2015-11-18 Flashlights Continued

After the 2015-10-26 blog, I searched for some other websites selling small flashlights and ended up at dxsoul.com, which is a part of Deal Extreme, DX.com.  I also found some reviews of other, cheaper flashlights, two of which were the Brinyte and the Tank007.

On dx.com I found and ordered the the package called ‘Mini flashlight’, SKU 32945 at DX.com.  This package contained a flashlight labeled Brynite PD03A and it was colored red. On the outside this looks almost identical to the Fenix LD01, which is a very good flashlight. The price was cheaper, $16.75 US. It has 5 modes: Low, Medium, High, Fast Flash, and SOS in Morse Code. The reflector is smooth (not orange peel) so the beam pattern is tight.

Oddly, the blister package had a blister for a AAA cell, but it was empty. I’ve been to the post office recently and I’ve seen a sign that you’re not allowed to ship lithium batteries in the mail. But generally, the flashlights come with an alkaline battery and I don’t believe there are any restrictions on shipping those. They may have used a generic package since there was nothing in the description that a battery was included. The specifications say that this will also take a 10440 size lithium rechargeable battery, which should last longer than an alkaline cell.

I also found the Tank007 flashlights. When I have searched for certain lights, I have seen reviews of some lights, sometimes on a forum called Budget Light Forum. These reviews are much more reliable than the ‘5 star’ reviews on Amazon, eBay, etc. which in my opinion are often distorted by fake 5 star reviews. This problem has recently been brought to light by the media and consumer advocates. If a product has a low price and ‘great’ reviews, it is probably not as good as the reviews say it is.

I have also seen some cheaper flashlights on DX.com; I call them “low end” because they may cost only $4 to $6, but they are made cheaply and don’t have the quality and reliability of the name brand lights. I have found that they often get loose and the light becomes intermittent, or they don’t work after being dropped. I avoid buying them, but I may buy one to see how well they are made.

A few years ago I bought some flashlights (may have been from Deal Extreme) which used CR123 or RCR123 cells. I got some cheap CR123 cells and RCR123 rechargeable cells at the same time. I used up the CR123s and then used the rechargeables, but they didn’t last long. The cost of both the CR and RCR123 cells online were high, and at local stores the CR123 cells were ridiculously expensive, if you could find one. So I quit using those lights.

I have used the NiMH rechargeables for a long time, but in flashlights that are occasionally used, I’ve found that when I used them, the NiMH cells have lost most of their charge and don’t last long. I had some Rayovac hybrid NiMH cells, and they lasted somewhat longer. Recently I talked to a guy at our computer club and he said he bought some Eneloop NiMH rechargeables and left them sitting for 6 months, and when he tested them they still had 80% of their charge. He recommended them, so I recently bought a package. They are not cheap, about $3 to $4 each depending on quantity. Sanyo was the original manufacturer, but they sold this business to Panasonic, so if you buy Sanyo, it might be new old stock. If you decide to buy some, it’s best to read the information on them because there are different types, capacities and versions.

I bought some of the BK3MCC and BK4MCC cells. So far, these Eneloop cells are holding up well. In the past I have had alkaline cells get a few years old and leak juice all over inside the flashlights, and soon after the aluminum corrodes and the light is ruined. I have had better results with the NiMH cells, which seldom leak. But as I’ve said, they don’t stay charged. With the Eneloops, I may have both problems solved. But it may take a few years of actual use to find out.

While I was on Deal Extreme I saw something interesting. They sell a flashlight ‘head’ that puts out 800 lumens – that’s bright! This head has a ‘510’ screw on connector that fits onto an e-cigarette battery. So I ordered it and a week or so later when it arrived I got online and looked for a battery. I found these come in all sorts of different sizes and capacities. Being new to this technology, I also didn’t know that these batteries have quirks for e-cigs built into them. I finally decided to order the Tesla T2 mod, which is about 4000 mAH. It came from a local shop in 2 days. The Tesla does not come with a USB charger or cable, so I had to use a spare one I had.

The Tesla powers the very bright 800 lumen head adequately. However there were some gotchas that were built into the Tesla. One is that the timer times out after 10 seconds, which makes sense if you’re vaping, but not if you’re using it for a flashlight. Another is that Tesla tried to do too many things with a single pushbutton switch and red and blue LEDs. Without the instruction manual, most people would be unable to use the Tesla, because almost no one would be able to guess that it takes FIVE rapid presses of the button to turn it on. The same issue goes for the other modes, and the instructions are not very clear about them. I’m going to take a photo of the itty bitty manual so that I still have something if the manual gets misplaced. I didn’t see any web site in the instructions.

A few days after I bought the head, the e-cigarette became a major story in the news. Very recently there have been multiple lawsuits filed in court by people seriously injured by exploding e-cigarettes. The battery is usually what explodes, with some people receiving serious facial injuries. If I had known about this before, I would not have bought the flashlight head. But several people have told me that the light is extremely bright. I pointed it down the street and they said it was like a headlight on a car. 800 lumens is about what a 60 watt incandescent light, or a 10 watt LED light puts out. But bulbs put out the light in all directions; this head has a fairly wide beam but it’s pointed in one direction. I accidentally looked right at it and I had a big spot in my eyes for at least a minute!

3 Responses

  1. Ruud F. de Graaf says:

    I can remember what a flashlight with 800 lumens meant back in 2005. Nowadays (2017) we are talking about 2800 (real) Lumen flashlights with a dedicated Nitecore NI18650D battery! Now you can start a fire with such a flashlight at close range!

  2. Ruud F. de Graaf says:

    Sorry, meant back in 2015 of course.

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