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wolf9545
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I would use Silicone grease on all the moveable parts I have used a Mag light Scuba diving to 40 Ft with just Silicone grease on all moveable parts.

wolf9545 is trying to waterproof (or at least improve the water resistance of) a light that Harbor Freight gives out for free. I don't think any amount of silicone grease is going to make this guy waterproof :)

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I'm sure there are other places to get silicon(e) grease but the one i know of is at your local dive shop.

.....

 

<_< In this landlocked Nebraska Town of 1,200 souls - I have a hard time with the "local" portion of that post. :lol::ph34r:

 

We don't even have a donut shop, let alone a dive shop, in this little Albertan town. :D

 

On topic, I have used streamlight flash lights paintballing for years and they just keep on going. My dad is RCMP and they now issue surefire instead of mag light if that helps any. They are terrific lights just a bit to pricey for this guy.

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I'm sure there are other places to get silicon(e) grease but the one i know of is at your local dive shop.

.....

 

<_< In this landlocked Nebraska Town of 1,200 souls - I have a hard time with the "local" portion of that post. :lol::ph34r:

 

Forget that, why would Lincoln or Omaha even have one? :lol:

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There aren't many things that I'm particularly snobby about, but flashlights are definitely one of them. If it ain't Surefire, I ain't carrying it. Spend twice your budget on a Surefire G2, the simplest of models, and you'll have a light for life, rather than for a few years.

 

Fenix, as recommended above, is a good light as well, but you won't find a better flashlight than a Surefire.

 

Yes, Surefires are a winner. Mine goes with me everywhere.

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I use flashlights professionally, tactically, and recreationally, so I am serious about getting the best flashlights. I too do roughly 90% of my caching at night. Here's my general observations on flashlights and batteries after years of using flashlights as a special operations soldier, a technician, and an avid wilderness outdoorsman, with links embedded:

 

Flashlights:

 

  1. Like others, I feel like maybe Maglites are over-rated. 20 years ago they were THE flashlight, there were no contenders. But they have been overcome by the huge renaissance in premium flashlights over the last 10 years and sadly have become very much a follower in the premium flashlight market. The two-handed operation of their zoomable flashlights is a non-starter in today's market. No matter what I am doing, I almost never have two hands free to operate a flashlight. It's one-handed or a headlamp for me.
  2. Lumens are your friend. I carry a 200 lumen flashlight; it's almost a car headlight in your hand, in a compact 4-AAA format. When I need some mojo to find a micro in a pine tree, I have some mojo with me. When you need them, big lumens are a deal-maker. Also, any flashlight up above about 150 lumens can serve as a personal defense tool at night, even without a strobe mode. Try advancing on me at night when I have 200 lumens of light focused down to a beam the size of a basketball pinpointed on your eyes... It is hard to imagine how hard that is til you try it, it's like the surface of the sun even when you're still 50 feet from me.
  3. One-handed operation usually means a push button, and I always prefer the pushbutton on the end cap, what is often called "tactical mode" because of the way you hold a flashlight if you are firing a sidearm. I had a flashlight with a button on the side, and finding the button when I want to turn it on or off--it is always in the wrong spot. One handed also means, if it's a focusing a flashlight, can I zoom it in and out one handed. A true tactical flashlight has an endcap button that is momentary if pressed lightly and stays on when pressed hard enough to click.
  4. If you are in the wilderness, carry more than one, period. I carry three if you include my headlamp.
  5. If the moon is full I try to move to the GZ using only moonlight, even in rough terrain, and then use a red LED headlamp to find the cache if I can. I keep the screen backlight on my gps very low. Once you use a light at night, you are almost committed to use it all night. Learn to use, improve, and trust your night vision.
  6. Waterproofing is fleeting at best. With any focusing beam lamp, the bezel moves, so the barrel-to-bezel O-ring is under constant wear and tear and will leak. If you have a focusing flashlight and want it to be waterproof, you must retreat that ring regularly--REGULARLY--or it will leak for sure. Not a lot, but enough that if you drop your light in water and retrieve it in 10 seconds, you'll still need to disassemble it and dry it out. If you can't commit to weekly maintenance on that ring, buy a non-focusing light if you need it to be waterproof.
  7. Here's my flashlight complement that I go to the field with:
    1. A 200 Lumen Coast T7 that gives me a solid 2 hours on high and has a low beam that will last all day.
    2. A Coast H7 Headlamp, which has focusing beam and a continuously adjustable power slider. 155 Lumens, and will go about 1.5 hours at full power on AAAs, again, pretty much all day on lower power. I bought both of those lights right of the shelf at Lowes, they are both a stock item. Not cheap though, about 69USD for the T7 and 49USD for the H7 if memory serves.
    3. A single-AA, 125 lumen powerhouse from Gander Mountain. It focuses and has great battery life, well over an hour at full brightness on a single AA! It's my backup in the field, and is in my brief case day to day for work.

I love all my lights, and while my T7 isn't as waterproof as I'd like (the o-ring issue) it is an amazing light that I can't be without. The customer service from the company was A+++ the one time I broke my headlamp. It was my fault but they covered it under the lifetime warranty for $5 shipping, even when I told the guy it was my fault.

 

Batteries:

 

  1. Batteries call for some choices. NiMH versus non-rechargeable lithiums are a big cost delta and for most, NiMH is the only way to go. There are rechargeable lithiums but recharging them is a more sophisticated process that requires protection circuits in the battery cell to prevent burning your house down. No thanks. I'd rather carry more rechargeable NiMHs than fewer lithiums.
  2. I buy Tenergy brand AA and AAA NiMH batteries 24 at a time from All-Battery.com and have been extremely impressed with the batteries. At a little over a buck a battery, they pay for themselves in 3 or 4 charge cycles and for me, that's about a week. I can run my T7 at 200 lumens a couple of hours every night for a year on $50 worth of NiMH batteries, or roughly $1,000 in retail alkalines. No brainer for a serious cacher.
  3. When buying rechargeable, always look at capacity. MOST retail C and D NiMH batteries are around 2,500 mAh, which means they simply put an AA battery inside a larger tube. A "C" battery should be at least 5,000 mAh (or why bother) and a "D" cell should be around 10,000 mAh, or why bother. There's no point in carrying a battery that has hollow space in it that could have been filled with more battery squeezin's. The best AAAs will be around 1,000 mAh, AAs should be about 2,500.
  4. I label my batteries. Like for my GPS I have two pairs of AAs I rotate, I label them set A and set B. That way, when I am out and about and I notice that my batteries are getting older and not holding a charge long enough to be reliable any more, I know which set is wearing down. You may have to use that pair 4-5 times before you notice a pattern and by then you won't remember which batteries were a problem. I pair 'em up, keep 'em paired through their life, and dispose of them as a pair.
  5. I carry 8 AA and 12 AAA batteries in my pack. Sounds like it would be heavy, but between lighting and batteries, that adds less than a pound to my roughly 12 pound field backpack. I found these great battery cases at InAnyCase.com that have worked GREAT for me. I put the charged batteries in one way, and flip them around when I put dead batteries back.

If that's not enough info to get you started, what is???

Edited by Sky King 36
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< also snipped for Brevity >

 

 

Very well written post. I'll be sending people to read it.

 

--

 

Mag Lite would be the last thing I'd consider purchasing these days.

 

My flashlight complement is the Zebra H30-Q5 (110 lumen) for my Headlamp, an Olight T-20 Tactical (220 lumen) was my main flashlight up to last week's Outdoor Adventure Show, where I caved in and bought the Fenix TK-35 (820 lumen). Don't skimp on the build quality either. I have killed many an inexpensive flashlight with BFL caching over the years. My Olight and Zebra lights have been solid for three years of caching in rain, snow, sun and temperatures from -40C to +40C with no issues whatsoever. The one downside I have is that my equipment is CR123 based, and that's a difficult battery to find in the field (plus expensive if you don't use rechargables).

 

What has amazed me is how the prices have dropped on the flashlights over the last few years. When I got my T-20 it was $200 CDN. The Fenix one is like $110. I've also noticed that Zebra has a newer version of my headlamp that's 220 lumen for $59. Tempted to upgrade ...

 

Flashlights are also handy for some light painting while night caching .... this is what 820 lumens gets you -

 

5490397077_298183427e.jpg

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I keep about five tactical-style flashlights in my cache bag (yes I have a problem with buying new flashlights all the time - but at least I always have at least one that works). I also keep several mini-mags (usually the pink breast cancer research ones) that I use as swag items, but don't use them myself. My latest acquisition, though I have been pretty impressed with so far:

 

Nebo Redline

 

40CSIREDLINE600x600.jpg

 

220 Lumens, less than half a pound, three brightness settings to save on battery life, adjustable beam, water-resistant, and even a built-in SOS morse code flasher (that I hope I never need). I had never heard of the manufacturer before I saw this, but so far it seems to be a pretty good all-around light.

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I try to keep everything AA. That way I don't have to carry a bunch of different batteries.

So far, that's been the route I've taken. I prefer flashlights that use batteries I can buy anywhere.

I've tried using rechargables in the past, but they've always flatlined after a few uses.

I'm assuming this was because I picked crappy batteries and/or a crappy charger?

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I try to keep everything AA. That way I don't have to carry a bunch of different batteries.

So far, that's been the route I've taken. I prefer flashlights that use batteries I can buy anywhere.

I've tried using rechargables in the past, but they've always flatlined after a few uses.

I'm assuming this was because I picked crappy batteries and/or a crappy charger?

 

Are you using them in an LED flashlight? I use a three AA LED Mag light with cheapish rechargeables. All of my rechargeables are 2000 mah or above. It has been sitting here on my desk all day turned on. I'm curious as to how long it will last. OK, I'm not quite right. So? :laughing:

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So far, that's been the route I've taken. I prefer flashlights that use batteries I can buy anywhere.

I've tried using rechargables in the past, but they've always flatlined after a few uses.

I'm assuming this was because I picked crappy batteries and/or a crappy charger?

Too many variables. Could be the light as well. That's why I like regulated lights - output does not depend so much on voltage. Good batteries and charger is also important.

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The regular bulb lights are so much brighter than the LED lights.

I agree with the first 2 statements but not the 3rd one.

It seems to me that incandscent bulbs throw their light further, while LED's are much brighter, but only at shorter distances. Is that due to the bulb itself, or to the reflector? My brain tells me that light is light, and reciprocity is reciprocity, but my experience shows a clear difference.
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The regular bulb lights are so much brighter than the LED lights.

I agree with the first 2 statements but not the 3rd one.

It seems to me that incandscent bulbs throw their light further, while LED's are much brighter, but only at shorter distances. Is that due to the bulb itself, or to the reflector? My brain tells me that light is light, and reciprocity is reciprocity, but my experience shows a clear difference.

 

It all comes into play. One thing that helps with LED flashlights is to be sure to get a 3watt light. If I need something brighter I use the 18v light that came with my Ryobi tool set.

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...my equipment is CR123 based

Any thoughts, pro or con, on using rechargable CR123s? Good brands/types vs crappy ones?

 

I'm using the UltraFire WF-138/AW 750mAh ones and have had no problems with them after years of use. We night cache every Friday night (and I mean every Friday night) so that's a minimum of 52 charge/discharge cycles over the year for me. I have just started using the 18650s in my "big" light which are basically big CR123s (think two combined end-to-end). The light will use CR123s instead too.

 

Avernar has not been very happy with his Tenergy ones. I know he prefers this charger to the Ultrafire one but still uses the AW batteries.

 

I'm going to give him a poke to come into this thread as he gets a fair amount more technical on the battery stuff.

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It seems to me that incandscent bulbs throw their light further, while LED's are much brighter, but only at shorter distances. Is that due to the bulb itself, or to the reflector? My brain tells me that light is light, and reciprocity is reciprocity, but my experience shows a clear difference.

A big part of that is the design of the reflector. Many LED lights, especially the cheap ones with a bunch of LEDs, have no reflector.

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It seems to me that incandscent bulbs throw their light further, while LED's are much brighter, but only at shorter distances. Is that due to the bulb itself, or to the reflector? My brain tells me that light is light, and reciprocity is reciprocity, but my experience shows a clear difference.

A big part of that is the design of the reflector. Many LED lights, especially the cheap ones with a bunch of LEDs, have no reflector.

 

I get a 325 metre beam on my bigger LED flashlight. Reflector design, LED wattage are both factors.

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It seems to me that incandscent bulbs throw their light further, while LED's are much brighter, but only at shorter distances. Is that due to the bulb itself, or to the reflector?

 

Well, reflector, lens and emitter design all come in to play... Light leaves a Cree LED in one direction, where it leaves a bulb nearly isotropically, in all directions. That means that in an incandescent light, the reflector design is critical. A lot of LED lights are un-reflected, including the Coast "Lenser" series I am familiar with. The emitter (the LED) is completely surrounded by the plastic lens--100% of the light energy is captured by the lens system and refracted out the business end. In an incandescent, there's typically no lensing... Usually half the light comes right from the bulb and is dispersed at the mercy of the bulb design, and the other half is reflected, at the mercy of the reflector's design. The longer the filament in the bulb, the more erratic the projected light pattern. This is why the bulbs in a mini-mag, for instance, are kept so tiny, so the projected image is still nice and round when at maximum "zoom." Also, "orange-peel" reflectors are common to help cut down on the light and dark spots that can be seen in some glossy reflected patterns of a bigger bulb.

 

The artifact of reflection that you may be seeing is that you have one cone of light in an LED flashlight, but two separate cones of concentric light in an incandescent--a direct cone and a reflected cone, and the relfector may be designed to align the hot spots of these two circles at a much longer focal point. Strictly conjecture on my part.

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I'm going to give him a poke to come into this thread as he gets a fair amount more technical on the battery stuff.

(Said in an orcish voice) Stop poking me!

 

CR123's are 3.0V while most rechargable RCR123's are 3.7V. You have to make sure your flashlight can handle the higher voltage or you can burn out the driver circuit. The Tenergy RCR123 is 3.0V. The cell inside is still 3.7V so the protection circuit in them also burns off that extra 0.7V so they run hotter and have trouble powering high drain lights.

 

I prefer the 18650's. The new 2900mAh ones from Surefire are great! The Surefire WF-139 charger is pretty good but doesn't quite follow the Li-ion charging algorithm so the batteries will wear out a little prematurely. The Pila IBC charger does the charge cycle perfectly but runs hotter because of the extra voltage and current regulation it's doing (run in with the lid open if you have one). Stay away from any other Li-ion charger! They'll kill your batteries quicker and may also set your house on fire.

Edited by Avernar
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I'm not sure why you guy's aren't talking about headlamps more! It's a thousand times more convenient when geocaching. They don't leave you juggling in the dark when you are trying to climb or even use two hands to open an ammo can!

 

I've found this as my best light to date. It has an adjustable zoom and will easily focus on things over 100 yards away while being able to provide a soft wide beam for when you're chilling next to an ammo can. Best of all is it takes AA's so I only have to carry one type of battery for my GPS and light.

 

http://www.rei.com/product/783677

 

mammut-lucido-xzoom.jpg

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There aren't many things that I'm particularly snobby about, but flashlights are definitely one of them. If it ain't Surefire, I ain't carrying it. Spend twice your budget on a Surefire G2, the simplest of models, and you'll have a light for life, rather than for a few years.

 

Fenix, as recommended above, is a good light as well, but you won't find a better flashlight than a Surefire.

 

Yes, Surefires are a winner. Mine goes with me everywhere.

 

I agree with all.....in my job I have had the chance to "study" flashlights and have spent well over a thousand dollars doing so......its hard to beat Surefire.

I now carry ( at work and caching ) a 6PX Tactical, 200 Lumen using 2-123A batteries ( non-Surefire batteries can be had for $1 or less each )......I think the 6PX can be had from $50 to $60 and it has way more lumens than the Elite E series that I used to use which costs $ 150.

On a recent night caching run in MS it really lit up the woods.....it also lit up the top of a water tower 300 yards away......it blew away all the other flashlights put together.

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I'm not sure why you guy's aren't talking about headlamps more! It's a thousand times more convenient when geocaching. They don't leave you juggling in the dark when you are trying to climb or even use two hands to open an ammo can!

Personal preference, I guess. I don't like wearing a light around my head, even if it does leave my hands free. I also hate it when someone without much experience wearing a headlamp looks directly at me and destroys my night vision - I tend to stay far away from them when hiking in a group.

 

As for having both hands free when climbing at night, I try not to climb at night. Clumsy as I am, I don't need the extra risk :)

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There aren't many things that I'm particularly snobby about, but flashlights are definitely one of them. If it ain't Surefire, I ain't carrying it. Spend twice your budget on a Surefire G2, the simplest of models, and you'll have a light for life, rather than for a few years.

 

Fenix, as recommended above, is a good light as well, but you won't find a better flashlight than a Surefire.

 

The G2 is BEST Flashlight I've ever owned! It's bright and tough!!

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Wasn't to sure if this should go into this forum or the "topics" section.

 

I want to buy a flashlight for geocaching and for other uses. I would like it to be waterproof and float if dropped in water. Any suggestions on a good one? I don't want to bother with a headlamp because I would like to also use it like a normal flashlights when not geocaching.

 

edit: Oh, forgot something. I don't want to spend a ton of money on a flashlight. I was thinking of under $30 if that is possible; not looking for the best of the best just a good one.

I love my rechargable Streamlight Flashlights, but I recently discovered an Nebo CSI flashlight. Several styles to choose from. The one I have has a total of 30 LED bulbs. You can change lights from Bright white, Ultra Violet, Green nightvision, strobe and even has a laserpointer. The UV luminates your log at night without the glare.

Chuck

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You can change lights from Bright white, Ultra Violet, Green nightvision, strobe and even has a laserpointer. The UV luminates your log at night without the glare.

UV for lighting up the log at night? :blink: I must admit I haven't tried that before, but I find that a little surprising.

 

I googled and found several "Nebo CSI" models. I believe the one you mentioned is the "Investigator".

 

For night caching where you don't need much light and don't want to spoil your night vision, use a weak red light. You don't need to get new light - the lowest setting with either a red filter, or red cellophane with a rubber band to hold it in place will do.

 

I was going to say that green light is not good for night vision, but decided to google first, and some sites argue that green can be superior to red if you use the correct intensity. Interesting, I'll be doing some more reading.

 

Amazon's blurb for this light says "green flashlight doesn't disturb plants or animals while they are sleeping". For the record, I've never managed to disturb a sleeping plant before, or determine if they're sleeping in the first place :)

Edited by Chrysalides
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