Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
Reload this Page >

LED flashlights ... school me

Notices
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets HRM, GPS, MP3, HID. Whether it's got an acronym or not, here's where you'll find discussions on all sorts of tools, toys and gadgets.

LED flashlights ... school me

Old 11-17-15, 08:54 AM
  #1  
SlimAgainSoon
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Down South
Posts: 1,267
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
LED flashlights ... school me

I use an LED flashlight for my bike light. The one I have I got cheap from Amazon or maybe that slow-boat import business in Taiwan (I have two of these, similar but not exactly the same).

Shopping for another, but ... I'm confused.

What are the hot-shot LEDs nowadays?

I see a lot of these flashlights on Amazon and elsewhere, and I can't sort out the wheat from the chaff without some help.

The flashlight I'm using now says Cree XML-T6. This is a couple of years old, so ... must be something better by now.

LED experts, please weigh in.
SlimAgainSoon is offline  
Old 11-17-15, 09:02 AM
  #2  
andr0id
Senior Member
 
andr0id's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,522
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1422 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 3 Posts
The better LED lights use a CR123 battery. I think because they are 3V rather than 1.5V like AA.

I like the Streamlight Protac 1 and 2. Compact and very bright.
andr0id is offline  
Old 11-17-15, 09:07 AM
  #3  
SlimAgainSoon
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Down South
Posts: 1,267
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
This flashlight uses a 18650 lithium battery, and I'm looking for a light that uses those same cells.
SlimAgainSoon is offline  
Old 11-17-15, 11:00 AM
  #4  
Athens80
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,207
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 138 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
In before the flood of lights.

Your biggest decision point may be how important a good beam pattern is. The best beams are [mostly] in devices powered either by proprietary battery packs or by bicycle generators. Cycling-specific lights generally provide better lighting on the road and and reduce possibly excess light going into the eyes of oncoming drivers.
Athens80 is offline  
Old 11-17-15, 12:08 PM
  #5  
no motor?
Unlisted member
 
no motor?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 6,193

Bikes: Specialized Hardrock

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1376 Post(s)
Liked 432 Times in 297 Posts
I'd recommend a C8 light.
no motor? is offline  
Old 11-17-15, 12:17 PM
  #6  
SlimAgainSoon
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Down South
Posts: 1,267
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I got that ... my other bike has a generator hub and a high-quality (Edelux) light. On this bike, I've been happy with the flashlight, plus I can use it for ... a flashlight. So while I may go with a bike-designed light, for now I'm exploring these $12 lights I see advertised, and trying to determine if any of them are as good, or better, than what I'm burning now.
SlimAgainSoon is offline  
Old 11-17-15, 01:00 PM
  #7  
1nterceptor
LET'S ROLL
 
1nterceptor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NEW YORK, NY - USA
Posts: 4,782

Bikes: 2014 BMC Gran Fondo, 2013 Brompton S6L-X

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 306 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 33 Posts
Maybe try this one, Solarforce L2. Runs on 1,2 or 3 18650 batteries.
LED module can be replaced in the future; in case a more powerful
or advanced technology comes up:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qVX...IoDLA&index=85
1nterceptor is offline  
Old 11-17-15, 02:28 PM
  #8  
SloButWide 
Heck on Wheels
 
SloButWide's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: USA Midwest
Posts: 1,100

Bikes: In Signature

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 206 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Sadly, if you google "best led flashlight 2015", at least the first three pages of results are marketing/clickbait pages. The no-name, fake-name Chinese lights have acceptable quality and are low cost $20-50 (superfire, ultrafire, etc.). There are also many, many name brand lights that typically run $40 - $100; they're a little better built than the no names, and have a warranty and dealers that ship from the US. I like Olight and Fenix, but that's mostly because it's what I bought when I got into the hobby in 2007. Above that are the Premium brands, aimed at Law Enforcement, Firemen, and tradesmen, such as Streamlight, Pelican, and Surefire (see where the fake-names come from?).

You're right to focus on LED. The name brand LEDs are Cree and Phillips (and probably others, I'm a recovering flashoholic). Typically, there will be a brand, family, color, and bin/flux. - such as Cree XML T6. Cree's binning is explained here. The bin/flux part of the LED refers to how good the color is, and how efficient (light per watt) the LED is.

Be aware that the no name lights are extremely "optimistic" about bin and light output (lumens) claims. They'll all claim to be T or even T6, but you might well get an S. With name brands, you pay extra, but if it says U4, you'll generally get that. The premium brands spec high bin LEDS, and deliver.

As someone else pointed out, flashlights have different beam patterns than (many) bike lights. You can decide if you want a "thrower" (narrow beam, long distance) or good fill (wide beam). You might want to aim carefully, and perhaps mask the beam to keep it out of a driver's eyes.

If you want to know more, you can fall down a rat hole at Candlepower Forums.

Edit:
Cree XM L and XM L2 are still pretty much hot-shot. XP are similar. A good discussion of the Cree families is here. T6 seems to be the price/performance sweet spot; if a performance bin is quoted, know that P is good, Q is better, and R is best and most expensive.
__________________
"I had a great ride this morning, except for that part about winding up at work."

Bikes so far: 2011 Felt Z85, 80's Raleigh Sovereign (USA), 91 Bianchi Peregrine, 91 Austro-Daimler Pathfinder, 90's Trek 730 Multitrack, STOLEN: 80 Schwinn Voyageur (Japan)


Last edited by SloButWide; 11-17-15 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Directly answer question
SloButWide is offline  
Old 11-17-15, 04:18 PM
  #9  
PaulRivers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6,432
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 539 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 36 Posts
Also, it depends on who you ask, but many people including myself find "neutral white" led's to be much, much nicer on our eyes than the more common bluish/purplish "cool white" led's.
PaulRivers is offline  
Old 11-18-15, 12:31 AM
  #10  
a1penguin
Senior Member
 
a1penguin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Posts: 3,194
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 135 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 13 Posts
XinTD C8 V5 XM-L2 U4 1C 18650 Flashlight

I *love* this flashlight! Until recently, I was commuting 120 miles a week (an hour each way, four days a week) and the ride home was always after dark. This flashlight is really bright and you can specify how many levels of brightness you want. This seller is based in the US and shipping is fast. It comes in several tints. I don't see the 1A tinnt which is blue and I prefer. He also carries high quality 18650 batteries. None of those *fire batteries. With higher output flashlights, you'll need a battery that can supply sufficient current levels. I bought Panasonic NCR18650B Protected 3400mAh batteries and on high, the light will last 1.5-2 hours.

If you are interested in lower end flashlights, checkout Home | BudgetLightForum.com. Lots of good info there.
a1penguin is offline  
Old 11-18-15, 02:20 PM
  #11  
SlimAgainSoon
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Down South
Posts: 1,267
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Ha! That one's sold out. Go figure.

You know, I looked at one of the flashlight forums, and ... too deep for me. I just need a short course.

I looked for a C-8, per recommendation, but lots of variety. What does C-8 mean?

A have a handful of 18650 flashlights ... all of them have "-fire" in the name, somewhere. I guess I was going for the cheap stuff.

So do most of the batteries ... but those are better than the 18650 cells I got at the battery store here in town. Those are ... unpredictable. Seem to show they are charged but not really, then sometimes they do fine. These have the big bulge on top, some kind of protection. The "-fire" cells don't.
SlimAgainSoon is offline  
Old 11-18-15, 11:36 PM
  #12  
a1penguin
Senior Member
 
a1penguin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Posts: 3,194
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 135 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 13 Posts
C8 is a form factor/size. The XinTD is a bit bigger than the older C8s I have. The reflector used in the flashlight can influence perceived brightness. A shallow reflector will spread the beam over a much wider area (flood) and won't be particularly useful for cycling. A deep reflector will result in a narrower beam (throw) and hence you get more light in a smaller area and it will light up the further away. You obviously don't want a laser and you don't want a standard light bulb :-) There are other factors that can influence beam shape and intensity as well.

The XinTD has a brighter LED and better shape beam for cycling. The only way to compare beams a priori. Photos or measurement with special setup are the best way to compare.

For higher power flashlights, you'll need higher power batteries to drive the led hard enough and for long run time, which is why I recommended the 3400 or 3500 mAh batteries. I always use protected batteries but there are plenty of people who use unprotected in a single battery flashlight. Using unprotected batteries in a poorly made flashlight can result in the flashlight driving the voltage down far enough to damage the battery.
a1penguin is offline  
Old 11-19-15, 07:39 AM
  #13  
Deal4Fuji
minimalist cyclist
 
Deal4Fuji's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,614

Bikes: yes please

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1017 Post(s)
Liked 1,240 Times in 774 Posts
I got his flashlight from Lowes for $17 as a back up. 250 lumens, 3 modes, CREE LED using 3 AAA's
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
scan0006.jpg (95.2 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg
scan0007.jpg (92.2 KB, 11 views)

Last edited by Deal4Fuji; 11-19-15 at 07:44 AM.
Deal4Fuji is offline  
Old 11-19-15, 03:23 PM
  #14  
SlimAgainSoon
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Down South
Posts: 1,267
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
What does "protection" mean with 18650 cells?

And is that accomplished with the extra bulge at the top? Some of my batteries have that, others have just a button on the plus end, like you see on any AA battery.

Thanks for all the info. You guys know your flashlights.
SlimAgainSoon is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
CliffordK
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
41
05-14-18 01:20 PM
christ0ph
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
15
10-20-12 07:13 AM
SJ408
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
8
10-11-12 08:11 PM
dougmc
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
6
08-05-11 06:44 PM
Raptor1956
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
7
08-09-10 06:09 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.