LED Flashlight--Off topic

Harbor Freight has an LED 3-cell flashlight for $20 that I think will be of interest. I bought one the other day, and I am very pleased with it. It is
build like a Mag-light in quality, and puts out about as much light as a normal 3-cell flashlight, but uses about half the power--about 2/3 watt. My big metal Eveready flashlight uses about 1 1/3 watts. My 2-cell Rayovac uses even more: 1.5 watts.
The light pattern of the LED light is different. Instead of a "spot" of light, it throws sort of a "cloud." At first it seemed strange, but I think it is actually better, because the light is very even, not having light and dark bands and streaks.
Usual disclaimer--I have no financial interest in or connection to Harbor Freight.
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    [ ... ]

    I like the LED flashlights. I've got one in the Mini-Maglite size (2 AA batteries, and 3 LEDs) marked Smith & Wesson. It came from MSC.
    Similar disclaimer relative to MSC.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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of
is
My
think
and
We live 50 miles from one of their stores, but had to be in the neighborhood last weekend. Unfortunately, they were sold out of the flashlights, which I was going to buy. Thanks for the report. I'll get one for sure now.
Harold
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On Thu, 4 Nov 2004 22:31:51 -0800, "Harold & Susan Vordos"

I got a couple from Princess Auto. One is a 12 LED, 3D cell unit, the others are 3 led 3 AA units - blue LEDS Both types work VERY well. The big one cost me $17 Canadian, and the little ones $4.88 Canadian each, IIRC.
Aluminum construction, just like a Maglite.
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snip----

Could that be a sign of the times, much the same as microwave ovens and computers? When the newness wears off and competition enters the arena, prices will drop drastically? What you paid, especially considering the difference in the dollars from Canada to the US, makes your buy almost a giveaway. Maybe I won't get in a hurry for one, I'm still "enjoying" my little AA Maglite. Very cool, your purchases were.
Harold
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On Fri, 5 Nov 2004 21:25:53 -0800, "Harold & Susan Vordos"

I figured I could not buy the LEDs alone for that price, so I bought 6 of the little ones and gave some for christmas and birthdays.
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In article

I have a 'Inova X5' 5 diode light a neighbor gave me for Christmas last year...
http://www.inovalight.com/site.html?X5-ov
I like it fine! Like other's have noted, it's only good as a close range flood, but thats 97% of my flashlight use anyway. It's a little shorter and larger in diameter than a AA Mini Mag, but about the same size all in all. It's light is very white... especially viewed side by side with a regular flashlight.
It has a good bit of 'on' time on it's original batteries, but hasn't noticeably dimmed. It uses 2 3V Lithium #123 cells that look like they may be expensive.
I also have one of those little single diode, button cell keychain lights another neighbor gave me. At first I didn't see myself having much use for it, but now wouldn't be without. It's great, use it several times a week. Thought it would be tough on the button cells, but doesn't seem to be...
Erik
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Check out their Microlight http://www.inovalight.com/site.html?X5-ov
I've had one of those on my keychain for years. The boss was always sending me off to check on the serial numbers of computers under somebody's desk and that was just the thing to see well enough to read numbers, and no trouble to keep with me all the time.
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    [ ... ]

    [ ... ]

    Mine (the one marked "Smith & Wesson" from MSC uses two normal AA cells, so the cost is a lot lower.
    Note that the usual clue that the batteries are getting weak (light gets more orange) does not work with these. There is no color shift -- I simply notice a major increase in brightness when I replace the batteries after some weeks of use. (And, yes -- the batteries do last a lot longer than the Mini MagLite with equivalent hours of use.)
    Enjoy,         DoN.
--
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Really good LED flashlights don't decrease much in brightness as the battery runs down; they have voltage boosting circuitry that takes the battery voltage and steps it up, providing a nearly constant light supply. This lets you suck every last bit of power out of alkaline batteries, running them down to about 1 volt per cell. It's a very significant improvement over incandescent bulbs, which start out bright at 1.5 volts/cell but very quickly lose brightness and efficiency as the voltage drops, becoming a sickly yellow.
Voltage-boosting circuitry (these are DC-to-DC converters) doesn't have to be particularly expensive, although it often is. Walmart sells a "Dorcy" brand single-AAA LED flashlight for $6, which has it. But most LED flashlights just use three cells in series, to provide enough voltage to run a white LED, plus a resistor in series with the LED to limit the current.
There are conversion modules sold for AA MagLites which replace the incandescent bulb and holder with a Luxeon LED (usually 1 watt) together with voltage-boost circuitry. One is made by Terralux:
http://www.terralux.biz
I haven't tried those; the ones I've used are from Wayne Yamaguchi:
http://www.theledguy.com / http://secure3.dnsaction.com/~anlighte/shop/default.php?cPath "
They've worked as advertised; but be warned that he caters to the flashlight tinkerers at www.candlepowerforums.com, so his website is very cryptic.
--
Norman Yarvin http://yarchive.net

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<snip>

That's somewhat the wrong way to do it. At the end of life, the cell can't provide the power needed to run the light at full brightness, if you try the voltage just falls to 0. If you reduce the output power, you can get significantly more out of the battery that a circuit that demanded 100% all the time can.
And I know I'd prefer a lamp that went dim, or otherwise indicated imminent failure, rather than one that just went out.
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Ian Stirling wrote:

You have the right of it there! Graceful degredation rather than sudden catastrophic failure. One of the reasons I neve liked relying on incandescant flashlights for night hiking. (I used to use a carbide lamp with a small pocket flashlight for short term backup.)
Ted
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Nick Hull wrote:

That would be very annoying in use. I'd rather have it dim or possibly use a small red LED at very low power as a low battery indicator.
Ted
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Or maybe have the white one extinguish, and turn on a red one instead - where the red one has a lower draw, but will continue to stay lit when the white one would be out.
Jim
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The one I'm planning (if the user does not switch modes) goes at 100% to 33% battery, then 50% to 25%, and then drops down to 10% till 10%, at which point it goes to 1%.
So, it carries on producing light for about 15 times what it would normally do, but the step tells you how much power you've got left. Turn it on at 30% battery life, and you get a bright flash, and it then goes dimmer.
Turn it on at 5% life, and you get a bright flash, followed by rapidly dimming 3 times.
(it can be switched at any point to the maximum power that the battery will support)
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I want one!! When are you selling it?
--
Free men own guns, slaves don't
www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5357/
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I've got to make a prototype first! :) Then I might think about it. It would be a relatively premium price device (though I'd hope not significantly so), but I'm considering including stuff that is relatively inexpensive to add, but would add utility. For example, a backup zinc-air battery would add about 5mm to the length of the torch, and provide 30 hours of light at about the same intensity as 1/4 a normal LED.
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wrote:

of
It is

My
think
and
Harbor
<snip>
I have one of these also. You are correct. These buggers are expensive. But I have done two things for cheaper batteries for these. First right next to the 123 cells there is a 6 volt battery that looks suspiciously like two 123 cells inside a little plastic case. These plastic cases break apart and then you got two 123 cells.
Even cheaper check out the surplus electronics places. I got a couple of boxes of these cells for less than 2 bucks a cell.
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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On Fri, 5 Nov 2004 22:30:04 -0800, "Roger Shoaf"

The little button cells most common up here are the 357s I go to the "dollar store" and buy 5 357As for a Canadian dollar. I use them in my digital calipers, laser pointer, Keychain LED flashlight (forgot about that one - cost me $3.00 canadian with batteries) and the clip-on "reading light" 3 led units I also bought from Princess Auto on sale for about $6 each.
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