built in.
5) Stupid little flap that will not stay in place and breaks for falls of sooner or later.
6) O-Light specific, cells that are not standard OTC required for in light charging.

EDC rotation:
FW1A, LH351D 4000k (second favorite)
FW3A, LH351D 3500k
FW3A, SST20 FD2 4000k
FW3A, Nichia 4000k sw40 r9080 (favorite light!)
FW3A, Cree XP-L Hi 5A3
Emisar D4V2, SST20 4000k

sp5it
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Useful, but not mandatory for me. I don’t really care about it.

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AEDe
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I like idea of built in chargers. But I newer saw good realization.
I don’t like flashlight with bad built-in charger.

For me good charger has following features:
1) Type-C. No proprietary cable.
2) Port under thread.
3) PB feature with modern QC etc.
4) Maximum charging current 2-3A.
5) Informative indication of process.

Tumbleweed48
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I do have some lights with on-board chargers, but generally dislike the idea for all of the reasons mentioned above. I am vehemently opposed to proprietary batteries like those pushed by Olight.
Most EDC lights are so small and lightweight nowadays that I prefer to simply carry two of them instead of a spare battery or a charging cable.

samyy
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Yes, and I especially like the magnetic charging on Skilhunt flashlights. Great feature!

pennzy
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zoulas wrote:
I voted no for three very significant reasons.

1-The charging port is a significant entry point for liquids. BAD

2-You cant use the light while you are charging it. BAD

3-You cant beat using a quality charger for speed and accuracy. The built in chargers all seem to be plagued with problems. BAD

If you are going to carry a USB cable around to charge the light, just carry a spare battery.


You can still charge your battery on a charger. No one said you have to use the built in exclusively. You can use another light while you are charging or put in a spare battery. Again, all built in charging does is give you another option. Early built in chargers may have had problems, I never had that experience with mine. Totally submerged lights would be vulnerable to water but rain or an occasional drop into a puddle would not be a problem as long as you are careful to close the flap. I am seriously considering selling all my none built in charger lights since I like the feature so much. Built in charging in conjunction with an inline USB tester allows you to monitor the current the same as a dedicated charger. Most dedicated chargers do not measure internal resistance accurately so this really is not a perk. Capacity can still be measured on the dedicated charger when you so desire.
TIFisher
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If I like the basic platform of the light, OBC has no impact on my purchase decision. It’s convenient for traveling without the added bulk of separate charger, but carrying pre-charged spare cells is not that burdensome either. I’m usually not out in the elements enough with my lights to be concerned about moisture ingress. Although I have a few 14500 cells with integrated charging (USB-B), I don’t particularly trust them, and it’s known they have some parasitic drain from the monitoring circuitry…I rarely use them.

FlashMax
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Yes

Max

zoulas
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There are clearly some advantages of built in charging but the dozen or so negatives outweigh thew one or two positives.

1stein
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zoulas wrote:
I voted no for three very significant reasons.

1-The charging port is a significant entry point for liquids. BAD

2-You cant use the light while you are charging it. BAD

3-You cant beat using a quality charger for speed and accuracy. The built in chargers all seem to be plagued with problems. BAD

If you are going to carry a USB cable around to charge the light, just carry a spare battery.

4. Non-replaceable driver in most cases. Very BAD

river345
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zoulas wrote:
I voted no for three very significant reasons. 1-The charging port is a significant entry point for liquids. BAD 2-You cant use the light while you are charging it. BAD 3-You cant beat using a quality charger for speed and accuracy. The built in chargers all seem to be plagued with problems. BAD If you are going to carry a USB cable around to charge the light, just carry a spare battery.

The only point I’d agree with is #1. A built-in charger doesn’t prevent you from charging separately, it’s a convenience in case you need it.

And even on the issue of liquid entry, it’s total submersion that’s a problem for those charging ports, not being in the rain or dropping into a puddle. For myself, if I had to weigh chance of needing to recharge a light when I’m not at home vs. needing the light to be totally water proof…there’s more instances when I’m out camping or whatever and don’t bother to bring a 18650 charger with me. Much more likely for that to happen than dropping a flashlight into deep bodies of water.

It’s so nice to just charge up your flashlight and not have to bring yet another gadget when camping for a few days.

pepinfaxera
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I have voted no.
While charging you can’t use the flashlight
Best external charger and boxes / cases to carry spare batteries.

Sorry for my bad English
(google translator) , (https://www.deepl.com/translator)

zak.wilson
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I don’t like it for my own lights and almost never use it when lights have it, but I do like it for giving/loaning lights to other people.

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raccoon city
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I say no, unless we're talking about keychain flashlights with tiny lithium-ion batteries.

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I like it in certain circumstances. Lots of valid points here.

I basically never want it on an EDC light. For that, I want smaller, more moddable, better waterproofing, those sorts of things that tend to preclude charging. I’m also super in touch with that kind of light so I have a good idea when I need to charge it before I need an on-the-go solution.

But, I think it’s a good idea for multi-cell parallel lights, like the Q8/SP36/LT1. The reason is if you charge them in a charger all together you’ll still get some slight variance. If they’re charged in parallel in the light, they’ll all charge together perfectly evenly. Also, it’s frequently a pain to load/unload four cells at once, and it takes up (in most cases) the entire charger for one light.

Also, I really prefer the in-the-threads charger types, like in small 10180 lights, D10 headlamps, and the Noctigon K1. The little rubber flaps tend to tear on me.

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I think built-in charging can be great for instances where packing simple/light is important. It’s also great for those who have no interest in learning about batteries and how to care for them—they can just treat it like their phone.

For myself, I don’t need built-in charging and I prefer lights to be more compact instead. I wouldn’t mind the option if more lights would use solutions like the Noctigon K1. Rubber covers can really throw a monkey-wrench into the IP rating of a light.

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Perception
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I strongly prefer no built in charging, unless it’s a headlamp. It’s not a dealbreaker for me, but if I’m choosing between two lights and one has charging and on doesn’t, I’ll buy the light without.

Lumen9000
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For EDC carry, it’s a necessity. For large 3 batt lights, fine, might be complicated. But an EDC you can plug in to any phone charger, battery pack/ solar cell in the world? Priceless.

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Voted other, it’s a good option to have on larger lights, not on small EDC ones where integrated charging adds bulk.

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I voted yes. I used to dislike integrated charging because of water ingress concerns, but most of the lights I’ve tried recently have had excellent port cover solutions. I don’t mind not having it on single-cell lights, but it’s almost a necessity for me on multi-cell lights. I don’t want to have to 4 18650 cells out of a light and take up 4 slots on my charger when I could just plug in a USB cable.

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Robin Dobbie wrote:
No. Rubber covers are useless. We need an open standard on magnetic charging.

Yes please. An open standard on magnetic USB recharging would be incredible. The organization in charge of USB standards needs to get on that.

xevious
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It’s not a necessity… but it’s nice to have if the following conditions are met:

  • The cost of flashlight is only marginally higher with the built-in charging
  • The built-in charging doesn’t add appreciably to the flashlight size
  • The port is well done to help prevent water ingress
  • The firmware governing the feature does not overcharge the battery

I take an 18650 flashlight with built-in charging in my bugout & weekender bag, instead of a separate charger, which I use to recharge the 18650 cells of other flashlights I take with me. It’s super convenient and I like how it’s a sealed affair—no exposed contact points as typically found on a dedicated charger.

As for rubber stopper covers on ports, they can be done well that they’ll keep rain water out. Yeah, it’s an issue if you’re going to risk submerging. But if I’m going to expect very wet conditions, I take along a nicely sealed up light with no charging port.

Magnetic is amazing. I like Skilhunt’s solution… which is very close to Olight’s. In fact, you can actually charge a Skilhunt on an Olight charger (but not the other way around).

xevious
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Btw, on a related note… small chargers. I have a Nitecore UM2 that I really like. It does a fine job of charging batteries at a normal, safe rate, while also supplying useful information. But I just don’t like the fragility. It’s just so exposed and those spring loaded contact pads are a touch sketchy. I realize that these chargers aren’t sealed up so that it allows for heat dissipation in case of cells getting very warm in the process. But is there a good charger design design that’s a little more rugged & protected for 2 cells, that’s also reasonably priced?

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Robin Dobbie wrote:
No. Rubber covers are useless. We need an open standard on magnetic charging.

Completely agree! I voted no. However, built in charging is useful to give to someone that doesn’t have a good charger. I wouldn’t mind built in charging provided it didn’t make for a light that is not water proof. Love the charging that is universal USB powered. Under the seals or magnetic are the only way to go and magnetic should be an open standard!

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