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Thread: Looking for recommendation for new flashlight+power bank

  1. #1

    Default Looking for recommendation for new flashlight+power bank

    I am currently carrying a PowerTAC E7 as an EDC in a belt holster, which I like pretty well. My biggest complaints are that I believe it is a soft switch, so there is always some drain, and it comes on accidentally sometimes. I've "solved" the latter problem by flipping the pocket clip around so that it covers over the switch. But this is not especially elegant. Besides that, it's just time for something new, but in a very similar form factor. So my criteria are:
    1. well engineered
    2. solidly built
    3. very good flashlight functionality (i.e. doesn't have to be best of the best)
    4. takes a rechargeable, replaceable battery (18650 seems about right for size & capacity for my purposes)
    5. charges via ordinary USB input
    6. has USB-A female for power bank functionality
    7. reasonably watertight? Not looking to use underwater, just want to be confident that getting it wet isn't going to be problematic.
    8. no parasitic drain on battery
    9. ideally, has modern charging circuitry to charge iPhones quickly


    I'm not super opinionated about type of switch, but ought to be reliable and hard or impossible to actuate accidentally.

    My first PowerTAC E7 had a weird problem, where the switch sometimes wouldn't work, and I had to remove the battery to shut it off. They did replace the light under warranty. I can't remember if they paid postage, but for sure they had to receive the defective light before sending the replacement. Hated being without my main light (yes, I have a backup, but it's a single AAA Ti something something, so not really in the same league), but I'm sure that's par for the course on warranty issues. Only problem with the new light is that the battery is *super* tight in the cylinder. They told me that's normal and OK. I've had it for months now (probably close to a year) with no issues.

    But since then, I've read some not great things here about PowerTAC, so would probably prefer a different brand. Though honestly, the right set of functionality is going to be more important to me personally. For instance, they have an E8 in their closeout bin now that seems like a great bargain. Not the light for me (I believe the E7 is a better light), but as gifts for friends.

    It had taken me a lot of web searching to find the E7, so I am hoping the collective wisdom here can shorten my search for a replacement.

    Thanks in advance!!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Looking for recommendation for new flashlight+power bank

    Hmm... not certain why I'm getting 0 responses. Let me try again by filling in the questionnaire, if my original post isn't the right way to go about this:

    1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?
    X this will be mail-order or Online (location doesn't matter).

    2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :-)
    X Up to $100. Could go a bit higher

    3) Format:
    X I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).

    4) Size:
    X SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches).

    5) Emitter/Light source:
    X LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)

    6) Manufacturer:
    X I want to buy a light from a large/traditional manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.
    X I would like a light from a specialty manufacturer (Possibly limited run/Custom).

    7) What power source do you want to use?
    X I intend to use Rechargeable cells based on less common formats (18500 or 18650 Li-Ion, RCR123, et-al).

    7a) If you have selected a rechargeable option
    X I want USB input for charging.

    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 not a happy experience).
    X I want to illuminate my entire backyard or a campsite (150-300 lumens).
    X I want to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens).
    X I want search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens).
    (any of the above -- current light claims 700 lumens)

    9) Flood vs Throw: Flood covers an area, Throw reaches out to a distance.
    This is a tough question. This will be my primary EDC, so I want it to do everything, even if it doesn't excel at any one thing. And by that, I don't mean it has to adjust between flood and spot; more that it doesn't matter that much to me (even if that makes me look foolish in the eyes of flashaholics)

    9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check 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)

    10) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims, but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries (Measured on maximum continuous output).
    X 90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)

    11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.
    X Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).

    12) Switch Size, Type, and location (choose all that apply):
    X Any size switch will do.
    This is largely true. I am not going to be picky about UI. But what *is* important to me in a switch is that in *not* be prone to being accidentally turned on, *and* that it be a true switch that disconnects the battery, so that the light isn't constantly using battery.

    13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.
    X I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)

    14)Material/Finish/Coating
    X I don’t care.

    15) Water resistance
    X IPX4 (Splash resistant)
    X IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
    Somewhere in the above range

    16) Storage conditions
    X Other: on my person, EDC. *mostly* room temp, but will be outside at times.

    17) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any/all below.
    The thing is, if I'm carrying around a good sized battery, I want to be able to use it as a power bank as well as a flashlight. I don't want to have to carry both.

    So, the PowerTAC E7 hits most of these points for me. The biggest strikes against it have to do with the switch. It can come on unintentionally, though I've "solved" this for the most part by reversing the pocket clip so it covers the switch. That, and the fact that there seems to be some parasitic drain.

    Anyone have suggestions? TIA!

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Keitho's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for recommendation for new flashlight+power bank

    I think maybe the dearth of replies might be because of the requested powerbank functionality. I think I've seen a few lights with this function, but I can't think of one off the top of my head that flashaholics would be proud to recommend. Your request is completely fair, and there might be some good solutions out there that meet your requirements. While I don't have personal experience with anything that meets what you're asking, I've solved the same problem with a slightly different solution than a all-in-one device. Please accept my apologies for a potential derailment from your request...

    I achieve the powerbank functionality with a separate device: the Folomov A1 charger/discharger. It is the size of a small USB cable, and can be used to either charge or discharge a Li-ion cell (18650, 18350, 21700, whatever) via USB. Very slick. I guarantee that my 1x18650 Zebralight SC64c plus that A1 charger/discharger is smaller and lighter than any 18650 flashlight with a built-in powerbank function, and probably a lot more durable as well. I carry it backpacking and bikepacking due to the functionality provided for such a small weight and size. I completely understand that a separate device has drawbacks that make it a non-starter for many use cases (complexity, likelihood that one device gets left behind, fragility of the A1, etc.).

    Again, apologies for not directly addressing your request. Best of luck!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Looking for recommendation for new flashlight+power bank

    No need to apologize, to be sure! That's an intriguing solution, and one I hadn't heard of. I prefer​ the simplicity of a single device, but you certainly make some good points. Thanks!

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