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Thread: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

  1. #1

    Default Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Hi,

    I have been looking into flashlights for emergency preparedness kits for my family. I have the following criteria:

    1. Long run times are more important than lumen level
    2. Needs to store well
    3. Not expensive as I need to buy 5 (home, 2x car, 2x workplace)
    4. Strong preference for AA cells (availability/trying to standardize)

    I just bought a Fenix E21 as a trial and discovered that I should have been researching batteries as much as the light itself! The generic alkalines I had to hand couldn't drive the high mode, Duracells could but I understand the runtime is a lot less than NiMH. I know NiMH discharge has been much improved but I'm still worried about using them for emergency backup, particularly in the car. Lithium non-rechargables would seem to solve the power and discharge problems but I read on another thread somewhere that the E21 can only use them in high?

    I also read that electronic switches have a small parasitic drain, but haven't been able to confirm that this is the case for the E21?

    What combination of flashlight/cell do you recommend for my use/given my criteria above?

    Thanks, B

    BTW: I already have some cheap dynamo lights and light sticks in the kits, am interested here in a "real" primary flashlight.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* jamesmtl514's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    it doesn't fit your not expensive criteria, but I LOVE my FYL G2 with M61LL and FM34 diffuser.
    10 hrs of 100lumens in a highly visible bomb proof format.
    My lightsWTB: Surefire: New/Used/Rare. Currently looking for everything Crosshairs + D2. Interesting trades available.Everybody, just send your lights directly to James - he'll end up with them anyhow, lol. -Kestrel

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* angelofwar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Give us an idea of how much you're willing to spend on "all 5". I'd go with a battery holder with a mix of Eneloops/Duraloops and since they hold a charge for quite a while..just check and top them off every 6 months, and keep some Energizer Lithiums (L91's). And since they will be for emergency, I'd look for direct drive lights that won't just shut off on you. I'm not into all the AA Lights out there (Fenix/Quark, etc.), but I know the Inova XO is direct drive and will just gradually dim, as opposed to just quitting on ya and leaving ya in the dark. Don't plan on leaving alkalines in any "emergency stand-by light", as when you go to use them, at least 3 of them will have battery acid all over the place and be useless.

    Again, give us a price range for "all five", and we may be able to help ya out a bit better.

    Oh, and
    Last edited by angelofwar; 03-23-2011 at 07:38 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Hi,

    Thanks for the replies and warm welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by angelofwar View Post
    Give us an idea of how much you're willing to spend on "all 5".
    I'd like $200 total/$40 ea, final price shipped to CA, *before* cells. Note I currently don't have anything other than alkalines at home, would have to buy Eneloops/charger (if required) on top of this. I'm comfortable buying lithium disposables if they work best for my application.

    I'd much prefer annual to 6 month checks if at all practicable.

    Just make this challenging ;-) a really dim mode, strobe & decent UI would also be appreciated.

    Thanks again, Ben

  5. #5
    Flashaholic Qoose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    I would strongly lean toward lithium primaries if you are looking for long term storage with little use, and it would help with all 4 of your goals. This environment would seems like a waste of rechargeables.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Qoose View Post
    I would strongly lean toward lithium primaries.
    Yeah. Seeing as I'm going to lithium anyway I'm wondering about relaxing the AA requirement and going CR123. Unfortunately there don't appear to be CR123 radios :-(

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Gerber Infinity Ultra is my choice. Around 25 hours run-time on one AA cell.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Pelican 2440 with four AA Energizer lithium cells. The 5mm LEDs will run a long, long time on those cells with a diminishing tail, i.e. not sudden darkness. It won't light up a tree 100 feet away in the woods, but it will run for many, many hours as a blackout light in your home, has no problem in the rain, has a simple rear clicky, and is easy enough to operate that anyone can use it without stopping by CPF.

    I own three, including the one I used when cycling across America, and gifted five, and they all perform flawlessly. With its single mode and lack of complex circuitry, there just isn't much to go wrong. Buy one (or more), insert AA lithium primaries, and stick it on a shelf, and know that it will work when you need it.
    Last edited by LEDAdd1ct; 03-23-2011 at 10:34 AM.
    "...and the diode multiplied and grew in brightness. And God saw that it was good."

  9. #9

    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Quote Originally Posted by LEDAdd1ct View Post
    Pelican 2440 with four AA Energizer lithium cells.
    Thanks! I'd missed Pelican; very sensible suggestion. Unfortunately it seems to have been discontinued/unavailable. It's no longer in Pelican's flashlight table and the three places I looked didn't have any stock.

    Also none of the Pelican lights listed appear to have particularly long run times; their other 4xAA/LED lights clock ~7hrs?

    Cheers, Ben

  10. #10
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    Default AA: Always Available

    Any 'love' for headlights? Handsfree is quite the advantage.
    Any bias towards neutral?

    Fenix E21 is a thrower, and draws almost 2 watts on high. Using primaries, L91's are basically required.
    Single cell: Xeno E03 neutral-white
    Dual cell: Romisen RC-N3 II NW Cree XP-G R4 Neutral White 2-Mode LED Flashlight

    Those are pretty cheap, which leaves money for L91

    Maybe 4Seven's QuarkMini AA & AAx2, but no more neutral/warm, and are a bit pricier. They have a KISS interface.
    6.5K diving light, 5K cool-white, 4K neutral-white, 3K warm-white, 2.7K extra warm-white

  11. #11

    Default Re: AA: Always Available

    Glad I saw this thread, I'm thinking the same thing.
    I ordered a 2nd Nebo Redline (for my car ) but even with 3 power modes, I'm not sure what the run time is on low power with 3AAA alkalines.

    I'm almost leaning towards an LED Maglite as the runtime with 3 "D" cells is pretty phenomenal.

    OK, just checked Nebo's site, they say run times of 4/8/15 hours on the three modes. But I think you can get something in the range of 100 hours out of a Maglite with D cells
    Last edited by trooplewis; 03-23-2011 at 01:22 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: AA: Always Available

    I know it doesn't use AA cells, but for long runtimes on easily scavenge-able batteries, I recommend the Safe-Light PALight range, which run on 9v batteries.
    They claim to run for 80 hours low/20 hours high on a cheap carbon zinc 9v, or 160hr/30hr on an alkaline 9v. They are also very easy to use, seeing as they have one button and only 3 modes. They are $16.99 each if you buy more than 2.

    The other light I would recommend is the 4Sevens Quark AA^2, which can run for over a month on 2AA batteries on its lowest setting. It's a bit over your budget though, especially from 4Sevens.ca...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: AA: Always Available

    How about a Quark AA or AA2 or 123 light? You can always get an AA or AA2 body if you get the 123. Likewise, you can get the AA or 123 body if you get the AA2. You get the picture. This light offers a moonlight mode that will run for days and offer the flexibility to use either AA or 123 cells.

    For my own long lasting emergency light I have a Fulton angle-head flashlight with a Nite Ize 1-Watt PR flange drop-in in it and a half-Watt PR flange drop-in in the tailcap. On two D cells this light will go for days on end without the need to change batteries. If it looks like I'm going to be in it for the long haul I can switch out the bulb for the lower power one and go more than twice as long before needing to swap out the batteries. When the batteries have drained to the point where the 1-Watt drop-in won't light up anymore I can swap to the half-Watt bulb and still run that light for a few days more on dead batteries. In addition to all this I've made a set of adapters to allow me to use 2 C cells, 2 AA cells, or two 18650 Li-Ion batteries in this light in addition to two D cells. How's that for flexibility?

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* Ian2381's Avatar
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    Default Re: AA: Always Available

    If you already have the E21, just buy the new improved Eneloop 2nd genration AA batteries. 3 years at 75% capacity is great neough for stprage. got plenty of them.
    IAN2381
    Surefire C2, Surefire Z2/Zebralight H51/DQG AA SS NW/T10/RC-G2/TANK 501 SS/Ultrafire A30B NW XML/Solarforce L2T/Akoray K-106/Fenix E01.....

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* srfreddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: AA: Always Available

    You should grab a headlamp: Zebralight H51Fw. Yes, its a bit expensive, but a very good headlamp is much more useful than a flashlight.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Y0ssar1an View Post
    Thanks! I'd missed Pelican; very sensible suggestion. Unfortunately it seems to have been discontinued/unavailable. It's no longer in Pelican's flashlight table and the three places I looked didn't have any stock.

    Also none of the Pelican lights listed appear to have particularly long run times; their other 4xAA/LED lights clock ~7hrs?

    Cheers, Ben
    I am sorry Ben, I forgot to mention that this light has been discontinued by Pelican. However, there are still places that have stock, and with patience, you can find them. When I have some time, I will try and locate one of these places for you, and drop you a line. I think Pelican made a mistake in halting production of this light, but, there is nothing I can do. :-(

    I can't comment on their other lights as I do not have direct experience with them, but I can tell you the 2440 will run for a very, very long time on one set of four AA cells, with a long tail of diminishing light.
    "...and the diode multiplied and grew in brightness. And God saw that it was good."

  17. #17

    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    If they had dorcy 2AA with luxeon rebels in them still they are pretty decent lights that will run a long long time draining batteries down to nothing. They will literally run off of one battery and put out usable light and the one I have I can unscrew the head and it makes for a floodlight. Supposedly 80 lumens (probably closer to 50. I would look for something that put out 30-50 lumens and doesn't go out suddenly when the batteries hit 1v (like the minimag LED does). If you get much below 20-30 lumens you don't have enough light to work with other than just navigating. You can always get more batteries to offset usage or get two different lights one with a good output and another with a long running barely adequate low level.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Wow, thanks for all the info. You guys/gals rock! I'm intrigued by the Safe-Light - fails on standardizing on AA but at least 9v readily available. I read that they are meant to have upgraded the star/selector LED at the end of last year but haven't been able to find any recent reviews. Anyone know how well the latest versions work? With free shipping I might just buy one to test.

    PS: Have returned the E21 to Amazon

  19. #19
    Flashaholic Machete God's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Consider the 4Sevens MiNi AA:

    - $36 shipped from 4sevens.com (with CPF discount)
    - as light as you can get, barely wider than the AA cell, and half an AA longer (i.e., 150% longer than an AA cell)
    - 2.7 lumens for 60 hours (that's one whole month on a single AA if you use it 2 hours a night)
    - 25 lumens for 20 hours
    - 90 lumens max for when you need it (there will be times when you definitely want more lumens)
    - easily (but not accidentally) accessible special modes: strobe, SOS, high and low beacon.
    - runs on widely available AA-sized cells (can be scavenged from remote controls, toys, etc. in an emergency)
    - takes L91 (Energizer Lithium) for long-term storage. Definitely recommended because you don't want to fish the light out of your BOB and find that the light won't turn on because the alkaline cell is leaking
    - tail stands (important for some folks)

    You could also take a look at the Maratac AA, or the ITP A2 EOS, both the same form factor and UI as the MiNi AA, and cheaper. But without the special modes (I think) and the 10 year warranty from 4Sevens
    Last edited by Machete God; 03-24-2011 at 02:58 AM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    If you want more output from the QMini AA, you can use the TI 3 volt 14505 primary [a cr123 in AA form factor]

    and don't forget the discount codes

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* RobertM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Y0ssar1an View Post
    Hi,

    I have been looking into flashlights for emergency preparedness kits for my family. I have the following criteria:

    1. Long run times are more important than lumen level
    2. Needs to store well
    3. Not expensive as I need to buy 5 (home, 2x car, 2x workplace)
    4. Strong preference for AA cells (availability/trying to standardize)

    I just bought a Fenix E21 as a trial and discovered that I should have been researching batteries as much as the light itself! The generic alkalines I had to hand couldn't drive the high mode, Duracells could but I understand the runtime is a lot less than NiMH. I know NiMH discharge has been much improved but I'm still worried about using them for emergency backup, particularly in the car. Lithium non-rechargables would seem to solve the power and discharge problems but I read on another thread somewhere that the E21 can only use them in high?

    I also read that electronic switches have a small parasitic drain, but haven't been able to confirm that this is the case for the E21?

    What combination of flashlight/cell do you recommend for my use/given my criteria above?

    Thanks, B

    BTW: I already have some cheap dynamo lights and light sticks in the kits, am interested here in a "real" primary flashlight.
    When you say "Long run times," how many hours are we talking?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    I will also vote for at least 1 quark miniAA. Its very efficient. Add a Fenix AAA size clip (available at the 4sevens website), and you can clip it to a hat, or shirt collar as a hands free light. As an added bonus, it can run on a AAA battery, so you can scavenge from your remotes if your desperate.
    I will also backup the vote for a zebralight headlamp. One of the most useful lights around. makes a good headlamp, angle light, utility light. very power efficient too.

    On a budget, I hear the Romisen lights at shiningbeam.com are very nice, quality lights for the money.
    Look at the ITP lights also.

    My emergency lights are:
    EDC: Quark MiNiAA. as stated before, with a clip added, its extremely versatile, and power efficient. I run and eneloop AA in it, with some AA lithiums stashed in my car, and my desk at work.
    Car/bugoutbag: Zebralight H51Fw. Its very power efficient, useable as a headlamp, angle light, etc. very versatile. Loaded with an eneloop, and lithiums kept as backups. I used to have a zebralight H501 in the car, but I like the beam pattern on the H51 better.
    Car/bugoutbag2: Quark AA2. sturdy, efficient, all the other good stuff for a got to light.
    Home/Bump in the night: Quark turbo w/18650 (have 2AA body for backup). Great for checking out the neighborhood. I keep it near the front door.
    Nightstand light: Quark tactical, with 2AA body. set for low/max. low is nice for checking out the inside of the house without disturbing anyone, and high is great for blinding intruders.
    I also have several AA powered lanterns for longer power outages. And of course some older lights. I keep about 10 charged eneloops, about 80 lithium, and 100 or so "kirkland" (from costco) brand alkaline AAs around.

    EDIT:
    I highly recommend getting an EDC light. THE MOST IMPORTANT LIGHT IS THE ONE YOU HAVE WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT. On a tight budget, get an ITP 3 mode, either AA or AAA. Bigger budget, Quark MiNi for AA, or Quark Preon Revo for AAA. even bigger budget, talk to someone else
    NEVER leave an emergency light loaded with alkalines. PERIOD. alkalines are prone to leakage, and can trash the light. They also pretty much suck. If you dont want to worry about the batteries, load with Lithiums. 15+ year shelf life, much more temperature tolerant, and runtimes will be about 4 times longer. Dont trust your loved ones lives to alkalines!
    I load with the trusty eneloops, because I actually use my lights periodically. I swap in fresh charged cells about every 3 months, and have lithiums for backups.
    Last edited by fixitman; 03-24-2011 at 01:36 PM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Hi,

    Thanks again for all the info! I broke my own rules and have ordered some 9v "handyman" safelights for the bags, and a couple of Quark 123 minis for EDC. There's (of course) no single do-everything light; this mix offers both utility & dependable backup.

    I am looking forward to the lights arriving and seeing how well they work in practice!

    All the best, Ben

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Hehheh...good luck on your choice!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    For my money looking for runtime on AA, I grab my Quark 2xAA. The runtime is ridiculous, and it will run on 1AA and a spacer if needed.
    Well worth the cost.

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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    another vote for the Quark Mini AA.

    I don't have one but I have only heard good things about the budget alternative the ITP A2 EOS at about $25 ea.
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  27. #27
    Flashaholic* srfreddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    Quote Originally Posted by cave dave View Post
    another vote for the Quark Mini AA.

    I don't have one but I have only heard good things about the budget alternative the ITP A2 EOS at about $25 ea.
    Same thing-just that the Mini has the hidden strobe, and better machining.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* DHart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    As many others believe as well, the AA size light makes huge good sense and my strong preference is for single AA size so you only need 1 cell to run it.

    Especially important, I feel, is a light with a super low low, a few intermediate levels, a potent high, and emergency modes. This gives you very long run times if desired and a nice range of economical output levels, in addition to MAX and emergency modes.

    I wasn't much for emergency modes on flashlights until I realized how critical the strobe mode can be in a roadside emergency. The ability to toggle between full constant light and strobe with a click of the switch, back and forth, is extremely useful in dealing with roadside issues and with alerting oncoming drivers of the situation. Makes a flashlight a very effective tool. Quark AA Regular does all these things magnificently well and is my first choice for this. It will run on 14500 Li-ion (my first choice for daily use) and can also be powered by AA Lithium L91 primary, AA sized Eneloop, AA NiMh, even the ubiquitous AA alkaline if that's all you can get your hands on. With regular tailcap the light will also tailstand for ceiling bounce to provide wonderful soft, wide room illumination. This is a must-have light in my view for daily use as well as for emergency. Its the light I would recommend to any friend or relative who wants a great, all around highly versatile, quality light.
    Last edited by DHart; 03-25-2011 at 10:51 PM.
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  29. #29
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    Thumbs up Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    I have some Gen 3 Mini Mag Lights stashed around run by Eneloops that do for me. I don't use them much but they are in handy places and always ready when I do need them.

    I put a Terra Lux tail cap on them and that eliminates the twist on/off and I put a Terra Lux LED mod in a couple of them for extra light.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* srfreddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

    M..... I say one E21, and 2xduraloops, 2x L91 lithiums in a case, and eneloops inside for both workplace and home, and then good headlamps in the workplace, home, and cars, I say Fenix Hl20, and 4x L91 Lithiums, with an eneloop inside. Headlamps are useful in emergencies as they free your hands up.

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