"Grandma" flashlight

So in summary my thoughts are either choose 1 mode or 2 mode. The ability to switch is not a bad idea, as long as its very well hidden.

I am not a fan of the hold switch to change modes, for grandma this will be confusing. So you need to click between modes as most tail switch lights do.

I would suggest the host could be an FC11.

One mode I would suggest :

Click once: 75 lumen
Click again: Off

Two mode:

Click once: 50 lumen
Click once: 150 lumen
Click again: Off

I would suggest no mode memory.

The USB should only charge the battery to 80% (4.0-4.1V for longer battery longevity) and the light cuts off at 3V. The reason being that it could be months before a future charge. But if the battery falls below 2.5V then the light needs to refuse to charge it. This is important.

Finally the standby current needs to be almost zero. Assume the light will be charged and not used for 2 years.


A similar idea emerged some time ago. Do you remember this thread?
Interest collect for a new Sofirn design: tube style18650, magnetic ring control, USB-C charging, 500 lm max (AKA grandma light)
I think Wurkkos is part of Sofirn, so maybe they would take over this project.

I missed that thread.
I am hoping Wurkkos will embrace this idea as most of it is just software changes.

I think most of this was discussed in length already in the other thread.

A single, binary e-switch is always going to be potentially confusing if it doesn’t simply act as an on/off switch, and more than one mode must be accommodated.

Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, develop a modern analog slide switch, and put “Off/Low/High” labels next to it, one of the oldest and simplest UI concepts around. No standby/parasitic drain to worry about either. That might come at the cost of a good IP ingress rating, but that’s probably not a concern for grandma. A rotary switch might fare better in that respect, but grandma already has issues opening pill bottles, so it’s a less preferable solution.

For LVP, have it go into blinky mode (at a sedate, non-seizure inducting rate) when the cell runs low, and needs to be recharged. Keep it simple — if the light’s not working normally, that means it’s time to recharge. Grandma isn’t going to be counting blinks and timings like she wants to learn Anduril, and she’s not likely to care how close the battery is to dying. Set a conservative threshold and leave it at that.

It shouldn’t be a difficult goal to accomplish if it is well-defined, and enough effort and resources put into it.

The problem is that any such light is likely to be constrained by cost, pricing, and the size of the market, so to be feasible, such a model will have to piggyback onto the development work for more sophisticated models, and help amortize the costs.

In that vein, a few lights are already in the ballpark. A 3-chip S2+ locked into 100% group 12, or an X2R reduced to a single mode. Give it an OP reflector or TIR if you want to make the beam more benign. Or a simplified version of the SC31, which it should be noted, was discontinued because the business case didn’t support it to Sofirn’s expectations. But perhaps closest, a simpler version of the FC11, which is already a popular option due to its well-rounded appeal.

The holidays provided the opportunity for glimpses into a couple grandparents’ households, and their lights. One was relying on a $10 Home Depot house brand light that I spoke of before — AAA-powered dual emitter, some unknown UI, with run down cells. The other had a Li-powered light at least, an archetypal generic zoomie that now often serves as a shipping container for battery purchases to skirt regulations. Those are the types of lights such a model would be competing against, in price and performance. Or, perhaps the Duracell or whatever lights that Costco sells that are a step higher.

Is there a grandma market for a “real” flashlight, with proper build and performance? No doubt there is, but how large is it, and is it large enough to warrant the effort? :question:

It’s also fair to ask whether grandma wants certain things, like multiple modes, special cells, onboard charging, etc., or are those features are being projected because we like them, so she should as well? Keep in mind the attempt at a simplified Anduril fork, where the amount of feature requests bloated it enough to the point where it wasn’t all that different from the original, full-featured version.

I bet a magnetic rotary switch could be adapted to work vertically like a slide switch. With good detents it would feel similar to an old switch, and it would help protect against any kind of ingress.

In general, magnetic anything requires a Hall-effect sensor, and those eat up more power than typical µC hibernation mode. My DV-S9 will drain a fully-charged 26650 in something like 3wks because parasitic drain is 10mA because of its (quite nice) magnetic slideswitch.

Sofirn/Wurkkos diving lights probably have that drain be much lower, but it still drains more’n a regular eswitch.

Point being, I don’t think that’s able to be changed, especially with the “requiring” low-drain for a drawer-light.

At the expense of extra length, there CAN be a mechanical sideswitch, to allow better ergonomics vs a tailswitch. Just like a C/D Maglite, or even my cheepcheepcheep bobofett AA light, they have a deadspace in the tube for a mechanical switch for just off/on.

And for arthritic hands, you don’t need (and don’t want) a skinny body like for an 18650. A 26650 would be fine, as would a pair of Cs or Ds to power it.

An easy-push mech switch would be best, with an oversize button. Especially set off the button with a chromey bezel like the original SC31. At first, that switch looked like a cheap add-on that was just bolted on as an afterthought, but one thing I noticed is that I could always find it, by feel and by sight.

Also, I don’t think a “high” of 150lm would be high enough, as mum had pretty bad fading vision and would have all the lights on in the house that it was like living on the surface of the sun. What’s “bright” to you and me might be woefully inadequate to an old-timer with fading vision. 500lm through a TIR lens (ie, no hotspot+spill) or even aspheric or system like on the S11C, should be an absolute minimum.

And yeah, a lot of old-timers won’t care about multiple levels, which is why those craplights Keep Getting Sold. They’re being sold for a reason, because they’re simple, stooopit, and bright enough (at least on newish alkaleaks), that it just ticks all the boxes. If they’re happy with a craptastic plastic tube with hotwire bulb and simple on/off switch, what makes anyone think they’d want a multiple-brightness light?

One thing that people keep forgetting, over and over and over again, is that…

People don’t want ¼-inch drills, they want ¼-inch holes.

Everyone’s gonna chime in how “useful” it might be for an old-timer to “want” or “need” multiple brightness levels, or strobes (“just in case of emergency”), or this, or that, and then you have a light that’s already overly complicated, if not intimidating. Avoid that trap.

Thank you, we quite interested in this grandma light project and willing to implement

Very happy to hear that!
Most of us like to give presents related to our passion for lights, I gotta say when I give a flashlight as a present most friends don’t get it right away but sooner or later I receive a genuine thank you followed by a great story of how it “saved the day”. Most of the Grandma lights available are easy to use but junk. It would be great to have something with Wurkkos quality.
But I have to say the simple mode in Anduril 2 surprised me in how quickly my muggle friends and family got used to it.
My suggestion would be that most of this kind of people don’t pocket carry so size wouldn’t be an issue, so I’d suggest that it could be something like a 26650 with an adapter for 3 AAA or any other solution that could use AA or AAA as alternative, don’t know if this could be a problem in lights with internal charging which would be great for this too.
Great thread Bort!

Just for peace of mind. The included batteries should also have its own protection circuitry.

We have about a half dozen models here, 18650, 26650, rotary, AA, side switch, binary switch…

I think we need to simplify it, how about two models.
We can look at others in the future is the first two are successful.
A single AA and lithium (my suggestion is 18650 but am willing to look at 21700 or 26650).

I don’t think 500 lumens is a good idea, we might think that is not many lumens but it eats batteries fast. We are also used to recharging batteries after not a lot of use but most people would not be. Plus most people are amazed by 200 lumens and never realized a light could get that high, giving them half a car headlight with relatively short runtime is not necessary.

So how about this:

First light:
1AA two mode, 50 lumen and 150 lumen.
No recharge ability.
I hate to foist alkalines on people but lets be honest, this is what most people will end up doing.

I would like to see NiMH and recharge ability, it would make it an amazing light. But people will put alkaleaks in it, recharge and then they explode. Alkalines are very safe until you try to recharge them.

Second light:
18650 or 21700, two mode, 75 lumen and 250 lumen
USB chargeable to 80% which is not 4.2V.
If the battery falls below 2.5V it refuses to charge it.
A side switch can work if it can last years without draining itself.
Otherwise a tail switch.

I recently received an FC11, its a very interesting light, i would make some changes to it but much of what would be needed to make it a grandma light is just software changes. The single mode while its charging is actually quite useful. It appears to be about 50 lumens, am i correct?

Also what is ts self drain rate when off, has anyone measured it?

Three final thoughts:
The other models as a future project?
A rotary sounds fun to be honest.

Second: What colour temperature?
Do we have to choose one or is having multiple doable?
If only one my suggestion is 4000K. Cooler is harsh for older eyes and this is mostly going to be used indoors where 2700K lightbulbs dominate.
That said i prefer 5000K so if we can have multiple i would suggest that.

Third thought:
Could we come up with a firmware that could be put into a production light that would make it a grandma light, perhaps Anduril lite?
It could have a mode group with more lumens if you want to allow it?
It needs very careful hiding, if accidentally changeable it will happen.


Some thoughts:

I gave my aunts (not grandma…) a FC11 and it is still rolling, they use it everyday. I put a protected cell inside, instead of the original unprotected battery. For a grandma I am not sure I would give it since the output on max may be too much.

As for AA lights, I was remembering of the Skilhunt M150 V2, that can be used with AA alkaline/Ni-MH/14500 Li-Ion, and that can be configured to have 2 modes out of 7 or 8, I guess, plus turbo, strobe /beacon/sos (accessible via shortcuts). It has magnetic charging and brings a protected 14500 if you chose that. Also I guess High CRI led can be chosen, but I am not 100% sure on this. If used with AA or Ni-MH, it won’t get hot on turbo not in other levels.

Same thing happens with the current Skilhunt M200, which is a 18650 light, with magnetic charging.
Both lights have side switch, pocket clip, magnetic tailcap.

Single mode AA, as I mentioned in another thread, the Manta Ray S1. It can use AA alkaline/Ni-MH/14500 Li-Ion, with obvious differences in output. No built-in charging. 3 emitters choice. The host is similar to the Convoy T2, the driver is not.

Something like the Wurkkos DL10R with lower output would be, eventually, great!!

Unno. Pretty much unchanged, so I’d only be repeating myself.

Bigger is better, for grip. I can’t imagine arthritic hands grabbing even a 2×AA light and futzing with a stiff tailswitch.

What I suggested in the other thread, ie, the Acebeam EC50, pretty much ticks all the boxes:

— 26650 for capacity, and wider diameter for better grip.

— soft-touch sideswitch with simple click-on/click-off operation

— higher contrasting switch, silver button against the black body

— can be set to its lowest setting and left to, again, just click on/off

— no stoopit blinkies or any other retardery, just on/off, and hold to scroll through the brightness levels

— easy usb charging

so that’s pretty much what gramma needs.


A big Rubber ring similar to Keep Cups for grip and reduces the chance of rolling off her bed side table

10CRI 9000K :laughing:


is Magnetic ring switch much easier for Grandma, bigger size and a Larger size is easier to find ?

For control it might be easier, if the ring wouldn’t just be big, but “grippy” (oversized knurling, etc.).

Concern is parasitic drain, though. If a light gets tossed into a drawer for a year or more, it might run down the cell to 0 when granma needs it most. Hall-effect sensors can eat a lot more current than a sleeping µC uses just to sniff a button every so often.

Best would be a soft-touch mechanical switch that physically breaks the circuit when off. Even if a mechanical switch is harder to press than a momentary e-switch, a big button could let granma press it with both thumbs.

But that requires a commitment from start to finish to be a granma light, not one that’s later made to “look cool” by going with a nicer-looking but smaller button. (or adding 20 modes, or… :laughing: )