Yet Another Tedious EDC Recommendation Request *yawn*

tvsinesperanto

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Joined
Dec 25, 2013
Messages
19
Hi all,

I find myself suddenly in urgent need of a replacement for my EDC, a venerable Olight Baton II S20, that finally just kicked the bucket but I haven't had a chance to scope out the latest generation of LED flashlights yet so I'm after some advice from people who have.

I was very happy with the S20 except for the beam select interface. I'm probably after something similar as a starting point for suggestions, all of which are greatly appreciated. I have no preference for manufacturer, any good quality brand is fine.

Here is my completed recommendation checklist that I copied from a template post here for this purpose. I deleted the answer options that I definitely ruled out and kept the rest.

Feel free to ask any followups. Thanks in advance for the advice.


1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?

Don't really care very much but I probably slightly prefer online. I'm in Sydney, Australia though for bricks and mortar stores.

I need it fast though. I really can't afford to be waiting a month for a boat from Shenzhen to arrive. I'm using a borrowed LED Lenser backup at the moment and it's...it's just awful.


2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :)

____Up to $100.

Not a hard limit, somewhere in that general range is fine (+/- 50%). Preferably less cos I'm a cheap *******.

Price really isn't a problem, I'd consider considerably more for the right light, but I'd find it hard to justify multiple hundreds of dollars for what I need.


3) Format:

____I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).

It'll be my new EDC so the smaller the better.



4) Size:

Somewhere in this range

____TINY - Every day carry (2-4 inches).
____SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches)

Anything approaching 5" is probably getting a bit too big (that's what SHE said!).

Smaller is always better. Just ask my wife! *canned applause*


5) Emitter/Light source:

____LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)

Can you even buy non-LED lights any more?


6) Manufacturer:

____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).

Either is fine but probably just a regular manufacturer. I don't need anything fancy. Reliability and ruggedness is important but it doesn't have to be pretty or made out of anything exotic. I doubt I'd find anything custom that is suitable at this price point anyway.


7) What power source do you want to use?

Well, i WANT to use a miniature matter/antimatter reactor but those lazy damn scientists still haven't invented one yet so I guess I'll have to stick to batteries...at least until my evil masterplan comes to fruition.

____I intend to use Rechargeable cells (NiMH or NiCD) based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
____I intend to use Rechargeable cells based on less common formats (18500 or 18650 Li-Ion, RCR123, et-al).
____I want a light with an integrated rechargeable battery pack.

I'd consider any of these (not NiCd though). I'm using removable rechargeable
18650s Li-ions now so I don't mind sticking with it. Integrated rechargeable would also be fine as long as I can crack it open and solder in a new pack when it dies.


7a) If you have selected a rechargeable option

____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)

Any of these is fine. I already have lots of batteries and chargers so it's all good.


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).

Think supernova to the face. I know I won't get that in an EDC though.

Brighter is always better but size, weight, run time, reliability, and ease of use are bigger factors for me. The S20 was 550 lumens I believe and that was almost always plenty.

____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.

Yep, perfectly acceptable. Perhaps even preferable if it doesn't overdrive the LED and shorten it's life.


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

____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.

Somewhere in this range I think. Not 100% sure.


9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)

____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)

All of these, mostly the first 2 though. Mostly the first 1 actually.

It will need some throw for occasional long distance use but I don't need it to laser a 3 micron hole through a concrete wall from 6km away or anything. 90+% of the time I'll be lighting up something in the same room. More than likely something tiny, that is also black, against a black background, in the dark, under the very centre of that 7 ton piece of machinery over there...and I'm old so my eyes aren't great.

And neither are my knees, so the apprentice is retrieving this one.



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)
____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).


I left all the options listed on this one because it's a genuine unknown for me. I tend to use my light in short bursts, mostly on max brightness, a few seconds to a few minutes at a time, 5 to 25 times a day. Maybe an hour or so a day on average in total run time? I don't tend to keep track I'm afraid. The S20 with a good 18650 Li-ion would last me all week without a charge though.

I don't think I need super long run times because I can recharge it every day if i have to (and if I get something based on Li-ion 18650s or Ni-HM AAs I have tons of spares to swap out too) but under 30 mins might be pushing it a bit for a full day's use and 3+ hours seems likely too require something too big so...I dunno. Maybe someone can advise me?

11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.

____Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).

I'd be screwed without my light. I use it all the time and it's an essential work tool for me. I tend to be pretty hard on them though so it's gotta be reliable and tough.


12) Switch Size, Type, and location (choose all that apply):

____I don’t know.

Again, not sure. Don't want a twisty end because 1-hand operation suffers. I'd prefer a button but I don't much care where it is. I'd like one that can tail stand and has a magnetic end cap though because I use those on my S20 all the time and
I know that sometimes end buttons prevent those features.

One feature it absolutely MUST have is a good activation lockout because my S20 did have one but it still switched on in my jeans pocket all the time which was very annoying.

You try explaining to Karen from HR why you've been walking around the break room with a glowing crotch all morning!

Pro Tip: Copper rivets in jeans make excellent LED heat sinks. Charred thigh flesh...not so much.


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

____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.)

Definitely want more levels than just on/off but I don't need 16 different brightnesses and 24 different modes. 3 or 4 brightness levels would be ample. More than enough really.

Selector ring sounds good. I've never used, or even seen one, but it sounds like a convenient system. I'd like to know more about those.

The main gripe I have with my Olight is the complexity of the mode select. You'd end up tapping out an essay in morse code on the button every time you tried to select the moonglow beam or something. Not easy to remember 3 clicks, pause, 2 clicks, hold, stand on one leg, turn anticlokwise three times, etc. while you are turning your spine into a pretzel trying to see under something inaccessible. Something simpler (and quicker) would be very nice.


Beacon, and SOS modes are nice to have but not essential. Strobe is something I'd like to keep though.

Dunno what a programmable light is but now I think I want one.


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.

Don't care as long as it is waterproof and tough. I'd prefer metal but would definitely consider a good solid plastic one if it can compare. It has gotta be tough though. I doubt plastic can match metal but I'm not against it on principle.

I'd pay a significant premium for Ti if the other features are right, just for the added durability if nothing else, but HA is also fine. I'd love something harder than HA like Ti, especially specifically for the bezel, but it's not essential.



15) Water resistance

____IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
____IPX8 (Submersible to greater than 1 meter for 4 hours)

IPX7 minimum. Anything higher is preferred but not necessary. I'm clumsy so it will need to survive several drops into the toilet bowl a month I'm afraid. Lost more than one phone that way too...but I digress...


16) Storage conditions

____Other_________________________________________ ____

This will be a working light that I'll be using daily so taking horrific punishment and still ticking is my primary concern here. It can't be finicky about it's storage conditions because I will definitely be abusing the hell out of it.

It doesn't need to handle very cold or very hot temps though. I live in a temperate climate so no concerns about sub-zero temps or anything. It may get left in the car on a 40ºC day on rare occasions though.


17) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any/all below.

____Pocket/belt clip
____Crenulated bezel

Both of these I would consider necessary. I'd prefer a crenelated bezel that isn't super aggressive but any is acceptable so long as it isn't sharp. This will be living mostly in my pocket and new pants are expensive.

I would also like a low battery indicator. The Baton S20 did this very nicely with a subtle but attention-attracting blue ring light on the button which I liked very much.

That about covers it by the looks of it.

My feature shortlist is basically...


Small
Light
Very Tough
Bright (wide-ish beam)
Several brightness levels and strobe (SOS and Beacon optional but desirable)
Easy/quick interface with a reliable lock out
End standable
Magnetic end cap (or room to glue a magnet to the inside)
Low battery indicator
Crenelated Bezel

...and probably 100 other things I am forgetting.

Yeah...sooooo...anyone?

Thanks again,
TV



EDIT: Sorry about the Bold. I copy/pasted it from a template post and I can't seem to de-bold it now. Sorry.

Well, can't be bothered working out how to de-bold it now if I'm being brutally honest but, y'know...manners and all.

 

Owen

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 14, 2002
Messages
1,989
Location
AL
SC64w HI is what I was thinking, too. No magnet(but I suppose you could attach one) or crenelated bezel, but maybe the best all-around flashlight out there.
 

cp2315

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
328
Location
New Jersey
olight warrior mini?

Apparently Zebra SC64c or SC64HI are great choices too. I have SC64c and like it a lot.

Olight warrior mini or mini 2 would be more exciting, given almost doubled max lumen.
 
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SYZYGY

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Joined
Sep 6, 2019
Messages
59
zebralight sc64w hi

i did take the time to read all that, and i think this light will serve you well. i've never had accidental activation in my pocket. the button's well recessed. however, you can unscrew the tailcap slightly to physically lock it out if you put it in a backpack or something.
 

lightfooted

Enlightened
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
972
olight warrior mini?

I'll second that recommendation. Although the Warrior Mini II is a slightly better candidate.

I didn't like the proprietary cell format but it's acceptable since it has the magnetic charging option. Normal 18650s will not operate either of these lights though. I love the size and the "gas pedal" rear switch operation.
 

tvsinesperanto

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Joined
Dec 25, 2013
Messages
19
Hi again,

Thanks for the responses. Sorry for my tardy reply, busy, busy.busy...

I've had a bit more time to look around and see what I can get for my hard earned beer tickets and the Zeb looks pretty skookum but it's missing a few of the features I want. The main one is the lockout but with that deep recess it might not be an issue. I'd have to look at it.

The Olight Mini Warrior 2 was a surprise suggestion, I didn't even know it existed so thanks to cp2315 for that one. The warrior looks like it ticks all the boxes for me except that the specs say it needs a custom Olight brand 18650 to run it, a standard 18650 won't work.

I have 3 questions on that...

1) Firstly, is it true?
2) If true, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, WHY!?
3) What have they done to make standard 18650s not work and how can I hack it up the wazoo so that standard 18650s DO work?

Just the fact that they did it in the first place has made me go right off Olight. Smacks of a cynical battery ripoff cash grab to me. Unless there is a damn good reason why Olight did that I doubt I'll ever buy a light from them again.

Maybe the lack of lockout on the Zeb isn't so bad after all.

Thanks to all that replied with suggestions. You are all deadset legends and I'll bet that you're all as irresistibly handsome as you are devilishly charming too.

Cheers,
TV
 

jon_slider

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
4,332
short answer: SC64c LE
However, Zebra will only ship within USA.. you would need a remailer service, or a friend in USA, to re-ship to Oz.

long answer:
here is a link to a searchable site

it made 70 suggestions to the criteria I entered for you, based on your wishlist… plus my personal preference for High CRI LEDs

the majority of those lights are not potted, so no guarantee how many drops it takes to break one

the zebra is one of the few potted flashlights with a High CRI LED, that cost less than $100 (before shipping), you can drop it without a worry. Ive never heard anyone mention a need to use lockout on a Zebra, I dont think you need worry about that either.

disclaimer, Ive never tried a Zebra myself, but everyone who owns one, seems to have nothing but good things to say.

My personal preference is the Jetbeam RRT-01, because Im a fan of the rotary brightness dial, but it is not available with a High CRI LED, and it is not potted.
 
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Fireclaw18

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 16, 2011
Messages
2,398
Some suggestions:

Zebralight SC64w HI - very small for an 18650 light. Excellent heatsinking. Excellent runtime. Good beam pattern. Neutral tint. For the most part quite reliable due to potted electronics. However, note that Zebralights aren't perfect. I've had a string of bad luck with mine. Half work great, the other half died despite almost no use. Also note that Zebralights have no magnetic tailcap so you'll have to glue your own magnet on. There is no electronic lockout, but there is a mechanical lockout by partially unscrewing the tailcap.

Zebralight SC64c LE - lower output than the SC64w HI, but supposedly neutral tint. However, there have been some disturbing reports that the most recent run SC64c LE actually use a low CRI (70 CRI) led, and not the 90 CRI led they were supposed to have. Until that issue is confirmed resolved I would recommend steering clear of the LE unless you buy from someone who has confirmed theirs is high-CRI.

RRT-01 2014 edition - very hard to find. Probably no longer even available unless you find a used one. Best possible UI in an EDC light and fairly lightweight. the only control is a magnetic ring dimmer switch. Left is off, rotate to the right 120 degrees to gradually increase output to max. There is a slight risk of accidental activation though, and no magnet.

Emisar D4V2 - a bit bigger than the lights listed above, but still small for an 18650 light. Comes with an 18650 tube, but if you want something smaller you can buy an optional 18500 or 18350 tubes. Tremendous output, available in lots of tints and high CRI, and has feature-rich Anduril firmware UI with both electronic lockout and mechanical tailcap lockout. Also available with a magnetic tailcap. This light ticks pretty much every box on your list, except for integrated charging. Can output over 4000 lumens, but will ramp down fairly fast.

Lumintop FWAA - this is if you want something really small and light. It is much smaller, slimmer and lighter than any other light on this list. This one is powered by a AA sized 14500 rechargeable. Max output is around 1400 lumens of very floody light, good mostly for close-up use. Available in high-CRI and uses Anduril 2 UI with electronic lockout. Really quite an amazing little pocket rocket. No magnet though, and the best 14500s only have around 1/3 the capacity of 18650.
 

tvsinesperanto

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Joined
Dec 25, 2013
Messages
19
Hello again,

Just in case anyone was hanging on the edge of their seat, anxious to know what I ended up going with, I ended up going with the Olight Warrior Mini II.

The custom battery thing turned me off but it ticked all the other boxes and it seemed the best option for my needs. The Zeb was also hard to get here.

I've got a few months on the Warrior Mini II now and I can say that I highly recommend it for the type of thing I use it for. I thought the "tactical" switch on the end cap was a bit of a gimmick but it has actually turned out to be really handy. Also the sensor works great and I've not had it turn on in my pocket yet, at least not that I have noticed. Apart from the stupid custom battery and proprietary charging connection, it's a great little light.

9/10. Would bang.

Massive thanks to everyone who posted for your help. I don't come here often but whenever I do I always get great advice. You guys are awesome. Thanks again.

EDIT: Oh, quick note for those who mentioned the RRT-01...

REALLY like the interface on that but sadly could not find one for love nor money. I've never used that sort of selector but I'd love to have a go to check it out. I have a feeling I'd like it. Even though I've already bought the Warrior, I'm planning to keep an eye out for an RRT-01 and snap one up if it's the right price.
 
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