Best "backup" LED flashlight?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Best "backup" LED flashlight?

    I have been having a blast riding this summer, but get home from work on the late side. To extend riding time I am going to try getting out at night some.

    I purchased one of those DX P7 bike lights, and will take it apart, clean it out, add some thermal paste, and touch up the solder joints.

    I would like to have a backup light in my camelbak. I am thinking an un-modified LED flashlight with decent output and run time, just to get me home in case of a failure.

    I am never more than an hour from the car.

    What would be a good, cheap LED flashlight that is pretty light and can just sit in my camelbak and hopefully never get used? I don't want to modify it... just a backup for emergencies.

    I know this is the DIY forum, but you guys seem to know the LED flashlights inside and out (literally).

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Jim Z in VT's Avatar
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    It's not about speed, it's about lack of control.

  3. #3
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    Perfect, exactly what I was looking for.

    The light, 2 lithium cells, and a charger for $36 shipped to my door. One night in the woods that insurance policy will pay off many times over .

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Thanks for posting this, it prompted me to remember that I did not put my backup light in my new bag

    The light I carry for backup uses AA's since I usually carry a couple extra anyway and it is one less battery I need to charge before a ride since I can just slap an alkaline in there if I need to. I like the Ultrafire C3's but there seems to be several versions now. This one looks like the latest:

    Q3 with modes:
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.12093

    P4 single mode:
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.18305

    This is probably the one I would buy:
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.1993

    My experience with these C3 type lights is that the LED matters less than the driver. I have a Q5 that looks like garbage with 2 AA's and an old P4 that is rock solid and much brighter. I use them with eneloops and get good runtimes with good brightness. I also wrap a velcro tie wrap around it so I can attach it to my helmet or bars without a mount.

    Lights with modes can be good and bad. They tend to have more problems since they are more sensitive to switch problems or bad connections inside the light. Though it would be good to have a low and high, I just use single mode to avoid problems. Nearly every DX light I have with modes (about 10 so far) has had some problem with the modes due to switch or electrical path problems in the body, sometimes it is dirty threads, sometimes just a bad design.

  5. #5
    Lets RIDE!
    Reputation: Jim Z in VT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy
    My experience with these C3 type lights is that the LED matters less than the driver. I have a Q5 that looks like garbage with 2 AA's and an old P4 that is rock solid and much brighter.

    Lights with modes can be good and bad.
    I mentioned the 5-mode Q5 TR-801 because there were people here unhappy with the output of the single mode version...not sure if the driver or the LED was the issue, but in this case the 5-mode has gotten good reviews. I have one that has worked very well. I used it as a helmet light last season, and now that I've built brighter DIY lights it lives in my camelback as the emergency light, even when I'm not planning to be out after dark, just in case.

    The only "improvement" that often seems to be needed with most of these inexpensive LED lights is tightening up the lockrings and scraping the threads front and rear for a better electrical pathway. There is a really long thread here somewhere discussing the 801....search for "Trustfire TR-801" and you should find it.

    JZ
    It's not about speed, it's about lack of control.

  6. #6
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    I was going to Rec TR801 aswell, mainly cause there small and light only any use if you can helmet mount them though recently.

  7. #7
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    Hi JZ, I really like the TR-801 you posted, and have almost bought one several times. If I was to have a buggy primary light, and often needed a really good backup that would be used often enough, I would go with that one that over the C3. It is a trade off between performance and convenience IMHO. There will be a significant difference in brightness between the C3 and the TR-801, which I believe some use as their main or helmet light. I think my C3 would get me back though, but much slower.

  8. #8
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    I've got a C3 and a TR-801 ( yes and a problem ) the TR-801 makes for a better helmet light where as the C3 is quite floody also less lumens but makes for a better bar light, C3 you can buy AA's if need be.

  9. #9
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    Consider having two lights on at all times. Yes some would consider it overkill, but think about a fast downhill sections in the woods. A failure puts you in sudden blackness. The brighter the light the more everything goes black when it fails. Having a helmet light and a bar light can save you.

    Now it's not much of an issue if you are pedaling along the side of a paved road.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vroom9
    Consider having two lights on at all times. Yes some would consider it overkill, but think about a fast downhill sections in the woods. A failure puts you in sudden blackness. The brighter the light the more everything goes black when it fails. Having a helmet light and a bar light can save you.

    Now it's not much of an issue if you are pedaling along the side of a paved road.
    +1
    On the MTB I always run a second light. Even 50lm is enough for this(old cateye 520 was fine).
    On the roadie I run a front blinky.

    For DIY I have thought about supercaps to provide a small amount of light for 5 to 10 seconds when batteries/drivers fail, probably enough to pull up when things go wrong.

    Otherwise a single AA light would work and wont take up too much space. Wrap some duct tape around your seatpost, you can use it for a simple mount.

  11. #11
    I like bloody ankles
    Reputation: dsjc's Avatar
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    My in the bag backup is a Fenix L2D with a twofish lockblock. Runs on AA's and has 3 usable modes of brightness that will run plenty long to get you out of any evening ride, plus a couple other fancy useless modes. It makes for a fine everyday tool around the house as well.

    I also ride with a light on the bars and one on the helmet - always !

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