Why do you need turbo that lasts a few seconds before stepping down?

XTAR Light

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You may have seen many high lumen flashlights, getting thousand lumens at turbo mode but only produce max output for a very short period. For example, one claims 10000 lumens at turbo mode, lasting for 10s and then stepping down to a lower output. So why set up like this?

As LEDs produce heat, a handheld flashlight could only dissipate a limited amount of heat. Especially on turbo modes, it generates a lot of heat, enough to damage the electronics and even burn the hands, so it’s common for high output flashlights to step down before overheating. And it’s also a way about battery conservation when you are using the flashlight outside.

Some people think a few seconds of the burst just doesn’t seem very useful. While many users tell turbo mode is useful for quickly checking things in the distance, when the standard high mode may not provide enough light. Are you willing to buy a light that is super bright but only has a limited run time at turbo brightness? How do you usually use the turbo mode?
 

richbuff

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For me, the question of choosing a flashlight who’s highest mode will run for hours and hours and hours, versus a flashlight whose highest mode will run only for a few seconds, is a matter of personality. That’s why I like both kinds.
 

Scotty321

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During the day or in a bright building, I'll sometimes use the high/turbo to see into crevices, as my eyes are adjusted to the bright surroundings.

During the night, I usually am using low (sometimes medium), and will toss the high/turbo setting to see what is making an unusual sound in one direction or checking something out further away. Skunks, jackals, and foxes are not that uncommon in my area. This comes in handy because I like floody type beams, which are already limited in the distance department.
 

idleprocess

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The fact this question has been asked so many times is perplexing if you've been around LED flashlights for more than a year or so. The capabilities of the system of LED flashlights - LED, power electronics, cells - has significantly exceeded the physical capability of small flashlights to passively shed the heat that the system can otherwise sustain. Thus, turbo or burst operation is the norm for nearly all flashlights that are handy enough to carry on one's person; for the safety of the system and the user such operation should be automatically thermally limited.

Given that it effectively costs nothing to implement a turbo or burst feature it makes sense to include the feature even if it cannot be sustained for long. The great wailing about the necessarily short-duration and low duty cycle is equally perplexing given that the physics of small flashlights should be well-understood by this audience. Sure the marketing is occasionally ... very bad ... and the peak sustainable output should be given equal billing as the burst figure. But complaints about this limited capability oft seems to extend to suggest that including such functionality at all is a bad thing, which I take umbrage with since it's centered around individual perception and use cases rather than realities.

RE: the question as asked - I have several kilolumen lights that I use >95% of the time below their peak sustained output. The other <5% of the time I need to see a wider area, see something further away, or have a "what was that?" moment. In these situation having <10s of reliable burst duration is acceptable since I'd otherwise need a far larger light and that <10s is sufficient.
 

bykfixer

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I remember a time when companies stated ordinary output numbers with optional turbo being mentioned. Example would be something like "325 lumens" "turbo available" so the buyer knew that they were getting a 325 lumen flashlight that had ability to briefly shine a boosted output. Some said something like "up to 500" or similar. It seems like truth was blinded past 500 though as makers were reaching for that magical 1000 lumen threshold. Suddenly 1xCR123 lights were claiming 900+ lumens as a sales tactic. One light using a double a battery claimed 900 lumens (with supplied specially designed 3.7 volt, hyper drain fuel cell) but gave the impression one could go to the local 7-11 and grab a 25 cent Duragizer and shazam! 900 lumens baby, we can morse code Mars with this thing. Sadly people made excuses for this nonsense too. "Well I only need that 7000 lumens for a few seconds so yeah, bring it on"……

It seems that has largely settled down in the hand held light realm to one degree or another as folks clamor for a more light bulb-esque beam color with computer generated charts and graphs telling them despite what your eyes see, this one is more acurate……just trust the science.
My friends like to say "yeah that light bulb is 100% color acurate". I try to believe that while looking at the yellow wedding dress in my photos from a light bulb lit indoor reception. Hmmm, must be that her white dress out in the sunshine was not really white afterall? …… Where did I park my silver car? All I see is a pink one in this high CRI lit parking lot where I thought I parked mine. Awe shucks, I suppose I should have checked the computer generated graph before deciding the actual color of my car because it says right here my eyes should be seeing a silver car…… if the parking lot had more lumens. That would solve the problem.

The LED has come a long way from the days of red only, or that baby blue cast over everything making the darkened world lit by those early LED's take on a slight gray look. But since flashlights are big business companies have to come up with techniques to coax potential buyers to plunk down their money for brand X. I got yelled at one time for using the word "gimmicks" to describe "sales techniques" by a certain manufacturer. Call it what you may, to boast tremendous output as if it is sustained in order to lure a customer into purchasing their product based on the whopping output is an unfortunate reality as the lumen wars rage on.
 
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KITROBASKIN

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So true:
The fact this question has been asked so many times is perplexing if you've been around LED flashlights for more than a year or so. The capabilities of the system of LED flashlights - LED, power electronics, cells - has significantly exceeded the physical capability of small flashlights to passively shed the heat that the system can otherwise sustain. Thus, turbo or burst operation is the norm for nearly all flashlights that are handy enough to carry on one's person; for the safety of the system and the user such operation should be automatically thermally limited.

Given that it effectively costs nothing to implement a turbo or burst feature it makes sense to include the feature even if it cannot be sustained for long. The great wailing about the necessarily short-duration and low duty cycle is equally perplexing given that the physics of small flashlights should be well-understood by this audience. Sure the marketing is occasionally ... very bad ... and the peak sustainable output should be given equal billing as the burst figure. But complaints about this limited capability oft seems to extend to suggest that including such functionality at all is a bad thing, which I take umbrage with since it's centered around individual perception and use cases rather than realities.

RE: the question as asked - I have several kilolumen lights that I use >95% of the time below their peak sustained output. The other <5% of the time I need to see a wider area, see something further away, or have a "what was that?" moment. In these situation having <10s of reliable burst duration is acceptable since I'd otherwise need a far larger light and that <10s is sufficient.

Thinking that people bring complaints forth because of frothy promotional claims duping the uninitiated.
 
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