Question on light battery combo for Alaska

HSO

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My SIL is going to be working in remote medicine out of Bethel AK. The general wisdom I see is that Li batteries will perform better in the four degree nights. Is this still correct or has anything new developed for Alaskan winter use.

What would be the best headlamp and battery combinations there?

Thanks for the information.
 

Lithium Juice

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Lithium primaries are a little better than Li-Ion batteries at handling cold in my experience. One thing that people do is use a headlamp with a remote battery pack and keep the battery pack inside their clothing so that temperature isn't an issue for the batteries.

Zebralight has high cri options which would be great for medical work, but no remote battery pack. (IIRC, some enterprising people have made external battery packs for them)

Silva and Lupine both have battery pack extension cables so you can move the battery off of your head, but I don't know what tints they use in their lights.

Do you know how the light will mainly be used? Zebralight is more task oriented while something like Lupine is more geared toward navigation.
 

Mr. LED

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I would rely on something AA based, because Eneloops (NiMH) handles the cold better, if there are means to recharge them. And lithium primaries for backup/emergency or if there’s no possibility to recharge. Zebralight H53Fc headlamp is very nice, small, robust and efficient.
 

scout24

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I'll suggest stone simple given the enviroment. Get a Zebralight headband with their rubber light holder or two for backup, and a twisty AA flashlight. Worn by the temple, it's passable as a headlamp. Something like the Peak El Capitan or maybe a Lumintop Tool AA with the twisty tailcap. Nobody outside in the Alaskan winter is going to have the dexterity to work a clicky, e switch, or complex UI, and eliminating that is one less point of failure. Some Energizer lithium AA's, and you're good to go.
 

vicv

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As much as I like lithium AAs, depending on your use case you're probably going to want a pretty decent and reliable high output mode. And you're just not going to get that off of a single AA. You will need at least two or three in series. At that point a CR123A based light is going to be smaller
 

Olumin

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Ive heard cr123 are toughest. in practice a torch is either carried very close to the body or in a bag, so it will never get quite as cold as outside air. And of cause it being lit will warm it up as well. Lithium ions have protection boards and those can fail too. I heard thats why gun people dont use them. Unprotected liion is not ideal.

The google says cr123 are fine for -40 c. I dont think they will get that cold even in Al. due to what I said above.
 

vicv

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I'll be honest I've been using lithium ion batteries for over 10 years. The only protected ones I've had had caused me problems. Unprotected batteries are just fine as long as you are responsible and get an idea of how long of run time that your light gets and check the battery periodically. If you rely all the time on the low voltage protection built into the protection circuit, you're going to thrash that battery in a short amount of time as they kick in far too low.
I've been quite surprised before on how quickly lithium ion batteries start to fail in cold temperatures. When the battery gets cold the internal resistance goes up. Which in turn causes a big voltage drop. Which causes the light to not only be less bright but also to kick in the lights internal LVR if it has one.
If this is a light that you're going to use regularly and keep it inside for the most part it's not going to be a problem. But if you're looking to have a light ready in any situation regardless of the ambient temperature I recommend primary cells
 

Olumin

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Most peeps dont pay attention to run time and dont check batterys. They just use em till the light goes out or really dim so they cant see. To be honest I dont for the most part. protected liion is really recommended for most folks. I use unprotected in some lights, but few. unprotected can be dangerous if you dont know what what youre doing, and most dont. I dont really lol. I once shorted a cell by trying to measure it with metal calipers. Yes am very smart. Nothing happened, but it was scary because it was a unprotected one. I prefer cogwheels and springs over angry pixies.
 

vicv

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And while I do agree with that, if someone is going to be that irresponsible they should just leave with the ion batteries alone. In my opinion protection circuits don't really give you that much of an advantage. Just stick the primary batteries.
You are right that not a lot of people keep an eye on their batteries. Unfortunately a protection circuit doesn't protect those people. As I said that battery will be thrashed in a small number of cycles if that's how they're treated.
And while using steel calipers to measure the length of a battery is not the best idea I've ever heard, all you're going to get is possibly a spark and a mark on your calipers. You're not going to hurt the battery if you don't hold it there in place. A quick short circuit is fine.
And the chargers that we have today are much better than the chargers that we had 10 plus years ago when protected batteries were recommended. No good charger over charges batteries anymore
 

vicv

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A spring under tension is one of the most terrifying things that I know. Like a garage door spring. Or the spring inside a spring brakes on a commercial truck. I would deal with high wattage any day
 

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