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Thread: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

  1. #1
    fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    I've been on a Surefire kick for the past few months, and so I've been shopping for D26-compatible bulbs to act as upgrades and replacements down the line when the original bulbs burn out. At first I bought some D26-compatible bulbs from LF, but the reflectors were badly fogged; I tried cleaning them and it kinda worked, but I decided to buy some more instead, after letting them know about the problem. The second batch was also fogged, though not nearly as badly; apparently this is because their incan reflectors are several years old, so the entire stock is going to be re-plated to fix the problem in the future. But I can't use those bulbs anyway, because even thought I bought the same lumen rating as an old bulb I bought from them years ago, the new ones trip the protection circuits in my AW RCR123s. Then I bought some Surefire P61s and P91s; the P61s have wiggly bulbs, and the P91s also trip the protection circuits on my AW RCR123s. The P91s must also be a different revision than the first P91 I bought months ago, because that one worked fine with my AW RCR123s. However, that older P91 had a wiggly bulb just like the P61s I bought recently. The newer, more power-hungry P91s would probably be fine if I could get some soft-start switches; if I blink the switch several times in a row, I can get the P91s to light-up, but they overload the batteries when the filament is cold. But of course soft-start switches were discontinued long, long ago.

    All I want are some 200-250 lumen bulbs that are focused properly, have clean reflectors, and don't trip the protection circuits on my batteries. Is that really so much to ask?
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 02-05-2019 at 04:16 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    I hear you, but it is a diminishing niche market, and sometimes I wonder how long we will be able to get any incandescent lamps at all ....
    ... is the archimedes peak

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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Incandescent bulbs will never completely vanish, just like buggy whips haven't completely vanished. Incandescent bulbs are the only bulbs that work reliably and become more efficient in high-temperature applications, such as inside ovens and all different manner of industrial equipment. As for how long they remain available for flashlight use...I have no idea.

    But the bulbs I bought recently were made years ago. Even then they seemed to be inconsistent quality, even from name-brands.

    Personally I have to blame Surefire for this one. Their integrated bulb-and-reflector assemblies are drop-in easy, but they are more complex and expensive to manufacture and the bulbs can't be substituted as easily. My ASP TacLite uses a bi-pin bulb, and it has an internal focus-adjuster integrated into the reflector, so I can pretty much install any bare 6-7.2V bulb that I can find.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 02-05-2019 at 05:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    I would strongly suggest replacing the AW's you're running if you're trying to power a P91 on 16340's. Efest IMR's solved my double-click issues, as did using a bored body and running 18350's.
    "Rage, rage against the dying of the light..."

  5. #5
    fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Yes, IMRs work fine, but I really really really like having protection circuits on my Li-Ion batteries, especially when running "dumb" loads like incandescent bulbs. IMRs are unlikely to catch fire if over-discharged, but they will still suffer damage, and the protection circuit takes care of that concern.

    Anyway, I'm fine running 16340s and getting the lumens out of them that I can -- my problem is finding a reliable supplier of consistently-good bulbs.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    What I did years ago was to go with the SF P60 using RCR123's. With the better, newer RCR123's you will be getting close to your 200 lumens. In fact it is akin to the MN15 which does very well on two Li-ions.

    Bill

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    fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Wouldn't the P60 burn-out if I fed it 8.4 volts? I know the P61 does; I accidentally flashed one a few days ago when I swapped the bulb but forgot to swap the RCR123s for primaries. That was a real facepalm moment; at least LEDs don't instantly die when overloaded. I almost did it a second time today, but somehow I got incredibly lucky and the bulb didn't flash even though the filament got warm enough to glow in the split-second before I realized I'd made a mistake.

    I managed to find a single P90, if that's what you meant. I think those might actually be more expensive nowadays than the P91s.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 02-05-2019 at 10:15 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    yep i can't find wa 1185 anywhere anymore, gone from every catalog. i just keep my hotwires on the shelf, to remind myself of old days.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    I have had similar headaches. 'Must have' setups from 10/15 years ago are now almost impossible to replicate. Even if you were to, there are no ready replacements. After stressing about it for a while and not enjoying the hobby (for me it was SureFire M6 rechargeable options) I looked at what WAS easily available now, and TAD Customs really allowed me to have fin with my SureFire M4 and E2e etc, and not worry about sourcing long unavailable parts.

    Incan is great fun if you just roll with it. If you try to find rare and in demand collector items, then that is a whole different hobby as the finding outweighs the using.

    I went a stage further. I looked online and found the cheapest and highest quality bulbs I could (ended up with 6 V, 10-15 Watt halogen) and these were pennies each, then I looked for light to fit them - plenty out there.

    Good luck - but it was almost too late even 10 years ago to find many of these parts - and even harder now. If you want to have fun, take a look at what you can get, and don't stress about what you can't.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    I know this is a flashlight discussion, but the paucity of bulbs is a broader issue. That is why I have stashed hundreds of hotwire bulbs for general lightning (20-100W range) before they got extinct

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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Pretty sure Bill meant P90 bulb. I personally just troll the 'bay for NOS bulbs in D26 format. It's probably a matter of time before TadsCustoms is doing something for them at the rate he's introducing new holders and bulbs, wouldn't suprise me if he came out with something like Fivemega's Sunlight bulb holder assemblies. I had quite a stash of P90's, MN15's, MN20's and LF HO-M3T's on hand up until last winter. Slowly rebuilding, there's plenty out there if you're patient. With member Alterman offering 2x18650 holders for the M6, it's back in my nightly dog walking rotation.

    Edit- Have you considered an E2e with either LF buls, or the Tad's bulb holder setup? Find one with a reflector you like and drive on...
    Last edited by scout24; 02-06-2019 at 07:06 AM.
    "Rage, rage against the dying of the light..."

  12. #12

    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    I run TADs bulbs in the A2 and E2. Those are cost effective enough to buy enough to last a lifetime. For the P60 style lamps, I have a handful of actual P60s stashed away and used in certain applications. But for the most part I've bought the cheap chinese lamps off the bay in bulk in the 3.7V and 6V format and they've actually been great. Have been running the same lamps in two 6Ps for 2 years without issue. Both see daily use and battery swap about once a week. I have the same concern that these lamps will disappear for good so I am buying all that I need now.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Yes, I meant P90. Thanks.

    Bill

  14. #14

    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Quote Originally Posted by scout24 View Post
    ...wouldn't suprise me if he [Tad] came out with something like Fivemega's Sunlight bulb holder assemblies...
    Considering how many CPFers want something like this, and how useful they are, I think that Tad could definitely sell some replacements. He might be able to simplify the manufacturing by having a separate reflector assembly, that the bulb holder could then slide into (instead of FM's beautifully-threaded brass plug), and which would be held in place with a small Allen-head set screw, like FM's. I won't part with my FM unit, but it would be nice if more people got to experience inexpensive G4 base bi-bulbs running on Li-ions. Thanks to the time Lux Luthor spent testing bulbs and posting the results, all we have to do is buy some, and plug them in. The Hikari JC 5607 is somewhat unique, for example, in that it will run at both 7.4 volts (~764 lumens, for ~137 hours), and also at 11.1 volts (~3000 lumens, for ~1.2 hours), and I have seen it listed for sale for as low as $1.09.
    Last edited by novice; 02-06-2019 at 05:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    I was looking at the TAD Customs offerings. Currently I have LF bulbs for my E1s and they work just fine, but since getting an ASP TacLite and observing the ease with which I could fit aftermarket bulbs to it, it has occurred to me that I should stick with TAD Customs' adapters for my Surefire lights going forward. That way I could stock up on only spare bulbs and not bulkier assemblies that have an integrated bulb as the only truly consumable part. But first someone would need to make a D26 reflector that has a bi-pin bulb socket in the base -- and perhaps a set of rubber-tipped tweezers to grab hold of the bulb when it needs to be replaced, because there's no way to reach that far into the reflector with bare fingers without scratching or fingerprinting the reflector.

    For the time being, I ordered some generic 9V xenon bulb+reflector assemblies off eBay to see if they are any good. They probably won't last as long as name-brand, but at this point all I care about is consistency -- buying bulbs one at a time from random sellers, with no idea what revision they are or whether they are only being sold because they didn't meet the seller's own expectations, is no fun at all.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 02-07-2019 at 09:49 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    For the time being, I ordered some generic 9V xenon bulb+reflector assemblies off eBay to see if they are any good. They probably won't last as long as name-brand, but at this point all I care about is consistency
    I bought a bunch of 6V and 3.7V chinese knockoffs and all I can say is I think the beam pattern in the 6V lamps are far superior to Surefire's P60s. As for durability, I can't say. And, I would bet that Surefires last a bit longer and are much more durable. However, I've used these every day for over a year morning and night and they've held up to drops, extreme cold and hot, etc. So far, so good.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    That's promising.

    The bulbs in those no-name D26 drop-ins look the same as the bulbs that TAD Customs sells, and the same as the bulbs included with my decades-old ASP TacLite. It seems very likely to me that they are all churned out by the same factory, or that the design is so standardized at this point that multiple factories produce essentially identical products. Why "innovate" (i.e. "change for no reason other than to claim intellectual-property rights") on a design that is known, reliable, and ubiquitous? So hopefully that means the no-name D26 drop-ins will perform comparably well also.

    On a tangentially-related note, the more I use the old ASP TacLite I bought, the more I appreciate its adjustable focus and separately-replaceable bulb. I don't have to worry about whether I'll be able to find just the right bulbs to use in the future, because as long as they're the right voltage and brightness, I can just tweak the bulb position until I get the beam pattern I want. The Surefire design of having the bulb and reflector integrated is certainly easier to service in rough conditions, and therefore doubtless better for military use, but that isn't a concern that applies to my daily life. While some people in the past have put effort into modifying TacLites to hold Surefire P60 bulb+reflector assemblies, I find myself pondering whether it would be possible to fit a user-adjustable lamp assembly into a Surefire instead.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Yes, you can user service a P60 but it has to be pre-cut bi-pin bulbs so that one of the pins is long enough reach the outter portion of the module.

    Tads bulbs are nicely pre-cut and so are the Streamlight TL-2 bulbs.

    But yeah, if you have a burnt P60 carefully take it apart and you'll see how easy it is to service.

    A burnt SureFire bulb
    Last edited by bykfixer; 02-09-2019 at 07:22 AM.
    John 3:16

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    I'll keep that in mind. However, a reflector module with a bi-pin socket would be even easier. Hopefully TAD Customs will get around to making those eventually.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    I find this conversation fascinating.

    I have a small number of P60 or equivalent modules just because they came in lights that I immediately converted to LED, but I've kept one flashlight running incandescent. It never occurred to me that once I burn through the 3 or 4 modules I've acquired by accident, it might be difficult to purchase additional incandescent modules to keep this set-up running.

    So are we now at a point where there are no new modules being manufactured and suppliers are just selling through old inventory? Or is it that new stock is still being manufactured but it's of such dubious quality that the old modules are selling at a premium just because they are of known quality?

    Clearly I have much to learn.

    --flatline

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Another source of incand bulbs are d/c mag bulbs replacement kits. The bulbs themselves are of t2 size so they fit those fivemega lights designed for 1794/1499 bulbs. I use 5d bulbs with 2x 18350 cells

  22. #22

    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Stuff by Mag, Streamlight, SureFire and Pelican is new-old stock. Around 2014 the bulb part of their factories were turned off.

    Bulbs are still being made over seas so fear not Flatline. At least not yet.

    Me?

    I stocked up a while ago.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 02-10-2019 at 12:26 PM.
    John 3:16

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullzeyebill View Post
    Yes, I meant P90. Thanks.

    Bill
    Hey Bill, your PM inbox is full.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    it has occurred to me that I should stick with TAD Customs' adapters for my Surefire lights going forward.
    I like what TAD has to offer and its amazing that for a relatively small amount of money I can buy enough bulbs to last me a lifetime. However, not long ago I was carrying my e2e with TADs bi pin bulb and I dropped it and the bulb came out of the socket in the bezel. After that I decided to keep TADs bulbs in all of my incans that I just kind of like to play around with around the house. But, for EDC or serious work I keep the lumens factory modules, P60s, or even the chinese knock off P60s that are integrated so no bulb can pop out at a bad time. I've dropped my 6Ps with the chinese P60 knock offs in them and never had a bulb break or malfunction. Food for thought.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    Hey Bill, your PM inbox is full.
    Fixed.

    Bill

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lumen83 View Post
    I like what TAD has to offer and its amazing that for a relatively small amount of money I can buy enough bulbs to last me a lifetime. However, not long ago I was carrying my e2e with TADs bi pin bulb and I dropped it and the bulb came out of the socket in the bezel. After that I decided to keep TADs bulbs in all of my incans that I just kind of like to play around with around the house. But, for EDC or serious work I keep the lumens factory modules, P60s, or even the chinese knock off P60s that are integrated so no bulb can pop out at a bad time. I've dropped my 6Ps with the chinese P60 knock offs in them and never had a bulb break or malfunction. Food for thought.
    Good point, an impact at just the right angle could dislodge the bulb from its socket. I'm trying to think of ways to reduce that risk, but all I can come up with is to bend the pins slightly before inserting the bulb into the socket, and I don't know if that would provide enough extra grip.

  27. #27

    Default Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Iím waiting for lumens factory to make heads, and Iím jumping on the e1e bandwagon. Is there any way to get a very little o-ring between the bulb plug or head and the underside/backside/bottom of the reflector to possibly help stop the forward movement?
    Similar to the o-ring under the bottom of the reflector in the Haiku head with the XPG2.
    Last edited by InvisibleFrodo; 02-12-2019 at 12:05 AM.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    Good point, an impact at just the right angle could dislodge the bulb from its socket. I'm trying to think of ways to reduce that risk, but all I can come up with is to bend the pins slightly before inserting the bulb into the socket, and I don't know if that would provide enough extra grip.
    While I am a pretty hardcore incand enthusiast, I understand that incands just can not compete with leds when reliability is required. So I keep my e2e with a warm high cri Tana's singled handy

  29. #29

    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    I stocked up a while ago.
    Yea, I saw this all coming too.

    I have multiple plastic totes and parts bins full of SF and other lamp assemblies. I'm set for life. And maybe the next few. But I never pass up on a good deal for more.
    ampdude

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Buying incan bulbs is so tedious.

    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleFrodo View Post
    Iím waiting for lumens factory to make heads, and Iím jumping on the e1e bandwagon. Is there any way to get a very little o-ring between the bulb plug or head and the underside/backside/bottom of the reflector to possibly help stop the forward movement?
    Similar to the o-ring under the bottom of the reflector in the Haiku head with the XPG2.
    Doubtful. There available space between the bulb assembly and the back of the reflector can be measured in hundredths of a millimeter.

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