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Thread: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

  1. #1

    Default Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    Hello

    I spend a lot of time walking and sleeping in nature and rural parts of India where electricity is often not available and neither are there shops with batteries and if batteries are available it will be just the AA size alkalines.
    So I would like to find a flashlight that would have an option to run in some dim mode good for reading and orienting within tent or room but will work with hopefully single AA alkaline for hundreds of hours.
    So I would like to be able to select in maybe three levels of which the lowest will be under one lumen and highest does not have to be above 15 or 20 lumens. I do not care about the quality of the beam it gives, all I need is one very dim and maybe one or two other levels. Single AA will be better but two AAs are also option if it makes the flashlight cheaper.
    It would be nice if it is something like the 4Sevens Quark AA² but I will only need its first three levels of 0.2l/720h, 4l/60h, 22l/24h the above is too bright for my needs and I do not need the 4Sevens Quark AA² beam quality if I can find something significantly cheaper, some old model and older used flashlight is also an option.
    Can someone please give me some suggestion for the above needs and if possible point me to a place where to buy it through internet (it has to be shipped to Europe where I stay right now).

    Thanks a lot for any help

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    I don't think that many budget lights have low modes like that. Maybe the Thrunite Ti with the low low mode? It is a AAA light though and it only has two modes (very low, and higher then you need). Also, most lights have decent beam quality IMO so that isn't too much of an issue. The Peak lights could work with their infinitely variable output via quantum tunneling composite.

    What's your price range?

    Also sign up on the Marketplace, some of the lights being sold might be what you are looking for.



    Edit: Would solar chargers and a decent set of AA rechargeable batteries work for you?
    Last edited by Gunner12; 09-06-2012 at 10:22 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    I would also be interested in finding a relatively inexpensive flashlight with a long, low output run-time. Once my eyes have accomodated to the dark, it doesnt take much light to get around. Plus it attracts less attention and doesnt scare the critters away. AA seems to be very popular all across the world and as such, is the most easily available. I might be wrong about this however.

  4. #4

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    I have the same priorities on the low lumens as you, but I like having the high lumens as well. I also think it will be difficult to find budget lights with sub-lumens and sub-lumen lights without the high lumens. First off sub-lumens is more costly to achieve (needs a buck driver) and secondly sub-lumens are often viewed as a cultish luxury feature only worth adding after the high lumen prerequisites are met. I'm also not an expert on the budget lights, you should search and/or post over in the Budget Light sub-forum too.

    The three manufactures that use AAs and have long sub-lumen runtimes (as in multi-hundred hr per AA), as well as other closely spaced low modes, for when sub-lumen is not enough, are FourSevens (Quarks), Zebralight (various ?51 & 50? series), and now Eagletac with its new D25A clicky. But they're going to be in the $50-$80 range and all have high modes as well.

    The Eagletac is one of my new favorites and it's reasonably priced, and includes a 10-yr warranty, which might be fine for you located near HK but it's low modes are in two separate programmable banks (0.2 and 8 in one bank, 5 and 20 in the other bank) although reprogramming is pretty easy (tighten bezel 3x).

    The Quark is the best light for my purposes (Lego-able, full 14500 support, 10 warranty, US-based HQ & CS), but much of that may not be useful to you. The single cell R5 model will be the cheapest for you as well as having the longest runtime on low lows.

    The Zebralight has greatest selection of low lumen modes, a nice UI that lets you get to all of them, and a nice build quality, but I don't like that they don't stand behind their product with the shortest warranty in the business.

    The infinitely variable ring lights from Sunwayman and Jetbeam go very low, but magnetic rings consume power roughly equivalent equivalent to a 3lm mode and so it kills the low lumen runtimes. Thrunite makes sub-lumen mode lights and are reasonably priced, but I find they have huge gaps to their next lowest modes.

    Perhaps you should consider the used market if you want to save money... I know at least FourSevens will still support subsequent owners with their long warranty.

    Good luck on your search, and let us know what you find and decide... I think I've researched and tried all the best low lumen/long runtime lights, but I hope to learn something new.
    Last edited by reppans; 09-06-2012 at 12:51 PM.

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    What do you mean sub lumen needs a buck driver? With 1 AA, the battery doesn't have enough voltage to light up the LED, so it'll still need a boost driver to 1 AA. Of course, you are probably talking about 2 AA lights, where they might need a buck driver, or a very low duty cycle PWM. A 200 lumen light at 1:1000 duty cycle PWM will get you 0.2 lumen average output, but then the microcontroller might be using more energy then the LED.

    I also like lights with a good high mode just in case I need it.

    The 4sevens Preon P0 is a 1AAA flood light with sub lumen low, but it is AAA battery powered and only has 2 modes. There's an Eastward YJ J09 that might have a decent low, but you might not get the right light and you might need to add some thermal paste behind the LED, plus the driver might not be very efficient.

  6. #6

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    Perhaps my understanding isn't quite correct on the function of a buck driver, but the premise, I think, is correct - it costs more to run that low. This is from David of Foursevens from his sticky discussion on buck/boost drivers over on Marketplace forums.

    "In order to go to 1ma, we had to source a different microprocessor that would
    accommodate such a low current as well as add other components to support
    that low of an output."

  7. #7

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    Thank you people for the great and fast suggestions. I love this forum and its helpful enthusiasts even thought I am nowhere into lights as any of you you. I just need to see in the dark with budget longrunning flashlight.
    To simplify my needs I may say that right for some time I'm using very cheap Energizer x-focus flashlight for which I paid about USD 6 in a supermarket sale. I understand that is very much despised here on this forum but for me it works fantastic except one single feature. It is 2AA and with good Alkalines it works for almost 100 hours giving about 10 lumens of light. It may be bad built or substandard beam or whatever it is that makes flashaholics despise it but for me it is totally sufficient. The only feature I need it does not have is something dimmer level - it does not have to be sub-lumen if that makes it expensive. 1, 2 even three lumens will be OK as long as it makes the lamp shines at least twice long or use just one AA and have same 100 hours of light. It have to be AA (no AAA - not easy to obtain for me at most places) preferably 1AA but 2AA is not out of question.

    So do you say that having this one more lower long running level to extend the current 100hours/10lum will bring the flashlight from USD6 into at USD 30 or even more? If I have to pay USD30 instead of USD6 I will probably have to remain using what I use now.

    BTW it can also be headlight if that makes it cheaper.
    Should I post this same question into "budget Lights" section or into some other forum like budgetlightforum or will that bring it to roughly the same readers making me look silly?

    Thanks a lot people.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    Quote Originally Posted by niraya View Post
    Should I post this same question into "budget Lights" section or into some other forum like budgetlightforum or will that bring it to roughly the same readers making me look silly?

    Please, post here in the budget light sector and as many places as you can. Because the best I can come up for you is a Peak El Captain from Peak LED Solutions. You can adjust it (variable output) to a mere glow up to around 80 lumens.

    It does not have a magnetic ring so you can have very long runtimes, waterproof, bombproof, twist for output so nothing to fail, your choice of color tints and your choice of optic type as well as your choice of keychain or pocket.

    But that comes in at $59.95 USD, not what your asking for. Someone, somewhere knows of one such light so do not feel silly for asking.

  9. #9

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    Wow... based on the response, I guess efficient sub-lumen modes really do add to the cost of a light.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (pref. sub 1 lum) runtime level

    There may be some relatively cheap flashlights with firefly modes, such as the Thrunite T10 (rated at 0.09 lumen on firefly, for 147 hours). I've never had a flashlight with a low that low, so I don't know how useful it would be.

    The iTP SA2 Eluma has a low of 6 lumens for 100 hours. That might be higher than you'd like, but it does have the runtime, though it'd need two batteries of course. The ITP A2 offers a low of 1.5 lumens for 60 hours. The Olight i2 has a low of 2.5 lumens for 60 hours rated, still not 100 hours of course. The Olight i15 has a low of 6 lumens for 50 hours. You might be able to find the Olight i25 somewhere on clearance for under forty dollars: 6 lumens for 80 hours. The Balder BD-1 also has a min of 6 lumens for 50 hours.

    The LD22 looks like a great choice at 3 lumens for 110 hours, but it's $60 US, not really in budget territory any more. The LD12 is a one AA light that offers 3 lumens for nearly 100 hours, but it's around $50. The Fenix LD20 is under $50, and offers 9 lumens for 70 hours.

    The Quark Mini AA has a min of 2.7 lumens for 60 hours; the Quark Mini AA2 has a min of 3 lumens for 88 hours, which might be close enough to your specs to make it worth checking out.

    It seems tough to come in at a really low light level (moonlight of firefly) and a budget price; I'm hoping someone who knows more will chime in. I am still a newbie, but am finding that I like a low somewhere in the range of 1.5-3 lumens, because under dark conditions you can use it to read easily but also to walk around. Like I said I haven't had a real firefly mode light as of yet, and your eyes might really adjust to using something a tenth of a lumen for reading just fine.

    ETA: I think I've found the perfect lights (for me) with a 3 lumen low: Nitecore EA1 and EA2:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...EAMSHOTS-VIDEO

    They seem to be out of your budget range. It really is too bad they didn't build in an extra mode in many of these lights, around 1 lumen or so for multiple times the hours. I can definitely see the appeal of it.
    Last edited by KirthGersen; 09-10-2012 at 10:46 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (pref. sub 1 lum) runtime level

    I'd say the Thrunite T10.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    Simple reply

    Thrunite T10 3 modes, a High for 1h 30 mins a medium for 39 hours and a 0.09 lumen for 100 and something hours

    if you search google you will find a USA dealer with an offer of buy one and get a free Thrunite Ti

    Oh and price wise about 20-25 dollars, hope that hits the budget mark
    Last edited by Squidboy; 09-11-2012 at 03:05 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    Quote Originally Posted by Squidboy View Post
    Thrunite T10 3 modes, a High for 1h 30 mins a medium for 39 hours and a 0.9 lumen for 100 and something hours
    Minor correction-- I believe that's 0.09 lumens.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* gunga's Avatar
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    How about the lumapower lm31? $35, around .8 lumens on low.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    Will second the Zebralight recommendation. Just got my SC80 (can use 1xAA, 1xCR123 or 1x14500 rechargeable). Moonlight mode is 0.12 lumens and will run for ~700 hours on 1xAA battery.

    The Zebralight SC51 is even smaller and easier to carry than the SC80 I have (the SC51 is made specifically for 1xAA), BUT the lowest mode is 0.2 lumen rated for 384 hours on 1xAA battery, AND there is a potential problem with the SC51. Owners have reported that the switch on the SC51 is perhaps, too easy to turn on, and can sometimes accidentally turn on in your pocket from being bumped, which I'm guessing would be a bad thing if batteries are hard to come by and your light turns on and wastes the battery unintentionally. The SC80 has a modified switch which is far less likely to turn on accidentally (and the lowest mode runs for twice as long).

    Zebralight has some of the most efficient circuitry available for LED lights, meaning their regulation is very, very good (they can provide VERY long runtimes on low settings, as well as a LOT of light from 1xAA if you ever need it). Look at how flat the measured regulation is for the SC51 reviewed here:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...IMES-BEAMSHOTS

    Zebralight advertises a runtime of 8 hours on Medium mode for that SC51 with a 2000mAh Sanyon Eneloop rechargeable battery. The reviewer measured a ruler flat runtime of 7 hours and 47 minutes with the same type of battery, showing that Zebralight's runtime estimates are pretty accurate. Although these runtimes are with Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable NiMH batteries, keep in mind that the NiMH batteries produce better runtimes than alkaline batteries on HIGH modes because they're better at coping with the high battery drain on the HIGH modes, but on the lowest modes, the alkaline batteries can provide runtimes just as good as (and maybe even better than?) rechargeable NiMH batteries because the alkalines have no problem with the very low drain at those super low modes.

    Although it's 3-4 times the price of a budget light, there aren't many lights out there that can run for 700 hours on 1 AA battery. If you're not going to be using rechargeables with the light and ESPECIALLY when you're going to be somewhere that batteries are hard to find (I've traveled in India too. but they definitely didn't have LED lights like these then), I'd think saving up for the extra cost might be worth it (just be careful of pickpockets in the bigger cities in India. It would really suck to lose the flashlight to pickpockets).


    Max

    BTW, if batteries are potentially going to be that difficult to find where you might be going, I agree with the solar charger + rechargeables recommendation. You can recharge Eneloops hundreds of times and with the solar charger, you can recharge the batteries anywhere/anytime you can get sunlight (don't think that will be a problem in India).
    Last edited by bluemax_1; 09-12-2012 at 08:13 PM.

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    As a note, I stuck a past dead battery (under 0.6v) in my Zebralight SC51c, and it still lit up. It dimmed very quickly, but that shows that the light can run from a very low voltage. The main problem is that the battery might leak and damage the light.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    My apologies, to the original poster. I always try to read all posts before responding, but somehow missed the post where you mentioned using a $6 light and a $30 light being too expensive. I'm not sure there are lights in that price range with very low modes, and I would NOT trust one of the cheap lights from China. I bought a $10 MTE light once. It died within a month.


    Max

  18. #18

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    Thanks people for all the great suggestions, unfortunetely most of them are way beyond my wallet voleme right now. Regarding the trust in chinese flashlights, I do not know if the Energizer X-Focus I have is chinese but indeed it is very simple without any levels etc., but for 6 dollars it far exceeded what I initially expected from it. I have it long long time and never it failed me even in the most humid tropical rainforests. I just thought that if this 2xAA can run 10 lumens for 100 hours I would be able to find similar 2xAA equally priced lamp that will do something like 2 lumens for at least 300 or 400 hoursor at least 200 hours if it uses just one AA. Now it seems such option is not available at all (not even in some used Chinese low quality flashlights???). I cant't afford to pay 5 or more times for having some high quality flashlight even if it saves me money in long run, I simple do not have that money and will not have them in foreseeable future. It seems I will have to keep using my X-focus Energizer until it breaks and forces me to buy something equally priced. Anyway, I enjoy reading about the lights you suggests and their quality possible today and hope the prices will come down soon and bring one of these state of the art flashlight to brighten my nights here. Thanks and please keep discussing the topic - I believe it may be of interest to many people besides me.
    BTW can you tell me what may be the lowest lumen level that enables you to read book for hours in completely dark room without stretching your eyes too much. I am sure the 10 lumens I have is just much too much for that and unnecessary waste of batteries.

    Last edited by niraya; 09-13-2012 at 03:15 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (pref. sub 1 lum) runtime level

    I bought one of the Thrunite T10 lights, and can report I've very pleased with the price, quality of the materials and construction, and performance. I prefer the medium setting of 9 lumens (as rated by the manufacturer). The low setting of 0.9 lumens appears accurate (judging by comparison with other low-level lights I own). When my eyes are adapted to the dark, that level is enough to navigate in a known environment (such as the route to the bathroom at 3 a.m.), but I'd be cautious about relying on such a low light level outdoors, especially in a woodland environment, where the surface reflectivity of the trees, roots, and ground is low. In the forest, 9 lumens will serve you better. Finally the high setting is more than adequate for most EDC needs. I think you'll like it.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* gunga's Avatar
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    Hey, how about a gerber Infinity ultra? You can find em on clearance for around $10, I think 5-8 Lumens? Battery vampire, can keep going at dim levels for like 80 hours.

  21. #21
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    Almost all lights are made in China now, quality is more dependent on QC and specifications then where something is built. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to point you towards another forum (if so, sorry norm, please delete my post), but I'd suggest asking your question over at budgetlightforums.

    The Infinity Ultra could also work, but it is a single mode light.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (sub 1 lum) runtime

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunner12 View Post
    Almost all lights are made in China now, quality is more dependent on QC and specifications then where something is built
    Yes, I should have clarified, I meant the Chinese made generic, cheap, never-heard-of-the-brand lights. The Energizer is probably made in China, but with the association to a name like Energizer, they probably ensure the quality control so as not to mar their brand name with a poor quality product. Likewise, I've been using a Fenix as my EDC (Every Day Carry) light for years and it still works great and it's a China made light like most of the LED lights.

    It's those cheapy unknown ones that are potentially problematic. Folks might get lucky and get one of these lights that work great for years, or they might have it stop working after 1-month (like my MTE, as well as too many other folks if you've read complaints about them).


    Max

  23. #23

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (pref. sub 1 lum) runtime level

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveTheDude View Post
    I bought one of the Thrunite T10 lights... low setting of 0.9 lumens
    Correction: 0.09 lumens.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Budget AA light with very long dim (pref. sub 1 lum) runtime level

    It's approximately $40 on clearance right now, but it's a shame you couldn't afford the Jetbeam PA20: 252 hours at 1 lumen on 2 X AA. I personally think that'd be a good non-eyestrain-inducing reading level. 3 lumens is nice but a little overkill, and actually can throw a little bit and be enough for walking around, as I found out during a camping trip recently.

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