Single Mode Lights - Extinct?

MrNaz

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Jul 20, 2006
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244
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Melbourne, Australia
Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe my brain is deteriorating. Maybe I'm turning into one of those cranky old "I hate change" types.

Why are there no decent single mode lights any more? All of my lights are either 3 or 5 modes when I only want one. What is wrong with my use case:

I go hunting at night. I have a light mounted to my rifle, a Sipik SK68 (with zoom ring epoxied at maximum throw) so that I can flick it on and then the view through the scope looks like day right out to 100m.

I also need a light for sweeping in search of game. For this I need a long throw handheld light. I used to have a really good Skyray $15 job which threw nicely out to almost 200m. They stopped making these lights, and I was unable to find anything else that could match it in throw. I resorted to buying a $120 ArmyTek Predator Pro and programmed it for single mode.

I also need a light for checking gear up close, reading maps, picking thorns out of my butt, etc. A nice, small, 14500 XPE that put out a ~50lm flood would be great for this.

NONE of these calls for multi mode. Yes, I could mix the use of the sweep light if it were high/low but I prefer a small light when I'm just rummaging gear up close. Why has single mode gone extinct? Am I really that unusual? Given the affinity Chinese manufacturers have with saving a faction of a cent per unit, why haven't they made single mode torches at the low end even? Even those craccy $4 18650 lights sport a half dozen modes these days.

Someone explain it to me. Has the world gone mad or am I just a cranky old man?

P.S., I'm 34.
 

MrNaz

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Jul 20, 2006
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Melbourne, Australia
Here's a good 18650 XML light that would be IDEAL for the glove box of the car, except that it's got like 400 modes. (Actually 3, but still, I want just ONE!)


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leon2245

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Apr 4, 2008
Messages
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Why are there no decent single mode lights any more?

Because all lights now have to be all things to all people- more & more of them have everything from a turbo mode pushed as bright as it will last for 30 seconds, to the lowest low & everything in between including blinky modes. They'll demand that a giant search and rescue light also have a sublumen moonlight mode on board so they can take it to the potty at night; then nothing else out there better have an on-paper higher showoff mode with the same number of batteries either.

What the more reputable names do, the knock off's will copy. But actually at least with edc's I've found more single modes still remain on the likes of fast tech & dx etc. than anywhere.
 

subwoofer

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May 5, 2010
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Hove, UK
There are plenty of lights you can make single mode. The Armytek Predator and Viking can be effectively made into single mode, and the new NITECORE P20(UV) can also be made into single mode (as long as you don't hit the second button that gives strobe). The 5.11 S+R A2 and A6 (see my review listings for more info) are both simple single mode lights. There are also two mode lights where a twist of the head gives one or the other like the Fenix E21; if you don't twit the head is is a single mode light.

I like the simplicity of single mode lights, but also want to be able to set the output level I want. Single modes are great for emergency lights and lights to lend to others, but the flip side is that in an emergency you might prefer longer runtime or as bright as possible, but until you are in that emergency which will it be?
 

raz-0

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Nov 10, 2006
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Try the four sevens quark tactical. Program your mode for head tightened and then don't loosen the head for the second mode. Done.
 

blankc72

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Jul 23, 2014
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The VTAC mini L4 is single mode and made by surefire. It's the same size as an E1L and uses a single CR 123 battery. Used with an F04 diffuser it makes for a nice flood light at about 100 lumens output.


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blankc72

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Jul 23, 2014
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The VTAC mini L4 is a single mode light made by Surefire. It's the same size as an E1L and uses a single CR123 battery. The light puts out about 100 lumens and using a diffuser makes it a good little flood light. This is what I EDC.
 

Cerealand

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Oct 30, 2011
Messages
1,667
P60 host with your choice of single mode drop-in.


if you're worried about size, get a vital gear fb1, Malkoff vimeo head, and an m31 of your choice.
 

m4a1usr

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May 4, 2013
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Washington State
You can make most of those cheap lights a single mode by unsoldering the large capacitor on the driver board. It will always start in high mode.
 

scout24

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Dec 23, 2008
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Penn's Woods
All my incands are single mode, from 15 lumen E1e's up to the M4's higher output. One of my current favorites is an MN01 lamp assembly in an E2e with a single CR123 and a dummy cell spacer. "Enough" output, but more to hang onto than the smaller E1e. And no, from here you're not cranky... :)
 

Gene43

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Sep 2, 2006
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South Alabama
That's a drop-in, not a light built to be single mode from the ground up. :)

The Malkoff MD2 Turnkey was built to be a single mode and you can pick the brightness and/or tint by stating that you would like a substitution for a different flavor of M61 installed in the notes at checkout.
 

MrNaz

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244
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Because all lights now have to be all things to all people- more & more of them have everything from a turbo mode pushed as bright as it will last for 30 seconds, to the lowest low & everything in between including blinky modes. They'll demand that a giant search and rescue light also have a sublumen moonlight mode on board so they can take it to the potty at night; then nothing else out there better have an on-paper higher showoff mode with the same number of batteries either.

Great. So it really is the industry going bonkers and not just me losing my mind.

What the more reputable names do, the knock off's will copy. But actually at least with edc's I've found more single modes still remain on the likes of fast tech & dx etc. than anywhere.

Yea, I've found a few, but the ones that I have found either look too low quality or aren't what I'm after. Ideally, I'd like a small 18650 like the one pictured that uses a high efficiency, modern emitter to put out around ~50-100lm that lasts forever on a charge and that I can keep in the glove box for changing tyres and finding that dollar coin under the seat. I don't want to have to pay $150 for such basics.

There are plenty of lights you can make single mode. The Armytek Predator and Viking can be effectively made into single mode, and the new NITECORE P20(UV) can also be made into single mode (as long as you don't hit the second button that gives strobe). The 5.11 S+R A2 and A6 (see my review listings for more info) are both simple single mode lights. There are also two mode lights where a twist of the head gives one or the other like the Fenix E21; if you don't twit the head is is a single mode light.

So buy an expensive cannon and tune it down to a fly swatter? No thanks. I've already got a Predator Pro, and I really like it. It serves very well as my sweep light described above. However, I feel really, really stupid buying a $120 light to replace the old light I used to use for this purpose, which cost about $15.

I like the simplicity of single mode lights, but also want to be able to set the output level I want. Single modes are great for emergency lights and lights to lend to others, but the flip side is that in an emergency you might prefer longer runtime or as bright as possible, but until you are in that emergency which will it be?

Granted, but in most cases, the "emergency" we're planning for is a flat tyre and night or a dropped peanut under the car seat. And even so, I can see an argument for 2 modes; high and low. I don't get the "high, sorta high, medium, a bit lower, low, moonlight, firefly, so-low-you-have-to-stare-at-the-die, flashing, strobe, I-love-you-in-morse" mode sets. So few people actually need tactical flashing, and those that do are usually LEO and willing to pay $200+ for a service light. In a cheap light, those modes just get in the way more than adding to the functionality that a regular user needs.

You can make most of those cheap lights a single mode by unsoldering the large capacitor on the driver board. It will always start in high mode.

Best. Suggestion. Ever. I'm breaking out my soldering iron right now.
 

idleprocess

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decamped
Back when the incandescent was king, single-mode was all you could do. The early LED lights followed this model because their brightness was low and driving electronics more sophisticated than a resistor were relatively new and expensive.

As LED got more powerful and the electronics became more commodity, multimode came naturally. For most of the market, being able to toggle between a few lumens and a few hundred lumens is useful - especially in small form-factors where you may primarily use low modes, but periodically want max brightness. The opposite is often the case with larger lights.
 

SimulatedZero

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Nov 23, 2011
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SouthEast, USA
Depends on where you look and what your minimum requirements are.

I found a cheap Coast light on amazon that runs off of a single AAA cell and puts out approx 50 lumens. Small, pure flood, tailstands, and has a clip. Sounds like a good gear light. Either that or a small Streamlight will do the same.

I've found that you find a lot the simple but just works kinda stuff is still floating around in the non flashaholic lights you find in big box stores. Maglite, Streamlight, Coast, etc...
 
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