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Thread: batteryless flashlights

  1. #1

    Default batteryless flashlights

    My wife and I have seen these batteryless flashlights advertised on television -- the ones you have to shake to get to work. She got one that I was neither one of us impressed with, which I figured was a knockoff of what may or not be a better one. It doesn't put out a lot of light, even with vigorous shaking for the recommended time period. I looked at the flashlight, itselfm, to see what it was called, but there was no name and we don't have the packaging for it.

    I was wondering what brand flashlight ya'll would recommend that doesn't need batteries.

  2. #2
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    Default

    get one of these "dynamo powered" lights. Not to be shaken, but with a (folding) lever. These will give much more power in less time with less efford.

    That said, the light output of all of them is a joke. I can not really see a reason to go for one of these instead of one of the cheaper battery powered led lights. (cheaper mentionned because runtime is better, Fenix and similar work just 1-3 hours, depending on output)

    Even as an emergency light, these dynamo things will not be a good idea. The cheap original internal parts might not work when stored somewhere for years.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    I've seen nothing but bad reviews/comments regarding shake lights, no matter what brand. Crank lights as mentioned by yellow seem to get more praise though.

    But I would recommend getting something powered by a lithium battery. They can be stored for many years before they need to be replaced.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    This page has the last of three good reviews for the NightStar at flashlightreviews.com.

  5. #5

    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    The lithium solution sounds like it may the best option. One of my concerns was the quality of the battery over time and I wanted something dependable. Also a little more light would be appreciated. I was shocked at the small amount of light from our shake light, though I guess we can find a use for it... maybe throw it in the back of the car's trunk and forget about it.

    Thanks, ya'll. If you have any other thoughts, let me know. Maybe you prefer a certain type of lithium powered flashlight?

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* JimH's Avatar
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    The shake lights are great as a demonstration of a scientific principle, but as a flashlight, they are a joke.

    I have several crank lights. The best quality, and most useful one, has a rechargeable lithium battery in it. It has 3 LED's and high and low modes. In a totally dark room, after your eyes adjust, it's surprising how much light it puts out. Stay away from single LED lights with optics.

    I can crank mine for 4 or five minutes, leave it set for a couple of months, come back, turn it on, and it lights up like I had just finished cranking it.
    Jim - Have lights, lead, and steel will travel

    The heck with runtime. I just want to hold the sun in my hands!! Brighter is Better!

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    check out the "fakes" section on flashlightreviews.com
    Not all are complete junk, but beware of what you get!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    The shake lights are great as a demonstration of a scientific principle, but as a flashlight, they are a joke.

    I have several crank lights...
    There are numorous posts on CPF by owners of high quality shakelights who express their satisfaction with them. Note that the NightStar in the review I linked to above actually has a street price of ~$40. The joke is on people who insist on buying their shakelights at the Dollar Store.

    I would definately put crank lights into the joke catagory in ANY sandy, dusty desert environments AND in any marine locale with salt water and salt air. In both of those situations one may stow a well made shakelight and just forget about it until it's needed years later. When you finally bust it out when you need it chances are that it will work the same as it did when you first laid it away. The same can not be said of ANY crank light. The fact that they are so well sealed against the elements is ONE of the shakelight's greatest appeals.

    Crank lights, on the other hand, are impossible to seal against sand, dust, salt air and salt water. Even if one was sealed up in a container that protected it from those environmental factors, once you break it out in an emergency under those conditions it's days will be numbered.

    As far as being a true emergency light that will stand up in many of the challenging environments where many people may really need them, I don't think crank lights have anywhere near the endurance required. For many difficult environs I'd go so far as to say that the name of these lights is a better discription of the designers than of the light itself.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 04-18-2006 at 06:19 PM.

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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    I was a bit reserved about it when these accusations started to be strewn, but I have to wonder if some of these "fakes" that had batteries in them, didn't actually store a charge while it was being shaken, just as the dynamo lights have LIon batteries in them that store a charge from the cranking.

    Quote Originally Posted by greenLED
    check out the "fakes" section on flashlightreviews.com
    Not all are complete junk, but beware of what you get!

  10. #10

    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra
    There are numorous posts on CPF by owners of high quality shakelights who express their satisfaction with them. Note that the NightStar in the review I linked to above actually has a street price of ~$40. The joke is on people who insist on buying their shakelights at the Dollar Store.

    I would definately put crank lights into the joke catagory in ANY sandy, dusty desert environments AND in any marine locale with salt water and salt air. In both of those situations one may stow a well made shakelight and just forget about it until it's needed years later. When you finally bust it out when you need it chances are that it will work the same as it did when you first laid it away. The same can not be said of ANY crank light. The fact that they are so well sealed against the elements is ONE of the shakelight's greatest appeals.

    Crank lights, on the other hand, are impossible to seal against sand, dust, salt air and salt water. Even if one was sealed up in a container that protected it from those environmental factors, once you break it out in an emergency under those conditions it's days will be numbered.

    As far as being a true emergency light that will stand up in many of the challenging environments where many people may really need them, I don't think crank lights have anywhere near the endurance required. For many difficult environs I'd go so far as to say that the name of these lights is a better discription of the designers than of the light itself.
    I would wager that most people that are interested in buying a batteryless light are not going to be exposing the light to the extreme conditions you listed.
    Most people would be buying them simply because they know that at some point, they are going to be unprepared and not have any fresh batteries for a regular light. Those people generally don't need a sealed, weatherproof light, they just want a flashlight they think will work after being stored in a drawer for an extended period of time.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    I would wager that most people that are interested in buying a batteryless light are not going to be exposing the light to the extreme conditions you listed...
    Sailboating and fishing aren't that extreme, IMO. As far as 'most people' goes, well, 'most people' don't have any kind of flashlight at all.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 04-19-2006 at 02:15 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra
    'most people' don't have any kind of flashlight at all.
    You actually believe that?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperNinja
    You actually believe that?
    Yup, I do. The earth is a big place and there are lots of people on it. Six billon? I find it totally unbelieveable that over half of earth's population owns any flashlight at all. Have you got any figures to back up the notion that so many very poor people own flashlights? Most of the population of earth has trouble finding food to put in their mouths. The entire Western world's population doesn't stack up very well when you consider the vast multitudes of flashlightless people in China and the rest of Asia, India, Indonesia, Africa and South America.

    If you own a flashlight you are in a minority.

  14. #14

    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra
    Yup, I do. The earth is a big place and there are lots of people on it. Six billoin? I find it totally unbelieveable that over half of earth's population owns any flashlight at all. Have you got any figures to back up the notion that so many very poor people own flashlights? Most of the population of earth has trouble finding food to put in their mouths. The entire Western world's population doesn't stack up very well when you consider the vast multitudes of flashlightless people in China and the rest of Asia, India, Indonesia, Africa and South America.

    If you own a flashlight you are in a minority.
    If you are going to make an argument, at least make it a realistic argument, and don't throw in exceptions like third world countries.

    I am talking about average people, with average jobs, average homes, that have access to tv's and retail stores.

    The average person (or home) is more likely than not to have at least 1 flashlight.

    I have known many people (non-flashaholics) throughout my life, but I have never seen 1 that didn't have at least 1 flashlight.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    SuperNinja,

    Is it really my fault that when I wrote "most people," you didn't understand that what I actually meant was "most people"?

  16. #16

    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    I have modded some of the Russian made hand powered lights in the past. The Russian lights are very cheaply made, so I don't expect much from them. I modded them by pulling out the incandescent and putting in LEDs. Much better performance and reliablity. I'd show some pictures, but I have given all the ones I've ever made to friends and family. These work by squeezing the handle constantly. They are noisy and you have to continuously pump them to get light (the generator "coasts" a little, so it isn't that bad). My next step is to put some super caps in one and see what that will do with it. I'd imagine that I can make one which will charge the caps and make a more usable light with it.

  17. #17

    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra
    SuperNinja,

    Is it really my fault that when I wrote "most people," you didn't understand that what I actually meant was "most people"?
    Is it my fault that I should expect that someone would use a little common sense, and NOT come up with a ridiculous exception?

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    CPF is a world wide forum that probably has members in every country -- or nearly so. If your Westernized view of the way things are causes you to regard anyone outside of the Western World as something other than people, I guess I'll have to live with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperNinja
    If you are going to make an argument, at least make it a realistic argument, and don't throw in exceptions like third world countries.
    As far as the earth is concerned the populations, economics, health care AND flashlights of those billons you so casually dismiss ARE the rule! They are very real. Globally, your lifestyle is the exception. Everyone does not see the same things that you take for granted when they look out their window.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperNinja
    I am talking about average people, with average jobs, average homes, that have access to tv's and retail stores.
    That's what I'm talking about! They are the average, not you! If you want to just wave your hand and declare on an international forum that no one on this earth is important enough to consider people unless they make as much money as you and have a TV and a home just like your's -- there's nothing I can do about it.

    Since you seem to have no problem ignoring 2/3 of the earth's population -- you can just ignore me, too.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    Back on topic for a while: I have both the Nightstar and Diamond brand shakelights and find them far superior to the off brand ones, well worth the extra cost. Brightness at full charge is about the same on both. The Diamond requires more shaking to get to full charge but also lasts longer. Personally, I find the shorter shake time of the Nightstar to be less tiring and runtime is still sufficient.

    As for usefullness, they are well suited for their design purpose: an emergency light that is virtually guaranteed to work after sitting ignored for possibly years. I keep one in the truck and one in the house as a last ditch backup. It's never going to be my first choice for a light source, but if I do need it I'm pretty confidant it's going to work.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    DonShock,

    How much did the Diamond cost?

  21. #21
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    I have been very impressed with the ouptut of my child's crank flashlight. It puts out more than enough juice to work with LED's and what I would like to see would be a universal crank-up energy pack that you could power a Petzl Tikka or a PT Quad with. This would be a great addition to my hiking gear as I could forget the batteries at home.

    Of course, there would need to be some way to make the energy pack weather resistant at least!

    -Goatee

  22. #22

    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    I think many people have flashlights, here in the US, but I'd also say that many of those flashlight owners have flashlights with dead or low batteries. I was very happy one time to actually have a flashlight in my car. I was thirty miles away from home, late a night, and for some reason I couldn't drive with my lights on. I got my flashlight out and used so I could see the road by holding it out the window. Whenever there was an oncoming car, I would temporarily turn the headlights on, then turn them back off.

    I also remember another time previous to that when the sky was cloudy, and it was late. There wasn't a light anywhere around. I had to change a flat literally by feel. A blind man probably could have done it faster. I sure wished I had a flashlight then. It was one of the main reasons I kept one in the car, later. You never know when you will need a flashlight!

    BTW, I didn't know lithium batteries were rechargeable. That's one good thing in its favor. I imagine I'll still keep the cheapy shake light, just the same. But it would not have worked in the situation I mentioned earlier, with such a puny light.

    Years later, I got pretty wise about flashlights. For awhile, I worked for a security company as a guard. I was not happy with the brightness and spot quality with many flashlights. I went to a nice customer-friendly store where the owner allowed me to test flashlights for the qualities I wanted and got a very nice flashlight which I was completely happy with. It produced a nice smooth spot and I could shine it at a building half a city block away and see what I wanted to see. Sadly, I lost it and don't remember what the brand name was.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: batteryless flashlights

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra
    DonShock,

    How much did the Diamond cost?
    $25 from here: http://www.quality-items-flashlights...-Hr-Shake.html
    BTW: A couple other difference between the NightStar and the Diamond I have noticed.
    1. Rebound magnets on the end of the Nightstar seem stronger. It never bottoms out while shaking, the Diamond sometimes does.
    2. With the switch in the off position, the reed switch on the Diamond sometimes activates during shaking, the NightStar never does.
    3. Diamond is shorter (8") than Nightstar (10") with slightly smaller head.

    Personally, I prefer the NightStar and think it is worth the extra $15. But if cost is an issue, the Diamond is actually usable unlike the cheapie $5-$20 ones that are starting to show up everywhere.
    Last edited by DonShock; 04-20-2006 at 10:06 PM.

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