12-Hour Blackout - Lessons learned - What light(s) is most useful?

KevinL

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Jun 10, 2004
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At World's End
A few years ago, variable power lights really weren't that common.. I believe my very first one would have been the U2. Sure we had the L1 and L2 back then but I bought my L1 only much later in the game.

The nice thing about the U2 was the ability to dial down, thru six levels, to reach the lowest amount of light needed to accomplish the task. It wasn't just variable-power to me, it was variable-RUNTIME. I actually got caught in a couple of power outages with the U2, and it was nice to know I had the "ride through" power as long as I managed it carefully.

Also, when caught in a pitch dark stairwell, deep inside a high rise building, and the emergency lighting isn't working (guess their lead acids quit on them), a tiny amount of light LOOKS much brighter than normal. I THOUGHT my HDS B60 was on max blast, while thumbing through the UI I discovered no, it was on a medium setting but looked so bright inside the stairwell. I wasn't in any danger but I had the freedom to come and go as I pleased while everybody else had to wait it out ;)

Lastly, even for non-emergency use, I'm finding this little gem of a light very useful:
Click

You will probably want to buy the hotshoe stand 'feet' to go with it. It's actually a LED light for video cameras, but to be honest I've never used it as such. It is way too practical to be confined to a video camera - when you stand it on its feet or mount it to a full lightstand, you have a very nice area light. Great for peeking inside computers, for a task light, for a table light, for virtually anything that needs a handsfree standing light.

Add to the fact that it's variable power, controlled by a (practically) infinite levels dial. While they accept some Sony/Panasonic camcorder batteries on the assumption that you are a videographer, 6 AA's does the job just fine - that's how I run it.

I'll do up a review on the light soon.
 

KevinL

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Oh yeah - on the topic of Internet access while power's out - buy a netbook with extremely long battery life, a big external battery (but that's useful for so many other things too) and a mobile broadband USB stick. The stick works on the 3G cellular network and draws power from the USB port, so you see how this will work. Or tether your iPhone.

A word of caution though, especially in an emergency situation: 3G modems and tethered phones place a LOT of load on the network even during peacetime. If you're in a situation where you are experiencing extremely slow access or are otherwise aware that lots of other people may need to place urgent calls, please be judicious in your use of such a luxury - you might be hogging bandwidth when someone needs help. Just something to bear in mind. 3G is a shared resource, and not designed for extreme loads in emergency situations.

Lastly, a true "lifeline POTS" (Plain Old Telephone Service) line and an analog modem works great - the lines are exchange-powered by your telco, and while a 56K is slow, it doesn't hog cellular bandwidth.... you just need to stay off Youtube ;)

Oh, and as a plus, if the power goes dead and you actually need to call to chat, call for help, call for any reason - yeah, chances are the hardwired POTS phone will work.

Most netbooks don't have built-in 56K modems so you might need to buy a USB 56K.
 

ElectronGuru

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Oregon
Oh yeah - on the topic of Internet access while power's out - buy a netbook with extremely long battery life, a big external battery

Another option on the Internet part is getting a desktop or server size UPS. The little cable/dsl modem + wireless router will run for hours on what a full PC can chug down in 20 minutes.

OT, I'm rather partial to this setup. Powered by any of 1000 configurations:


1sl7af.jpg
 

pseudoblue

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Malaysia
Affirming that the Zebralight H501w is a great lightweight, compact headlamp. I believe this can be really awesome in any blackout situation, especially when you need both hands free and where lanterns (which are awesome) can be limited at times. I have used it as a night lamp for close to a month period, just to test it out, I think I've ran it on low for 6 hours a night for 5 days before charging the battery again. When I used it for night hikes, running it on medium with night adapted eyes is sufficient, runtime's great.

I haven't experienced a blackout for years, instead I have to 'create' my own (like not turning on my lights at home when it gets dark...), go out and hunt the darkness, organize night hikes and stuff, test lights and come out with my own questions of what ifs. One of that question is I realize most of my lights are non-tailstandable, and how would I tailstand these without having the problem of them toppling down easily too. My TA21 (the older versions can tailstand), TK20, LD10 tailstands very well. If it includes no one to accidentally knock the table, or their hands knock it down when they reach out for something, that happens alot right?

So this is my lesson learnt (pic below). It can hold other type of lights well, even holds my Maelstrom G5 and TA21 for ceiling bounce and plenty of hours on 18650 batteries with the medium mode. This setup is used for photography light as well.
file.php
 

KevinL

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That reminds me, I'm too cheap to pay for a real Fenix diffuser, but what I did was chop a hole in the lid of a translucent film canister (you know, that stuff you used to have to put in cameras? Once upon a time? I know it's so last-century..)...

Works great :)
 

Solscud007

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Brentwood, CA Not LA
I did something similar. I used a white translucent film canister and super glued a 3M scotch tape core to the rim of the canister. the inner diameter of the tape core is just the right size to slip over a E-series light head.
 

jamesmtl514

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Montreal, Canada
Last power outage I tail stood my SF E1B, E2D on low. Kept my glo-toob lithium on the table.

I have since added a M61LL to a G2 for long run times.
I also have a FM34 that I can use with the 6P with M61.

+A few other lights for navigating the house.
 

WDR65

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Southeastern, NC
The one area that I've neglected the most has to be lanterns. I own one small 3AA RiverRock lantern that works ok for moving around the room but not so hot for cooking or reading unless its right beside you.
Aside from lanterns I've learned that MagLed's can be great for area illumination. I have several that I keep around for just that purpose, clipped to walls or in closets ready to go. While I don't use them much outdoors anymore their long runtime can come in handy in a long outtage. Also I wish I had an EOS II or even a I back during Fran or Floyd for that matter, it would have made a lot of tasks a lot easier.

If I had to choose what to carry around during a Storm I'd have to say my EOS II, my T1A and one of my L1's. That would cover both task and low output light and a decent amount of throw should I need it outside.
 

davidt1

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Sep 23, 2008
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The H501 is useful with it's 100% flood but I have a couple of things against it in this situation.

If you live with anyone the H501 will annoy the hell out of others with the light more often than not shining in their eyes. - If you live alone then not so much a problem. Ceiling bouncing is a great way to set a room alight with light without the occupants being blinded. But as the H501 is a flood light it will not be very effective used like this.

For me the ideal would be a tail standing light shone on the ceiling. Long run times would favour over total lumens. The AA form factor would be my choice due to the abundance of them being around the house, 2xAA would also be more choice of format for that extra runtime.

Away from flashlights.. I would suggest every home needs the Varta 300 lumens LED lantern (Rayovac Sportsman Extreme 300-Lumen to those in the other part of the world). It will provide much much more runtime than 12 hours without the fear of batteries running out of juice.

Since I don't believe you own a ZL light yet, I thought I would share my actual experience of using the light.

If people stare at a shining beam, they will get annoyed whether it's from a headlamp or a flashlight. There is a test you can do. In a dark room, put a flashlight on a shelf at eye level, turn it on high, stand about 6ft back, and look at the beam. I guarantee it will annoy you.

There are four people in my house. I use my H501 around them all the time. The beam on medium or low does not annoy anyone. The beam on high angled down at chest level does not annoy anyone.

Not limited to wearing it a on the head like most headlamps, I wear my H501 around my neck with the beam angled down and thus not annoying the people around me.
IMG_5188.jpg


No need for ceiling bounce when you already have a ceiling light.
IMG_4061.jpg
 
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etc

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I have always liked my 4D MagLED. Take reflector off and you have a torch that would make Indiana Jones proud! Those suckers have long runtime to boot.
.

I did just that but never found it all that useful. For one, it's all pointed at the ceiling. You need to somehow find a way to suspend it upside down, then all that Mag flood is pretty useful, say over a dinner table.

I ended up laying it on the side, but then it gets in your eyes when you walk into it's beam... I could never aim it just right.
 

Narcosynthesis

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Oct 28, 2008
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Does this make me unlucky or lucky that where I live seems to have incredibly reliable power and have not had a (noticeable) blackout in years?
 

Vesper

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OT, I'm rather partial to this setup. Powered by any of 1000 configurations:


1sl7af.jpg

This wand setup is my go-to as well (avail at overready). These work like a charm on my MD2 & MD3 hi/lo w/ Malkoff WLs or even E2L with F04 attached. Hours and hours of runtime and light as good as any dedicated lantern. Just for yuks i soaked one of the wands i have in strong coffee for a few ours. It now has a really nice warm glow to it. :)

Asides, headlamp is definitely a must, and another plug for the Rayovac 3D lantern. It has a very useful hook on the bottom. You can remove the globe and hang it upside down on the ceiling like a room light.
 

GreySave

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Erie, PA
Headlamp. Saint Minimus for general tasks.

For handhelds while I had it I liked the SureFire A2. Sold that light because I wanted longer run time on high and even though the bulbs lasted a LONG time the possiblity of one blowing always bothered me. Favorite choice now would be E2L for runtime and modest output paired with either a E2DL or LX2 for combination of high powered punch and long low run time. 4Sevens G5 would have made the cut with a different UI. Just do not lkike it for this particular type of task.

Lantern: Rayovac (Model name escapes me at the moment - 3 D cell powered)
 

dss_777

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Oct 31, 2004
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I used a combination of Malkoff MD2 on low, headlamps for the kids, and a propane lantern. Kinda had that "Little House on the Prairie" vibe for a while. :)
 

tolkaze

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Muswellbrook
Several bigger lights (like Mag 4D, or doliphin torch, or any big multi cell or high capacity lights) with LED dropins are always good. Tailstanding, or clipping or taping them to chair legs etc... any way of getting good bounce light. Then, its pretty much a headlight if you have one, and a small EDC like normal. I could last 48 hours+ with this setup using only enough light to be liveable
 

PayBack

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+1

Tailstanding is fine, but headlamps are more useful and efficient. Headlamps can -always- tailstand and generally have a more floody beam which tends to be more useful than a spot beam in a blackout around the house.

I've found that 150lm is a pretty good level for decent room lighting while tailstanding. Oh, and toilpaper roll makes a tailstanding light out of any light.

I've also found that set levels depress me. Its much better to be able to ramp up and down when you need a low low, or need just a -little- more light. It sucks having to jump of 5 to 20.

If the spot beam of a light is an issue when tailstanding, I suspect you're doing it wrong. There is no spot when tailstanding, that's the point, it lights the whole room down from the roof.
 

flatline

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Tennessee
Affirming that the Zebralight H501w is a great lightweight, compact headlamp. I believe this can be really awesome in any blackout situation, especially when you need both hands free and where lanterns (which are awesome) can be limited at times. I have used it as a night lamp for close to a month period, just to test it out, I think I've ran it on low for 6 hours a night for 5 days before charging the battery again. When I used it for night hikes, running it on medium with night adapted eyes is sufficient, runtime's great.

I love my H501w, but I have to say that the runtime has been kind of a disappointment for me. Since it's a flood light, I often run it on medium or high where with any of my other lights low or even moon-mode would have been sufficient. Because of this, I find that I need to change the cells at least twice as often as my other lights.

It's an awesome little light, but in a situation where runtime is paramount, it can't compete with something like the Ra or Quark.

--flatline
 
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