Would an LEP be a bad idea in this situation?

F1DFlyer

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 7, 2024
Messages
6
Location
Cleveland OH
What do you recommend?
Is an LEP an option?
Is there something more appropriate than the ThruNite TN42?

I'm heading back to the Indoor Free Flight F1D model airplane World Championships, held once again in a salt mine in Romania.

The models fly on their own (free flight, not radio controlled), but we are allowed to steer them if they are heading toward danger by catching them with the line connected to a helium balloon.

Here's a short clip of my model on its way up, with some of the mylar steering balloons in the background:

Things look bright in the video, but you really need a good light to see the model - especially when steering near the ceiling.

The models have a 55cm (~22") wingspan, and the ceiling is about 200' high, so maybe requiring a 5-10' hotspot at that distance? I might be thinking too small, though. I don't think we need a lot of spill, but being able to see the balloon as you approach the model could be good.

The flights last about 30 minutes, and being able to light up the whole flight is valuable.

Steering could take 2-5 minutes, from the time you start considering it to when you release the model, so a "turbo mode" that lasts that long, or longer, before stepping down would be great.

The person operating the light will be sitting along the wall, so a bulky light isn't too much of a hindrance, but I do have to get it there via international air travel, so maybe not too bulky.

My teammate had a Thrunite TN42 (non-V2) last time, and it worked great. The "it's a feature, not a bug" hand warmer mode was nice in the cold mine, lol. They don't seem to be available at the moment, though, and I'm interested to hear if there might be something even better. An inadvertent double-click by a less experienced user got it into a low power mode and we had to figure out what was going on during one the 6 competition rounds, but that was a lesson learned, so a simple mode is not required, but could be nice.

What would you choose? TIA!

Questions below with multiple X's are "or"

==================Flashlight Recommendation Checklist================

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 ______________.
_X___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.
_X___Up to $300.
____Essentially unlimited.


3) Format:

____I am not sure, please help me decide.
__X__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).
_X___MEDIUM - Holster/belt ring carry. (>7 inches)
_X___LARGE - Big enough to need its own travel case.
____I don't know/I don't care.


5) Emitter/Light source:

_X___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.
_X___ LEP?


6) Manufacturer:

_X___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.
_X___I intend to use Rechargeable cells based on less common formats (18500 or 18650 Li-Ion, RCR123, et-al).
_X___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)
__X__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)
__X__I want a separate/stand-alone charger (this involves removing the batteries to charge)
____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).
__X__I want search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens).

_X___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.
____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.
_X___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.
_Maybe?___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)
____30-50 yards/meters (I have a big backyard)
_X___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)
__X__90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
__X__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).
_X___Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
_X___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).
____I want a forward clicky (Helpful for momentary activation and signaling).
____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).
____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.
__X__I don't know.
____Other, please specify____________________.


13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.

____A simple on-off with only one output level is fine for me.
__X__I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
_X___I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
____I want a programmable light.
____I want a selector ring.
____I want a strobe mode. (Oscillating pattern to confuse/blind aka "Police Mode")
____I want SOS mode. (blinks in ...---... emergency pattern)
____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).
____I don't care.
_X___I don't know.
____Other, please specify____________.

15) Water resistance
__X__None needed
____IPX4 (Splash resistant)
____IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
____IPX8 (Submersible to greater than 1 meter for 4 hours)

16) Storage conditions
____In house (temperature/climate controlled environment)
____Emergency kit (long standby periods)
____Automobile glove-box (wide temperature swings, long standby periods, critical reliability)
__X__Other____50degree temp while using, air travel getting it to the location, 2 years in between major uses_________________________________________


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
 

F1DFlyer

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 7, 2024
Messages
6
Location
Cleveland OH
Does anyone have a beamshot comparison of a Maxtoch L3K LEP and a Thrunite TN42 at about 200'? Which one is brighter? How wide are each?
 

F1DFlyer

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 7, 2024
Messages
6
Location
Cleveland OH
That is an interesting hobby and location!
Thanks! I think so, too :) - been doing it for about 30 years. In addition to the activity itself (which I still find fascinating) It's taken me to many cool places I wouldn't have otherwise seen across the country and worldwide.

And there's got to be a similar gene, because I'm not even a flashaholic, but I've still somehow ended up with several Sofirn EDCs, an interesting zoom-able Harbor Freight Braun light, a pair of Gloworm 2000 lumen mountain bike lights, and more. I get it!
 

alpg88

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 19, 2005
Messages
5,338
Wow, i used to build those rubber powered indoor planes, when i was a kid, they weighted around 10 gr,. , thin bamboo sticks, and film that we used to make ourselves, in a large photo developing tub, used to chew a candy and lick the bamboo so the thin film would stick to it, that was the glue for that film, Good old times.

LEP would not be a good idea, imo, a bright flooder would work best imo, or a thrower with a spill. Unless there is some kinds rule that you must only illuminate your model. If i was there doing it, i would take my D18.
 

letschat7

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 7, 2022
Messages
2,472
Location
West Virginia, North America
Amazing that you found a Harbour Freight light in Romania!

In the mid 90s I took an interest in foam glider aeroplanes that were in the style of WWII aircrafts and the balsa wood ones that may fly or they may not.

I found the balsa WWI style bi or maybe even triplanes whilst on vacation in Virginia. I got some grey paint from my cousins and painted it which added weight and made it not work right. When I got home I discussed this with my neighbour that was a few grades ahead of me and did actual model aeroplanes.

He would take an exacto knife and toothpicks and build the rubber band powered planes. I have a feeling he broke the original one and was making the parts work. He would glue on printer paper and they would work.

The following year in school there was some science projects with paper aeroplanes. Some clever folding with paper clips or tape to add weight. Some would go quite the distance, especially this ring shaped design. These didn't use any propellers or rubber bands though.

I would have probably stayed with the hobby but being from WV where rocket culture is strong and having so much access to Estes rockets I went into model rocket building and launching. With catching a sale on c-6-5 or so engines at Walmart and PVC pipes being so cheap at home depot I was able to build rockets for like 2 or 3 dollars apiece. No need for parachutes and recovery at that point. My 8th grade teacher would build these massive multi engine and multi stage rockets that probably needed FAA clearance to fly.
 

F1DFlyer

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 7, 2024
Messages
6
Location
Cleveland OH
Wow, i used to build those rubber powered indoor planes, when i was a kid, they weighted around 10 gr,. , thin bamboo sticks, and film that we used to make ourselves, in a large photo developing tub, used to chew a candy and lick the bamboo so the thin film would stick to it, that was the glue for that film, Good old times.

LEP would not be a good idea, imo, a bright flooder would work best imo, or a thrower with a spill. Unless there is some kinds rule that you must only illuminate your model. If i was there doing it, i would take my D18.
Thanks - I'll check out the D18. I think you are right about a thrower with spill, though. It's ok to light up the whole place, but I think it would be better to have most of the hotspot near and around the model, so I can see it as clearly as possible, but still see the balloon line as I'm approaching it

Cool that you used to fly Indoor! The models that we fly at the World Championships are 1.4gm now :) And, we are limited to .4gm of rubber - but they still fly about half an hour
 

F1DFlyer

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 7, 2024
Messages
6
Location
Cleveland OH
Amazing that you found a Harbour Freight light in Romania!

In the mid 90s I took an interest in foam glider aeroplanes that were in the style of WWII aircrafts and the balsa wood ones that may fly or they may not.

I found the balsa WWI style bi or maybe even triplanes whilst on vacation in Virginia. I got some grey paint from my cousins and painted it which added weight and made it not work right. When I got home I discussed this with my neighbour that was a few grades ahead of me and did actual model aeroplanes.

He would take an exacto knife and toothpicks and build the rubber band powered planes. I have a feeling he broke the original one and was making the parts work. He would glue on printer paper and they would work.

The following year in school there was some science projects with paper aeroplanes. Some clever folding with paper clips or tape to add weight. Some would go quite the distance, especially this ring shaped design. These didn't use any propellers or rubber bands though.

I would have probably stayed with the hobby but being from WV where rocket culture is strong and having so much access to Estes rockets I went into model rocket building and launching. With catching a sale on c-6-5 or so engines at Walmart and PVC pipes being so cheap at home depot I was able to build rockets for like 2 or 3 dollars apiece. No need for parachutes and recovery at that point. My 8th grade teacher would build these massive multi engine and multi stage rockets that probably needed FAA clearance to fly.
Nice! There's something magical about watching a model fly well

Don't even get me started on rockets - I've got a bunch of them, too :p ...and kites, and headphones, and bicycles...
 
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