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  1. #1
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    Suggestions for AA 3 or 3 cell NiMh 200+ Lumen over 18650 Li-ion?

    I've been reading posts for a couple of days now, and am not seeing much for flashlight / headlights using NiMh AA cells. All my headlamps use AA's so I really want to stick with that format.

    What is the advantage of the 18650 cells?

    This will be my 1st foray into road bike (or any actually) night riding - the roads and paved trails are mostly unlit, with a nice variety of foxes and deer to avoid.

    Looking for suggestions, threads, ect. to help refine my choices. Seems that 200 lumen is the minimum recommended here for this type of ride.

    Also would really really like to keep cost down to $50 or less if possible.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by RoadTire; 03-10-12 at 05:34 PM. Reason: addendum cost limitation

  2. #2
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

  3. #3
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    18650 is like AA over dosing on steroid. It pack a lot more energy in a slightly larger package. This extra energy from 18650 allow for more ampacity deliver from the battery. Most 18650 can deliver 1.5 amp at 3.7 volt with ease. Better manufactor like the Panasonic cell easily handle over 2 amp load with less internal resistant than typical AA. That being said, the power from 18650 cell can allow flashlight manufactor to develope flashlight that is capable of producing 700+ lumens. Not only will you get more punch out of 18650 flashlight, but the battery is also rechargeable for many cycle. You will easily find fox and deer at a distant with most high power 18650 flashlight.

    The downside of 18650 cell is that it is not for everyone. The disadvantage is that 18650 cell cannot be mishandle like AA cell. You need to take some care and precaution with 18650 cell. For a starter, never charge these cell unattended at home. Do not abuse them like dropping them or crushing the cell. The battery can causes fire when these warning are ignore. These incident are few and rare but it does happen. Personally, I myself own many 18650 cell and charged them countless time without ever having one issue. Stick with buying quality cell like AW, Redilast, Callie and you will be fine. Many cheaper brand like *.fire is OK and most likely safe but does not perform as good.

    If you do venture into the world of 18650, you will find many flashlight that are rated over 200 lumens. Most peform at least 500 OTF when using the XML led. Being a newbie to 18650, you should stick to single cell 18650 flashlight. Do as much research with double 18650 cell flashlight before going that route. Shiningbeam has many flashlight using 18650 cell that are very good. Many are under the $50 price range, but that does not include the battery and charger. They also offer AA flashlight if you decide to stick with that route.

    It is hard to go back to the AA route once you step up to the 18650 flashlight path. The first thing you will say is "wow" this light is very bright when you turn on a light utilizing 18650 cell. For some of us, it becomes a flashlight hobby after crossing that 18650 path.......(I'm one of those who had that 18650 flashlight addiction)
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  4. #4
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    You get much longer run times and brighter lights with 18650 batteries. They are higher voltage than AA which gives you more light. They hold more energy which give you longer run times. You'll read lots of opinions here, but 200 lumens isn't much light. If you are going to ride at night a lot or for long rides I recommend 18650 and a $100 budget.

    Shiningbeam brand lights are excellent. I recommend a P-Rocket XM-L (850 lumens) on the bar and a XP-G S-mini for the helmet. The Xtar WPII charger is $20 on fleabay. 4 batts will run you $25. You'll have enough light to ride on the darkest MUP. I really like the helmet light for looking along the sides of the MUP where the critters are always hiding.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  5. #5
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    Thank you both, err, all three, for the suggestion for Shiningbeam.

    Can you tell me a little more of what to be aware of in a double 18650 cell flashlight? ("Being a newbie to 18650, you should stick to single cell 18650 flashlight. Do as much research with double 18650 cell flashlight before going that route.") btw: thanks for the caution. :-)
    Last edited by RoadTire; 03-10-12 at 07:00 PM. Reason: a1penguin replied as I wrote my resp. :-)

  6. #6
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadTired View Post
    Thank you both, err, all three, for the suggestion for Shiningbeam.

    Can you tell me a little more of what to be aware of in a double 18650 cell flashlight? ("Being a newbie to 18650, you should stick to single cell 18650 flashlight. Do as much research with double 18650 cell flashlight before going that route.") btw: thanks for the caution. :-)
    When two cells are in series and one of the two cell have a different state of charge, one cell can overheat causing heat buildup or gas comming out of the vent hole on the positive side of the cell. Since those cell are in an enclosed container in the body of the flashlight, this may lead to high pressure build up inside the body of the flashlight leading to an explosion of the housing. This is rare but has happen to some member at Candle power forum. Note: this effect is not limited to just 2cell 18650, but it also occurs in 2 cell CR123 batteries.

    It is important to periodically check the final charge voltage of the cell after fully charge. There can be a chance where one cell was charged to 4.2v while the second cell did not charge at all. If both of these unbalace state of charge cell were to be use together in a 2cell 18650 flashlight, unpleasant result may occur.

    Know how well your charger are working and learn how to use a digital volt meter and you should be alright.

    BTW one important note: when choosing 18650 cell, stay with the cell that are protected. These cell has a small PC board at the negative side of the battery to protect things like over charging, over discharge and shorts. Most cell are sold as protected cell.
    "Difference between a well dressed cyclist riding a two wheeled bicycle and a badly dressed cyclist riding a Recumbent is only a-tire"
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    Some people got their head so far up their butt such that the only thing they hear is muffle when trying to explain anything to them! I only wish they take it out sometimes to smell the roses.

  7. #7
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    The double 18650 lights are just too long for bike duty, IMHO. Bike flashlight photos show a older P7 light on the bike. They P7s are a bit smaller than the XM-L, but you get the idea of the approximate size. About 6" long, about 1.5" head diameter, 1" diameter body. That's for the bar. A light like that is too heavy for a helmet. I select helmet lights that are straight body, 1" diameter and 4" length. The S-Mini is actually smaller than almost all other lights I've seen. The "Lights under $50" thread has useful info in it, although some of it might be dated. No one buys P7s any more; XM-L is what people buy. It gives off a lot of light and the beam isn't too floody/wide (you want all those lumens you paid for lighting up the road where your bike is going to use). You also don't want a laser beam.

    Ah. I forgot about Magicshines. Those can be purchased for under $50. They are hit or miss with quality and they have battery packs. I don't want battery packs and wires, so I stick with the flashlights. You can find cheaper lights at the chinese web sites, but those can be hit or miss. Shiningbeam doesn't sell the worst/cheapest and I think he probably tests them before sending them out. I see very few people who complain they received a total dud. I've bought several lights and the $2.99 flat shipping is very reasonable.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  8. #8
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    Hey Colleen - thanks for the warning about multi-cell 18650 lights - over at CPF I just picked up on a light that exploded. I had no idea of the hazards.

  9. #9
    Senior Member rscamp's Avatar
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    It is the current delivery capability of secondary cells like the 18650 that allow them to power the brighter LEDs. Primary alkaline cells have very high energy density but very low power density.
    Rob

  10. #10
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    If I recall correctly, the break even point between Alkalines and NiMH (rechargeable AA's) is about 350ma; for a device that draws less than 350 milliamps (.35 amperes), a quality alkaline will last longer. Great for low-power (5mm) LED's and remote controls. For applications above 350ma, such as power LED flashlights, portable stereos, and the like, NiMH's will last longer. For Li-Ion cells like 18650's, this difference is even more pronounced. Some high-power XML flashlights, such as the Fenix TK21, have been known to overheat lithium primaries (CR123's) while happily taking 18650's. Most (reputable) 18650's are able to discharge at twice their rated A-h number. That is, a 2400mah battery can discharge safely at up to 5A (which can drive 2 or more XM-L lights to pretty high levels). The cheap 18650's sold on DX and similar websites of ill-repute are known to be refurbished laptop cells and other used products. You will likely not get good performance with those.
    Also, Li-Ions can have much longer service lives than rechargeable AA's when frequently recharged; that is, if you only run them down for an hour or two (such as on one commute) and recharge them that night, you can get the equivalent of thousands of cycles, while NiMH's wear out almost regardless of how much they are discharged. Recharge early, recharge often (or, get a dynamo for everyday lighting)

  11. #11
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    I guess I'm convinced the power/weight of LiOn LED flashlights are best for my use - I'm thinking not much more than a 2 hour ride on any night, so now I'm leaning to a (ballpark) 400 lumen light. Seems that will run a couple of hours on a single battery right? So I carry a spare along with my regular headlamp. I want a multi-use light and also don't really want a large dedicated 12 volt system either. Cost of multiple or really high powered lights seem a little prohibitive for me, so it looks like I can still stay in the 50-plus range for a light, 2 batts, charger, and mount.

    Does that sound about right?

    What lights are you folks using that give a floody with hotspot and anything around 300 - 400 lumens or 2 hr run time? Shiningbeam has lots to choose from.

  12. #12
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    I use a Klarus ST-20 ($40) since I tend to favor AA cells and wanted something waterproof

    have a look around here for light comparisons
    http://fonarik.com/test/indexen.php?...scene=1&mode=0

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK 45 View Post
    I use a Klarus ST-20 ($40) since I tend to favor AA cells and wanted something waterproof
    have a look around here for light comparisons
    http://fonarik.com/test/indexen.php?...scene=1&mode=0
    Thanks HK - I'll have a look!

  14. #14
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    If you ever get a XM-L T6 light you will never go back into the dark with the older LEDs.

  15. #15
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    ^^^ This. And then read the thread in the commuting forum about the guy who took his new bike out for his first ride after dark. He had a light, but still managed to hit a large pot hole at 20 mph. He came off the bike and now he's off the the LBS to have his wheels looked at.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    25 years ago I used a wonderlight - just imagine a very week 2aa maglite because that is what was available.. The fact that you can spend 40-50.00 and get a very bright light - 600+ lumens. There is no excuse for using an inferior light on the road.. Just ask yourself - Is my well being worth 50.00?

    I prefer being able to see what is down the road as opposed to just being seen by cars..

  17. #17
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    I own a few Romisen G2 lights, various generations and I like them a lot. They're single AA light so don't expect extended life, but they're bright enough for most situations. They get brighter with each generation though. I used them on a bike too and they're bright enough to see the road in darkness. I like AAs because they're just more common.

  18. #18
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Well, I think you got all the info on this, such as, 18650 is way over AA. Also, a light that holds two 18650, most likely would be too long. Whereas, the single 18650 flashlight, IMO, is about the right size. If you go that route, skip the cheap cells, and get some good ones. Your runtiimes will be longer. Only speaking for myself, I am moving up to 26650.. The 18650 flashlights have been so good, they have me reaching for more. Trying to stay with the same form factor though.


    Again, no mistake about it, 18650 is WAY over AA.. I was running a Planet Bike 2w Blaze. That is a AA light. It was better than my AAA lights, but can't touch my 18650 lights.

    Here are some pictures of 18650 flashlights mounted on bikes. I always put pairs on my bikes. IMO, they look balanced, and if one goes, I got the other one, and then I could put one on blinky and the other one beam.




    The one in the foreground is a 26650, which is the same length but a little fatter than the 18650.. I am moving in that direction.



    Here is the 26650 I ordered the other day. Shorter I think, but more powerful.




    I got a great compliment yesterday when I was leaving work at night. I had come to a stop and this person said "You sure enough will not get hit"!!! What he meant, and I have very well found out, I AM SEEN. IMO, these flashlight grab attention. If a person is talking on the phone, looking the other way, these lights draw attention like no tomorrow. This is not what nobody told me, this is what I have found out in the few short weeks I have been running these lights. No more taking my right away.
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  19. #19
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    I use a 123 tactical light from Four Sevens. It takes two rechargeable batteries and throws 360 lumens for over an hour. Light is mounted on a twofish mountm also from Four Sevens. You will need a charger. Light, two batteries and a charger will run about $100 but well worth the investment. I've since added another light for my MTB, additional batteries and single 123 Olight for my helmet. I like to see as well as be seen. Don't go cheap on the lights. It is easier to cry once instead of twice when you have to replace a cheap light.

  20. #20
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    Ya - found out the - expected - hard way about lack of light. We came in a little after dark Sunday and my 80 lumen headlamp was pretty scary. I didn't see the manhole cover-dent in time and jarred me pretty good. Didn't intend on being out after dark, but had the headlamp just in case.

    I'm wary of the ulta-cheap imported deals for lack of consistent quality, so am still leaning towards Shiningbeam just because of the folks reputation here. He's got one XML - T6 @ 400 lumens.

    cehoward - I've read your thread recently - and thanks for posting the great info. I started looking at the 26650 lights but am not finding as much comparative info and the price seems to be higher than the more common 18650, or is that just me?

    What are the brand / model of the lights you are using so successfully? An opinion is worth a million advertisements.

    Is the XML - T6 more efficient or is the real benefit of handling higher power?

    I'm thinking that at 20+ ft/sec max, [flat out, downhill, tailwind :-) ] I don't need car headlights to see animals and potholes in plenty of time, so a 400 lumen floody and 400 lumen more focused would be plenty. I'm having trouble adjusting to the idea I can trust a $40 1500 lumen torch... all that power in such a cheap package.. but then I'm pretty old school.

    addendum: looking for 2 hr run times at 400 lumen (ballpark), and still plan on carrying an extra battery.
    Last edited by RoadTire; 03-30-12 at 01:02 AM. Reason: typo. *sigh*

  21. #21
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    RoadTired.... if you want a light for the "just in case I am riding after dark", get the S-Mini. It's light and small and has plenty of light. You won't mind carrying it with you. And the faster you go, the more light you need. You'll need 2000 lumens if you really want to go 30+ miles per hour (if that is what you consider downhill, flat out; I think you'd be crazy going that fast at night because of the dire consequences of crashing at that speed, but that's your decision).

    Expensive lights have issues too. That's why I always recommend two lights for night riding. And yes, I carry an extra battery.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  22. #22
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    a1penguin you do have a good point. At 15 mph / 22 ft/sec I figure I'll get pretty worn out after an hour ride. And I sure don't want to smack something I because I didn't see it off to the side in time either - (deer wait to ambush moving vehicles. Revenge for November harvesting I guess) so without any experience I'm leaning to floody lights.

    The S-Mini looks like a great light. I just can't find any comparative beam shots yet.

  23. #23
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadTired View Post
    Ya - found out the - expected - hard way about lack of light. We came in a little after dark Sunday and my 80 lumen headlamp was pretty scary. I didn't see the manhole cover-dent in time and jarred me pretty good. Didn't intend on being out after dark, but had the headlamp just in case.

    I'm wary of the ulta-cheap imported deals for lack of consistent quality, so am still leaning towards Shiningbeam just because of the folks reputation here. He's got one XML - T6 @ 400 lumens.

    cehoward - I've read your thread recently - and thanks for posting the great info. I started looking at the 26650 lights but am not finding as much comparative info and the price seems to be higher than the more common 18650, or is that just me?

    What are the brand / model of the lights you are using so successfully? An opinion is worth a million advertisements.

    Is the XML - T6 more efficient or is the real benefit of handling higher power?

    I'm thinking that at 20+ ft/sec max, [flat out, downhill, tailwind :-) ] I don't need car headlights to see animals and potholes in plenty of time, so a 400 lumen floody and 400 lumen more focused would be plenty. I'm having trouble adjusting to the idea I can trust a $40 1500 lumen torch... all that power in such a cheap package.. but then I'm pretty old school.

    addendum: looking for 2 hr run times at 400 lumen (ballpark), and still plan on carrying an extra battery.
    All the 18650 lights I have been running are winners in my book. Not only that, they are Chinese/HongKong copies or knock-offs. Howeve,r I am not paying an arm and leg for them. Also, so far, so good. No problems. I found out the biggest factor in high powered lights are the batteries you feed it..

    My lights..

    Keygos Ke-1=18650
    Keygos Ke-5=18650
    Ultrafire C8=18650
    Keygos M12=26650
    an XinTd copy=18650

    And the last one in thepicture you see is a 26650. That only cost $25 with free shipping.
    2001 Raleigh R700
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  24. #24
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    In response to the OT, >200 lumens, AA powered, 2 hr run time, $120 - uses same battery holder as the 140 tail light:

    http://store.dinottelighting.com/xml...ight-p182.aspx

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by colleen c View Post
    When two cells are in series and one of the two cell have a different state of charge, one cell can overheat causing heat buildup or gas comming out of the vent hole on the positive side of the cell. Since those cell are in an enclosed container in the body of the flashlight, this may lead to high pressure build up inside the body of the flashlight leading to an explosion of the housing. This is rare but has happen to some member at Candle power forum. Note: this effect is not limited to just 2cell 18650, but it also occurs in 2 cell CR123 batteries.

    It is important to periodically check the final charge voltage of the cell after fully charge. There can be a chance where one cell was charged to 4.2v while the second cell did not charge at all. If both of these unbalace state of charge cell were to be use together in a 2cell 18650 flashlight, unpleasant result may occur.

    Know how well your charger are working and learn how to use a digital volt meter and you should be alright.

    BTW one important note: when choosing 18650 cell, stay with the cell that are protected. These cell has a small PC board at the negative side of the battery to protect things like over charging, over discharge and shorts. Most cell are sold as protected cell.
    Does this also apply to battery pack lights like the magic shine?

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