Bought many $3 Chinese single AA zooms. What am I missing?

Needmore

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 12, 2011
Messages
20
Bought on EBAY. They must be great because they said Cree 5000 lumens ;) and were mailed direct from China. Think I have 13 now and stored around the house, garage and in cars. Using one on a pellet rifle for night critters. Actually I am about 80% satisfied with performance and 100% with price. I like the zoom for general purpose use.

So why do I think I'm missing something? Cause most of you guys happily spend $50-100+ and seem to do it frequently, so I gotta think I'm missing something. I KNOW my lights aren't 5000 lumens and I feel run time is pretty short, even though most operating time is 5 minutes or less between uses. I'm using Eneloop AA nimh rechargables.

Since these are working for me maybe I shouldn't press for something better. One thing that would help me figure that out is if I could measure the actual lumens my lights give. If I knew that, then I could easily compare run time graphs with other more expensive options. Is measuring light output difficult? Expensive? Appreciate your comments.
 

staticx57

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Joined
Dec 2, 2011
Messages
1,752
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NJ
Not missing anything. Some people just like paying more than they need to.
 

DIPSTIX

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Joined
Jul 6, 2016
Messages
292
Location
Wisconsin
Do you really think you are coming even remotely close to 5000 lumens with less than 2 volts and a single LED that costs less than 3 dollars? I bet you would be lucky to see 500. I like my lights to have honest ratings, to be durable, and to have long run times and i am happy to pay for honesty and quality.

You need a sphere to mesure light output and they are exspensive unless you make your own which i have not reasearched how to do yet but there is a thread on the forum to help.
 

Needmore

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 12, 2011
Messages
20
As should have been apparent with the winky icon and my comment saying I KNOW I don't get 5000 lumens, my real interest would have been to find some way to compare my lights to others with light and time graphs posted here. I guess that may not be possible without spending a huge amount for the measurement tools or buying a high priced flashlight or two just to eyeball the difference. Probably not in the cards.
 

hazard2036

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Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
134
Location
Sydney,Australia
Hey mate you can get a light meter fairly cheap and do a ceiling bounce test that will give you a rough idea of the output. You would have to compare a bunch of lights still. Borrow some lights maybe? Good light do not have to be expensive. Check out brands like Convoy and Hugsby and luckysun and Eagle Eye heaps of great brands that are fairly cheap. 1000 lumen for under $20.
 

Dale P.

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Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
30
For me it's all about quality. I need lights that will work day after day and depend on them for my job. I have several cheap flashlights of various brands and they all suffer from crappy switches and battery contacts. Most of the time they need a little hit to get them running which is pretty annoying and I don't trust that they will work when I need them. I'm actually thinking of tossing my cheap lights and buying a couple more lights in the $40 dollar range to have around for emergencies. One in the car, basement, etc. My good lights are for work so they are usually in the truck and not around for use in the house. I love the 18650 batteries but don't think they are the best choice for emergency lights. They self discharge in about a year and don't like to be stored in hot locations such as a car in the summer. I think my best bet is something from Coast that runs off AA batteries but will have to see whats all out there.

Dale P.
 

ronniepudding

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
674
Location
NY Capital District
So why do I think I'm missing something? Cause most of you guys happily spend $50-100+ and seem to do it frequently, so I gotta think I'm missing something. I KNOW my lights aren't 5000 lumens and I feel run time is pretty short, even though most operating time is 5 minutes or less between uses. I'm using Eneloop AA nimh...

For starters, if you're indeed happy with the lights you have, then you're not missing out on anything critical. With 13 of those zoomies scattered around, you're probably better fixed for portable lighting than 99% of the world's population, most of whom get by with the flash LED on their cellphone (if they're lucky enough to have one).

Also, you are clued in to the fact that the lights' specs you read on eBay are total BS, which is good and likewise sets you apart from the majority. So far so good :)

Now you could go through the trouble of trying to measure output of those zoomies... However, you should be forewarned that you're about to head down the rabbit hole. One of two things will happen:

1) You will complete your experiment, feel completely satisfied, and then move on with the rest of your life -- this is unlikely, because you already own 13 flashlights without even trying. Once you start putting money and effort into this, you're on the highway to hell ;)

2) You will figure out that the lights you have are only putting out around 100-150 lumens, and you'll feel sad. Someone will suggest that you put a 14500 battery into one of them to see how much brighter it will get... SO, You'll buy some Li-ion batteries and a charger. That will keep you occupied for a while, but then, after spending more time here, you'll have the urge to buy a better light to really get the full potential out of your new batteries. Just one light, you'll say. Highway to hell.
 

bdogps

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 8, 2014
Messages
618
Location
Melbourne Australia
Hey Mate,

As long as you are happy with the torches and meets your needs, that is what matters most.

I don't find the zoomies reliable and I bought one a while back and it fell apart. The tint was horrible, the switch wasn't always responsive, and no memory.
 

just like me

Banned
Joined
Dec 28, 2015
Messages
47
Bought on EBAY. ...

I am the same way with my cars, which I often get on eBay. They must be great because they said 5000 HP ;) and were shipped direct from the previous owner, and previously direct from 1984 Japan, Germany, Sweden. Think I have 13 now and stored around the house, garage and in the woods. Using one with a pellet rifle for driving down night critters. Actually I am about 80% satisfied with performance and 100% with price. I like to zoom for general purpose use.

So why do I think I'm missing something? Cause most of you guys happily spend $50,000-100+ (like.. 100 times what I'm spending) and seem to do it frequently, so I gotta think I'm missing something. I KNOW my cars aren't 5000 horsepower and I feel run time is pretty short, even though most operating time is 5 minutes or less between uses. I'm using gas, ethanol, and sometimes grease.

Since these are working for me maybe I shouldn't press for something better. One thing that would help me figure that out is if I could measure the actual horsepower and milage my cars give. If I knew that, then I could easily compare run time graphs with other more expensive options. Is measuring power output difficult? Expensive? What kind of vehical do you keep, Needmore? Appreciate your comments.

///
this limmerick works with everything that has a subgroup considered "high end," such as jewelry, watches, stereos, pens, guns, knives, apartments, houses, women and men. Everything is relative, we must not judge.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
CPF Supporter
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
17,639
Location
My own little Idaho
A Kia gets you to the grocery store just as well as a Rolls Royce.

I started with zoomies. Still dig 'em. But I'll say this, if you're happy like you are don't change a thing. Seriously.

As soon as you start paying attention to beam details, tints, run times, coatings, body design, lenses etc you'll be ruined like the rest of us here.

It's like the mob... once you're in it's for life.
Resistance is futile and all that....

If you have the cash... we'll help you spend it.
If not, get out now while you still can.

I'd say "welcome to the site" but see you've been here a while. You win the "most self control" award.
 
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lightfooted

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
1,013
Bought on EBAY. They must be great because they said Cree 5000 lumens ;) and were mailed direct from China. Think I have 13 now and stored around the house, garage and in cars. Using one on a pellet rifle for night critters. Actually I am about 80% satisfied with performance and 100% with price. I like the zoom for general purpose use.

So why do I think I'm missing something? Cause most of you guys happily spend $50-100+ and seem to do it frequently, so I gotta think I'm missing something. I KNOW my lights aren't 5000 lumens and I feel run time is pretty short, even though most operating time is 5 minutes or less between uses. I'm using Eneloop AA nimh rechargables.

Since these are working for me maybe I shouldn't press for something better. One thing that would help me figure that out is if I could measure the actual lumens my lights give. If I knew that, then I could easily compare run time graphs with other more expensive options. Is measuring light output difficult? Expensive? Appreciate your comments.

If you have an Android Smart phone, you have a light meter. Just go onto the Play Store and do a search. The apps depend upon your phone's sensor compliment so some will work better than others. They tend to use the light sensor that your phone uses to determine screen brightness. Old phones didn't necessarily have these but I'm pretty sure all recent ones do. Not sure if there is a similar option on Apple but I would suspect that there is.

Is it something to use for calibration or scientific measurement? Probably not, but it does give you a method of measuring sources and comparing them.
 
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ledmitter_nli

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Messages
1,433
A Kia gets you to the grocery store just as well as a Rolls Royce.

I started with zoomies. Still dig 'em. But I'll say this, if you're happy like you are don't change a thing. Seriously.

As soon as you start paying attention to beam details, tints, run times, coatings, body design, lenses etc you'll be ruined like the rest of us here.

It's like the mob... once you're in it's for life.
Resistance is futile and all that....

If you have the cash... we'll help you spend it.
If not, get out now while you still can.

I'd say "welcome to the site" but see you've been here a while. You win the "most self control" award.

:laughing: :wave:
 

parametrek

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
578
The $3 SK68 clones are a great bargain if you need cheap lights. They are the modern version of the 1980's 2D Rayovac. Better than what most people have, good enough for most people too.

But you did ask what you are missing in a more expensive light so here is a list:

  • Useful low modes: A firefly or moonlight mode that puts out no more light than what you need and goes for a week non-stop.
  • Prettier tint: Warmer tints punch through haze and smoke better than cheap blue tints. High CRI for actually seeing what you are looking at.
  • Solid reliability: Dual springs, heavier construction, switches that don't wear out as fast, potted electronics, thicker anodizing.
  • Waterproofness: Though it is not exactly fair to expect a focusable light to be waterproof at all.
  • Efficiency: By my estimates some of the chinese lights burn as much energy in the driver as the LED, halving the runtime on high. And the LEDs typically are poor bins with reduced efficiency.
  • Perfect beam pattern: While we joke about white wall hunting, the high intensity sideways glare that some cheap lights have is obnoxious.
  • Warranty and service: Not an issue with a light that costs $3 to replace, but it is something the SK68 won't have.
 

Str8stroke

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
5,032
Location
On The Black Pearl
If you are satisfied, you are missing nothing. Carry on. However, as you know there is a whole other world out there. To me, after you have the basics covered, it is about having fun. Enjoy the hobby as you wish. For example, I really enjoy Lego lights like E series Surefire.
Party On!
:party:
 

Lynx_Arc

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
Messages
11,212
Location
Tulsa,OK
You are missing the $1.50 AA optic beam lights and the 18650 zoomers and reflectored $3 lights too.
 

ronniepudding

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
674
Location
NY Capital District
The $3 SK68 clones are a great bargain if you need cheap lights. They are the modern version of the 1980's 2D Rayovac. Better than what most people have, good enough for most people too.

But you did ask what you are missing in a more expensive light so here is a list:

  • Useful low modes: A firefly or moonlight mode that puts out no more light than what you need and goes for a week non-stop.
  • Prettier tint: Warmer tints punch through haze and smoke better than cheap blue tints. High CRI for actually seeing what you are looking at.
  • Solid reliability: Dual springs, heavier construction, switches that don't wear out as fast, potted electronics, thicker anodizing.
  • Waterproofness: Though it is not exactly fair to expect a focusable light to be waterproof at all.
  • Efficiency: By my estimates some of the chinese lights burn as much energy in the driver as the LED, halving the runtime on high. And the LEDs typically are poor bins with reduced efficiency.
  • Perfect beam pattern: While we joke about white wall hunting, the high intensity sideways glare that some cheap lights have is obnoxious.
  • Warranty and service: Not an issue with a light that costs $3 to replace, but it is something the SK68 won't have.

Great list! Following "Useful low modes" - I'd add Good User Interface... Cheap lights often make you cycle through High in order to get to Low, have Strobe mode only an accidental half-press away, etc. Good lights (usually) have a well-thought-out UI which makes it easy to get to the outputs you want, and hides the modes that most folks use infrequently. In some cases the available modes are user-configurable.
 

peter yetman

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 23, 2014
Messages
5,100
Location
North Norfolk UK
The $3 SK68 clones are a great bargain if you need cheap lights. They are the modern version of the 1980's 2D Rayovac. Better than what most people have, good enough for most people too.

But you did ask what you are missing in a more expensive light so here is a list:

  • Useful low modes: A firefly or moonlight mode that puts out no more light than what you need and goes for a week non-stop.
  • Prettier tint: Warmer tints punch through haze and smoke better than cheap blue tints. High CRI for actually seeing what you are looking at.
  • Solid reliability: Dual springs, heavier construction, switches that don't wear out as fast, potted electronics, thicker anodizing.
  • Waterproofness: Though it is not exactly fair to expect a focusable light to be waterproof at all.
  • Efficiency: By my estimates some of the chinese lights burn as much energy in the driver as the LED, halving the runtime on high. And the LEDs typically are poor bins with reduced efficiency.
  • Perfect beam pattern: While we joke about white wall hunting, the high intensity sideways glare that some cheap lights have is obnoxious.
  • Warranty and service: Not an issue with a light that costs $3 to replace, but it is something the SK68 won't have.
You said it all Para, I can stop racking my brains to justify my Flashlight Fetish now.
P
 

ledmitter_nli

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Messages
1,433
Nobody has mentioned Trits yet, diamond cut knurling, or McClicky and FETA Switches? P60 dropins, sapphire lenses, Nyogel 760G and and and and and......... o_O
 
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