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Thread: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

  1. #31
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    I used a 4D mag for runtime and output, back in ancient times. Loaded with 4 NiMH rechargeable D cells, it would last about 12 hours. Still have both the light and batteries, and they all still work (though the batteries hold less than half their original charge).

  2. #32
    Flashaholic* zespectre's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    I used to do a TON of “back country” camping where you packed everything in and weight really mattered. In the winter the lithium batteries were a godsend for their temperature tolerance but you used that light very sparingly and for many MANY years I used a combination of a UCO CandleLantern and/or this midget kerosene lamp for “campsite light” along with a mini-maglight, spare batteries, and definitely spare bulbs!

    Mostly back then you made camp early, tried to get your cooking and cleanup done before dark, and then stayed put until morning because it was just too risky to be messing around in the woods or on the trail at night.
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  3. #33
    Flashaholic* LeanBurn's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    Rayovac Workhorse...2D
    Maglite 2D

    D cells continue to be very affordable and useful...like the cells, the size of the light was the drawback. I was perfectly happy with the output...I still use sub 100 L for nearly everything.

    When we went camping, we used Coleman naphtha lanterns for area light.

    LED light size, output and run times have made have lighting affordably possible in any circumstance.
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  4. #34

    Default Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    back in those days i did the only thing i could do, got more batteries.

  5. #35
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    Default What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    Like everyone said already. I carried a 3 c cell mag and a mini mag as backup. I worked at a summer camp and lights were a must. The thing about incans was that the light got dimmer over time so you knew your batteries were dying. They typically got longer runtime because of the diminishing brightness. Your night vision would adjust to the diminishing light. That’s what I love about my surefire LEDs they were not regulated and would diminishing over time and that little bit of light really helps rather that a regulated light that just shuts off.

  6. #36

    Default Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chadder View Post
    Like everyone said already. I carried a 3 c cell mag and a mini mag as backup. I worked at a summer camp and lights were a must. The thing about incans was that the light got dimmer over time so you knew your batteries were dying. They typically got longer runtime because of the diminishing brightness. Your night vision would adjust to the diminishing light. That’s what I love about my surefire LEDs they were not regulated and would diminishing over time and that little bit of light really helps rather that a regulated light that just shuts off.
    That was a major problem with incans of the day they typically started out with good to mediocre lumens and as they dimmed the lumen output and tint dropped to the point where you were having to rely on night vision along with the light. I've not ever heard of a regulated incan light back prior to the first white 5mm LEDs and often batteries measure 1.25-1.3v would render a light too orange tinted and dim to be useful. Fluorescent lighting was a godsend in that the tint didn't shift nearly as much to render it useless even though there were enough lumens output. The main drawback to fluorescent lighting is replacing tubes as I think when the batteries reach the end of their output it stresses the tubes with low voltage leading to quicker failure. CCFL was another innovation in that the tubes in them didn't suffer the darkening and were slightly more instantly on and warming up to max output. CCFL didn't catch on big time back in the day only a few lights used it till white LEDs started taking hold of the market. I still have a hybrid CCFL LED light called a doublebright essentially an redesign of the arc white light but with an integrated 5mm LED replacing the PR base incan bulb. This light didn't catch on mainly because the single 5mm LED was too weak compared to the incan version and the light was too expensive also. There was a coleman lantern using a U tube CCFL in a flip type fashion powered by 4AA batteries that was interesting also. The problem with these CCFL lights is the output while decent wasn't overly impressive and runtime even though good powered by 4AA limited the runtime to compete with full size D fluorescent lanterns. They never made a CCFL full size lantern it could have been a good thing but IMO CCFL came too late in the picture.

    I still had and used incans during the 5mm LED light phase even shower head lights often had more output but the beam and throw nature and failure rates of the LED arrays etc made the incans still a better solution. It wasn't until the dorcy 1AAA LED keychain light that the trend of pocket keychain throwers started an LED war with the incans out there. I had a brinkman 2AA incan that was essentially a mini mag clone that I equipped with a nite ize 3x5mm drop in and switch that made the light from rarely used to very useful going from a few hours runtime of dimming orange light to greenish blue LED light for 5-10 times as long that was a bit blotchy.
    The writing was on the wall.. keep tossing money at batteries for incans or go LED and save a lot of money on batteries and use some of that money for other LED lights.
    Last edited by Lynx_Arc; 01-09-2019 at 11:32 AM.
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  7. #37
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    Default Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    It was foggy the other night when I left the gym and I had a C2 in my pocket. What normally takes less than a minute to get to my car took 10 so i could goof off in the fog with my incan beam!!!

  8. #38

    Default What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    For me, I started getting into flashlights when I got my first EDC, a green led photon microlight 2. Years of use out of the first set of batteries! The light got modded with a nichia gs and actually rides on a spare set of keys to this day decades later.

    In the true spirit of the OP my answer is that my dad always used 6v lanterns. Or the Coleman propane lantern if in camp. When I got my first big Maglite (3D) and put the magnum star bulb in, I thought it was pretty dang impressive.

  9. #39
    Flashaholic* offroadcmpr's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    You would use a 5mm LED light as your main light. They only put out 2-3 lumens each so many lights would use 2-4 of them. That only gave you 5-10 lumens though. Enough to see your feet but not much else. You would use an incandescent light if you wanted to see any further. I had a couple of lights or headlamps that had both LED and incandescent. There was no regulation at this time. So LED’s would last a very long time on a set of batteries, they would just get dimmer and dimmer as time went on.
    Then the Luxeon LED’s came out. Now you could do 20-40 lumens off of one LED, with double the efficiency of incandescent. They took over for EDC and smaller lights, but if you wanted 60 or more lumens, the p60 was still the go to light type.
    Eventually some of the Luxeon lights started producing 60-80 lumens and there was lots of debate about whether to buy LED or incandescent. Around this time I stopped buying incandescent lights as LED’s were bright enough as a lot more efficient. Except for my Mag85

    So to sum it up, you either brought a lot of batteries, or made do with a lot less light than we are used to now.

  10. #40

    Default Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    I remember the headlamps and lights with an incan main light and 5mm LED secondary flood light. Most of these had unimpressive bulbs in them barely 25 lumens if even that from them the white LED ended up brighter after the batteries were half dead on them.
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  11. #41
    Enlightened Bazar's Avatar
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    Default What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    I used 4 D lantern-style spotlight type lights. and 6 volt lights. that was also before my interest in lights though. and like gun enthusiasts, it is the spark of technology in flashlights itself that makes them interesting at all and not just typical limited tools.

    plenty of runtime with those, around 30-70 lumens, 4 to 8 hours and an extra 6 volt to keep going.

    this was from 1999 to a continued lack of awareness and interest about 2009.
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  12. #42
    Flashaholic* Grijon's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    Thank you all for sharing, is truly enriches the hobby today to hear about the way things were, I really appreciate it and am sure that I'm not the only one.

  13. #43
    Flashaholic* id30209's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    Well it looks like i’m going back to my roots. For last few months i carry FM1794 as EDC and for work M3 with FM D36 reflector and G4 bulb. Of course with dozens of batteries.
    Where all of my colleagues are using 20-50$ “hi tech” LED’s i’m like a muscle car among Honda Civics. And the best part is they like incan glow better
    I’ll never quit using them, modifiying them maybe.

  14. #44

    Default Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    I also vaguely remember the old top post 6 and 12v lanterns that attached to long rectangular batteries with screw on posts usually having a spot light on one end and a red light on the back. Some of these lights even had sealed beams and put out some rather good light for the day with very good runtime but as with any primary battery sooner or later they get weak in output and you have to buy a new battery.

    I also remember working on my car using a corded light and I had a 6D fluorescent light that had a 12v input I ran off the car cigarette lighter working on my car for hours at a time. You almost had to use corded lights working on vehicles due to the need for brighter light than most flashlights could deliver for very long amounts of time. I remember getting burned by the old drop lights with 75 watt bulbs in them and was glad when I got a fluorescent 120v work light no more fried flesh for me.

    These days I rarely grab the corded light unless I know I'm going to be working all night and I still have a headlamp available for tight spaces. There was limited runtime with headlamps unless you had one with an external pack using D cells which were rather expensive in the day one cheap throwaway 3AAA headlamp with 5mm LEDs would work well compared to the incans costing a lot more and a AA or better headlamp with LED would blow away the old corded incan car lights in runtime and output.
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  15. #45

    Default Re: What did you do for runtime before LEDs?

    Extra batteries were always in my pack, no matter the flashlight, and they would get used. I think a lot of people today who still prefer flashlights that use a standard cell like AA can still remember being on the road to the trailhead and suddenly realizing that we’d forgot to pack extra batteries. Fortunately, AA’s are widely available at gas stations and convenience stores and they probably will be for decades to come. Also, a backup flashlight was very handy just in case.

    If car camping, then we used a gas lantern, but that feels like a long time ago. Using a headlamp around camp has become such second nature I can’t even imagine setting up a noisy light like that which attracts a lot of insects in my campsite again.
    Last edited by koziy; 01-13-2019 at 01:15 PM.

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