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  1. #1
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    LED flashlights and batteries

    One handy and important accessory I've insisted on carrying in my backpack for many years has been a flashlight. For the past several years, I've been using nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable batteries (NiMHs) in flashlights. NiMHs are great, because you do not have to worry about having to constantly buy new batteries to replace dying ones. I have a charger, so I just take the drained NiMHs and recharge them. No waste, no fuss, no rush to buy more batteries all the time.

    One weakness is that not all NiMHs are equally reliable. Some wear out and won't hold a charge. When I first started buying NiMHs in 2002, I bought AA-sized batieries for digital cameras and flashlights branded from Radio Shack and Rayovac. I subsequently bought more batteries for more devices from Thomas Distributing under the Powerex label, as well as more store-bought batteries under the Energizer label. To this day, I find the Rayovacs and Energizers to be the most reliable, although the Powerexs are supposed to hold the most charge.

    Recently, I was given a gift: a new LED flashlight. It's a compact little cylinder, just a couple inches long. It holds three AAAs. It is made in Red China, of course. (Ugh.) I have a couple of questions:

    Does anyone know of any USA-made high-quality flashlights and/or flashlight-lanterns?

    Are any of these USA-made lights using LEDs to conserve energy?

    Where do you buy your AA and AAA rechargable batteries? What brand do you use?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    One handy and important accessory I've insisted on carrying in my backpack for many years has been a flashlight. For the past several years, I've been using nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable batteries (NiMHs) in flashlights. NiMHs are great, because you do not have to worry about having to constantly buy new batteries to replace dying ones. I have a charger, so I just take the drained NiMHs and recharge them. No waste, no fuss, no rush to buy more batteries all the time.

    One weakness is that not all NiMHs are equally reliable. Some wear out and won't hold a charge. When I first started buying NiMHs in 2002, I bought AA-sized batieries for digital cameras and flashlights branded from Radio Shack and Rayovac. I subsequently bought more batteries for more devices from Thomas Distributing under the Powerex label, as well as more store-bought batteries under the Energizer label. To this day, I find the Rayovacs and Energizers to be the most reliable, although the Powerexs are supposed to hold the most charge.

    Recently, I was given a gift: a new LED flashlight. It's a compact little cylinder, just a couple inches long. It holds three AAAs. It is made in Red China, of course. (Ugh.) I have a couple of questions:

    Does anyone know of any USA-made high-quality flashlights and/or flashlight-lanterns?

    Are any of these USA-made lights using LEDs to conserve energy?

    Where do you buy your AA and AAA rechargable batteries? What brand do you use?
    try lithiums if you want a battery that can hold a charge and withstand temperature extremes.

    there are plenty of led options these days to fit any budget. check out candlepowerforums if you need a new and expensive hobby.

    surefires are great at the high end and fenix at the low end. there are also some amazing custom lights available but they're not for those with a light wallet.

  3. #3
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    For batteries I use Sanyo eneloops. AA size for my camera and AAA size for noise reduction headphones.

    I also use a LaCrosse LC-BC-900 - Battery charger.
    Been there. Done that. Can't remember.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BPritchard View Post
    For batteries I use Sanyo eneloops. AA size for my camera and AAA size for noise reduction headphones.

    I also use a LaCrosse LC-BC-900 - Battery charger.
    i had picked up some eneloops for use in my flash, and they last a really long time between charges.

  5. #5
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    I also use Eneloops in various electronics, particularly in ones that will be used intermittently. I have them in the (Princeton Tec Aurora) headlamp we use for backpacking, for example. They hold a charge between our trips (i.e. a couple of months).

  6. #6
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    "One handy and important accessory I've insisted on carrying in my backpack for many years has been a flashlight. For the past several years, I've been using nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable batteries (NiMHs) in flashlights."

    Be aware that NiMHs do self-discharge at the rate of .5 - 1% per day when unused.

    They are fine in any device which gets used often and periodically has its batteries discharged/recharged (like my clip on book light or the kids' toys).

    But for that flashlight in my car's tool kit which might get used only once in two years, I stick with alkalines, which hold their charge far longer.

  7. #7
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    I got the Guardian Dual Function Light from Tom Bihn a couple of years ago.

    I could not imagine living without it, I bought it without lanyard because I have my own with is a loop lanyard that can be warn around the neck.

    The GDG Light is clipped to my lanyard which is slipped into a C clip secured to an O-ring.

    Most of my Tom Bihn purchase get a quiet time at home when I enjoy them in their new/out of the box state complete with original Tom Bihn tags.

    Not so for the Guardian Light, I have clipped it the way I describe above, in my main bag, the day I got it.


    Sometime after I got it, our utility company decided to play "let's have an outage just for the fun of it". It got so bad we had to buy a UPC unit for our desktop.

    Our place has wires and power strips from the one corner of a room to the others because each room has only one always powered outlet necessary for computers.

    So when there is the light goes off and it's dark, I am at risk of tripping. This is where the Guardian Light comes in, very handy,
    strong, always in my main bag, in the same place.

    It is great if the night surprise us on the little trail nearby.

    I also use it as a book reading light when I don't want to disrupt my bedmate but really really want to read a great book or I have heartburn and need to go around without turning on the main lights.



    Guardian Dual Function Light
    http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/ACC/GDF-LIGHT

  8. #8
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    Do the Sanyo Eneloops require a special charger, or are the typical Powerex battery chargers at Thomas Distributing able to handle charging them?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Do the Sanyo Eneloops require a special charger, or are the typical Powerex battery chargers at Thomas Distributing able to handle charging them?
    i'm not sure how they work with other chargers. my eneloops came with a charger and work great with it.

  10. #10
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    see faq #13
    http://www.eneloop.info/home/faq.html

    the answer seems to be yes with a disclaimer.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Do the Sanyo Eneloops require a special charger, or are the typical Powerex battery chargers at Thomas Distributing able to handle charging them?
    They are spec'd to handle Enloops and I do it all the time and here's a pic of my charger. Thomas Distributing is top notch BTW..
    http://www.gearninja.com/Images/PwrTrp_1.jpg

  12. #12
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    Looks the same as my charger.

  13. #13
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    My flashlight of choice

    is a standard Mini Maglite 2xAA converted to LED's with a conversion kit bought at cyberguys.com. I have three.

    I use Eveready NIMH's bought at the big box store and a LaCrosse charger.

  14. #14
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    "Does anyone know of any USA-made high-quality flashlights and/or flashlight-lanterns?
    Are any of these USA-made lights using LEDs to conserve energy?"

    I find the Arc-AAA LED flashlight very useful. Extraordinarily bright, yet quite small and lightweight, and nearly indestructible. Made in the USA. www.arcflashlight.com/arc-aaa.shtml

  15. #15
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    4Sevens Quark MiNi AA travel light

    Hi,

    I thought this 4Sevens LED light might be of interest, although it doesn't match the OP's requirement for a USA-made light. Doug Dyment recently updated the Tool's page of his OneBag.com site for his recommended travel lights. Of the Quark MiNi AA, he states:
    for the go-light aficionado, I consider it the most perfect travel flashlight that has yet been produced.
    The Quark MiNi series debuted before Christmas, with small LED lights using AA and CR123 batteries (there's also a MiNi 123). Unboxing pictures of the Quark MiNi AA may be viewed at the survivaltoday site. 4Sevens is in Atlanta, Georgia, but their Quark lights are made in China. More details about the light may be found by following the link to the tools page of the OneBag site.

    moriond

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