Help ! -Need AA light with long runtime on low/moonlight mode

Wellp, I got enough S2+/S5 hosts (FT) to last me quite a while, plus the off-the-rack one I semi-EDC, so I’m good.


I have several brands of AA lights with good lows/moonlights. They’re all pretty-much the same efficiency.

For 1xAA lights:

Zebralight SC52’s: moonlight around 0.1 lumens (the spec is 0.28 lumens or something like that, but in reality it’s closer to 0.1 lumens). Run time around 14 days.

Zebralight SC52’s: low mode around 3 lumens, run time is a little under 3 days.

Zebralight SC5: moonlight around 0.1 lumens, run time around 14 days.

Zebralight SC5: low around 2 lumens, run time a little over 5 days.

I’ve got several other brands, but haven’t done run time tests on them. But based on tailcap current measurements, they’re all pretty-much the same. You’ll get about 2 weeks run time on a useable moonlight mode for dark-adapted eyes, and about 3 days on 3-lumen low mode. Constantly on, of course.

For 2xAA lights, like the 4sevens Quarks or Armytek Primes, the numbers are similar, but you get twice the run-time or twice the brightness, because of twice the battery.

For 4xAA lights, the only one I have with a moonlight mode is the Sunwayman D40A. It has a much brighter “moonlight”, of around 1 lumen. It seems brighter, due to the greater throw of that light, so it’s quite usuable. It lasts a little over 2 weeks, so it’s more efficient than the 1xAA and 2xAA lights. Probably due to not needing a boost circuit in the driver.

Anyway, my conclusion is that the model of light doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a decent quality brand,. They all have similar levels of efficiency. Pick a model that has the mode outputs you want, and go from there.

Yes, I like the old Quark design, but I’m not a fan of their new design currently being sold. I still use my 2xAA Quark Pro (XML2) and Quark Tac (XPG2) for a nice low-light in a dark room (tail-standing), which I leave on all evening in case I want to go in there and don’t want to turn on a bright light. Mine are both slightly greenish, though, and I’m not a cool-white fan anyway. But it’s fine for soft lighting.

I don’t much like the user-interface of the Quarks (mainly because of the flashies that you can’t hide), but since they come on in moonlight by default (or you can program the tac model that way), it’s good for that kind of lighting.

I tend to prefer 1xAA or 1xAAA lights for indoors, because run-time isn’t an issue when I have access to over 200 Eneloops.


I have one of those Atom A0’s, and while I like the concept of it, it’s quality isn’t very good. Flickering on high is pretty common, mode selection can be a little tricky, the tint is awful (way too cool and low cri), and the 25 lumen high is very under-whelming.

For less than half the cost, get a Astrolux A01 with the high-CRI Nichia 219 LED. 3 good mode levels, decent quality, and fantastic tint.

I use it as a night-light for getting up in the middle of the night. The moonlight mode is a perfect level of light for that.

Seeing the comments about the Jetbeam JET-1 MK got me wondering, so I charged up an Energizer “recharge NIMH ” 2300 mAh AA battery and put in my JET-1 MK at 2 PM Tuesday. Turned it on low mode and its still going strong 52 hours later. I’m leaving it on to see how long it lasts.

I also have Astrolux A01’s, but moonlight is too dim to be useful to my 57 year old eyes. I take two with me when I travel, and leave one lit in moonlight mode in the hotel room so I can find it if I need to get up at night. I usually have to turn it up to see well enough to move around.

EDIT: It’s now Sunday, and the light has been continuously on since 2 PM Tuesday. That’s at least 115 hours, and it’s still going strong. I’m not going to be around the rest of the day to see when it finally runs down, but I’m thinking it will go at least 120 hours on the lowest setting with a 2300 mAh NIMH battery. I may order a couple more of these!!

Any decent 1xAA light with a moonlight mode should last a long time. I haven’t tested all mine, but the Zebralights (SC5 and SC52s) all came in between 12-15 days on a standard Eneloop, when using their 0.3 lumen moonlight mode (which is actually closer to 0.1 lumens in reality). 2xAA lights will double that time, or allow for a brighter moonlight mode.

It’s quite a usable amount of light, when you have no external light to ruin your night vision. At least, inside a house it’s useful, where the light bounces around and you’re generally familiar with stuff around you. It’s really too dim to see anything outside. I find at least 5-10 lumens is necessary for outside. The Zebralights give 1-2 days of runtime around that level, depending on the model.

For my shelter, I find that 0.1 - 0.5 lumens is not strong enough to get that slight ” bounce” off the walls I am seeking.

The XTAR rates its moonlight mode at 3 lumens, which was plenty bright enough , but I think 1- 2 lumens would be sufficient.

I received the Manker A01 from a forum member the other day in a trade, but its moonlight mode is to low to be used in my shelter. I will just use it as a keychain light

For now, it looks like the Jetbeam at 1.5 moonlight lumens for 100 + hours on a eneloop, is the best low priced option out there. Of course in the next few months, something else may come along thats just as good or better for a lower price.

It sounds like the xtar isn’t very efficient at that level, getting only about a day from an Eneloop. Other brands, while perhaps a bit more expensive (such as the Zebralight SC52 or SC5), I measure at about 3 days run-time for 3 lumens output, on a regular Eneloop.

And, yes, 3 lumens certainly gives more usuable light than moonlight modes. Tail-standing, it can light up a room quite nicely if everywhere else is dark. It’s my preferred level for reading, too, if not held too far from the page.

Anyone have a used JETBEAM JET 1MK they want to trade for a new XTAR WK50 ?

Here is another option just my opinion. I live in Katrina country. Ground zero 40ft of water. Power out for weeks. You could keep the xstar lights. You said you use nihm batteries. I have about 40 I use. But I keep 200-300 alkaline aa around in case o can’t recharge when a hurricane hits and no power for two weeks. And can power my lanterns with adapters. You can get 100 alkalines for $25 use your eneloops and if it comes to it use the alkalines. They sit in storage for ten years. I mean are you really going to sit in your storm shelter for weeks months on end? If one eneloop gives a day of light per light. A alkaline should last longer. As much as you keep spending on lights. It would be cheaper to buy a hundred or couple hundred aa batteries and be done with it for the next ten years. I’ve gotten 150aa of amazon before and eBay for around $30 Chrome batteries, Duracell procells on sale. Ac delco, Amazon batteries etc. A case of 100 with the nihm would last more then enough in a shelter you’ll be out of food and water before light

Im not a huge fan of the toxic material used in throwaway batteries and end up in landfills . Im just a bit odd in that way . The jetbeam looks to be my best option so I plan to go that route.

Well best of luck to you in your search.

You can drop off your used alkalines at any hardware store, walmarts, best buy etc. They don’t have to end up in landfills. I put them in a sand which bag. And drop it off at best buy its right at the front door. That way they get recycled into new batteries. Like what energizer is doing. Even the new energizer recharables are using recycled batteries in the materials

Interesting finding. One of the best budget light in 2016. I may also want to get more :slight_smile:

Wow that is impressive…. almost a whole week. Imagine it with an energizer Lithium primary cell.

This thread just made me purchase the JET-1 MK. Damn you people! :smiling_imp:

The other half of the trade has been received and I’m playing with it now. All I had in my office was a half depleted rechargeable AA and a Purple eFest 14500. The WK50 seems to work well with the AA but not the eFest, I’m guessing it needs a button top, so I’ll get a magnet to see what the upside is.

Thanks for the opportunity to try a new light, sorry the A01 didn’t meet your needs.

Thank you for this trade. The A01 will be added to my collection. I like the looks of it but the moonlight mode is just a bit to
low for my shelter.

Let us know how the XTAR does on a alakaline battery on moonlight mode / runtime.

If anyone else has a long runtime
moonlight mode light in AA/AAA and wants to do a trade for a XTAR, let me know.

Yeah, that’s what happened to me in a different thread a while back…

It’s a heck of a nice light.