Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A quick note

A couple of my friends are having some trouble getting started - if you like my blog (very specific towards flashlights), perhaps a photography blog would be up your alley?


And if you're more into the fitness side of Apocalypse Preparedness, maybe you should look more closely at a fitness regime like P90X.  Here's a personal touch on how to get started, and a play by play (ongoing) of someone's own experiences:


I'll have more on flashlights tomorrow.  I'm thinking Rechargeables vs Primaries for which batteries you should be running in which lights.  Sometimes one, sometimes the other - runtime versus convenience, cell sizes, diameters, protected and unprotected circuitry, things of that nature.  If you have a specific topic you'd like to discuss, please comment. :)



So you've all been making comments about Maglites, eh, and as such, here's a little info on one of the most recognizable names in flashlights.

I've mentioned Drop In LED modules before, with the SureFire lights (the host).  Well, you'll be happy to know that the 20 year old, worn and beat up 2D or 3D Cell Maglite that's kicking around your dad's toolbox can be upgraded to a modern powerhouse.

3D Cell model on bottom.  3C Cell model in center - drop ins also avaiable!

Seriously - that flashlight may look like it's seen a few years, but it can go from throwing ~50 lumens with that little incandescent bulb to a measured 240 lumens out the front (Illuminating objects at 1000 feet with ease - anyone within ~100 feet that gets hit in the face should see spots for 8-10 seconds, and will cause eye damage at much closer ranges).  The reason for the incredible throw that this light offers (Throw = illuminating objects at distance, spill = illuminating a wide area) is the ~2" smooth reflector.

In comes Malkoff Devices, who I've discussed before, with a drop in LED module that replaces the incandescent bulb.  Installation is simple: remove the existing bulb, push the drop-in down as far as it will go inside the flashlight and tighten the screw (which wedges the drop-in’s heat sink against the flashlight body). The bottom part of the reflector needs to be cut off to accommodate the drop-in. This is a simple cut with a razor saw. If that is too much for you, Malkoff Devices sells a pre-cut Maglite reflector for 7$.

You'll be kicking out lumens in no time!
The difference between the original bulb and the newer LED module is staggering!

New LED drop in LEFT, Incandescent original RIGHT.

And speaking of kicking, if you ever felt the need to kick someone's head in with one of these lights, feel free to add a crenelated bezel to the front, also available from Malkoff Devices.


Monday, September 27, 2010


You don't have to rely on CR123's, a camera battery (available at WalMart, but pricey!), to power your lights, guys.  If you're buying online, they're a great battery, last forever, long runtimes, don't heat up, Lithium Ion cells are available to increase runtimes, and aren't too expensive, but if you only need a handful, consider some AA lights.

You can grab the batteries out of your remote, out of an RC car, out of XBox controllers - pretty much anything that's available.  With current LED technology, it's possible to get incredible outputs and long runtimes on a single AA battery, which allows the lights to be nice and small, and easily stashed in your back pocket, alongside your wallet.

Google is your friend, but here's a few lights to consider:

The first three are Fenix LD10's, with the furthest left being the newest generation, followed by two 4Sevens Quark lights, and a Nitecore.

All are relatively inexpensive ($50US to $70US), run on a single AA, have Hi and Lo output modes, and are brighter than most of you would ever require.

Check them out. :)

A comparison, of sorts

Some of you guys brought up valid points of not knowing the scale of some of these flashlights, so here's a few photos of an HDS Ra Clicky in hand.

A few examples...

Just thought I would include a few examples of off-the-shelf lights, custom SureFires, straight up custom lights, and so forth. :)

First up is a set of SureFire M2's that have had new LED modules dropped in.  These are available from oveready.com, and are a slightly heavier-duty version of a SureFire C2, a very common light used as a base for upgrading.  These lights, without an LED module, are about $120.  A Malkoff M60 dropin is about $65.

They are a click on-click off light, giving you no option of variable output.  It's all bright, 100% output, all the time.  They're pushing 200-250 lumen out the front for about a 1 hour runtime on 2x CR123 batteries.  To give you some perspective, that's bright enough to blind you at close distances.  You don't want to accidentally bounce this off the mirror into your face, or let a small child play with it, because you can cause eye damage. 

Something else to consider, also on the higher-end side of things, would be an HDS Ra Clicky light, available at hdssystems.com, for a smaller, almost as bright, programmable (variable) output light.  It's more suited to go in your pocket all day, every day, and with it's variable output, will give you the option to read a map, read a book, pick up your wallet off of the floor of the movie theatre without blinding everyone around you - that sort of thing.  Runs about $125-150 USD, but go to their website and have a look.  One of my favourite lights available now.

Seen lower centre.  The SureFire C2 is high centre, and two SureFire 6P's, all from Oveready.com, flank both lights.

Something to consider.  Also runs on CR123's, but only needs one.  Has a better runtime, at a slightly lower lumen output (which is arguably impossible to perceive with the human eye), and gives you that variable output I mentioned earlier.

Go to the websites.  Read, learn, and buy.  You'll find new uses for your flashlights every day, and wonder how you got by without them. :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

As some of you asked...

I thought I'd delve a little deeper into the world of custom and high-end flashlights.

The first question on everyone's mind is money.  How much do you want to spend?  There's great lights available for $50 or $100.  That might seem like a lot to spend on a flashlight, but just like a pocket knife (we'll get into those later), you don't realize how often you'll use it until you have one.  You want sometime that's water resistant at the minimum (if it keeps water out, it keeps sweat, dirt, grit, pocket lint, all of that out), and runs on batteries that you can find pretty easily.

There's two routes you want to consider - do I want to buy something from an online retailer, drop the batteries in the light from the box, and have a great flashlight?  Or do I want to buy a light or light body (a "host"), pick a drop-in LED module, pick some rechargeables (if you'd like), and build an incredible light?

That's not to say that there isn't off-the-shelf lights that are shit-hot awesome in terms of output and runtime, but sometimes building it yourself from a few select parts turns out a really nice light.

If you're looking at off the shelf, here's some brands to consider - Fenix,  Quark, 4Sevens, NiteCore, Novatac, Malkoff, SureFire, and HDS Systems.  Those are pretty much ascending in price, but give google a shot and have a look around.

If you're a custom kind of guy, and are considering throwing something together that meets your specifications, you're going to want to consider SureFire's line of products, but buying a light just to pull the LED module out and drop something else in.  Two kinds of SureFire's you need to worry about - 6P/C2's, and E2E/E2D's. One's got a slightly larger head, the other slightly smaller.

The 6P uses 2 batteries, it's bigger brother the 9P uses 3, and it's slightly different cousin, the C2 and C3 lights, all use the same sized dropin.  What's known as a P60.  Malkoff, Nailbender, and a few others are relatively inexpensive (think $60), and have an absolutely incredible output and runtime.

Either route you take, you should probably ask yourself whether you want to use AA, AAA batteries, similarly sized rechargeables, or CR123's, the industry standard.  All are available at Wal-Mart, but CR123's are going to run you a little more.  Better to buy online.

But this is just a rather introductory post - you should really head over to candlepowerforums.com if you'd like to do a bit of research yourself.

I'll post some pictures in the next few days to show you what you're looking at.

If you have any questions, comment!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Days off...

Used to be about sleeping in.  But with my university's random and abundant mandatory morning activities, it seems to be harder and harder to get back to sleep.

Maybe I should consider getting some blackout blinds, or hanging a blanket or something - those plastic venetian blinds aren't really doing much to keep the room dark...

As an aside, though - I'm big into flashlights (weird, I know), but there's an entire WORLD of information on high-end flashlights.  SureFire is where you're likely to start, and you might already recognize them or some of their lights - but check out Malkoff for dropins (as well as their own line of lights) that blow the stock SureFire's away in Out-the-front (OTF) lumens and runtime!

Get started with a SureFire G2, and you'll realize why that $4 energizer light you got from a cereal box isn't worth the plastic it's made of...

Of course, any flashlight is only as good as the one you're carrying - so figure out a way to have one on you.  Purses for the ladies, cargo pockets for the men - smaller lights can be hung from your keychains.  Check out 4Sevens or Quark for lights of that...caliber?

Friday, September 24, 2010

The university that I attend - perhaps not the one listed on my profile - is a university with a difference.  Sometimes, we do dumb shit in the name of formality, uniformity, or perhaps, in some alien way, the development of leadership.

All of which is unlikely, though.  We do things because that's the way they've always been done at this particular university.

That's not the worst of it, though.

When someone new comes, takes up the mantle of changing the institution, they often make the wrong changes.

They want to change the aspects of this particular university that MAKE IT WHAT IT IS, instead of changing the things that are detracting from the overall package.

But that won't change in the immediate future.  It's been changing in the wrong direction for years now.

Only two-hundred-and-some days to graduation, though.
This makes me smile.  More than it should.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Never say no..


A public service announcement from Casspir...

It almost seems..

Strider DB (not L model), pictured with Kydex pocket sheath.
And Adsense has gone live.  Thank you very much, Google, for the opportunity to sell your things.

I look forward to doing business with you.


I feel like Tyler.  You know, Tyler Durden.  Sometimes I ask myself, what would he do in this situation?

That's how I live my life.  Like a King.

Then there was one

First post on the first blog.  A momentous occasion, with much rejoicing amongst the masses, I'm sure.

Welcome one, welcome all.