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#91952 - 03/04/08 06:05 PM Good Source for Flashlights and Other Gadgets
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
I found a great source for small, light, L.E.D. flashlights. Prices are excellent and they include shipping. They feature a huge selection of 1X AA and 1X AAA lights with the latest Cree L.E.D.s and advanced circuitry. These newer L.E.D.s are not only much brighter than just a year ago, but they are more efficient and will burn longer. Many have multiple levels. I've been a flashlight collector for many years and these new advances blow me away.

Lots of headlamps too but they tend to be of lesser quality. One downside: Shipping is not very fast. Expect to wait 2-3 weeks for your order. Also, be careful what you choose because some lights truly are junk. Read the customer reviews.

Other than being a satisfied repeat customer I have absolutely no connection to this website.

Political disclaimer: This business is in Hong Kong. It sells Chinese goods. If buying 100% domestic is important to you, whatever country you may be from, don't go there.

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#91953 - 03/05/08 09:17 AM Re: Good Source for Flashlights and Other Gadgets [Re: Trailrunner]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
Thanx for the heads up on this. Last December, I ordered
1. “SANYO DBL20 Compatible Battery” for my $200 great sanyo camcorder. It workes very well at $13
2. “2-in-1 500mA AC+Car USB Power Adapter” for $3.51. It charged my camcorder via its USB power connector from my home outlet, car outlet, and I just tested it in Spain (220V). Amazing price. The AC prongs are ugly but it works fine.
3. “Slim USB Power Adapter (1000mA)” $5.97 for my daughter’s Sansa Video player. Very nice. Works great for charging.
4. “C-02 Cree P4 LED Flashlight (AA)” $16.02. This is just as bright as my Fenix L1D. It’s funny how the Chinese are copying the Chinese. However, it doesn’t have all the modes that I love.

-Barry

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#91954 - 03/05/08 10:40 AM Re: Good Source for Flashlights and Other Gadgets [Re: BarryP]
kevonionia Offline
member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
Trailrunner & BarryP:

You guys are light years ahead of me on this LED stuff, which is yet another great reason to read this forum. My intro to LEDs came from the boating angle, and in the mid-'90s I bought a cockpit light from Davis, a single LED in a plastic "fresnel" lens that was $50 and was hard to see from 2 feet away on a pitch-black night. It was a joke! Felt like I wasted my money and so I ignored LEDs for years -- too many years. Looks like there's been great leaps in the technology.

I got back into it in recent months to replace the G-4 base, 12v halogen bulbs on the boat -- the LED ones (compared to a 10w halogen) use 1/10th the power, last 'forever' and don't produce heat, and I've found them for about $13 each, and have replaced 5 so far.

But back to hiking and LED flashlights -- my purchases over the past 5 years mistakenly have been from outlet/surplus catalogues selling cheap or OUTDATED LED headlights and flashlights -- some I bought were just 'toys.' Now you've revealed this site, so I won't be making that mistake anymore.

A few questions, after reading up on Wikipedia and elsewhere on LEDs:

So was the 1st big breakthrough for LED flashlights: the Luxeon light 'bulb' by Philips, followed by the Cree LED light? (That's probably way too simple.) Are these patented processes that manufacturers get a license to produce in China, or are they made by those companies that apparently hold the patent and then sold to the flashlight makers?

That wikipedia article talked about yet another more efficient LED coming out now by Seoul Semiconductors and then Nichia Corp. that are even more efficient. So our Luxeon flashlight today will be supersceded by those latter two tomorrow?

I saw that these Cree lights have aluminum housings since, unlike my G-4-base LEDs on the boat, they said they do get hot and the housing acts as a heat sink. You have any thoughts or experiences on that?

Man, an $11 AA Cree flashlight -- what a deal, even if shipped OASBFC (on a slow boat from China). BarryP, on another thread you mentioned that Cree P4 lantern. Do either of you have one? Any opinions? For $14, I can give it double duty camping and as a backup anchor light if it's decent quality. Thanks for the info.
_________________________
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)


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#91955 - 03/05/08 01:37 PM Re: Good Source for Flashlights and Other Gadgets [Re: kevonionia]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“or are they made by those companies that apparently hold the patent and then sold to the flashlight makers?”

I believe this is correct. I don’t know if China has copied the Cree LED yet.

“So our Luxeon flashlight today will be supersceded by those latter two tomorrow?”

Even though Luxeon is improving output, today it looks like Cree still puts out more light (than Luxeon). My feeling is every 6 months we will have brighter lights at the same power input; i.e, better efficiency. That Seoul P4 looks like the brightest now. However, I can’t predict who will be brightest in 6 months. But I think you’re getting the picture on how the LED world is changing.

“I saw that these Cree lights have aluminum housings since, unlike my G-4-base LEDs on the boat, they said they do get hot and the housing acts as a heat sink. You have any thoughts or experiences on that?”

Your G-4 base LEDS on the boat probably can’t handle more than 300mA/LED. They probably have a little bit of heat sinking built into a pcb and the G-4 base housing itself. These new Cree lights can handle 1A/LED. And since current goes up, power goes up. So you will need more heatsinking. If the Cree gets too hot, they will change color on you and their life will be shortened.

“BarryP, on another thread you mentioned that Cree P4 lantern. Do either of you have one? Any opinions? For $14, I can give it double duty camping and as a backup anchor light if it's decent quality.”

No I don’t have one. It looks neat. The reviewer said he didn’t like the lighting artifacts.

Based on the Cree P4 LED flashlight I have (from dealextreme) and a Fenix L1D, I would take the Fenix backpacking because I know it will always hold up. The Fenix has a much better build quality (glass lens, hard anodized black housing, nice push button switch).

Welcome to the addictive LED world.

-Barry

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#91956 - 03/05/08 06:39 PM Re: Good Source for Flashlights and Other Gadgets [Re: kevonionia]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Quote:
So was the 1st big breakthrough for LED flashlights: the Luxeon light 'bulb' by Philips, followed by the Cree LED light?


The Luxeon I by Philips Lumileds was the first "super" LED. The Nichia Corp. had been making advances with smaller 5mm LED's as well but the Luxeon really opened a new frontier. I remember buying an Arc LS, the first mass produced Luxeon light and I thought it was the cat's meow. But the new Crees blow it out of the water. The Luxeon I went through several refinements but it is no longer cutting edge. I think most will agree that that the Cree XRE Q5 is the hottest thing out right now......until next week.

Quote:
I saw that these Cree lights have aluminum housings since, unlike my G-4-base LEDs on the boat, they said they do get hot and the housing acts as a heat sink. You have any thoughts or experiences on that?


Yes, the body of a well designed light is also the heatsink. Some lights that overdrive their LED can become quite warm. Actually your body becomes part of the heatsink too as heat is transferred from the light's tube to your hand. While car camping I give one of my lights to my wife to use as a handwarmer!!!!

Quote:
Man, an $11 AA Cree flashlight -- what a deal, even if shipped OASBFC (on a slow boat from China). BarryP, on another thread you mentioned that Cree P4 lantern. Do either of you have one? Any opinions? For $14, I can give it double duty camping and as a backup anchor light if it's decent quality. Thanks for the info.


I have a lantern with a Rebel and it does OK. But when I really want light up my tent I just fire up a Cree light and aim it at the ceiling. Instant daylight!!!! Also, some LED flashlights are designed so the head can be removed to expose the bare emitter, which gives you a nice wide flood pattern. Instant lantern and a flashlight too.

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#91957 - 04/08/08 04:34 PM The LED vortex [Re: Trailrunner]
kevonionia Offline
member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
Free Tibet! (Or at least get it for half off.)


That said, as a conspicuous consumer I ordered and received eight flashlights from that Hong Kong-based online retailer, DealExtreme, and like Warhol in the soup can, I’ve been sucked into the LED vortex.


Esquire, Nov. 1969

Received them in about 12 days just as Trailrunner predicted, and these things are light years ahead of what I’ve had in the past. I ordered a Cree LED flashlight (Romisen MXDL RC-G2 Cree Flashlight @ $11.50) that uses 1 AA battery, and a seven-pack of 9 SUPER BRIGHT 20000mcd WHITE LED Flashlights @ $13.02 (that use three AAA batteries). So that’s $24.52 for the 8 lights, and that INCLUDED postage and Customs duty paid from Hong Kong! Geez, it's like they're paying us to consume.

Here’s a crude output comparison of the Cree, one of those from the seven-pack, and a 9-LED flashlight I bought from Sportsmans Guide two years ago. (Is the latter one on? It’s outta here.)


left-to-right: Cree, the 9-LED one (for $1.86,) & the two-yr-old 9-LED from Sportsmans Guide -- are you there, Oldtimer?

The Cree is a bit “warmer” and has a much more focused spot beam than the cheapy one. The Cree uses a single LED, an XR-E LED Emitter that uses that one AA battery for its 160-lumen white power LED (introduced by Cree in Oct of ’06.)

Those seven cheapy ones (at $1.86 each) put out more of a super-bright flood beam. Each has nine 20000-mcd (millicandela) LEDs. Without batteries, the cheapy one is light as a feather. The Cree has a much more substantial housing, yet when you put 3 AAAs in the cheap one it is about the same weight as the CREE with its single AA. (Sorry, I need a good scale next .)

I’ve already given away five of the seven cheap ones to hiking buddies and friends, and everyone has been amazed at how light & bright those $1.86 ones are. A techy friend I gave one to at first swore that the housing was made of plastic it was so light, yet even those are made of very nicely machined aluminum. I’m very impressed. The page for that 7-pack is here, since it is hard to find, and they have an infinite variety of package “deals.” BTW, I, too, have no connection with them, just a happy consumer.

I’m probably riding the caboose on this LED train and this is all old stuff. But in trying to learn more, I came across this quote at bikeled.org. from 3/22/08 :

Quote:
So the LED you choose today will probably be surpassed in output/efficiency within six months to a year from now. For the year 2005 and most of 2006, the best choice was to choose one of Lumiled's Luxeon emitters. In October of 2006 Cree released the XLamp 7090, XR-E series LED. About 4 months later Seoul Semiconductor (SSC) released the Z-Power P4 LED, which is actually based on Cree's chip, but doped and packaged differently. Both of these offerings totally surpassed what Luxeon was offering, more than doubling the available luminous output for the same amount of power (ie. lumens/watt).


Even though they, too, will soon be outdated, these new ones certainly still seem worth it, especially at their price. I’m giving my box of outdated flashlights & headlamps I’ve accumulated up to now to charity & friends. Thanks TR and BarryP for the advice.
_________________________
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)


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#91958 - 04/09/08 12:12 PM Re: Good Source for Flashlights and Other Gadgets [Re: Trailrunner]
Heber Offline
member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 245
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Let me ask a question about LED lights. I have two LED lights that I use. One is a Petzl e+lite headlamp which is awesome. The other is a Gerber Tempo which I have rigged up with an elastic headband to make into a headlamp. The Tempo is a great light and really cheap ($10.00 or less) but very durable. It lasts a long time too, or at least it used to. Hence my question.

My daughter and I were camping the other day and she was using the Tempo. I was impressed at how much brighter it was than my Petzl. I wondered if it had always been like that. Then after 2 or 3 hours it dimmed and went out. The strange thing was that I had put a new battery in just before the trip. But upon reflection I realized it was a rechargeable battery (recently charged). Rechargeable AAAs have slightly less voltage than regular AAAs (1.2 vs 1.5). I wondered if the light were somehow pushing the battery harder because of the lower voltage or something.

Any idea about this? I don't know much about LEDs or batteries.

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#91959 - 04/09/08 01:03 PM Re: Good Source for Flashlights and Other Gadgets [Re: Heber]
dla Offline
member

Registered: 09/06/04
Posts: 275
Loc: Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
Cheap flashlight designs rely on the internal resistance of the battery to limit the current. Good designs use a regulator. Your's was a cheapo and the lower internal resistance of the NMH batteries raised the current beyond what the led(s) could handle, and they overheated and died.

But a flashlight doesn't have to be expensive to offer regulation. The River Rock (sold by Target) and now sold only by Streamlight "Enduro", is a 2xAAA regulated light for $15 or less.


Edited by dla (04/09/08 01:09 PM)

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#91960 - 04/09/08 02:24 PM Re: Good Source for Flashlights and Other Gadgets [Re: Heber]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“Then after 2 or 3 hours it dimmed and went out…”

I have the Gerber Triode (another single AAA headlamp) and a Gerber Infinity Ultra (single AA flashlight with clip). I noticed in Gerber lights, they have a step up converter. It has to so the 1.5V can be at 3.4V to power the white LED. However, it’s not current regulated. It’s hard to notice with the eye but a photodiode meter can pick it up: As the battery voltage falls, so does the step up converter and thus falls the light output.

If you used a NiMh, then plan on a couple of hours and it won’t be as bright as an alkaline or lithium—the latter 2 giving you longer and brighter runtimes because of their higher voltages.

The Tempo should way outlast the e+lite in brightness. However, the e+lite will stay dim for much much longer. Coin Cell flashlights will dim greatly in the 1st 15 minutes and then go forever (weakly of course). However, I don’t like how dim they are. Plus, in the end, AAA batteries are cheaper and easier to find. Plus you just need to buy a 2 or 4 pack of AAA’s. I don’t like lights that use 3 AAA or 3AA because you can’t by batteries in three’s! Plus the 3 cell lights also fade immediately after you put the batteries in.

My fenix L1D on the other hand, steps up the voltage and holds it constant as the battery dies so you get bright light for most of the life of the battery. However, when it goes out, it goes out! I have about a 5 minute warning because I notice the light is much dimmer than usual (it’s in its downward spiral slope). With the fenix-- plan on longer runtimes with lithium or NiMH but not alkaline. For the fenix circuitry, low internal battery resistance is best (where alkaline fails).

Like backpacking gear, LEDs can also suck you into the abyss…

-Barry

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