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Thread: Advice on lights for "black-out"

  1. #1

    Default Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    Summer is coming, I live in a little village which black-out occurs 2-3 times (5-48 hours) EVERY week, EVERY summer. I've got some flash lights running on 2 X CR123 / 4 X AA. They are bright but not so long lasting, the best runner is SL4AA (LED).

    I need something big that runs on 3-4 C/D cells and can stand on end, for each living room. A flood light is prefered. I don't care about the material of the body but of cos it should not break or fail if I drop it. I don't want any rechargeable lights, feel helpless holding such thing when it run out of juice during black-outs......

    I'm looking at products from Pelican and Streamlight as these 2 brands are available locally, so I can save $ on international shipping. The SL 3C sounds good on adv run time, but I've no idea on how it performs in real world.

    Candles or anything that will burn is not suitable, my Yorkshire Terriers are too active.....

    Thanks all for sharing.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    Try a Coleman fluorescent lantern or something similar (runs on 8 D cells). Rechargeables are OK, having them go flat in a blackout leaves you exactly where you'd be if non-rechargeables go flat [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]. Maybe you even want to have a big SLA (sealed lead-acid) battery like a car battery, to power things during blackouts.

    If you just want a D powered LED flashlight, try an Elektrolumens Blaster 1R or Anglelux, with something to diffuse the beam (or just bounce it off the ceiling). Or maybe Milkyspit can make you a version of his "Milky Candle" that runs on four D's.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    My pick for this job would be the Energizer 4D folding flourescent lanterns. I really like the one I picked up the other day, gonna have to get some more... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] The claimed runtime is 40 hours on one tube, 20 on two, on alkaline batteries. I haven't tested that, yet... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] It does put out quite a bit of light, even on one tube. I used it the other day to take a shower when the power was out.

    Chris

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    Black-out lights. I would stick primarily with LED's hence LED forums.

    A headlamp would be a nice tool to have for hands free work and navigation. Streamlight and Princeotn tec make some ncie ones with Luxeons in them. I currently have a cheap rayovac 5mm LED headlamp (2 red, 1 white, and a 4.5 volt bulb.)

    As stated above, lanterns are nice. An Anglelux would be nicer still [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    A nice light I have handled is a 3C Streamlight Twin Task. The two LED's modes offer good run time and the incandescent is good to have if you need to reach out and light something. The Streamlight twin task 2L offers almost the same output (not sure if is brighter or dimmer) in a much smaller pakcage but uses expensive CR123 batteries where the 3C runs off cheap alaklines.

    CMG Infinties and Infinity Ultras can be nice for using cheap AA alakline batteries and providing long run times.

    Also, as you already probably know, have extra shelf stable ready to eat food and water around during a blackout. Microwave and electric oven did not work at school during the blackout so I had to rely on MRE's and chips.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic Yukon_Jack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    The Streamlight 3C - 10 LED, broad beam, in the Poly at brightguy.com looks very interesting to me. You are going to get more light than the Streamlight 4AA, 7 LED, and more than double the run time. For the house, the really broad beam of the multi LEDs is the way to go. These are relatively cheap to boot.

    Personally, I do not feel the florescent lanterns are such a good way to go. I've got three that run on 8 D cells and they do light up a room nice. The problem I find is that they simply use too many batteries and don't run long enough. Even if you do get some lanterns, you are going to want to have the handheld lights anyway.

    One odd thing I find is that the Streamlight twin task 3C rates the 3 LED run time at 160 minutes and the 6 LED run time at 100 minutes. The Streamlight 3C 10 LED light is rated at 336 hours. This makes little sense unless the LEDs are different (I doubt) or its a missprint. It may have something to do with the electronics or something. Obviously, I would much rather have 10 LEDs running for 336 hours off 3Cs than 6 LEDs running for 100 hours. Go figure?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    If your use is mainly to sit on a table and aim an LED or two on the ceiling, then you might want to roll your own. Maybe find some PVC pipe large enough to hold D batteries. Make a tube long enought to hold 3 batteries, Put a screw in each end to make contact, and run the wires to an LED or two (in parallel) through a resistor. If you pick your resistor right, you should be able to get a VERY long run time and still get decent brightness.

    Of course, this may not be the best idea for hand-held use, but it would be OK for a table. You are also better off using 4 LEDs at 10mA each rather than one LED at 40mA. And with four LEDs, you can aim them in different directions for better spill.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    Yukon_Jack

    From the Streamlight website for the Twintask 3C:

    Run time

    Up to 3 hours (xenon)
    Up to 160 hours (3 LEDs)
    Up to 100 hours (6 LEDs)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    [ QUOTE ]
    Harrkev said:
    If your use is mainly to sit on a table and aim an LED or two on the ceiling, then you might want to roll your own. Maybe find some PVC pipe large enough to hold D batteries. Make a tube long enought to hold 3 batteries, Put a screw in each end to make contact, and run the wires to an LED or two (in parallel) through a resistor. If you pick your resistor right, you should be able to get a VERY long run time and still get decent brightness.

    Of course, this may not be the best idea for hand-held use, but it would be OK for a table. You are also better off using 4 LEDs at 10mA each rather than one LED at 40mA. And with four LEDs, you can aim them in different directions for better spill.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    This sounds good, but guess I rather get some 4 X D cell holder @$1~ instead of the PVC tube. Furthermore, a semi-transparent film container (Fuji 135 film) will help flooding the LEDs.

    I'll try to make this for the living room, and 3 SL3C for each bedroom.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    [ QUOTE ]
    Emilion said:
    Summer is coming, I live in a little village which black-out occurs 2-3 times (5-48 hours) EVERY week, EVERY summer. I've got some flash lights running on 2 X CR123 / 4 X AA. They are bright but not so long lasting, the best runner is SL4AA (LED).

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Wow, it's my kind of little village:-) I didn't realize that any blackout would last for 48 hours in Hong Kong?

    I have SL3C which is a great light especially for indoor usage. It lights up entire room but it can't stand on its end due to the tailswitch.

    I also have 4D Energizer Trekker but I doubt if it could last for long runtime as advertized.

    SL TT 3C might be good for long runtime if only 3 LED is used. Another suggestion by other members is to use LED headlight. If this is what you prefer, nothing could beat Switchback (4C cells for 3 LED) for runtime. It's regulated as well. You could have steady brightness for the long 48 hours (if you don't sleep:-)). I have one of this but never been used due to its poor main bulb.

    In fact, I am searching for the 12 LED Lantern (from Nuwai but manufactured in HK/China?) that runs on 4D. I believe this is what you needed.

    Alan

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    Flashaholic* Phaserburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    You definitely want some area lights for a blackout, not just a flashlight. You'll need something to leave on in a room for yourself and others. I have the usual plethora of flashlights of all kinds, but also have a couple CCFT's and led lanterns for area. CF's are good, too. For those that haven't tried them, CF's and CCFT's produce a very surprising amount of totally smooth, extremely useful white light. IMHO, they are badly underrated. For lighting a room, flashlights have a hard time competing, even when aimed at the ceiling. Flashlights are truly meant to be carried, and you're meant to be in motion when doing so; they are strictly directional. That's why area and headlamp lights are an integral part of the CPF arsenal.

    Let the counter-opinions commence! (throwing a bloody steak into the water...)

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* RonM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    How about the Energizer Folding LED?

    They're cheap (under $10 in the US) and run a long time. Switch lets you choose 1 led or 2. There's a review at the LED Museum.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    CF and CCFT is great for area light but not that good on runtime that's one of criteria Emillion requires. I have many CF (from 2AA to 4D) and CCFT (from 4aaa to 4AA and one for USB prot). The runtime problem on CF and CCFT is due to designer of these light. When it's being driven by D cells, it normally uses 5W or 10W CF that cut the runtime shorter than require. On the other hand, I haven't seen any CCFT was driven by D cells or C cells.

    Due to this reason, LED on big cells seems to be better option when long runtime is critical. Of course, for a 48-hour blackout, you might need only 10 to 15 hours of light after deducting daytime and sleep time:-)

    Alan

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    Flashaholic* pedalinbob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    that little energizer LED is VERY nice.

    it is surprising how much light it puts out when it is really dark.

    not sure about stock lights, but i have a dimmable single 5mm led that uses 3 D cells. i left it in the bathroom on low all night during the blackout. on high setting, it was enough for showering.

    i would think that a single luxeon driven from 3-d's with a variable resistor would be fantastic for the above useage.
    you could even add a "shade" made out of a chunk of milk jug or other opaque material.

    should run a VERY long time.

    Bob

  14. #14
    Farewell our Curmudgeon Administrator Roy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    It's big, it's ugly, it uses 3xD cells, and runs forever! Here are the runtime plots for the LightWave 4000....10 LEDs on 3 D sized cells. At the end of 120 hours of CONTINOUS use it was still putting out some light....LEDs don't seem to ever go completely out.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    I'd be curious to get some more details: Is it somewhere sunny that solar might work? Is it a single location, like a house you own and can setup a permanent system, or are you looking for something portable you can keep with you?

    If this is your house, and you plan on living wherever you are, it sounds to me like you don't need flashlights ( heresy to say on this list...though they'll still be mighty handy ), you need a real investment in alternative power.

    I went a week without power after hurricane Georges, but had a small inverter, a 60Watt panel, and a group 27 Deep Cycle battery. Since I already use screw-in florescents in most fixtures in my house, I just hooked up the inverter to the battery and ran some extension cords into the house. One hour of sunlight @ 60Watts = 3+hours of light bulbs @ 15W or so, with each bulb putting out the equivalent of a 60 watt incandescent. I generally get 4 hours of sunlight a day, so I had more power for light than I could easily use, and was able to light up several rooms at a time if needed and could recharge batteries and use other small AC devices.

    A setup like I used could be replicated for as little as $600, less if you found used stuff or went smaller on some items like the panel, battery and inverter.

    60 to 80 Watt Solar panel=$300
    Charge Controller =$30
    105Ah Deep Cycle Battery and Box = $130
    150W inverter = $50
    Wiring=$20
    Box of 4 CF bulbs = $20
    10A Automatic Charger ( for fast fills when power is on )=$50


    Pricey compared with under $100 for 5 flashlights and some batteries, but it'll provide several nights of normal lighting for several rooms in a house, with power left over for other uses. It's much better lighting than you'll get with flashlights or a coleman florescent lantern, too.

    You won't need to go and get another $25 in batteries for next time when the outage is over, either.
    If you spent $25 bucks a week on alkalines lighting up your house, ( for 2-3 outages ) you'd only need 6 months of this to pay off a system like I suggested.

    If you do stick with just flashlights, lanterns and conventional batteries, With that much time "off the grid", I'd say even though you don't like rechargeables, they're your best bet in the long run. I think you might just need *MORE* rechargeables and some alkalines ( or lithiums ) for back-up when you're caught out. Keep a charger plugged in all the time with a set of batts ready to go, so you'll be ready when the power drops. You'll save big time $$$ in the long run.

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    I know the original poster specified C or d cells, but this is really a good situation for setting up one or more sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries on an automatic charger and running one or several small wattage lights from it. You'll get the same runtime from a 7ah SLA at 12 volts as you get from 9 C cells, and it will always be fully charged if you have outages only once a week.


    Daniel

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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    wow, alotta great ideas!

    i'll reccomend a couple flashlights tho.

    #1. Underwater Kinetics 4AA eLED
    - this light uses a luxeon, four AA batteries, and has 11 hours of regulated, near-peak brightness b4 it starts to dim. and then it will still give you hours of diminishing light. it's also pocketable.

    #2. Elektrolumens Blaster 3
    - this light uses a 3Watt luxeon, three D batteries and gives you 12 hours of bright light b4 its dimming becomes apparent. and then you'll still get weeks of diminishing light.. the light also is able to stand on end, so you can point it towards the ceiling and light an entire room with it.

    since both lights use luxeons, so you don't have to worry about replacing bulbs. you'll only have to worry about getting AA batteries for the UK eLED and D batteries for the Blaster 3. and that shouldn't be too often.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    Flashlights, lanterns AND HEADLAMPS.

    LED headlamps are ideal for power outages. They're not overly bright or have a lot of "throw", but they are hands-free and always put the light right where you are looking.
    Besides, in a power failure you are going to be using your light indoors at least half of the time anyway.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    That solar system is massive overkill!

    10W solar panel - $100
    Accumanager 2020 - $55

    Plug the panel directly into the charger and you can recharge batteries without any problems at all. I use this rig myself and I'm really happy with it.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    Actually, two other bits. The AccuManager may be happier on a 15W or 20W panel - talk to some of the solar power folks who're selling them in that combination.

    And, I second the 4D everready lantern - it's bright, although the light is pretty ugly, and batteries last a long, long time.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    Solar can be even cheaper.....

    A pair of Harbor Freight 1.5 watt panels (on sale for $9 every other month) feeding directly to a small SLA. It will charge a 12 volt 7AH over the course of several days (3 to 5). If you use a 1 watt luxeon, you can get 2 hours of runtime for every hour of sunlight (after conversion and storage losses).

    Will a 7 ah 12 volt provide 84 watt hours? I think it will.

    Daniel

  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* IsaacHayes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    Here is an idea. Get some SLA car batteries, and an big array of 5mm whites, set them up as ceiling lights. Should be great. If blackouts occur this frequently, then this is a good idea for a semi-permanat lighting fixture.

    A good bright D flashlight would be elektrolumens new 4D tri-star. Tons of light and tons of light after the batts are drained, since it uses 3 luxeons...

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    Yes, the Solar system I suggested is far more capable than a mix of flashlights, lanterns and headlamps. However, if you're without power in a house for up to 48hours a couple of times a week, that's not a small, infrequent outage, that's fairly major issue.
    Also, the light output of such a system is such that it's not much of a step down from what's normal for the interior of a house or apartment, not to mention that it'll run a laptop, TV or radio. The system I suggested would be 4 years ( and that's the battery life, The rest of the components could live much longer) of nearly no power loss related inconvenience without any further costs. If you left a 10A battery charger hooked up to the battery, you'd also not even have to change the lights over when the power failed. Youre lights would just never go out when the power quit.

    I like my flashlights, my Coleman rechargeable lantern and my CCF reading light, but if I'm at home I'd prefer to light up my house like normal, not like I'm camping. Just as a tabletop fixture with a 13W ( 60Watt equivalent ) CF isn't a very good EDC light, my ARC4 really doesn't belong lighting up a living room for an evening on a regular basis.
    That's why I was curious to find out more of the conditions under which the initial question was asked. If we're talking about a month in a hotel where the power is this brand of crappy, sure, bring some nice flashlights and cope. If it's home and the utility doesn't supply steady power, find a way to make what you need yourself.

    Oddly, I live in the Florida Keys and after the damage Hurricane Georges inflicted was repaired, our power was much more reliable than it had been just a couple of weeks earlir. In face, I first got here 12 years ago, it went out for a short time (20 min - 1 hour) a couple of times a week. I figure the storm broke any old, loose hardware off the tie line, forcing the Electric Co. to replace it with new stuff and eliminating some existing weak spots.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    [ QUOTE ]
    BlindedByTheLite said:
    wow, alotta great ideas!

    i'll reccomend a couple flashlights tho.

    #1. Underwater Kinetics 4AA eLED
    - this light uses a luxeon, four AA batteries, and has 11 hours of regulated, near-peak brightness b4 it starts to dim. and then it will still give you hours of diminishing light. it's also pocketable.

    #2. Elektrolumens Blaster 3
    - this light uses a 3Watt luxeon, three D batteries and gives you 12 hours of bright light b4 its dimming becomes apparent. and then you'll still get weeks of diminishing light.. the light also is able to stand on end, so you can point it towards the ceiling and light an entire room with it.

    since both lights use luxeons, so you don't have to worry about replacing bulbs. you'll only have to worry about getting AA batteries for the UK eLED and D batteries for the Blaster 3. and that shouldn't be too often.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I think that the blaster can also be used in, "candle-mode" as well.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    I strongly second Tweek's suggestion. I have purchased 6-8 of these folding lanterns and given them to family members for their homes. The last batch I purchased at Home Depot for $12.95 each. These lights are nicely designed and since the fold they are quite compact. They light output is more than enough for power outages lasting several days.

    While nearly everyone can function minimally for several hours using tiny lights, you get emotionally and mentally tired of living at a minimal level after a few days. It makes alot of people feel they are living like a rat in a dark hole.

    GregR

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    [ QUOTE ]
    Emilion said:

    I need something big that runs on 3-4 C/D cells and can stand on end, for each living room. A flood light is prefered. I don't care about the material of the body but of cos it should not break or fail if I drop it. I don't want any rechargeable lights, feel helpless holding such thing when it run out of juice during black-outs......



    [/ QUOTE ]

    You would seem to be the perfect candidate for the following: 12-LED lantern

    4 "D" cells

    360 degree flood

    Variable output..can tradeoff runtime and brightness (should note that a CPF member did some measurements after receving this and found that you could get 85% of maximum brightness for 50% of maximum power...he estimated run time at 100 hours at this setting)

    Sturdy, well built.

    Relatively inexpensive at Apprx. $35.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    [ QUOTE ]
    DougNel said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    Emilion said:

    I need something big that runs on 3-4 C/D cells and can stand on end, for each living room. A flood light is prefered. I don't care about the material of the body but of cos it should not break or fail if I drop it. I don't want any rechargeable lights, feel helpless holding such thing when it run out of juice during black-outs......



    [/ QUOTE ]

    You would seem to be the perfect candidate for the following: 12-LED lantern

    4 "D" cells

    360 degree flood

    Variable output..can tradeoff runtime and brightness (should note that a CPF member did some measurements after receving this and found that you could get 85% of maximum brightness for 50% of maximum power...he estimated run time at 100 hours at this setting)

    Sturdy, well built.

    Relatively inexpensive at Apprx. $35.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Looks good, I'll go today and see if I could get one locally.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    Here's what I have on hand for long term power outages. A Maglite 4-D modded with a 20 LED bulb in place of the bulb and reflector. These LED conversions are available on Ebay for around $40. Just for the heck of it, I ran it till the batteries were almost completely dead. It lasted for just over 3 weeks. (At that point I could still read with it). It was plenty bright for a few days. This puts out a nice flood of light, and can be stuffed between the cushions of the couch aimed up towards the ceiling. It's now my main power outage light. As others have stated, an LED headlight would be a very hany light to have. I have the Princeton Tec Aurora and like it very much. 3 brightness settings, 2 flash modes, and runs on 3-AAA's. Not sure about the runtime, but I think it would be pretty good, especially on a low setting.

    By the way, just out of curiosity, why does the power go out so much there? Is the power grid unreliable, or do they have rolling blackouts or something?

  29. #29

    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    The Energizer folding fluorescent lantern is the best area light solution that I've found. Several of them performed very well in the recent, disappointingly short blackout.

    ENERGIZER FOLDING FLUORESCENT LANTERN - $18.00 AT REI

    These cleverly designed, long-burning 4xD lanterns (about 35-40hrs on one tube) are what I use now in preference to the big 8xD units. They fold to only 7.5" x 4" x 2.5" and give a lot more light than the 12x LED units.When fully vertically extended they can hold a plain white shade and double as a somewhat dim but NTL excellent table lamp.



    Brightnorm

  30. #30

    Default Re: Advice on lights for \"black-out\"

    [ QUOTE ]
    Roy said:
    It's big, it's ugly, it uses 3xD cells, and runs forever! ...

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Roy,

    I cut the tail lanyard holder off mine and filed the end flush. Now it stands on end and reflects off the ceiling. As you say, it runs forever and the great thing is it takes up virtually no space at all.

    Brightnorm

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