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The hunt for a spot light (thrower)

Randall

Richard Proenneke
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I've decided that I need a new light. It isn't to replace anything, but more to complement what I have. And no, it isn't for hunting, although it will be awesome for spotting wildlife. I thought I'd post here because I wouldn't be surprised if some of you are in the same boat, or don't know you are yet :D. Also, some of you may have already gone through this process and can share something new. My knowledge here is recent but limited - this is all new to me.

I have a lot of cheap led lights that run on AA batteries. They're all simple on / off, low output flood type lights that even with one to two AA batteries will run all night. My newest light is over 10 years old. It's a headlamp with a battery pack that holds 4xaa batteries. It is a flood light and is great for walking and also simple to use. I recently bought a couple of single AAA lights for edc kits - these are for when I stuff up and get caught without a light. I have used that little emergency light and it's awesome - it is actually the brightest light I have now at a whole 180 lumens. It won't last long at 180 lumens; it's low 5 lumen mode is enough for walking well used single track in bush, especially here where it is usually closed in.

What I thought I'd like is a long range spot light - known as a thrower. All my other lights are very short range flood lights. I've been going through a big learning curve - I believe I know the basics. There's a whole light enthusiast world out there with lots of passionate and knowledgeable folk. I'd like to give my thoughts on my current choice; if anyone here has different suggestions or ideas or anything else to contribute, I'd be thankful

I have discovered that the light world seems to be in the middle of what I'll call the lume wars. Lots of huge luminosity numbers and claims. I'm really not that interested - generally big lume numbers = big heat. For this reason most lights don't hold those bright modes for long because they get too hot. The brightest mode is usually called turbo - I'll use the terms I've learnt that most of you probably already know, but some of you may not. I'm looking for something around 2,000 lumens or less - I'm hoping for something that can be fairly stable and not too warm (reliable) when holding around 500 lumens. I'm not really interested in turbo or even high modes, although they might come in handy?

I wan't something that uses a single 21700 5000mah battery. These are the latest type of lithium battery that are used in battery packs for cars, ebikes etc, and torches. They've been around for a while now and they seem to be the best cell for packing a lot of energy into a something that is a reasonable size for me.

Size is a compromise for what I want. Throwers need a reasonable size reflector to concentrate the beam. A flood type light can use a small reflector. Also, the more effective the reflector is should mean that less lumens and energy are needed to get a good beam, and therefore less heat is generated. There a small form factor throwers, but they have to compensate for a smaller reflector by pumping out a lot more lumens and heat - they also have less area to dissipate that heat. This type of light is usually around 3,000 lumens. My understanding could be wrong here - I'm just saying what I think I know :oops:

My choice to date is the Sofirn C8G. There's a picture of it below. I don't want to go bigger than this - there are much bigger. I'm in the process of seeing if there is an equivalent and perhaps better offering from another budget brand convoy. I say budget; the C8G will cost around $39.00 from AliExpress. That's just for the light; I already have batteries and a charger. If you need a battery and a charger too it's about $8.00 more, which is a great deal for the extra.

I should explain that the C8G light that I'm interested in uses an SST40 led. Earlier models of the same light used something else. If you look into this light you'll see lots of earlier reviews where a different LED was used - those reviews are irrelevant. This is important; from what I understand it's because of the SST40 led that this light does not need a high lumen count and this also helps keeps the heat down.

What I like about the C8G:

It has a spring holding the battery at both ends. The electronics are in the head of the torch; many torches don't have a spring this end.

Relatively low lumen count. Less heat generated, more stable light in the mid but very usable ranges. Also less energy needed (I think).

No charging port. Most lights have a charging port for charging the battery while in the torch body. I like the simplicity of not having this extra system (hardware and software) involved. The charging ports usually have a delicate looking rubber flap to protect the charging terminal - I see this as the biggest potential weakness of these waterproof torches.

Price; it's relatively cheap. This is something that could get damaged or lost. I will take it with us when we travel. It will be used at altitude in antarctic conditions and surrounded by dolerite rock. Dolerite is sharp and just tears stuff; I bleed when I look at it :eek:. It will also be used in low light urban / bush environment - I often incorporate walks into a bunnings expedition at night with Basil the staghound - he's allowed inside which is handy. I'll include one review - this one I found useful because of the temperature check.

sofirn kit.jpg
sofirn relector.jpg
sofirn spring.jpg
 
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old4570

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Hmmm , a pretty standard C8 .. Been around for a while , so probably challenging to make a bad one ! ( C8 )
Just be sure to use real 18650 , not the Chinese made rubbish . ( Japanese 18650 batteries ) ..
Li-ion have been known to burn & blow up .. Some care needed . ( Decent modern charger )

Throw ?
Larger reflector designed to work with the emitter .
Check out youtube , do a search on thrower flashlights or some such search terminology .
I think most modern flashlights will do 100 meters easy to say maybe 300 meters .
Been a long time since I reviewed / tested flashlights .. Have a few hundred of them on hand . ? How many ...
I would certainly check out youtube and see what people say about your potential purchase .
 

Randall

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convoy M21C, also with sst40 led looks like another similar option. There aren't many reviews on this one in English.
 

Randall

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Just be sure to use real 18650
This one uses a 21700 battery. I bought 4 of these batteries for something else that didn't work out. It suits me though; that seem like great bang for size etc. I just went on reviews re the batteries - those who know more than me seem happy with them :oops: https://www.18650batterystore.com/products/samsung-50e

Yes, the light has been around for a while, as has the convoy m21c. The convoy also looks good and the beams seem the same. Convoy supposedly has more lumens; I think the sofirn tested to around 1600 lumens? I forget now.
 

old4570

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21700 I have a Astrolux FT03 that ramps .. Very tight beam ( throwy ) I could throw a larger battery in this one ..
But if mem serves , it was sent to me with a 21700 ..
Do I need to charge the battery ?
 

Randall

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21700 I have a Astrolux FT03 that ramps .. Very tight beam ( throwy ) I could throw a larger battery in this one ..
But if mem serves , it was sent to me with a 21700 ..
Do I need to charge the battery ?
just watched a review on ft03 with sst40 vs sft40. If I understand correctly the sft40 is brighter because it uses more juice and I imagine it gets hotter too.
 

Randall

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it's an amazing world - open source firmware :). The link to the ft03 at banggood is still good. They show the sst40 as having more lumens than the sft40 - so much I don't know still :(. And the sft40 throws almost a third longer while using less lumens.
 

old4570

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Yes , it all comes down to where the light is focused .. And how tight that focused light is ..
Im not huge on throwers myself , modern emitters put out plenty of light ..
If I can see out to 100 meters , then that's plenty ..

But it all comes down to what sort of light do you want ?
Mostly I want a walking light , so I prefer more spill and a wider hot spot that does not push excessive light back at my eyes .
Those tight little beams in the real world ( For Me ) are just a PITA , especially at close distances where they can bounce light back at you . ( Glare )
Around here , it's seriously important to spot dog poo ! Especially walking at night .
For others it might be snakes .. If your hot spot is overly hot , it might be blinding you close up .
Same goes at home . On the other hand you might be trying to bowl rabbits or foxes at night !
Still , too tight a beam is not that great .. But that's just me !
 

Randall

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the lights I already have are low power flooders; they're fine for walking or working. I just wanted something to carry that I can use (or not use) if I want to check something out at distance. It won't be a main light. I don't need huge distance, maybe 300 meters? I always carry a monocular (5x15mm) so that I can check stuff out at distance and really like it. Being able to light something up like that at night time would be awesome too. It's just to satisfy my curiosity - animals or signs in the distance, tracks on opposite slopes etc.

Thanks for the link to budget light forum
 

Randall

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A timely update for someone I hope. I've been helped along by a forum - the one that old4570 pointed me to. And I just realised the significance of 4570 :D - why didn't I see that before?

I've decided on the sofirn C8L. It doesn't draw as many amps as a lot of other lights, which means it should be reasonably economical and not get as hot. It is a bit of a compromise between throw and flood - most reviews I've seen point this out as being more useful. I've also given thought to how much distance do I really need? Using a range finder I think 150m will be more than enough. This light will do that at mid level quite easily; being mid level it should remain relatively cool and stable too.

The reviews of this light are very good. Have a look at youtube; for a non youtube review here's pretty comprehensive one from 1lumen. There is a sale at aliexpress from midnight - the start of 22nd August. That's midnight in China probably 😆. It will be $52.00 australian (without battery) or $57 with battery. $5.00 for a good 21700 5000mah battery is what you'd pay if you shopped around. If you don't have a 21700 battery I'd go with theirs.
 
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old4570

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Coincidence ! 4570

old4570 because at the time .. I was 45 and I already felt old
It was going to be old45 .. But there were several people using that online .... Did we need another ?
No one at the time was using old4570 .. The 70 part came about as I hoped to live at least until I was 70 ..
So old4570 ...

So it's a coincidence , that a certain black powder cartridge , also goes by ... old4570 .. ( As in Springfield Trapdoor )
It was pure chance ! And not by design ...
 
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Thrud

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Take a look at seeker 3 by olight. I have the 2 and a good general purpose torch. Olight service is good here. If you want 250m or so range then it would do. I have 18650 that do 1k but are a bit bigger. Whichever 21700 you buy make sure it is a protected cell. Not sure if, like 18650, they come in flat top as well as the button top sometimes this can be an issue if you use other companies cells.
 

Randall

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I already have batteries - I'm trying to avoid proprietary stuff. Having batteries that I can swap around bodes well for the future :) I've lived like that with AA and AAA.
 

Randall

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Another update: I also bought the sofirn C8G. It's more of a thrower, runs cooler, tighter beam. It's not as good for general use because of the tighter beam, but it throws further at less lumens and less heat than the C8L. I also like that it is simpler - no onboard charging. The c8g is what I'll take when we're at the coast or open country, as an accessory light to my head light. The C8L is what I'll use in urban or closed in bush, also as an accessory light to the headlight.

I ended up paying $49.12 for the C8L without a battery. This is the more expensive light from aliexpress. It's advertised at $52.00 during this current sale, but you can click on "store coupon" when buying. Now the long wait :(. And the days are getting longer already; by the time the lights arrive I won't have much need for them:oops:
 

Randall

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through winter it gets dark here by 1730; even 1700 is getting pretty grim. I'm often in the dark for 2 - 3 hours if out walking etc. Warmer months I'd just take a single aa basic light because I probably won't use it anyway; if I do maybe just 30mins or so?

I'll definitely try them though when they do come. I think the beach will be fun with the thrower.
 

old4570

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Throwers are great in DARK places ..
Like forest roads away from city lights ..
Anywhere with too much ambient light or reflected light , just wont show a thrower .
Before Covid we had flashlight meets around Melbourne ( parks ) .. Places that are Dark ! N Spooky ......
These places show a flashlights capability .
 

Randall

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Throwers are great in DARK places ..
Like forest roads away from city lights ..
Anywhere with too much ambient light or reflected light , just wont show a thrower .
Before Covid we had flashlight meets around Melbourne ( parks ) .. Places that are Dark ! N Spooky ......
These places show a flashlights capability .
the flashlight meets would be fun. I imagine the possums were pissed off :oops:😀
 

old4570

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We saw more Roos and Foxes at these meets ..
One place had lots of Rabbits and Foxes everywhere ..
Which park bellow which Dam ? Forget the name now ...
 
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