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Addicted to the Lights

jhn.holgate

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Hello.  My name is John and I have a problem.  Well addiction really.  Sort of.  When I was a young boy, I loved torches.  They were shiny, they conquered the dark and kept the evil ones at bay.  You could shine the torch up to the sky and scale the beam of light.  Ooops, no, that was from a poem I wrote called Alberto the Dinosaur, but I won't go into that just now.  I've seen other children - usually boys - fascinated by torches in the supermarket.  'Daaad,  PLEASE!!!   I WANIT!!!'  I was like that.  I wanted just about every torch (flashlights in the US?) I ever saw.  Problem is, I still do.  I submit for your attention exhibit A:

Addicted to the lights.jpg

My staple camping lights for many years were the Petzl Zoom and the mini mag light.  Dependable and well loved torches.  There were a bunch of TeknaLights too, a few Pelicans all now gone to that great big light in the sky.  And let's not forget the quest to own the most powerful torch I could.  The 6D Maglight is still there on the right (although that tiny little thing next to it is actually a brighter and more versatile light - I kid you not).  I had the 8D cell King Pelican lantern too that chewed through sets of batteries and bulbs.  All made to look like pathetic candle power next to the average LED torch these days.

The advancement in LED technology is truly staggering.  Several years ago I bought a rechargeable light from the local electronic place - 150 Lumens and 3 brightness levels.  WOW!!  What the heck is a Lumen? I hear you ask.  1 candle power is equivalent to 12.57 Lumens.  You should learn that off by heart should you ever be on a quiz show.  And while we're talking of questions you may get asked on quiz shows, 'Suicide is Painless' is the actual title of the theme tune to M.A.S.H. - Don't say I never tell ya anything.

Were was I?  Oh, yeah - advancement.  The 6D Maglight only has something like 30 to 50 Lumens and dims rapidly.  Most LED lights usually have a circuit built in so you get the full, mind shredding 150 Lumens till the end.  Then they suddenly shut off.  Or did.  Manufacturers quickly realized that this was perhaps not the brightest idea they had and started adding things like flashing switches or pulsating light or switch into lower mode when the batteries start to fade.  Seriously, that tiny, weeny thing next to the big Maglight on the right puts out over 200 Lumens and laughs at the Maglight's dead corpse.  (figure of speech, the Maglight does still work).  The one with the red band around the lens puts out about 1000 Lumens and does spotlight duty for me most nights checking the lambs and looking out for foxes.  Easily bright enough to spotlight with.  The one with 2 red switches has about 5 different lighting levels, 3 flashing modes and runs off normal AA batteries.  A quick check online will show that a lot of companys now have torches with 3000 - 5000 lumen outputs.  That's a huge leap in a few short years.  It's not all about Lumens though - how big is the reflector, how far will it throw, is it a floody light or a thrower?

By now you're thinking, yep, he's addicted alright.  A truly lost cause.  I thought that too, but then I found the Candlepower forum and realized that my perceived addiction was in fact a grain of sand on a huge beach.  A lot of guys on the candlepower forum can tell you every specification of the light/output/color temperature etc etc that you could possibly imagine.

And yet, I still want more!!  I want a 3000 lumen torch.  Oh the POWER!!!!  And I don't have a decent UV torch.  And I need some red filters for my astronomy stuff.  (A few of those homemade looking things are, in fact, cobbled together with red led's and various resistors - the sum total of my electronics knowledge.

So there it is.  Addicted to lights.  And Kites.  I suppose there's a lot worse things I could be addicted to.

Must order that UV torch this week - it has 5 white brightness levels (400 Lumens white), a 3000mW UV led plus a set of tricolor Red/Blue/Green Leds.  How could you possibly say no to that?

a539decfaace43f18a219f770dcd4b5e.jpg



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It's not just boys - I have a 12 year old daughter who always wants a new torch whenever she sees one - Kmart today was the most recent! She is also obsessed with water-bottles!

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You're 100% responsible for the 3x Led Lenser P7's around here, one in each car and one in the house.  
I wouldn't mind trying out an X21 one night just to experience how bright they are.

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You're 100% responsible for the 3x Led Lenser P7's around here, one in each car and one in the house.  
I wouldn't mind trying out an X21 one night just to experience how bright they are.

613716064.jpg

3200 Lumens and 700m beam range for $698.95.  Hmmm....I think there's much better value to be had.

How 'bout 6510 Lumens for $298.95?  Only throws a beam to half the distance, but what a wall of light it would be :grin:

img_7646_new__31026.1423195439.1280.1280

Or if your after a long range spot, you could have this for $234.95 - 1700 Lumens with a reach of just over 900m

img_3509__11043.1385538263.1280.1280.jpg

Here's a note for all you flashaholics out there (yes, that's what the addicted are called).  Because torches are now operated by a series of presses/holds/clicks/rotating rings etc, it's not known as a 'switch' anymore but a User Interface or UI for short.

 

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Olight have just come out with this one - 810m throw, 1000 lumens for $129.  My current 'spotlight duty' light throws just under 400m, so the Olight should be a much better spotlight.  See, I'm bloody talking myself into this one now.  Geez.

m2x-34-front.jpg

This one (like most) can use either an 18650 Lithium Ion battery (rechargeable - but you need the right charger.  Or if you have a hobby charger, it will do too) or a pair of CR123 batteries.

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I nearly bought a torch from the States, a Surefire, simply because the description had "retina searing" in the description. It was somewhere in the region of 6000 lumen... But the exchange rate was WAY TO HIGH!!!

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I nearly bought a torch from the States, a Surefire, simply because the description had "retina searing" in the description. It was somewhere in the region of 6000 lumen... But the exchange rate was WAY TO HIGH!!!

I find either JPT australia (Joint Pacific Traders) or Ledtorchshop in Geelong to be very efficient to deal with.  I usually get stuff overnight from them.  "retina searing' is GOOD!!

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I find either JPT australia (Joint Pacific Traders) or Ledtorchshop in Geelong to be very efficient to deal with.  I usually get stuff overnight from them.  "retina searing' is GOOD!!

kite enabler AND torch enabler...! I'm beginning to like it round here. 

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Kathleen says I shouldn't read this thread, too late.:D

 

I like my torches as well.

Not on the scale as you John, but I do have one's more aimed for camping.

Just picked up my second little torch, one for home and one for the car. A simple little bright yellow dolphin. 

Runs on a single AA battery for 5 hours, 150 lumen, floats, and quite robust, perfect to chuck in the glove box.

Or give to 2 year olds, who take all of 30 seconds to find out that you can take the battery out by twisting the black end bit off.

Had to use sticky tape to stop him loosing the battery!

Great value at $7, or on a throw out pile at Wollies for $4.

 

Talking of batteries, what do people use?

I tend to use the Eneloops, but can't go past a packet of cheap NiMH.

So got some Coles, Chevron (Wollies group brand), and yet to try out some Ikea one's I picked up on the weekend.

Aldi have cheap ones as well.

All will be junk, unless you have a good charger, so got a nice Maha MH-C9000 to charge them up.

Does AA's and AAA's. And can be connected to to 12 volt power to charge them all up. Go solar for free light!:sunbespectacled:

 

Kathleen just said, do we need a Flashaholics section instead of SUP?

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Talking of batteries, what do people use?

I tend to use the Eneloops, but can't go past a packet of cheap NiMH.

So got some Coles, Chevron (Wollies group brand), and yet to try out some Ikea one's I picked up on the weekend.

Aldi have cheap ones as well.

All will be junk, unless you have a good charger, so got a nice Maha MH-C9000 to charge them up.

Ditto the charger :good:  I've had some Aldi rechargeables - they're crap.  I usually stick with Eneloops,  Although I've found these to be excellent and be pretty close to their specifications.  Hobbyking LSD NiMH Batts

Kathleen just said, do we need a Flashaholics section instead of SUP?

You know you're posting in it?

Not sure about surviving small children, but this is good for a laugh...

 

 

Edited by jhn.holgate

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The only batteries that stand the test of time in our fire radios are the Eneloop. We changed to them and haven't looked back. We ditch the supplied cells as they are pretty ordinary for the price the radios cost. (Over $1600 each for 5 watt multiband approved transceivers)  Eneloop also take the abuse of a constant trickle charge really well.

They also hold their charge when not being used much better than any of the others we tested.

Sanyo and Panasonic are not too bad but cost more and don't perform as good in the heat. (Usually on the dashboard of a fire appliance).

We purchase them in bulk from here.

http://www.batteriesdirect.com.au/shop/search/567/eneloop.html?search=eneloop&gclid=CjwKEAjwh6SsBRCYrKHF7J3NjicSJACUxAh7c5AolPjKEUupAURC1yX1kKk0XzfLeSvEppLrp2ok3BoCIRDw_wcB

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Now that I've taken delivery of the Nitecore Cu6 UV torch, it's very interesting seeing what fluoresces under UV light.  And if you're curious, I found a list of things on the web... Things that glow under a UV light  The little Olight M2X-UT that I also just had delivered  has got a brilliant little spot to it - I can easily light up the top of my hill several hundred yards away.  No problems seeing foxes at 300m.  Makes a great little spotlight.

And I just couldn't resist the TN30 Mini.  AT LAST I'll have a 3000 Lumen Light!!  MuwHAHAAAHHAAAA!!!

Might even get it by the weekend. :grin:

mini_tn30_new__29149.1420453037.1280.128

OK, that's my torch buying done for the next few years.  We'll wait for a couple generations more to pass (of LED lights) and when they're up to 10,000 lumens, I'll see what's available.

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Night buggying here we come!

 

Sun glasses optional? :blind:

The only problem with these sort of lights on the buggy, is you'll blind every other bugger!  But hell yes, if I can attach it....

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Do scorpions glow in the dark?

Scorpions do fluoresce in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet (‘black’) light. This is due to the presence of a mixture of complex sugars and waxes that act as waterproofing compounds in the exoskeleton.

Scorpion under ultraviolet (UV) light 

Scorpion under ultraviolet (UV) light. 
Photographer: Alan Henderson. Source: Minibeast Wildlife

BTW, we don't have any of the lethal scorpions in Australia.  If they sting you, it'll hurt like hell for a few hours but no-one's died in Aus from a Scorpion bite.  At least that we know of......

Edited by jhn.holgate

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Update:  my thoughts on my new arrivals.

The Mini TN30 is an excellent light - if you press and hold the switch while it's off, it goes into a 'moonlight' mode (very dim) which is excellent for not blinding yourself in the middle of the night when you want to see what the time is or go to the loo.  A short press and it comes onto the last mode used which will either be low, mid or high.  Press and hold while on and it will repeatedly cycle back to low - med - high.  take your finger off the button when you've got the level you want and it will remember it next time you switch it on.  The interface also has  little blue led in the middle so you can see the switch and it is suppose to go red when the batteries are getting low.  4 x 18650 batteries have a lot of capacity so I haven't actually run it down yet.  Medium brightness (which is 400ish lumens goes for 15 hours or so) is easily bright enough for most duties.  Clean the labels off a white glucosamine tablet plastic container and jam it on the top of the torch and you have an excellent lantern.  High is 1800 lumens and easily bright enough to drive the car with.  Double press the switch when on for Turbo which is 3000 lumens.  The TN30 has a really wide beam so it lights up a big area.

But being 4 x 18650 makes it pretty bulky in the hand so despite liking the interface a lot, it's a little awkward to hold.  And let's face it, the difference between 3000 lumens and 1000 lumens is ok but not earth shattering.  I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wasn't addicted to led torches.

At the other end of the spectrum is the little Olight M2X-UT.  This is quite a small compact torch with a biggish (60mm) head and deep reflector that runs on a single 18650 battery.  And man, can this throw a beam.  Technically, I can light up a wind turbine at 800m.....just, but practically that's a ridiculous distance.  I can certainly see stuff pretty well at 200 - 300m.  It certainly makes a damn good little spotlight and would be a great gun light.  It has 3 levels which you get to by alternatively tightening and loosening the head - a two handed operation I do not like.  So I leave it on high.  Let's face it, you don't buy a torch with a really focused intense spot to use on low.  It's good value for the money too.  If you want a brilliant little spotlight - this is excellent.

And lastly the Nitecore CU6 - Scorpion Detector!!!  This light IS a lot fun.  It has red, blue & green leds which I can't really think of a good use for, but the UV led is excellent and things can be very interesting under UV light.  And sometimes disgusting too!  It also has an excellent 5 level white led with a great 'moonlight' mode.  Level 3 is around 160 lumens and should last around 7 hours which is really all the light you need for a long time.  High is 440 lumens with a pretty nice beam too.  You switch it on with the tail switch, then you have two buttons towards the head which choose either the white or colored leds.  Pretty easy to use and a versatile and useful light.  My pick of the three.

So, that's my wrap up of the latest three lights to join the collection.  incoming is a red filter (for some astronomy map reading duties) and a white diffuser for turning a couple of my lights into lanterns.

I don't fear the night.  The night fears me. :grin:

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I've had one of these for a few years now https://www.ledtorchshop.com.au/spark-sd-6.html and it gets used just about every single night.  Not for long, granted, but I only recharge the battery once every 4 months or so.  A fully charged battery has always lasted any of my kiting trips.  I'm a big fan of the 18650 lithium batteries - they are the std battery of nearly all high powered led lights with 2 - 3 amp hours of capacity, lightweight and unaffected by cold.  Although there is one downside to some of these torches - when they do run out of battery, there's no warning.  They keep constant output until they stop.  A lot have some sort of warning flash or signal and some will drop to a 'moonlight' mode when they are low, but it's always worth checking out.

These guys are worth a look too: https://www.liteshop.com.au/head-torch  I've bought a few lights and bits and bobs from them with prompt service.

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On 7/2/2015 at 0:33 PM, jhn.holgate said:

We'll wait for a couple generations more to pass (of LED lights) and when they're up to 10,000 lumens, I'll see what's available.

They're getting close and fast!  Here's the latest light monster from Olight - the X7 Marauder at 9000 lumens...

olight_x7_led_torch_002.jpg

And a video review with some night shots at the end....

Not bloody cheap though....you'll need $269.95 to buy the torch and another $28.95 X 4 for the high drain batteries.  3000 lumens per LED..... it's getting very interesting to see what the limits are on LED brightness.  The X7 is roughly the same dimensions as my 3000 lumen light - which to be fair, rarely gets put on 3000 lumens, although I'll often run it on high if I wander out at night for a look around.  With the glucosamine 'lamp shade' it gets used every night as my lantern next to the bed.

More info here: liteshop.com

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Fast forward 18 months or so and we're now talking 25,000 lumens.  Beautiful huge wide flood light that just lights up everything.  Doesn't do the max 25K lumens for more than a minute and a good job too with all the heat it puts out at that.  But an incredibly useful beam at lower settings.  Plus a wall of red light, green light, blue light and UV light thrown in for good measure.  And here was me waiting for a 10,000 lumen torch - they surpassed that pretty quickly.  2 more years.....5 more years.....geez, what are they going to be making then?  The speed of advancement is staggering.

Here's a video review of the Acebeam X80 at 25K lumens and the X45 at 'only' 18K lumens.  Sadly, Marshall, who does such a good job on these reviews passed away a few months ago at age 37.  

 

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