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Thread: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

  1. #1
    Flashaholic someguy4747's Avatar
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    Thinking Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    So I would like to get my Uncle a nice flashlight. He is 73 and has Parkinson's. He lives in a nursing home. He says a man should always have a flashlight on him. He always has his flashlight with him. He sleeps with it. He calls it old blue. It is a plastic 2 cell D battery light. It uses 3 led's. It probably puts out 15 lumens or less. It has a side switch that slides up and down to turn on and off. I want to get him an upgrade. I got him a Fenix E21 for Christmas but I am not sure he understands the UI. The clicky switch is not appropriate as he always holds his lights under handed. He complains that the light gets warm after a while and that when he leaves it on all night the batteries die! I tried with the simple UI but overall the light was a failure and he has reverted to Old Blue. He wakes up frequently to go to the restroom during the night and needs his light to navigate. Oh yeah it needs to be water proof as he sometimes drops it in the toilet. Old Blue has surprisingly held up great! So I am thinking he needs light no matter what so since he tends to leave the light on I am thinking an unregulated light may be better as it would still run at a low setting despite the depleted batteries.

    I am thinking something like an 2 cell D or C(for size and runtime) light with an output single output around 20-50 lumens with a side switch. Is there an upgrade I can get him that he will use or should I accept that he is happy with Old Blue.

    Thanks for your help!


    For all questions please select all that apply.



    1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?


    I will be mail-ordering or buying online, so this doesn't matter.


    2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :-)


    I’m flexible, tell me what you gotJ. My main concern is that the light may get lost or even taken if it is too nice.


    3) Format:

    I want a flashlight.


    4) Flashlight-specific format/size:

    Maybe D or C batteries as he prefers bigger lights. Possibly multiple AA setups.


    5) Emitter/Light source:

    LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)



    6) Manufacturer:

    I want to buy a light from a traditional mass producing manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.

    7) What battery type do you want to use?

    multiple AA configurations may work but C and D are preferred.

    I intend to use alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, C, D) (disclaimer, while it does not preclude all choices, these are not recommended for many of today’s most powerful lights)


    8) How much genuine out the front (OTF) light do you want/need? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is impossible).

    0-100 lumens. Runtime is more important. He is constantly leaving the light on when he falls asleep.

    9) Throw vs. Flood: At what distance will you be most likely to use this light? Select all that apply.

    Probably mostly flood. A hotspot is ok as long as it is not too intense but I feel like flood would be most useful for him.


    10) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims, but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries (Measured on maximum output).


    Long run time! Like I said he may forget the light is on and leave it on overnight and I want the light to still work when he needs it the next night.


    11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.

    It will need to withstand daily drops from 3-4 feet. So it will need to be robust for sure.


    12) Switch Type and location (choose all that apply):

    I think he prefers a side switch as that is what he currently has but it is somewhat difficult for him to operate because the switch is hard to activate. He does ok with the tail clicky but it is less than ideal. A side switch is prefered.


    13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.

    Simple. Possibly a single mode light running at 20-50 lumens would do it. If there were two modes it would need to be simple. A single low mode is probably best as he tends to leave the light on.


    14)Material/Finish/Coating

    Any is fine. I feel like he might like something other than aluminum or metal. Maybe polymer?


    15) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any below.

    A good lanyard attachment point.
    I sometimes use lights to make my photographs.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic Tegan's Dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    Maybe a mag 2D with LED drop-in? As long as that wouldn't break the toilet if dropped

    There's also a Rayovac available at home depot (model BRSGEL6AA-B) that runs 6xAA batteries and claims 160 hours of run time off alkaline. Might not survive the drops as well though.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic someguy4747's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    Thanks for the reply. I guess this was a bit of a difficult question. The 2Dmag appeals to my flashoholic nature but probably not appropriate as I am guessing it would be pretty throwy. The rayovac sounds kinda appropriate. I might need to check that out. Iam slightly concerned about constantly dropping a light with what is presummably a plastic battery carrier. I dunno, maybe I should just leave it alone since he is perfectly happy with what he has.

    The thing is I really like my flashlights and appreciate them. So I am always thinking oh I should get so in so a light. I love my HDS so I should get them one too. Then I come to my senses and remember that they would not appreciate the quality that you pay for with a $200 light. This would make the expense a waste. My uncle on the other hand appreciates a good light. He just happens to have different needs than what the high quality flashlight market cators to. The good thing is that he is perfectly happy right now with what he has.
    I sometimes use lights to make my photographs.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    I think the TK40 is out of production, but it might be worth looking at for the form factor.
    The headache comes when you have 8 AAs to deal with.

    Alternatively, an Olight SR51? He can always have it charged too. I hope the amount of light it outputs wont be overkill.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    wow.. this is such a hard order to fill.

    stay away from lights with PWM (pulse width modulation)
    if a light has pwm, and you move your head quickly, everything reflecting the light pack at you will strobe...

    after that, you'd want a plastic one assuming he'd drop it more often than most folks would.


    maybe the 4aa streamlight 68201



    Edit: A review of the 2AA version

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...ht-mini-review
    Last edited by Ezeriel; 04-02-2012 at 12:08 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    I'm pretty amazed by Pak-Lite but there is another version of the 9V powered light that might be a good prospect, maybe as a back up light, as Old Blue sounds like a tough act to follow.
    Namely the Pal-Lite "Star" or "Selector" . Might be too small and get lost, but the Always On Locator function has got to be a good thing in your relative's situation, also the 25 minutes timer before returning to Always On Locator might well be a plus.

    I don't see it as an option on the site, but if this light was tried out then I'd think that taping a 12" or so loop of colorful nylon strap to it for a hand loop might be useful.

    Tricky points to balance are:
    -Large enough to find and manipulate easily.
    -Light enough to not break things when dropped.
    -Easy, reliable switch and functions, user friendly.
    -Very long battery life.

    I used to take some care of an older relative, they can be very particular about what works for them and what doesn't, and aren't we all?
    Last edited by eh4; 04-02-2012 at 09:29 PM.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    I'd recommend an inexpensive 2x123 host and a Malkoff M61LLL.

    I know CR123 is not what you'd prefer but CR123 U.S. made primaries can be bought for fairly cheap online in small bulks and they have great capacity and shelf life and won't leak like alkalines.

    The Malkoff is a single stage light so no fussing over different modes, just press for on and press for off.
    I've read that the Malkoff M61LLL can give you ~25hrs runtime at 40-50 lumens, then it would slowly get dimmer after that so he would not be left in the dark if batteries were low.

    Also the beam of the M61LLL should be perfect for him.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* LEDninja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    To go to the bathroom in the middle of the night does not need a lot of light. Low lumens in an LED torch means low battery drain. D cells means lots of energy stored and easy to find when waking up groggy at night.
    OLD BLUE is PERFECT for the job. Except it will wear out sooner rather than later. So I suggest collecting a stash of replacements ready for when old blue dies. See if you can find some rubber coated ones.

    Falling asleep with the light on is a problem. Usually with kids. So Hasbro made a light for kids called the PlaySkool that turns itself off. It is a 2C incandescent but you can swap in a Dorcy 41-1643 30 Lumen 3V Replacement Bulb (LED). The bulb is available at Sears, Fry's or dorcydirect. Only problem is to avoid the kids taking the thing apart then choking on the batteries a screwdriver is needed to change batteries.

    There are a couple of more flashaholic type lights that turn themselves off but I can't remember what they are. So ask.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    + 1 LEDninja
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic someguy4747's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    Thanks for all the responses! It really is a tough need to fill. Everything is either too big and too bright and aluminum! Or too small with too short of a runtime.

    Chanjyj-The olight looked awesome but was a bit over budget and too bright for this light. Seems like the right size and switch though. The tk40 is probably too big. I had also considered a tk50 but decided against it as it was too big and aluminum.

    Ezeriel- the streamlight seemed like it had potential but it had too short of a runtime.

    E4h- the pak-lites seem pretty cool. It has a lot of features that would be great for him. The only thing I couldn't figure out is how bright the light is. I was also unsure if he could operate it. A lanyard may help but the only real negative was the size. I might have to order one just to check it out. You also hit the nail on the head when you said he can be particular for what does and does not work for him just as I can be!

    The day- this also could be a viable solution. It's not exactly what he likes as he prefers a side switch and a slightly larger light. I might have to run it past my uncle before I spend quite that much. I guess how expensive it ends up being largely depends on the host I choose. I really thought I had done well for him with the E21 but old blue easily won out!
    I sometimes use lights to make my photographs.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    hey good luck.
    just to be clear, while I Personally am thrilled with the extremely minimalist Pak-Lite, I was actually advocating a brand that is either a subsidiary or a competitor, not sure which.
    The reason being that it is bigger, is completely encased in a rubber body, side switch button, and has an Always One locator glow function...

    found at safe-light dot com.

    again good luck.
    Like LEDninja pointed out, Old Blue would leave some big shoes to fill.
    Last edited by eh4; 04-03-2012 at 02:34 AM.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    If you do get a PALight (from safe-light dot com) I suggest you get the "Star" model as it has the simplest UI (either Always on Locator Glow or Medium), and has an auto-off. You can get them with a hi-vis orange rubber body. A lanyard can be threaded trough the clip in the base. If he wants a low and a medium illumination setting then the "Survival" model may suit better. I found the switch on the "Selector" model was somewhat stiff to operate.

    If you want longer battery life the unjacketed Ultra-Life lithium 9V battery will fit any of the PALight versions (the jacketed Ultra-Life battery won't). Unless he has reasonable hand strength and dexterity he might find changing the battery a bit difficult (but a lithium battery will last a fairly long time).

    If you want a wider, floodier beam it is really easy to swap out the std convex focussing lens for a flat lens (or even a flat diffuser lens if that suits better).
    WTB Any Brand locking pliers multitool, Kershaw Bit Kit, leather sheath


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    eh4,
    {I'm pretty amazed by Pak-Lite but there is another version of the 9V powered light that might be a good prospect, maybe as a back up light, as Old Blue sounds like a tough act to follow.
    Namely the Pal-Lite "Star" or "Selector" }

    How do these two lights compare in terms of brightness on high and low, and long life before changing the battery?
    My impression is that the Pak-Lite is much the superior of the two, but more expensive. Maybe the Pal-Lite is brighter on high.
    Thanks,
    Jerry

  14. #14

    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    Gregozedobe might know, I only have the pak-lite.

    wait here's a youtube comparing them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np_1rNBEg_I
    Last edited by eh4; 04-03-2012 at 09:36 AM.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    Thanks.
    Jerry

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    Quote Originally Posted by eh4 View Post
    Gregozedobe might know, I only have the pak-lite.
    I would say that the Pak-Lite has a wider, floodier beam than the Star with the std convex focussing beam, but put a flat lens in a Star and the beam patterns are similar (Star beam is then slightly wider and has more lumens - but not a huge difference).

    The Pak-lite switch is a bit small and fiddly (probably designed that way so that it doesn't turn on accidentally).
    WTB Any Brand locking pliers multitool, Kershaw Bit Kit, leather sheath


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    Thank you. I appreciate the response.
    Jerry

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Changchung's Avatar
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    Default

    A Pelican come to my mind, plastic, water proof, impact proof, I think that is a model that work with 2C

    I personally would not give one with Li-ion


    SFMI4UT
    Zebralight Spark Princeton Inova Petzl Maglite Bushnell 4 XM-L MagMod and a lot of Cree XM-L Lights Nitecore i4 Intellicharger Intl-outdoor 3400 Panasonic 3100 Bare and protected Samsung 3000 Sanyo 2600
    Please, respect the planet, dont kill animals...

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Chrontius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    A modified Mini Maglite with an IQ switch springs to mind as a possibility. Nite Ize has a floody 3-AA dropin, with amazing runtime, and there's several other more-focused LED modifications for the venerable Mag, from Nite Ize (several) and Terralux (the MiniStar2 Extreme, at 140 lumens)

    And for extra battery conservation, when you're in the first three modes, the flashlight turns itself off after 14.5 minutes when it's not in use, preventing accidental battery drainage. It's also equipped with a "find-in-the-dark" flashing LED to make location a snap.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    Quote Originally Posted by someguy4747 View Post
    Thanks for all the responses! It really is a tough need to fill. Everything is either too big and too bright and aluminum! Or too small with too short of a runtime.

    Chanjyj-The olight looked awesome but was a bit over budget and too bright for this light. Seems like the right size and switch though. The tk40 is probably too big. I had also considered a tk50 but decided against it as it was too big and aluminum.

    Ezeriel- the streamlight seemed like it had potential but it had too short of a runtime.

    E4h- the pak-lites seem pretty cool. It has a lot of features that would be great for him. The only thing I couldn't figure out is how bright the light is. I was also unsure if he could operate it. A lanyard may help but the only real negative was the size. I might have to order one just to check it out. You also hit the nail on the head when you said he can be particular for what does and does not work for him just as I can be!

    The day- this also could be a viable solution. It's not exactly what he likes as he prefers a side switch and a slightly larger light. I might have to run it past my uncle before I spend quite that much. I guess how expensive it ends up being largely depends on the host I choose. I really thought I had done well for him with the E21 but old blue easily won out!
    Just came to mind - Zebralight SC51. Side switch, AA batteries, 200-2.5 lumens.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic bladerunner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light for my 73 year old uncle with Parkinson's

    Energerizer has a 1 watt 2D battery plastic light. You can see it on brightguy.com under energizer brand.

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