Advise needed for a 18650 light EDC

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Jsonftw
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Advise needed for a 18650 light EDC

Hi there!

I’m looking to buy a new 18650 light. Some background info. I ‘ started’ with a Streamlight 1L and have been carrying this one for ages. Still in my opinion a great EDC light based on size vs. output.

Since a short period of time I’ve been a first aid volunteer and noticed that having a good light is very useful in certain areas/ situations. Also, I travel a lot (for work) and sometimes need to walk around roads that are barely or not lit, so for daily safety reason I’d need this light as well. So this lead to some disadvantages of my current Streamlight 1L. Namely, runtime and the expensive CR123 batteries.

So what my currently requirements look like are:

  • good throw: meaning matching or outperforming my current Streamlight 1L (5.000cd). In order to ‘ reach out’ and see what’s up over there (saved me a couple of times by choosing a different path home).
  • good spill: for both situational awareness (personal safety), but mainly because I want to use this light as well during situations where I need to provide first aid
  • tail switch: with momentary on options
  • modes: ideally something like my Streamlight that will always start on high and can be cycled to low
  • size: my current Streamlight 1L scores so many points on this one with around 8,5 cm length and 2 cm diameter. I can carry it anywhere.
  • 18650 rechargeble: I don’t want to spend so much money on CR123s
  • runtime: at least 3 hours on ‘high’. Assuming I’ll need to use this during first aid situations
  • bonus: a 2-way clip so that I can clip on to my hat or clothing (like the Streamlight 1L-1AA) would be very usefull
  • bonus: relatively cheap – if lost or somehow getting very dirty during first aid situations, I’d buy a new one
  • bonus: UV light – just for fun
  • note: I’m still learning a lot about lights, so forgive any stupid remarks/ questions etc.

Currently, I’m thinking about the Convoy S2+, but I’m not yet sure

Hopefully you can help me out with some light suggestions or requirements that would be useful in my usecase.

Many thanks!

Correllux
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I don’t think you’re going to get anything with 3 hours on high, but if you do and the light can handle the temperature without stepping down then it’ll have to have a boost or buck/boost driver. This really limits your choices in the market but the Emisar D4V2 is worth a look – Hank has a new boost driver that will enable longer run times with stable output (overall max output is necessarily reduced a little but these are very bright lights). They have a side switch but come with Anduril firmware so they are highly configurable (and there is a Momentary mode you can select…but it’s not quite like a typical forward clicky tailswitch in that regard). It’s very compact for the battery platform. He also sells the Noctigon KR4 which is a bit larger but it has an electronic tail switch (same Anduril configurable firmware, boost driver available…and an awesome captive-ring pocket clip).

The S2+ is absolutely a great and durable light but the momentary mode (forward clicky) isn’t there, nor is the extended high run time….there’s so much you can do with an S2+ in terms of beam and output, though, either ordering what you like from Simon or easily modding it yourself if you can do minimal soldering and have a couple basic tools.

Nitecore and Olight may have something, too, but they typically lock you in to not-as-nice emitters and lately are using long protected cells or proprietary cells which can be a little limiting.

There are tons of awesome 18650 lights these days but most don’t sound like they’re going to fit your requirements unless you can compromise on some things.

All that said, I’m not sure what “high” mode means to you in lumens. It could very well be that the S2+ or some other light will easily fill your need there if their lower modes are equal to or more than what you’re used to.

Get a dedicated UV light if you need it. Lots of options there these days (an S2+ with 18650 or short 18350 tube/cells, Lumintop and Sofirn have decent AA models).

Also, if you still like the AA format there are a few lights out now that will really knock your socks off compared to just a few years back. They’re all small and definitely don’t have the battery capacity to last as long as you want, but they’re great pocket lights. Convoy T2 or T3, Sofirn SP10 Pro, Lumintop FWAA, and the just-released Wurkkos TS-10. These are all like the new wave of AA sized cells…impressive. There are great 16340 lights, too (same size as your CR123 but higher voltage rechargeable lithium-ion cells).

Correllux
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And welcome to BLF!

Mandrake50
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I picked up a Csteboke (Sofirn) SC31T SE recently. You can check the forums, Sofirn had some codes where you could pick them up at around $20 on Amazon. Cheap enough to make it a throw away, I guess.
It does not give you everything that you said you wanted, but I can’t think of a light that does.
It will be much brighter than your Streamlight. Zeroair measured 6000cd so it should give you better throw. Decent flood for closeup work. You can get much more output than the Streamlight for 2.5 hours. On medium you can get at least 100 lumens for close to 6 hours. (again from the Zeroair review)
Either stepped or smooth ramping. Tactical forward colicky for momentary on. Reversible clip (NOT a 2 way clip though) for using on a hat… but maybe a bit heavy for that.
around 5000K and 90 CRI.
USB C in light charging might be convenient in the field… it does that. The one I bought came with a Sofirn 3000 mAh battery.

This is just what quickly came to mind, maybe others will have something better. But this is a decent cheap light… and covers several of your bases.

JenkinsMatti
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I personally like the Convoy S2+. As already mentioned, it will check off most (not all) of your requirements.
Some people must have thermal regulation, I am not one of those people. I prefer manual thermal regulation… when it gets hot lower the output.

Sofirn also makes many lights you might like. Go to their website & you will find that many ship from California, so delivery time is pretty fast.

wle
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you can find for any light a level that runs for 3 hours

it will not be 1000 lumens though for an 18650

more likely about 300

the cell holds maybe 15 watt hours

for 3 hours this would be 5 watts

3-400 lumens guess
though that is pretty bright

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
    Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
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-Greg Lemond.
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jeff51
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If you are not married to 18650s, take a look at the Convoy S21A.
Only slightly larger than the S2+ but takes a 21700 battery.
A bit more output is possible, but the bigger gives longer runtime.
All the Best,
Jeff

Desertcat
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If you like a lot of things about the 1L, have you checked out its larger (1×18650) sibling, the 2L(-X)? I use a Protac 2L-X and like it.

Jsonftw
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Correllux wrote:
I don’t think you’re going to get anything with 3 hours on high, but if you do and the light can handle the temperature without stepping down then it’ll have to have a boost or buck/boost driver. This really limits your choices in the market but the Emisar D4V2 is worth a look – Hank has a new boost driver that will enable longer run times with stable output (overall max output is necessarily reduced a little but these are very bright lights). They have a side switch but come with Anduril firmware so they are highly configurable (and there is a Momentary mode you can select…but it’s not quite like a typical forward clicky tailswitch in that regard). It’s very compact for the battery platform. He also sells the Noctigon KR4 which is a bit larger but it has an electronic tail switch (same Anduril configurable firmware, boost driver available…and an awesome captive-ring pocket clip).

Thanks for the suggestions, I’m going to check it out! My apologies. What I meant was a total runtime of 3 hrs with step down. And the reason for this is that it’s probably the most realistic usecase for me during a first aid duty where sometimes I need to go out there in the woods or open fields with zero to no lighting. So I’ll need some throw to reach out and then use the spill to work when I located that person.

Correllux wrote:
The S2+ is absolutely a great and durable light but the momentary mode (forward clicky) isn’t there, nor is the extended high run time….there’s so much you can do with an S2+ in terms of beam and output, though, either ordering what you like from Simon or easily modding it yourself if you can do minimal soldering and have a couple basic tools.

Nitecore and Olight may have something, too, but they typically lock you in to not-as-nice emitters and lately are using long protected cells or proprietary cells which can be a little limiting.

There are tons of awesome 18650 lights these days but most don’t sound like they’re going to fit your requirements unless you can compromise on some things.

My technical knowledge is too limited to go for modding, so I’ll need to pass for that. When looking at compromises, momentary on is something I can forego.

Correllux wrote:
All that said, I’m not sure what “high” mode means to you in lumens. It could very well be that the S2+ or some other light will easily fill your need there if their lower modes are equal to or more than what you’re used to.

Get a dedicated UV light if you need it. Lots of options there these days (an S2+ with 18650 or short 18350 tube/cells, Lumintop and Sofirn have decent AA models).


I’ll skip the UV-feature. That was just a bonus to play around with. With regards to ‘high’. I’m looking at at least 5000 candela like my 1L which has 275 lumens, so any thing above say 300 is high (enough).
Correllux wrote:
Also, if you still like the AA format there are a few lights out now that will really knock your socks off compared to just a few years back. They’re all small and definitely don’t have the battery capacity to last as long as you want, but they’re great pocket lights. Convoy T2 or T3, Sofirn SP10 Pro, Lumintop FWAA, and the just-released Wurkkos TS-10. These are all like the new wave of AA sized cells…impressive. There are great 16340 lights, too (same size as your CR123 but higher voltage rechargeable lithium-ion cells).

Thanks for these suggestions as well. If they use 16340, it’d would surely help to soften the finance in buying new batteries every few weeks. Runtime wise, having a spare battery during first aid duties could ‘work around’ the runtime limitation I think.

Correllux wrote:
And welcome to BLF!

Thanks!

Mandrake50 wrote:
I picked up a Csteboke (Sofirn) SC31T SE recently. You can check the forums, Sofirn had some codes where you could pick them up at around $20 on Amazon. Cheap enough to make it a throw away, I guess.
It does not give you everything that you said you wanted, but I can’t think of a light that does.
It will be much brighter than your Streamlight. Zeroair measured 6000cd so it should give you better throw. Decent flood for closeup work. You can get much more output than the Streamlight for 2.5 hours. On medium you can get at least 100 lumens for close to 6 hours. (again from the Zeroair review)
Either stepped or smooth ramping. Tactical forward colicky for momentary on. Reversible clip (NOT a 2 way clip though) for using on a hat… but maybe a bit heavy for that.
around 5000K and 90 CRI.
USB C in light charging might be convenient in the field… it does that. The one I bought came with a Sofirn 3000 mAh battery.

This is just what quickly came to mind, maybe others will have something better. But this is a decent cheap light… and covers several of your bases.

Thanks, I’m going to check this one out as well.

JenkinsMatti wrote:
I personally like the Convoy S2+. As already mentioned, it will check off most (not all) of your requirements.
Some people must have thermal regulation, I am not one of those people. I prefer manual thermal regulation… when it gets hot lower the output.

Sofirn also makes many lights you might like. Go to their website & you will find that many ship from California, so delivery time is pretty fast.

I saw Convoy come by a couple of times on this and other forums. But I always get lost in the amount of customization possibilities.

wle wrote:
you can find for any light a level that runs for 3 hours

it will not be 1000 lumens though for an 18650

more likely about 300

the cell holds maybe 15 watt hours

for 3 hours this would be 5 watts

3-400 lumens guess
though that is pretty bright

Yes, what I meant to say that it should last 3 hours with step down starting from high. It’s going to be the most ‘realistic’ use case for me (get a call to for a first aid response. Go out in the field and try to find that person with the light and using the light to work and say have 2 or 3 of such cases in night time near zero lighting).

jeff51 wrote:
If you are not married to 18650s, take a look at the Convoy S21A. Only slightly larger than the S2+ but takes a 21700 battery. A bit more output is possible, but the bigger gives longer runtime. All the Best, Jeff

Not per se married to 18650, but felt it was the ‘ best’ compromise of size vs. durability. I’ll check the 21A out as well. Thanks!

Desertcat wrote:
If you like a lot of things about the 1L, have you checked out its larger (1×18650) sibling, the 2L(-X)? I use a Protac 2L-X and like it.

Didn’t look at those yet. I’ll check them out as well!
nicodimus22
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The S21A is hardly much bigger than the S2+ and the runtimes/output are better, and it’s great quality for the price, so it gets my vote.

As far as the customization goes, I have one with the B35AM 4500K and one with the 519A 4500K. Can’t go wrong with either IMO, although I find the beam of the B35AM to be slightly whiter, and the 519A to be a bit more yellow, so it just depends on your taste.

zoulas
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So many options, where to begin.

All of the feedback you get will likely confuse you more.

Desertcat
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Desertcat wrote:
If you like a lot of things about the 1L, have you checked out its larger (1×18650) sibling, the 2L(-X)? I use a Protac 2L-X and like it.

“Didn’t look at those yet. I’ll check them out as well![/quote]”

It’s essentially a 1L that uses 18650, so a better question might be ‘what don’t you like about the 1L’ – you didn’t mention any ‘don’t likes’. Keep in mind that the 2L-X is everything you like about the 1L, with more of everything you need (want): run time, lumens, candelas, etc., without giving up anything you like about the 1L except, obviously, size.

I gather you’re a professional user in situations where reliability / durability are a top priority, not unlike me. With a 2L-X, you also wouldn’t have to give up Streamlight reliability, and specifically the FL1 2-meter impact rating your 1L has (and be aware that by FL1 definitions: 2>>1×2). You’re unlikely to find that ‘feature’ with many other lights being discussed, so thought I’d mention it.

zoulas
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A very nice 18650 light is the wurkkos fc12. 10x better than the S2+.

Xyrium
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I keep thinking Emisar KR4 with XPL HIs. High in Muggle mode will probably exceed the output of that Streamlight. 

JagerLion
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This won’t be a popular recommendation as it’s not “budget” but consider the Streamlight 2L-X. On your requirements:

  • Has similar throw/spill as your 1L, just more of both
  • Tail switch, starts on high with option to cycle to low. Has momentary
  • Size: meh, it’s longer, but not bad for an 18650 with some throw
  • Takes 18650s or the same CR123s as your 1L.
  • Runtime: “high” is 500 lumens ramping down, so you’ll get 3 workable hours even if you won’t impress anyone.
  • 2-way clip: check
  • Cheap: Nope, but if it’s for serious use, price should be a secondary consideration
  • UV: Nope.
  • Obvious bonus: It’s the big brother to your 1L that you know and love, so adapting will be easy.

I shoot magic into the darkness!

Boaz
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I'm not a Streamlight fan since I consider them not a really honest company. They have for years and years BS'd their customers as to what emitter is in their lights to avoid any real valid comparisons. their user interfaces are somewhat stone age, battery packs proprietary and pricey .  When you can have a sc21pro for close to $25 or numbers of Convoys for about $20 with a slew of High color rendering options I'd steer clear of repeat buying a Streamlight . 

 If the 18650 version is the same as the 1L Why wouldn't you spend $20 ~$30 just to see what else is out there.

 Sofirn / Wurkos  or Convoy .

 My suggestion is a High CRI version of a Convoy S2+ or a S21A in green  (probably one of the best color green anodization out there)

Convoy S21a With B35am R9080 High Cri 4500k 1500lm, 12groups Temperature Protection,21700 Flashlight With Battery Inside - Flashlights & Torches - AliExpress

 

Convoy S21a 519a R9080 High Cri,21700 Flashlight ,torch,6amps - Flashlights & Torches - AliExpress

 

Convoy S2+ with 519A,R9080,DTP copper plate,ar coated glass lens,5amps 12 groups,18650 flashlight,Torch,orange peel reflector| | - AliExpress

 

A quick view of hi cri lights from convoy / I'm sure Simon will put any emitter in almost any light for you free of charge if you ask .

Find All China Products On Sale from Convoy flashlight Store on Aliexpress.com - Convoy S9 flashlight ,219B R9080 <font><b>high</b></font> <font><b>CRI</b></font>,with micro USB charging port,18650 flashlight ,torch,B35AM R9080 <font><b>high</b></font> <font><b>CRI</b></font> LED, NV4WB35AMT,4500K,Convoy M3-C GT FC40 <font><b>high</b></font> <font><b>CRI</b></font>, 26650 rechargeable flashlight, torch ,with 26650 lithium battery and more

 

Get a clip and a battery if you need one . 

 Beauty of modding an S2+ is it's as simple as pie . which means it's 100%  upgradable and totally fixable by anyone with 8th grade school skills ..they are like 6 pieces Smile

                 υμεις εστε το φως του κοσμου ου δυναται πολις κρυβηναι επανω ορους κειμενη

                            Dc-fix diffuser film  >…  http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42208

JagerLion
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Boaz wrote:
… their user interfaces are somewhat stone age, battery packs proprietary and pricey…

Sometimes a simple interface is preferred. Nobody should want Anduril on a rifle light for example, or IMO, a duty light. The 2L-X will take any button-top 18650, though I’d recommend protected as it has no LVP. Their branded 18650 is admittedly overprice and low capacity.

The other criticisms are valid.

I shoot magic into the darkness!

wle
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JagerLion wrote:
Boaz wrote:
… their user interfaces are somewhat stone age, battery packs proprietary and pricey…

Sometimes a simple interface is preferred. Nobody should want Anduril on a rifle light for example, or IMO, a duty light.

.

- i don;t know why
mine always comes on right where i left it last time
then it goes up or down like i want
usually i have it set for 8 levels
that seems to balance between fine light control, and speed of going to the other end of the range

wle

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
    Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
It never gets easy, you just go faster.   
-Greg Lemond.
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Firelight2
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“Simple” does not necessarily mean “better” when it comes to UI.

  • A 5 mode driver with reverse clicky switch is simple, but can be irritating in actual use. It may take multiple clicks to get the setting you want.
  • Some lights use long-press for off/on and a short click to change modes. That’s pretty simple… but in operation the long press is a pain.
  • I had a Costco light awhile ago that had 4 settings: off, low, high, strobe. Pressing the button cycled to the next setting. Simple? … yes. Good? … absolutely not! It was really irritating having to press the button multiple times just to turn the light off. Especially with strobe in the main cycle.
  • Anduril is very powerful, but the key features are also very intuitive and easy to understand. The most used functions (on, off, min, turbo) can all be accessed via simple shortcuts. Also ramping the brightness up or down feels very natural.
SMOKEU
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I think a Convoy S21A with SFT40 and 12 mode driver will suit your needs paired with an SMO reflector. You can easily customize the modes to get it to do what you want. Sure, you miss out on high CRI and onboard recharging, and they are certainly longer than many other 21700 lights but I love mine as it strikes the perfect balance for me. These are very durable so will be excellent in field use and will survive many drops and is easy to repair. Can also be had with various Nichia options for high CRI but you will lose output and throw.

If that really is too big then get an S2+.

If you can go for something slightly bigger then a Convoy M21B with an SFT40 and 8A 12 mode driver is a nice thrower that has good spill. I use one as a bike helmet light.

21700 cells typically have around 40% more capacity than an 18650, and are only 3mm wider (diameter) and 5mm longer. A very worthwhile tradeoff. One of those would be very nicely paired with a Molicel P42A, P45A (if you can get one) or even the NCR21700 (5AH capacity for great run time).

If you need UV, keep in mind that almost all UV flashlight emitters are crappy 395nm so do yourself a favour and spend the extra and get a Convoy S2+ with the Nichia emitter in a purple host.

I’m not really a big fan of any of the Convoy UI options, but they are very functional and simple to use. PLEASE SIMON, I BEG YOU, PLEASE START USING ANDURIL!!!

The Sofirn IF25A with quad SST20 4000K is a very nice light with high CRI but draws around 18A on turbo and the heat output on higher modes is insane. Output is not that impressive for the current draw but it’s still a very nice light with Anduril.

/rant over

creekside
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Correllux mentions the SC21 Pro. It’s the only one with assurance that it “can withstand earthquakes”.

Desertcat
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SMOKEU wrote:
I think a Convoy S21A with SFT40 and 12 mode driver will suit your needs paired with an SMO reflector. You can easily customize the modes to get it to do what you want. Sure, you miss out on high CRI and onboard recharging, and they are certainly longer than many other 21700 lights but I love mine as it strikes the perfect balance for me. These are very durable so will be excellent in field use and will survive many drops and is easy to repair. Can also be had with various Nichia options for high CRI but you will lose output and throw.

If that really is too big then get an S2+.

If you can go for something slightly bigger then a Convoy M21B with an SFT40 and 8A 12 mode driver is a nice thrower that has good spill. I use one as a bike helmet light.

21700 cells typically have around 40% more capacity than an 18650, and are only 3mm wider (diameter) and 5mm longer. A very worthwhile tradeoff. One of those would be very nicely paired with a Molicel P42A, P45A (if you can get one) or even the NCR21700 (5AH capacity for great run time).

If you need UV, keep in mind that almost all UV flashlight emitters are crappy 395nm so do yourself a favour and spend the extra and get a Convoy S2+ with the Nichia emitter in a purple host.

I’m not really a big fan of any of the Convoy UI options, but they are very functional and simple to use. PLEASE SIMON, I BEG YOU, PLEASE START USING ANDURIL!!!

The Sofirn IF25A with quad SST20 4000K is a very nice light with high CRI but draws around 18A on turbo and the heat output on higher modes is insane. Output is not that impressive for the current draw but it’s still a very nice light with Anduril.

/rant over

“These are very durable so will be excellent in field use and will survive many drops…”

What sort of FL1-compliant Impact Ratings do those offer?

SMOKEU
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Desertcat][quote=SMOKEU wrote:

“These are very durable so will be excellent in field use and will survive many drops…”

What sort of FL1-compliant Impact Ratings do those offer?

How is that relevant to this particular use case? I saw no mention of such a requirement.

There is plenty of evidence of the solid construction of Convoy products and the ease of repair along with a wide range of high quality replacement parts. I would rather buy several backup lights than pay for an irrelevant rating, and still have change to spare. ANYTHING human made is prone to failure. Better to get a backup light than to buy something with a fancy rating and then rely on a single point of failure.

I bet most manufacturers would not feel any need to spend money on certifications that very few of their users would require, and by insisting on such ratings the number of products available is significantly diminished anyway. Why artificially limit your options for no good reason?

Jsonftw
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Many thanks all for your input. Been searching and comparing a lot!

With my ‘requirements’, the perfect light doesn’t exist. Currently, one of my tradeoff is that I’ll tolerate a larger light and omit the two way clip. I do need the momentary on tailswitch, which unfortunately drops all Convoy lights from the table.

Streamlight 2lx is fine. Given the simple UI and size, but when comparing to other 18650 lights. I feel like I’m leaving lumens on the table. Especially for the price I’m paying.

Which regards to modes. I only need like turbo/ high and mid/ low. And start at immediate turbo. Strobe, sos or anything else is not needed. Maybe even a downside. When under stress. I really want to have all the lumens at my disposal with just one click. Fine motor skills is the first thing that goes out of the window when under intens pressure. I don’t want to double click something following single click something to have turbo (so to speak).

The fc12 looks appealing. Same with the sofirn. Especially, the sp31 v2 (as I read somewhere on this forum that the sc31t and sp31 V2 are similar but the V2 runs less hot?) Both have more modes than I need and I’m not sure if they can start on turbo, but both have a battery indicator which is a plus. Compromises again…

I think I have a small preference for the V2 compared to the fc12 due to the V2 have a bit more spill and also is a bit smaller.

And quality is a must, to a certain extent and I prefer to lay a bit more when I need to, but I doesn’t need to be professionally certified. I also don’t want to spend a couple of hundred bucks on a light which I may accidentally lose in the field or which will have a high chance to become dirty in the field.

Still debating with myself here.

Geuzzz
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Thrunite TN12pro ticks a lot of boxes

Camaro
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Is there such a thing as a light that starts on turbo? You can get lights that have a last mode memory that will start on high. Two clicks to get to turbo will become second nature.

I have an sc31t and the momentary on is useful (t is for tactical and all tactical lights should have a momentary on if my recollection is accurate). High is 800 lumens and it throws 133 meters. Turbo gives you 2000 lumens and 209 meters. Pretty damn good for an EDC and it is not an overly large light.

Onboard charging and a reasonable price. You can overthink yourself into brain damage and never get the perfect light (if you do, let the board know some have been looking for years….)

And just to add more fuel to the fire, don’t forget to get a good cell. The light will run better on a quality battery. Smile