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Thread: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    ... that is common knowledge. Steill there are posts, asking for them, popping up from time to time.
    Usually the argueing is about the wind-up mechansim (which is also true) but the main "problem" imho was the battery.

    now, some 2-3 years ago, a friend of mine did some "remote-type" raft trip and asked me what light to get.
    I did tell him all the arguments against the wind-up junk, but he still decided to get one.

    That weekend we did a hike and this time he was the one to drive to the starting point.
    In the car I found that wind-up 3 led light - he has ist there for emergency areason, thinking anything with a battery is not that safe; that such a light wont work when needed.
    Of course I played with the wind-up
    to make it short:
    the mechanism worked good, but there was no way to get any light from the led.
    Else the electronics, but most likely the battery - whatever chemistry they are - is dead.

    Any medium quality lithium powered light would have worked, no matter what.
    thats my personal experience now, with what I already knew in theory ...




    PS: during that trip, the light was exactly what he wanted and perfectly worked for him
    when in doubt: buy both

  2. #2

    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    I've never seen a true high-quality crank light, though it may exist. Some models that seemed bulletproof were severely plagued by bad batteries or capacitors. So, to generalize: cheap, dubious quality lights with junk, unknown brand batteries are no emergency ones...

  3. #3

    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    They are nice to give the kids when the power goes out, though. We lose power every few months for several hours at a time. The kids burn through batteries at an alarming rate, so the cheap wind up ones help.

    I'm not letting them at my zebralights.

  4. #4

    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    If kids are burning through batteries that's the best time to teach them about rechargeables and responsibly charging them.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Samy's Avatar
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    Now if a quality manufacturer were to design a high quality mechanism flashlight that charged a common replaceable battery, like a AA, then that would be something

  6. #6

    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    Or perhaps get one of these (and remove the radio)

    This guy actually disassembled one - there is a battery supply option that Samy mentioned, an it looks well built..

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    As a real world solution to personal emergency lighting I can get 1,000 hours of reliable light from a tiny Pak-Lite and just one 9V L battery. It will be content to sit neglected for years and years and still always be ready to serve when I need it.

    To me, that makes crank-lights a short-lived, complex, fragile solution to a problem that does not exist.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 05-02-2012 at 11:27 AM.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Daekar's Avatar
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    I think Sub_Umbra is right... as much as these crank-lights appeal to an emotional part of us, they're just not necessary. As he says, the Pak-Lite is likely going to satisfy most true emergency needs, and if it doesn't then you should probably invest in a solar charger and some eneloops.

    Just like the crank-lights, most shake-lights are terrible, but I do remember seeing excellent reviews of one very specific shake-light that was wonderful. Does anybody remember what the brand name was? They were popular in Iraq and Afghanistan, and were available in a special spectrum for night-vision.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    There are a couple high quality shakelights IIRC. (Nightstar?)

  10. #10
    Flashaholic ToyTank's Avatar
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    I have an Eton crank light/radio USB charger that is pretty well made. Too big for EDC and expensive unless you can find one on clearance. It uses NIMH to store the energy instead on a capacitor.
    Really though I have a solar charger that is lighter and more compact. The Eton is a nice emergency radio with a flashlight though IMHO.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Daekar's Avatar
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    Nightstar, I think that was it!
    Darn near bought a few, but back then I was running a bit short on cash. Might need to remedy that situation at some point...
    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    There are a couple high quality shakelights IIRC. (Nightstar?)

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* M@elstrom's Avatar
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    Nightstars don't look too bad actually at around 10Lm plenty to navigate by

    Last edited by M@elstrom; 05-03-2012 at 07:08 AM. Reason: spelling.
    My modest collection HERE & 55w HID spotlight project HERE

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    I've always wanted a Nitestar. Now, thanks to reading this thread I've got the wants for the NV Green Nitestar...

    Sweet.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    Have yourself been investigated by police while sitting in car and reloading the shake light ...
    ;-)

    Then tell us again, if You need one

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    I bought a few nice looking crank lights last year and most of them where DOA right out of the package: some Einstein thought it was a good idea to use LIR2032's in them. Had they done their homework right, someone would have figured that those batteries are bound to fail if no one cranks the light.

    Then, about a month ago, I found some really small crank lights for an absurd price. I bought one to investigate and this one uses a double NiMh battery. I bought a few more just to leave and forget in a few places, but I'm curious as to how lon the battery will last without any attention. At least I can easily find replacements for those. Crank lights are last resort reserve equipment, not survival gear... unless they work when you really need them.

    MY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Never trust a piece of equipment you didn't inspect or test first.
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  16. #16
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    "Shakelites" with coin cells are a scam and are responsible for the bad reputation this genre has with the general public. The shaking charges nothing in those lights. The switch turns on the light which is powered solely by the coin cells. The whole light dies with the coin cells.

  17. #17

    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    For crank lights, don't get anything other than a Freeplay light, a Freeplay Sherpa is a decent crank light. Most of the other crank lights use rechargeable coin cells and attempt to charge them in under a minute. This fries the batteries immediately making the light instantly useless. Don't buy these lights. I'm not a fan of shake lights anymore. I had a Nightstar CS that stopped working because I didn't charge it often enough. The capacitors do fail from inactivity. You can't leave it in a car for years then shake it and expect it to work. One light I do like is the Solar Hybrid flashlight. It's a solar powered flashlight powered by low self-discharge batteries (like Eneloops) with a lithium coin cell battery backup. It isn't that bright (mine was around 10 lumens), but runs 8 hours per charge. It will still work after extended non-use (especially if left in sunlight in a car). If it is left longer than the rechargeables last, you still have the lithium backup (2 2032 cells).
    Last edited by Hooked on Fenix; 05-07-2012 at 10:05 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    same applies to wind-up radios, as they are typically combined with a LED light that is the sole light and radio in many people's "emergency kit". My $10 Sony pocket radio worked for the entire blackout on it's original 4 year old battery while the cheap wind-ups were failing.

    Considering that I stock lithium cells for emergencies, I have little concern that I'll need to wind anything in an emergency.

  19. #19

    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    I went to switch out some old MREs and meds in a bug-out-bag/backpack that's kept in the closet and pulled out the NightStar CS that's stored in there as well, only to find the housing cracked. I shook it up to see if it still worked and it does, but it doesn't look like it would take much for it to come apart. It's never been carried or dropped, just kept in that pack, so it's a bummer to see it damaged when I thought it'd be there and ready if I ever needed it. I emailed the company about if it'd be covered under warranty or if there might be some defect in materials they were aware of, and will have to see if they'll take care of it or if I'll just have to break out the duct tape...


  20. #20

    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    A month after mailing the broken NightStar CS back to AIT's customer service for warranty consideration, I received a replacement NightStar RS in the mail today. It works and I'm satisfied with the shake light and the company's service.



    A previous wind-up/crank charge three LED flashlight, that I'd bought at Walmart back around 2004/2005 and was kept in a kitchen drawer, refused to hold a charge and the crank's knob broke off the arm as well, so it was eventually disposed of after a few years. That's led me to avoid those types of flashlights until I see evidence of improved technology/durable materials...

  21. #21
    Flashaholic Teobaldo's Avatar
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    Default Re: wind-up lights are no emergency ones ...

    I have a shake light since 2005 and still functions. Its light is blue and little powerful, nevertheless, upon agitating it functions like corresponds. Also I have a LightStorn SL1 that functions like is owed. The charge not last a lot of time, is true, but works. Perhaps I was lucky or was thing to choose well in base to the opinions of others.

    Nevertheless, these lights for me are the last resource for lighting after it to have put an end to all my primaries and rechargeables. I always put one in my BOB with the LD20.

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