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Is an EDC flashlight even necessary?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by D.B. Cooper, Aug 23, 2019.

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  1. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Alkaline batteries, inherent to their chemistry, give off corrosive gas as they age. This starts as soon as they leave the factory. Put them into an o-ring sealed, air and water tight tube (aka any decent quality flashlight body) and they gas will sooner or later eat through the battery casing. This then leads to the corrosive wet electrolyte leaking, followed by further corrosion and swelling of battery case, ultimately resulting in a ruined flashlight (or other device). So, I don't like giving AA / AAA lights to non- flashlight people. Yes, you could get a pack of lithium AA / AAA batteries, or NiMH batteries and charger, and explain why they shouldn't use alkalines. But most people will forget, ignore, or not believe you, in my experience. When that first lithium or NiMH dies, and they can't find the spares, then they'll put an alkaleak in the light, use it for whatever, forget about for a few weeks / months / years, and come back to a ruined flashlight. So, get them a light that can't take common AA/AAA alkalines. Integrated USB charging solves the problem of keeping it juiced.

    TL,DR: Alkalines will eventually leak and ruin the light. Remove the temptation and don't get them a light that can use commonly found alkaleak batteries. You can get lights with integrated charging for the same price or slightly more anyway.

    So, recommendations:

    Already mentioned Nightcore Tube. Built in lithium battery and micro USB charge port. Smaller than most car key fobs. Weighs about nothing, so great chance they'll actually carry it. Very simple two mode operation with equally simple push button UI. Cost about $10.

    Olight i1R. Built in lithium battery that's replaceable. Easy twist on for low, twist further for high UI. Nicer, because it has an anodized aluminum body. Still tiny, still light, still priced under $20.

    Thrunite T1. New light from an established company. Olight Baton killer with included 18350 battery and standard micro USB charge port built into the body of the light. Regularly $40, but currently $35 with a click to apply coupon at Amazon. Super useful firefly mode for preserving night vision and/or ultra-long run time for power outages. Magnetic base so you can tick to a car hood or fridge or whatever. Two way clip so you can stick it on your hat and have an improv headlamp. EDC size light that's bigger than the above, but still small enough to very easily carry in a pocket. UI is a light more involved, but it's not Anduril or Bistro. Anyone who uses a smart phone can use this light. Also has crazy bright turbo mode he can impress his friends with, so maybe he'll actually carry it.

    Rofis R1. Also $35 on Amazon. Take most of the above features, but sub in a slightly smaller 16340 battery and magnetic induction charging. Slightly longer than above, because the head can rotate and turn it into a right angle light. Has detents at the straight and 90 degree ends, but can sit anywhere in between. Comes with a headband so you can use it as a headlamp. With the head rotated you can also use the pocket clip to clip it to your shirt collar or pocket and use it hands free without a hat or the headband. Magnete removed from tail cap if you want to. If you're worried they'll lose the USB A to proprietary magnetic connnector charging cord, then for an extra $7 or so you can get your kid (or whomever you're giving it to) a Fenix or Olight or other reputable brand 16340 battery with micro USB charge port built into the battery. This light can also run on regular disposable CR123 lithium batteries. So, you can get your kid (or whoever) a few of those to go with it. Even if they leave it in their sock drawer, when the first power outage hits in their dorm room or apartment, they can use their phone to see to get to this real light. Since single use CR123 lithium batteries have 10+ year shelf life, they'll have batteries and a light that are much more likely to be working than the AA/AAA light put an alkaleak into. I think this is the most complete package, and it's still attainable for under $50 even with the add-ons I listed. ETA: With head rotated you can also use the pocket clip to clip the light to your shirt collar or pocket, and use it hands free without the need for a hat or the included headband.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  2. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Without light, we can't see anything in the dark and when flashlights that are as small as your thumb exist, I see no reason why a light can't be EDC'd.

    I have a Nitecore Tube, it costs $9 at Amazon and while it may only be 45 Lumens, it's bright enough to light up a small room. I will usually have it with me whenever I go anywhere, the only time I don't is when I can't find it.
     
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  3. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

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    Olight s1r. Keychain lights suck, and you are very limited till you get into pocket size. The benefit of a light is immense past a basic survival item. Going into a dark structure in the daylight, a light will be valuable. I just strobed a stray dog, got it to run off out 20 yards. I use my light in the garage, backyard, front yard, vehicle, everywhere. A gun, knife, multitool, lighter, wallet, and flashlight are all essential items to have.
     
  4. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    The problem I have with rechargeable Olights is that you have to use their proprietary batteries* and their proprietary magnetic charging cable to get in body charging. Yet, I still have an Olight S1R II Ti.

    Have you looked at the Rovyvon Aurora series? They've improved their UI on the newer models, and they have quite a high output turbo burst too. The Olight S1 Mini Baton (which comes with a standard 16340 battery with micro USB charge port on the battery) is very close to being a keychain sized light as well.

    Indeed. I gave a non-gear geek friend a Nitecore Tube for Christmas, and it lives on her key ring. July 4th weekend she told me that she uses it all the time to find things in her car, her pocketbook, her garage, and in the back of drawers at her desk at work. She said she's amazed at how much she uses that little dedicated flashlight.


    *The M2R is the only exception to the proprietary batteries.
     
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  5. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Here's a pic for size comparison. From left to right: S1R II Ti, S1 Mini, i3E, Eneloop Pro AAA battery, and RCR123A (16340) battery.

    IMG_20190826_005229.jpg
     
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  6. alfsauve

    alfsauve Member

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    Ugaarguy really hates alkaline batteries. Must have had a bad experience.

    However modern, quality batteries (and I'm a ProCell fan) come with a 5-10 year shelf life. Leakage problems have become much less of a concern than in the past. And if you left a rechargeable battery in a device for 5 years doubtful it would have a charge or that it would even take one.

    The thing about alkaline is their availability. Rechargeables are really nice, but what do you do when there's no time or place to recharge them? I like options. Being able to replace a spent rechargeable with an alkaline in a pinch is great. In-device charging or built-in-the-battery charging is great too, as you don't need a separate charger in the field.

    Just some thoughts.

    I have a few graduation gifts to buy next spring. Miss Kitty and I have usually given gift cards, now thanks to this thread I have a better idea.
     
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  7. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    Haven't we all had a bad experience with batteries? Who here hasn't turned on a device only to discover it won't work because there is battery acid and corrosion on everything inside of the device.

    I learned that lesson on Rayovac alkalines. Good batteries as far as performance, but don't leave them inside of anything.

    While we're talking batteries: someone mentioned the eneloop brand; are they that good? Imean that much better than the Energizer rechargeables I can buy at my local box store?
     
  8. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    Is a EDC flashlight necessary? It depends. How much do you enjoy needing a flashlight to find a flashlight? Personally, that gets old pretty fast for me, so I carry a Fenix rechargeable in my back pocket every day.
     
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  9. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Honestly, who hasn't had the evil things swell up and barf corrosive in their battery powered gizmos.

    I learned my lesson on alkalines several times (slow learner).
     
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  10. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep
     
  11. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I like my streamlight products and the micro stream in particular. It is small and uses common AAA batteries. A big plus is the "S" pocket clip that will clip from either end, which allows you to attach it to your hat bill.
    We work daylight to midnight during spring planting and fall harvest. I am never without it.

    Some of the lights with strobe feature and aggressive bezels are pretty good defensive weapons if needed.
     
  12. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep, I've had bad experience with alkaline, as most people have. And a couple times per month, someone new will find r/flashlight after they discovered that their current flashlight was ruined by the alkaleaks they left in it. This discovery usually occurs when they actually need the light.
    Beyond the leakage concerns, alkaline has very low energy density, and very low discharge rate capability. Put an alkaline under a moderate load, and you can watch the voltage drop by half. They're cheap, but they get depleted quickly. So now you're stuck taking them to an electronics recycler, or throwing away all those metal casings. It's a really outdated chemistry that only has low price and wide availability going for it.

    Yes, procells and other premium alkaline batteries have better casings and seals to resist failure somewhat longer. But they still have that wet, corrosive, off gassing electrolyte in the tube. They just delay the inevitable when someone neglects the device they're in.

    Which brings up a question for you. You're obviously willing to spend more to get a premium alkaline battery, and care enough about your devicesto do so. Why stop there? For your less frequently used devices, why not spend yet a little more to get single use Energizer lithium AA or AAA batteries that have 20 year shelf life, not voltage lag, and a dry chemistry that eliminates corrosive leakage concerns altogether? And, why not get a good set of low self discharge NiMH batteries and charger for your frequently used devices? Again, better in use performance, eliminates leakage concerns, still hold a charge for years, and save you money by costing only pennies worth of electricity to charge after the initial purchase.

    Lithium rechargeable might not, but those pesky Eneloops will. The standard white label hold 70% charge at 5 years, and they're good 2,000 charge cycles. The black label Pro versions have a little more capacity, but you sacrifice storage duration, and you take a big hit with only a 500 charge cycle rating. I do have some 5+ year old XTAR 18650 cells that can still run my Olight M2R in turbo mode, and that's a level of strain those batteries were never intended for. When I upgrade my charger to something with battery analysis capability I'll have to see how much capacity they actually have left.


    I have a handful of AA and AAA lights myself. The ones that get used really frequently get an Eneloop Pro. Moderate use gets a standard Eneloop, stored for emergency gets an Energizer lithium. I keep them around because in a worst case scenario I can use alkaline if I have no other option. Yes, I'm a flashlight nerd and I've overthought this. :D

    Therein lies the great conundrum of buying flashlights for people who aren't into flashlights: Do you get them something that takes widely available batteries knowing they may ruin it with an alkaline, or do you get them something with a lithium rechargeable that may not be charged in 3 or 4 years? o_O

    For me, it's get them a light that takes a 16340 with some form of integrated charging, which is also compatible with regular 3 volt CR123 lithium batteries. Then Give them a few of said CR123 batts with the light. If they throw the whole box a junk drawer and forget about it, the long shelf life CR123 cells will probably be there with in. If they actually use the light with any frequency, they'll probably keep the 16340 charged.

    Awesome. I'm glad you're finding some ideas. I hope I've been helpful, and not overly debating :uhoh:
     
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  13. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Well between 2008 and 2010 Panasonic incrementally bought out Sanyo in its entirety. Panasonic said they did this primarily to get Sanyo's "Green Tech" of solar panels and rechargeable batteries. The Eneloop brand and the underlying tech was a significant portion of Sanyo's rechargeable battery business. Panasonic is competing with emrging Chinese companies to supply the bulk cells that go into everything from laptop and power tool batteries, to hybrid and fully electric vehicle battery packs.

    Are the Energizers that bad? The batteries themselves are generally decent, but the bundled chargers aren't great. The problem with Energizer is that they don't own any NiMH battery production facilities, last I checked. They're sourcing them from who knows who in China. Panasonic owns their factories in Japan and China, and they own the underlying IP. I'd rather have Energizer NiMH than any alkaline, but Eneloops and a bundled Panasonic charger are easy enough to get from Amazon.
     
  14. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    Thanks.
    Thanks.

    I'm in the process of converting everything to rechargeables. I use Energizers in my classroom stuff (mouse/keyboard/remotes etc.) and I have some realllllly old Sony branded cells I'm using in headlamps and GPS for hunting. They must be at the end of their lifespan (minimum 15 years old at this point), so I" m looking to replace all of those. I forget the brand of charger I have but it's dual voltage/current, which I like because I can charge of my 12v port in my truck or in my side by side in the field. I'm also considering the goal zero kit with 7w solar panel.
     
  15. dh1633pm

    dh1633pm Member

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    What one man needs for a light can differ. I work in the IT field. Most places I work limit cell phone usage for security concerns. I also have to dress business casual. I was needing a small light for this type of work for a long time. So I got one of these with the lithium battery. It is about Streamlight 66608 250 Lumen Microstream USB Rechargeable Flashlight. Had a charging port on the side. It just a hair bigger than a pen, takes AAA or the lithium.

    In the truck I keep a large steamlight that will shine for miles. It has a low setting and a stand. Recharge with 110 outlet (have one in the truck) or lighter socket. I also have numerous other lights. Do I carry one all the time? Just the small Streamlight when I am in the field. But most of the time I am not too far from a light.
     
  16. Sarge7402

    Sarge7402 Member

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    Mine is a powertac E-5 . When I bought it I was a Building inspector and did a lot of vacant buildings. Light was a necessity. Today I'm in corrections and the strobe effect is a non lethal method of disrupting a hostile inmate
     
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  17. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Member

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    +1000 to Lithiums. I use Costo brand Alkaline when it doesn't matter (toys, remotes...) but Lithium for everything sensitive. For all the above. Temperature resistance, not leaking, and more usable life on voltage sensitive electronics.

    I have had good luck with (black) Amazon Basics rechargeables, and there are battery nerds who have investigated this, find they are likely made in the same factory as Eneloops, have the same performance. Remember: things like batteries are made in a tiny number of factories. Brand doesn't always tell much of the story, and people like Surefire do NOT have a battery factory.
     
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  18. JERRY

    JERRY Member

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    i'm a minimalist or at least I try to be. I use a flashlight/weapon light for work often enough but on my own time I haven't used a flashlight except to see what was in the back of my gun safe and that was with my cellphone light; I just haven't had the need in many years. if he doesn't mind the additional light then go ahead and get him another one. if the flash light on his cell phone is ample then leave it at that unless he starts dropping hints.
     
  19. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    Dangit. All this talk of flashlights makes me want to go buy a couple of nicer ones than I own.
     
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  20. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Member

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    Yes, yes, and more yes...

    Drop something behind the lazy boy? Under the table? Go down in the basement to take clothes out of the dryer, and the power goes out... Light up that idiot that won't stop talking three rows behind you in the movie theater... 1001 uses. If you'll notice the scratches on my light, you can tell it's been used many a time over the years... I bought a case (12 boxes of 12) batteries with it... they're all gone...

    Social flashlight problem #1 "Hey, do you have your flashlight with you?"

    vNXX4jE.jpg
     
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  21. Sulaco

    Sulaco Member

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    If I leave my house, a flashlight goes in my pocket. Along with a knife and a gun. I've carried flashlights almost as long as I've carried pocket knives. Most handy thing I have most of the time. I am a big fan of Streamlight, Fenix and Olight mostly. There are some other good brands also but those are the three I like. Good for the money.
     
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  22. MillCreek

    MillCreek Member

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  23. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    I've long used lithium 123's and while larger, having a reliable power source was a primary consideration. Have AA and AAA power lights too and those require a regular interval check to verify. For those lights I've converted to NiMH using Eneloops.

    Some do not require the EDC kit so knives, lights, etc if not in their work habits may opt to not carry them. One can go wild preparing for the zombie-nuclear end of the world scenario. Some may be fortunate to have a minimalist requirement setting. I comes across many that do not have real need for: light, knife, pen, etc. The phone is their primary daily use device. (Communication, camera, video and light.)

    One buddy carries a bottle opener. He says it is used with frequency not only for beverages but to pry open various things in the course of his work week. I haven't come into that scenario where I need a bottle opener. As of late, the power company has had a spattering of power outages. Used to have reliable up time but for whatever reason we'll have about 4-6 instances of the power going down for 2-30 minutes with a few at 2-3 hours. Those longer ones are typically related to some driver taking down a pole or similar distribution device killing the block.
     
  24. Eddie Booth

    Eddie Booth Member

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    I can promise you that you won't understand just how useful an edc flashlight is until you start carrying one. That being said, I use one daily in my work, and I would be lost without it. I started out with 1aaa lights, went to 2aaa, then single AA. I now edc a single 18650 light. The Olight S2r baton ii has been in my pocket for a while now, and I wouldn't be happy with anything less.
     
  25. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I may have lost my Olight mini baton. Downside of carrying a super compact light that's not on your keys- it's easy to forget to take it out of your pocket! :what:

    John
     
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