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Thread: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Lightbulb What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    I dont know how long most of the 30 or so better quality LED flashlight manufacturers have been around, but aside from maybe Surefire, I'd bet most have been around for 5-7 years or less. How many times have you watched a commercial where they advertise a "lifetime warranty", and yet you know full well that the company offering that warranty probably wont be around in 5 years? Even if you buy a product from a company, and that company doesnt happen to go out of business, or change their name and their business model, there's still always a very good possibility that company wont still be producing or stocking parts for the product you bought 5 years earlier.

    I just needed a part for a recently discontinued light that was only made for about 1.5 years, and the parent company said that they only had "one part left", when I emailed them, so I bought the one part they had left that I needed as a spare in case I have a problem with the original part later on. But if they have stopped making that light after just 1.5 years, and they have run out of those parts just 5 months after they stopped making that light, then if I had waited a few weeks longer to inquire about that part, I'd have been sh*t out of luck!

    So what happens when you need parts for a light you bought 3-5-7-10 years ago? What are the odds most of these companies are still going to have those parts in stock? Lets say a rear click switch breaks..... I'd imagine that most of these clicky switches are somewhat universal, so you could probably contact a company that makes electrical parts and buy a switch that will fit your light, but what if its some other part that goes bad that isnt something so universal?

    Do you just throw out an otherwise perfectly good $100+ light because parts arent available anymore?

    Has anyone had any issues with getting parts for older lights?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Unfortunately this can happen when they DC a model or go out of business! This leaves the customer taking the loss.Most of my lights are under $30.00 so it much easier for me to bare the loss.
    Last edited by ragweed; 07-30-2012 at 11:34 PM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3

    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    I guess that's why p60 hosts are still popular even if it's an outdated platform...

  4. #4

    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    In 5 years i will have moved on and flashlights wont be a hobby anymore. If in 5 years you still play with the same old **** which you bought 5 years ago, then something is wrong in your life. If in 5 years a flashlight brand ceases to exist (e.g. Lumapower, Lumintop, Skilhunt, Prometheus Alpha, 4Sevens), then it maybe because of bad economy but it may also be because of the brand creators who lost interest and moved on in life, got kids, family, or found new areas of interest, more exciting hobbies, new wives, friends, jobs. I know so many people working in the flashlight business and that includes dealers, sellers, distributors, importers, suppliers, and company working staff, i.e. people who wear clothing with the flashlight brand's logo on the shirt (customer service staff, ..). I always ask them what their lights are and how many they've got. Surprisingly(?) most of them own only very very few lights, maybe 2 or 3, namely 1 for the keychain, 1 personal good one (e.g. gifted from someone else), and 1 beater for general purpose, family or the entire house or household. There are exceptions, of course: people who are flashaholics and then decided to sell lights professionally (Ualnosaj, madecov, ..) , nothing wrong with that!
    In 5 years i will look back and laugh about me back then (=today), the people of this place, boardies, mods, the owner, the whole occupation with this thing, and be glad to be over and done with it.
    In 1-2 years most of my lights (XP-G R5, XML T6) are worth pos and they will have lost their monetary value on the market (CPFMP) because lighting technology advances as steadily as IT and PC technology. While i could still get some money for my Maha premium charger or multimeter, not so for the old lights .. unless they are special editions or Titanium builds.

    Parts for old lights? In 5 years i wont be asking this question to myself: hopefully i'll be long out of this pastime hobby.

    Am i very serious with this post? No, not really. I love my lights, old and new, and their parts. And i enjoy this pastime. I met a couple of nice new people and appreciate them. However you get the point.

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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Quote Originally Posted by HighlanderNorth View Post
    [...]Do you just throw out an otherwise perfectly good $100+ light because parts arent available anymore?

    Has anyone had any issues with getting parts for older lights?
    Lights in my collection in that price range usually have the name "Surefire" engraved on the body. Only exception is the Thrunite Scorpion V1 (of which I actually got myself a second one as long as it was available). All other lights of my collection can be found in the 40-50 Euro range.

    Cheers
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  6. #6

    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    For most, this will not be an issue. It seems to me that lights that are over a year old are considered obsolete, just going by posts I have read on this forum. By the time they get to be 10 years old, they will be considered antiques! Heck, the LED itself may be obsolete 10 years from now!! There will be brighter, longer running, better made, etc, lights 5-10 years from now and hardly anybody will care. If you have mostly lights that are $50.00 or under, they are not worth sending in for warranty or buying parts for, you just buy another light.

    Oh any by the way, Shelm, just because somebody has an interest in something for more than 5 years, does not mean there is anything wrong with them. I have liked music since I was 6...I am 53 now....I guess there is something REALLY wrong with me!! Nudge nudge...wink wink!!! .;p)

  7. #7

    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Hi Mike. i meant playing with the same old outdated 5-10 year old toy light .. that one gets old lol. Music is something totally different especially to Australian people, Tommy Emmanuel, Carl Vine, and stuff. Music is emotional, touching, world embracing, culture and art. Serious matter.

    Comparing Percy Grainger with a Maclight Solitaire .. what kind of off comparison is this?? It's like comparing apples to oranges! ;p

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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Led Technology(technology as whole really) is moving too fast for anyone who is a an authentic flashlight afficianado(spel?) to not only probably not be using that light purchased 5 to 10 years ago but most likely have upgraded from 2 or maybe even possibly 3 lights since then through new Led emitter releases and breakthroughs in the technology

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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    I won't have enough lights to worry about it. Funny, I have a couple of Maglights that are over 20 years old and I never had a problem with them.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    I only have one light that's relatively old, and that's an HDS U60GT which is about 6 years old, or so.
    Nothing is wrong with it, but if I needed to get something, Henry at HDS could probably supply it.

    But I agree with others posting here who say that 5 years is well along into obsolescence in the flashlight world. Not that they go bad, but that the technology increase makes them seem to be underpowered or too-short in run times.

  11. #11

    Default

    One of the reasons I buy Quarks... if they're still around, and no longer produce a given part to fix a light, I suspect that I'll get a newer light as a warranty replacement. Even if they're no longer around, or the SHTF and all the manufacturers are gone, I have enough Quarks, in various flavors, to lego/cannibalize parts for a working light for while.

    However, I mostly agree these lights will likely be completely obsolete by then, it probably wouldn't be worth repairing.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Launch Mini's Avatar
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    When I buy something, I consider it disposable at the time I acquire it. Before a purchase, I estimate it's usefull life and the cost. If I can get my "enjoyment units" from the purchase price and "toss it away" at the end, I am not concerned. If it lasts longer, can be repaired... these are bonuses.
    So in 5-10 years, If something goes wrong, I'll try & fix it, if not, then that item has run it's course and move on to the next thing.
    For ex, I just bought an RC Truck for $x. I know I will break a few parts, but it I run it off a bridge into a river in week 3, and it floats away, I have already recovered my "enjoyment units" by then. If it lasts 3 years, all the better.

  13. #13

    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Interesting that you’ve brought this subject to the surface. Because I’ve had a passing thought about these concerns with one of my lights, due to the fact that it is realistic that this light will be used for a long whiles (unless another manufacturer is able to make a similar UI light). This came to mind after my light made it’s second trip for warranty repairs (both times for internal malfunctions).

    The reason is, if the company is no longer in business (for whatever the reason, and I am not wishing anything negative to this company in anyway). I don’t think anyone would be able to make the proprietary (?) internal repairs to this light, aside from the manufacturer.

    I’d like to emphasize, with this light, advances in LED technology is not part of the equation, but solely for it’s UI, or it's unique design.
    ....

  14. #14

    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    I like how this discussion is being applied mostly to production lights, but my greater concern is for custom lights. Lights like the McGizmos and Spys - what do we do 10 years from now if the driver board on our $2000 Tri-V burns out and Dave has moved on to something else? That's a much bigger concern to me than if my $50 lights craps out.

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    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikekoz View Post
    For most, this will not be an issue. It seems to me that lights that are over a year old are considered obsolete, just going by posts I have read on this forum. By the time they get to be 10 years old, they will be considered antiques! Heck, the LED itself may be obsolete 10 years from now!! There will be brighter, longer running, better made, etc, lights 5-10 years from now and hardly anybody will care. If you have mostly lights that are $50.00 or under, they are not worth sending in for warranty or buying parts for, you just buy another light.

    Oh any by the way, Shelm, just because somebody has an interest in something for more than 5 years, does not mean there is anything wrong with them. I have liked music since I was 6...I am 53 now....I guess there is something REALLY wrong with me!! Nudge nudge...wink wink!!! .;p)


    I agree with most of what you posted, but there are two issues that people have mentioned in this thread that arent so cut and dry as they may seem. Yes, LED's have improved vastly over a fairly short period of time just like computers did from 1990-2005, but like computers, there is a plateau that once reached, you will no longer see the exponential improvements you saw just a few years earlier. With computers, processing power kept growing from 1995-about 2004, but then that constant, reliable increase of power hit a big speed bump, because since 2004, processors have not doubled or quadrupled in power every year or two. My 2004 Dell mid priced desk top has about the same processing power that a new, similar priced computer has. The main improvement is now with memory and hard drive capacity, but thats not all that revolutionary.

    On the same token, Cree and other LED makers used to be able to double the brightness, while increasing the efficiency of their new LED's just about every year, but now the newer models like the XM-L have brought these LED manufacturers to the same big speed bump that the computer processor manufacturers ran into in 2004. They have hit the plateau, and although there will be improvement, it wont be the leaps and bounds we saw before. In other words, in 5 years, there isnt going to be a P60 sized light that puts out 25,000 lumens! Or 10,000L, or 5,000L, or 2500L. The plateau has been reached not only because the LED's have hit their plateau, but also because these hosts simply are not going to be able to handle the increased heat. You will never be able to run a CR123 light at 1000L for long without overheating, or a P60 over maybe 1000-1200L without overheating.

    In other words, the new model you just bought last month will not be so obsolete or outdated in 5 years. There may be small increases in power or efficiency, but today's lights for the most part will still be darn good in 5 years. Its not going to be like comparing a light made in 2007 to a new light right now,. Most lights made in 2006 seem weak compared with new lights, but the lights made in 2017 or 2018 will not seem so much more impressive than the best lights made right now.

    ^Thats why I dont have a problem buying lights made now, because they are really bright and really efficient, and they will still be really bright and really efficient in 5 years, if they still work, which is the whole point of this thread, because if you cant still get parts, then you might be stuck with a $105 paper weight.

    If I spent $15 on a light and it became useless in 5 years due to lack of parts or support from the manufacturer, I wouldnt care, but $69-$200-+ is a LOT of money for a flashlight, and for that kind of money I would certainly expect it to still work great in 5 years if I take care of it. Why shouldnt we expect that from our expensive lights? We generally expect other fairly expensive products to hold up over time, why would our expensive flashlights be an exception?


    Shelm: I agree with you in that I too seem to switch from hobby to hobby some times, and some times I come back to an old hobby again later on, once things have changed in that hobby and there's new stuff available. I even tried to get interested in lasers, but that lost my interest fairly quickly. There's only so much fun you can have shining a laser onto a stop sign or a tree or whatever before it gets old. Plus, more powerful lasers can permanently damage your eyes, and I met a guy who says his eyes were damaged by a blue 1W laser due to the "blue light effect", not by shining the beam directly into his own eyes by accident. Plus, with green lasers you run the risk of not only destroying your eyes with the actual green beam, but also with hidden UV rays in many lasers. You'd probably need to wear 2 pairs of laser safety goggles for green wavelengths and for UV to be safe, and and all it ever takes is just 1 mistake or one accidentally reflected beam into your eye for one second, and voila! Screwed up vision for a long time.....

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    Flashaholic* BenChiew's Avatar
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    Default

    Next time you want to spend $100 on a light, just make sure it has got Surefire on it.
    Because of their lifetime warranty, I will still spend $150 on a light they made 10years ago. I sent a first Generation light to them and they still had parts to fix it.

    Infact many of their old models are heavily sort after. I am sure no one will want them if they didn't have parts to keep the light going.

    As someone else said, the demand for a light does not solely depend on lumens. It is also the UI and other factors.

    Granted that many lights today puts out many lumens, it is not about lumens, it is how the lumens are managed.

    So do yourself a favor. If you want to spend $50 for a light, you can buy a new light from someone or you could get a used one from Surefire. Pickup the Surefire and save yourself from this anxiety.
    Last edited by BenChiew; 07-31-2012 at 09:41 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Quote Originally Posted by HighlanderNorth View Post
    $69-$200-+ is a LOT of money for a flashlight, and for
    good post, good thread.

    You know that paying much money for a flashlight (or multitool or car or ..) doesnt relate directly to the quality of the products, dont you? This holds true in particular for all typical China-made flashlights. Brand name China-made flashlights are so much more expensive because of the retailer's huge margin, so it's wise to try to buy them at the dealer's cost price whenever possible on Black Friday, Clearance Sales, or similar.

    Of course we want and expect better quality (longevity, ruggedness, higher build quality, manufacturing tolerances, lower failure rate, ..) when we pay higher prices; our feeling says so. But it's a subjective feeling only, nothing else.

    It's healthier for my mind to pay less for exactly the identical product and then also expect less. And the problem of out-of-print parts exists with most other products. That's why companies often replace the broken product with the current model during extended warranty periods.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic peterkin101's Avatar
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Benchiew View Post
    Next time you want to spend $100 on a light, just make sure it has got Surefire on it.
    Because of their lifetime warranty, I will still spend $150 on a light they made 10years ago. I sent a first Generation light to them and they still had parts to fix it.

    Infact many of their old models are heavily sort after. I am sure no one will want them if they didn't have parts to keep the light going.

    As someone else said, the demand for a light does not solely depend on lumens. It is also the UI and other factors.

    Granted that many lights today puts out many lumens, it is not about lumens, it is how the lumens are managed.

    So do yourself a favor. If you want to spend $50 for a light, you can buy a new light from someone or you could get a used one from Surefire. Pickup the Surefire and save yourself from this anxiety.
    +

    Assumes of course that Surefire doesn't do an Inova and move out to China,then refuse to honour any warranties.

    Sad but true.
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    I budget for duplicates and even triplicates ...

    I don't count them as part of my collection but most of my lights are doubled, and my primary EDC is tripled up...

    Yes it gets expensive ... Quality > Quantity

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    +1 to all that Shelm already said (although I might still be buying a flashlight here and there in 5 years). And to add to this:

    With the quantity of flashlights I own, if one of them breaks down 5 years after the model is discontinued and I find myself unable to get a part for it, it might be a good thing. Of course, it would break my heart, especially if it happens to be THE one flashlight I've been favoring for 5 years, but I still bought the other lights for a reason. Might as well have a use for them at some point. At this rate, even if I lost one flashlight every 5 years by some big bad luck (I'm apparently very good with my lights), I'd still leave quite a collection behind. Mind you, I might sell some in the future, but I know I'll still have plenty left to fill the hole of any losses for a loooong time to come.
    Cataract,

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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    You won't really care in 10 years time, because the 28,000-lumen, fully dimmable, fully focusable implant built into your forehead and powered entirely by your blood sugar will render the classic "flashlight" little more than an amusing novelty from the past.

    And in 20 years time, when that implant starts to fail, you'll just have it removed and not miss it thanks to the zoomable, full-colour night vision upgrade fitted to your retinas by nanobots.
    Before CPF came along, a "flashaholic" was a man with a collection of trenchcoats and a criminal record...
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    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quiksilver View Post
    I budget for duplicates and even triplicates ...

    I don't count them as part of my collection but most of my lights are doubled, and my primary EDC is tripled up...

    Yes it gets expensive ... Quality > Quantity

    Do you buy doublets or triplets as parts lights if necessary?

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Quote Originally Posted by shelm View Post
    good post, good thread.

    You know that paying much money for a flashlight (or multitool or car or ..) doesnt relate directly to the quality of the products, dont you? This holds true in particular for all typical China-made flashlights. Brand name China-made flashlights are so much more expensive because of the retailer's huge margin, so it's wise to try to buy them at the dealer's cost price whenever possible on Black Friday, Clearance Sales, or similar.

    Of course we want and expect better quality (longevity, ruggedness, higher build quality, manufacturing tolerances, lower failure rate, ..) when we pay higher prices; our feeling says so. But it's a subjective feeling only, nothing else.

    It's healthier for my mind to pay less for exactly the identical product and then also expect less. And the problem of out-of-print parts exists with most other products. That's why companies often replace the broken product with the current model during extended warranty periods.
    Well, paying more money for a product is usually decided upon for the express purpose of getting a better quality product, most of the time at least. But then there's also buying something expensive just for the name, even if it really isnt much better at performing a particular task than the cheaper model(see Seiko watch versus Rolex). I'm not really into paying more for a name, especially if that name brand is often of less quality than the cheaper options(see Surefire lights). I understand that there is a higher likelihood that you will be able to find parts for your Surefire light vs a Chinese light in 5-7 years, but that also brings us back to the obsolete argument, because there are many Surefire lights you can buy new right now that are already obsolete compared to many cheaper Chinese lights. I'd rather pay $100 for an up to date Chinese light with the chance that I may not be able to easily get parts for it in 5 years, vs. paying $200+ for a Surefire light with outdated LED and circuitry, even though i might have a "better" chance of being able to find parts for it in 5 years. Chances are, those SF parts will be no less overpriced than the flashlight was in the 1st place! AND, by then the SF light will be REALLY outdated......

    I always search around to find sale prices on every light I buy, and I always use the 10% off coupon code. But aside from that, and aside from buying a used light, how can you get a light for less than MSRP or for dealer's cost(unless you are a dealer)?


    To what Cataract said: Like you, even if I lost a light, or couldnt get parts for another light, I'd still have plenty of backup lights, so the idea of really needing to be able to find parts in 5 years doesnt really apply to me in a significant way, but like you mentioned, you dont want your favorite light to go down, but Murphy's law dictates that will probably be the very light that DOES break down, so it would be nice to know you can still get parts. I'm sure some of the Chinese companies, especially the ones that design their lights in America or have gone to the trouble to open US customer service centers, might very well keep a stock of parts for older lights, or even continue producing parts for them.

  24. #24

    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Quote Originally Posted by HighlanderNorth View Post
    how can you get a light for less than MSRP or for dealer's cost(unless you are a dealer)?
    if you're good friends with a major dealer, he would let you know what his cost is. and he is allowed to give you a personal, non-advertised discount

  25. #25
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    I would worry about modern AA based lights that take 4->8 batteries in a special holder. Seems like a throw away light if it breaks after a few years.

    I have a large batch of different quarks that are all mix and match (assuming 4Sevens was not around).

  26. #26

    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    This is a very interesting question (thanks for posting it and making me think about it!). I hadn't given it too much thought until now, but now that I am, I think I'm going to do what I usually do.

    I'm going to be keeping my Malkoff MD2's and HDS clickies for the long term. When funds permit, I'm going to buy an extra complete host for each MD2, a couple lens/o-ring sets, and a body/switch/lens for the HDS. I don't think the LED's are going to go out too soon, and hopefully the bodies will remain intact, but I can see needing to replace the o-rings, lens, and clicky over the next 5 years or so.

    Past that horizon, I'll just have to wait and see how things change in the world of flashlights over the next 5 - 10 years.

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* Brasso's Avatar
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    We're approaching a limit of diminishing returns in regards to flashlights anyway. No one needs a pocket light to go over 200 lumens. We have them now going up to 800. Nice, but way overkill. There just isn't any need to go higher other than pure fun. And that's OK. Most of the lights I have right now will still be here in 10 years and running strong. If not, who cares. I'lll be able to get the same thing at Walmar for .99 in the checkout isle.

    The next big thing is going to be super high efficiency and long run times, or most likely, new and imporoved battery technology.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default

    Lights that are worthy of fixing will be serviced by the owners with used parts from the Internet. Others will be tossed in the garbage.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brasso View Post
    We're approaching a limit of diminishing returns in regards to flashlights anyway. No one needs a pocket light to go over 200 lumens. We have them now going up to 800. Nice, but way overkill. There just isn't any need to go higher other than pure fun. And that's OK. Most of the lights I have right now will still be here in 10 years and running strong. If not, who cares. I'lll be able to get the same thing at Walmar for .99 in the checkout isle.

    The next big thing is going to be super high efficiency and long run times, or most likely, new and imporoved battery technology.

    Sacriledge....I am waiting on that 420 Lumens per Watt Neutral LED.
    Last edited by Scubie67; 07-31-2012 at 03:13 PM.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: What happens in 5-10 years when you need a part for your LED light?

    Brasso, I think you've hit the nail on the head. I have a couple of lights in the $40-$50 USD range that I use a lot, but won't get broken up about if they break and can't be fixed. Right now I'm planning on spending about $150 USD for a nice really bright light just so I have it to play with. I'm getting it from a vendor that everyone says good things about and that has a good record with me, but if in five years they are gone or have no parts for my discontinued toy, I will still have gotten my pleasure from it, and in my mind $30/yr is cheap for the fun I'll have had with it.
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