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Thread: need advice 12v spotlight

  1. #1
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    Brock's Avatar
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    Default need advice 12v spotlight

    Ok, I should really pay more attention to this, but now I need to get a good handheld spotlight. I will be using it on a boat at night, sometimes in the rain to spot scuba divers or lost items in the water. I want a pretty tight spot. If it is rechargeable great, but I have access to 12v to run it and or charge it. I am currently using a Brinkman Black Max, 1 million CP. Last summer someone set it down on and melted the front. It didn't have a very tight beam and was very old. I did use my M6, which was fine, the beam is pretty big, and it always makes me nervous using it in an open boat, and it isn't cheap to run.

    I was thinking something along the lines of Koehler-Brightstar LSI XL 1800, 2 million, wire only. Or maybe the RC 3800, 2 million rechargeable version. I donít want to get to expensive since many other people will be using it and it could get broken.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    Brock, I wrote you a long reply, and the dang connection dropped, and the back button didn't save my comments. Love that dial-up!

    OK, here goes again, I will be quicker this time . . .

    Inexpensive or Good? Pick one?

    Recently, it seems that I have been seeing all kinds of both rechargable and non-rechargable (edit 7-13-02 - I originally said non-rechargabe) 300,000, 500,000, 800,000, 1 mil CP etc lights at places like Wal-mart, K-mart Targer, etc, and not just in the Flashlight or sporting goods area, but in the Auto dept. So it is not perfect, but if it is bright, and cost 10-15 bucks, and it gets dropped into the water, well, you haven't lost an M6!

    Target sells several of the Vector line of spotlights. The nice thing about Target, is save your receipt, and if you don't like it, take it back.

    The 3 mil CP 2 bulb vector is really bright, but bulky. I think is was 45.00

    Of course, of the three lights that I have had personal experience with, I like my Optronics 2 Mil CP the best. Very bright, clean, even, HUGE, slightly oblong on the horizon axis beam. You can lock on or off the power, and you can remove the 12 v battery and use it plugged in.

    Of course the Kohlers LSI are supposed to be really good products, and they are a serious spotlight company also, so do consider them. Would love to see a comparison between the the LSI Kohler and the Optronics.

    Give Greg at brightguy.com and ask his opinion on the LSI Kohler and ask his opinion.

    Check out Cabalas and do a search on spotlights.

    Look around at Cabelas (http://www.cabelas.com) for a good selection.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    Come on! Other people must have comments on the "REALLY BIG LIGHTS".

    No matter how much you like your surge (I have 2) or your Brinkmann LX (again 2!) or your SureFire (none YET!) or your ARC (only one, waiting for the LS firsts!) or your Inova X5 (only one!) or your {insert flashlight you own here}, You gotta try one one these big guys!

    Yes there are limitations, but isn't that true with any light?

    (I just wrote this to get the post in the "today's topics"!)

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    Flashaholic* Mr Ted Bear's Avatar
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    Brcok,

    For the last 10 days, I have been doing many comparisons with the X990 several different all type the different name brands of spotlights. LSI is tops (xl 1800 or the rc3800), then optronics then you pick em (vector brinkman etc)

    I'm not really into spotlights, but I think the LSI use PIAA bulbs as standard issue, so the color temperature is higher, and definately look brighter.

    Brinkman, Vector e and all the others seem to be using standard H3 55watt halogen bulbs, so your paying for the packing and name brand.

    Just the other night we were comparing the X990 with a Walmat Brand X (made in China), and it was as bright as the Vector and Brinkman 1,mil cand but 1/2 the price.

    However, I understand how you feel about others using equiptment, and possible dammage. Because I was told it wouldn't break, I deliberatley knocked the X990 off a my work bench onto a concrete floor in my garage. Other than a serious scuff mark on the battery, its still clicking. The other thing that the HID light is the brightest of all

  5. #5
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight


    Hi Brock,
    This picture was taken about 2:00AM with no other lighting, the camera and light handheld, and some adult beverages already consumed. The trees are about 75 yards away.
    The light is a 1 million cp spot light from Harbor Freight ,on sale for $9.95.
    It comes with an AC charger and cigarette lighter adapter. The lens is glass. The performance is pretty hard to beat at the price.
    Regards,
    Greg

  6. #6

    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    The only spotlight I have so far is the 3 million cp Vector just under 50 bucks at Target. Can be used corded with the DC cord. It has 2 100 watt halogen bulbs and it is very bright. You can use just 1 or both bulbs, and has a nice little 15 hour area light. You can also use the DC socket to run other 12v DC accessories which might come in handy in an emergency. The major downside to this light is its weight and I wouldn't go knockin it off the workbench or you'll probably have a busted light. It does come with a shoulder strap but I didn't find it to be all the comfortable. It also doesn't have a constant on button you need to hold the trigger down Target also has the 2 million CP Vector light for 25 bucks which I believe has a DC power cord as well.
    Various Vector Spotlights.
    One more nice thing about the MegaSportSpot is it actually recharges the batteries while your using the light with the DC power cord, I'm not sure if the other Vectors do this but I would assume they would.
    Btw last time I was at Walmart about a week ago they had their brinkmann spotlights on sale for I believe $10 off.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    I agree about the weight of the Vector 3 mil CP light.

    Also, if it had a "constant on" lock switch and a pivoting head, it would be a much better light.

    Mr. Ted Bear, thanks for the review on the LSI lights. That will probably be my next toy!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    Thanks for all the advice so far. Ted Bear, I wish I could get a x990, but I don't think my wife would go for that and I would leave it in the boat and anyone could use / drop overboard.

    So now I am looking at the Vector ultra sport spot (126) or the Vector extreme sport spot (138). Or the LSI XL 1800.

    The LSI is not rechargeable, but that is the price range I want to stay in, and again I should have 12v available all the time while using it.

    So should I go with the less expensive rechargeable Vector's or the corded LSI? I am guessing the beam on the LSI is better? Maybe I would use the rechargeable more often then just in the boat?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    For the past two years, I have been using a Vector 126 and 127. Of the two, the 127 is by far my favorite. Even though it is only 6v, the superior reflector throws a cleaner and tighter beam than the 126. The 127 is lighter and better balanced. In the handle of the 127 is a low CP flood that will burn for days before charging. Both have received their share of bumps and drops, as a result the 126 is missing a handle. In the woods and over water where low level water vapor will accumilate (fog) the wider and loose focus of the 126 will spill too much light back to the user (bouncing off the water droplets much like a reflector back to your eye). IMHO, a very tight 1MCP is more effective than the loose 2MCP that the 126 offers.

    Stay un-plugged
    R. Brock

  10. #10
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    Thanks MrMom, that is the kind of info I am looking for. Can you plug the 127 in to a 12v plug for continous use? Or do you have to charge it with a 120v charger? Since I will be using it a lot on a boat I would really like to be able to use it pluged in to 12vdc

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* rlhess's Avatar
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    ============================
    edit 6/10/02:
    Nevermind...I ordered a UKE D8 that seems like a good compromise between run time and light output. I'm going to experiment with the 30W lamp that's supposed to only work under water...I ordered a spare lens in case I melt one.
    ============================

    Do any of you think the 137 Vector is similar to the 127? I like the packaging better...same specs, same price.

    A reasonable price/selection Target has the 139 for $5 less, but that light is toooo big.

    Does the 127 have a lock-on switch?

    Cheers,

    Richard

  12. #12

    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    The Harbor Freight spotlight is my favorite at the moment, but you have to make sure you get the shallow reflector version. Most bright spotlights now have a deep reflector and a wide spot. The Harbor Freight ugly orange shallow reflector spotlight has an excellent spot. If you need more power, strap several together and converge the beams. If you wire them together, watch out, the batteries and bulbs are 6 volt!

  13. #13

    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    wbamb, which Harbor Freight spotlight specifically? There are 8 or 10 and the only orange one I see is 12 volts...?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    Brock,
    What sort of boat are you using? If it's a Boston Whaler , or something similar with a console, something permanently mounted might be better, as it's always there, and not likely to get lost.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    The boat is a 16 foot, closed bow, little. Nothing really to attach it to and it doesn't have a canopy so it will get wet if it rains. It would be in the way most of the time, except at night, so I want something I can easily remove.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* rlhess's Avatar
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    Brock,

    Please see my review of the Vector 137CO. It's a 12V light.

    There is a 137Y listed here, but that site says it's a 6V light. It looks essentially the same--the handle countour is very slightly different. I have an email into Vector to see if they can tell me if the 137Y is truly a 6V while the 137CO is a 12V or if they're both 12V. Size, form factor, and the swiveling handle make the 137CO very convenient...and it's no slouch in the light output. I don't know how it compares with the LSI.

    The CO may be the CostCo version of it--and I hear it's around $20.

    The Vector looks a bit more water resistant than the Brinkmann I got.

    Cheers,

    Richard

  17. #17
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    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    I have a Vector VEC121R Compact Sport Spot that I got at KMart for $15.00. It puts out a surprising amount of light, and is rechargeable, with both AC and DC chargers. I was quite pleasantly impressed with the critter. It may be just what you're looking for, and at $15.00, if something happens to it, it isn't that big of a tragedy.

  18. #18

    Default Re: need advice 12v spotlight

    I don't know about you guys, but I've never been very impressed with any self contained handheld spot light.

    The ones that are rated "1 million CP" may start out that way when you pull the trigger, but then it's: 950,000, 900,000, 800,000, 750,000, etc. They seem to dwindle towards dim too fast, and battery life (or lack thereof) is nothing to write home about.

    I use a Brinkman "Maximillion" on my big boat. Why not? I have massive battery capacity in the bilge. (Two group 27 800 AH marine monsters @ 70 lb. each) It doesn't dim out since it's plugged into the 12V system, and the Max puts out a bright, even, somewhat peanut-shaped, beam. I also like the super flexible coiled cord. The switch is good too.

    Another thing... especially when running the boat one handed while looking for something... it doesn't start to weight a ton since there's no battery inside of it.

    On my little boat I use my UK-1200 since I carry only a 34 AH gelcell for the navigation lights. (it's outboard powered) The Maximillion sucks that battery down too fast.

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