Torches with batteries are surely part of the budget of each prepper self-respecting. Each apartment, EDC, Kit and BOB should have (at least) one with spare batteries. In this first article, we’ll learn something about this very important instrument, where specifications are much more detailed and relevant to what you may think.
In this first part we will see in particular the LED flashlights with a hint to the characteristics to bear proud when we choose to purchase a product rather than the other. “The strongest and most ancient feeling of the human soul is fear, and the biggest fear is the unknown.”
The torches in the past
Since the dawn of time, fear of the dark and need to see forced the men to look for tools to be able to shed some light. Until a few decades ago, the technology had created relatively few truly innovative products, switching from incandescent bulbs, xenon, krypton and HID.
Unfortunately, even now, the idea that more torch (or “stack” term wrongly used colloquially, as the batteries are types of cells) is still far from the products currently available on the market at affordable prices. Once the civil type torches was more or less a toy: plasticky, unreliable, with a switch on the side which ended inevitably to break or corrode because of poor quality batteries that were left inside the torch for a long time, since you only used in case of power failure or emergency. There is still the belief that more torches is large, and more light. If you asked Mr. Smith to give you a powerful torch, probably would trust to appearances and the size of both torch body and the light bulb inside.
A huge heavy flashlight powered by ben 6 cells type D a few years ago, when compared with a modern LED flashlight currently available, ruining on all points, except if you intend to use as a blunt instrument.
LED technology compared to older technologies, has many advantages. The first is reliability: a medium led has a life expectancy of 50,000 hours. Does not consist of moving parts, so doesn’t suffer shocks as filaments, and does not present the Achilles’ heels are typical of other types. Also is currently the most efficient light source available, which results in more light and longer.
Having said that though, let me start by making some necessary clarifications. Those with a low profile led flashlight, usually sold for a few dollars at a hardware stores or from Chinese dealers, built with led lights Christmas trees or lights stand-by lights, doesn’t have a real flashlight, designed and built to provide really usable illumination. It would be like comparing a skateboard to a car just for the fact that they both have 4 wheels.
It is true that the LEDs of Carswers are more efficient than other technologies, but there is a led. The catalog of available led increases very rapidly, with new products that may be more or less interesting from the point of practicality, technological innovation, or commercial applications. They are produced by many manufacturers (Cree, Nichia, Osram) … The most prolific writer and known in the world of the torches is Cree.
In the field of high output led flashlights are generally used and high power, which can be identified from an acronym.
Take for example a led type R5 and try to identify their characteristics.
The abbreviation consists of at least two parts “XP-G” and “R5”. “XP-G” means the “dimensional” class (size and shape); “R5” is the efficiency class.
Sometimes there is also a third part (optional) like in XP-G R5 led “C1” in which C1 indicates the temperature of the led light, which is not a value indicating the heat output, as you might expect, but indicates the type of color output.
We can have more dimensional led within the same class with different efficiency class: the XP-G R5 will have efficiency better than XP-G R4, which in turn will be better than the XP-G R3 etc. It’s hard to make comparisons between two LEDs as R4 and R5 if you don’t belong to the same class. The temperature indicates that the light deviates from pure white to move green hues, bluish or purplish. However, there are LEDs that have no codominant and have only one color. The most used are the cold, neutral and warm. There are also colored LEDs (red, blue, green, etc) but not particularly used in flashlights, except for particular uses.
Led color temperature should be made based on your personal preferences and needs. Cold colors return worse colors flatten objects and tired eyes.
Led as end point?
The LEDs then will thus elbow out every other type of lighting? Improbable, for example in case of great power, serve HID flashlights that despite having a lower efficiency than led, can produce several thousand lumens.
For the rest the moneto there are still limitations in this technology associated with power and power cirtuiti.