Long lasting emergency flashlight/battery combination?

Y0ssar1an

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
7
Hi,

I have been looking into flashlights for emergency preparedness kits for my family. I have the following criteria:

1. Long run times are more important than lumen level
2. Needs to store well
3. Not expensive as I need to buy 5 (home, 2x car, 2x workplace)
4. Strong preference for AA cells (availability/trying to standardize)

I just bought a Fenix E21 as a trial and discovered that I should have been researching batteries as much as the light itself! The generic alkalines I had to hand couldn't drive the high mode, Duracells could but I understand the runtime is a lot less than NiMH. I know NiMH discharge has been much improved but I'm still worried about using them for emergency backup, particularly in the car. Lithium non-rechargables would seem to solve the power and discharge problems but I read on another thread somewhere that the E21 can only use them in high?

I also read that electronic switches have a small parasitic drain, but haven't been able to confirm that this is the case for the E21?

What combination of flashlight/cell do you recommend for my use/given my criteria above?

Thanks, B

BTW: I already have some cheap dynamo lights and light sticks in the kits, am interested here in a "real" primary flashlight.
 

jamesmtl514

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 14, 2009
Messages
1,938
Location
Montreal, Canada
it doesn't fit your not expensive criteria, but I LOVE my FYL G2 with M61LL and FM34 diffuser.
10 hrs of 100lumens in a highly visible bomb proof format.
 

angelofwar

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 17, 2007
Messages
3,336
Location
South Carolina
Give us an idea of how much you're willing to spend on "all 5". I'd go with a battery holder with a mix of Eneloops/Duraloops and since they hold a charge for quite a while..just check and top them off every 6 months, and keep some Energizer Lithiums (L91's). And since they will be for emergency, I'd look for direct drive lights that won't just shut off on you. I'm not into all the AA Lights out there (Fenix/Quark, etc.), but I know the Inova XO is direct drive and will just gradually dim, as opposed to just quitting on ya and leaving ya in the dark. Don't plan on leaving alkalines in any "emergency stand-by light", as when you go to use them, at least 3 of them will have battery acid all over the place and be useless.

Again, give us a price range for "all five", and we may be able to help ya out a bit better.

Oh, and :welcome:
 
Last edited:

Y0ssar1an

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
7
Hi,

Thanks for the replies and warm welcome!

Give us an idea of how much you're willing to spend on "all 5".

I'd like $200 total/$40 ea, final price shipped to CA, *before* cells. Note I currently don't have anything other than alkalines at home, would have to buy Eneloops/charger (if required) on top of this. I'm comfortable buying lithium disposables if they work best for my application.

I'd much prefer annual to 6 month checks if at all practicable.

Just make this challenging ;-) a really dim mode, strobe & decent UI would also be appreciated.

Thanks again, Ben
 

Qoose

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 7, 2007
Messages
312
Location
Between Seattle, LA, and Boston
I would strongly lean toward lithium primaries if you are looking for long term storage with little use, and it would help with all 4 of your goals. This environment would seems like a waste of rechargeables.
 

Y0ssar1an

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
7
I would strongly lean toward lithium primaries.

Yeah. Seeing as I'm going to lithium anyway I'm wondering about relaxing the AA requirement and going CR123. Unfortunately there don't appear to be CR123 radios :-(
 

ragweed

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
721
Location
USA
Gerber Infinity Ultra is my choice. Around 25 hours run-time on one AA cell.
 

LEDAdd1ct

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
3,557
Location
Hudson Valley
Pelican 2440 with four AA Energizer lithium cells. The 5mm LEDs will run a long, long time on those cells with a diminishing tail, i.e. not sudden darkness. It won't light up a tree 100 feet away in the woods, but it will run for many, many hours as a blackout light in your home, has no problem in the rain, has a simple rear clicky, and is easy enough to operate that anyone can use it without stopping by CPF.

I own three, including the one I used when cycling across America, and gifted five, and they all perform flawlessly. With its single mode and lack of complex circuitry, there just isn't much to go wrong. Buy one (or more), insert AA lithium primaries, and stick it on a shelf, and know that it will work when you need it.
 
Last edited:

Y0ssar1an

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
7
Pelican 2440 with four AA Energizer lithium cells.

Thanks! I'd missed Pelican; very sensible suggestion. Unfortunately it seems to have been discontinued/unavailable. It's no longer in Pelican's flashlight table and the three places I looked didn't have any stock.

Also none of the Pelican lights listed appear to have particularly long run times; their other 4xAA/LED lights clock ~7hrs?

Cheers, Ben
 

MichaelW

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
1,788
Location
USA
AA: Always Available

Any 'love' for headlights? Handsfree is quite the advantage.
Any bias towards neutral?

Fenix E21 is a thrower, and draws almost 2 watts on high. Using primaries, L91's are basically required.
Single cell: Xeno E03 neutral-white
Dual cell: Romisen RC-N3 II NW Cree XP-G R4 Neutral White 2-Mode LED Flashlight

Those are pretty cheap, which leaves money for L91

Maybe 4Seven's QuarkMini AA & AAx2, but no more neutral/warm, and are a bit pricier. They have a KISS interface.
 

trooplewis

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 19, 2011
Messages
176
Re: AA: Always Available

Glad I saw this thread, I'm thinking the same thing.
I ordered a 2nd Nebo Redline (for my car ) but even with 3 power modes, I'm not sure what the run time is on low power with 3AAA alkalines.

I'm almost leaning towards an LED Maglite as the runtime with 3 "D" cells is pretty phenomenal.

OK, just checked Nebo's site, they say run times of 4/8/15 hours on the three modes. But I think you can get something in the range of 100 hours out of a Maglite with D cells
 
Last edited:

ASheep

Enlightened
Joined
May 10, 2010
Messages
267
Location
Sydney, Australia
Re: AA: Always Available

I know it doesn't use AA cells, but for long runtimes on easily scavenge-able batteries, I recommend the Safe-Light PALight range, which run on 9v batteries.
They claim to run for 80 hours low/20 hours high on a cheap carbon zinc 9v, or 160hr/30hr on an alkaline 9v. They are also very easy to use, seeing as they have one button and only 3 modes. They are $16.99 each if you buy more than 2.

The other light I would recommend is the 4Sevens Quark AA^2, which can run for over a month on 2AA batteries on its lowest setting. It's a bit over your budget though, especially from 4Sevens.ca...
 

PCC

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
2,326
Location
Sitting' on the dock o' The Bay...
Re: AA: Always Available

How about a Quark AA or AA2 or 123 light? You can always get an AA or AA2 body if you get the 123. Likewise, you can get the AA or 123 body if you get the AA2. You get the picture. This light offers a moonlight mode that will run for days and offer the flexibility to use either AA or 123 cells.

For my own long lasting emergency light I have a Fulton angle-head flashlight with a Nite Ize 1-Watt PR flange drop-in in it and a half-Watt PR flange drop-in in the tailcap. On two D cells this light will go for days on end without the need to change batteries. If it looks like I'm going to be in it for the long haul I can switch out the bulb for the lower power one and go more than twice as long before needing to swap out the batteries. When the batteries have drained to the point where the 1-Watt drop-in won't light up anymore I can swap to the half-Watt bulb and still run that light for a few days more on dead batteries. In addition to all this I've made a set of adapters to allow me to use 2 C cells, 2 AA cells, or two 18650 Li-Ion batteries in this light in addition to two D cells. How's that for flexibility?
 

Ian2381

Enlightened
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
883
Location
Philippines
Re: AA: Always Available

If you already have the E21, just buy the new improved Eneloop 2nd genration AA batteries. 3 years at 75% capacity is great neough for stprage. got plenty of them.
 

srfreddy

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 21, 2010
Messages
921
Location
New England
Re: AA: Always Available

You should grab a headlamp: Zebralight H51Fw. Yes, its a bit expensive, but a very good headlamp is much more useful than a flashlight.
 

LEDAdd1ct

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
3,557
Location
Hudson Valley
Thanks! I'd missed Pelican; very sensible suggestion. Unfortunately it seems to have been discontinued/unavailable. It's no longer in Pelican's flashlight table and the three places I looked didn't have any stock.

Also none of the Pelican lights listed appear to have particularly long run times; their other 4xAA/LED lights clock ~7hrs?

Cheers, Ben

I am sorry Ben, I forgot to mention that this light has been discontinued by Pelican. However, there are still places that have stock, and with patience, you can find them. When I have some time, I will try and locate one of these places for you, and drop you a line. I think Pelican made a mistake in halting production of this light, but, there is nothing I can do. :-(

I can't comment on their other lights as I do not have direct experience with them, but I can tell you the 2440 will run for a very, very long time on one set of four AA cells, with a long tail of diminishing light.
 

Lynx_Arc

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
Messages
11,212
Location
Tulsa,OK
If they had dorcy 2AA with luxeon rebels in them still they are pretty decent lights that will run a long long time draining batteries down to nothing. They will literally run off of one battery and put out usable light and the one I have I can unscrew the head and it makes for a floodlight. Supposedly 80 lumens (probably closer to 50. I would look for something that put out 30-50 lumens and doesn't go out suddenly when the batteries hit 1v (like the minimag LED does). If you get much below 20-30 lumens you don't have enough light to work with other than just navigating. You can always get more batteries to offset usage or get two different lights one with a good output and another with a long running barely adequate low level.
 

Y0ssar1an

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
7
Wow, thanks for all the info. You guys/gals rock! I'm intrigued by the Safe-Light - fails on standardizing on AA but at least 9v readily available. I read that they are meant to have upgraded the star/selector LED at the end of last year but haven't been able to find any recent reviews. Anyone know how well the latest versions work? With free shipping I might just buy one to test.

PS: Have returned the E21 to Amazon
 

Machete God

Enlightened
Joined
May 21, 2010
Messages
230
Location
Kuala Lumpur, MYS
Consider the 4Sevens MiNi AA:

- $36 shipped from 4sevens.com (with CPF discount)
- as light as you can get, barely wider than the AA cell, and half an AA longer (i.e., 150% longer than an AA cell)
- 2.7 lumens for 60 hours (that's one whole month on a single AA if you use it 2 hours a night)
- 25 lumens for 20 hours
- 90 lumens max for when you need it (there will be times when you definitely want more lumens)
- easily (but not accidentally) accessible special modes: strobe, SOS, high and low beacon.
- runs on widely available AA-sized cells (can be scavenged from remote controls, toys, etc. in an emergency)
- takes L91 (Energizer Lithium) for long-term storage. Definitely recommended because you don't want to fish the light out of your BOB and find that the light won't turn on because the alkaline cell is leaking :sick2:
- tail stands (important for some folks)

You could also take a look at the Maratac AA, or the ITP A2 EOS, both the same form factor and UI as the MiNi AA, and cheaper. But without the special modes (I think) and the 10 year warranty from 4Sevens :)
 
Last edited:

MichaelW

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
1,788
Location
USA
If you want more output from the QMini AA, you can use the TI 3 volt 14505 primary [a cr123 in AA form factor]

and don't forget the discount codes
 
Top