Which is the most usable and reliable manually-rechargeable survival light? I am looking for something that you either shake or wind-up (or ______?) in order to recharge... something that will give you usable light if you have absolutely no source for batteries...
(I assume that it will use LEDs to keep energy requirements low. That is why I am posting in this particular forum. If this is the wrong place to post, please let me know.)
The Forever Flashlight is a cheesy imitation of the original Nightstar. Unfortunately the current version of the Nightstar is also a somewhat cheesy version of the original. But you can find it at www.shakelight.com .
Those lights are not very practical as survival lights. Just what kind of situation do you imagine yourself needing one in? You're better off with a battery powered light, e.g. Tektite Trek Lithium. You could also consider a Swisslight:
A solar-charged light with really dim setting to last through the night would be a better choice. If you are in a situation that you can't find any battery, it may also be a situation that you can't find any food. Then preserving your body energy would come far more important than to have a little light around you---therefore, no shaking or winding!
I AGREE THAT THE FOREVER LIGHT IS A CHEAP COPY OF THE ORIGINAL NIGHTSTAR, BUT IT HAS A LITTLE BIT MORE LIGHT OUTPUT. NEITHER ONE OF THE SHAKE LIGHTS ARE VERY BRIGHT OR LAST LONG.
MY SWISSLIGHT IS THE ORIGINAL VERSION, A COUPLE YEARS OLD NOW, AND IT STILL WORKS GREAT. IT HAS THE SAME OUTPUT AS A LOT OF POCKET LIGHTS, AND HAS A GOOD RUN TIME. IT PUTS OUT MORE LIGHT THAN THE TWO "SHAKE" LIGHTS.
THE "STARWARS PHASER" LIGHT IS ACTUALLY A DECENT LIGHT.
YOU CAN FIND THEM ON EBAY FOR 15.00 TO 20.00. LIGHT UTPUT IS GOOD AND IT RUNS FOR A WHILE ON A “CRANK”.
THERE ARE TWO FREEPLAY LIGHTS:
THE ORIGINAL HAS A ZENON BULB THAT HAS 2 LEVELS OF LIGHT OUTPUT.
THE NEWER, AND SMALLER, VERSION, HAS A ZENON, AND 3 LED LIGHTS.
I THINK IT REALLY DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO USE IT FOR.
IF IT IS FOR HOME USE, I SUGGEST THE NEWER FREEPLAY.
GOOD RUN TIME, AND IT’S WELL MADE.
IF IT'S FOR CAMPING, ETC. THEN LOOK AT THE "STARWARS PHASER" CRANK LIGHT.
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING SMALL, THE SWISS LIGHT IS GOOD.
I ALSO HAVE A COLEMAN CRANK LIGHT. IT'S CALLED A SENTINEL.
IT USES A ZENON BULB AND HAS 2 LEVELS OF OUTPUT. IT’S A BIT LARGER THAN THE “PHASER” LIGHT BUT IT IS WELL MADE AND HAS A GOOD LIGHT OUTPUT. I DO WISH IT WAS LED THOUGH.
YOU MIGHT WANT TO LOOK AT ONE OF THESE.
I would choose an Arc-AA for my survival light because it puts out just enough light to use and runtime would be a more important factor to me than brightness or throw. Once again, you're in a "survival" situation, and 9 times out of 10, when you're in a "survival" situation, you wanna stay as "un-noticed" as much as possible. hooah!
Speaking from experience, I'd stay away from a rechargeable for a "survival" light. In a disaster or, lost in the woods, situation, good luck finding a place to plug in. Just ask the folks down in Florida. And the hand rechargeable lights don't work long enough on a charge. I wouldn't want to have to signal for a search party, while remembering to pump away at my light every ten minutes. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/help.gif[/img]
You are much better off with a reliable, robust, waterproof, and long lasting light. Look for decent output, you don't need to set the world ablaze. It does you no good to completely blow your night vision, and blind those around you. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]
Currently, I have a UK eLED 1 watt mounted in my Search And Rescue helmet. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
It takes 4 AA batteries and lasts a bunch of hours at the same light level. It is a bit yellow for my taste, but a perfectly white light is way down at the bottom of my list of priorities for this job. Remember to carry spare batteries AND spare flashlights. My new Nuwai 3 watt Luxeon is sexy, and my ARC AAA is small, but neither is what I'd grab in an emergency. My PT Impact also served my well during the blackout this year. In fact, I helped deliver a baby while using this as a primary light source. But I've replaced it with the UK, as the UK gives me a wider field of vision. An emergency light shouldn't have a tight beam only. You need a wide field of vision in an emergency. And remember to get something that works on easily available batteries. In an emergency, you might not be able to find AAA batteries, let alone CR123s. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/banghead.gif[/img]
Be safe out there.
The question of a light for "survival" out of a small bush plane in Alaska, was put to me by the owner. He wanted something for his bail-out bag in which he carry also the proper firearm.
We ended agreeing in three; A Princeton Tec Aurora headlamp, an ARC AAA and a Surefire E2e with a new high dome KL-1 head.
And of course some extra batteries and some duct tape just in case was needed to tape the Surefire to the firearm.
If I could have only one light and had to consider maximizing run time I suppose my choice would be my old standard Infinity. Another possibility which would provide very long run time on one battery is the Shorelite Vx1 on its lowest power setting.
Another vote for the Eternalight. Dim setting is supposed to run it for over 100 hours. You might also want to take a look at the Splashlite Led with a 3.6 volt lithium thionyl chloride cell (thanks Paulr!), that would run the light for 100+ hours. Take a look at this thread for more info from Paulr.
I vote for Eternalight as well. I use mine as a reading light every night and I get several hundred hours at about three clicks from the lowest on Lithium AAs. It's also just about unbreakable--as my kids who've thrown it against the wall and dropped it on the tile floor can attest. The top end version has a really bright overdrive mode that makes a Luxeon a luxury rather than a necessity. The waterproofness and buyancy are also pluses. Of course, I'd also have an ArcAA and a couple of coin cell lights for backup.
Just how do you imagine using this light? Really, if civilization collapses, flashlights will be among the least of your concerns. If civilization doesn't collapse, you must have some other idea of what you want the light for, and those ideas can narrow down the requirements a bit.
If you go over to www.equipped.org (a site about survival stuff), the favorite light over there seems to be the Photon II. They have a lot less emphasis on flashlights than we do here on CPF, since we're by definition interested in flashlights for their own sake. But if you have to ditch a plane somewhere, using that last few cubic inches in your survival kit for a radio locator beacon will help you a heck of a lot more than using it on flashlights.
If you're looking at this purely as a theoretical problem, a light I've wanted for a long time is finally being made by Peak LED Solutions: a CR123-powered LED light with a spare cell compartment. So you can use it without worrying about being caught out by the unknown battery state and without being left in the dark if you leave it on all night (once) by accident.
As for rechargeables, I really wouldn't believe that 500 cycle claim. I've used cell phones for many years and have never had a battery last longer than 100-200 cycles. Rechargeable batteries crap out unpredictably. They're still the battery of choice for heavy usage, but for tucking away in a kit somewhere, lithium nonrechargeable seems to be the best. (I don't know about the lithium vanadium cell used in the Swisslight--that may be different).
I want to buy something for an emergency kit that qualifies in the following three categories:
(1) you don't have to worry about maintaining it... keeping it charged... buying batteries for it... etc.
(2) its design precludes as many "oh no" situations as possible: oh no, the batteries ran out or the batteries started leaking or the batteries have reached the end of their useful life or the _spare_ battery died as well or there isn't any place to buy batteries (or maybe you don't want to spend the time to go and get batteries because you have better things to do)
(3) it's designed well enough to be usable in as many situations as possible
(if your cellphone lasts two years and you charge it every night...)
To sum up, off the top of my head I think the following lights would fit your mentioned criteria above:
1) CMG Infinity (non Ultra) w L91 cell
2) Eternalight w L91 cells
3) Heliotek HTE1 w L91 cells
Reason I mentioned these is because Lithiums will store for ages under extreme conditions w/o leakage and minimal discharge, and should you run out of juice, you can just pop in any normal AAs that you can scrounge from your other devices, ie clock, pager, etc..
Else if you consider 123 cells to be not that hard to find, then all of the above and earlier posts apply...
Achoo, I think the Shakelight is your best bet for those requirements. But it's not really that practical. Best is to use a battery powered light, store it with no batteries inside, and have several spare batteries along with it. Also, have a spare light or two. Lights can fail just as batteries can.
It's best to rethink the requirements. Your light should be part of a larger emergency kit and you should make a point of checking on it every so often, say once a year on New Year's Day or tax day or your birthday. (I try to make sure my computer backups are in order within a few days of every New Years Day). If you put a light somewhere and then don't check on it for several years, you probably won't remember where it is when you need it anyway [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img].
Where are you going to put this kit? In your home? Your car? Your plane? Something you carry all the time? If it's in your home, then you're not concerned about something to pull out if you're suddenly stuck in a cave, for example.
I have one and it feels just about indestructable.
Really though, you could do worse than to just tuck away a few of the $1.00 LED Countycomm lights once they're available again. They have good shelf life, reasonable runtime, and about the same brightness as the other 1x5mm led lights we've discussed.
I've seen several 'mechanical' lights were the mechanics will last shorter than an according lithium cell.
That means that some of this small generators of the size of a D cell will not give more than 50Wh over their whole life.
If you consoider one of the shake lights, you could also take a light with a Li-Thionyl D cell and an appropriate dim LED (I don't know if such a light is available from stock, but I know a few of them homemade).
And: All the SwissLights I know perfom nicely since years.
I've never seen an incandescent shakelight. Maybe you're thinking of the crank lights and squeeze lights, both of which are mostly (but not all) incandescent. The Nightstars are quite durable and have magnetic brakes at both ends of the tube. The moving slug normally never touches the end stops, so should never wear from impact. There may be a tiny bit of sliding friction but the slug is mostly just moving freely in the tube.
That said, I agree with everyone who says battery powered lights make more sense. If you can check your car's tire pressure a few times a year, you can check your flashlight batteries too.
I guess it depends on what you're trying to survive, ehh?
I actually have an insight M3 mounted to my Benelli M3, but I'll be upgrading to the X200 soon. I guess that's my 'survival' light, FWIW (although if you see the business end of THAT light, even for a fraction of a second, survival isn't the order of the day).
Even after all these considerations, I still vote for the Swisslight. It weighs practically nothing, so carrying two or three would be no problem (redundancy=good). No kinetic recharging, hell, no moving parts(!). The light has been in circulation for a couple years, without any real problems, so your emergency can be up to 24 months long...
Good posts, interesting thread. I think the best survival light is in this order:
1. The one you have with you.
You may buy a fancy light that is specifically designed for survival use, but because it is either too big, too dim or just plain too weird, it is not with you when the emergency occurs. Survival situations that you see coming from a long way off and have time to move equipement, etc in to place are not survival situations, that is called camping. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
You need a light that when the lights go out on the 40th floor and the stairwells are dark and slippery (read the 9/11 report), you remember you have a small flashlight ready to go in your pocket and this helps get out the building faster. A split second can seperate you from two entirely different fates.
2. The one that works.
If it is has fragile plastic parts, leaks, the batteries are dead, etc, you don't have a flashlight, you have post-civilization keepsake to amuse you while you sit and ponder your fate.
Super brightness, extra features, nice colors, etc. Those are all trim if you manage to have a light during an emergency that works.
You may benefit by staging some equipment for emergencies (bio shelter, bugout bag, etc), but that system should be secondary to the one you have with you at all times (your brain and a few other essential items). And you have to be practical, if you have so much gear that you don't carry it with you, then it is as if it does not exist. And you spent time and money on nothing.
Regarding the Swisslight, I wouldn't rely on it as a sole light source because of its discharge characteristics. When it gets discharged, there's just no warning that it's getting low, and will just wink out entirely, which could leave you in the dark.
If you keep it well charged and don't push it too far, it works fine, but you'd be better off with something that has a more gradual turn off characteristic if you have a critical need for light.
Despite the issue, I like the light; just have to keep the charge up on it, and it's not a problem.
When I get the chance, I'm going to do a run time test on mine to see just how long it'll run; I don't think there's any prior posts on it yet, probably due to the 10 minute auto shutoff feature. I'll just time it with my stopwatch to see what the auto off interval is, and just count the cycles it'll put out before no longer turning on.