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LED flashlights

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  • LED flashlights

    Looking for a good light to use and carry. I currently have several TerraLux lights (know a guy who used to work for them) and have been really happy with their size and performance, but have found the controls to be lacking for how I normally use a flashlight. I'm sure there's more proper nomenclature for this, but it's basically underhanded vs overhanded. Underhanded would be hand at your side, with the light facing forward, thumb wrapped around the collar of the light. Over handed would be elbow bent with the hand in front of you, thumb on the end of the flashlight. All the flashlights I have operate in the overhanded position, but there's no side button to control it underhanded.

    Most of the time when I am using a flashlight I am walking my dogs, and I keep the leash in the same hand as the light. With my current lights I can't control the light without changing my grip so I'd like something with a side control. There's a ton of flashlights on Amazon and the like, but would like some recommendations from you all as to what you've used with a side switch. The Fenix PD35 Tactical Edition looks good, but is about twice what I paid for my TerraLux. It does look like an all around better light though, but it doesn't use AA's which I like.

  • #2
    I too am always on the hunt for the perfect flashlight. I recently decided that I'm tired of spending $20-30 for what amounts to a $5 flashlight. I stopped by to help with my preferences and requirements. I am probably getting ready to order a Nextorch PA5, as I really like the ability to zoom, I use that feature all the time.
    Other than the side switch, do you have any other requirements? I know that you would prefer the ability to use AA batteries. How high on your list of wants/needs is that? Do you want your new light to only use AAs, or do you want it to primarily usean 18650, but could also use AA? What kind of brightness are you looking for? If using a rechargeable battery like the 18650, do you want to take the battery out to charge, or do you want "on-board" charging (usually via USB)?

    Edit: also, do you want more of a flood light, a "thrower" that is more focused at a distance, or a zoomable (zoomie)?
    Defund the Media !!


    • #3
      The AA battery thing is to maintain consistency across the other items that I have that use AA's in my bag. The lights I have now are 300 lumens, and I want at least that. Rechargeable could work, method of charging not important really.

      The light isn't just for me to see, but also to be seen. Some of the areas I walk the dogs in are along major roads without street lights, so I like to make myself visible. Flood on low power would probably work fine there. There's also an almost rural area just north of me that's quite dark with a walking/biking trail. I like the light there just for being able to see the trail, but also to be able to light up something within 100ft or so as there's always coyotes out there and even rumors of bears and mountain lions. Which is another reason I like the leash and the light in the same hand, keeps my right hand free to access my weapon if need be.


      • #4
        Have you considered a head torch? I bought one of these over a year ago for using as a cheap head torch

        Irony is that it out performs my good (expensive) head torches, only issue is that for close up work it can be too bright and 'white out' what's in front of you. I bought a few sets of extra batteries and recently bought more torches
        No idea how far ahead they light up but I would say 200-300 metres plus. They light up far enough ahead to see, and avoid, obstacles on the trail if riding a bike at a reasonable speed.


        • #5
          Dam survivedall with that thing you could be a hood ornament on a 18 wheeler lol


          • #6
            Yeah But it is bright. Bright enough to light up the neighbors house like this if you want


            • #7
              I have thought about headlamps, and have a few already, but they don't offer the ease of turning them on and off as easily as a side switch flashlight. I don't want the light on all the time, and want to be able to turn it on and off with the same hand I hold the dogs leash in.

              I know I'm overthinking this for just walking a dog, but if we had to walk somewhere in a SHTF situation my dogs would be on their leashes and I'd want a free hand available to me for either my pistol or AR-15. I know a headlamp provides advantages there too, but the quickness of being able to turn the light on and off is important, being able to quickly see, and quickly not be seen and all.


              • #8
                You might look into the Thorfire. It can operate from a single AA battery, or a 14500 rechargeable (not included). Let me be perfectly clear, I have no personal experience with this brand, but I have heard good things about them.

                Defund the Media !!


                • #9
                  I was wondering if you ever decided on a new light? I just ordered a Thrunite Neutron 2c v3, it's supposed to be here Friday .


                  It takes a 18650 battery, as well as several other options, but AA are not on the list, as they just don't provide enough power. After seeing what a 18650 light can do Iit would take aLOT of convincing to get me back to AA/AAA lights.
                  Defund the Media !!


                  • #10
                    Please tell us your thoughts once you have this in hand. I like that it uses USB recharging. I'd be interested in knowing what the true recharging time is.


                    • #11
                      I like that it can also run off two CR123A's same as my WMLs
                      [I][B]Oderint dum metuant[/B][/I]

                      [I]"Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe.”[/I] 1 Samuel 22:23

                      [I]“Everybody is a patriot...Until it's time to do patriot shit[/I]


                      • #12
                        As with all of my reviews, I have nothing to gain or lose if you buy anything or don't. I have no affiliation with any of the companies.

                        Let me explain a little bit of my personal flashlight history. My search for THE flashlight began when one of our dogs went missing at night. Ya, "went missing", ya, that's what I'll call it. Instead of rehashing that fiasco again, if you're interested, you can read about it here... ; and the rest of it here...

                        I've tried those As Seen on TV Atomic Beam lights. The lights are ok, but the tail switch tends to fail, especially if used daily. The good thing that they did for me was to introduce me to the joy of a bright flashlight using an 18650 rechargeable battery. I've been through several other similar lights, but just haven't had great success with any. The one that has come the closest is one that I got from my local NAPA auto parts store, but I have some issues with it too. All in all though, it has been a been a great light, and what I'll be comparing the new one to.

                        So we come to my newest addition, the Thrunite Neutron 2C V3. I received my new Flashlight on Friday. I decided to try out some things that are new to me. This is my first light with a side switch instead of a tail switch, it's my first light with a Neutral White beam instead of a Cool White, and it's my first non-zooming light that takes an 18650. It's also the first time that I'm spending more than twenty bucks on a flashlight.

                        At first I was worried, because I got a text notice saying that it had been delivered, but nobody at work had seen any deliveries. As it turned out, I had it shipped to the house, so it's not a big surprise that no one at work knew anything about it. Doh!

                        When I got home, I found a box that was about 6 to 10 times larger than I was expecting. Upon opening it, I found the much smaller box inside. Woohoo, it's like Russian Nesting Dolls! Inside the smaller box was the flashlight with an 18650 battery installed, a nylon belt holster, a short micro-USB charging cable, a pocket clip, a multi-language paper with operating instructions, and a small bag with two extra bottom O-Rings, two extra Top Seals with USB Port seals, an extra rubber button for the switch and a lanyard that I'll likely never use.

                        This light is a fair amount smaller than the lights that I'm used to. Here it is standing next to the larger NAPA light.
                        As with most new lights that come with a battery, you have to take it apart and remove a paper insulator so that it can make contact with the LED. It's listed as having a max output of 1100 lumens (lm). I have no way of knowing if that's correct or not, as I don't have any way to measure it. It is nice and bright. Thrunite's description of this light's operation is "infinite low to infinite high". Others use the term "ramping" to describe the same function, which means that instead of a High, Medium and Low, if you hold the switch down, it will increase or decrease brightness. On the Neutron, this will ramp from 12lm up to 650lm, and can be set anywhere in between. It has a firefly/ moonlight mode, which is 0.5 lm, and is accessed by performing a long click from off. While in Firefly mode, the power light in the switch is off. This mode is perfect for those 2am, dark house, bathroom trips. It's enough to see the dogs and toe-stubbing corners, but not enough light to wake your better half. Then it has a Turbo mode, which is that reported 1100 lm, accessed by a double click. There's also a strobe mode that I personally see absolutely no need for, but at least you don't have to cycle through it to access the other modes.

                        Using the two lights side by side. I do see the difference between the Cool White and Neutral White. The Neutral White of the Neutron seems to have a very slight greenish tint to it and is softer, whereas the Cool White of the NAPA light crisper and harsher. Those in-the-know claim that Neutral White returns colors that are more true to life. It's a little too soon for me to say which I prefer. The beam on this light seems to lean more towards "throw" than flood, but there's plenty of spilled light for closer vision. I like the distance that this light puts out. Please excuse the unflattering pic of the dog's back end.

                        The side mounted switch takes a bit of getting used to. The switch is pretty much flush mounted with the body, near the head. My first impression is that it's a little hard to find by feel, especially since my hands have been smashed, and cut, and burned, and scraped, etc, throughout 30+ years of automotive work, so my fingers just don't have the sensitivity that they used to. What seems to work the best for me so far is to have the belt/pocket clip 180° from the switch, so I have some point of reference. The switch has a very small LED to indicate battery state-blue is good, red is getting low, flashing purple is bad, like "there's a problem" bad. This same light scheme is used while it's charging. I haven't had it long enough to comment on actual charging time, as I just plug it in at night, and it's ready by morning.

                        I like the brightness and size of this little beast.
                        I love that it has a memory so you don't have to cycle through all the modes to get back where you were.
                        I really like on-board USB charging. For me, that's a huge plus. There are a lot of quality lights out there that you have to remove the battery to charge it, and to me, that's like having to remove your car battery every night to charge it.
                        I like that you can use several different battery combinations to power it.

                        Dislikes/could use improvement:
                        If I had my druthers, I'druther it had a tail switch in addition to the side switch, but that is probably due to that's what I'm used to. I will let you know if my feelings change on this matter.
                        It would be nice if there was also a pocket clip groove near the head of the light, so that the clip could face rearward, allowing you to clip it to the brim of a hat and be able to see ahead of you. With that said, you CAN turn it around, there's just no groove designed for it.
                        My final wish for this light is that the ramping mode would go closer to the full potential of the 1100 lm, instead of stopping at 650 lm and making you go into Turbo mode to get the brighter light.
                        Defund the Media !!


                        • #13
                          Well, I've now had the Trunite 2C V3 flashlight for a little over two weeks, so I wanted to come back and update my review.
                          First off, let me say that I like this light. I like it a lot. I use it every day. But alas, it's not THE ONE. The Pro's far exceed the Con's on this little powerhouse of a flashlight, and that's no surprise, since I can really only find one Con, but that one Con is enough to keep me searching for my dream light. But let's hit the high notes first.

                          1) This thing is pretty small and lightweight, but don't let that fool you into thinking that it's cheaply constructed. It's an aircraft aluminum body that feels comfortable in my hand.

                          2) It's powered by an 18650 Lithium Ion battery, which was one of my requirements. If you're still using a AA or AAA powered flashlight, and have never used a quality light powered by one of these cells, you truly don't know what you're missing. One of our other techs asked me to look at something today, and when I got there , he handed me his 2X AA, 350 lumen light to see into a dark recess on a Jeep. After being used to better & brighter lights, it was almost like he had handed me a Black Hole that was sucking the available light out. I pulled my light out of it's holster and bam!, I could see. In fact , I had to back off on some of the brightness, as it was reflecting too much light back at me. Luckily , that's easy with this light.
                          I still can't tell you how long it takes to charge, but I can tell you that it took almost a full week of daily useage, without charging, before the Needs Recharging indicator came on.

                          3) It has a mode Memory. I absolutely hate any light that forces you to cycle through several brightness and flashy modes just to get back to the way you turned it off.

                          The flashlight aficionados out there claim that a Neutral White temp will return colors more true-to-life than a Cold White. Although I'm not completely convinced about that claim, I did find the Neutral White to be easier on my eyes as opposed to the harshness of a cold white.

                          In my previous review, I had said that I wished that it would ramp up to a higher level without having to hit Turbo mode. I'm going to rescind that statement. With it on Max Ramp, which is listed as 650lm, it's plenty bright enough for most things, and if that's not bright enough , there's always Turbo Mode of 1100lm .

                          Now then, for that one reason why I'm not just in love with this light, and it was my initial thought as well. I think that this little light would be about as close to perfection as you could get if it had a tail switch to turn it on and off. The small, flush mounted side switch is just too hard to find out in the know, when & where you might really need your light. There were a couple of times when I went outside at night, and then had to turn it on while in the dark. I ended up just pressing the side of the light, and when that didn't turn it on, I rotated it a little and tried again, and again, and again, until it finally turned on. This design just doesn't quite float my boat, so I will continue in my quest for The Light.
                          Defund the Media !!


                          • #14
                            You might try a little silicone glue on top of the button that will raise it above the shell and be easier to feel . Might get you thru till the next one


                            • #15
                              Lose the habit of plugging it in overnight. That is fine for alkaline rechargeables, but reduces the life of lithium ion batteries.

                              Leaving charge time for those occasions when you'll see the indicator and unplug it will be better for your battery life. Same for cell phone and notebook computer batteries, in fact, with cell phones and notebooks, you can go a step further and stop charging at 90% - it's strange, and not run it below 5%. I wish my backup battery that I carry around sometimes had a better percentage the indication, but it's a big Anker, so I'm not complaining (very nice!)
                              quam minimum credula postero