6V "Lantern" Battery Lights - History? Anything good?

GarageBoy

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I totally forgot about these until I was cleaning out my office and found some old 6V lantern batteries lying around (garbage)

I'm guessing these were popular because it of their high capacities? But seems like every light out there that uses them are worth less than the battery itself? Were there any "good" lights/lanterns that used them, or did they come out at the same time as those molded plastic lights with the built in D handle? Also, I always thought it was funny that I've never seen a camp style lantern use a "lantern" battery
 

xxo

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There's a lot of history with 6V lanterns going back to the '30's. In the 60's through the 80's the eveready No. 108 floating lantern (AKA All American and Dolphin Mk1) was very popular because it it had a bright and throwy beam with good runtime and reliability (no need to smack it to get it to light up like you had to with most of the cheap 2D lights around back then).


There were also a lot of camp lanterns for area lighting, such as the rayovac No. 100 "table lamp"


The popularity of the 6V lanterns began to wane when Maglites and alkaline batteries became widely available in the 80's. But they are still being made today.

One of the most rugged 6V lanterns was the rayovac heavy duty industrial lantern which is a 110 lumen LED with a kick stand so that you can use it as a work light when set on the ground. Mine came with a 4D to 6V adapter, but it will also run on 6V batteries.

 

Lynx_Arc

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I still have one 6V lantern with a 4D adapter in it but the batteries started getting weak luckily I bought 2 6V LED PR base bulbs and had a warm white one that I got to work with it by flipping the batteries upside down in the carrier.
 

hsa

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This one will out throw many modern lights.
 

GarageBoy

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Hmm, that brinkmann does not seem to be available new anymore, but that's an interesting reflector set up.

Xxo, so that Eveready 108 is the shape I associate with 6v batteries. That lantern lamp is definitely a unique set up. After finding crappy 2D slide switch lights in the office, I see why 6v lanterns were a hit (also see why maglites we're so revolutionary). I even retrofitted it with an LED drop in (which lost a lot of output and flickered from the slide switch being dirty)
 

bykfixer

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A 6 volt lantern battery definitely out lasted a pair of D cells. Trouble was they were pricey so the average consumer put up with wack a palm round lights. An 8 pack of 9 lives batteries was less than one lantern battery.
 

Dave_H

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None of the few 6v lanterns I have (had) are that great, nor do the brands matter. One was a showerhead. Another was a bulb retrofit with Dorcy 3-4 cell (sub-1W) bayonet base which were popular a decade ago; not overly bright and the beam pattern and CCT changed.

I've been running down "recovered" (free) 6v lantern batteries, and opening them up to check inside. Duracell alkaline used four D cells with false bottom, as did at least one other brand. One which was house brand of a Canadian retailer actually used full-size H cells which are 1.5 times longer than D.

Zinc-carbon are not worth opening but did so anyway; they seem to use full-size cells.

A couple of batteries had 1-2 bad cells with the others either nearly or completely good. May have been a function of how long they were sitting around before I got them. Nevertheless, another example of having to discard something only partly used up, and buy more (but not in my case). I do have/use 4D holders, allows free use of cells, or a 1-4 cell holder for powering something else.

Dave
 

xxo

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One of the OG 6V lanterns was the Delta Electric Powerlite which was popular from c.1933 until the plastic lanterns like the no. 108 came out in the 1960's.




Was also used by the military as the MX-290/GV.

 

broadgage

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One of the best lights for this battery was IMHO the UK Ever Ready "power beam lantern" no longer made but good used examples turn up regulary on fleabay.
This light used a pair of 6 volt batteries in parallel and a 5.4 volt 0.5 amp bulb. Run time on zinc carbon batteries was dozens of hours. A 4.75 volt volt 0.5 amp bulb gave an improved light at the cost of reduced bulb life.

I still use one today, with an LED bulb.
I also have a modded example that uses 6 alkaline D cells 3S/2P and a 3.8 volt 0.3 amp bulb. That gives well over 100 hours service on one set of cells.
 

lunas

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I totally forgot about these until I was cleaning out my office and found some old 6V lantern batteries lying around (garbage)

I'm guessing these were popular because it of their high capacities? But seems like every light out there that uses them are worth less than the battery itself? Were there any "good" lights/lanterns that used them, or did they come out at the same time as those molded plastic lights with the built in D handle? Also, I always thought it was funny that I've never seen a camp style lantern use a "lantern" battery
I have Rayovak Lantern Sportsman 360 Large Camping Lanterthatus 4 of those bad boys I have been planning on modding it to run off a Lipo and I may add USB ports to charge phones off it in addition to changing,the florescent to led.
 
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Lynx_Arc

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I have modded a 4AA incan lantern long ago before luxeons were cheap with 4x5mm LED and a CCFL tube. With todays lithium ion tech and LEDs that are 4-5 times more energy efficient plus circuitry that is able to run them at sub lumen levels the need to have a large 6V sized lantern is gone. I will likely put the incan bulb back in my 6V lantern and toss it in a charity bin when the batteries give out that try to adapt it because I found a 2x18650 lantern/light with power bank function that is a lot more useful than the 6V lantern ever was. I also have a half dozen power banks that are in the 10,000 to 15,000mah range and my new lantern/lights also has power bank function on it. With all the tool batteries and a USB adapter I have about 50,000mah at 20V in a dozen batteries enough to charge a bucket full of phones.
 

xxo

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The Eveready Dolphins are legend in Australia. The Mark 1 Dolphin (1967) was essentially the same as the No. 108 All American, but Mark 2 (1972) through Mark 6 (2012) and the "New Dolphin" (2016) were designed for the Australian market. Over the years more than 20 million were sold in Australia and New Zealand.


 

Bicycleflyer

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I cannot contribute to the history, but this does remind me of my first “good” flashlight. Back-in the early 80s ( 1981 or 1982) I used to run fur traps. I would get up at 0430 before school to go check them. It didn’t matter the weather, I had to go. I saved my money and bought myself one of those sealed beam lights. I don’t remember the voltage, but the battery had two threaded terminals and you attached it to a handle/ light assembly. I found some old rope and made a sling for it. I would carry it over my shoulder. My first hands-free set up. It had really good throw and as I approached a set, I would just shine the light and if a set of eyes looked back at me, I had something. I would then approach carefully as we had plenty of skunks in the area. This is where that light really shines (pun intended) as I could identify the animal while still out of range. One morning I saw something at the edge of a field I was about to walk… that light lit up a bear.. paid for itself right then and there.

Compared to some lights I have now, it’s not nearly as bright or throws nearly as far. But in its day it was something special.. to me at least.
 

xxo

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I cannot contribute to the history, but this does remind me of my first “good” flashlight. Back-in the early 80s ( 1981 or 1982) I used to run fur traps. I would get up at 0430 before school to go check them. It didn’t matter the weather, I had to go. I saved my money and bought myself one of those sealed beam lights. I don’t remember the voltage, but the battery had two threaded terminals and you attached it to a handle/ light assembly. I found some old rope and made a sling for it. I would carry it over my shoulder. My first hands-free set up. It had really good throw and as I approached a set, I would just shine the light and if a set of eyes looked back at me, I had something. I would then approach carefully as we had plenty of skunks in the area. This is where that light really shines (pun intended) as I could identify the animal while still out of range. One morning I saw something at the edge of a field I was about to walk… that light lit up a bear.. paid for itself right then and there.

Compared to some lights I have now, it’s not nearly as bright or throws nearly as far. But in its day it was something special.. to me at least.
Could have been an Eveready Big Jim lantern or a similar light from rayovac or other brands. The Big Jim batteries had 8 1.5V F cells inside instead of 4 for the typical spring terminal lantern battery.
 

watt4

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I added a few of these lights (LED) after buying some rechargeable 6V batteries on clearance.

has anyone done runtime tests, either with original LED or with a dorcy 40 lumen drop-in?
 

xxo

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I added a few of these lights (LED) after buying some rechargeable 6V batteries on clearance.

has anyone done runtime tests, either with original LED or with a dorcy 40 lumen drop-in?
I got more than 25 hrs on AA eneloops in a ROV 35 lumen LED lantern like this:


They claim 120 hrs on the "general purpose" 6V lantern battery it came with, which seems about right. I would expect run time to be about double on 4 alkaline D cells or an alkaline 6V with 4 D cells inside - a alkaline 6V with 4 F cells inside should run about 20% longer.
 
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