Low modes are a battery-saving measure are not all that useful

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etc

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Over the last 10+ years I've engaged lights with low modes - primarily as a battery saving measure.

In reality, I almost never made use of these lower power modes, having carried spare cells. They are actually never needed, as you never run out of cells.

The only point to low modes is not waking up someone at night or being discreet. Not to save the battery or extend the runtime.

I've traveled with a Malkoff M61LLL in a 9P "FiveMega" Surefire with 3x123 and I don't think I got to even half the charge over the entire trip. And I had at least a dozen spares. And I had a second light of course.

yeah, it's nice to have it -- if you need it.

I have a feeling if I get stranded in a coal mine or something deep for days at a time, I will come out and still have spare batteries with me and lots of runtime left.

e.g. remember the coal mine disaster - the 2010 Copiapó mining accident - if they lowered me the some lights and extra batteries into it, I would probably say, no thanks, I got plenty. Just engage the 5 lumen mode for the next 30 days. /joke
 
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Lumen83

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I couldn't disagree more (probably just because our use cases are different). On some lights, and for some purposes, I use low modes more than high. Anything from camping to working on vehicles, tasks around the house when the power is out, etc. Almost everthing close up is far easier to do with a lower amount of light. 15 "surefire lumens" seems to fit the bill perfectly. Their LX2 is an example of a light with a low mode I use way more than high.

Especially nowaday's where the lights are coming with high modes well into the hundreds or thousands of lumens, low mode is so extremely useful. This is clearly demonstrated for me by the fact that I have three surefire 6Ps on my counter. One with a very low 3.7v bulb that I use for all around the house or close up task work. One with a 6v for an in between amount of light. And, one with a 9v for taking the dog out at night. By far the one that gets the most use is the 3.7 with the least amount of light. If I were to collapse these three lights into one light with three brightness levels, the mode that would get the most use would be the low mode.
 
markr6

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As long as the light has a bunch of modes, I'm happy. So the Zebralights are perfect for me. When I'm backpacking, the super low modes are great for not blasting my eyes if/when I wake up for business at 2am. The medium modes are nice for night hiking - I don't need 600+ lumens, nor do I want to run the battery down. But I still want to be safe hiking solo, so low modes won't do it. Every ounce counts, so I don't carry spare batteries. And the high modes are there for when I need them occasionally, trying to see further in the distance or trying to scare away a racoon going after food or whatever.

I could get by with an AA headlamp most times, but I don't want to risk it so I take an 18650 lamp and usually come back with a ~70% full cell anyway.
 
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I've used various "low" malkoffs over the last 10 years.. I switched back to regular Malkoff M61. Even the regular high-powered module gets such significant runtime that low modes are pointless.

really the event that made me switch to M61 was using the 18650 Hound Dog and other around 1000 lumens - 300 lumens seems barely acceptable these days.

there is really no point to low anything with the introduction of dual modes such as M61HOT that gets 5 lumens on low and mega turbo lumens on high. And even on high I got enough spare cells with me to run for days.
 
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etc

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I did find out one thing though. In a power outage, you want the least lumens possible. due to attracting attention. When the entire city block or half the town is out, your 1000 lumen light might draw unneeded attention. I found out it stood out in a dark town like .. well, you know what.

like a neon sign, that said come and get it. I got lights, generators, food and more. the average sixpack joe likely got none of the above. No spare lights and no genny and no cold food.

in a power outage, you don't want a 5 lumen light to save batteries. Like many here, I have enough spares I can last for years - on "high" mode.

you want a 5 lumen light to be discreet and not attract criminals.

the other side of the coin is, you want to bump into the 1000 lumen mode if things get interesting and the unneeded attention heads your way.
 
parametrek

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I'm still not exactly sure what you are trying to say. I'm going to try to summarize you here
  • I never use low power modes
  • I never run out of cells
  • low is useful for being discrete
  • low is not useful for conserving power
  • high power modes have plenty of run time
  • M61 (single mode with 425 lumens) is perfect
  • I have enough cells to use high for days
  • low is pointless because there are lights with low and turbo (?)
  • 1000 lumens is a lot

Some of these are contradictory. I'm never really sure if you are talking about low modes in general or dedicated single mode low lights.

There is a certain elegance in using the correct tool for a job. Or writing succinct poetry. Or engineering something to use the fewest resources. Efficient low modes are not hard to appreciate.

When I'm out backpacking with a single Eneloop in my headlamp (and an L91 as an emergency backup) boy do I appreciate battery conserving modes. I can stretch out that Eneloop for 5 days easily. During a power outages and camping trips I try to make sure the family has lights with reasonable low power modes. Not for security but so I don't have to be constantly recharging batteries.

You keep saying that you have plenty of spare cells. You don't consider it the least bit inconvenient to change out dead cells? To be suddenly thrust into darkness, halting all activity while you dig out a fresh battery?

Many lights will automatically switch to a low mode when the battery is at ≈10% capacity. It alerts you to the low battery while giving you many hours of backup light. Would you rather have 1 minute of 500 lumens or 2 hours of 5 lumens when a battery is on its last legs?
 
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Random Dan

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One of the things I love most about my HDS is the low mode flexibility. If I'm going backpacking, for example, it seems crazy to carry more cells just so I can blind myself with unneeded light. Less than five lumens is usually plenty with dark adapted eyes and no ambient light, an it allows a single CR123 to last for a week long trip.

Usually if I'm using a flashlight it's because there's some activity I'm doing, such as hiking, climbing, etc, and I'd much rather focus on that activity than worry about packing extra cells and changing them out.

Now it is fun to have a light that will drain it's battery in 15 minutes with a blaze of fiery glory, but I consider those more toys than tools.
 
LiftdT4R

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I'm in the same boat as most of the other posters. I use the low and high modes a lot. 90% of my lights have multiple modes and I much prefer them. When I'm using my light while working at night I don't need or want 600 lumens bouncing back and blinding me. 50 lumens is perfect. But if I'm walking around in the woods I love switching to the 600 lumen high mode to spot something way out.

It's just like a pair of jeans. Do guys wear the same pair of jeans to work and then out on the town? Sure, but you're either afraid to get them dirty at work or they look like hell at a restaurant. Much easier with a clean pair for going out and a pair of Carhartts for work.
 
bykfixer

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To me it's like headlights on a car. If regular beam (low) isn't enough, switch to high.

I keep plenty of cells too. But at the same time I want to change them as little as possible.
 
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etc

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I'm still not exactly sure what you are trying to say. I'm going to try to summarize you here

o be suddenly thrust into darkness, halting all activity while you dig out a fresh battery?


I am never 'suddenly' thrust into darkness. My li-ion cells are not regulated for the most part and slowly decline towards zero. And do not cut off like Eneloops.
 
archimedes

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I am never 'suddenly' thrust into darkness. My li-ion cells are not regulated for the most part and slowly decline towards zero. And do not cut off like Eneloops.

Do you typically use protected or unprotected cells ?

I haven't seen @reppans around for a while, but the perspective of a sublumen fanatic would be helpful to add to this conversation ....
 
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etc

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regulated --> of course I meant to say protected. Kind of. Dislexics of the world, untie.

A protection circuit introduces just another thing that can break, for the ultimate in reliability use either primary cells or UNprotected Li-ion cell (Not cells since they don't stack up nicely)

A light that has one cell can use non-protected cells, anything with 2 or more needs a protection circuit to detect that are you at zero and need to swap.

That's why I like the 18650 Hound Dog by Malkoff. It slowly descends versus walking off the cliff like its bigger brothers.

But no, I am never ever thrust into darkness.
 
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etc

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I am going to try to restate this more clearly.

I've never found myself in a situation where I wish I had more runtime. where I run out of cells and thrust into darkness, suddenly or not and then have to navigate by candlelight.

I've frequently found myself in situations where I wish I had more lumens.

Having to preface all of this I used to use single-mode lights.
And still often do.
 
ChrisGarrett

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I am going to try to restate this more clearly.

I've never found myself in a situation where I wish I had more runtime. where I run out of cells and thrust into darkness, suddenly or not and then have to navigate by candlelight.

I've frequently found myself in situations where I wish I had more lumens.

Having to preface all of this I used to use single-mode lights.
And still often do.

I'm a city slicker and don't find myself in caves, or coal mines, but you never know? I find myself using the lower modes more often in the city, but have needed some output at work.

I was here in Miami during hurricane Irma last September and lost power for 84 hours (3.5 days). Candles did most of the heavy lifting, despite me having tons of everything at my disposal.

I remember going out right as the storm was hitting to remove some limbs from near my neighbors' condos and using my M2 Convoy. I had it on high (2.8A/XM-L) and welcomed the output, but mostly, it was the lower modes over the outage.

For listening to the radio on the couch, three 'cup candles' were fine for navigating around my 3-4 rooms. I'm no firefly fanatic, but I do appreciate the ability to go down to 1-2LM and if that means the battery lasts longer, than "that's a good thing!" as Martha would say.

Chris
 
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elzilcho

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I am going to try to restate this more clearly.

I've never found myself in a situation where I wish I had more runtime. where I run out of cells and thrust into darkness, suddenly or not and then have to navigate by candlelight.

I've frequently found myself in situations where I wish I had more lumens.

Having to preface all of this I used to use single-mode lights.
And still often do.

Wish I could say the same. Years ago I was escorting the dog on our nightly trip to the backyard when my light apparently decided the battery was no longer sufficient to sustain the selected level. I was left in pitch dark, with a set of wooden stairs between me and the house. At that moment, I realized I had a deep and abiding preference for lights that step down to a lower level as the battery depletes. Even a gradually dimming tail is better than bright-bright-bright-dark. I didn't need more lumens, but I did need more runtime.

Different use case scenarios for different people.
 
LeanBurn

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I use my low modes more than I do the high modes.
 
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If you've never found yourself suddenly in the dark due to bad equipment selection or faulty performance, good for you. I hope you never do. Those of us who have, appreciate a gradual decline of light as a "heads up".

I'll buy what I like, you buy what you like.
 
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gurdygurds

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Ah yes...Uncle Reppans. He has been an influential dude in my flashlight journey. I am also a fan of the super lows that Zebra provides and it's one reason I couldn't get back into the MDCs after I sold them off, as they weren't even close to their low low specs. I think starting as low as you can and only going up to the amount of light that you actually need makes a lot of sense. The Zebralights seem ideal for this.
Do you typically use protected or unprotected cells ?

I haven't seen @reppans around for a while, but the perspective of a sublumen fanatic would be helpful to add to this conversation ....
 
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dealgrabber2002

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I used Med mode the most. That's why I love lights starting from M/L/H. 20-30 lumens is perfect.

low and high are usually for fun.. at least for me.
 
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etc

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Wish I could say the same. Years ago I was escorting the dog on our nightly trip to the backyard when my light apparently decided the battery was no longer sufficient to sustain the selected level. I was left in pitch dark, with a set of wooden stairs between me and the house. At that moment, I realized I had a deep and abiding preference for lights that step down to a lower level as the battery depletes. Even a gradually dimming tail is better than bright-bright-bright-dark. I didn't need more lumens, but I did need more runtime.

Different use case scenarios for different people.

There is such a light. It's called Malkoff Hound Dog 18650. On a *non*-protected cell, it has a very long tail. You can see it coming to its end many hours before its final proton.

For that matter, a surefire 6P with a Malkoff also gradually declines towards zero for hours and hours. You can get let's say about 1.5 to 2 hours of full lumens and then the decline begins - roughly speaking.

if I carry multi-cell lights that require protected circuits, then I also carry a spare. if I can carry a spare cell, I can carry a spare light.

sometimes surefire G2x, sometimes a 1x123 4/7 light - Quark.

full powered lights that generate close to 1000 lumens do not mean that poof and you are left in the darkness.
 
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