AA LED Lanterns

Getting ready for camping this summer I've been searching for a good 'budget' LED lantern.

BLF doesn't have an area for lanterns that I can see, so I've posted this under multiple AA lights.

I've been looking for a good combination of brightness and runtime for the price. After some reasearch I took the plunge and ordered this one:


which claims to be 200 lumen for 30 hours (which I'll verify when it arrives) - 3 mode, 3AA for $16. I like the weatherproofing. The top reflector can be removed for a wide flood flashlight. It 'tailstands' of course, but can be hung from either end as well. I've read this design is modable / upgradeable with newer emitters (from CPF).

Another ebay source for the same spec lantern: http://cgi.ebay.com/3w-CREE-LED-Flashlight-Lamp-Lantern-Camping-Fishing-/160443584221

Note that this same body design is widely sold under different names with different emitters. A thread at CPF discusses this confusion here. Some example sources of similar lanterns of different spec. emitters:

$9 version - claims XRE - 110 lumen for 24 hours - http://cgi.ebay.com/Battery-Camp-Camping-Hand-Lantern-LED-Light-Flashlight-/300520226271

$25 -Cree warm white - "Xlamp" - claims XRE - 110 lumens for 24 hours - http://www.amazon.com/Small-Package-Bright-Camping-Lantern/dp/B002C5BXGQ/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

$19 - DX version: specs say XRE but reviewers say it's XRC. Lumens and runtime are unverified: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/cree-1w-led-lantern-camping-light-retail-pack-3-aa-included-12073

200 lumens for 30 hours with 3AA is technically impossible. I doubt it has 200 lumens in high, but I really don't know, anyway, 30h should be in low.

Doing the math: to be 200 lumens, a cree XRE-Q3 should drain around 3W, or even more. Each AA has less than 3Wh ( 2 Ah* 1.5V). I'm being too optimistic with this data, anyway, considering this, you should have 1h of runtime (3Wh/3W= 1h) with each AA, so 3h with 3 of them.

It should need 30AA to have 30 hours at 200 lumens.

Thats a very nice lantern, but you must never trust in chinese retailers information, or non-branded flashlights.

How powerfull need to be?

what country are you from?

i had good luck so far with a cree flashlight sold at Target here in the US.

its a great flashlight for the money, but runs on D's (or was it Cs? i dont even remember cause i havent had to replace the batteries yet lol)

it had 2 modes, high and low, puts out plenty of light, and is not blinding like alot of the compact versions ive seen (its a small size in my opinion, most lanterns are bigger than this, but its ALOT bigger than the ultrafire ones i was planning on modding, which are blinding enough!

I don't believe that the lantern in your $9 link has a CREE led - I have a couple that look just like that, with no blinky light under the switch and smooth globe inside, and it's a 5-led version. I also have the RiverRock w/CREE, which has the blinky and two-finish globe (bottom half frosty, top half clear) and it is far superior, imo.

This is a good price for one: http://cgi.ebay.com/3W-CREE-LED-Flashlight-Lamp-Lantern-camping-Fishing-/120686972380?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c19810ddc

Also this: http://ledshoppe.com/Product/ledp/LP3031.htm although I believe the 3-AAA written in the spec is mistaken.

My $16 LED lamp finally arrived from the EBAY seller noted in my OP.
Build Quality
When I got it in my hands, I was impressed with the solidness and quality of the build. It can take a beating, and has great weatherproofing. It's about pocket sized, short than my hand. It's quite stable and has rubberized ends for extra grip and protection. It can sit or be hung from either end.
The power button settings are low, high and off. While off, theres a little green led that flashes to help you find it in the dark.
Illumination Quality:
It has a bright white colour temperature. I really light how it provides useful light in all directions, illuminating an entire space with even light. There is no 'hotspot' in the center of a flashlight or headlamp beam that was designed for throw. Much nicer for working and reading from than a headlamp. It allows you to illuminate a whole area like a tent or table at a dark campsite. It's ideal for several people to share the light and use at once in an area.
When the light is sitting on a table the top reflector prevents the light from shining in your eyes while standing above it to work. However the top can can be removed, and the light suspended from the bottom for a wide floodlight .
Brightness and Runtime: (on 2000mah Nimh at @1.25 volt)
When measuring this light, it becomes really obvious how this light is different than a flashlight, in that it is outputing light in a 360 degrees around the lamp in almost all directions like a sphere. Although a headlamp or flashlight, gives a higher lux reading, they are providing only a narrow 'spot' illumination in comparison.
Low mode:
0.06 A current
- similar brightness to a full sized candle, but in white light, and without flickering or fire hazard.
- gives a constant brightness for 20 hours+ (still going... will update later.)
- does not 'run hot'
- 10 lux at 20 cm. ie for working directly beside lamp or reading paper
I can comfortably read a paper back book sitting beside this.
- 2 lux at 1 meter, equivalent to the brightness of a 'standard' sized candle.
High Mode:
0.40 A current
- 6-8 hours before dimming to low brightness for many hours more.
- useful illumination for a 10 x 25 foot room.
- 10 lux at 1 meter.
- 80 lux at 20 cm. ie. for working directly beside lamp or reading paper
Equivalent brightness to a 80 lux Delight at 1m - but in all directions around the lamp.
- too bright to look directly at!
- does not run hot.
Other notes:
- I've read this design is modable / upgradeable with newer emitters (from CPF).
- I think this is excellent value for the price.
- I will likely buy a few more, I like it so much!

Can you provide current draw? Many of us like that info. :)

Very nice review there dimeotane!

I've actually been thinking about getting one of those.

Yep, very detailed. I have trouble figuring the exact size. Can you make a photo perhaps with a common recognizable object nearby?

Also what would be very helpful to see is how much area it actually illuminates.

I could use one in a couple areas around the house depending.

Imagine a AA battery inside each of those bulges in base (the ones with the vertical grooves). Overall, it's about the size of a narrow soda can.

In my country would say that's about the size of a 0,5L beer can.

That's my Trustfire F20 on the right.

I'll work on some beamshots next. Someone on CPF posted this beamshot of the Xlamp which has a warm colour cast.

The thing about beamshots, that I don't really understand is that a longer exposure makes the light look brighter... so at most it shows how smooth the light pattern is... not really how bright it is.

In this example the lantern on high mode, and is 1 meter from the curtains and the shelving. This is pretty much how it looked to me in real life.

That looks like a usable amount of light, if a bit bluish. The beam quality in your photo also appears to be quite smooth. I've looked at a couple of lights of similar design and the beam has been full of artifacts that seem to be caused by the cone shaped reflector in the top of the light. The reflector can produce a very ringy beam pattern unless it is well diffused.

The vendor pics of your light make it look like the lights 'window' is not clear, and that it would have a diffusing effect on the beam, which I think would be good. But your photo of the light shows the window as being quite clear. How would you describe the beam your light produces?

I've been looking at this little attachment for an L2 that would turn it into a lantern of sorts. But I have yet to see any photos of the beam it produces.


The blue colour cast is likely more from the white balance in the camera. The light is certainly 'cooler' than an incandescent, but I'd describe it as white light. Yes, the outer window is clear but the inner 'globe is mostly frosted. The light it produces is great. The overall light pattern is smooth, clear, and free from distractions. Its a good light to read or work from nearby. On high it'll fill a room, on low it's about as bright as a big candle.

Thanks for the clarification/confirmation dimeotane.

I finally found my multimeter today. This lantern I mentioned earlier consumes 60 ma on low and 400 ma on high.

US$ 9.69 shipped anywhere

This is a pretty good price. Search for Star Light ™ 3 Watt CREE LED Light Lamp Lantern Camping Fishing.

I've ordered one and will post photo review when it arrives.

This is a christmas new year deal, lasting 5 more days


Did your one really have a Cree? Or dimeotane? I got one of those from Dinodirect, well it looks exacty the same, same colour, blinking LED below the switch, but while I'm not an expert it doesn't look like a Cree LED to me, unless there's some type I'm not aware of or it's possible to modify the package in a way I don't believe is possible (baring buying the dies and packaging them yourself). Instead it looks like one of those very common Chinese 3W LEDs with a package which I believe was copied from Prolight http://www.besthongkong.com/high-power-led/3-watts-led/prolight-3w-led-pm2a-3lxs-w-mcpcb-star who copied it from the original Luxeon. One that looks like this http://www.aliexpress.com/product-gs/375326727-LED-3Watt-Super-Bright-High-Power-LED-White-LED-180LM-3W-LED-13-wholesalers.html with a offwhite round plastic piece with the LED mounted on it and two legs for the anode and cathode (how the die is attached to the round plastic doesn't seem to be visible so it must be below). I'm not really that surprised (I sorta of suspected it may be when it was advertised as a 3W) although mildy disappointed. Then again, by now who knows how those LEDs perform compared to genuine older Crees, they're probably not that that bad. (I noticed the LED shoppe don't advertise it as a Cree. Nor does it say anywhere it's Cree on the packaging.) However the lantern isn't bad, fairly bright and after some minor modification to the soldering seems to work well. Haven't tested runtime though.

Interesting my LED looks slightly different from most of the pictures I've seen of those eBay, Aliexpress etc 3W Chinese LED sellers (they're often mounted on stars). It has the yellow square die of the LED (whether it's single or multiple I don't know) but the other round part covered by the dome is metallic looking rather then yellow as seems to be the case for most of the pictures. Then again there must be many, many manufacturers making those 3W LEDs and who knows the source of many of the pictures.

N.B. My packaging included some sort of serial number although I don't know if it's DinoDirect or the manufacturer. There doesn't seem to be any sort of branding .

I have couple of lanterns in transit from China, will report back when mine arrive, one of them is like the one above with the beamshot.