Bugout/long term light build

So I’m looking for a unicorn, perhaps. I want to buy or build a 1xAA/14500 omnivore with 2-3 modes in a simple UI and with a highly durable build (including the driver- no attiny that will fail after a few decades of storage). The obvious choice here is the Malkoff MDC AA but thats…. too easy. Right now I have a couple contenders but unsure how suitable they are.

1. Jaxman E3. This seems pretty close to ideal. Excellent build quality. The 219C is acceptable though I would like to swap to a 519a (or just 219b) for my own pleasure.
2. Ultratac A1 v2. This is a lovely little light which I have installed a 219b in. Seems well made but its new to me and I don’t know how reliable it truly is. Doesn’t seem as robust as the E3.
3. P60 based. This might be a good choice, although its a bit bulky. I have both a FM 18500 body as well as a Dereelight Javelin which would suppose a 1xAA or 2xAA build respectively. Similarly, one could easily use a Solarforce or Surefire 3xCR123 body but I digress and would prefer to stay to a single cell body.
4. Zebralight. Obvious choice like the previously listed malkoff. Seems too easy. And lacks to fun emitters to make it a satisfying selection ATM.
5. Four Sevens Atom AA. I have two of these in stainless steel and that are stellar lights. Installed a joule thief driver in one of them (from a board member) and both received the 219B treatment. Unsure of the robustness of the stock 2 stage driver to be honest but otherwise these are pretty close to ideal. No real compatibility with 14500, which is acceptable.

Any suggestions for high quality 15mm or 17mm drivers for a AA omnivore? There are a couple of functional choices on KD but I don’t expect them to be overly durable. Likewise, the Convoy T2/T3/T4 12 mode drier is excellent but I doubt its a build-and-forget quality. Typically I do not pot my DIY builds but this one I would probably end up potting…

Along those same lines any suggestions on solder? Right now I have some silver solder as well as flux core solder which I bought back when radioshack was still around. Never had a problem with either but unsure if or how much that matters for long term….

How can one tell if the driver has an attiny or not?

There seems to be fewer choices for single AA lights nowadays than there was 2-3 years ago.

How about a lumintop Tool AA? (without the lit tailcap, obviously).

I guess something right-angled with a headband would be very practical, too?

I like the Jetbeam PA12 for stow kits.
3 level with memory.Very usable low but no true moonlight. Multiple battery source, AA nimh, alkaline, lithium. Use AAA if necessary. Moderately easy emitter swap. Durable and my samples tested watertight after a overnight dip in the deep end of the pool. Just food for thought, I’m still a big fan of AA torches.

My Convoy AA/14500 4 mode driver has been great in a cheapo modified flashlight for the last several years, no problems.

I wouldn’t hesitate to get the new version of the driver which has programable modes, including mode memory. I would still choose the 4 mode and memory, but it’s nice to have the different options.

I like my 60/40 solder, but it appears others prefer 63/37 due to it’s even lower melting point.

Agreed that newer 12 mode Convoy is a nice configuration. I’ve swapped it into a number of lights including a Jaxman E3 and a FM 18500/P60 build. Kind of disappointing that 14500 and NIMH have the same modes, so no big turbo with a 14500/18500 cell.

If you want a mil-spec 14500 (alkaleak/Liion), probably THE best I’ve ever seen is the Xeno E03.

Huh… Amazon.com Amazed, they’re still made/sold!?

Lookit the thing: the beastie is so thick-walled that it has finger-grips etched into it!

Only drawback which I hate is that it always starts on medium. Think it’s MLH. I’d personally want it to be LMH, but…

Runs on both low/high voltage ranges, but the mode-spacing is even on one (think 1.2V/1.5V) but bunches up on high on the other (3.2V/3.7V).

So yeah, it’ll run on NiMH, alkaleak, LFP, and Li-ion.

Survival shouldn’t be made harder…get the Malkoff AA.

Peak El Capitan is about as robust of an AA as it gets.

Peak Logan 17500 w/ the adapter kit can handle AAA, AA, CR123 & their Li-Ion equivalents.

Anything with a switch or multimode driver can fail pretty easily.
The Peak lights are the most robust I know of, and they’ll run on about any battery you can fit in the tube (with a bit of foil).

The Logan 17500 w/ adapter kit is the ultimate bug out light. If the driver “fails” then it just turns into direct drive.
That was the first Peak I bought.

Malkoff MDC 2AA body, VME head, M36N LMH drop in, and a 17670 Li-ion

Wait, you want to store it for few decades???

It’s a very optimistic long-term survival plan.
Hopefully batteries are still being made so he can have access to fresh batteries.

How about the Lumintop EDC15 then?
Yes, it has more than 3 modes, but seems like a tough little light.

I own one of these if I ever get it out of storage, it is the ultimate store away and forget light.
NightStar jP Shake Flashlight


This one was the real deal, military-grade, not like the cheap shake lights that most saw around that era.

Maglite incan with a box of spare parts and bulbs. Solar panel charging and eneloops with adapters kept in a Faraday cage.

I have olight i3t as edc. Edc kit for me is something that is always in my daypack. If I think I might be out in the dark, I’ll take a light. The stuff in my edc kit is for when I get caught out. I need to keep it small so that I always have it. The i3t is relatively simple - 2 modes. The low mode (5 lumens) is good enough for walking single track - I’ve used it; and in that mode it will go all night. 80 lumens is the higher mode and I’ve used it to get through problem areas of track that are faint in areas.

It has a momentary on - I won’t buy a light without this feature, it’s so useful. You can mode change with momentary press too.

Peak Led solutions single mode lights rock. They can custom make any realistic lumen and runtime compromise, within reason. But, the QTC versions draw vacuum, imo. I have the Logan and El Capitan with QTC, neither disappoints with the never ending flicker factor. Tried QTC from several manufacturers and always disappointed. YMMV.

It seem like Zebralight uses PIC microcontroller. Is that a problem? I am just curious why ATTINY is not suitable for long term use? I guess you are concern about the flash memory which is valid.

Agreed. I’m a huge Peak fan but QTC is really best looked at as a fun curiosity.

All the Peaks I actually use are without it.