With the demise of the UltraFire MCU-C88, no decent output 3 x AA or more budget lights?

Am I right with the demise of the C88, there's no real decent 3 or more AA budget lights? By budget, I'm thinking US$40 for 3 or 4 x AA; US$50 for 5 or 6 x AA and US$60 for 7 or 8 or 9 x AA. And by decent probably with a XM-L or at least XP-G and decent output. I'm also thinking of a light that hopefully works on purchase or requires minimal combining of different parts, not for modding.

I remember this thread https://budgetlightforum.com/t/-/2212 but we never really found any good options. To be fair, I the C88 seemed to be a good light, but would have been better served with a XM-L (or at least a XP-G) IMO. I've read https://budgetlightforum.com/t/-/5856 and other threads, and I know there are a bunch of Fenix, Jetbeam, Olight ones but these are usually significantly higher then what I consider budget. It seems to me that for the budget brands, there are very few more then 2xAA and those that do exist have ancient LEDs with crappy output (actually that's the same for most of the 2xAA as well).

I'm primarily wondering whether there's anything to compete with some of the name brand but not that expensive 2 x AA. Some of these have decent output (e.g. the Klarus P2A is rated 245 ANSI lumens with 2 x AA, the Jetbeam BA20 is the same thing I believe). For general household use, there's IMO limited advantage to having more batteries except that you can achieve more output, as the voltage and current limitations of AA means power draw has to be limited. (I.E. If you're getting ~1 hour runtime, replacing the batteries isn't generally that big a hassle so the reason to go multiple is more for output.) I guess there's always the 3x or 4xAA via a Solarforce or similar with extensions and spacer option, but is there anything else I'm missing?


I already have a SAiK SA-305, a weirdly long Solarfarce Extreme 4AA XP-G in silver and another fake L2 3AA XM-L in black. Drawbacks of the SAiK are: plastic reflector and lens, 20mm driver (not 17 mm) and that it is not waterproof. The 4AA config L2 needs a spacer-tube against rattling batteries and the 3AA config the same spacer-tube, a 18650 extension and a 16340 extension and shortened 123 dummy-battery-spacer. The SAiK is more portable and the fake L2s some kind of better Maglite replacements. The hard part for the L2s is getting the right spacers to make them a user friendly, non-rattling, multi-AA light.

I think you can still shave off 5 bucks of every DD order above $30 (oneworldweshare) and make the Klarus a little cheaper. My L2 4 AA XP-G isn't worth the effort any more... with lights like the P2A and the Fenix E21 so cheap. My 400-500+ Lumen L2 3AA still makes me happy every time I fire it up.

Solarforce should bring back the L2R host and make an extended version for 3AA. 3AA XM-Ls for masses... so to speak.

I just found this little one and I am considering buying it for a friend. But it might be something coming close to what you desire although a emitter swap is in order.

It looks to me like a C8 type head with another tube.

EDIT: Forgot to mention it is 26 USD :-)

That looks like this. Bad pill, plastic reflector. Great as standard (i.e. Q5 AA thrower) but not up to the heat of a mod.

Oh I forgot, there's this. The sleeve suggests it was originally designed for 18650's. The double o-rings suggests it may be better build quality.

I liked the fenix e21 well enough to rebuy it twice now ..

I hate the jetbeam / karus light ..And i eternally love the tank007 566 and the adapter ..runs single AA 2AA 14500 and I modded one with a neutral xpg . I must like them i have a bunch ...If you get crazy you can run the 2nd adapter and make it a 3AA light too .In stock form they throw a ton and have very nice tints and throw like hell for a little light ..really good low and well spaced modes too ...when dino was giving away lights it was a best buy sleeper light at about 9$ ..sadly the prices go back to normal and 14$ or so kinda hurts..when they were 11$ with adapter ..2 of them was a much better buy than one fenix or one klarsus and neither ever hit 22$ anyway .

the FenixLd40 in neutral xpg 4AA's for 37$ from the dino was a good buy .. but those days and prices are gone

I agree; the C88 is much better served with an XM-L and from what I've heard, it has been done . . . with phenomenal results.


I carry an E1320-modified C88 (U2 1C @ 3.5A) every night at work.

Last night we were executing a search warrant doing an apartment search, and in one bedroom the light wouldn't work, so I did a ceiling bounce with the C88. After we were done and I turned the light off, one of the officers who was actually conducting the search said "Whoa, I didn't know that was your light. I thought the bedroom light was on in here. Where did you get that thing?" I told him it was custom made. I told him I like a lot of light.

I carry one around to, Thanks guys :)

Hey Night Breaker -

That was awesome. So, you depend on your E modified C88 for mission critical service . . . that's gotta make you feel good, E. I might add this to my review - a real LEO endorsement.