YALFQ (Yet Another LED Flashlight Question)

I use a couple of old fashioned EverReady 2 AA/AAA cell penlights quite a bit around the house & shop. They eat batteries at a pretty steady rate,
and frequently start going dim in the middle of some task where it's a royal pain in the neck to extricate myself and go get new batteries or a bulb. One of them died yesterday (bulb), and it occured to me that an LED version would be a big improvement. Armed with the following list of requirements, I went on-line:
1) Rear cap push button to turn on. I want to be able to easily grab the thing with one hand and turn it on & off while pointing it. I have one that uses a twist-the-cap switch, and I really don't like it nearly as much as the old fashioned push-button flavor.
2) Small diamter to get into tight spots. The AA one I have is about 3/4" in diameter, and it's a bit clunky. The AAA one is a bit thinner, and works very well in this regard.
3) Use vaguely normal batteries. I have a really skinny LED penlight that uses weird batteries. They are nearly impossble to find, and expensive. I'd prefer to avoid AAAA cells, even if they are becoming a bit more common.
4) I'd prefer not to have to spend an arm & a leg for one. I can buy new EverReady's for under $5. $15 is near the top of my comfort zone on price. Buying a $40 Luxeon replacement bulb would not be an option.
Unfortunately, I pretty much struck out. Streamlight has one that uses four(!) AAAA's, and it looks nice, but the push button is only momentary-on, you have to screw the cap down to get it to stay on. They can be had for ~$13:
http://www.streamlight.com/stylus_specifications.htm
Underwater Kinetics has one that is as close as I could find, but even though it uses AAA's, it has a bulbous lens assembly that makes it as bulky as my AA penlight. They sell for around $12.
http://www.pocketlights.com/uk2aaa_eled_penlight.asp
The other option is to find an LED replacement bulb for the $5 Everyready AAA ones, but the only one I've seen is pretty pricey at $18:
http://www.tek-tite.com/src/product_info.php?id !02
So, before I shell out for one or more of these, I thought I would pass along my research results and see if anyone had a better answer. The one other interesting option I ran across is a build-your-own replacement bulb web site:
http://www.cappels.org/dproj/ledpage/leddrv.htm
Thanks for any suggestions.
Doug White
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"Doug White" wrote: (clip)the following list of

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I have an LED flashlight that I think you should get. Here is how it meets (or fails to meet) your requirements:>

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Mine uses a slide switch--easily turned on and off with one hand.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Mine is 1 1/2" in diameter, and I have no trouble directing the beam into tight spots. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Mine is self-generating--never needs batteries. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I think I paid $10 at a flea market. I see them on Craig's List at that price level all the time.
This light has a magnet inside that slides back and forth through a coil. If it starts to go dim you just shake it.
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You must have bigger tight spots than I do. A lot of time I want to get the source of light INSIDE something. That way the light reflecting off the edges & sides doesn't mess up my vision. I needed to inspect the inside of a rifle receiver this weekend, and being able to apply the light right on the spot I was examining was a big help. This is in a well lit shop. The problem wasn't the shortage of light, but light in the right place.
I've seen the ones you are talking about, and I might get one for general flashlight use, but not as a replacement for a good penlight.
Doug White
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What about using fiber optics to deliver the light to where you want? Karl
wrote:

meets
the
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Doug White wrote:

I just bought an LED keychain light from LOWES (the big home center chain - near one of their checkouts) for $2.99. Pretty darn bright. Cylinder shaped, about 3/8" in diameter, about 1&1/2" long, uses watch batteries. Has a momentary button switch but an easy conversion to a maintained switch could be done by making a sleeve with a shoulder to slide over the button.
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that same LED light is available from most of the dollar stores for a buck.
Gunner
"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." - Proverbs 22:3
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wrote:

Canadian buck at that Gerry :-)} London, Canada
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On Mon, 27 Feb 2006 22:00:48 -0500, Gerald Miller

Thats $0.37USD isnt it? <G>
Gunner
"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." - Proverbs 22:3
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wrote:

A little more than that from what I heard on the radio today - looks like about $0.88USD at the moment. Maybe we'll get back into that premium position yet, but I have my doubts. Gerry :-)} London, Canada
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On Tue, 28 Feb 2006 21:49:03 -0500, Gerald Miller

A couple that I know..truck drivers...good friends from BC, used to pickup/deliver here in California. First time they came down they had serious sticker shock when they went to buy stuff in LA. Fortunately..I knew all the cheap places for Stuff. and later on subsequent trips..Id have purchased Stuff wholesale for them so they could take it back home affordably. Of course they declared it at customs..indeed. Right.
The little town up in the middle of bumfuck nowhere didnt have much of a selection of electronics and so forth. When I took them to the Fry's electronics in North Hollywood..they reminded me of my buddies new Russian wife the first time he took her to a Walmart SuperStore...
Thats the big problem with being a trucker..and a service guy..you see lots of sceanery out the windshield..but seldome have time to do anything or go anywhere.
Gunner
"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." - Proverbs 22:3
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One of the things I like about regualr penlights is they are long enough to reach into places. I have a couple Maglite 1 AAA flashlights (about the same size as the one you described), and they are just too short to hang onto and get inside things easily. Some of the new ones (light the Streamlight with 3 AAAA cells) are even longer thna the old fashioned penlights with 2 AA cells.
Doug White
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On Mon, 27 Feb 2006 23:19:51 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@alum.mit.edu (Doug White) wrote:

http://users.goldengate.net/~dforeman/small_LED_light /
Forgot to mention that it has a push-on, push-off switch.
It is certainly possible to make a 1-watt Luxeon light 3/4" dia to use 2, 3 or 4 AAA cells that would compare quite favorably with a 2AA Maglight, but the LED alone would blow your cost bogey.
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You need to look in the surplus market for the prices you're after. I've bought flashlights and other stuff from these guys with no problems: http://www.mpja.com/basicsearch.asp?search=flashlight&Go.x=0&Go.y=0&Go=direct
Steve
Doug White wrote:

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wrote:

I checked the URL. They don't list any penlights at the moment.
Doug White
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mpja is one of many places...
Steve
Doug White wrote:

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On Mon, 27 Feb 2006 01:40:48 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@alum.mit.edu (Doug White) wrote:

Sorry to hijack the thread, but what is /up/ with the 'mag-lite style LED flashlight' that has 'turn the end cap 1/4 turn and press the button for momentary on, 1/2 turn for constant on'? Dorcy flashlights all seem to work this way, as do Sears brand mag-lite esque LEDs. I've seen ones in the dollar store that are also like this, and I'm not sure about the one that Advance Auto Parts has that has 3 LEDs. It's got to be the most anti-ergonomic configuration /ever/, and even newer models from /other/ brands seem to be following it.
As for your question, I am very happy with my Harbor Freight 4LED flashlight. It takes 3 AA batteries, I put lithium ones in it so I can keep it in my car without worrying about them bursting in the heat or wearing out. It's not much thicker than the batteries themselves, but it /is/ a bit long, if you use it for up close work you have to remember it's longer than a mag-lite, or you'll poke your eye out. It has a /normal/ push button endcap. The button feels a little flimsy but I've been using it for a year and it's still fine. Normally 14.99, but it often goes on sale for 6.99 ; Just found it online for 9.99
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber653
It's pretty bright, too.
My other flashlight is a Dorcy Metal Luxeon 1-Watt that I got in Wal-mart for $19. Incredibly bright. This one takes 3 AAAs, but it's thicker since they're arranged around the center of the flashlight.
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Got one of those, but did not achieve the same results. Two of the four LEDs have already burnt out, and when they were working they were very blue, showing that they were being overdriven. Battery life has also been less than desirable. --Glenn Lyford
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On 3 Mar 2006 18:22:55 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I saw another one on HF's website that has a lanyard hook on it but otherwise looked exactly the same. Are you sure it's the same one? This one came in a grey box that said US General. I don't think I've used it heavily, but I've definitely used it a lot and haven't had any problems. It seems pretty evenly white, not noticeably bluer than the 1-watt luxeon one. Even if an LED did burn out, it was only $7 and most flashlights in that price range only have 1 LED. I was more worried about the very flimsy feeling button, but that's held up okay too.
I just saw a 3-watt Luxeon in Lowes today, $40. Runs on 2 C batteries. I'll get that before hurricane season, but I'll wait to hear more about battery life on it. Even with Cs instead of AAs, 2 cells for a 3-watt just doesn't sound like it'll last very long long.
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I got a 3 Watt Luxeon on eBay before Christmas for a little over $10. It runs on 3 AA cells. It shines as far as my 2 D cell Maglight. I couldn't tell you how long the batteries last since I don't use it often. Forty dollars for a flashlight is a lot of money.
RWL
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Try to find an online "road test" of the light you settle on. Many (perhaps most) of the 3-cell LED lights have no regulation, and grow progressively dimmer as the batteries deplete. If you buy a flashlight that uses only one or two 1.5-volt cells, you are guaranteed to have a regulation circuit. LEDs rquire well over 3 volts on the diode, so the only way to get that is with 3 cells or with a voltage step-up circuit. Those that use the voltage step-up circuit are usually regulated, meaning that the output stays fairly constant until the batteries run flat.
I personally prefer AA batteries, as the cost is usually the same as AAAs but the energy content is about 3X. You can get some pretty nice 1- and 2-cell AA LED flashlights.
Martin
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