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  1. #16
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    Quote Originally Posted by cbr6fs View Post
    1, I think that is highly unlikely, why would they step backwards to old technology?

    2, The Zebralight SC52 is another example, 280 lumens with Eneloops or 500 lumens with lithium 14500 batteries.

    3, Don't get me wrong i'm a massive Eneloop fan and AA batteries are really useful as you can find them pretty much anywhere at any time, BUT there is no way torch manufacturers are going to waste time designing torches for out dated technology. Sure there will always be a few AA models to satisfy those who know little about lithium batteries, but they're never going to be on the cutting edge or as useful as lithium cell based torches.



    4, I've read about postage restrictions for lithium batteries, but i order a fair few batteries and have never had any problem, so either companies are ignoring it, or it just isn't a working reality.

    I'd be fascinated to know how the PO could spot the difference if i sent a 14500 cell compared to a AA as they're pretty much identical in size and shape.

    It's also extremely short sighted as Lithium iron phosphate or LiFePO4 (commonly labelled LiFe) are some of the safest batteries you can buy, certainly much safer than Alkaline or NiMh.

    Crazy really when you consider that the vast majority of the population have a lithium battery just mm's away from them most of the day.
    In their hand when using a tablet Ipad thing, on their lap when using a Laptop, in their pocket (phone, camera etc) or sat next to them at night on their beside table often charging (phone).
    1, AA, is a 'size', not a technology. Sanyo's Eneloop mk3, (1800cycle) is about as cutting adge as it gets, (available less than a year?) & only in AA or AAA. Sanyo haven't bothered to produce eneloops in other sizes. They are a cutomer driven busines & it is unlikely they will waste time producing goods they can't shift. I believe over 80% of all bateries produced (globaly) are AA 'sized'. As you point out, 'technologicaly advanced' 14500's share the same convenient 'size'. As you also point out, it's handy to have a tool, that can take the most readily available, mobile electricity storage device, on the planet. This is just one reason, WHY, manufacturers may, move 'back', toward AA, sized, torches. Or as you so sucsinctly put it, 'step backwards etc'.

    2, A great example of the strength of 'AA'. A torch with the flexibility to excell on high voltage & take a more readily available, lower powered 'AA' batery, should 'higher' tec be unavailable. The exact reason why some folk require a AA 'size' based light. What other 'size' can claim this sort of flexibility. Manufacturers are aware of & responding to this. Thus, Zebra are offering more things like the SC52, alongside the 123a/18650 chompers. I'm seeing more & more of this type of product. Currently single cell but in the future, this could be a multi cell option (Eagletac's GX25a3?). I doubt you will see this feature on anything other than 'AA'. Flexibility is the name of the game & manufacturers recognise the value of the humble, out dated AA. Notice the abundance of 123a/AA lights in the last year?

    3, On the face of it, & based on available products a few years back, I would agree. Back then, I thought 123a's would become cheaper & more available. But no: These days, I see more & more AA/14500 based products. 123a's are getting harder to get. The market is both tall & wide & manufacturers want as much of it as they can get. Yup, there are those who want super special lumens, from super special power sources. They are by far the minority. 'Most' folk don't know what a 123a is. Everyone knows what a AA is. Thus, there is the possibility, that more torches can be sold, if they can run on, a recognisable power source. Time will tell. Despite their 'old teck', maglites still sell like hot cakes. To both the maistreem & high demand user alike. Not every one is aware of, or wants, a searing, lazer like chucker, that runs on, a battery they never heard of. Historicaly, we 'needed' a pair of 123a's to give the 'compact' 6v, required to reach the dizy heights of, 65l. It could be said that, with the advancement of leds, needing less power to produce more light, the 123a has out lived it's usefulness . Thus, the123a is now, 'old tec'. Made redundant by the fact we can now get, over 80l, from a single, more compact, lighter, cheaper AAA!

    4, Agreed.

    Clasic example: Last night, I pulled out my 4x123a thrower. Hadn't used it in a year. You guessed it, flat as a pancake. That wouldn't have happened on eneloops. My quandry now is weather to buy a new set of 123a's or sell my 'old tec' light?

    PS, Please take this with the humour it is meant:

    You must value & understand the 'lower power' option yourself: Otherwise you'd be called 'R6', not CBR6fs.
    Last edited by Average Joe; 01-02-13 at 06:26 PM.

  2. #17
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    Quote Originally Posted by rik_uk3 View Post
    How much light do you need FCOL?
    It's never enough!

  3. #18
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    Quote Originally Posted by rik_uk3 View Post
    How much light do you need FCOL?

    For me AA based torches make sense, I use AA in head torches, radio reciever, 2m hand held, external phone battery pack so one battery fits all, they'll all use rechargeable etc. So the cree torches I've had from Tesco, Lidl, DealsExtreme etc are fine, more than enough light for camp needs, in fact so bright they can be intrusive to others.
    A question with as many answers as there are people.

    I agree AA's make sense thats why I asked the original question ( and I too like the value of my lidl and tesco's crees) but finding ultimate performance is always fun and technology is moving on.

    lets face it with different outputs.you can always turn a torch down to be sociable.......but at the top end..lets have MORE light


    barry

  4. #19
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    Every time I start comparing specifications, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing moving away from Li-ion. Twice the runtime, twice the output, half the size...

    Several times the cost for Li-ion cells, shorter life span, much quicker self-discharge, always a little concerned that my house might burn down, possible postage problems...

    AA-based lights are bright enough now for what I need them for. Yes, more is always nice, but I don't need more. Twenty years ago I was doing the same night hikes with a huge Petzl zoom head lamp and a maglite. I managed then. Besides, what's the use of hiking at night if I light the place up like it's daytime?

    Of course, there are always serious uses (flashaholics included )for the brightest lights and where Li-ion will have a place until something better comes along.

  5. #20
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    Edited & removed!
    Life's a box of Chocolates...you never know what your going to get! (Forest Gump)

  6. #21
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    it all boils down to user requirements doesnt it ?

    both types or batts have different strengths and weaknesses

    it is ultimately up to the user to decide which batt meets his own requirements

    In the mean time, I'll be sticking with rechargeable li-ions

  7. #22
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    Quote Originally Posted by tx101 View Post
    it all boils down to user requirements doesnt it ?

    both types or batts have different strengths and weaknesses

    it is ultimately up to the user to decide which batt meets his own requirements

    In the mean time, I'll be sticking with rechargeable li-ions
    Agreed, it is a case of choice.

    I was & still have 18650's, they are a very useful way to economicaly get max performance. But, if you get cought with a flat & no way/time to recharge, you are stuck. Like I was with the thrower the other night.

    I had to live with this up until about a year back when the PA10 came out & I realised I could get a similar amount of light (500+l) on the 14500 & use AA's as back up if I got caught out. Granted it's not as robust as the 18650 but it's close enough for me, more compact, cheaper & more flexible with the AA thing.

    Now there are several packages offering a similar deal. More importantly, there are more multi AA offerings & they seem to be getting better all the time: EA4, Tk41, SX25A6, EA8 etc. All pretty bright but more importantly, I can rob my razor, beard trimmer, mouse, fox scarer, kitchen clock, pir alarms &/or remote etc (I'll stop there shall I?) if I'm in a pinch. & as said, eneloops have a low self dicharge, so I can stow them for a while & still 'go', straight out of the bag. With the compact eneloop USB charger in the kit, I rarely have to worry about where to recharge. Sometimes I'm away from a 240 socket but you can always find a USB or some AA's.

    If the EA8 performs as hoped, that will be the new thrower.

    I'll still keep the 18650's/123a's for tactical & weapon mounting, where every gm & l count. Baring in mind I can plan when these are used, check & charge them. But for everyday use, spontanious, short & long term &/or travel, it's AA's all the way. As long as the manufacturers meet my expectations.
    Last edited by Average Joe; 01-02-13 at 05:37 PM.

  8. #23
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    Quote Originally Posted by rik_uk3 View Post
    How much light do you need FCOL?
    Really depends on what i'm doing.
    I'll need a LOT more light riding my mountain bike off-road at night than i will say working on my car.

    Years back i would have needed several lights, but now days LED and battery technology has moved on to the point where even a pocket light powered by lithium batteries can put out JUST enough for mild off-road riding at night.

    The other great thing these days is we have the ability to have the light operate at different levels.
    My SC600 is around 750lm on max, i probably use that output 15% of the time i'm using the torch, as it's small enough for me to EDC and has hours of run time, there really is no negative.
    You have that extra light sitting there in case you need it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe View Post
    1, AA, is a 'size', not a technology. Sanyo's Eneloop mk3, (1800cycle) is about as cutting adge as it gets, (available less than a year?) & only in AA or AAA. Sanyo haven't bothered to produce eneloops in other sizes. They are a cutomer driven busines & it is unlikely they will waste time producing goods they can't shift. I believe over 80% of all bateries produced (globaly) are AA 'sized'. As you point out, 'technologicaly advanced' 14500's share the same convenient 'size'. As you also point out, it's handy to have a tool, that can take the most readily available, mobile electricity storage device, on the planet. This is just one reason, WHY, manufacturers may, move 'back', toward AA, sized, torches. Or as you so sucsinctly put it, 'step backwards etc'.
    I agree that it's really just a form factor and AA covers vast range of technologies and chemistries, in this case though the op bought up AA's as a result of the PO having restrictions on handling lithium batteries.
    No doubt lithium AA or 14500 cells are a step forward, but as they are outlawed as being "lithium" then really we are back onto Eneloops, NiMh or alkaline, non of which have the power output capabilities to power higher output lights unless you connect a LOT together.

    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe View Post
    2, A great example of the strength of 'AA'. A torch with the flexibility to excell on high voltage & take a more readily available, lower powered 'AA' batery, should 'higher' tec be unavailable. The exact reason why some folk require a AA 'size' based light. What other 'size' can claim this sort of flexibility. Manufacturers are aware of & responding to this. Thus, Zebra are offering more things like the SC52, alongside the 123a/18650 chompers. I'm seeing more & more of this type of product. Currently single cell but in the future, this could be a multi cell option (Eagletac's GX25a3?). I doubt you will see this feature on anything other than 'AA'. Flexibility is the name of the game & manufacturers recognise the value of the humble, out dated AA. Notice the abundance of 123a/AA lights in the last year?
    Again though 14500's are lithium based cells so they will also be restricted if what has been said above is correct.


    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe View Post
    3, On the face of it, & based on available products a few years back, I would agree. Back then, I thought 123a's would become cheaper & more available. But no: These days, I see more & more AA/14500 based products. 123a's are getting harder to get. The market is both tall & wide & manufacturers want as much of it as they can get. Yup, there are those who want super special lumens, from super special power sources. They are by far the minority. 'Most' folk don't know what a 123a is. Everyone knows what a AA is. Thus, there is the possibility, that more torches can be sold, if they can run on, a recognisable power source. Time will tell. Despite their 'old teck', maglites still sell like hot cakes. To both the maistreem & high demand user alike. Not every one is aware of, or wants, a searing, lazer like chucker, that runs on, a battery they never heard of. Historicaly, we 'needed' a pair of 123a's to give the 'compact' 6v, required to reach the dizy heights of, 65l. It could be said that, with the advancement of leds, needing less power to produce more light, the 123a has out lived it's usefulness . Thus, the123a is now, 'old tec'. Made redundant by the fact we can now get, over 80l, from a single, more compact, lighter, cheaper AAA!
    Not a CR123 fan, tried a few CR123 based torches and i found that as the diameter of the torch was around the same as a 18650 it really didn't sit in the pocket any better, but on high (around 500lm) i was getting as little as 10mins out of a cell.
    This meant i needed to take another spare cell, so in the end there was absolutely no gain, 1 x CR123 light with spare CR123 or 1 x 18650 light.

    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe View Post
    4, Agreed.

    Clasic example: Last night, I pulled out my 4x123a thrower. Hadn't used it in a year. You guessed it, flat as a pancake. That wouldn't have happened on eneloops. My quandry now is weather to buy a new set of 123a's or sell my 'old tec' light?
    Nothing more annoying than having a light sit around for weeks then the one time you NEED it you find the batteries are flat

    I've gotten into the habit of unscrewing the lens/tail cap on all more torches, it does help restrict the parasitic drain a fair bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe View Post
    PS, Please take this with the humour it is meant:

    You must value & understand the 'lower power' option yourself: Otherwise you'd be called 'R6', not CBR6fs.

    Love the R6, is more than this old farts wrist can take though unfortunately

    I do understand why some folks buy AA based lights, i recently bought the old gal a light for walking the dog, as i don't trust her charging lithium cells i bought her a AA based torch.

    My point though is that torch manufacturers are tailoring AA torches towards folks like me Mum rather than towards the cutting edge.
    As a result you really need 4 x AA cells to provide the equivalent power of 1 x 18650, this obviously means you have a size and weight disadvantage before you even start.

    As LED technology improves along with driver efficiency, the outputs of 4 x AA torches will creep up knocking on the door of 1000lm, but there is not likely to be any major advancements as most AA cells simply do not have the omph to power a 3 x XM-L blaster.

  9. #24
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    Very interesting topic. I'm in the same position.

    I have a Zebralight H600 which give a stunning 700 lumens or so out of a single 18650 (not much heavier than an Eneloop XX).

    I still have twelve ( ) Eneloops collecting dust and wanted to use them in a nice multiple AA torch such as the Eagletac GX25 in which I would have to fit 3 x AA batteries meaning more weight, more bulk. Ok AA batteries are easy to find, versatile but is it really worth sticking to AA batteries in 2013 ? (no offense)

  10. #25
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    I'm pretty new to all of this Jamie stuff but if Beachcaster is after throw, isn't this where a bigger reflector comes into it's own. Lumens don't seem to be the whole story. The EA4 is within 10% of the same lumens as the EA8 but according to the specs I've seen has 150m less throw. Surely something tiny like the SC600 will loose out even more for this? I guess if you are interested in throw, you'd be after a bigger torch anyway.
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eee View Post
    I'm pretty new to all of this Jamie stuff but if Beachcaster is after throw, isn't this where a bigger reflector comes into it's own.
    It's tough finding a torch that gives the type of light you want, throw in varying tasks and it's even tougher.
    A deeper reflector will generally give more throw (light output being the same) but not always, my Dereelight DBS head is roughly the same size as my TK35 head, but as the DBS has Aspherical lens it puts throw into a whole new category.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eee View Post
    Lumens don't seem to be the whole story. The EA4 is within 10% of the same lumens as the EA8 but according to the specs I've seen has 150m less throw. Surely something tiny like the SC600 will loose out even more for this? I guess if you are interested in throw, you'd be after a bigger torch anyway.
    Agree completely, lumens are only part of the equation to finding a light that works for you.

    I do not have neither a EA8 or EA4 to compare to my SC600
    As you say logically speaking as they have very similar Lm outputs and the EA4/8 have deeper lenses i would not bet against the Nitecores from having more throw.

    It's still a gamble though as some manufacturers overstate their torches Lm output, others slightly understate, there is then the shape of the reflector to consider, the size of the hotspot etc etc

    Don't know if you read my thread on the SC600 and SC600 MKII comparison, even though the head and reflector sizes are only very very slightly different the MKII has noticably more throw even when the Lm output is the same (MKII has 900Lm MKI 750 but both have a 500Lm setting)

  12. #27
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    Quote Originally Posted by hemdale View Post
    Very interesting topic. I'm in the same position.

    I have a Zebralight H600 which give a stunning 700 lumens or so out of a single 18650 (not much heavier than an Eneloop XX).

    I still have twelve ( ) Eneloops collecting dust and wanted to use them in a nice multiple AA torch such as the Eagletac GX25 in which I would have to fit 3 x AA batteries meaning more weight, more bulk. Ok AA batteries are easy to find, versatile but is it really worth sticking to AA batteries in 2013 ? (no offense)
    Thanks for reserecting this old chestnut.

    For fear of repeating all that has alsready been said about AA vs 18650 etc, it is ALL ABOUT CHOICE:

    I have a GX25A3. It's a great little light. And so is Olite's M22. Both these lights are relletively new, sort of cutting edge & set a common bench mark of approx 1kish lumens & 300ish m throw. In terms of throwing light, on 'max', to my eye, they ARE identical. Yes, the blurb will tell ya one has a few more metres or lumens, but with a fresh power source, they light stuff up the same. Similar reflector, same light emitter, similar amount of power, hey presto; same light. Honestly, you really can't tell the difference.

    So, to me, there is no argument, just a choice of 'power source'. In this case, there is also obviouse difference in the shape/weight of the unit & a veriety of additional features, such as brightness settings/user interface.

    If you want the flexibility 'AAs' give ya, have the slightly shorter, stumpier A3. Eneloops give a good vfm rechargable option, robbing tv remotes, is a 'free' power source if you get caught out.

    Alternitively, the M22 (& others like it), give the same light, in a slightly lighter, longer, thinner (other than the reflector end) package. 18650's provide the rechargable option &, slightly less run time. Although harder to find & more expensive than AA's, 123a's are usualy somewhere to be found. Unfortunately, NOT in the TV remote.

    We could go onto discuss weight differences, run times & costs but there is little between them. Splitting hairs over a few grams, minutes run time, mm, or $'s only proves that this is about personal prefernce. Loaded with XX's, the 25 is about 3oz (approx 50%) more than the 22. Shock horror! But it lasts half hour (approx 50%) longer: Oooo! Swings & roundabouts, check out the stats, & make your own choice.

    In compact (2x123a sized) lights, manufacureres are currently using about 3v to give around an hour of approx 1kl. In this case, we are already underutalising the max potencial voltage that both the 123a's & 18650 offer. This seems pointless to me. If we see the current trend for compact lights continue (more L's for less V's), I see AA's becomming more & more attractive. I think consumers & consequently manufactures will feel the same. At the current rate, I don't think it will be long, before someone poses the question 'As AA batteries are so easy to find (& the apropriate voltage), why on earth would anyone use anything else?'

    However, that is totally dependant on the choices customers make & how the tec developes. Particularly in the area of heat management. A lot more lumens can be produced using a single 18650. Currently, this involves too much heat for tratitionally sized compact lights. We can't miniturize heat sinks & the emiters can't tolerate the extra heat that more power & light bring.

    To answer your question, as we (including yourself) have stated , AA's give more flexibility in terms of their availability, that's about it. I don't see that changing any time soon, 80% of all bats produced are AA. Unlike AA's, you can't garantee finding 123a's in a pinch. If you are likely to find yourself in an environment where charging or sourcing replacement cells is going to be difficult, you can choose AA's or a spare 18650 & charger, probably negating the weight/bulk advantage the 18650 offered. Agian, my conclusion; this is about personal preference. &, specific to a compact, pocket size light.

    There is probably a lot more discussion to be had on this subject but I suspect it might be better to resurect or start a new 'AA vs' thread.


    Final thought:

    If 3oz really really matters, consider skiping breakfast.
    Last edited by Average Joe; 01-07-13 at 12:20 PM.

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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    One problem is people talk about "AA lights" but as has been mentioned what is possible with Alkaline AA's vs NiMH or Li-ion AA is worlds apart. A lot of the convenience of running AA cells that can be had anywhere is you are really talking about Alkaline cells, and they are trash. Lithium primary AA cells are not cheap, and are not re-chargeable.

    Then lights like the TK41 come along but mean you need an 8 bay charger, or two chargers, or be prepared to wait a long time to charge cells up in batches.

    The whole multi AA high power light is just not worth the trade offs that need to be made IMO.

    18650 all the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by rik_uk3 View Post
    How much light do you need FCOL?
    More

    Quote Originally Posted by cbr6fs View Post
    Not a CR123 fan, tried a few CR123 based torches and i found that as the diameter of the torch was around the same as a 18650 it really didn't sit in the pocket any better, but on high (around 500lm) i was getting as little as 10mins out of a cell. This meant i needed to take another spare cell, so in the end there was absolutely no gain, 1 x CR123 light with spare CR123 or 1 x 18650 light.
    + 1 to that.
    Last edited by Dr Zoid; 01-07-13 at 07:32 PM.
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    It's just like VHS vs Betamax all over again
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    Re: AA torch.......so what is the daddy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eee View Post
    It's just like VHS vs Betamax all over again
    You're quite right of course. Though one is not going to supersede the other. Us more techy type torch lovers tend to lean towards the lithiums because they offer great shelf life and big current draw to get the most out of modern LEDs.

    But if I was off to Thailand etc for a few months I'd be taking something that accepts AA batteries and just gives me reliable, useable light.

    I think an Eagletac D25 clicky would be my choice. Pity Maratac discontinued their AA stainless model.
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    Doc Holliday: Sure. But now he's going to be a marshal and an outlaw. Best of both worlds, son.

 

 

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