How many people still use light sticks

Lynx_Arc

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When I was growing up we used to get light sticks or bracelets at the fair and the light was fun not as much for the purpose of seeing by it but getting noticed. With the onset of LEDs that take small amounts of power you can buy LED light sticks for cheap, not as cheap as a light stick but reusable.
One advantage I can see in these light sticks is I just found some in a drawer that I've had for about 15 years that I decided to try one as the liquid in it looked brownish but the metal vial inside was intact and it works fine but the lumen output is probably 5-15 lumens dim such that you have to have it within a foot to read but in dark adapted vision it would light up a small area like a bathroom pretty well. Back in the days of incan lights something of similar output would take 2C or D cells as standard AAA and AAA lights only ran for 30 minutes to an hour or two. I know these will run for 4-6 hours at least if not more and seem to store well for long periods of time.

Does anyone consider them for emergencies and other uses or have they instead opted for LED replacements?
 

archimedes

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I have no idea what the shelf life of these might be, but I do have a box or two, for last-ditch electricity-free backup emergency lighting.

However with a Carrington Event (or similar) massive enough to wipe out all electrical systems, that would be accompanied by rather greater and more pressing concerns ....

:aaa:

I have plenty of traditional flashlights for backup lighting in more routine situations, by the way, as you might imagine :D
 
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Illum

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I have light sticks that's 8 years old and still works when I snap into it.

Nowadays its almost all replaced by either Fenix CL09 or CL05s. I have about a dozen of each. Lithium AAAs and CR123As with built in chargers are a plus. I've given away most of my light sticks to trickertreaters because of the fact that this neck of the woods theres a sidewalk but one street lamp every 4 poles or so. I used to be a cyclist with enough lights on my ride to mimic an ambulance until I was nearly ran over by a sober driver who never saw me on the shoulder. I always tell them "hey, I know this looks terrible on your costume, but safety first okay?"

Even though lanterns have come a long way, I'm still used to the red or green glow of chemical light sticks.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I had to look up "Carrington Event" as I've not heard of it before. While it is fun to consider the "what ifs" of massively long power outages would end up being like I doubt few of us prepare for such extreme events.
After using this light stick for awhile perhaps it is a cheaper lower output one but the light is unimpressive and almost too dim for use if your night vision isn't fully engaged. A single 5mm LED driven at 10ma would be considerably brighter and if wired with 3 batteries direct drive and a resistor could run for several hundred hours off of 3AAs replacing dozens of light sticks in use.
I have a white light stick that uses 1 LED and 3 button cells that is about twice as bright as the chemical light stick but IMO button cells are nowhere near ideal in a power outage they are hard to replace in low light conditions. I would like to see a decent light stick in the 1AAA format that is about as cheap as the button cell variation so I could use a L92 energizer battery in it to store for 20 years.
 

SleepyInTheSun

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I keep a couple boxes in a downstairs closet also, partially because the light and partially because of the novelty - if we need to be downstairs waiting out severe weather for instance I figure activating them and hanging a few up might be useful to entertain / calm down the kids if needed.

Similar to Illum’s comment about Halloween I give them out to kids on the block as it gets dark at street parties & to my own kids to play with at nighttime concerts etc. they’ll hang on to them because they’re fun and it makes them easier to be seen / keep track of without being disruptive.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I agree that compared to a flashlight a light stick can be a better marker light for kids making them seen better by others.
I was just playing with the one I have and was irritated that the broken glass was making the solid greenish yellow color murky so I bent it and broke some more then bent too much and I guess the glass pierced the plastic and it spurted all over the place I had yellow glowing liquid on me and on the floor and my roller mat that I had to clean up. The liquid is a little greasy I used formula 409 on it tried wd40 and it didn't work on it so I guess the liquid is water based not petroleum based.
 

Str8stroke

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I use them all the time for camping lights & especially Halloween. We get them by the dozens from the Dollar store or 5 Below. They are not MilSpec, but the kids don't care! They work great in a tent or camper. I also clip one to the dogs collar or use those necklace ones for her. She looks cool/funny running around with them.
 

PartyPete

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I use them, albeit pretty rarely.

When you have a younger kid they quickly discover how to rip them open and spray the liquid everywhere....
 

Lynx_Arc

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I use them, albeit pretty rarely.

When you have a younger kid they quickly discover how to rip them open and spray the liquid everywhere....

:D, you are making me feel like a younger kid as I did just that but wasn't trying to rip it open.
 

flatline

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My kids like them. We always buy a box around Halloween for the kids to wear while trick-or-treating.

--flatline
 

StarHalo

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Light sticks are pretty much useless in a power outage situation, save for something to occupy the kids. I could see using them as markers/locators for some sort of night exploring event, but aside from that I've only ever bought them for Halloween.

They do sell throughout the year but I think it's for parties and not anything utilitarian; I see roughly the same quantity of glow necklaces and LED gloves sold.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I haven't messed with them since the days prior to fluorescent battery powered lanterns. LEDs are so cheap now and so much brighter I think light sticks are now a victim along with even cheap incan lights. I spent awhile on ebay trying to find a 1AAA LED white or any color light stick and wasn't successful I had a blinking amber LED light stick but the alkaleak button cells destroyed it completely and I haven't been able to even find a picture of it online it has no writing on it at all. I have a white light stick also using button cells that I haven't used either since it was given to me long ago by someone on CPF but luckily the batteries in it haven't destroyed it (yet). I'm thinking if you can't get dirt cheap 1AAA light sticks you are probably better off buying a semi decent 1AAA flashlight with a low mode and use a diffuser stick on it to look like a light stick. When you get beyond a 1AAA battery it starts to get too bulky and heavy to be a light stick IMO.
 

Lynx_Arc

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Nebo's Lil Larry in 2xAAA config is smaller than a light stick:


I'm not a Nebo fan and COB lights aren't anywhere near like light sticks in their output they are 180 degree lights instead of 360+ degree lights and aren't cheap either I wouldn't consider them an alternative due to they cost 15-20 times as much as a light stick (if not more).
 

StarHalo

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they are 180 degree lights instead of 360+ degree lights

That's what makes the light stick useless - it's almost bright enough to light a page or plate of food if you hold it close, but then you're staring into the light source. Putting another order of magnitude of light within only half the radius resolves everything, clip it to your shirt pocket and everything in front of you is lit all the time..
 

Sos24

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Light sticks are good as markers to find something, but not for making it bright enough to actually see what you are doing.
 

Lynx_Arc

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That's what makes the light stick useless - it's almost bright enough to light a page or plate of food if you hold it close, but then you're staring into the light source. Putting another order of magnitude of light within only half the radius resolves everything, clip it to your shirt pocket and everything in front of you is lit all the time..
You are right that these chemical light sticks aren't quite bright enough for comfortably reading and seeing well around you but the can do those tasks once your night vision is fully restored. The LED versions of light sticks are better suited for the tasks due to about twice the output in the white LED sticks vs the colored chemical ones.
Like I said I was looking for a light stick design that takes 1AAA with output of about 15 lumens that would sport decent useful output and decent runtime in a more lantern type area light format. If one was made that was cheap enough you could get a half dozen of them and hang them around the area.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I just checked the one I broke last night and 24 hours later the light stick is a lot dimmer instead of being able to see at several feet distance about 6 feet or so and read well at about a foot distance you can only make out white or light colored objects from more than a foot and see well enough at about 4-6 inches and maybe read with the light stick almost pressed against something written on light colored surfaces.
In other words it can still be seen at a distance but is essentially useless other than a marker. I am surprised it is even that bright now though.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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I don't use light sticks that much anymore, but they do have their uses. For safety and fun for children, I usually give them out to kids that are family and friends for the 4th of July, Halloween, and on homeless outreaches. A little light goes a long way at keeping kids from getting scared of the dark, keeping them from getting hit by cars, and keeping track of them. I also like to tie a pair together and give kids a lesson in how to use nunchucks. On my last trip to the desert, a friend had the bright idea of duct taping some light sticks to the whip of his side by side off road vehicle so he could be seen when going over hills at night. A few dollar store light sticks worked just as well as an expensive l.e.d. light up whip. They definitely have their uses for safety, but I haven't taken one for backpacking in about 20 years. Still have some in emergency and first aid kits. For a C.M.E. or E.M.P. situation, I suppose I'd be using those more than candles since I live in wildfire and earthquake country. For fun, safety, and kids, light sticks are still useful. Unless we have a grid down situation, there are better options for general lighting and light sticks will be mostly a novelty product.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I think the main advantage of light sticks is they are dirt cheap and don't require batteries that can go bad and need to be checked in an emergency back up situation. What I would like to see is a rechargeable chemical light stick that you can use and then heat up in a microwave and use again and again. I have a reusable hand warmer like that not sure they make them any more though.
 
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