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Thread: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

  1. #1

    Default Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Hi

    I haven't bought myself a flashlight in almost 10 years. My last purchase was a Klarus XT11. It served me well till I lost it... So I come back to the forums that served me well and I keep seeing USB chargeable torches. This was not a mainstream option when I bought my Klarus. So my main question is... is USB charging worth it? Or should I just track down my old Klarus model and purchase it again? Do USB charged torches retain their charge well or am I looking at recharging once a week or so?

    Apologies if this as been answered already but I couldn't find a consolidated thread on here about this.

  2. #2

    Default Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    I personally do not like usb recharging on my flashlights, because if the battery goes dead you are without the light until it charges. I prefer lights that can use rechargeable or regular batteries, because you can put in fresh batteries and still use the light while the dead batteries charge. There are even rechargeable batteries now that have a built in micro usb charging port so you donít even need a separate battery charger or magnetic chargers that arenít much bigger than a cord. I definitely do not like flashlights with batteries that are not replaceable or proprietary, because then if something goes wrong with the battery your light is useless.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    The best of both worlds can be a light with a usb port and removable battery or even better a usb port with a removable battery that has a usb port.

    I like a magnetic charge point on a light with replaceable battery(s).

    Like anything else, quality control can make or break the durability of a usb port.

    Good questions btw.
    John 3:16

  4. #4

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sos24 View Post
    I personally do not like usb recharging on my flashlights, because if the battery goes dead you are without the light until it charges. I prefer lights that can use rechargeable or regular batteries, because you can put in fresh batteries and still use the light while the dead batteries charge. There are even rechargeable batteries now that have a built in micro usb charging port so you donít even need a separate battery charger or magnetic chargers that arenít much bigger than a cord. I definitely do not like flashlights with batteries that are not replaceable or proprietary, because then if something goes wrong with the battery your light is useless.
    This may be the case for small Keychain style lights but is usually not the case for other lights any more.
    Most actual flashlight looking lights that can charge through USB do use standard size batteries and can be used with both so that you can charge and use at the same time by charging outside of the light.
    Thankfully too this is simply the case these days.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Following!this seems like a very interesting thread

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Generally, most USB charged flashlights have electronic switches, and so there will always be some battery drain. However it's usually a miniscule amount and doesn't need a frequent top up charge. Research your intended purchase for standby drain or ask here.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Thanks for the replies! It looks like USB doesn't have too much of a detriment when it comes to torches. I totally agree regarding the lack of replacement batteries if a USB torch runs flat. Luckily I carry a battery pack everywhere I go. It looks like I need to check out the battery options available. Torch with USB port with removable battery (with usb port) seems like the dream option. That seems to provide maximum flexibility.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Beware some USB charging lights charge slower than charging on a regular charger. It may be nice to be able to recharge via USB but if it takes 4 hours or more then you either need to swap out the battery for a fresh one or use another light while it charges. I have a Fenix HL60R and have charged it via USB and it works well, I do have another headlamp to use while it charges. One big advantage is not having to open/close battery covers and swap in/out batteries, a disadvantage is dealing with charging ports on lights many of which have clunky rubber covers that are sometimes hard to deal with and some take up more space on a light making it longer.
    I have a small USB charger that I could use to recharge batteries both nimh and lithium ion that I could carry around, it also has a power supply and can be used as a power bank if needed.
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  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Stefano's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Armytek produces some models that have magnetic charging.
    It is slow but very comfortable.
    See the Wizard models (Headlamp) or ELF C2 which is Micro Usb_USB
    I have bought many of these Headlamps and so far they have proven reliable.
    If you want a torch that you hold in your hand, look at the Prime C2 model (magnetic charging), but know that it has a very flood beam.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by TwitchyArmadillo View Post
    Hi

    I haven't bought myself a flashlight in almost 10 years. My last purchase was a Klarus XT11. It served me well till I lost it... So I come back to the forums that served me well and I keep seeing USB chargeable torches. This was not a mainstream option when I bought my Klarus. So my main question is... is USB charging worth it? Or should I just track down my old Klarus model and purchase it again? Do USB charged torches retain their charge well or am I looking at recharging once a week or so?

    Apologies if this as been answered already but I couldn't find a consolidated thread on here about this.
    Well the XT11GT is pretty much the latest incarnation of your original Klarus that has both a USB port on the side and a new LED in the front. I just got mine a week ago and I don't mind the USB port at all. I used it a few times more for testing the charge time than because it actually needed it. My package included two high discharge cells that were around 3.6 volts if I recall correctly and I put them both on my Nitecore charger rather than charing them in the light.

    The port is oriented so that your USB cable will plug in upright while the light is sitting bezel down which I suppose is a good thing.

    Personally I kinda like the trend toward including a charging port on the light itself since it means you can charge up the light almost anywhere you have power available. Most people have a phone and so will often bring a charging cable for it with them which can plug into the light. Even Olight's magnetic charging system uses a standard USB on the opposite end, guaranteeing that it can just plug into the wall wart or adapter that you use for your phone.

    As for the batteries with a built in USB port for charging? I dunno, seems like over-complicating a such a simple thing as that but I can see that it could be good for those who want to get into higher quality lights but see having to buy a dedicated charger for JUST one light as a barrier, preventing them form really committing to anything. It makes the decision easier if they know they don't have to do a bunch more research on which charger is going to be safe...cause y'know they heard about all those batteries that exploded while using them.

    Heck even Surefire is now selling their own branded version of an 18650 with a USB port, so...maybe this is the new trend.
    Last edited by lightfooted; 05-09-2019 at 07:45 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by lightfooted View Post
    As for the batteries with a built in USB port for charging? I dunno, seems like over-complicating a such a simple thing as that but I can see that it could be good for those who want to get into higher quality lights but see having to buy a dedicated charger for JUST one light as a barrier, preventing them form really committing to anything. It makes the decision easier if they know they don't have to do a bunch more research on which charger is going to be safe...cause y'know they heard about all those batteries that exploded while using them.

    Heck even Surefire is now selling their own branded version of an 18650 with a USB port, so...maybe this is the new trend.
    I bought a Wowtac A2S with a 3400mah 18650 with built in micro USB charging port and have charged it several times. It works fine but does take awhile to charge. I was using it at work and the light started blinking so at lunch I took the battery out and used my phone micro USB cable to charge it for 30 minutes and had enough power to run the light the rest of the day.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Sent you a pm
    a single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows- St. Francis of Assissi

  13. #13

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    I had an A1S for a couple of weeks myself. Great light that I can recommend to others as well. My only issue with it was the tail switch. They recessed it somewhat and with the "ears" on both sides for lanyard attachment it made it just difficult enough for me to not be able to lock it on without changing my grip on the light. I had considered trying the BSS V3 instead but if I am spending $50 on another light that I am unsure about, I'd rather spend it on something closer to what I am looking for in a light.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sos24 View Post
    I personally do not like usb recharging on my flashlights, because if the battery goes dead you are without the light until it charges. I prefer lights that can use rechargeable or regular batteries, because you can put in fresh batteries and still use the light while the dead batteries charge. There are even rechargeable batteries now that have a built in micro usb charging port so you donít even need a separate battery charger or magnetic chargers that arenít much bigger than a cord. I definitely do not like flashlights with batteries that are not replaceable or proprietary, because then if something goes wrong with the battery your light is useless.
    Something I have never considered. Thank you.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sos24 View Post
    I personally do not like usb recharging on my flashlights, because if the battery goes dead you are without the light until it charges. I prefer lights that can use rechargeable or regular batteries, because you can put in fresh batteries and still use the light while the dead batteries charge. There are even rechargeable batteries now that have a built in micro usb charging port so you donít even need a separate battery charger or magnetic chargers that arenít much bigger than a cord. I definitely do not like flashlights with batteries that are not replaceable or proprietary, because then if something goes wrong with the battery your light is useless.

    1) You would be without the light regardless of how the battery charges if the battery in it goes dead. This is why the old adage comes up "Two is one and one is none". And while yes, there was a fad there for a bit where manufacturers got the idea to use pseudo proprietary batteries in some of their rechargeable lights, I think that trend has died.

    2) If something goes wrong with your battery it could still leave your light useless, having standard battery types only means you can swap out the battery as long as that is the only failure. I agree completely that proprietary battery designs are a hindrance but I do know that some of those flashlight designs at least were made to be compatible with 123As so that you could in theory get it functional again should the original cell go dead or malfunction. As long as you had access to primary lithium cells.

    I also prefer to keep all of my lights using a limited number of battery types. I keep 16650s/17670s for all of my Surefires as they are all stock bore diameter, plus one Eagtac P20C2. The 18650s I have are used in almost every other light I have save two. Those are capable of running on AAs or 14500s.

    I have thought about it some recently and I would be willing to accept a new size of rechargeable cell if that light could charge the cell itself, or if the cell had the micro USB port built in.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* offroadcmpr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Iím not a huge fan. The magnetic charger in my Armytek is proprietary, but at least it is durable and waterproof.
    The micro-usb on my Thrunite is covered with a tiny rubber flap. It seems like that wonít by the most durable which can quickly lead to an exposed USB port. Those donít do well with dust, mud, and water.
    My favorite version is a tiny little keychain light where the micro-usb port is underneath the threads. So you have to mostly unscrew the head to see it. So it still uses a standard cable and the port isnít exposed under normal use.

    But like others have said, it can add complexity and it can take longer to charge than a regular charger. So I wouldnít buy a light because it has one, but I donít necessarily avoid it unless I have a very specific purpose for the light that involves dirty, grimy conditions.

  17. #17

    Default Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    These lights use standard batteries and also will charge from USB under the head as needed.
    I have had zero issues with any of them.






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  18. #18

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    So it's been 10 years, huh? Boy things have changed. Lumen wars caused things to get crazy for a while and exagerated specs became like sand in the dessert. At the same time fuel mileage has gotten a lot better with lower settings that used to be max output.

    Light makers seem to prefer the 1-ish hour runtime on high instead of opting for a good, solid output with fuel sipping LED's with really long runtimes. Example would be a Maglite 3D light that during incan days put out like 30 lumens for a couple of hours from the giant fuel cells. Now their 'eco' mode of a 3D light puts out around the same brightness for 200 hours. But you have to quick click it thrice to get to it. The SureFire G2x Pro starts on a very useable low. It's like a car. Useful light when turned on with a high beam option.

    Huge spill is in fashion as well. So some light makers sell products with less candella than previous models with big increase in overall lighting instead. Pencil beams are no longer required to reach out to distances. But if the pencil beam is your favorite that's not easy to find outside the world of sliding zoomies. Zoomies are scoffed at by most but have a definite place for the non flashaholic market. My Coast HP7R has a hidden usb port with an 18650 inside a case with a usb port. I'd like to see more hiding usb port options where a twist and tug reveals the port hidden on the good side of an o'ring.

    There are lots of programnable options too. So USB charge or not it's a great time to get reaquainted with the current crop of modern flashlights.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 05-12-2019 at 06:04 AM.
    John 3:16

  19. #19

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Yes I can see trends have come and gone. I'm not a fan of huge spills so that's gonna be my aim for my next torch. But yo and a few others have raised a point... I hate USB charging ports that are covered up by a silly rubber flap. I hated them on phones and absolutely hate them on torches. If one thing is going to break off it's the flap. You can replace rubber seals but you can't replace a rubber flap stopper. If a torch has it's a show stoppper for me. I have a ton of research to do

  20. #20

    Default Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by TwitchyArmadillo View Post
    Yes I can see trends have come and gone. I'm not a fan of huge spills so that's gonna be my aim for my next torch. But yo and a few others have raised a point... I hate USB charging ports that are covered up by a silly rubber flap. I hated them on phones and absolutely hate them on torches. If one thing is going to break off it's the flap. You can replace rubber seals but you can't replace a rubber flap stopper. If a torch has it's a show stoppper for me. I have a ton of research to do
    Again not a good idea to generalize about these things,some are far more Silly than others?

    This Fenix LD15R has a rubber flap that could not be any easier to change if you need to.


  21. #21

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    USB charging can be a nice feature. However, I prefer a quick manual battery swap. I mostly use AA or AAA flashlights with NiMH. Yeah, you won't get extreme light levels off AA or AAA but I don't need mega lumens in my daily life. I've been using Eneloop and Eneloop Pro for a while now and I've been very happy with their performance. When things start to dim, they get a charge. I always have some charged ones in the case for quick rotation.

    If I'm in a pinch and away from home, being able to use alkalines can be handy.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* LeanBurn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmodragoon View Post
    USB charging can be a nice feature. However, I prefer a quick manual battery swap. I mostly use AA or AAA flashlights with NiMH. Yeah, you won't get extreme light levels off AA or AAA but I don't need mega lumens in my daily life. I've been using Eneloop and Eneloop Pro for a while now and I've been very happy with their performance. When things start to dim, they get a charge. I always have some charged ones in the case for quick rotation.

    If I'm in a pinch and away from home, being able to use alkalines can be handy.
    My thoughts exactly...I couldn't have said it any better myself.
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    I used to almost never use built-in USB charging on my lights that have it. But, over time, I've changed my mind. I know it only take a couple of minutes to swap batteries and charge externally, but... it's still a couple of minutes. I'm lazy. USB is faster and easier.

    Especially with lights that use FET drivers, it's important to keep your battery topped up if you want maximum output. So, I'm usually charging those lights every day, if I used them at all the previous night. With FET drivers, the difference between a cell at 4.0v and 4.2v is noticeable.

    Finally, I think the water-proof aspect is a bit overblown. The lights with USB charging will take anything short of submersion in water. How often do you risk dropping your light in a pond? For those rare times, use one of your waterproof lights instead.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    I used to almost never use built-in USB charging on my lights that have it. But, over time, I've changed my mind. I know it only take a couple of minutes to swap batteries and charge externally, but... it's still a couple of minutes. I'm lazy. USB is faster and easier.

    Especially with lights that use FET drivers, it's important to keep your battery topped up if you want maximum output. So, I'm usually charging those lights every day, if I used them at all the previous night. With FET drivers, the difference between a cell at 4.0v and 4.2v is noticeable.

    Finally, I think the water-proof aspect is a bit overblown. The lights with USB charging will take anything short of submersion in water. How often do you risk dropping your light in a pond? For those rare times, use one of your waterproof lights instead.
    I think USB charging is very useful... if it works on phones and tablets and all sorts of other devices then incorporating it in flashlights is a no brainer. I do however want to be able to swap in a fresh battery in devices that I could use heavily having unreplaceable batteries in lights is a no-no for me as sooner or later the batteries go bad and you have to figure out how to replace them or toss the light.
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Buying new flashlight in 10 years... how things have changed - USB?

    My Nitecore MH20 has a USB charging port under a rubber flap. I donít use it much as I usually chuck the battery into an external charger, but I have been happy to have the option to plug the light in to charge while on a long drive somewhere to ensure the light is fully charged when I arrive. Have done this more than once now, and I figured I can also charge it on the way home, negating the usual process of having to charge all the batteries you used on holiday, when you get home.

    So yeah I wonít buy a light specifically for it, but certainly wonít ditch a light with the option, it is a nice-to-have.

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