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MtnMan
08-30-2009, 07:41 PM
One handy and important accessory I've insisted on carrying in my backpack for many years has been a flashlight. For the past several years, I've been using nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable batteries (NiMHs) in flashlights. NiMHs are great, because you do not have to worry about having to constantly buy new batteries to replace dying ones. I have a charger, so I just take the drained NiMHs and recharge them. No waste, no fuss, no rush to buy more batteries all the time.

One weakness is that not all NiMHs are equally reliable. Some wear out and won't hold a charge. When I first started buying NiMHs in 2002, I bought AA-sized batieries for digital cameras and flashlights branded from Radio Shack and Rayovac. I subsequently bought more batteries for more devices from Thomas Distributing (http://www.thomasdistributing.com) under the Powerex label, as well as more store-bought batteries under the Energizer label. To this day, I find the Rayovacs and Energizers to be the most reliable, although the Powerexs are supposed to hold the most charge.

Recently, I was given a gift: a new LED flashlight. It's a compact little cylinder, just a couple inches long. It holds three AAAs. It is made in Red China, of course. (Ugh.) I have a couple of questions:

Does anyone know of any USA-made high-quality flashlights and/or flashlight-lanterns?

Are any of these USA-made lights using LEDs to conserve energy?

Where do you buy your AA and AAA rechargable batteries? What brand do you use?

residue
08-30-2009, 09:28 PM
One handy and important accessory I've insisted on carrying in my backpack for many years has been a flashlight. For the past several years, I've been using nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable batteries (NiMHs) in flashlights. NiMHs are great, because you do not have to worry about having to constantly buy new batteries to replace dying ones. I have a charger, so I just take the drained NiMHs and recharge them. No waste, no fuss, no rush to buy more batteries all the time.

One weakness is that not all NiMHs are equally reliable. Some wear out and won't hold a charge. When I first started buying NiMHs in 2002, I bought AA-sized batieries for digital cameras and flashlights branded from Radio Shack and Rayovac. I subsequently bought more batteries for more devices from Thomas Distributing (http://www.thomasdistributing.com) under the Powerex label, as well as more store-bought batteries under the Energizer label. To this day, I find the Rayovacs and Energizers to be the most reliable, although the Powerexs are supposed to hold the most charge.

Recently, I was given a gift: a new LED flashlight. It's a compact little cylinder, just a couple inches long. It holds three AAAs. It is made in Red China, of course. (Ugh.) I have a couple of questions:

Does anyone know of any USA-made high-quality flashlights and/or flashlight-lanterns?

Are any of these USA-made lights using LEDs to conserve energy?

Where do you buy your AA and AAA rechargable batteries? What brand do you use?
try lithiums if you want a battery that can hold a charge and withstand temperature extremes.

there are plenty of led options these days to fit any budget. check out candlepowerforums if you need a new and expensive hobby.

surefires are great at the high end and fenix at the low end. there are also some amazing custom lights available but they're not for those with a light wallet.

BPritchard
08-31-2009, 07:37 AM
For batteries I use Sanyo eneloops. (http://www.thomasdistributing.com/shop/sanyo-eneloop-aa-2000-mah-4-battery-pack-brultra-low-discharge-nimhbr1-free-4-cell-battery-case-p-287.html?SP_id=50&osCsid=a98rm8a91donrsllit8gi3gna7) AA size for my camera and AAA size for noise reduction headphones.

I also use a LaCrosse LC-BC-900 - Battery charger. (http://www.thomasdistributing.com/shop/la-crosse-bc900-battery-charger-w-lcd-displaybrincludes-8-sanyo-eneloop-batteriesbrdeluxe-travel-bag-accessory-kit-br-p-1015.html?SP_id=67&osCsid=a98rm8a91donrsllit8gi3gna7)

maverick
08-31-2009, 07:49 AM
For batteries I use Sanyo eneloops. (http://www.thomasdistributing.com/shop/sanyo-eneloop-aa-2000-mah-4-battery-pack-brultra-low-discharge-nimhbr1-free-4-cell-battery-case-p-287.html?SP_id=50&osCsid=a98rm8a91donrsllit8gi3gna7) AA size for my camera and AAA size for noise reduction headphones.

I also use a LaCrosse LC-BC-900 - Battery charger. (http://www.thomasdistributing.com/shop/la-crosse-bc900-battery-charger-w-lcd-displaybrincludes-8-sanyo-eneloop-batteriesbrdeluxe-travel-bag-accessory-kit-br-p-1015.html?SP_id=67&osCsid=a98rm8a91donrsllit8gi3gna7)

i had picked up some eneloops for use in my flash, and they last a really long time between charges.

yeti
08-31-2009, 08:50 AM
I also use Eneloops in various electronics, particularly in ones that will be used intermittently. I have them in the (Princeton Tec Aurora) headlamp we use for backpacking, for example. They hold a charge between our trips (i.e. a couple of months).

savoyard
08-31-2009, 09:45 AM
"One handy and important accessory I've insisted on carrying in my backpack for many years has been a flashlight. For the past several years, I've been using nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable batteries (NiMHs) in flashlights."

Be aware that NiMHs do self-discharge at the rate of .5 - 1% per day when unused.

They are fine in any device which gets used often and periodically has its batteries discharged/recharged (like my clip on book light or the kids' toys).

But for that flashlight in my car's tool kit which might get used only once in two years, I stick with alkalines, which hold their charge far longer.

backpack
08-31-2009, 07:14 PM
I got the Guardian Dual Function Light from Tom Bihn a couple of years ago.

I could not imagine living without it, I bought it without lanyard because I have my own with is a loop lanyard that can be warn around the neck.

The GDG Light is clipped to my lanyard which is slipped into a C clip secured to an O-ring.

Most of my Tom Bihn purchase get a quiet time at home when I enjoy them in their new/out of the box state complete with original Tom Bihn tags.

Not so for the Guardian Light, I have clipped it the way I describe above, in my main bag, the day I got it.


Sometime after I got it, our utility company decided to play "let's have an outage just for the fun of it". It got so bad we had to buy a UPC unit for our desktop.

Our place has wires and power strips from the one corner of a room to the others because each room has only one always powered outlet necessary for computers.

So when there is the light goes off and it's dark, I am at risk of tripping. This is where the Guardian Light comes in, very handy,
strong, always in my main bag, in the same place.

It is great if the night surprise us on the little trail nearby.

I also use it as a book reading light when I don't want to disrupt my bedmate but really really want to read a great book or I have heartburn and need to go around without turning on the main lights.



Guardian Dual Function Light
http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/ACC/GDF-LIGHT

MtnMan
09-12-2009, 04:33 PM
Do the Sanyo Eneloops require a special charger, or are the typical Powerex battery chargers at Thomas Distributing able to handle charging them?

maverick
09-13-2009, 03:50 AM
Do the Sanyo Eneloops require a special charger, or are the typical Powerex battery chargers at Thomas Distributing able to handle charging them?

i'm not sure how they work with other chargers. my eneloops came with a charger and work great with it.

residue
09-13-2009, 07:26 AM
see faq #13
http://www.eneloop.info/home/faq.html

the answer seems to be yes with a disclaimer.

Zephyrnoid
09-14-2009, 09:19 PM
Do the Sanyo Eneloops require a special charger, or are the typical Powerex battery chargers at Thomas Distributing able to handle charging them?

They are spec'd to handle Enloops and I do it all the time and here's a pic of my charger. Thomas Distributing is top notch BTW..
http://www.gearninja.com/Images/PwrTrp_1.jpg

MtnMan
11-19-2009, 11:23 AM
Looks the same as my charger.

savoyard
11-25-2009, 11:15 AM
is a standard Mini Maglite 2xAA converted to LED's with a conversion kit bought at cyberguys.com. I have three.

I use Eveready NIMH's bought at the big box store and a LaCrosse charger.

Chromogen
11-25-2009, 06:55 PM
"Does anyone know of any USA-made high-quality flashlights and/or flashlight-lanterns?
Are any of these USA-made lights using LEDs to conserve energy?"

I find the Arc-AAA LED flashlight very useful. Extraordinarily bright, yet quite small and lightweight, and nearly indestructible. Made in the USA. www.arcflashlight.com/arc-aaa.shtml

moriond
03-24-2010, 12:38 PM
Hi,

I thought this 4Sevens LED light might be of interest, although it doesn't match the OP's requirement for a USA-made light. Doug Dyment recently updated the Tool's page (http://www.onebag.com/packing-list-tools.html) of his OneBag.com site for his recommended travel lights. Of the Quark MiNi AA (http://www.4sevens.com/product_info.php?cPath=297_355&products_id=2044), he states:


for the go-light aficionado, I consider it the most perfect travel flashlight that has yet been produced.

The Quark MiNi series debuted before Christmas, with small LED lights using AA and CR123 batteries (there's also a MiNi 123). Unboxing pictures of the Quark MiNi AA may be viewed at the survivaltoday site (http://survivaltoday.net/2010/03/18/4sevens-quark-mini-aa-led-flashlight-unboxing/). 4Sevens is in Atlanta, Georgia, but their Quark lights are made in China. More details about the light may be found by following the link to the tools page of the OneBag site.

moriond

mboytim
03-25-2010, 09:47 AM
Another option for a small LED flashlight is the Twist light from Brookstone or the Eco Twist from campingsurvival.com. I have the Twist as an emergency light for my car as I always find that when I need one, inevitably the batteries in are dead. It puts out a decent amount of light for about 5 minutes with 30 seconds of twisting. I am not sure if either is made in the US.

bltkmt
03-25-2010, 09:51 AM
Hi,

I thought this 4Sevens LED light might be of interest, although it doesn't match the OP's requirement for a USA-made light. Doug Dyment recently updated the Tool's page (http://www.onebag.com/packing-list-tools.html) of his OneBag.com site for his recommended travel lights. Of the Quark MiNi AA (http://www.4sevens.com/product_info.php?cPath=297_355&products_id=2044), he states:

The Quark MiNi series debuted before Christmas, with small LED lights using AA and CR123 batteries (there's also a MiNi 123). Unboxing pictures of the Quark MiNi AA may be viewed at the survivaltoday site (http://survivaltoday.net/2010/03/18/4sevens-quark-mini-aa-led-flashlight-unboxing/). 4Sevens is in Atlanta, Georgia, but their Quark lights are made in China. More details about the light may be found by following the link to the tools page of the OneBag site.

moriond

I have a few of the 4Sevens lights and love them. Good quality at a fair price.

MtnMan
03-28-2010, 01:21 PM
Here's another wrinkle to throw into our living room rug!

NEWS FLASH!

I learned a few weeks ago from the Daily Giz Wiz (http://twit.tv/DGW) (techno-geek podcast from Dick Bartolo and Leo Laporte, check out edition #1,021 from 7 Feb. 2010 (http://twit.tv/dgw1021)) that a new battery technology has just arrived on the market. It's called NiZn: Nickel Zinc, and it's from a company called Powergenix (http://www.powergenix.com/).


These new PowerGenix NiZn cells currently come in AA size only (AAA's on the way) and they require a special charger. These NiZn's are supposed to surpass non-rechargable alkaline batteries in their charge capacity and they are supposed to hold a charge better than any NiCad or NiMH cells on the market. (These NiZn's put out 1.6 volts, as opposed to NiCad and NiMH's, which put out only 1.2.)

This could make flashlights, digital cameras, recorders, wall clocks and other battery-powered devices more compatible than ever with rechargeable battery technology.

According to Bartolo and Laporte, you can get a deal on these batteries if you shop on Amazon.

MtnMan
04-06-2010, 07:00 PM
Update: I recently purchased, received and started using my new NiZn batteries and charger.

My first challenge for these batteries was a Canon PowerShot A720 IS digital camera, a camera that eats batteries for breakfast. Thus far, I am impressed with how a pair of these PowerGenix batteries work in the A720 IS. Normally, this camera would quickly drain either Alkalines or ordinary rechargeables. Not so far with the PowerGenix batteries.

I'm also trying the PowerGenix batteries in some old incandescent flashlights. Not enough experience with them yet to report.

At this point, PowerGenix only offers the NiZn batteries in "AA" size. "AAA" size batteries are supposed to be released for sale later this year.

FYI, I bought my PowerGenix batteries and chargers from Accessory Genie via Amazon.

ex machina
04-07-2010, 09:06 PM
This is very interesting, MtnMan. Tnx for posting this info. :)

MtnMan
04-11-2010, 05:11 PM
So far, the only device that has not taken to using NiZn batteries is my Kensington PilotMouse Mini Bluetooth. I'm baffled by this. Everything else is running fine off these new batteries.

MtnMan
06-14-2010, 11:13 AM
Important Update:

It's been at least two months since I purchased NiZn batteries and chargers branded from PowerGenix through Amazon / Accessory Genie.

In that time, I have only had to recharge the batteries used in power-hungry digital cameras (Canon PowerShot A720 IS, Olympus Camedia C-3020Z, Canon PowerShot S2 IS ultra-zoom) on a couple of occasions. Amazing!

There is one caveat I've found: flashlights with traditional incandescent bulbs tend to burn out much more rapidly, especially if you install freshly charged NiZns. This has happened to three old flashlights so far. Probably the best bet is to use newer LED flashlights that are rated to handle high-power batteries.

LED lights I've seen tend to use AAA-sized batteries, as opposed to AA's. As of this moment, PowerGenix is not selling any AAA's to the public. I just received a message from PowerGenix today. They told me that AAA-sized NiZn's are expected be available to the public for sale sometime in August.

I haven't messed with the Kensington bluetooth mouse since my last report on it. I intend to do so soon.

That's all for now.

camry
07-10-2010, 02:28 AM
I like SureFire flashlights and I use SureFire G2 LED flashlight. The output is 120 Lumens, very bright and can temporarily blind your eyes if you look at it. You have to use two 123A Lithium batteries and all SureFire flashlights are made in USA. I bought my at LA Police Gear.

MtnMan
07-11-2010, 01:51 PM
Are they rechargeable?

camry
07-11-2010, 09:26 PM
Are they rechargeable?

No, but you can buy the rechargeable conversion kits and you can converts G2 into Ni-Cad rechargeable flashlight. But it cost $100. I bought my G2 LED at LA Police Gear and they gave me 8 free SureFire 123A Lithium battries and their battries have 10-year shelf life. So I don't think is worth it to buy the rechargeable conversion kits.

Here is the rechargeable conversion kits web site http://www.surefire.com/KR1-BK-Rechargeable-Conversion-Kit

MtnMan
11-28-2010, 09:47 PM
Update: PowerGenix has still not released any AAA-sized NiZn battery products. I sent an inquiry to them about it, but they did not respond. I have no idea what this means.

The NiZn batteries I purchased work as advertised.

Twitchy
11-29-2010, 03:28 AM
A quick note about the SureFire lights.... make sure you buy the LED version or get the LED conversion kit. The standard bulbs will run down a set of 2x123A batteries within an hour. The LEDs will be much easier on your batteries ( i think its something like 5 hours).

Also, given the cost of your Surefire I would recommend you only put in quality batteries. I had a metal 6P that exploded on me cos the batteries were substandard... I kid you not.

MtnMan
09-25-2011, 04:19 PM
UPDATE

My experience with Nickel-Zinc (NiZn) rechargeable batteries (from Powergenix) has officially become a disaster. Today, I attended a Civilian Conservation Corps statue dedication at the PA. Lumber Heritage Museum (http://www.lumbermuseum.org/) and wound up going through just about every AA battery in every device in my backpack just to get one camera working. It was exasperating. I kept coming up with either dead or dying batteries.

I bought a few dozen batteries and special NiZn chargers in the Spring of 2010, and now most of them are unreliable. I'm seriously considering a (costly) switch to Sanyo Eneloops. As I understand it, Eneloops (premium Nickel-Metal-Hydride-based batteries) are available in both AA and AAA sizes, are known for holding a charge for a very long time, and have a great reputation.

I use AA batteries for digital cameras (they eat batteries like you would not believe!), GPS receiver, flashlights, clocks, walkie-talkies, and a handheld audio recorder. I use AAA batteries for a wall-mounted caller ID unit, headband-mounted LED lights, and more walkie-talkies. I understand that Eneloops are available in both AA and AAA sizes and, as I said above, they supposedly have a good rep.

Can anyone comment on these?

AVService
09-25-2011, 04:28 PM
Mtn

I have been using Eneloops i my Canon Flashes for a while now and they are as good as claimed for me.
I bought 24 AA's and a Maha computerized charger to start with and they are great.
I have them numbered in groups of 4 and rubber banded together for easy tracking.
I have used them in cheap Point & Shoot cameras too for event work and they are reliable for me.

The best feature is that if you don't use them for a long time and them pick them back up they will have the same charge they had when you left them.
They really do.

I have not tried them in LED lights yet,can't really say why?
I find it a pain really I suppose to charge and track them for daily light use I guess.

Search at Fred Miranda and Photo on the Net and research about them thats what I did.

Ed

MtnMan
09-25-2011, 05:01 PM
Thanks for the quick reply!

Which Maha charger model do you use?

AVService
09-25-2011, 05:31 PM
MH-C9000 it only does 4 at a time but seemed to give greater control options for charging and conditioning.
I got them through Thomas and using Amazon found a good deal I think.

So far I have not been out shooting and had dead packs. I have shot with 4 strobes at a time sometimes which gives me 4 loaded strobes and 2 sets of spares.
I put the strobes in the air on stands in pairs and remote trigger them and it would be a pain if they die during an event.
The strobes slave from a controller on the camera so I don't know how much power they are always using but they will go for 400 or 500 shots a night fired from 2 different cameras without dying.

On a related note I have been using a Fenix E21 for a few months now and I really like it. Bright as hell even on low setting and well made too.
I just picked up a StreamLight P90 too which is like a mini Army style right angle LED job which I can clip onto things. I have it clipped into the Synapse all the time and it is great though it does use 123's I buy them through Alarm Distributors very cheaply.

I loves me some flashlights!

Ed

PM4HIRE
09-29-2011, 09:24 AM
Mtn, I believe we've had this discussion before,
but at the time I was pretty lame when it comes
to everyday carry or edc flashlights. Since then, I
discovered Fenix E01, Fenix E05, Preon 1 and 2
make great AAA flashlights, check them out on
GoingGear.com, edcforums, and candlelightforum.com.

jeffmac
09-29-2011, 10:47 AM
I am currently looking at a couple of LED Lenser flashlights (http://www.ledlenser.com/) for review and my initial impression is quite good. They are a German company that was recently bought by Leatherman Tools here in the states.

PM4HIRE
09-29-2011, 04:50 PM
JeffMac, there's a lot of hyper competition in LED flashlight
space today, checkout the forum Budgetlight.