Peak Performance Incan Lights?

letschat7

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What were the lights from the past 20 years that had the brighest stock bulbs and with the best runtimes?

Was the Magcharger ahead of it's time? As it seems to be one of my brighter incan lights. Pila GL4 seemed pretty decent especially with four CR123s and the high output bulb.

What did you guys use?
 

ampdude

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Magcharger.
That Streamlight XL20X thing or whatever, I used that for security work a lot.
Surefire M6 with MN21, but the runtime sucks.
I'm still a fan of the stock Surefire M4 with an MN60 as a practical high lumen option and no battery carrier to deal with.
SO... I guess aside from a rechargeable spotlight it's basically a Magcharger and M4.
 

Monocrom

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MagCharger in inca. form? Oh Hell no!
When it came out, you had to charge up the battery for 16 hours just to get one hour of runtime out of the thing. Literally any advantage it might have had in output was crushed by that horrendous runtime. It just immediately became standard practice by pretty much everyone who owned one or was issued one, to leave it on the charger when not switched on and being used.

Seriously, Streamlight's inca. Stinger back in the day had a much better charging ratio to runtime. Not even close.

Wish I could help you, but back during the Good Ole' days, I didn't give a damn about rechargeable options. Heck, I held out longer than probably any other regular on CPF in adopting rechargeable technology. Basically only taking it seriously about 2 years ago.... when cost of primaries became far too much for me to justify using them. Nearly $2.oo for a single AAA alkaline?! Screw that!

Though yeah, SureFire M4 all the way. I still have my Leef-bodied version to this day.
 

ampdude

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Monocrom, I never said the Magcharger had a great runtime, but you realize the M4 with an MN60 also only has a 1 hour runtime, right?

These are incan lights, they don't run for 250 hours on one set of batteries, they require a recharge, a replacement recharged stick, or new primary batteries when they go dead. Leaving a Nicad light on a charger also makes the situation worse. $2 for an AAA alkaline? What?
 

Monocrom

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Monocrom, I never said the Magcharger had a great runtime, but you realize the M4 with an MN60 also only has a 1 hour runtime, right?
Yes.... But unlike a MagCharger, you can toss in 4 fresh CR123 cells immediately at then end of the M4s one hour of runtime, and keep going.
 

ampdude

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Yes.... But unlike a MagCharger, you can toss in 4 fresh CR123 cells immediately at then end of the M4s one hour of runtime, and keep going.
But you can toss another battery in the Mag too... see my point?

There's another option I use. A Surefire 9N with a custom 18650 battery holder. You can use the stock lamp just fine.

Carry some spare 18650's with you and you're good to go for a long time.
 

Monocrom

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But you can toss another battery in the Mag too... see my point?
Not really. Sorry but no one, and I mean absolutely no one hauled around an extra rechargeable battery-stick for the MagCharger.... even the tiny minority of folks who even bothered getting a 2nd one. I mean after all, it's rechargeable. When you've got primaries in your light, you know you are going to dump them, and need to replace them soon. 4xCR123 batteries in a snack-size ziplock bag are just easier to carry with you than a MagCharger extra battery. Which again, most folks didn't even buy a spare. New MagCharger battery didn't get bought until years later when the original one in the light finally couldn't take a proper charge anymore.

I know they're not exactly the same, but bought a slightly used SureFire 9AN a little more than a decade back. Worked well. But never tried it with an 18650. Still have that light.
 

ampdude

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Well.. you know, whatever the status quo is.. or was back then... I don't normally abide by that. I remember those days too, always coming out of a security patrol of a building and putting it right back on the battery charger. So nowadays if I expect to use a Magcharger for over a half hour, I'm going to carry at least one extra battery stick with me. Yea it's not as easy to carry as 4 spare CR123A's, but it is what it is. And it's a better impact weapon than an M4.
 

Monocrom

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Well.. you know, whatever the status quo is.. I don't normally abide by that. So if I expect to use a Magcharger for over a half hour, I'm going to carry at least one extra battery stick with me. Yea it's not as easy to carry as 4 CR123A's, but it is what it is.
True, but that's you and I; and most folks on CPF. The contents of my work-bag would shock anyone, other than a fellow CPFer. Just saying, the vast majority of folks who bought a MagCharger weren't one of us.

I do remember a member from back in the day who was heavy into rechargeable lights, worked as a theater usher, and owned only two SureFire models. Both rechargeable. A SureFire 9AN and an SF L7 (an LED model). Wish he was still around to chime in.
 

ampdude

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Only thing I would change about the Magcharger is that the power cord wasn't so skinny so that it could charge faster. They could have improved that over time, but they didn't.
 

letschat7

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Mono calm down! Anyone that uses a rechargable flashlight worth their salt has many back ups even if using a 13 hour rapid charger!

See pic. Lets keep rollin rollin rollin err I mean going and going and going!
 

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Monocrom

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When the MagCharger came out, it was never marketed towards; us.

For the ones it was marketed towards, they likely had one back-up light, a 2AA Mini-Maglite incandescent model.
 

ABTOMAT

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I think peak incan was around 2005. After that LEDs took over so quickly nobody kept developing them. M6, Magcharger, and SL-20X were all fairly bright stock and you could easily get upgrade bulbs for them. Mag's was unofficial but it still worked well. People also forget the Tiger Light. Think that was the last new incan police flashlight to hit the market. Shame the company turned into a meme. I think it had potential.

The Magcharger was waaay ahead of its time, but keep in mind its time wasn't competing against Surefire in the 2000s. When the MC came out in 1982 your primary-cell alternative was a PR-bulb flashlight using technology that hadn't changed much since the 1930s. The Mini-Mag wasn't even on the market. The MC's direct competition (I'm not counting the contemporaty rechargeable conversions that still used PR bulbs) were a couple other halogen rechargeables that used nearly the same battery, bulb, and charger. Performace wasn't much different but the MC was decades ahead in phsyical engineering. Mag traded blows with Streamlight back & forth while the other companies went out of business, until SL started pulling away with product improvements. Then new models like the Stinger in the '90s. Enter the next two decades of Mag not doing...anything really.

Streamlight's contribution to history really doesn't get the respect it deserves. Mag had the quality, but Streamlight had the technology. Around 1980 you're shopping for flashlights and it's a sea of PR-based D/C cell lights from half a dozen brands. Then Streamlight has three size ranges of halogen rechargeable duty lights, a rechargeable spotlight lantern, and essentially a proto-Surefire Hellfighter HID that cost as much as a used car.

Surefire seemed like it was heading in the right direction with the 9N. I don't think it got over being kinda clunky and expensive, and the Stinger completely thrashed it in the market. As far as I'm concerned Surefire gave up on duty lights when they came out with the 9AN that got rid of the 9N's cradle charging ability.

It just immediately became standard practice by pretty much everyone who owned one or was issued one, to leave it on the charger when not switched on and being used.

Well, the whole selling point was you were expected to have a charger on the center console in your car or office with all these things.
 

fivemega

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The main problem of dim flashlights of standard factory flashlights were the primary batteries like D, C, AA and ... which they can provide no more than 0.8 Amp without sagging too much and since power is Volt x Amp, and you can not go more than 0.8 Amp, the only option is to increase voltage by adding number of cells 2D, 3D, 4D, 5D and... .
In order to increase current draw, Surge flashlight uses 2P/4S (total of 8) alkaline AAs and in this case operation cost goes high.
Another option is primary CR123A which has little higher current/voltage and again higher cost of operation for avarage people.
Next choice for slightly higher voltage (6 Volts) and almost double the current 1.7A you should use 5 of Ni/Cad 1/2D cell like M*gCharger. In this set up possible to use higher current bulbs such as WA1111 but very shorter run time per charge.
You could also use 3 of full size NiCad D cells but voltage goes lower compare to 5 x 1/2D cells.
NiMH cells have high self discharge and not reliable to leave long time after recharge.
If you go with 5 full length D cells, total length will be almost 5D size and not easy to carry and charger will not be able to fully charge 5000mAh batteries in 15 hours.
M*gCharger charging system is almost 2200 mA and in order to go higher current charge, your wall adapter and charging controller will need bigger space.
Standard charging of the M*gCharger is 1/10C and faster charge will shorten battery life.
As you see even big companies have their own problems and for same reason I do not have or use a standard flashlight. Just magine 40mm shorter battery tube compare to standard M*gCharger with pair of 26650 and 6 Volt halogen bulb. Shorter, lighter weight and longer run time.
I have a bored out M4 with pair of 18650 and WA1111
Much brighter than MN60, much longer run time and recharge much faster than M*gCharger outside of flashlight.
Above set up can also be used with MN20 bulb.
I also have same set up (2x26650) inside shortened 3D, (size of 2.5D) 5761 bulb, Aluminum reflector and Boro lens.
 

ampdude

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Magcharger does take a really long time to charge and that's the only thing I really dislike about it. But I mainly just use it to check out the building I live in at night, and if it's on the charger, I'll just grab my 9N or C3 or something instead. I prefer to have a good club in my hands though, so I use the Magcharger whenever I can.
 
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