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View Poll Results: Do you use Stobe or SOS modes on your LED flashlights?

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  • Yes, I use both strobe and SOS modes.

    21 7.53%
  • No, but I would use both strobe and SOS modes if I liked the way the interface was done.

    14 5.02%
  • Yes, I use strobe modes.

    71 25.45%
  • No, but I would use strobe modes if I liked the way the interface was done.

    17 6.09%
  • Yes, I use SOS modes.

    3 1.08%
  • No, but I would use SOS modes if I liked the way the interface was done.

    6 2.15%
  • I would not ever use blinky modes, no matter the interface, but I don't mind if they are there.

    37 13.26%
  • I would not ever use blinky modes, no matter the interface, and I don't even want them on my light.

    117 41.94%
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Thread: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

  1. #1

    Default Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I wanted to find out how many people use strobe/sos modes (or would if they had a light with the modes available). When voting, feel free to assume that the strobe is implemented in a way that you personally would appreciate. You can feel free to discuss in the comments how you like or don't like the modes to be implemented, but just try not to get into any fights. I know a lot of us can actually be pretty passionate about this, but I don't want to get this thread closed. I'd like to have some solid data to use for reference in future discussions on this topic.

    P.S. I did run a search to see if any other threads had this info, and I did not find any within the past year that asked the questions I want to ask. I also posted this in the LED forum instead of the general forum because to my knowledge, strobe and SOS mostly on LED lights. If I missed an old thread or posted this in the wrong area, I'm sure someone will berate me for it.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Outdoorsman5's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I have been in some scary situations where I had to use the strobe mode......several times even.

    Each time one or both of my young daughters would give me that serious & pleading look, and asked me for one of my lights. Each time I gave them one, and each time it turned into a dance party. Their favorite one to date is the Olight M30. Don't know why; guess it just blinks at the right speed.

  3. #3
    Enlightened tychoseven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I think the "beacon" mode is useful, but have no use for strobe or SOS. Personally I don't understand the appeal and prefer my lights to be uncluttered.

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* Patriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I use strobe mode at times and appreciate a good UI. I don't care if it's on the light and not being used.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    Quote Originally Posted by tychoseven View Post
    I think the "beacon" mode is useful, but have no use for strobe or SOS. Personally I don't understand the appeal and prefer my lights to be uncluttered.
    What do you mean by a beacon mode? Would that be a sort of slow strobe, like a flash every few seconds or so?

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    Nononononononononononononononononono
    NO

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Outdoorsman5's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmac_79 View Post
    What do you mean by a beacon mode? Would that be a sort of slow strobe, like a flash every few seconds or so?
    The Quarks have a beacon mode where they blink once every ten seconds. This is the only blinky mode that I could foresee being useful to me. I haven't needed it, but could come in handy if I was out looking for wood or hiking away from camp after dark. I could set up a beacon in my tent, so I could easily find it again. The SOS & strobe are useless to me and usually in the way when cycling through outputs.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Outdoorsman5 View Post
    The Quarks have a beacon mode where they blink once every ten seconds. This is the only blinky mode that I could foresee being useful to me. I haven't needed it, but could come in handy if I was out looking for wood or hiking away from camp after dark. I could set up a beacon in my tent, so I could easily find it again. The SOS & strobe are useless to me and usually in the way when cycling through outputs.
    Thanks for clarifying!

    Sent from my mobile device. Please excuse brevity and typos.

  9. #9
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    Buttrock Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    Strobe is useful if you use your light in situations that a strobe can help AND you are trained/knowledgeable in its use. Strobe is useless to everyone else. (Except for entertainment purposes)

    Beacon lights fall into the same category, but at least don't require training...they are simply a way to leave the light on for a long period of time, so it can be used to mark your location/call attention to you being broken down on the side of the road, etc.

    If you never need either function, they waste space in the UI, and generally annoy those who don't need it.

    For some EDC situations, these modes are handy...for others, they are annoying...so I tend to use lights without these modes, or some of these modes, as appropriate.

    I find that some lights come with strobe, as a hidden feature, so its less annoying to have to scroll past to get the modes you DO use...

    ...and THOSE are the most ridiculous to me at least....as in a situation where you'd NEED a strobe, you DON'T want to have to find a hidden mode/remember some twisty/pushy combo to GET it....it would be too late to USE in those scenarios.

    So, if the light has strobe...so it can be Tacti-Cool...but its hidden, its worthless, if you actually wanted Tacti-CAL.

    A Beacon mode can be hidden/require extra work to get to off the std choices in the UI...as you typically are going to be purposefully setting it up as a warning light/beacon type function, and leaving it run for hours, etc.


    SOS seems a bit overkill most of the time I'd think it might be handy....but its essentially a beacon that stresses that you need HELP (As opposed to simply not wanting to be run over while changing a flat...)....and you could set it up and go do something else while waiting for help, like triage, etc.

    It too can be situated off the beaten path of your UI to keep it out of the way for day to day use.

    I mean, your life would have to suck pretty bad for SOS to be used regularly.






    PS - The topic title for the pol says "Stobe" instead of Strobe.
    Last edited by TEEJ; 03-23-2012 at 01:07 PM.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* kj2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I use strobe mode to scare of wild animals. Of to signal to a car, if he/she doesn't turn-off his/her hi-beam.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    Yes.

    Crossing streets at night, especially in the rain-- a Trustfire Z1 does the job fine, has a memory for the strobe so always available when needed.

    I've several times had drivers clearly not notice me or other people in the crosswalk until I lit up the street ahead of them with the flashlight strobe -- not aimed in their eyes but aimed to make the reflectors in the street paint light up, or the people in the street if they were wearing light clothes.

    I also used my first strobing light -- a 1xAA Quark Mini -- to stop traffic after jumping off a bus one rainy night seeing someone lying in a crosswalk after a hit-and run. By the time I got there others had called 911 and gathered around -- so I went to stop traffic. Cars would get to a block away, start into the area, and turn away to go around, consistently. Nobody even approached the accident area 'til the first aid crew arrived.
    Last edited by hank; 03-23-2012 at 01:59 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I wouldn't mind having a strobe/SOS mode on a light used primarily for camping and hiking but I'm not a fan of those functions on lights used for more general purposes. I like straight forward controls which are readily accessible without having to memorize sequences to access functions.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I have never used those modes myself but as long as they are buried, I don't mind them on my lights. Just because I don't use them doesn't mean that there might be a situation where I might wish I had them.
    Deus Vult

  14. #14
    Flashaholic SDM44's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    The only feature I would ever use is the strobe feature. However, that said.....

    I'd never use the strobe on a hand-held flashlight as I'd really have no need for it.

    I've only used the strobe feature a few times on my weapon-mounted light (TLR-1s) during a low light course, and it wasn't hard to use but really didn't make too much of a difference IMO if I was on the receiving end of it (mounted on an rubber gun for training). It did make shooting at night a little tougher since it took longer to see exactly where you hit on the target compared to if you had a solid light on the entire time.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* LightWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I use strobe to get peoples attention/signal.
    I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. Jesus Christ - John 12:46

  16. #16

    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I doubt a strobe on a small pocket flashlight can be bright enough to function as a viable self-defense tool. Maybe when pocket flashlights get to 10,000 lumens. But 200 lumens? nah.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireclaw18 View Post
    I doubt a strobe on a small pocket flashlight can be bright enough to function as a viable self-defense tool. Maybe when pocket flashlights get to 10,000 lumens. But 200 lumens? nah.
    They don't work the way you think they do...and, yes, the brighter the better....but you can make it work at 100 lumens if they are distributed appropriately. This is WHY I say that w/o proper training, a strobe is useless, or worse, dangerous to the user who might THINK it offers them some protection.

    In reality, a person who doesn't know HOW to use a strobe, is like a person given a weapon to keep in their purse for self defense....w/o being told that they have to release a safety for it to be able to fire.

    The emergency occurs, they aim at the attacker, and....nothing happens...the attacker is slightly amused/relieved...and the crime proceeds according to schedule.

    A strobe is not a taser. A person "Being strobed" doesn't fall to the ground paralyzed...they are temporarily disoriented if they did not know it was going to happen...that's about it. You have to be able to take advantage of that temporary disorientation for it to be of any real value.

    This is why it works great on drunks for example....they are more easily confused and disoriented. If you just STAND THERE strobing though, well, even a drunk willl eventually figure out what's going on, get his bearings, and procede with whatever it was he was doing/now thinks he should do, etc.

    Last edited by TEEJ; 03-23-2012 at 04:30 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I do use strobe and SOS modes, but only once in a blue moon, or in emergency situations etc...

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TEEJ View Post
    ...
    I mean, your life would have to suck pretty bad for SOS to be used regularly...
    Lol, very good point.

    Sent from my mobile device. Please excuse brevity and typos.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    The strobe and SOS should have a clear user interface.
    For example using a magnetic ring: far left SOS, then next step is strobe, then next step is micro-amperage standby, then next step ramps from low to high etc.
    I think the Surefire UB3T Invictus has it clearly delineated on their magnetic ring.

    Never place strobe after turbo mode, on the far right - it is a pain to accidentally activate strobe all the time after turbo mode, eg RRT-3, V60C etc.
    Also, please avoid hidden strobes/SOS eg Jetbeam RRT-0 - three rotations backwards and forwards, clockwise and anti-clockwise to activate the SOS - most people don't know this; although they would know if there was a clearly defined detent to the far left.
    Furthermore, sometimes we really do happen to do three backwards and forwards rotations to change the brightness, then all of a sudden, the SOS starts! A pain.

    An analog button can only have one or two functions built into it; usually only momentary, and on/off.
    A digital button is very complex to use; we need to have knowledge of so many clicks here, and so many clicks there, plus short/fast and long/slow clicks etc.
    The simplist UI for multiple modes is a magnetic ring.
    If we use a magnetic ring in a large tubular diameter flashlight, it helps to be short travel, so that it can easily be operated one-handed.
    Also the magnetic ring can be placed at the neck of the flashlight, or at the tail.
    Neck [cervical] placement is good for flood beams, which tend to be held by the relaxing handshake grip low down below the waist.
    Tail placement of the magnetic ring is good for lights with throw beams, which tend to be held high up above the shoulders, to maximise the throw, using the overhand grip with four fingers over the top.

    Strobe and SOS is used, but rarely so.
    A good UI helps to prevent the strobe/SOS from being a pain...
    Last edited by peterharvey73; 03-23-2012 at 05:05 PM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I've experienced the need for it a number of times and when i did, i noticed instant access is crucial almost vital even. e.g. crossing through streets and foliage as both a warning device as well as a deterrent for certain unwanted wildlife confrontations. The sos i've used to help other individuals, when we're in a pack, to have an idea where i am the entire time when we're exploring a vast, dark secluded area.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic bladerunner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    So far,I have not needed them.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I would like to have a very low output beacon so I can find my flashlight in the dark.

  24. #24
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I have used both, mainly to entertain the grandchildren. I expect there will be a situation sometime where I will otherwise use one or the other.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I would prefer not to have them. If they are hidden and easy to access that's OK. If there are going to be any hidden blinky modes I'd prefer that it was just a slow strobe/beacon. I don't need the disorienting type or one so slow that it doesn't get anyones attention. I only want one blinky mode even if hidden and easily accessible.

    If it's hard to access it might as well not be on there either. I have a light that has a strobe (too fast for me) that is accessed just by two rapid clicks of the side switch. At least that's intuitive and yet not in the way during normal use.

    Strobe/beacons on flashlights and headlamps is definitely an overdone thing. It's mainly there just due to one manufacturer copying another one rather than because of any real customer demand IMO....just like crenelated bezels and "tactical" tail switches.
    Last edited by gcbryan; 03-24-2012 at 12:13 PM.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic DIΩDΣ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    Here is my answer to the last strobe poll:
    Quote Originally Posted by DIΩDΣ View Post
    I use the strobe frequently jogging (on my ZL H51 headlamp). I like to jog during sunset to enjoy the view but this is a dangerous time to be on the road (I think even more dangerous than middle of the night), especially when I'm on narrow country roads with 55mph limits. As soon as the sun is setting I turn the strobe on and leave it on strobe until it starts getting dark enough to need the light to see by, then I shut of strobe and put the light on steady. The strobe also helps extend batterey life when I dont need the light to see, just to be visible to motorists.

    Beacon/SOS I have never had and dont really see using it ever.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I find the blinky modes annoying when its in the mode change menu.
    It would be OK if they were all something like the TK41 that actually
    requires you to double click the power button while the light is turned on.
    Leslie W. Knight

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I find alot of people within bad standing of the strobe function having had crappy UI's that easily SET the strobe off, or just too complicated a UI in general. A strobe is NOT a self defense tool, but rather more for emergency signaling and grabbing someone's attention on the recieving end. I use the "strobe" function on my light from time to time to grab the attention of drivers coming up on my squads point too fast. It works well in that people pay attention closer when reds and blues or a strobe, bright light is involved indicating LE. The first thing someone thinks about is the presence of an LEO, MP behind that strobing light (quick birst). Command presence is everything in demanding someones attention without communication when its not possible to do so. It has it's place, but definately not for all EDC types.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    So long as it's "tactically" usable (lol!) I'm fine with Strobe.
    I would use strobe a split second before whacking somebody in a strategic spot. Or maybe I'd use it for a few seconds if there was some situation that seemed like it could be resolved with just a little bit of demoralizing or momentary confusion. -I never get into either of those situations.

    and as spc smith noted, strobe would be excellent for quickly getting someone's attention, so would shaking the light for that matter.

    SOS, if it was ever needed at all would be really good to have, the whole point is that you can set it and leave it unattended while it sends a somewhat intelligible message. It can be/should be buried in the UI such that anyone can find it with enough monkeying but you don't have to go through it every time (like I have to do with my old Photon III, bleh).
    Last edited by eh4; 03-25-2012 at 03:44 PM.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Poll: Do You Use Strobe/SOS Modes?

    I use the strobe mode on my lights quite often as I cycle in the evenings and need to ensure that car drivers know I'm nearby. Very useful especially at intersections or on dimly lit side streets. I prefer lights where the strobe is hidden and used only when necessary. As for SOS, I don't like lights with that mode but I hope that I'm never in a situation where I need it or only have one hand to turn it on.
    Looking for: jhanko 'biohazard' V10R Ti clip, Luce de Notte (SS / Ti), SF Z2 (body, complete light, bored, unbored). Pls PM me with an offer.

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