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Thread: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* TweakMDS's Avatar
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    Default My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    I've been a little obsessed over getting the ideal EDC light lately. In this thread I would just like to share some thoughts I have on several aspects of a light, maybe you guys will want to share some of yours.

    Form factor:
    For an EDC, I'm set on either single AA or CR123. I don't use my lights for hours on end, so NiMH or lithium primaries is the way to go for me. 80-90mm long on the long side is fine here.

    Build/exterior:
    I really like the Sunwayman lights. They are elegantly built and just ooze a look of durability and reliability with their machining and anodizing.
    A pocket clip is a must. Preferably a very sturdy clip that does not scratch the body/head. The SWM M11R has a really nice clip, but it does seem to hurt the head if you're not careful, so prehaps put a small patch of teflon on the inside of the clip to avoid scratching the light or clothes.

    Control/UI:
    Again I feel like coming back to the way sunwayman, niteye or jetbeam do it here, although none of them has made my perfect UI yet.
    Forward tail clicky with a magnetic control ring seems like the most ideal way. I like the option of setting the brightness/mode before turning the light on, and having it turn on with one hand is pretty much a must for how I use my light. Tail clicky supports both overhand and underhand grip. The control ring should be loose enough to use my thumb to set it, and just tight enough so that my pinky won't turn it too easy. I'd prefer indentations in the ring. Variable control ring is great, but it just eats too much efficiency.

    I'd really like 5 modes here: moonlight, low, medium, high and a strobe but only if it's really, really far from high on the ring.
    Another thought I had here is maybe something that's feasible; a control ring that has a variable control between medium and high, but separate stops on moonlight and low, to avoid the short runtimes on those modes with variable control.

    Output:
    Although this is a "daydream" thread, I feel like being conservative here. Based on a CR123 battery I'd like the following modes:
    - Moonlight: 0.1 -0.5 lumens for at least 300 hours.
    - Low: 2 - 5 lumens: around 100 hours
    - Medium: around 20 lumens: 20 hours
    - High: 200 lumens: 1.5 hours.

    I've also thought of a 100 lumens mode between medium and high. With that added mode, the high could also be a higher turbo mode. I do prefer a mildly underdriven high with a 90 minute runtime to a 300 lumen 50 minute turbo mode though, unless the turbo steps down after like a minute.

    Most lights have a medium that's too high in my opinion. You can see a huge gap between medium and high here, but to our eyes, 200 lumens does not look like 10 times as high as 20 lumens, it looks more like twice or three times as bright.
    I like my lights to be neutral white, but as a photography enthusiast, my definition of neutral white is 5000-5500K (daylight balance). Of course a high CRI would be nice, but let's be honest and consider different LED options here. I really like the LED that Zebralight put in the H502d, so that would be my first choice.

    I'm not too sure on the beam, but for a short light like this, something like the floody beam of the EagleTac D25C Ti is nice. No huge throw needed, but a bit of a hotspot is good.


    In conclusion, please let the Zebralight H502d and the Sunwayman V11R + the M11R have a magical romantic evening and have my dream EDC as a baby

  2. #2
    Enlightened mhs's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    Perfect EDC has been niggling me for long time now and many of my findings are very similar to yours, such as pocket clip, variable brightness, moon mode with looong runtime, forward switch and dimenssions(for me ~100mm is max). Body - host must be as compact as possible, not significantly larger than battery it takes, but provide good heat sinking.
    Every day there's so many different situations to use different light. Somtimes you need only full-flood, sometimes tight, far reaching beam, other time variable brightness comes handy and so on. I came to conclusion that it's almost impossible to fulfill all lighting needs with just one flashlight. Surefire A2 with multi mode calipsoii ring, Spy Tri-V and McGizmo LS20 have all I need, they are almost perfect, but are so hard to get. I'm afraid that to have perfect dream EDC I have to build it myself(sooner or later I will), but for now I think I need to modify and carry at last two different lights.
    Since we're talking about dream EDC, this description may be unreal at times.

    1.Primary:
    - take RCR123 or higher capacity cell, but 18650 is my upper limit in size, anything bigger is un-pocketable for me.
    - made of brass, stainless steel, copper or titanium. Weight doesn't really matter, it must be abuse-resistant.
    - it must have stepless brightness ramping, or 4 fixed levels: 1-2 lm > 10-20 lm > ~100-200 lm > 300+ lm turbo, no memory, always start on lowest. Optional low red led for preserving night vision would be very appreciated.
    - OP reflector, diameter of reflector slightly bigger than diameter of rest of the body.
    - medium focused beam with wide corona fading to spill.
    - LED color temperature at 4500K or warmer, even 3000K is ok, hi CRI.
    - advanced driver with intuitive UI and additional features such as Voltmeter and beacon.
    - forward momentary switch.
    - sturdy pocket clip, 2-way would be perfect.

    2.Backup:
    - take 14500 or smaller cell, maybe able to be carried on neck.
    - made of materials as above.
    - at least 50 lm on max.
    - forward momentary switch.
    - QTC for ramping brightness + simple, very reliable driver.
    - OP reflector, diameter as above.
    - medium to food beam.
    - LED at 3000-4500K, hi CRI.
    - pocket clip - same as above.

    Hmm, one of Peak flashlights would be my perfect backup. That's how I see my dream EDC light, now let's see what others would like to have.
    Last edited by mhs; 07-14-2012 at 01:21 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    I would just love a Jetbeam TCR1 with an OP reflector, a control ring that was just a bit less gritty, and a neutral XML LED. A T5 would be perfect, as I really like the tint, but I could live with a neutral T6. Frankly, I could live with cool white U2.

    I just love the way this light feels in my hand, I think it's a very nice looking light, and I find the ring's resistance to be near perfect.

  4. #4

    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    I have always thought it would be cool to have an EDC light that has its own, built-in backup light. Like TweakMDS and mhs I am thinking single AA / 14500 or RCR123, but with a slightly larger battery compartment that houses a miniature twisty, like the one in the picture or even smaller.

  5. #5
    Enlightened mhs's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    It's great idea to have 2 independent lights in 1 package but as for me, I would like to have it this way: 1 battery, but switch has 2 stages, at least 2 independent circuits and independent sources of light for each stage(like in SF A2, that's why i like it so much). First stage produces low-floody beam and on 2nd stage light is stronger and more focused. If one will somehow fail, you still have another, that's like having 2 independett lights in 1 body, each one has different beam pattern and covers different lighting needs.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    Have you taken a look at the RRT01? Most everything you are looking for except for the 300 hours low. You'd be looking at closer to 100 hours - but I don't let that metric worry me becuase if you've just run the light on high for 30 minutes you've sucked down 1/3 of your low hours.

    Get a rechargeable cell and that metric becomes a moot point. IMO - some people get way to fixated on that point to the point of obsession (ie: I WILL NOT BUY A LIGHT THAT GETS LESS THAN 50,000 HOURS ON LOW AND CAN SUCK AAA BATTERY DOWN TO 0.01 VOLTS - a little silly but search the threads and you will see.) It's like the argument of people who will never buy a car that requires premium gas over regular - another silly argument when you consider the cost over a year for a 20K mi/yr car is ~150. (sorry - rambling digression)

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* TweakMDS's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    Quote Originally Posted by ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond View Post
    Have you taken a look at the RRT01? Most everything you are looking for except for the 300 hours low. You'd be looking at closer to 100 hours - but I don't let that metric worry me becuase if you've just run the light on high for 30 minutes you've sucked down 1/3 of your low hours.

    Get a rechargeable cell and that metric becomes a moot point. IMO - some people get way to fixated on that point to the point of obsession (ie: I WILL NOT BUY A LIGHT THAT GETS LESS THAN 50,000 HOURS ON LOW AND CAN SUCK AAA BATTERY DOWN TO 0.01 VOLTS - a little silly but search the threads and you will see.) It's like the argument of people who will never buy a car that requires premium gas over regular - another silly argument when you consider the cost over a year for a 20K mi/yr car is ~150. (sorry - rambling digression)
    The Jetbeam is alright, but I have a few potential issues with it; no tail clicky; the control ring or driver supposedly starts flickering quite often, at least from reports I've read on it, as well as on the RRT0; smooth reflector. Otherwise it's a good edc option, but for now I'd pick the V11R over it due to AA extender option and having a tail clicky... Haven't excluded it though because it's a great looking light as well.
    As a side note, I don't really want to bother with Li-ion rechargeables. I prefer CR123's for moderate use and eneloops for long duration usage.
    Last edited by TweakMDS; 07-15-2012 at 05:10 AM.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    Well - I think if you've gotten one that flickers then you've gotten a bad light and should return it.

    I've gotten both a TC-R1 and a RRT01 and neither of them have flicker issues. The movement on the Ti one is a bit smoother, but the OFF detent on the RRT01 is sufficient to make sure the light is off. Also the RRT01 offers a tail lockout so if you are going to through it in a bag or let is sit for a while and are concerned about draining the battery you can just twist it a bit.

    Last year I bought a V10R with the AA extender thinking it would be a great multi-use light, but was disappointed to find that it felt really horrible in my hand with the AA extender and when running it on a LiIon 16340 cell the variable control left a bit to be desired.

    To be honest - I've been searching for my perfect EDC since I joined three years ago and every time I think I've found it either it has one glaring fault or something else comes out that is just a bit more perfect. Thus the reason I have 10 lights that are all darn near perfect but miss on just one area. On my perfect EDC, the low level is more floody to fill an area and as you increase brightness you get more throw in the beam. RRT01 is a nice blend which satisfies both. LS20 is darn near perfect in that regard - but runtime on low is very short. Tri-V has the flood and throw covered - but the price point is well beyond many's reaches.

    Best of luck in your search.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond View Post
    Have you taken a look at the RRT01? Most everything you are looking for except for the 300 hours low. You'd be looking at closer to 100 hours - but I don't let that metric worry me becuase if you've just run the light on high for 30 minutes you've sucked down 1/3 of your low hours.

    Get a rechargeable cell and that metric becomes a moot point. IMO - some people get way to fixated on that point to the point of obsession (ie: I WILL NOT BUY A LIGHT THAT GETS LESS THAN 50,000 HOURS ON LOW AND CAN SUCK AAA BATTERY DOWN TO 0.01 VOLTS - a little silly but search the threads and you will see.) It's like the argument of people who will never buy a car that requires premium gas over regular - another silly argument when you consider the cost over a year for a 20K mi/yr car is ~150. (sorry - rambling digression)
    Well that sounds like me...

    I'm always advocating long running moonlight modes. It has nothing to do with costs as I exclusively run NiMh and 14500s in my lights, it has to do with maximizing a small EDC light for camping, and especially for emergency use. I don't bother topping up my battery very often so if I happen to have 50% capacity left in 1x14500, I'd feel entirely comfortable heading out on a weeks camping trip, and be able illuminate 5 hrs continuously every night, including a couple of hours at higher lumen levels (3+) to handle certain tasks. The AAA back-up batt I EDC in a back pocket organizer could give me an extra week of similar illumination if I needed.

    I used to camp with Petzl and Black Diamond headlamps all the time, but the constant monitoring, charging, changing, packing and carrying of batteries was simply a PITA (not to mention having lows to bright always killing my night vision). The ultra efficient moonlight modes from 4/7s and ZL were a real gift for me.

    Guess you could say I have a little prepper and minimalist in me.

    To continue the auto analogy, I think it's more like: for any given car, would you rather have a 10 gallon gas tank or a 30 gallon tank (without the weight penalty)?
    Last edited by reppans; 07-15-2012 at 07:42 AM.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    Quote Originally Posted by reppans View Post
    To continue the auto analogy, I think it's more like: for any given car, would you rather have a 10 gallon gas tank or a 30 gallon tank (without the weight penalty)?
    I hope the OP doesn't mind this tangent.

    I disagree. A car with a 10 gallon tank would be like a CR123 where a 30 gallon tank would be like a 18650. It's how much you can do with two cars with the same size tank. And a rating on super low is like asking the car dealer how long can the car idle on a tank of gas - just doesn't make much sense for most applications.

    Even for camping I have to wonder why you would want the less awesome EDC light rather than the awesome EDC light an carry a few more batteries. It's all about utility to me - and I respect that everyone's idea of the definition of utility will vary. If I were going camping and my main concern was running a light every night for a month on super low I may be with you. But I don't and my idea of going a few days and recharging a battery for pennies works best for me.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* TweakMDS's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    Quote Originally Posted by ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond View Post
    I hope the OP doesn't mind this tangent.
    Not at all, it's all part of forming my ideal EDC idea

    Regarding the car analogy, I consider an efficient light on the low modes in the same way I considered it for my car. Considering the same amount of power, be it an AA or CR123 battery, or a 10 gallon tank of gas, it's not just nice, but a MUST that a manufacturer gets the most possible out of the same powersource. If one manufacturer can get more out of that power source than it's competitors, my money is likely to go to them.

    Of course, with a flashlight as well as a car, many other factors can come in play. Size, max output, low modes, control and handling all have their respective analogies in the automotive industry.

    However, there's a reasonable limit to this efficiency issue. A moonlight mode with a 1000 hour runtime is nice enough, but I'm aware that compromises must be made in hardware design. A variable control ring is a design choice that probably forces that compromise in form over efficiency. Still, I can always hope that a manufacturer steps up and finds a way around it. I believe that my suggestion in the OP (moonlight, low, variable between medium and high and possibly an "overdrive" turbo) is feasible enough

    PS. ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond: damn you for pointing me at the TC-R1! This is gonna hurt my Canon 35L fund...
    Last edited by TweakMDS; 07-15-2012 at 12:03 PM.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond View Post
    I hope the OP doesn't mind this tangent.

    I disagree. A car with a 10 gallon tank would be like a CR123 where a 30 gallon tank would be like a 18650. It's how much you can do with two cars with the same size tank. And a rating on super low is like asking the car dealer how long can the car idle on a tank of gas - just doesn't make much sense for most applications.

    Even for camping I have to wonder why you would want the less awesome EDC light rather than the awesome EDC light an carry a few more batteries. It's all about utility to me - and I respect that everyone's idea of the definition of utility will vary. If I were going camping and my main concern was running a light every night for a month on super low I may be with you. But I don't and my idea of going a few days and recharging a battery for pennies works best for me.

    My point about the gas tank is that, if you were to compare the RRT-01 you recommend, to a Zebralight SC31 (for example) on a camping trip, and you used both lights a time-weighted average of 5 lumens (shorter periods of time at max/high/med and longer periods of time at low/moonlight), you'd probably have to stop and change batts ("fill-up") on the RRT 2 or 3 times for every "tank" on the ZL (both CR123s). Now that's not too big of a deal (although I happen to find it a PITA esp. with Li-ions) when you can plan for it, but I also like to have the extra efficiency as a reserve in case of unplanned emergencies.

    If that inefficency is worth the infinitely variable ring for you - and I know it is for many people - then by all means, go for it. I'm just explaining the reasons why some of us like ultra efficient low lows, regardless of cost/rechargeables, that seemed to puzzle you.

    (BTW, I also much prefer AA/14500s due to the greater ability to cannibalize from other devices or go store-bought - just another form of runtime/back-up/reserve power.)
    Last edited by reppans; 07-15-2012 at 12:49 PM.

  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    Quote Originally Posted by Swede74 View Post
    I have always thought it would be cool to have an EDC light that has its own, built-in backup light.
    But then if you lose one, you lose both. There's a reason why backups are supposed to be physically separate.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    I have a Zebralight AA in my 911 bag for just the reason you mention - ease of finding batteries in a really bad emergency. I don't find 14500s very practical because the number of lights that can use them is very limited.

    CR123 primaries can be found cheap online if you plan in advance and if I were to go on a camping trip I would likely not bring RCR cells.

    For most of my use the infinitely variable UI (with mega super low low) really does make me smile and I don't mind the sacrifice.

    I do have a Zebralight SC600w and if I were to go camping I think that would be a main light for me. It was not a factor in the purchase, but it's got an 80 day low - which is just silly long.

  15. #15

    Post Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    Originally Posted by Swede74

    I have always thought it would be cool to have an EDC light that has its own, built-in backup light.
    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    But then if you lose one, you lose both. There's a reason why backups are supposed to be physically separate.
    True, it is never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, but if you are going to EDC a single egg, you want it to be one that does not break easily
    Last edited by Swede74; 07-16-2012 at 12:12 AM.

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    Speaking of backups, the OP should consider meeting their needs with more than one light. An infinitely-adjustable light makes a great EDC, and a dedicated AAA moonlight makes a great long-running backup. My EDC consists of a Jetbeam TC-R2 (the RRT-0 is the aluminum version), a Muyshondt Aeon, and a custom-modded super-warm McGizmo Sapphire.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* TweakMDS's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    My EDC within the next few weeks will probably be an EagleTac D25A Clicky Ti. I have it sitting in my closet as well as the D25C version in warm. My Fenix E11 is currently sitting in my pocket because I'm still planning to do some photoshoot of the Titanium Eagletacs, and want them to remain dust and scratch free for now

    I am planning to get both the Zebralight H51W and the Sunwayman V11R w/ AA extender within the next few months though, but I doubt I'll "double"-edc... One light in my pocket is enough for real edc-ing.
    I'm sure I'll bring at least both lights on photography outings and daytrips, but I don't really consider that EDC-ing.
    Last edited by TweakMDS; 07-15-2012 at 11:03 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    I can't remember if the Pak-Lite weighs 7 or 9 grams without it 9 volt battery... but it weighs next to nothing, and will run for weeks and weeks on low with a battery that was dead and beeping in the fire alarm. I think that carryin 1 even without a battery makes great sense for a low weight high endurance back up. if you were going camping take the battery with you, for everyday carry the light itself is about the size of two sugar cubes, and will provide months and months of lighting from scavenge 9 volt batteries.for the most part I think you're describing a zebra light or an h d s...
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* TweakMDS's Avatar
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    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    Quote Originally Posted by eh4 View Post
    I can't remember if the Pak-Lite weighs 7 or 9 grams without it 9 volt battery... but it weighs next to nothing, and will run for weeks and weeks on low with a battery that was dead and beeping in the fire alarm. I think that carryin 1 even without a battery makes great sense for a low weight high endurance back up. if you were going camping take the battery with you, for everyday carry the light itself is about the size of two sugar cubes, and will provide months and months of lighting from scavenge 9 volt batteries.
    I have one of those button cell led lights from illumination gear sitting on my keychain, and an old 9-led triple AAA in my car that serves as backup. And to be honest, I haven't seen or used those 9V blocks in years. Don't think I have any of them in the house Even my smoke detectors run on Lithiums, I think CR2 or CR32.

    for the most part I think you're describing a zebra light or an h d s...
    Hence my final remark, please let the sunwayman + zebralight have babies.
    Zebralight H502D LED + cirquit, Sunwayman M11R control ring with more stops and one variable area between medium and high, and a tail clicky like on the V11R. Ideally it'd be the Eagletac D25C Ti tailclicky, I love that thing.

  20. #20

    Default Re: My thoughts on a dream EDC light

    i have one dream EDC light. its been working since 2000 and is very good till now.

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