UniqueFire UF-2100 3-mode

Reviewer’s Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Uniquefire UF-2100

Summary:

Battery: 18650
Switch: Reverse tail clicky
Modes: 3 (can be modded to 5)
LED Type: Cree XM-L T6
Lens: Glass
Tailstands: Yes
Price Payed: $14.95
From: DinoDirect
Date Ordered: 26 Sept 2011

Pros:

  • Bright!
  • Functioning mode memory
  • Only 3 modes
  • Optional 5 modes

Cons:

  • Not regulated
  • Gets hot on High
  • Needs a Medium (instead of strobe)
  • Rough threads

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Sunwayman V10A

Reviewer’s Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Sunwayman V10A

Summary:

Battery: AA or 14500 li-ion
Switch: Forward clicky
Modes: 1 infinitely variable
LED Type: Cree XP-G R5
Lens: coated glass
Tailstands: yes
Price Paid: $53.68
From: DinoDirect
Date Ordered: 19 Sept 2011

Pros:

  • Forward clicky
  • Infinitely variable output
  • Very low Low
  • Nice quality build
  • Cool looking
  • Good throw

Cons:

  • No preset modes
  • Gets hot on li-ion batteries

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Solarforce L2i

Today Grant and Mom and got flashlights. These are not just any flashlights, but take a lot of great features from a number of different sources. The flashlight is a Solarforce L2i. People absolutely rave about how great a light the Solarforce L2i is, and I will explain more about them later, but one nice thing is that it is a P60 host meaning it takes a standard reflector and bulb combination that is easy to switch out if you want to upgrade the flashlight. And unlike most P60 hosts, this one uses standard AAA batteries. So Mom and Grant also got some of the best AAA rechargeable batteries available: Duracell precharged with white tops that are made in Japan. These batteries are thought to the be the same thing as Eneloop batteries which are the best. What makes them great is that, unlike normal rechargeable batteries, these don’t lose their charge very quickly sitting around waiting to be used. While a typical battery might lose 50% of its charge in a couple of months, these batteries will only lost 15% of their charge in a year. So the flashlight will be ready to go whenever it is needed. But because the flashlight uses 3 batteries and most battery chargers only charge batteries in pairs, they also got a Sony Cycle Energy charger that charges the batteries individually. I have been very impressed with this simple and compact charger that does everything right. There are very few chargers out there that will properly charge batteries by using an acceptable current, cutting off when the battery is full, rejecting bad batteries, while charging batteries individually and without a trickle charge.

solarforce-l2i.jpg

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New Flashlight Wiki

I have been learning a lot about flashlights over the last couple of years. As a way of keeping all of the information straight, I wrote a lot of articles for CandlePowerForum’s Wiki. Their Wiki was pretty sad, but it became a really good resource that I could refer to. I don’t know if that many people were using it, but it was helpful to me at least.

But the problem with the CPF Wiki was that it was under constant spam attacks. The administrator there took some steps to stop the spam but last week almost all of their pages were vandalized. I reported this to the admin and the user that had damaged the pages was blocked, but the vandalism was not undone. I certainly didn’t want to fix all of those pages. I have offered to help administer the wiki in the past, but the administrator does not want any help. Also some pages are locked and the ability to upload images, which could be really helpful, has been turned off.

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Microcontroller Programming

A driver for a flashlight is a circuit board with electronic components on it. The purpose is to take power from the battery, then modify that power level using the electronics, and send the output to the LED of the flashlight. For instance, to get a strobe the driver will turn the power to the LED on and off. A Low mode can be created by turning the light on and off faster than the human eye can detect. By decreasing the amount of time the LED pulses on, the light appears to get dimmer and dimmer. This is done using a microcontroller, which is just a chip that is soldered to the driver. One chip that seems to be used pretty often is the Atmel Tiny13. Some drivers have 5 modes (Low, Med, High, Strobe, SOS) and some have only 3. The only difference is in how the microcontroller works.

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Review: Mr.Lite BLF AA-4YE

Mr.Lite BLF AA-Y4E

Summary:

Battery: AA/14500
Switch: Reverse clicky
Modes: 4
LED Type: Cree XR-E Q5
Lens: Collimator (plastic)
Tailstands: Yes
Price Paid: $16.99
From: Manafont
Date Ordered: 25 Oct 2010

Pros:

  • Well made
  • Smooth threads
  • Very good throw
  • No flashy modes
  • Nice holster and lanyard

Cons:

  • Needed some repairs to work
  • No mode memory
  • Two low modes are too close together
  • Without lanyard it will roll

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