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Thread: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

  1. #1
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    Default Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    I am looking for cheap (under $5.00) headlamps that run on 1 x AA battery to be given away to the volunteer workers at my club's dog agility trials. The cheapos I find are all 3xAAA, and by the time I put in 3 lithium primaries I have spent more on batteries than on the light, plus I know the recipients will mostly put alkalines in when the original batteries run down. If i give them a spare lithium primary AA they will have light for a fair while.

    Until now I have been giving them all fauxtons, but they all (well, all the regular workers, anyway) have as many fauxtons as they want by now, so it is time for something different. I might consider giving them the choice between a headlamp, cheap multi-tool or a flashing pendant light for their dog's collar.

    Any suggestions ?
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    One thing that might be of intrest: http://www.countycomm.com/aressoled.html They are of course not what you were asking for but are an interesting mix of what you of the Fauxtons that you used in the past and the headlamp you are looking for.
    I also noticed that you said that you have been replacing 3x AAA headlamp batteries with lithiums. While I know the benefits of lithium batteries in high quality lights I have been shocked (in a good way) at the performance of the "Heavy Duty" batteries in cheap 6 led lights. I store a bunch of them in my trunk year round and give them away people need a light. I have had people tell me a year later that they are still using the light and have never changed the batteries. Don't get me wrong I would never put one of these batteries in my Preon Revo but they work great in these cheap 3x AAA lights.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    1AA lights are more expensive because they have to have boost converters (that is, extra electronics) to get the voltage up to the magical 4V for an LED. 3AAA give you 4.5 without any additional fancy electronics. The least expensive branded decent quality 1AA I'm aware of is the Irix Icon. Once in awhile you find it around $20. Also I think Energizer has some inexpensive 1AA options.
    Last edited by Bolster; 11-11-2011 at 10:59 AM.

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    Flashaholic* degarb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregozedobe View Post
    I am looking for cheap (under $5.00) headlamps that run on 1 x AA battery to be given away to the volunteer workers at my club's dog agility trials. The cheapos I find are all 3xAAA, and by the time I put in 3 lithium primaries I have spent more on batteries than on the light, plus I know the recipients will mostly put alkalines in when the original batteries run down. If i give them a spare lithium primary AA they will have light for a fair while.Until now I have been giving them all fauxtons, but they all (well, all the regular workers, anyway) have as many fauxtons as they want by now, so it is time for something different. I might consider giving them the choice between a headlamp, cheap multi-tool or a flashing pendant light for their dog's collar.Any suggestions ?
    Home depot has had 4 packs of single aa headlamps for ten bucks for last year. Also, I have bought a 4 pack of single aa flashlights at biglots. If you are forced into buying a 3 aa headlamp. You might save time making a dummy battery from aluminum foil and duct tape; then make it a 2 aa light. This will reduce current from 280 milliamps per cell to 60 milliamps for alkaline (probably 10 hour to half initial output, rather than 3 hours to nearly dead) with only marginal drop in brightness. With rechargeables, I get about 11 milliamp draw (probably 60 hours to half initial) on 2 aaa, which is fine for map reading and kids in bed at night.
    Some people are all lumens and no lux, while others are all lux and no lumens. Some just thank God they have neither.-- All of my lights have throw--some pretty darn far, into the garbage.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Quote Originally Posted by degarb View Post
    Home depot has had 4 packs of single aa headlamps for ten bucks for last year. Also, I have bought a 4 pack of single aa flashlights at biglots. If you are forced into buying a 3 aa headlamp. You might save time making a dummy battery from aluminum foil and duct tape; then make it a 2 aa light. This will reduce current from 280 milliamps per cell to 60 milliamps for alkaline (probably 10 hour to half initial output, rather than 3 hours to nearly dead) with only marginal drop in brightness. With rechargeables, I get about 11 milliamp draw (probably 60 hours to half initial) on 2 aaa, which is fine for map reading and kids in bed at night.
    Home depot had several different combo packs with 1AA LED headlamps in the store about a week or two ago. They looked cheap and I think the review of similar construction was not encouraging. I think they use several 5mm LEDs perhaps had a switch from red to white LED on some of them also. For $5/per you are probably going to get something disposable. I am not really excited about 3AAA offerings either I rarely use them instead use my rayovac 1AA headlamp.
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  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Honestly, I don't see anything wrong with equipping a 3xAAA light with alkalines. They won't know that you didn't spend the extra scratch on lithiums, and they probably wouldn't care anyway. Since 3xAAA headlamps tend to be pretty cheap and also run for a long time... you may just have to give up on the hope of getting 1xAA for everybody. Besides, 1xAA vs 3xAAA is pretty much a flashaholic distinction anyway. Few users really care, or even know what's powering their lights!
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    Flashaholic* B0wz3r's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    What? Me? Derail a thread?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    is there any headlamp at all of any battery format that costs $5 and is worth giving as a gift?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Quote Originally Posted by robostudent5000 View Post
    is there any headlamp at all of any battery format that costs $5 and is worth giving as a gift?
    I haven't tried them but at BigLots you can buy a headlamp/light set made by coleman for $10 that has a decent looking 3x5mm headlamp (3AAA) and either a hand held flashlight or a small 5mm based lantern. I would say for the most part trying to find a quality brand headlamp normally priced at $5 worth investing in is not possible. You would have to find something on sale or clearance as most around that price are cheap chinese lights. I have a few 3x5mm lights I got at Target that are acceptable I paid $2.50 for they were normally $5. They have a removable light in them with a magnet and use an electronic switch the works well enough.
    5mm LED headlamps are useful but the light output can be marginal in some instances if you are using them as a work light.
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    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Question. Am I wrong about boost circuitry above in post #3? If Degarb knows of 2.50 each 1AA LED headlamps...then how can it be true that boost circuitry is part of what makes 1AA lights more expensive--as I have been lead to believe?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    Question. Am I wrong about boost circuitry above in post #3? If Degarb knows of 2.50 each 1AA LED headlamps...then how can it be true that boost circuitry is part of what makes 1AA lights more expensive--as I have been lead to believe?
    Good Question

    The Rayovac 1aaa and Dorcy 1aaa flashlights can be found for under 5 bucks. They drive single LED. Maybe more circuity to drive multiple LEDs ??????

  12. #12

    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    Question. Am I wrong about boost circuitry above in post #3? If Degarb knows of 2.50 each 1AA LED headlamps...then how can it be true that boost circuitry is part of what makes 1AA lights more expensive--as I have been lead to believe?
    the preponderance of 3xAAA LED headlamps probably has more to do with the fact that it's possible to effectively run such lamps on alkaline cells than it has to do with cost. just look at all the cheapo 1xAA and 1xAAA Chinese lights that have good boost circuits. the circuits can't be that expensive.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Boost circuitry that drives 5mm LEDs at low current isn't too costly to produce in quantity but try and drive an LED at 250ma with a boost circuit and it gets a lot more costly. It is about the emitter and drive current levels.
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  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Funnily enough tonight my climbing gym had a lights-out climb event and they handed out cheap 1xAA 4x5mm plastic headlamps as loaners. No brand and I couldn't find anything like it on Alibaba. That said, DX has some cheap headlamps in the $5ish range, but I didn't see any 1xAA.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Quote Originally Posted by carrot View Post
    Funnily enough tonight my climbing gym had a lights-out climb event and they handed out cheap 1xAA 4x5mm plastic headlamps as loaners. No brand and I couldn't find anything like it on Alibaba. That said, DX has some cheap headlamps in the $5ish range, but I didn't see any 1xAA.
    they may have come from home depot. They had 2-3 different models of their 1AA headlamps some in a multipack of 2 or so I think.
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  16. #16
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Well clearly boost circuits can be made cheaply. Maybe not good ones, but functional ones. I'm going to stop thinking that 1AAs "deserve" to be more expensive, now.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    Well clearly boost circuits can be made cheaply. Maybe not good ones, but functional ones. I'm going to stop thinking that 1AAs "deserve" to be more expensive, now.
    Boost circuits driving weak 5mm based headlamps can be pretty cheaply made, but to drive a decent cree high power LED at decent levels 70+ lumens requires more from a boost circuit such that they tend to use an IC, more expensive surface mount coils and higher quality components. The original dorcy 1AAA is an example of such as it was capable of 200+ma to an LED if modded some and costs $7 instead of $3 that rayovac wants for their 1AAA boosted LED. Add in a cree LED and better reflector and heat sink for perhaps another $5 drives the $7 to $12 compared to $3. This is the prices of cheap chinese ones and double that for brand name ones plus add a little for headlamps for more engineering and headbands etc. Most of the headlamps use cheaper resistor based or linear based regulators saving perhaps $5 in cost over a boost circuit. Rayovac proved it could make a decent 1AA headlamp with a luxeon driven at usable levels around $20 years ago I think that is sort of a starting benchmark. I think popularity of it suffered due to shorter runtime off alkalines which is the main weakness in a market where most users don't want to invest in a nimh setup or spring for lithium primaries on a "cheap" plastic headlamp.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Any cheap (max $5.00) 1xAA headlamps around ?

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I really don't want to spend too much on lights when I don't know whether the recipients will use them at all, let alone enough to justify a "decent" light (I've noticed when something is offered for free many people will just grab it without considering whether they have a use for it, let alone an actual need).

    As I am in Australia the bargain headlamps from Home Depot and Biglots are not a practical option for me.

    So for now the front runners are probably the cheap 3xAAA headlamps with alkalines, or a cheap 1xAA flashlight with a lithium primary. Maybe I'll give them a choice, more chance of giving them something they'll actually use that way

    I guess that sometime in the future the cheap boost circuits will make their way into headlamps like they have in flashlights.
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