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View Poll Results: Dimming control

Voters
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  • Fully Regulated

    108 79.41%
  • Partially regulated (semi-regulated)

    15 11.03%
  • Not regulated

    7 5.15%
  • Other/doesn't matter

    6 4.41%
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Thread: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    So, just for the sake of discussion, all things being equal, do you prefer your LED flashlights to be regulated, semi-regulated, or non-regulated? Why?


    Me?....all things being equal, I'd prefer full regulation. To me, maintaing max output for as long as possible is the idea scenario. A 25 lumen flashlight that immediately dims is less useful than a 20 lumen flashlight that maintains peak brightness for as long as possible. Peak brightness is misleading for flashlights that are non-regulated, since they will only maintain peak brightness for a short time. How do you all feel. Please discuss.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic Yukon_Jack's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    Doesn't it make a difference what the intended purpose of the light is? I like regulated lights when I'm dealing with a work light, but I understand that regulated lights are not as efficient overall, therefore, do not provide nearly as long of usable light in emergency situations? As an example, my unregulated SL 4AA unregulated 7 LED light will produce usable emergency light a lot longer than my regulated UK 4AA eLed. Yes, the UK produces more steady light for the first 10 hours but no contest with the SL twenty hours down the road.

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    I prefer regulated for work lights such as EDC lights. I want the light to be the same color and intensity as it was the last few times it was used. It's disapointing to pull out a light that IS moderately powerful to look under the hood of a car only to realize it's nearing the 50% brightness point and is no longer up to the task. It's also embarassing to lend your father your hot new light only to find the half dead batteries left a bad impression.

    An unregulated light MAY produce light longer, or it might not, depending on how well the LED was matched to the power source in both cases. A direct drive LuxV at 9 volts will still only run an hour or so.

    The UK eLED vs the SL 4aa is a good comparison. If I need to look under the house for something every 10 minutes for a few days, I will not want to use the SL 4AA because after a few hours of use it will be signifivcantly dimmer. On the other hand, If I only needed minimal lighting for an extended emergency just about any low drain led will be welcome, regulated or not.

    Many of the new lights ar being produced with multiple output levels. The VIP, for instance, is regulated but can be set to produce only a few lumens and it does it efficiently.

    Daniel

  4. #4
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    re Votes accepted from (03/29/04 04:58 AM) to (07/02/04 04:00 AM):

    What time zone is this???

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Burnt_Retinas's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    Please define your definition of semi-regulated. I may fit into regulated or semi-regulated.

    Chris

  6. #6

    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    i think what he means by regulated is full regulation. So the light will about constant for the whole battery life. The semi-regulation might be for example ARC AAA or arc LS, in which the light provide moon mode when the batt is too weak.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* PhotonBoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    Regulated, since I like constant, high output and I make full use of my batteries.

  8. #8

    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    Its pretty hard to tell whether a regulated or not regulated LED flashlight fits me. My EDC is a nicely regulated L5 when I'm out, but I keep the SL4AA LED with me at home, which is not regulated. Most people here in Hongkong lives in little flats less than 400 square feet (uaually around 300). Althought the LEDs get dimmer as time pass, they still light up the little room for many hours.

    For my L5, I like the regulator because it runs very good with the Pila 168S.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* RonM's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    If the light runs on alkalines, then I like some form of regulation. Gotta agree about hating how lights dim over time. However, if it uses lithiums then they are usually self regulated so there's not usually a need.

  10. #10

    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    I prefer regulation, since I mostly use aa batteries.

    Raven

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Phaserburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    Full regulation is rare, but it's king. Anything else is a step down.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* PaulW's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    [ QUOTE ]
    Phaserburn said:
    Full regulation rare, but it's king. Anything else is a step down.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Right on!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    [ QUOTE ]
    rex said:
    re Votes accepted from (03/29/04 04:58 AM) to (07/02/04 04:00 AM):

    What time zone is this???

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Oops, I didn't notice those settings. I would have preferred the poll to open immediately, not a day after posting.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    [ QUOTE ]
    shiftd said:
    i think what he means by regulated is full regulation. So the light will about constant for the whole battery life. The semi-regulation might be for example ARC AAA or arc LS, in which the light provide moon mode when the batt is too weak.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Exactly. The Elektrolumens Hyper Blaster being another example of partial (semi) regulation.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* chamenos's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    ronm: if i'm not mistaken lithium batteries have a nicer discharge curve than alkalines, but the output curve is nowhere near that of a fully or even partially regulated light [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  16. #16
    Farewell our Curmudgeon Administrator Roy's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    Go for full,, flat line regulation. Runtime is a design feature set by the maker of the light or, in the case of the new multiple output level lights, selected by the user.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    For me, it depends on the situation. For EDC, I like partial regulation, like the ARC AAA. It stays as bright as it can till the batteries are all but used up, then gives a moon mode to warn you, and give you time for a fresh battery. If the light is to be used for long term emergencies when I don't know if I'll have access to fresh batteries for a while, the I prefer direct drive. Sure, the output dims constantly, but it will produce light much longer than a regulated or semi-regulated light. That being said, I use regulated/semi-regulated more.
    It's just nice to have a light that's always as bright as new when you go to use it. I hate it when a light is only half as bright as it is with fresh batteries, kind of like when you have a bigger light that after a while is not much brighter than a much smaller one. It makes me want to change batteries too often, wasting them.
    In the end, overall, I guess I prefer semi-regulated.

  18. #18
    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    A keychain light make for great direct drive because I'm not usually all that concerned about intensity since I'm only lighting up close objects.

    For other, larger lights... unless I'm in a situation where the brightness of a light is no issue (hey, isn't that what a keychain light is for?), I'd prefer full regulation because I'm likely to swap out the batteries as soon as the light dims too much. Throw and overall brightness are critical for larger lights.

    As far as a small EDC light goes... I use that to supplement a keychain light most of the time, so it balances between close-up work and distance work. Semi-regulation (read: some flavor of boost converter) seems to work best for those since they tend to run off single cells.

    Maximum runtime is preferrable on EDC/keychain lights due to their frequent use. Larger lights that aren't used as often aren't as touchy on run-time because their use is more likely to be planned, or I'm going to have spare batteries onhand.

  19. #19
    this_is_nascar's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    For me, I find that I always want to reach for a regulated light. It's a conscious decision for me to use something unregulated.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    The poll function appears to be working now FWIW.....

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* 3rd_shift's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    Regulated; with disposable, occasional use batteries. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

    Unregulated; with lithium or heavy use rechargeable nimh or nicad. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]
    I have rechargeable nimhs and the light output from most of my flashlights (incandescant and led) stays nearly the same throughout the battery discharge. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/buttrock.gif[/img]
    When the batteries really have very little left to give, then most any of my led flashlights with them start to fade, but slow enough for me to go get some more batteries from the charger.
    My trilight3 with rechargeable Nexcell 8.5AH nimhs stays much the same for 3+ hours @ 2.6 Amperes throughout before going dim. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  22. #22

    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    Not sure of the difference between "full" and "semi" regulated (can somebody fill me in on this please ?), so have voted for "fully regulated". I far prefer to have a "full level" torch for as long as possible, rather than a light which gradually fades away. Surely as the efficiency of regulation circuits improves, so will the battey life.

  23. #23
    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    I think that semi regulated is like the arc flashlights (aa, aaa and ls) that dim slightly over time, then nose dive into avery dim mode. The fully regulated is like the pelican Sabrelight, UK 4AA eLED or the Surefire Aviator which provide the same amount of light until the batteries are mostly used up.

    As I understand it, two popular ways to get a fully regulated light is with a buck converter and too many batteries (4.5 to 9 volts to drive a load that only needs 3.7 volts) or a boost converter that is constant current. Personally, I like the wizard buck+boost which will handle from 12 volts down to 1.6 with the same output.

    You get fewer hours of runtime from fully regulated (they draw more current from the batteries as the voltage drops) but the light output is consistant. A semi regulated may provide longer run time, but the light may become insufficient quicker as the battery drains.

    Daniel

  24. #24
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    This is a very good post from Peter about different types of regulation:

    Why is the Arc-AAA partially regulated instead of fully regulated?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    Fully regulated, with selectable brightness levels (>=3 levels or continuously adjustable).

    Scott

  26. #26
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    [ QUOTE ]
    3rd_shift said:
    Regulated; with disposable, occasional use batteries. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

    Unregulated; with lithium or heavy use rechargeable nimh or nicad. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]
    I have rechargeable nimhs and the light output from most of my flashlights (incandescant and led) stays nearly the same throughout the battery discharge. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/buttrock.gif[/img]
    When the batteries really have very little left to give, then most any of my led flashlights with them start to fade, but slow enough for me to go get some more batteries from the charger.
    My trilight3 with rechargeable Nexcell 8.5AH nimhs stays much the same for 3+ hours @ 2.6 Amperes throughout before going dim. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    You beat me to it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Regulated for disposable, nonregulated for NiMH. Since I usually use NiMH I'm voting nonregulated. So now you know who the two heretics are. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  27. #27
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    Fully regulated is my vote. If not available, semi-regulated works fine. I don't like LED flashlights that have no regulation/semi-regulation becuase I tend to pitch the batteries when they are half dead.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* RonM's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    [ QUOTE ]
    lithium batteries have a nicer discharge curve than alkalines, but the output curve is nowhere near that of a fully or even partially regulated light

    [/ QUOTE ]
    I may be putting a bit too much faith in the flat discharge curve of lithiums. It's just that I find the drop off from alkalines to be SO BAD that an unregulated lithium is pretty darn nice. Of course nothing beats fully regulated, but that does add cost and complexity. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon3.gif[/img]

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* chamenos's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    ronm, i agree...i was amazed when i got my first lithium powered light (a surefire 6P), but after i got my arc LS i couldn't bring myself to use unregulated lights unless necessary [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* Burnt_Retinas's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Regulate or Not Regulate (Poll)

    For me - FULL. I like some moonlight to find those spare batteries, but you'll find you get this even with most, if not all, fully regulated circuits. If it's a boost then it'll flash and if designed right the flash rate will be so fast you don't notice the flashing but it will be substantially dimmer i.e. an apparent moonlight mode. If a buck, then you'll get your moonlight by inherent circuit topology. Up to the time of needing to change the battery I expect to see the same light output each time I turn my flashlight on.

    Chris

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