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Thread: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

  1. #1

    Default Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Letís have a discuss why a flashlight need SOS mode.
    Some one believe in it is annoying.
    its an annoying add on, what are the chances youll need it.. and what are the chances some one who sees it will know what it is? (from other forum)
    Other think it is useful. It will help us when I we lost or meet some other problem.
    What do you think so?
    Do you consider this problem when you choose the flashlight?
    Best regards,

  2. #2

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    I have rarely used one, but I am neutral as to whether they should be on a flashlight or not. It's not a deal-breaker for me.

    I see two uses:

    1) Attracting the attention of first responders that have been summoned, when there is lots of light pollution around.

    2) Trying to find someone in a huge crowd at night is made easier when you have told them on the cellphone that you have a strobe mode going.

    Please always keep in mind that certain individuals with Epilepsy can have seizures induced by strobes, so reason #2 above is morally problematic.

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* Str8stroke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Halloween decorations
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    ​ZOMBIES!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    I don't mind it as long as it is buried and I can't accidentally activate it. You never know if you will need it. Chances are you will never once use it. However, I think you will be glad you had it if you needed it. Whether people know what it is or not, it will attract the attention of searchers.


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    Au Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Its an odd question as to what the use of an SOS signal is for...its self explanatory.

    Its for signaling that you need help....its the international signal of distress.

    Will you need it?

    If you needed to signal that you needed help, sure...but, hopefully, you won't. Some people carry emergency supplies such as paracord, fire starters, signal mirrors, etc...and never need it. WHY do they carry them? Well, IN CASE they need them. Its like a life insurance policy...you HOPE you didn't need it.


  6. #6

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    I like the idea of having a strobe. I think the idea of SOS is gemiki. All the benefits that "SOS" offers can be accomplished by any other strobe. Only place I can see a difference is if you were trying to signal somebody who did not already no you were in trouble. But then the likelihood that they would recognize SOS is unlikely. Personally I wish there was a way to deactivate the blinky on my PD35.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eagles1181 View Post
    I like the idea of having a strobe. I think the idea of SOS is gemiki. All the benefits that "SOS" offers can be accomplished by any other strobe. Only place I can see a difference is if you were trying to signal somebody who did not already no you were in trouble. But then the likelihood that they would recognize SOS is unlikely. Personally I wish there was a way to deactivate the blinky on my PD35.

    Eagle
    A search team would recognize SOS, as its an international signal.

    I'd bet that if had a flashlight, period, and shined it at a helicoptor searching for you, they'd see your light and investigate.

    If I was not probably being searched FOR though...a passing aircraft, etc....would see a light, and, to them, it would just be a camper, etc. If strobing, still, it doesn't mean anyone is in trouble.

    SOS though MEANS you need help, and, a passing craft would KNOW you needed help.

  8. #8

    Default Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    I'd you got stranded on a desert Island, you could leave it signalling away automatically. Better than spelling out SOS with coconuts on the beach. Bet Tom Hanks would have found it handy in castaway

    Edit: come to think about it, any one for a run time test on SOS mode?
    Last edited by Mr Floppy; 06-18-2015 at 06:26 AM.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* 5S8Zh5's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Watch the movie Panic Room. .....

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Strobe, yes. SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOS, no. Most I've seen do not do SOS, they do the SOSOSOSOSOSOS, which is meaningless.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    I believe SOS mode would last longer over strobe or high.


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  12. #12

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by RWT1405 View Post
    Strobe, yes. SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOS, no. Most I've seen do not do SOS, they do the SOSOSOSOSOSOS, which is meaningless.
    Yes because the search crews would have no idea what OSO means. Seriously though, there was one light that I had that was SOSSOS. The time for the six dits I think could be a bit too long although still pretty hard to mistake it for anything else

  13. #13

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by Berneck1 View Post
    I believe SOS mode would last longer over strobe or high.
    Well I tried to get some tail cap draw readings on a L2D just out of curiosity and it is pretty damn hard to do. Looks like it needs to be graphed with a fine resolution.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    All the SOS modes I've seen are SOOOOOO slow, almost to the point where I feel a person in a plane flying over could mistaken it for some weather anomaly, reflection or just their eyes playing tricks on them.
    GOOD TINT!

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    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    IMO flashlights don't need SOS. Unfortunately we are stuck with this being included again and again as light manufacturers seem to think that not having it will mean people won't buy their light.

    Even strobe has limited purpose, unless you are a LEO or in the military. Again and again they are added.

    Cheap lights are the worst as at least on the better quality lights these modes are usually better hidden so you only get them when you really want them.

    The ONLY flashing mode I like is a beacon. I've set this up in a tent to guide me back to it and in a vehicle I've parked off-road again to guide me back.

    Using SOS for anything other than attracting rescue in dire circumstances is very bad, and using it to attract a friend in a crowd is not acceptable. Using the light on normal steady output and waving it around will be just as good as using SOS, probably better.
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by markr6 View Post
    All the SOS modes I've seen are SOOOOOO slow, almost to the point where I feel a person in a plane flying over could mistaken it for some weather anomaly, reflection or just their eyes playing tricks on them.
    Eagletac has multiple speeds on the same flashlights, in many cases. Slow SOS, and fast. The fast one probably takes under two seconds for the entire sequence.

    I do want strobe, but I could take or leave SOS - don't really care. It is very unlikely to be needed (and even if it was needed, there are other options), and not everyone would know what it meant anyway. Strobe is much better at grabbing attention than anything else, in my opinion, and is genuinely useful. Yet another thread about it was started not too long ago, and there are all kinds of examples where strobe came in handy. I have yet to hear ANYONE say SOS was actually useful in a real-world situation.
    Last edited by thedoc007; 06-18-2015 at 08:09 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by thedoc007 View Post
    Eagletac has multiple speeds on the same flashlights, in many cases. Slow SOS, and fast. The fast one probably takes under two seconds for the entire sequence.
    I like that. <2 sec is what it should be IMO. Luckily all these modes are well hidden on my lights.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    Using the light on normal steady output and waving it around will be just as good as using SOS, probably better.
    Yes but your arms will get tired and you need to sleep. Which is why I'm now curious as to how long SOS mode runs for. How long do people get lost for these days?

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* RWT1405's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Mr Floppy, I'm sure you've done far more searches then I have, so please tell me your experiences where an SOS feature has ever been useful? Also, the SOS features that I've seen (and I'm sure there are many that are different then what I've seen) flash their SOS far to slow, for anyone to have any idea what it is. I'll give you my experiences, as a 36 year Paramedic/Firefighter, the last 30 years fulltime and in my time as a Flight Paramedic (so yes, I've done a search or two, in my time). Never once, nor can I imagine anytime, that SOS would be useful. Strobe yes, SOS no.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    If I had a boat I would want a flashlight with SOS for a mode.

    Anyone ever actually used SOS before ? ( for emergency )
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  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Someone on another thread mentioned that they had left their flashlight flashing SOS during a blackout in a major city for several hours, and no one noticed. I would guess that outside of the LEO, Military, Fire/EMS/Scout community there are very few people today who could even tell you the Morse code for SOS, let alone quickly recognize it.

    I believe that someone's marketing department was brainstorming on features for a new light. Someone probably said it should have a momentary button so the user could use it to send code like SOS. Someone else said let's make it easy and program an SOS mode so they just have to turn it on. They all thought that was a great idea so it became a feature. Once their light hit the market everyone else rushed to do the same so that hey could claim that feature too.

    How many of you remember the design wars with American cars in the late 50s and 60s. Someone put a little fin on the tail of one model the first year. The second year everyone had a little bit larger fin on all their models. Then they started moving the tail lights up into the fin to make theirs different. It took almost 10 years for the fins to disappear again. It wasn't a matter of the drivers wanting the fins, it was just if you wanted the other features of the car you had to take the fins as well. Once the designers figured out that no one really liked the fins and could care less if they were there are not, they disappeared, never to be seen again.
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    I think the primary purpose would be to increase the number of modes for marketing.
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  23. #23
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Floppy View Post
    Yes but your arms will get tired and you need to sleep. Which is why I'm now curious as to how long SOS mode runs for. How long do people get lost for these days?
    The context of my post that you quoted was talking about signalling a friend in a crowd of people (as SOS should not be used). I doubt you will need to sleep while meeting friends.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by RWT1405 View Post
    Mr Floppy, I'm sure you've done far more searches then I have, so please tell me your experiences where an SOS feature has ever been useful?
    Actually, I haven't done any searches. I used partake in activities where I may be the one to be rescued but luckily I have never been in strife. The terrain I used to bushwalk in is actually quite forested and cliffs can come from anywhere. Before anyone goes into the terrain, the rangers give safety tips including signalling for help, and guess what one of the signals is?

  25. #25

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    The context of my post that you quoted was talking about signalling a friend in a crowd of people (as SOS should not be used). I doubt you will need to sleep while meeting friends.
    So I did. Sorry. There used to be regulations in this country that forbids someone from using known distress signals when they are not in distress. That or that's what they told the kids to stop them writing SOS on the beaches in the sand.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* RWT1405's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    My guess, Mr Floppy, as I wasn't there, is they meant someone clicking, by hand, SOS. Not using the oh so slow method that I've seen on most lights, as markr6 has stated earlier. But, if you want that SOS, so be it. Enjoy!

  27. #27

    Default Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Quote Originally Posted by RWT1405 View Post
    My guess, Mr Floppy, as I wasn't there, is they meant someone clicking, by hand, SOS. Not using the oh so slow method that I've seen on most lights, as markr6 has stated earlier. But, if you want that SOS, so be it. Enjoy!
    I don't recall whether they suggested a speed for the dits and dahs.

    It was actually suggested that you signal by shielding the light with something for those people carrying mini maglites as twisting and signalling is not as easy to maintain direction. Also better for lights with electronic switches and those lights that use double clicks to change mode.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* RWT1405's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Using your hand, to shield, makes sense. Enjoy!

  29. #29

    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    Let me try to think out loud in terms of pros and cons, based largely on comments above.

    The pros are that there's a small chance someone could be in a situation where SOS could be useful (arguably not, if beacon suffices). There's a small chance that someone would actually respond to that SOS signal (perhaps due to not understanding it or slow frequency).

    So, (small) x (small) = really small chance!

    Con is that SOS mode may be inconvenient? I can't imagine that it costs much to program in.

    I guess it doesn't bother me too much, but not really a selling point.

    As an aside, my autocorrect doesn't recognize "SOS"!

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Why a flashlight need SOS mode?

    When they sell lights as "TACTICAL", it means they add a lot of modes and UI features no one who buys them, EXCEPT REAL TACTICAL users, find useful....and even then, they may not.


    Tacti-Cool marketing is the primary driver if you will, of these drivers' UI.


    For example, LEO use often means come on at max or strobe, depending on THAT LEO's scenario.

    For a non-LEO for example, or an LEO who simply uses the light like a "normal person", coming on in high or strobe would not be as useful as coming on at a lower setting...possibly even a moonlight setting, etc.


    So, people buy a light that SAYS "TACTICAL", and then bitch BECAUSE ITS TACTICAL....and they don't like the tactical features.



    As for SOS mode, yeah, its like carrying a signal mirror you don't have to manually manipulate...and, yeah, SOME lights, did have it backwards...but the newer ones have corrected that typically.

    The ONLY time the SOS vs beacon, etc, MIGHT be worth having is if you:

    1) Are not able to manually signal due to time or positional restrictions, such as the way the trees are, needing to sleep, having your hands smashed in the crash, etc.

    2) You need to INCREASE the odds that some random person who sees your light interprets it AS an SOS (Call for help), and sends help...because otherwise, they might interpret it as just some random light being used below, etc.


    If you are KNOWN TO BE LOST, and people are searching for you - ANYthing you can do to help make sure they look where you are is going to probably work.

    IE: Your boat capsized in the open ocean, and you are in a life raft....its night, and you radio'd in an SOS before you sank....so the coast guard, nearby craft, etc....are LOOKING FOR YOU....ANY light will work, and they are very very unlikely to be looking for a guy in a life boat to save him, and see you bobbing in the ocean in the dark except for your OSOSOSO signal, and NOT at least stop by to see who the lost dyslexic was, etc. A beacon, glowing bacon, a strobe, whatever, it won't matter...if it increases the odds of distinguishing you from the background.

    VS

    You capsize as above, but you didn't TELL ANYONE...

    so, NO ONE KNOWS SOMEONE OUT THERE MIGHT NEED HELP.

    So, you're out with friends, and, maybe a few miles away, you see a light. You assume its someone else out fishing, etc,,,and ignore it. A strobe, a beacon, etc, they DON'T mean "SAVE ME!!!!!!"

    SOS means "SAVE ME!!!!" to anyone with a basic understanding of morse code (But, that's about it).


    So, again for people who might randomly see you, the SOS has a chance of saying that you need help, so go provide help...as oppposed to "what's that light over there?" "IDK, some guy with a flashlight goofing off?" "OK, hand me another beer..."

    They say "what's that light over there?" "IDK, looks like an SOS signal though, maybe someone's in trouble" "OK, lets go over there and check it out"


    Can you manually signal SOS? Of course you can...depending on your level of injury, and if you're too busy bailing water out of your life boat/trying to gather wood to build a fire in the woods, etc.

    Firing three shots from a gun/flare gun, and other traditional means of saying "HEP ME HEP ME!!!!" are common as well.

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