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Very Hot Topic (More than 100 Replies) LED torches: purchase suggestions (Read 66981 times)
Manual Man
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LED torches: purchase suggestions
Aug 12th, 2013 at 5:11am
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To save endless questions (and people searching through pages and pages of torch threads Roll Eyes ) I thought I'd chuck together a very quick thread with links to the top products in each price point. Feel free to dispute anything below and we should end up with a list of only stuff worth looking at.

A bit about overseas resellers:
DX.com: Good range of products, prices are good but shipping times can be slow (anything from 2-6 weeks).

Fasttech.com: Fairly quick in terms of shipping (~2 weeks normally) . Excellent prices and still willing to sell Li-ion batteries although they must be sent via surface mail which takes 2-3 months.
Coupon code BLF gives 5% off most torch related items.

Aliexpress.com: Chinese version of eBay, you pay up front and the seller doesn't receive the money until you confirm arrival. See the SN6X-2s link below for the Maxtoch seller.


Torches
A60 - single 18650, narrow beam, long range, quality is not always the best but very good price
http://dx.com/p/jacob-a60-cree-q5-3-mode-310lm-white-led-flashlight-w-strap-blac....
Small Sun ZY-C10 - single 18650, zoom lens, wide or narrow, long range.
http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/small-sun-zyc10s-cree-q5-3mode-floodtot....
Convoy C8 - single 18650, good output but medium range (100m for bunnies), good size spot so good as an all around .22 light.
http://www.fasttech.com/products/1601/10002364/1272100
Latest version of the SN6X-2 takes 2 18650s, excellent range with good run-time, in the right conditions you can see rabbits out to 200m with these.
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/MAXTOCH-Sniper-M24-Lighter-Version-of-SN6X-2S-AR-....

Check out Mudgripz's reply below (number 11 and 18) for info for troubleshooting if your having issues.


Headlights:
Zebralight Reliable and well thought out headlights. No zoom function but waterproof, lightweight and has excellent run-time and output for the size (18650 version same weight as a Lenser H7) with enough grunt to see something 100m away if needed.
http://www.zebralight.com or via Trademe
Ultrafire H6 cheap alternative to 18650 Zebralights, still excellent but a couple of minor design issues.
http://www.ultrafire-shop.net/UltraFire_Shop.php?view=productPage&product=133

Somewhat bulky but reasonable run time and range make it a good all rounder.
http://www.fasttech.com/products/1602/10007455/1628300-singfire-l-05-1-cree-xm-l....

Lenser H7 knock-off identical a Led Lenser H7, just as prone to eventually wearing out as the earlier H7 is but without the warranty. For all of $12 its worth grabbing one for the glove box.
http://www.fasttech.com/products/1602/10000407/1044501-zooming-cree-q5-200-lumen....


Batteries (18650) Note: the Panasonic cells are 1-2mm longer then normal and very slightly wider then normal so may not fit in all 18650 torches. They should fit in all of the above with minor alterations to torch tail-cap internals. Another note on Chinese cells: often the claimed capacity is "creative" marketing, the best Japanese cells are ~3000-3400mAh so anything claiming more is bogus.

Generally any of these batteries can be found on Trademe as well (for twice as much) so worth checking if you need them in a hurry. Generally anything less then $8 per cell off TM is garbage.

Trustfire 2400mAh (2300-2400mAh real)
http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10000377/1050702-trustfire-tf18650-3-7v-2400m....
Trustfire 3000mAh (2300-2600mAh real)
http://www.fasttech.com/products/1420/10000377/1053200-trustfire-tf18650-3-7v-30....
Sanyo 2600mAh (2500-2600mAh real)
http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10001901/1143802-sanyo-ur18650f-18650-2600mah....
Panasonic 2900mAh (2800-2900mAh real)
http://www.fasttech.com/product/1141000
Panasonic 3100mAh (2900-3100mAh real)
http://www.fasttech.com/products/1420/10001980/1141103
Panasonic 3400mAh (3100-3400mAh real, best 18650 on market but no where near as cheap as Trustfires)
http://www.fasttech.com/products/1420/10001980/1141104


Batteries ( Low Self Discharge or LSD AA and AAA)  AA and AAA rechargeables of old need recharging every couple of months regardless of use. Newer low self discharge cells retain around 80%+ of their charge for a year so don't need to be recharged if they haven't been used for while.

Some of the better brands are:
Sanyo / Panasonic Eneloop (no longer sold by Fasttech)
Camelion Alwaysready
Panasonic Infinity / Evolta
Maha Imedion

No links buts you should be able to find any of the above on Trademe, eBay (watch for counterfeits) or the local supermarket.

Enelong - Eneloop knock off... not as good as Eneloop but very cheap (may need to be shipped via surface mail).
http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10001963/1140600-enelong-12v-2100mah-pre-char....
http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10001963/1140601-enelong-12v-900mah-pre-charg....


Charges. You get what you pay for so I would advise against buying the cheapest you can find. Many of the cheaper models do not charge batteries separately and do not automatically stop charging once full which can pose a fire hazard and destroys the life and capacity of the batteries.

Trustfire: basic model, does the job, does not charge each cell independently though.
http://www.fasttech.com/products/1421/10000856/1073301-trustfire-tr-001-multi-pu....
Nitecore i2 Li-ion and Ni-MH / Ni-Cd charger, independent charging channels, will charge 18650s and AAs (4 slot version can be found in the drop down box on the same page).
http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10001638/1327201-nitecore-i2-lithium-li-ion-n....
Nitecore D4 Li-ion and Ni-MH / Ni-CD charger, newer version of the i2 and i4.
http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10001638/1756400-nitecore-d4-4-slot-digital-b....

NZ cord for i2 and i4 chargers:
http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10003189/1271000-au-plug-ac-power-adapter-cor....
UK, US to AU/ NZ adapter:
http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10002470/1182202-3-pin-au-us-uk-eu-to-au-trav....


Scope Mounts
A lot of guys now using this set-up (see possum-shooters images in reply 19 below) and has been found to be very effective.

One of these on your torch:
http://dx.com/p/25mm-gun-mount-5523
Remove (hacksaw) non weaver end of one of these and mount on the scope:
http://dx.com/p/universal-gun-mount-with-hex-wrench-33755
Or use one of these:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1-25mm-Ring-20mm-Mount-with-Weaver-Rail-for-Scope....
« Last Edit: Dec 15th, 2014 at 5:08am by chris »  
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #1 - Aug 12th, 2013 at 5:25am
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Bloody good idea there MM, a lot of this stuff is often being repeated. Smiley
  
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #2 - Aug 12th, 2013 at 5:38am
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Awesome MM long overdue for this type of info , highly recommend those nitecore chargers I have the i4 u pay a little more for them , but they are well made and do AA,AAA and the 18650 as you've said
  

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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #3 - Aug 12th, 2013 at 7:05am
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Yep looks good to me.

Of the torches the Jacob A60, Small Sun C10 and little Convoy C8 are more rifle lights whereas the SN is rifle and long range spotlight. At 400gms latest SN is at the top weight for a scope mounted light for me (about same as led lenser P14), though a couple of boys I know mount 2x SNs off scopes!! But ... a lighter weight version due out in few months.

Couple of thoughts - Ben you might like to add this - now available here on trademe - to accessory mounts:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/sports/hunting-shooting/firearm-parts/mounts/auction-62...

And the other thought is to watch out for bogus maxtochs and skyrays - both imitated and sometimes to poorer quality level and output.
  
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #4 - Aug 13th, 2013 at 8:13am
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mudgripz wrote on Aug 12th, 2013 at 7:05am:
Yep looks good to me.


Couple of thoughts - Ben you might like to add this - now available here on trademe - to accessory mounts:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/sports/hunting-shooting/firearm-parts/mounts/auction-62...


This might be a dumb question, but how does this mount work, is there another part that attatches to the torch and connects to the mount shown? I cant see how you wouls attatch a torch to that mount.

Cheers
  
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #5 - Aug 13th, 2013 at 8:28am
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skyline_glenn wrote on Aug 13th, 2013 at 8:13am:
This might be a dumb question, but how does this mount work, is there another part that attatches to the torch and connects to the mount shown? I cant see how you wouls attatch a torch to that mount.

Cheers


Put a weaver style scope ring on the torch and attach that to the above mount: this allows better clearance and removal / replacement of the torch without pissing around with allen keys etc.
  
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #6 - Aug 13th, 2013 at 9:57pm
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Excellent post MM Smiley

Maybe one of the mods could put this post at the top as a sticky  Smiley
  
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #7 - Aug 17th, 2013 at 1:01am
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Excellent MM, I'm too lazy to import but this info. helps me to make informed buys on tardme, already have nitecore i4,good bit of kit. Well my lad, your efforts are to be rewarded, with a spring hunt on some easier country, have really appreciated the informative posts of yourself ,Mudgripz and other "torchaholics". Smiley Good call Alan to make it a sticky, thanks. Smiley
« Last Edit: Aug 17th, 2013 at 1:17pm by X-POACHER-YEAH RYT »  

Get as close as you can, then get a bit closer.
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #8 - Aug 20th, 2013 at 8:53pm
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Good work.  Smiley
  

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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #9 - Aug 26th, 2013 at 10:20am
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Cheers guys. If anyone has anything they want to see added stick it up and I'll see if I cant get it added to the original post.
  
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #10 - Aug 30th, 2013 at 3:03am
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I use one of these - http://www.ledsunlimited.co.nz/led-torch-kit-lithium-re-chargeable-waterproof-cr...

They come with 2 18650 batteries, wall charger, and car charger and a nifty box to store all the bits.

This is brighter than my $200 Dereelight....
  
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #11 - Sep 2nd, 2013 at 3:53am
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Some notes from my experience for Maxtoch SN and other led torch owners...

Batteries

After using a variety of 18650 batts over 3-4 years, the Trustfire 3000 mAh (genuine 2500-2600) are good. They have enough milliamps to give XML grunters quite good runtimes. Also good value at $8US+ from Fastways or $10+ from DX. Issues are that they will wear out with heavy use over time. Two sets of mine have broken down after 3 years solid use - so just bear this in mind. They fit all torches well.

The Panasonic 3100s I have - after a few recharges - give better runtimes. I run a dedomed and tweaked Maxi SN6X-2 at 177k lux and with Trustfires its around 55 minutes runtime, but with Panasonics its 81 minutes. I also have a Maxtoch SN6X-2X - the new limited edition bighead one - running at a huge 230k lux and at this level of tune it runs for 47 mins with Trustfires and 73 mins with Panasonics on full noise. This is a test bunny light.

Panasonics are near twice the price but better runtimes and likely will last longer. Key issue is their extra length which affects alot of torch makes - they may not switch on/off properly when tailcap screwed on. To cope with this you can loosen torch barrel from head a turn or so, and/or leave tailcap a turn looser.


Troubleshooting


I have found the Maxis very reliable - a few tips to keeping them 100%:

* When you get your new SN make sure the switch is screwed into tailcap firmly.
* Do not apply any oils/greases to torch threads - the threads are contact points and almost all oils, greases etc are non conductive. Don't use graphite grease - does not work well either and also leads to switch on/off problems.
* Do use if necessary a little CRC, or graphite powder. They are conductive and will help on/off reliability.
* If you start to get on/off or mode change issues - check first that your tailcap switch is still firmly in place.
* Then check your batts are still good. Swap in some known good or new batts and test torch with those. Batteries can break down, andso too can chargers - leaving you with only part charged batts.
* If issues continue, take off tailcap and clean threads in cap and on torch tube - remove any build up of crap. Then clean threads thoroughly with a little CRC and dry. Then get some fine wet and dry paper and run it over threads in tailcap and on tube. Then run it into and round the thread grooves on tube to recreate good contact.
* Do this periodically to keep good contact

I've found these basic steps solve almost all aparent 'switch' issues. Hope that helps...please add any other ideas...
  
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #12 - Sep 2nd, 2013 at 8:21am
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mudgripz wrote on Sep 2nd, 2013 at 3:53am:
Some notes from my experience for Maxtoch SN and other led torch owners...

Batteries

After using a variety of 18650 batts over 3-4 years, the Trustfire 3000 mAh (genuine 2500-2600) are good. They have enough milliamps to give XML grunters quite good runtimes. Also good value at $8US+ from Fastways Tech ?or $10+ from DX. Issues are that they will wear out with heavy use over time. Two sets of mine have broken down after 3 years solid use - so just bear this in mind. They fit all torches well.

The Panasonic 3100s I have - after a few recharges - give better runtimes. I run a dedomed and tweaked Maxi SN6X-2 at 177k lux and with Trustfires its around 55 minutes runtime, but with Panasonics its 81 minutes. I also have a Maxtoch SN6X-2X - the new limited edition bighead one - running at a huge 230k lux and at this level of tune it runs for 47 mins with Trustfires and 73 mins with Panasonics on full noise. This is a test bunny light.

Panasonics are near twice the price but better runtimes and likely will last longer. Key issue is their extra length which affects alot of torch makes - they may not switch on/off properly when tailcap screwed on. To cope with this you can loosen torch barrel from head a turn or so, and/or leave tailcap a turn looser.


Troubleshooting


I have found the Maxis very reliable - a few tips to keeping them 100%:

* When you get your new SN make sure the switch is screwed into tailcap firmly.
* Do not apply any oils/greases to torch threads - the threads are contact points and almost all oils, greases etc are non conductive. Don't use graphite grease - does not work well either and also leads to switch on/off problems.
* Do use if necessary a little CRC, or graphite powder. They are conductive and will help on/off reliability.
* If you start to get on/off or mode change issues - check first that your tailcap switch is still firmly in place.
* Then check your batts are still good. Swap in some known good or new batts and test torch with those. Batteries can break down, andso too can chargers - leaving you with only part charged batts.
* If issues continue, take off tailcap and clean threads in cap and on torch tube - remove any build up of crap. Then clean threads thoroughly with a little CRC and dry. Then get some fine wet and dry paper and run it over threads in tailcap and on tube. Then run it into and round the thread grooves on tube to recreate good contact.
* Do this periodically to keep good contact

I've found these basic steps solve almost all aparent 'switch' issues. Hope that helps...please add any other ideas...


Great info there Muddy Smiley I ran some new trustfire 3000s in my sn6x 2s and they ran for bugger all. I'm hoping like for the panasonics they will get more runtime after a couple of charges, it was their first charge from new and probably only ran for 30mins or so.
  
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #13 - Sep 2nd, 2013 at 10:26am
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Sounds like something not right there Ruger - when I batt tested the new 2S it did over 100 mins with Trustfires. Is your charger ok?
  
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Re: LED torches: purchase suggestions
Reply #14 - Sep 3rd, 2013 at 4:02am
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Probably not mate, it was a cheap piece of poo I got before I knew what kind to get. I will be buying one that you and MM suggested. The contacts on the charger are a bit naff so most likely the problem.
  
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