Store brand batteries or Energizers? - LED Flashlight

little87

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jun 17, 2023
Messages
1
Location
USA
Hi. I'm new here.

I have an Atomic Beam flashlight that I use mostly for looking out my bedroom window to see what's making noise in my front yard (usually deer). I use the high beam, zoomed in to watch them. I noticed that the light becomes weak after not much usage. I'm not sure if the flashlight is eating the batteries when off or if my batteries are not meant for such usage.

I'm using Aldi's store brand batteries. These seem to work fine in a 50 lumen flashlight. It looks like the Atomic Beam is 1200 lumens, and uses 3 AAA batteries.

Would Energizer alkalines last longer? I don't use the flashlight that much, so I'm not buying anything more expensive. With the windows shut now that summer is here, I can't hear anything out in the yard anyway. I probably won't be using it again until September/October.
 

M@elstrom

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 1, 2007
Messages
2,180
Location
Sunraysia, Australia
The problem is AAA batteries have limited capacity (almost half that of an AA), I have one of the many other variants but instead of the 3AAA battery carrier it uses a protected 18650 Lithium Ion (and spacer tube) which has significantly more capacity and can sustain higher output levels.

The light (using the 18650) performs adequately but is hardly "high end" like those that market them would have you believe 😉


20230625_104935.jpg
 

alpg88

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 19, 2005
Messages
5,212
yes, energizer will outlast most store brands cells. No flashlight that uses 3 alkaline aaa will put out 1200lm, not on this planet. your light probably makes 200-300lm at best. atomic beam is in the low end of light spectrum.
 

IMA SOL MAN

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 18, 2023
Messages
2,126
Location
The HEART of the USA.
Hi. I'm new here.

I have an Atomic Beam flashlight that I use mostly for looking out my bedroom window to see what's making noise in my front yard (usually deer). I use the high beam, zoomed in to watch them. I noticed that the light becomes weak after not much usage. I'm not sure if the flashlight is eating the batteries when off or if my batteries are not meant for such usage.

I'm using Aldi's store brand batteries. These seem to work fine in a 50 lumen flashlight. It looks like the Atomic Beam is 1200 lumens, and uses 3 AAA batteries.

Would Energizer alkalines last longer? I don't use the flashlight that much, so I'm not buying anything more expensive. With the windows shut now that summer is here, I can't hear anything out in the yard anyway. I probably won't be using it again until September/October.
Those 3x AAA battery flashlights really eat the batteries, as the little guys just are so small they don't hold much juice.

Really, to save money, you really should invest in a rechargeable solution, either Eneloop AAA's or an 18650 with an adapter like M@elstrom pictured. It will save you money, and depending on your usage, could pay for themselves quickly.

Since it will be a few months until you need the flashlight again, why not set aside some loose change every week into a battery fund? By the time you need it again, you should have enough saved up for rechargeable batteries.
 

NiOOH

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 14, 2006
Messages
431
As others have said, you can't get much output and runtime on 3xAAA cells, 1200 lm is a no-no. The best is to get a light that uses Li-based cells, either 18650 or 21700. There are budget-friendly options from the like of Convoy and Sofirn.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,212
Location
John 3:16
The atomic light has what is called "direct drive". In that as the battery voltage declines the light gets dimmer. A "regulated" light has a circuit that keeps the light same brighness until battery voltage reaches below X and often it shuts off quickly with maybe a few seconds of warning. Maybe not.

The direct drive type provide more run time since it draws less electricity as the light dims. Triple A batteries don't contain much "fuel" to power the light. Think climbing a hill in a car with a small engine and gas tank. Starts out full speed at the bottom but slows down as it climbs. Yet as the engine runs slower it uses less gas. An engine with a turbo could hold the speed better but be using more fuel as it climbs the hill versus the non-turbo motor.

Yes brands like Energizer pack more fuel into the cell than the less expensive batteries. But in a triple A there isn't a lot of room for more fuel.

Using the light on occasion, yes you will likely see better benefit from better batteries. But brutha, you need a better light. If you really like the zoomie aspect of the atomic consider buying a double A minimag from Maglite or check out lights like Lux-Pro or Coast at Lowes or Home Depot with zoomie features. None of those promise 1200 lumens but they are probably just as bright.

I use a Coast HP7 that uses 4 double A batteries on occasion. The double A size has a lot more capacity. And it's only a little bit larger thsn an atomic.
 

Dave_H

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
1,312
Location
Ottawa Ont. Canada
These 3AAA "zoomies" are very common and cheap, around here I have seen 2-packs for under $10. Typically 350 lumens on high is going to run down AAA's in under an hour at high setting. I measured 1.2A or so battery drain on high setting on one of these, with 18650 at 4v. That is 4-5W consumption, not good news for alkaline AAAs.

As noted they are usually direct drive through some sort of current limiting, but no voltage conversion to compensate for decreasing cell voltage.

I don't recommend NiMH AAAs for this due to high drain, series arrangement, and (probable) lack of proper low-voltage cutoff on these lights. This would lead to one cell going down before the others (no matter how well initially matched), reverse charging of that cell which leads to its demise.

In short term you might try Lithium primary AAAs but they are pricey; and not sure how much longer (if any) they would hold up. They are very light and don't leak though.


Most of these 3AAA's should run on 18650 if there is a tailcap spring/plunger, and spring at the head end to take up the extra length. A clue is if the round AAA holder has a plunger pin. Sometimes 18650 may not fit for other mechanical reason. Mine have home-made sleeves made from thin-wall PVC tubing (regular is too thick).

Some vendors do not spec their lights for 18650, most likely liability if something happens. It's a sort of nudge-nudge wink-wink though, they know people need to run on 18650 for any "reasonable" runtime. Charging, handling, and usage of Li-ion is not for every consumer, needs great care.

Dave
 

Hooked on Fenix

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
3,053
I have an older version of the Atomic Beam flashlight. At least mine was made to use either 3AAA or an 18650. If it claims it can go up to 1200 lumens, they are either lying or your version as well was made to run on an 18650. With that cell you should get 1200 lumens. With 3AAA you might get 350 or so. Suggest you just get a cheap Fenix 2600 mAh 18650 with the built in usb charge port (so you don't need to buy a charger, just a micro usb cable). One 18650 will outlast several AAAs and pay for itself in no time.

Edit: Just saw the picture of this light's box on Ace Hardware's website. The bottom of the box clearly says it uses 3 AAAs or an 18650.
 
Last edited:

3_gun

Enlightened
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
635
The real issue is thinking you are going to get much run time on/at HIGH from any battery combo you use. Heat build up will dim the out put even if you were powered by an atomic cell. Very few lights have the mass & heat management to hold a MAX level past a few minutes
 

Poppy

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
8,315
Location
Northern New Jersey
An AA battery has about 2.5 times the capacity of an AAA, and an 18650 has about 3 times the capacity of an AA. So an 18650 has about 7.5 times the capacity of a single AAA battery.

The beauty of the 18650 cell is its chemistry, and it's relatively flat discharge curve. It will maintain a higher voltage and hence higher output of light until it is nearly depleted than an alkaline cell. An alkaline will run for a longer period of time, but with a constantly diminishing output. As you have noticed, within 20 minutes, the output of your light will be about 1/2 of what it started with, with fresh cells. Powered by an 18650, it's output will drop maybe 10%.
 

snakebite

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 17, 2001
Messages
2,702
Location
dayton oh
Some of these generic zoomies can even use a 21700 cell.
Local dollar general clearanced theirs at $0.50.
And they do fine on a 21700.
Dont fall for the as seen on tv hype.
Its just another $2 shipped from china disposable light.
No matter the claims
 
Top