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Old April 25, 2006, 02:00 AM   #1
leadcounsel
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Flashlights and batteries

I own 2 Dorcy Spyder flashlights. Very bright and small, similar but significantly less expensive than Surefire (which are themselves great lights).

Here's my question or complaint. The Dorcy takes the 123 3V lithium batteries which are around $1-2 each (depending on volumn purchased). My Dorcy lights get almost NO battery life with these. Even when they're not turned on much and sit idly in the drawer, the batteries seem to die unusually fast. I literally never use these lights except for emergencies (which are rare) and the batteries are always dead.

1. Is this usual?
2. Do the Surefires and others that use these or similar batteries experience the same rapid use of batteries, or is this unique?
3. Anyone know of someplace that sells these batteries cheaply and in small quantities (I don't want to spend a ton of $ on batteries)?

Thanks.
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Old April 25, 2006, 08:40 AM   #2
THENASH
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I sell batteries for a living. Lithium 123 are the only batteries powerful enough to operate those types of flash lights. I believe your problem is that you are buying bulk. Are you given a discount because you are buying bulk or are the batteries already sold as such? If they are already sold as such then you are buying OLD batteries.
123s are notoriously expensive and the only way for them to be sold cheaply is to sell old stock. In addition, you mentioned that you rarely use the lights. 123s have a long shelf life and if you go to use them only in emergencies and they fail this is another sign you have bought OLD batteries. I would recommend that you buy the exact amount of batteries that you need in individual or two packs. Go buy one set off the shelf and I can assure you you will get much longer operational time.
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Old April 25, 2006, 01:14 PM   #3
leadcounsel
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Actually, I experienced the problem with the 4 batteries that came with the flashlights. Then I purchased a 4 pack of Duracell batteries from Lowes and experienced the same problem. I think the 4 pack was around $8-10. I've seen the batteries in bulk on various websites for $1-2 each, but never purchased in bulk. I'd like to keep these lights handy as a compliment to a handgun or even attach them to my AR15 or shotgun because they are small and powerfully bright.

Are these lights doomed to devour expensive batteries and should I just retire the flashlights in favor of more economical (albeit less bright) AA or D battery powered lights? Does the battery life start to deplete if the batteries are inserted into the lights but the light not turned on?

Or, should I just keep the batteries seperate and use the lights as dire emergency, taking time to load the batteries when needed?
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Old April 25, 2006, 01:21 PM   #4
spacemanspiff
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i buy the packages of 12 batteries, never have the problem of batteries going dead prematurely. in fact, when they get to the point of being slightly less bright, i change them and drain the batteries in the high-output light.

surefires are worth the money.
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Old April 25, 2006, 01:34 PM   #5
THENASH
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Unfortunately these flashlights are battery eaters. I would go into a specialty store similar to mine and purchase your 123s. The price will be higher. Buying at larger stores such as Sams and Walmart,etc. you still run a much higher risk of getting old batteries. You see, these stores buy in bulk, and there are not that many people out there buying 123s. I would try this one last effort. If you continue with the same results I believe the more economical choice would be to leave your lights behind.

Also, there is no evidence supporting that batteries will discharge quicker by being applied to an unused flashlight.
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Old January 7, 2007, 04:39 PM   #6
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The batteries should not be draining by leaving them in the flashlight. Either the flashlight is accidently being turned on by rolling around in the drawer or there is something wrong in the light casing a continual draw. If you are sure it is not being turned on I would contact Darcy, the problem isn't with the batteries. Keep us posted as to what happens.
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Old January 7, 2007, 09:16 PM   #7
skeeter1
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Surefire flashlight

I had one, but junked it this year. CR123 batteries aren't cheap and only lasted for about an hour. A replacement bulb (good for 20 hours) will set you back twenty bucks. I went the LED route instead, and I'm much happier with them. The batteries last a lot longer (particularly using rechargable NiMH batteries), and the LED bulbs will likely outlive me.

Not a Surefire fan.
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Old January 8, 2007, 09:13 PM   #8
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I was at gander mountain the other day buying some 7.62 ammo and I saw a flashlight (at least that's what it looked like) in a display case for $400. I was wondering why a flashlight would ever cost $400. It wasn't like an attachable tactical light or anything, it just looked like a flashlight. I don't get it. Can anyone fill me in on this?
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Old January 8, 2007, 11:49 PM   #9
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I've got two Surefire flashlights and a Streamlight.

My first surefire is an L5 Lumimax with a 5watt LED. Takes 2x 123's. I paid close to $200 for it and quite frankly to me it was worth every penny. It's the QUALITY of the light produced. 100 Lumens of perfectly shaped, bright white light with fantastically consistent flow. Pick one up sometime and take note of how it feels in your hands. Ergonomically they just plain work. Look into the beam sometime and it will absolutely ruin any nightvision. This is my Neighborhood walk-about light.

My second surefire is an M4 Devastator - $330 retail. Takes 4x 123's and, using the 350 lumen lamp assembly, will suck those 123's dry in 20 minutes. 350 lumens. Heck, the lamp assembly alone is held on springs and is designed to absorb drop shock without busting the filament (which is very common with incandescant bulbs).

This thing will absolutely blind you. My brother was playing with it and stared into the light for just a quick flash: he was seeing spots for at least 15 minutes. I bought this light as a "weaponlight" - blind any intruders first and then hit them with the 9mm 10 times... This light is so stupidly bright it's unreal. My wife and I were fooling around in the dark one night and I decided to shine it at a wall - the whole room lit up like day. And I was darn near seeing spots just from the reflected light.

Are they worth it? Depends on your budget. I bought a Streamlight TL3 Incan - 3x 123s'. Cost me $50 and quite frankly I'm not impressed at all. Dingy yellow light that burned out fast. I'm sure there was a short in the wires somewhere as it drained the batteries while just sitting around in a drawer.

There are lots of good lights out there - it all depends on what you like. I rather enjoy flashlights and have always had a bit of a flashlight fetish. Rossi vs. Colt Python - depends on whether or not you need/want a Python.
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Old January 8, 2007, 11:53 PM   #10
dixierifleman
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i got this Dorcy for Christmas. it is insanely bright. 3 AAA batteries load into a "cartridge" and it is water resistant. will definately blind someone and leave you seein a spot for a while. best light ive ever owned.

http://www.dorcy.com/products.aspx?p=414282
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Old January 9, 2007, 12:58 AM   #11
JohnKSa
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The typical commercial flashlight will eat batteries pretty fast to get brightness...

You can get brighter (MUCH brighter) lights that run for longer on a set of batteries and that use rechargeables if you know WHERE to look.

(Hint--check out my signature line.)

I have a Black Bear Search and Rescue that puts out 852 lumens--over 350 lumens MORE light than the Surefire M6. It runs for over an hour on a charge and the batteries are rechargeable. Externally, there's nothing that distinguishes it from a 4 D Cell Maglite.

Black Bear also sells a Borealis which puts out 1050 lumens. It runs for about 50 minutes on a charge and is externally identical to a 3 D cell maglite.
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Old January 9, 2007, 03:27 AM   #12
skeeter1
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Rechargables, maybe?

I got tired of buying CR123s for my Surefire, so I junked it. If that's what you like, you might want to look here:

http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp...OD&ProdID=1015

I got a Tenergy recharger and some NiMH AA batteries (the ones I go through the most), and in the long run it might save you a few bucks.
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Old January 9, 2007, 08:40 AM   #13
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The Surefire G2 is reasonably priced and very bright as you can light up something at 100 yds ! but only 1 hour for the batteries. My new Pelican 3330 is similar in size ,same batteries but Luxeon LED .Half the brightness of the G2 but 4 hours full light then tapering off for many hours more .I'll use that more .
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Old January 9, 2007, 10:16 AM   #14
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I've used the Streamlight Scorpion's since they came out. They are as bright or brighter than any of the other lights of similar size I've tried. I've tried a couple of the LED lights, but while they may last longer, they just dont give me the light I want when I need it.

I also buy my batteries in bulk. So far, I seem get about the "1 hour" burn time the Scorpion's advertise, regardless where I buy the batteries from. I think a lot of people who buy these types of lights dont do their homework before, or read the package when they buy them.

I agree, the light should not be draining the batteries while in a drawer or on a shelf. I keep other Scorpion's around the house and so far, have never had them low or dead when I went to use them, some with years in between use.
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Old January 9, 2007, 10:28 PM   #15
liliysdad
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The issue is not abnormal. First, you bought a cheap light. This is not meant asa lsight, as I own several cheap lights. However, the fact is that they are not as well built as a higher end light. they will leak energy, they are not as efficient, and they will burn batteries up faster than a higher end light. Nothing worng with that, if you accept it fir what it is.

Secondly, these lights are not meant for continuous use. If you want a longer lasting light, get a rechargeable, such as a Stinger. These lights are meant for intermittent bursts of extreme light. My Pentagon X2HA has a continuous run time of a bit less than an hour. I find that a set of batteries lasts me more than a month on my duty belt. I use the Stinger for continuos light, the X2 for times when I need light, lots of light, and I need it now.

As for batteries, I buy them a dozen at a time. Surefire use to bethe best, but I think the quality has gone down, while the price has gone up. I am now using Streamlight batteries, and they seem to produce more light, and last longer. I dont have an issue with batteries or lights sitting for months with no use, and be ready to go.

Fo rthe record, I currently own and use two Streamlight Scorpions, one Streamlight TL2, one Pentagon X2HA, and a Brinkmann Maxxfire. All of these lights use CR123As, so you can imagine how many I go through.
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Old January 10, 2007, 02:37 PM   #16
black bear 84
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Early childhood dead syndrome is very notorious aaround 123's batteries, especially the Surefire and Duracell brands.

In my own case as a collector of flashlights (I have over a hundred of them) when I check my Surefires or others 123's lights that have been in my draws for a few months, I always find several dead or dying, (they usually have a little juice left).

I have a few 123's that have come with Streamlights TL-3, TL-2., Scorpions etc., and those Streamlight batteries are still good after 2 1/2 years.

Before the 123's became available over the net, I used to buy Duracell's for my weapon lights (TACM III) and they only lasted a month or so on storage.

I stopped using 123's and I have reverted to lights that use AA NIMHS rechargeables, my Nuwai Q-3 is the only one left of my active lights that have a 123 inside, but this one is an umprotected rechargeable, great light, as the Luxeon is overdrived at almost 4 volts, the light is very bright!

My EDC's and my family EDC's are Fenix L1P's using AA batteries rechargeables.

If I want more light than the 40's lumens Fenix, I take the Nuwaii Q III at about 65 lumens with the overdrive.

If I want more light, I have an extended Surefire 9 P, with two 17670 Lithium Ions batteries for 200 lumens (with the P-91 lamp) if by chance I need more light than 200 lumens, I have a Black Bear 720 running on 6 rechargeable batteries for 720 lumens (40 minutes run time).

And if I want even more lumens I have a BOREALIS 1050 lumens, running on 9 AA Nimhs rechargeables for 50 minutes.

These rechargeable batteries in the BOREALIS can be recharged for 1,000 times, giving 833 hours of run time, before another pack of $30.00 is needed.

The Surefire M-6 (500 lumens, 20 minutes run on six 123's) will spend $29,988 in batteries before it can run for 833 hours.

123's ? NOT FOR ME, not any more as we have now good Nimhs rechargeables that cost about $3.00 each and give 1,000 recharges.

Respectfully
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Old January 13, 2007, 05:10 AM   #17
raymond-
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Naturally, the devil is in the details...and application. I could never rely on
any light using secondary/rechargable batteries in the backcountry, or in
a survival/storage flashlight. the self discharge characteristics discount
the NiCads and NiMH...and which one needs to consider Lithiums or alkalines.
As with any product, it comes down to selecting the proper tool for the task.
In an urban setting, where power/recharging facilities are available, the second-
ary batteries merit consideration
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Old January 13, 2007, 12:03 PM   #18
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raymond-,

I've found that rechargeables self-discharge at a much slower rate (about 4 times slower) when stored in the refrigerator (not the freezer). I keep a charged set in my flashlight and a spare set in the refrigerator. If I forget to charge the set in the flashlight and it runs down, I can always pull the set out of the fridge and be good to go.

Also, there are now rechargeable lithium batteries which have a much slower discharge rate than typical rechargeables. I have a Black Bear BearCub that runs on two 3.6v rechargeable lithium batteries.

However, in general, I agree that the long term storage characteristics of primary batteries are ideal for that flashlight that you want to buy and forget until the lights go out. The rechargeables do require some level of commitment to ensure that they'll be ready to go when needed. Still, it's not much of a hassle--I probably spend around 15 minutes every month or month and a half messing around with recharging tasks.
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Last edited by JohnKSa; January 13, 2007 at 11:50 PM. Reason: Fixed Mistake
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Old January 13, 2007, 10:41 PM   #19
raymond-
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tnx for the tip, J. you're saying in the milk section and not in the ice cream section, right? i'm not sure what a fridge is vs refrig.
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Old January 13, 2007, 11:14 PM   #20
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This is a great site check it out!!
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Old January 13, 2007, 11:47 PM   #21
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Quote:
...you're saying in the milk section and not in the ice cream section, right? i'm not sure what a fridge is vs refrig.
Couldn't figure that out huh? I'm not surprised--it would have been much easier to figure it out if I had actually typed what I meant to!

They go in the refrigerator, not the FREEZER. I'll go back and fix my earlier post.

When you take them out of the fridge, you should, ideally, let them warm up to room temperature for best performance. In a pinch, they'll work ok cold. You'll just get reduced runtime. Standard stuff for batteries.
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Old January 13, 2007, 11:49 PM   #22
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tnx...i dont get out much. thought maybe there was a diff and I led a sheltered life.
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