I’m not a flashlighter, I’m not a fan, I’m not even an amateur. But I know which flashlight is the best. Lots of lumens? Beating a kilometer beam? Aircraft-grade aluminum body? Good battery? Tightness up to a kilometer deep? No.
The best flashlight is the one that was at hand at a critical moment, when you frantically fumble in the dark, trying to figure out what is happening in parallel. Then the match is a lantern. No, of course fancy tourist lights, bicycle lights are also needed, they help people in everyday life, and the one that will be discussed is in an emergency. So to speak, «lantern of doomsday».
What is important for this application?
1. Such lanterns should be laid out in different places. In the car, in case of repairs on the way. In the car medicine cabinet. At home, at the electrical panel. In the garage. In the country. This means that there should be several flashlights and they should be rather simple and reliable than multifunctional and expensive.
2. The flashlight should have a wide beam. We will illuminate objects at arm’s length.
3. The flashlight must have a low self-discharge power supply. A lithium-ion that has sat down in a year will negate all the other advantages of any flashlight.
4. The lantern must be a headlamp. Have you tried doing the bandage with one hand?
5. Lantern should be compact. To fit right inside the shield, inside the first aid kit, etc. places.
In total, we have a compact headband. What about nutrition? Lithium-ion batteries give a good current (not critical for us), but they make you take care of recharging. The characteristics of lithium-ion drop noticeably in the cold. Not suitable for the car — cross out. Alkaline batteries are cheap, do not discharge themselves longer, but tolerate frost even worse. Saline collect in themselves all the shortcomings, having only one advantage — the price. We have a flashlight not for games, we have a flashlight — the last hope in case of emergency, and he has no right to refuse. Lithium (Li / FeS2) batteries remain, and we select them. Yes, they are more expensive than the flashlight itself, but they can be stored for up to 20 years without noticeable loss of charge, withstand frost down to -40, give off sufficient current throughout the entire discharge and have a good capacity. If you urgently need to make a dressing, eliminate a flood, a fire, help in an accident, then the main thing is reliability.
As a result, he went broke on the flagship of the lithium battery industry — Energizer Ultimate Lithium.
And I decided to order a lantern like this:
I was bribed by the low price and the complete absence of focusing lenses. Because on my old headband I had to twist its optical system right in the rain, it was so inconvenient to change the wheel with a blinding narrow spot of light in front of my eyes.
There is another very important circumstance that few people think about. Current lights are rarely turned on by closing the circuit. Most often, they have a chip — a driver. Of course, it does a very good job of stabilizing the current for the LED, it allows you to use all sorts of flashing modes, but it still, little by little, discharging the batteries as long as the batteries are inserted into the flashlight. And even if this discharge is the minimum current, it critically reduces the resource and capacity of some types of batteries. The Li/FeS2 I have chosen belongs to such types.
Let’s check how things are with the lantern in question. To do this, it is convenient to lay two pieces of foil from a chocolate bar between the battery and the contacts. One piece with the aluminum side to the battery, the other to the contacts. Between the pieces, turn on the ammeter. So let’s do it:
Zero. This is a microamp mode, not a milliamp! The LED driver completely blocks the current.
Perhaps the device is buggy? Let’s try others:
No, that’s right — 0.
Taking this opportunity, for the sake of interest, I looked at the current at rest of another forehead, like this:
We connect in the same microamp measurement mode:
Off scale. Switching to milliamps:
60 microamps. A little, of course, but the battery life will be much less. And the reduction of residual capacity cannot be defined as the product of this current and the hours of its flow. Such a dependence for batteries is highly non-linear, and is normalized for operating currents, and not for leakage currents.
As a result, I laid a film between the contacts of the flashlight and the battery, the edge that sticks out of the case.
The main thing now is not to forget to pull it out when you need a flashlight.
However, back to the hero of our review. How many hours of glow will a lithium battery last? We measure the bright mode current:
Medium mode current:
85 mA. Of course, there is PWM and the flashlight flickers. It is noticeable only when shooting a video, it is not visible to the eye. You can check the frequency:
245 hertz. Filling 25%. In terms of current, this is how it turns out: 85/345 u003d 0.25
In flashing mode, the average current value is 160 mA.
According to the specifications for Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries, at this discharge current, their capacity is estimated at approximately 1300 mAh, so the flashlight will work, respectively, 4, 15 and 8 hours in its three modes. Pretty decent values.
But the flashlight has a fourth, undocumented mode. If you hold down its button for a long time to turn it on, then the flashlight starts to emit a SOS signal in Morse code.
Time to take it apart and see what’s inside. Three screws and a board in front of us:
Board, LED, driver, button and switch. All.
Finally, I’ll show you how it illuminates objects:
This is how everything in life looks like.
I’ll put the flashlight in the car first-aid kit, where it belongs.
Hope it never comes in handy. In any case, I will change the car rather than the batteries in it.
This store sells for about $100.
And here you can buy even cheaper, provided that your favorite color is blue. However, other colors are also there.