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  1. #1
    Senior Member Fleetdog's Avatar
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    Barebones Flashlight Setup

    I've been commuting by bike all summer and I'm not looking to give it up when the days get shorter so I'm going to need some lighting. I'm a total newb when it comes to fancy flashlights so I get really lost in the monster threads comparing the different models. It seems clear that if you're OK with spending $100 on your headlights that a pair of Fenix will do you well. Unfortunately, my budget is not that high at the moment.

    My normal commute is 4 miles each way mostly on suburban streets (street lights but many partially obstructed by trees). Occasionally I go 6 miles on mostly unlit streets so if the setup can handle that too it would be a plus. Either way, all riding will be street or MUP so no need for the amount of light MTB would require.

    So assuming I would spend $60 on lights (not including mounts since lock blocks appear to be the clear winners) and that I don't care a bit about having mode choices aside from on and off, what should I be looking at? I would think 2 $20 range single mode 2xAA lights would be a better choice purely for lighting up the street to ride than a single Fenix but among the lights that meet that description I don't know how to tell what would be better than anything else. (note that I'm not really opposed to additional modes, just not willing to pay for them)

    Any tips on what to look for? CREE? Q5? Most of these don't seem to list lumen ratings. If they did it would be much easier.

  2. #2
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    See the "best headlight for under $50" thread.

    I am in pretty much the same boat, just bought an UltraFire flashlight from dealextreme. Seems to be the best light for less than $25. If I like it I will get a second one, or if I have some extra $$ I would pick up a Fenix.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Fleetdog's Avatar
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    I did look through that thread but I got pretty lost in all the arguments about different battery types and whatnot. Since I'm pretty sure I want to stick with AA (at least to start) and I don't care about extra modes, I thought that made my question a bit easier to answer. From what I can tell, this one looks like a good fit Romisen RC-N3 Q5 but I'm not sure if there is more bang for the buck out there.

  4. #4
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleetdog View Post
    I did look through that thread but I got pretty lost in all the arguments about different battery types and whatnot. Since I'm pretty sure I want to stick with AA (at least to start) and I don't care about extra modes, I thought that made my question a bit easier to answer. From what I can tell, this one looks like a good fit Romisen RC-N3 Q5 but I'm not sure if there is more bang for the buck out there.
    This one from deal extreme looks like the same thing for a little less:

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.10727

    I use 3 q5's. 2 would do ok. You should get 200-225 lumens from each. Most of the deal extreme listings show lumens, if you want to compare. I like the AA batteries. You can get them everywhere + cheap, easy, dependable. 2 lights from DX, charger and batteries from Wal-mart = about $65.

  5. #5
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
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    Brian, which batteries/charger are you using? There is too much techie talk about batteries, I would appreciate some simple suggestions!

  6. #6
    Slowpoach
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    Re batteries - get ones with a high mAH rating. I've been fine with 2450 mAH NiMH bought from the supermarket (either Duracell or Energiser, I forget which; I think Energiser.) but some people here seem to have problems with the Energiser brand after a while.

    So simple and available = highest-capacity Duracell NiMH rechargeables you can find. 2400-2500 mAH is readily available.

  7. #7
    The Fenix Shillboy varuscelli's Avatar
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    On the Duracell versus Energizer, I've had bad overall experiences with the Energizers and at one time had 20-something of them. Too many of them went bad or lost ability to hold a good charge too early. They've performed very inconsistently for me.

    The Duracell 2650 mAH NiMH batteries are my favorites as off-the-shelf (that is, available at retail stores and not requiring internet ordering). Those are the ones that Cave means, I'm pretty sure. But, they tend to be very expensive if you don't find them on sale. They can run as high as $13 for four of them retail priced. But, over the internet, you can usually find eight packs for about $19 (check with Amazon.com).

    My personal favorites over the internet are PowerEx from Thomas Distributing (www.thomas-distributing.com/). Expensive, but worth it for the great performance.

    On chargers, I advise not to get a cheap one. They tend to charge batteries in such a way as to shorten the battery life span. Spend more on a good charger and get more life out of the batteries. Good chargers more than pay for themselves.

    The La Crosse BC-900 is a good one. For a great deal at Thomas-Distributing on that charger including a bunch of batteries, check this: La Crosse BC-900 at Thomas Distributing. Use that EXACT link and don't just search for the charger on the site or you might end up with one that does not include the eight Eneloops. This is a fantastic deal via that link (with eight Eneloop AA, four La Crosse AA, and four La Crosse AAA batteries accompanying a really good charger) and I highly recommend it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleetdog View Post
    I did look through that thread but I got pretty lost in all the arguments about different battery types and whatnot. Since I'm pretty sure I want to stick with AA (at least to start) and I don't care about extra modes, I thought that made my question a bit easier to answer. From what I can tell, this one looks like a good fit Romisen RC-N3 Q5 but I'm not sure if there is more bang for the buck out there.
    That looks like a safe bet. I have the non-updated version and it's plenty bright- also, it's worth noting that the built-in clip is very useful.

    (I have the updated version you linked to on the way, however, and I cant wait for it to arrive. Yay, more light!)

    Anyway, I very simply clipped it to my helmet visor and added a rubber band for security.





    My cheap, old 2200mAh NiMH batteries last for a couple hours. I keep 3 sets charged to be safe, but I dont ride for more than 2 hours at a time at night so I havent had to use my backup sets.

  9. #9
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by datlas View Post
    Brian, which batteries/charger are you using? There is too much techie talk about batteries, I would appreciate some simple suggestions!
    I use energizer 2500 Mah w/ quick charger, from Lowe's. I like the 15 minute charge. I can charge at work and run them down again at night if it rains. I have had no problems, but only using for a few months.

    The whole set-up is cheap + easy to use, and quickly replaced. If I end up needing new batteries in a year, no big deal($20 for 8); worth it for the convenience, I think. I could not dispute if other people say they had issues over time. If they do krahp out early, I might try the duracells next time.

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