Superbright little LED flashlights

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Unless they have a red light function, they are inevitably going to be a source of unwanted light pollution. I really wish there was enough public interest in this problem to get it written into law, where every LED flashlight under a certain price point, would need to have a red light feature. Even better if red light was the first option to come into play, and you had to click again to get the white light.

It’s only 300LM though. I question whether or not that counts as “super-bright”. That’s brighter than the average incandescent flashlight but not like those 1000+LM monsters with the quarter-kilometre throw distances I’ve seen.

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Ooh if you know of any small lights,post a link! I’ve been looking for a new belt light, and having a red led is a requirement. I’m pretty sure I sacrificed my last little light to the train gods.

No idea why all you guys want a red light (I know pilots might use them to maintain night vision, but other than that…). Anyway, I have a few similar devices (likely came from the same Chinese sweat-shop) and was quite surprised at the build quality for the low price. Nicely machined, anodized aluminum; even has O-rings for water proof-ness.

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Unwanted where? Sorry, but that’s a ridiculous claim; unwanted light pollution is a byproduct of poorly designed street lighting, permanently lit office blocks, outdoor lighting at sports and leisure facilities, factories, and security lighting around houses, business parks, etc.
A small handheld flashlight putting out a controlled beam in front of the user for limited periods of time, ie when the owner is using it, probably no more than five or ten minutes at a time, is NOT unwanted light pollution, unless you’re a hedgehog having a torch shone in its face!
Personally, I really dislike flashlights with a ‘zoom’ function, it serves no useful purpose, a properly designed reflector that gives a bright centre-spot with a softer outer halo is much better - I’ve used such flashlights many times on my mountain bikes, you get a bright area illuminating a decent distance in front to pick out hazards, with the surrounding halo to keep the edges of the path or track lit in your peripheral vision.
I have many different flashlights some give a flat flood beam, which is very useful for general use, flooding the area in front with a flat, well-lit area without artefacts or dark rings, others are as I described above, ideal for SAR use or, like mine, on my bike.
300lm is a practical output, but there are small lights using a AA cell that can equal or exceed that. Olight do one with a clip that allows it to clip onto the bill of a baseball cap, which is very handy, I’ve used mine like that.
At the other end, Imalent do a three-emitter light that chucks out 13,000lm, and a five-emitter light that throws out 25,000lm! That’s on Turbo, and they get hot, a button lock-out is essential, you really do not want one turning on accidentally in your pocket!


I have a similar flashlight to this one, about 2000 lumen. I use the zoom to focus the beam tight and use it as a pointer when I’m working in a darkened theater. It’s easier to spot than a laser pointer and even at a distance of seventy-odd feet the beam is still only four or five feet across.

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I’d like to point ot that in no way could this be a 7W LED light. No AA cell can put out that kind of power for more then a very brief time–and that would be a NiCd or NiMH cell. Those little things can crank out the current if they have to–and are designed to. But a light designed to take those cells would not work with an alkaline AA cell. With an alkaline AA cell, you’re looking at a practical limit of 1W.

They can get a lot more power out (the 300LM they claim) if you use a 14500 LI chemestry cell. That would give them a nominal voltage of 3.6V (4.2 to 3.0 useable range) and nearly 1A of current. That’s 3W which is reasonable for a high brightness one ‘AA’ cell light like this. 7A is almost too much to ask from a 16550 cell–which are a good deal larger than a 14500.

So, temper your expectations if you’re expecting to drop a grocery store AA cell in one of these. You’re not going to get 300LM.

As long as you’re alone, it’s not a problem. As soon as you try to use a powerful bright white light on a trail or in a campsite with other people, it blasts out any hope of night vision for anyone else you might encounter. It’s gotten so bad that amateur astronomers are the only strangers I’d willingly camp out with. People at star parties take night vision seriously, and red lenses are considered mandatory in large groups out away from city lights.

Well, that was quick shipping, thank you, Amazon.

A few data points for full brightness:
1.52V at 0.9 A (fully charged AA cell)
3.74V at 1.3A (middle life Li-Ion cell)
4.22V at 1.95A (fully charged Li-Ion cell)

The wattages these give (at the battery) are: 1.37, 4.86, and 8.23. the LED won’t be seeing all of that as the switching power supply is likely 80% efficient or nearly. Assuming that, we get 1W, 3.9W, and 6.5W. So, they may very well be cranking that much power into the LED. Looking at the LED, though, it looks like a 1W element–it’s tiny. There’s not much thermal sinking and the light is small and will heat up quickly. I’ll see if I can run some thermal tests on it. I’ll need to rig up a fake battery to power it more than a few seconds while holding it.

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