Stage electrician's light for power outages

Coulomb.

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Minnesota
I volunteer as a lighting designer and electrician at a midsize community theater.

Any time I am in the theater -- whether working on stage, operating lights during a rehearsal, or supervising or operating lights during a show with an audience present -- I make it a point to have a flashlight on my person to use in the even of an unintentional blackout. These can be brought about by a wide variety of causation chains with the most common being operator error on the light board, though power outages and equipment failures can also cause a loss of lighting. Some but not all theaters where I work have "panic lights" that the operator can turn on separate from the primary show controls. Some but not all theaters where I work have backup power.

These are large spaces and my goal is to provide sufficient illumination in an emergency to keep people from losing their balance (if on ladders etc), from injuring themselves trying to exit the set, or (if an audience present) from panicking.

I have a 600 otf lumen dive light (I also scuba dive) that is powered by an 18650 that I have kept on hand in the theater in the past but would like something brighter with longer runtime, yet still compact, and am intrigued by the 21700 powered flashlights now on the market. I am having trouble finding the right one, and would like some advice.

Generally, I am more interested in sustained light output than "turbo mode" features that are unsustainable due to thermal limits.

I use lights for many purposes and would like any new lights I purchase to be IP67 or better. I have a floodlight and a task light using the Milwaukee M12 battery pack system that are very good for the indoor construction/maintenance tasks for which they are designed but they aren't waterproof. I have a couple of Princeton Tec Torrent lights that I use as dive lights, which are waterproof and which I like very much, but they aren't as bright as I would like.

I do not want tactical features both because I strive to be nonthreatening and noncombative in all that I do, and because accidental use of a strobe effect in a crowded auditorium could make a bad situation worse.

Appreciate any replies. I filled out the form below.


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 ______________.
XX__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.
____Up to $50.
____Up to $100.
____Up to $200.
XX_Up to $300.
____Essentially unlimited.


3) Format:

____I am not sure, please help me decide.
XX_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.
____TINY - Every day carry (2-4 inches).
____SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches).
XX_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:

XX_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:

XX__I want to buy a light from a large/traditional manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.
____I would like a light from a specialty manufacturer (Possibly limited run/Custom).
____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).
____I intend to use Rechargeable cells (NiMH or NiCD) based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
XX_I intend to use Rechargeable cells based on less common formats (18500 or 18650 Li-Ion, RCR123, et-al).
XX_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)
____I want a separate/stand-alone charger (this involves removing the batteries to charge)
XX__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).

____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).
XX_I want search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens).

no__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.


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

____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.
XX_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)
____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)
XX__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)
XX__90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
____3 hours + (I critically need this light to run on max for extended periods in between battery changes/charges).




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).
____Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
XX_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).
XX__I want a forward clicky (Helpful for momentary activation and signaling).
XX_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).
____I want a twisty switch (Tighten the head/tailcap to activate, and the light will stay on until the head/tailcap is loosened).
XX_I want a body mounted switch (near the head, like on a Maglite).
____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.

XX__A simple on-off with only one output level is fine for me.
XX_I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
XX_I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
____I want a programmable light.
_XX_I want a selector ring.
no_I want a strobe mode. (Oscillating pattern to confuse/blind aka "Police Mode")
no_I want SOS mode. (blinks in ...---... emergency pattern)
no__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).
____Anodized Aluminum – either type II or III (Hard Anodized) (Aluminum, specifically HA, is the most common material/finish for today's higher end flashlights).
____Stainless steel (durable, but much heavier than aluminum)
____Titanium (durable and nearly as lightweight as aluminum, but can be moderately to significantly more expensive).
XX_I don't care.
____I don't know.
____Other, please specify____________.

15) Water resistance
____None needed
____IPX4 (Splash resistant)
XX__IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
____IPX8 (Submersible to greater than 1 meter for 4 hours)

16) Storage conditions
XX_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
 

DaveTheDude

Enlightened
CPF Supporter
Joined
Oct 26, 2009
Messages
572
Location
Columbus, Ohio
1. JetBeam T4 Pro (my favorite, based on your criteria).

2. JetBeam 3M series (several versions based on the same platform).

3. Eagtac P200LC2.

4. Eagtac DX30LC2.

5. Olight Baton / Baton Pro (multiple versions available).

Take a look at these; the specifications and reviews will help you narrow your preferences and help ensure your satisfaction with your selection.

And don't forget to post your decision. 😁
 

vicv

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
1,737
Location
Southern Ontario
I'd say streamlight stinger 2020. Like the separate mode switch. I do not have one though. Way too bright for me but looks like it fits your criteria.
 

lightfooted

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
1,011
Try looking at Parametrek.com, you can make all kinds of selections to filter out what you want. It will help give you an idea of what is out there.
 

fuyume

Enlightened
Joined
Jun 25, 2021
Messages
211
Hi! I studied Lighting and Sound Design at university, and have worked as a theatre or stage tech for many years in one form or another, and I can tell you that for decades, the standard equipment of a Stage Technician included a 2xAA Mini Mag-Lite. You do not need or want a gigantic, heavy, honking flashlight in a theatre, you want one with a relatively low power with lightweight, small size, and easy to replace batteries.

You are not going to need the 18 hour runtime of something like my PD36 TAC at 150 lumens, much less the 10+ hour runtime at 350 lumens, with its 21700 battery, in the event of a power outage in a theatre.

I would highly recommend something like the Fenix E20 v2.0. It is a 2xAA light with 5/30/150/350 lumen modes, and it is the 5 lumen mode you will usually be using in the theatre, sometimes the 30 lumen mode. When I do stage work these days, my E12 v2.0 is perfect for the job, but the E20 v2.0 would be a little easier to hold, since it is much the same size as the venerable Mini Mag-Lite, which in its original form output about 11 lumens with new batteries and a new lamp.

This is a subject area in which I have decades of professional experience. In a blackened theatre, a high powered light is a hindrance, not a help.

 

Coulomb.

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Minnesota
Thank you all for the replies. I've read up on everything recommended.

1. JetBeam T4 Pro (my favorite, based on your criteria).

Not bad, but I don't like the crenelated bezel (it's too tacticool) or the too-easily-accessed strobe.

2. JetBeam 3M series (several versions based on the same platform).

These appear to be discontinued.

3. Eagtac P200LC2.

Good smaller light. 18650 based, 1123 lumens, availability in neutral white (which I like). A candidate.

4. Eagtac DX30LC2.

Less output than I would like. (842 lumens in neutral white)

5. Olight Baton / Baton Pro (multiple versions available).

Less output than I would like (600 lumens)
I'd say streamlight stinger 2020. Like the separate mode switch. I do not have one though. Way too bright for me but looks like it fits your criteria.

I don't like the tacticool crenelated bezel or the proprietary battery packs.

Try looking at Parametrek.com, you can make all kinds of selections to filter out what you want. It will help give you an idea of what is out there.

I did this and came up with:
* Fenix PD40, one 26650, 1000 lumens continuous, no strobe
* Thrunite TC20v2, 26650, 1900 lumens continuous, usb-c charging, does have a strobe feature (bad) but it's difficult to trigger inadvertently (good), floody pattern (good for what I want), neutral white led available

Hi! I studied Lighting and Sound Design at university, and have worked as a theatre or stage tech for many years in one form or another, and I can tell you that for decades, the standard equipment of a Stage Technician included a 2xAA Mini Mag-Lite. You do not need or want a gigantic, heavy, honking flashlight in a theatre, you want one with a relatively low power with lightweight, small size, and easy to replace batteries.
Yep, been there, done that, have a closet full of the T-shirts. I actually have a drawer full of Gerber Infinity Ultra LED lights that run on a single AA and have output similar to the old mini mag-lites, and I use them in theater work for exactly the reasons you state.
This is a subject area in which I have decades of professional experience. In a blackened theatre, a high powered light is a hindrance, not a help.
All I can say is that it depends. Our board is in the middle of the auditorium (shared position with sound) and if there's a power failure (or unwanted blackout) while I'm driving (or supervising a new op) I want to have a bright light I can shine at the ceiling so that no one gets hurt while we figure it out. But you're right, 99% of the time I want a penlight so that I can move around and find stuff without drawing attention to myself.

So my short list now is:
  • Eagtac P200LC2
  • Fenix PD40
  • Thrunite TC20v2
 

LEDphile

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Messages
198
Our board is in the middle of the auditorium (shared position with sound) and if there's a power failure (or unwanted blackout) while I'm driving (or supervising a new op) I want to have a bright light I can shine at the ceiling so that no one gets hurt while we figure it out. But you're right, 99% of the time I want a penlight so that I can move around and find stuff without drawing attention to myself.
If you can cause a safety issue with improper operation of the console, or a power outage causes an immediate safety problem, there's a very high probability that your room doesn't meet life-safety code, and/or you have unsafe work practices. And no flashlight is going to help with the root cause of that problem.
 

Coulomb.

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Minnesota
If you can cause a safety issue with improper operation of the console, or a power outage causes an immediate safety problem, there's a very high probability that your room doesn't meet life-safety code, and/or you have unsafe work practices. And no flashlight is going to help with the root cause of that problem.
That would be a discussion to take to controlbooth.com if you want to pursue it.
 
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