Original Surefire A2 Aviator - worth upgrading anymore?

punky1402

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
3
Hey there CPF,

I have an original Surefire A2 Aviator, it has a red LED ring. Compared to my other smattering of flashlights it just has no power. I did find the Lumens Factory high output bulb since the bulb I have in there still is probably the one that came with it. Even with a fresh pair of CR123As and the new bulb I still feel like it lacks intensity to my other lights. I've seen the threads about the enhanced LED rings and some CPF member custom updated bulbs. I do love the soft press for a ring of red LEDs, but wish it had some more oomph with the white throw with the deeper press. I love the feel of the light, the form and the tailcap feel. My question to you as a few parts:

1. Are there other mods, upgrades or bulbs I have not found still available?
2. Are there mods that I could maybe do myself without the need for someone else to solder together components?
3. Is it worth upgrading? Or should I just thank it for it's service and leave it on my shelf of obsolete gear?

Lights I have for comparison:

Streamlight Stinger DS LED HL
Streamlight Polytac X
Streamlight Protac 2L
Streamlight Sidewinder Compact II
Surefire G2X Pro
Olight M1T Raider
Olight i3T EOS
Olight i1R EOS

All of which seem to have more illumination power.

Lastly should I spend the money for a current Surefire Aviator to replace my old one? (assuming I'm made of $$:laughing:)

(also hoping I posted this in the right thread)
 

thermal guy

Flashaholic
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Jan 28, 2007
Messages
9,997
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ny
It is what it is. I own two of them and it's more for nostalgia then anything else. The stock or high output lumens factory is as bright as it gets. They are great lights. Way ahead of there time but yes weak by today's standards.
 

Illum

Flashaholic
Joined
Apr 29, 2006
Messages
13,053
Location
Central Florida, USA
I still use mine quite often, while I do have 1000-2000 lumen lights time and time again I wonder back to incandescent lamps. Many of us keep an old stock minimag around to refresh our perspective of things. More is always good but is it practical? If you're working on a project and accidentally shine your own eyes, does it hurt? My aviators been with me since 2006ish. Went through countless sets of batteries, but 50 lumens is still plenty bright. 50 lumens of full spectrum warmth. I don't like LED worklights, they wash out alot of details and sometimes 6500K gives me a headache. I don't know why.

My work carry:
Solarforce host 2x18650 w/Sportac P60 CREE XP-L HI Domeless Neutral as main
Eagletac P200CL2 CREE XP-L HI Domeless Neutral as backup

My everywhere else carry:
Solarforce host 2x18650 LF C2M adapter, M3 head, MN15 Lamp
Surefire A2-HA-RD w/ LF A2-HO lamp and Koala 660nm ring.

If you don't like it you can always sell it on here, a few of us who remember it for sentimental value might pop up with an offer.
 

Bullzeyebill

Flashaholic
Joined
Feb 21, 2003
Messages
12,164
Location
CA
Years ago in a CPF light meter test of members meters, there was a pass around of various lights including the A2 without the LED ring. This to check the reading of members readings and compare them. After the testing the A2 and the other lights were checked by a reputable lab for lumen output. The A2 tested at 71 lumens, if I recall rightly. This without the LED ring. My A2 is bright enough for me, for an incandescent lamp. I use other higher output LED lights for throw.

Bill
 

Tachead

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 3, 2015
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Location
Northwestern Ontario, Canada
Maybe your 6500K lights use PWM as there is no reason 6500K should give you a headache. If that were the case you would get one every day when you walk out in the afternoon sun lol.
 

ampdude

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Apr 7, 2007
Messages
4,613
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USA
IMO it doesn't need an "upgrade". It is what it is. I love my A2's and respect them for what they can and can't do. It's the only light I have that I can use both primaries and rechargeables in without changing lamp assemblies, and at the same time it has a lower power LED backup light source just in case. If you want a 6,000 Lumen LED light then get that.

I agree, it's not a super bright light, and I never even thought it was back in the day. They should have made the three cell 9 volt (7.4V) version instead, just like they should have made an E3e.
 

Modernflame

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Jan 27, 2017
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Dirty Dirty South
I think the A2 is still a very useful flashlight. I'd say keep it, appreciate it, and do the CPF thing and buy something else to have with it. Parting with it is something you might regret later. I ditched my SF incandescents some years ago. Still chiding myself for it.

Maybe your 6500K lights use PWM as there is no reason 6500K should give you a headache. If that were the case you would get one every day when you walk out in the afternoon sun lol.

I get what you're saying about color temperature, but the light coming from the business end of your typical ~6000K 70 CRI flashlight looks nothing whatever like sunlight. In fact, it's quite unnatural. I've noticed that it puts a strain on my eyes when used for any length of time. I can see how it might contribute to a headache. Most people probably don't experience that, but everyone is different.
 

punky1402

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
3
Thank you all for your input, I still do like the A2 and there is something more natural/neutral with the lighting colors. I'm undecided about upgrading it or allowing it to be as it is, you all make good points. I've got two other modern LEDs that push 800 lumens, and I don't have much need for anything brighter at the moment. It is a great light still, just I find I grab other lights more often. I'll check out the Tad but I may just leave it alone and keep fresh 123's handy. Thanks for all the responses!! Much appreciated.
 

ma tumba

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Oct 7, 2013
Messages
1,344
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Russia
Frankly, I haven't carried any of my a2s for a year. But having said this, I think that an a2 is an amazing light, if you replace stock led ring by something more advanced and up to date. In my case these are multi-mode Calypsoii rings with yuji leds
 

fresh eddie fresh

Enlightened
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Sep 15, 2010
Messages
984
I used to be a massive incan A2 collector (at least one in every color round, plus about four square) but sold them all a few years back except one green one Y/G. They are really fun, but they kill batteries much faster than my A2Ls (which are only really good for two levels of multi colored flood) and my AZ2s (which do the flood on low and throw on high thing very well).

The Lumens Factory bulbs are a great upgrade. Many years ago people would ask about LED bulbs for A2s every so often, but the general opinion was that that would be Surefire heresy (personally, I would buy and use such a thing if it were readily available!)
 

LRJ88

Enlightened
Joined
May 4, 2014
Messages
647
I hope i'm not derailing the thread with this, but would it be possible to get pictures of the Aviator? There's always a charm with the older models.
 

bykfixer

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Aug 9, 2015
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Dust in the Wind
IMG-20190125-180539.jpg

My pair of white LED users.
Top one is stock. Bottom has a Tads 3712.
 
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