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Thread: Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

  1. #1
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    Default Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

    Hi -


    This is my first real post to the forum. I would like some help/advice in picking out a light. Also any advice on where to purchase would be appreciated. I am looking for a light that I can use for a few different purposes:


    - EDC (carry in my pocket or clipped in, but not in a holster), peering inside a computer case, working around my house or garage, checking out a sound in the backyard, etc.
    - Carrying in my tank bag on motorcycle trips. I frequently camp when I am on a motorcycle trip, so I would like a light that I can use around the campsite and in the tent.


    I like a bright light that can light up the camp area when needed (within reason, size is more important to me).


    I have a AA/AAA charger rigged up on the motorcycle, and given that I might be out for a week or more, I think that high capacity AA rechargeable batteries are the best option.


    I've also had to stop at night and make repairs on the motorcycle, and in that situation I have used a Black Diamond headlamp to keep both hands free. So a light that also comes with a headlamp strap would be useful as it would allow me to leave the Black Diamond behind. However, I don't want to compromise other things to get that, so that isn't a hard requirement.




    1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?


    ____I would like to purchase the light from a brick and mortar store. I am located in ______________.
    _X__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! :-)


    ____Less than $25.
    ____Less than $50.
    _X__Less than $100.
    ____Less than $150.
    ____Less than $300.
    ____I have no limit.
    ____I’m flexible, tell me what you gotJ.
    ____Other, please specify ________




    3) Format:


    _X__I want a flashlight.
    ____I want a headlamp.
    ____I want a lantern.
    ____I want a dive light.
    ____I want a portable spotlight.




    4) Flashlight-specific format/size:


    ____Keychain size.
    _X__Every day carry small (2-4 inches).
    ____Every day carry medium (4-7 inches).
    ____Holster carry.
    ____Big enough to need its own travel caseJ.
    ____I don’t care.
    ____I don’t know.
    ____N/A




    5) Emitter/Light source:


    _X__LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)
    ____Incandescent (known for superior color rendition)
    ____HID (known for max output, but often at the expense of size)
    ____I don't know.




    6) Manufacturer:


    _X__I want to buy a light from a traditional mass producing manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.
    ____I would consider getting a light that is pieced together (for example a “host” or flashlight body from one manufacturer, and a “drop-in” emitter from another source). Under the right circumstances, this path can provide more options to the consumer to meet specific needs, and can often be easily upgradeable as technology improves.




    7) What battery type do you want to use?


    ____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)
    _X__I intend to use rechargeable nickel chemistry (NiCad, NiMH, NiZn)
    ____I intend to use lithium primary batteries (CR123, CR2, Energizer Advanced/Ultimate Lithium AA/AAA)
    ____I intend to use rechargeable lithium (li-ion) chemistry. Feel free to specify a size if you know which size you want (14500, RCR123/16340, 17500, 17670, 18650, etc.)
    ____I want a light with an integrated rechargeable battery. (Note: these choices may be very limited unless you are looking at spotlights)




    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).


    _X__I want to navigate a dark room or read a map (0-10 lumens).
    _X__I want to walk around an unlit rural area (50-150 lumens).
    _X__I want to illuminate my entire backyard or a campsite (150-300 lumens).
    ____I want to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens).
    ____I want ridiculous amounts of lumens (800+ lumens).




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


    _X__Less than 1 yard/meter (reading, other close work)
    _X__Less than 5 yards/meters (looking for something inside a dark shed/garage/basement)
    _X__5-20 yards/meters (check out a noise in the backyard)
    ____30-50 yards/meters (I have a big backyard)
    ____50-150 yards/meters (I live in a very rural area/farm with wide open spaces)
    ____150+ yards (I want maximum throw possible)




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


    ____Up to 30 minutes (I want the brightest [and potentially smallest] light for brief periods)
    ____30-60 minutes (I have plenty of batteries just ready to be changed)
    ____90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
    _X__3 hours + (I critically need this light to run on max for extended periods in between battery changes/charges).
    (I have battery charger on my motorcycle, so I can recharge daily)


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


    ____Not Important (A “night-stand” light).
    ____Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood).
    _X__Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
    ____Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Caving, Survival).
    ____I don't care.
    ____I don’t know.




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


    ____I want a forward clicky (Helpful for momentary activation and signaling).
    ____I want a reverse clicky (For use with multi-mode/level lights).
    ____I want a momentary switch (Predominantly for use with signaling and short bursts of momentary light only).
    ____I want a twisty switch (Tighten the head/tailcap to activate, and the light will stay on until the head/tailcap is loosened).
    ____I want a body mounted switch (near the head, like on a Maglite).
    ____I want a tail mounted switch (found on the majority of today’s high end lights).
    ____I don't care.
    _X__I don’t know.
    ____Other, please specify____________________.




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


    ____A simple on-off with only one output level is fine for me.
    ____I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
    _X__I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
    ____I want a programmable light.
    ____I want a selector ring.
    ____I want a strobe mode. (Blinks to show location.)
    ____I want SOS mode.
    ____I want a beacon mode.
    ____I don’t care.
    ____I don’t know.




    14)Material/Finish/Coating


    ____Plastic/composite body (this may limit your choices significantly).
    _X__Anodized Aluminum – either type II or III (Hard Anodized) (Aluminum, specifically HA, is the most common material/finish for today’s flashlights).
    ____Stainless steel (durable, but much heavier than aluminum)
    _X__Titanium (durable and nearly as lightweight as aluminum, but can be moderately to significantly more expensive).
    ____I don’t care.
    ____I don’t know.
    ____Other, please specify____________.




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


    ____Red filter (for preserving night vision).
    ____Other filter colors (Amber, Green, Blue, _________).
    ____Dedicated R/G/B secondary LEDs.
    ____“Hybrid” light (bright incandescent combined with long running LEDs)
    _X__Pocket/belt clip
    ____Holster
    ____Wrist/Neck Lanyard
    ____Crenulated bezel
    ____Non-sparking Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments


    (Headlamp strap would be nice to have for use when making repairs on motorcycle at night)




    Thanks!
    Last edited by motocoder; 07-22-2012 at 11:45 PM. Reason: Clarify title

  2. #2

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    I'm a long time motorcyclist and camper and use my lights for everything from EDC to camping - I'd highly recommend getting a long running moonlight mode light. The two I would recommend are the FourSevens Quark AA^2 X (QP2A-X) with an optional 1xAA tube, and NiteCore $11 topstrap headband, OR a Zebralight H51w.

    Both are floody lights (great for close task work) and have sub-lumen moonlight modes that will run 200+ hrs per AA, plus other low single digit lumen levels that extend battery life, preserve your night-adapted eyes, and are less annoying to others. With night adjusted eyes, I find 3 lumens fine for any task work outside, and moonlight fine for reading or anything inside a tent. 1 Eneloop easily lasts me week using the light continuously for 4-5 hrs a night. Course they both also have nice medium and high modes too, but for camping I find using low modes to be a necessity and high modes to be usually optional.

    The ZL is 90-degree angle light that's designed as headlamp, but even without the headband, the design has a lot of hands-free use options and also makes a great compact EDC light with a great UI.

    The 4/7s light lego-able and has configuration options with different battery tubes and a lot of us run 1x14500 Li-ion ions for 280 lumen highs. I'm biased toward 4/7s for the much better warranty and customer service though.

    Also have a neat little lantern attachment that I keep in a wallet and use all the time camping if you're interested - I know space/bulk is at a premium on a bike.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

    go to cpfmarketplace.com and check out the good deals section. There is a thread where the Zebralights can be had for about 30% off right now. I'm not sure if any of these models seem up your alley but they're awesome deals and something should fit your needs! The goal is a light ending in 51 (which I think signifies AA)

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* TweakMDS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

    I use my Eagletac D25A Clicky Titanium a lot and it meets your requirements pretty much spot on. The XM-L titanium is great if you can still find it (limited edition), but the regular one is fine also. I just ordered an S2 regular today since they are so nice and I want to keep lights in more random places ^^
    Wouldn't bother with the D25A mini (twisty) though, but the clicky is my favorite light at the moment.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

    Thanks guys. I will take a look at these.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

    Unfortunately, I can't get to the Good Deals section over on cpfmarketplace. I registered on that site as well, but I guess I have to hit some minimum post count over there too...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

    Zebralight SC51. It fits just about all of your criteria, and even comes with a strap for headlamp use.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

    Quote Originally Posted by Random Dan View Post
    Zebralight SC51. It fits just about all of your criteria, and even comes with a strap for headlamp use.
    I like the Zebralight interface. I can't find much details (video would be great) showing the foursevens/quark interface.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

    Quote Originally Posted by reppans View Post
    I'm a long time motorcyclist and camper and use my lights for everything from EDC to camping - I'd highly recommend getting a long running moonlight mode light. The two I would recommend are the FourSevens Quark AA^2 X (QP2A-X) with an optional 1xAA tube, and NiteCore $11 topstrap headband, OR a Zebralight H51w.
    I ended up going with the Quark QP2A-X Tactical. I like the strobe interface is actually a useful strobe that could be used in self-defense situations, the way you set the light up with two modes that you can switch between easily by rotating the head of the light, and as you mentioned the warranty. I may just keep the Black Diamond headlight on the bike, not sure that these lights will work as well as a headlamp. The other option is to reverse the body on the Quark and then attach the light to a baseball cap.

    Quote Originally Posted by reppans View Post
    Also have a neat little lantern attachment that I keep in a wallet and use all the time camping if you're interested - I know space/bulk is at a premium on a bike.
    I am interested in this - could you share details?

    BTW- Thanks much for your help.

  10. #10

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    Here ya go. Unfortunately the tactical version doesn't tail stand although you can get an optional reverse clicky or shrouded forward clicky (the turbo clicky) for $9/11 respectively.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...ffuser+lantern

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

    Quote Originally Posted by reppans View Post
    Here ya go. Unfortunately the tactical version doesn't tail stand although you can get an optional reverse clicky or shrouded forward clicky (the turbo clicky) for $9/11 respectively.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...ffuser+lantern
    Yes, I don't think the tactical version will stand on end. I may rig something up here I can hang it by a string.

    One other question - I did also order from foursevens the "A series body", which I believe is the tube to allow me to convert the light to hold just a single AA sized cell. I want to use a single 14500 Li-ion battery with it (as you suggested) when I am not on the road. Do you have any suggestions as to which battery brand and charger to use for that, and where best to purchase those?

  12. #12

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    Yeah, that's the right body. The 2xAA tube makes a great spare batt container too. Make sure you only use 1x14500 or you'll blow the light. Also read up on Li-ions, since they can be dangerous if not handled properly.

    Get AW protected Li-ions, they're safest and the best, I typically get them from FourSevens or Goinggear.

    My favorite charger is Cottonpickers smallest Li-ion USB charger - not much bigger than a battery, correct CC/CV charge program, selectable currents for different batt sizes, AND most importantly, includes a voltmeter (must have for Li-ion use). Go to the CPF Marketplace under batteries and chargers for sale... a favorite among the CPF community.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

    Quote Originally Posted by reppans View Post
    Yeah, that's the right body. The 2xAA tube makes a great spare batt container too. Make sure you only use 1x14500 or you'll blow the light. Also read up on Li-ions, since they can be dangerous if not handled properly.

    Get AW protected Li-ions, they're safest and the best, I typically get them from FourSevens or Goinggear.

    My favorite charger is Cottonpickers smallest Li-ion USB charger - not much bigger than a battery, correct CC/CV charge program, selectable currents for different batt sizes, AND most importantly, includes a voltmeter (must have for Li-ion use). Go to the CPF Marketplace under batteries and chargers for sale... a favorite among the CPF community.
    USB charger is fantastic because I have a USB power connection rigged up in my electrified tank bag - so I can actually charge the Li-ion batteries on the road.

    Thanks again for your help.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by motocoder View Post
    USB charger is fantastic because I have a USB power connection rigged up in my electrified tank bag - so I can actually charge the Li-ion batteries on the road.

    Thanks again for your help.
    My pleasure.... but as I mentioned above, make sure you read up on the battery subforums and understand the risks of using Li-ions. If the batts have not been handled correctly (eg, overcharged or over discharged), the greatest risk of flame-venting is during the next charge cycle, and why one of the precautions is to always monitor the charge cycle. Now protected cells have a "circuit breaker" to prevent over discharge and CP's charger goes to constant voltage to protect from overcharging, but any mechanical or electrical device is subject to failure.

    Maybe I'm being too conservative, but moving along at speed with wind blown tankbag on fire in your lap, not to mention on top of gas tank, just paints bad images in head.

    Sanyo makes a great AA/AAA (1 or 2 cell) Eneloop USB charger too.

    Ride safe.
    Last edited by reppans; 07-25-2012 at 09:39 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Need help selecting EDC light (checklist included)

    Quote Originally Posted by reppans View Post
    Maybe I'm being too conservative, but moving along at speed with wind blown tankbag on fire in your lap, not to mention on top of gas tank, just paints bad images in head.
    Yeah, that's not a pretty picture for sure. I've already got a good NiMH charger so I will just stick with 2x NiMH AA when on the road. The Li-Ion should be good for my EDC though.

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