Moonlight for my kids...

beafly.cakes

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Feb 10, 2014
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Long time lurker. I couldn't find an answer through search, so here is my question:


I'm looking for dedicated moonlight lights for my kids. They currently have these: Rayovac 2AA Economy Flashlight



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They are cheap, but I'm not happy with the following:


They are too bright, even after covering the lenses with scotch tape. They share a room, so they end up disturbing each other.
They eat alkalines. I'd like to switch to rechargable nimh, however they have to protection against deep discharge.
They aren't durable enough, one toss off the top bunk will do them in.


So in my mind I'm looking for this:


Single (prefered) or Double AA NiMH (I already have these and chargers)
1 Week Runtime Actual
Single Mode: On/Off (Either a button or a twist is fine)
Brightness: Moonlight - 1 lumen or less
Durable enough to be tossed off the top bunk without worry


I'm willing to build if I have to and I'd spend up to 40 or 50 bucks per light if necessary (though less is better obviously).


Thanks in advance for your consideration.




==================Flashlight Recommendation Checklist================


1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?


____I would like to purchase the light in person from a brick and mortar store. I am located in ______________.
__X__This will be mail-order or Online (location doesn't matter).




2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :)


____I don't know yet
____Up to $25.
__X__Up to $50.
____Up to $100.
____Up to $200.
____Up to $300.
____Essentially unlimited.




3) Format:


____I am not sure, please help me decide.
__X__I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).
____I want a self-contained headlamp.
____I want a headlamp with an external pack/power source.
____I want a mounted light (typically for a bicycle or vehicle)
____I want a lantern/area light.
____I want a portable spotlight (it may have an external power source).
____Other ____________________________________________




4) Size:


____MICRO - Keychain size.
__X__TINY - Every day carry (2-4 inches).
__X__SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches).
____MEDIUM - Holster/belt ring carry. (>7 inches)
____LARGE - Big enough to need its own travel case.
____I don’t know/I don't care.




5) Emitter/Light source:


__X__LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)
____Incandescent (known for superior color rendition)
____HID (known for max output, but often at the expense of size)
____I don't know.




6) Manufacturer:


__X__I want to buy a light from a large/traditional manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.
__X__I would like a light from a specialty manufacturer (Possibly limited run/Custom).
__X__I am interested in assembling my own components. (for example a “host” or flashlight body from one manufacturer, and a “drop-in” emitter from another source).




7) What power source do you want to use?


____I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Alkaline batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
____I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Lithium batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D and CR123 sized cells common to most stores (often a cold weather or long storage choice).
__X__I intend to use Rechargeable cells (NiMH or NiCD) based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
____I intend to use Rechargeable cells based on less common formats (18500 or 18650 Li-Ion, RCR123, et-al).
____I want a light with an integrated rechargeable battery pack.
____I don't know/I need more information on power sources.


7a) If you have selected a rechargeable option
____I want a light that plugs directly into the wall (literally with prongs built into the light)
____I want a light that has a recharging adapter (your typical "wall wart")
____I want a light that snaps into a cradle (usually mounted on a wall)
__X__I want a separate/stand-alone charger (this involves removing the batteries to charge)
____I don't care




8) How much genuine out the front (OTF) light do you want/need? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is not a happy experience).


__X__I want to navigate a dark room or read a map (1-10 lumens).
____I want an indoor "blackout" light (15-50 lumens)
____I want to confidently walk around an unlit/unpaved rural area (60-150 lumens).
____I want to illuminate my entire backyard or a campsite (150-300 lumens).
____I want to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens).
____I want search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens).


____SPECIAL NOTE: Burst/Turbo mode Category - There are several lights that will run at a super bright maximum for a very limited period (usually 5-10 minutes) and then will "step-down" to a lower level for thermal control. Check here if this is acceptable.


** 1 Lumen or less **




9) Flood vs Throw: Flood covers an area, Throw reaches out to a distance.


__X__All Flood: I am doing "arms length" tasks like reading and campsite cooking.
____Wide Flood: I want a defined flood area for semi-close tasks like after-dark campsite tasks or working on a car.
____Narrow Flood: I want a sharply defined flood area that will project some distance for tasks like trail walking.
____Wide Throw: I want a beam with a noticeable hot-center for distance throw and a significant amount of "side-spill". Good for rough trail hiking, search and rescue, and general distance work.
____Narrow Throw: I want a beam with a very tight "hot center" and minimal "side-spill". Good for distance viewing, fog, and looking through dense undergrowth.
____Turbohead: I want a far-distance projector with a sharply focused spot of light and minimal or zero side-spill. Good for extreme distance and impressing your friends.


9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)
__X__Less than 1 yard/meter (reading, other close work)
____Less than 5 yards/meters (looking for something inside a dark shed/garage/basement)
____5-20 yards/meters (check out a noise in the backyard)
____30-50 yards/meters (I have a big backyard)
____50-150 yards/meters (I live in a very rural area/farm with wide open spaces)
____150+ yards (I am searching from a helicopter)


10) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims, but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries (Measured on maximum continuous output).


____Up to 30 minutes (I want the brightest [and potentially smallest] light for brief periods)
____30-60 minutes (I have plenty of batteries just ready to be changed)
____90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
__X__3 hours + (I critically need this light to run on max for extended periods in between battery changes/charges).


** I'd like to swap batteries once a week and forget about it **








11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.


____Not Important (A “night-stand” light).
____Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood).
__X__Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
____Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Caving, Survival).
____I don’t know.




12) Switch Size, Type, and location (choose all that apply):


____Any size switch will do.
____I need a BIG switch (I'll be using gloves or have very large hands or coordination issues).
____I want a forward clicky (Helpful for momentary activation and signaling).
____I want a reverse clicky (For use with multi-mode/level lights).
____I want a momentary switch (Predominantly for use with signaling and short bursts of momentary light only).
__X__I want a twisty switch (Tighten the head/tailcap to activate, and the light will stay on until the head/tailcap is loosened).
__X__I want a body mounted switch (near the head, like on a Maglite).
__X__I want a tail mounted switch (found on the majority of today’s high end lights).
____I want a remote switch (usually found on high-end bicycle headlights)
____I don't care.
____I don’t know.
____Other, please specify____________________.




13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.


__X__A simple on-off with only one output level is fine for me.
____I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
____I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
____I want a programmable light.
____I want a selector ring.
____I want a strobe mode. (Oscillating pattern to confuse/blind aka "Police Mode")
____I want SOS mode. (blinks in ---...--- emergency pattern)
____I want a beacon mode. (Regular flashes at full power to show location.)
____I don’t care.
____I don’t know.




14)Material/Finish/Coating


____Plastic/composite body (this may limit your choices significantly).
__X__Anodized Aluminum – either type II or III (Hard Anodized) (Aluminum, specifically HA, is the most common material/finish for today’s higher end flashlights).
__X__Stainless steel (durable, but much heavier than aluminum)
____Titanium (durable and nearly as lightweight as aluminum, but can be moderately to significantly more expensive).
____I don’t care.
____I don’t know.
____Other, please specify____________.


15) Water resistance
__X__None needed
____IPX4 (Splash resistant)
____IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
____IPX8 (Submersible to greater than 1 meter for 4 hours)


16) Storage conditions
__X__In house (temperature/climate controlled environment)
____Emergency kit (long standby periods)
____Automobile glove-box (wide temperature swings, long standby periods, critical reliability)
____Other_________________________________________ ____




17) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any/all below.


____Red filter (for preserving night vision).
____Other filter colors (Amber, Green, Blue, _________).
____Dedicated R/G/B secondary LEDs.
____“Hybrid” light (bright incandescent combined with long running LEDs)
____Pocket/belt clip
____Holster
____Wrist/Neck Lanyard
____Crenulated bezel
____Non-sparking, Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments
 
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mcnair55

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Oct 27, 2009
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Cannot see a demand for such a light best build your own unless of course someone knows if there is a light out there that is 1 lumen or less single mode.

D25 AA and many others with memory set to moonlight?
 

wedlpine

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Jul 26, 2010
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594
Location
Lake Geneva, WI, USA
I know it's not 1 lumen or less, but the Gerber Recon might be a good choice with the different colored filters. The red filter would be a good option not to disturb others.
 

chillinn

Flashlight Enthusiast
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Jul 19, 2014
Messages
1,517
Foursevens Atom AA is two mode flood twisty, 1.5/80 lumen, should come on low, high... but $40 each is a high price for your intention, when you really want something that is decent but basically disposable, commodity handlight, maybe a generation behind power LED, when the max lumens bragged about from LED was 15 lumens. The Atom A0 is less expensive, and the "Atom A0 with Red LED" can be found for $16--its 2 mode, 0.5lm/30lm, but even the high in red would not distrurb anyone nearby, but they are AAA sized. If not concerned about it being swallowed, it fits the use, if not the exact criteria.

How about glo tubes (Glo-Toob)? There are different varieties, and similar sounding brands, different colored lights (blue, amber, red, green, white), most seem to use smaller lithium cells, but there is one that uses AAA, so maybe there is an AA version out there. They are dim lights for divers for light tagging themselves and their equipment, very rugged, lasts "forever" on any battery, up to $20 each. (edit: found one "Kriana AA Krill Light" for backpackers, dim, AA, rugged, under $30... thanks for posting OP! I'm getting one of these myself! Note: Krill lights are not LED lights, but electro-luminescent lamps, originally created to replace the disposable chem sticks used by emergency personel in the wake of 9/11)

I wish the Maratac TLL was still available... and in AA / AAA / CR123 size with sublumen modes would be great ;)

I like that FORM the OP used... where is that from?

 
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reppans

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Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
4,873
You can program a Quark Tactical (QTA) as moonlight single mode or moonlight/low dual mode but it's a bit over budget having missed the holiday sales. Warranty/CS are great with kids that may drop/toss things around.
 

AnAppleSnail

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Aug 21, 2009
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South Hill, VA
Minimag Forever If you don't mind a bit of DIY, this won't ever kill a NiMH set. The LED simply won't light below 2.4v. When it's dim enough, recharge.

It's a 5mm LED direct-drive from 2 NiMHs. Most Christmas light LEDs have a forward voltage such that you get maybe 5 lumens on a very fresh NiMH pair, and much less after a day or two. The one our little ones have has been running for about 3 months on some C cells I found (Same project, in a 2C Mag lite).
 

cland72

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Joined
Nov 23, 2009
Messages
3,271
You can program a Quark Tactical (QTA) as moonlight single mode or moonlight/low dual mode but it's a bit over budget having missed the holiday sales. Warranty/CS are great with kids that may drop/toss things around.

Excellent suggestion - this is what I was going to recommend. Quark Tactical AA with the head tightened mode set to moonlight.
 

ronniepudding

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Sep 19, 2013
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NY Capital District
My first thought was the Foursevens QTA... to my knowledge it's the only production light that can be "locked" in moonlight mode, but given the features and cost it's like swatting a fly with a sledgehammer. And depending upon how old/clever the kids are, it won't take them too long to figure out how to unlock the higher modes.

I like the idea of the Minimag Forever mod, but it's still well above OP's < 1 lumen requirement. Putting diffuser film over the lens might cut output down by a lumen or two, but what's to stop the kids from taking off the lens/reflector assembly? Unfortunately, all the retail MiniMag LED upgrades I know of increase brightness significantly over incandescent.

I know that this suggestion is going to produce a collective groan from all of CPF, but here it goes... Maglite Solitaire Incandescent. $8 each on Amazon, no mods necessary to reduce output since they only put out 2 lumens on a fresh alkaline, and that output quickly diminishes to the desired moonlight level as the cell fades. Where it falls short is run time, but considering how cheap these lights are, there's money left over to buy a bunch of AAA Eneloops and a charger.
 

think2x

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Pulaski, Va.
You can program a Quark Tactical (QTA) as moonlight single mode or moonlight/low dual mode but it's a bit over budget having missed the holiday sales. Warranty/CS are great with kids that may drop/toss things around.
I too will suggest this one. My son has the 2AA variant and he personally tested the moonlight mode and it last right at 30 straight days on moonlight mode.
 

AnAppleSnail

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Aug 21, 2009
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Location
South Hill, VA
I know that this suggestion is going to produce a collective groan from all of CPF, but here it goes... Maglite Solitaire Incandescent. $8 each on Amazon, no mods necessary to reduce output since they only put out 2 lumens on a fresh alkaline, and that output quickly diminishes to the desired moonlight level as the cell fades. Where it falls short is run time, but considering how cheap these lights are, there's money left over to buy a bunch of AAA Eneloops and a charger.

Replace the incandescent bulb with a 3mm (No modifications required) or 5mm (Cut the reflector opening wider) to get very long runtime. My problem is a 4-year-old loves to take it apart and see how it works. I find the 5mm LEDs with the leads all twisted together.
 

ronniepudding

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Sep 19, 2013
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NY Capital District
Replace the incandescent bulb with a 3mm (No modifications required) ... to get very long runtime.

I'm curious is there such a thing as a 3mm LED with decent tint that fits this use case? And if so, what's the output compared to the stock incandescent bulb? I've still got a few AA MiniMags in drawers around the house for power outages, etc. ... might be fun to replace the bulbs for long run time if the result indeed includes an improved beam.
 
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