Author Topic: LED Flashlights  (Read 7125 times)

Offline scuzzy

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LED Flashlights
« on: Mar 20, 2006, 11:06 AM »
In reference to the Nanocrystal Light Source thread started sometime back, I thought I'd bring up the subject of LED flashlights.

In my line of work, a very high quality flashlight is mandatory - especially if you consider that at least 1/2 of my shift is at night. I currently own three Streamlight flashlights: a blinding SL20X (doubles as baton), a Stinger (carried on my duty belt), and a Luxeon 1 watt LED (kept in my bag of tricks as an emergency backup).

I also carry a Coast Torch 1 watt LED (small, handy, very useful) as well as a TaskForce 3 watt Luxeon LED. The latter is close to matching my Stinger in intensity, but it is bulky and not available in black. The TaskForce provides very long run times though, and I always reach for it when directing traffic.

I'm now saving my pennies to purchase a rechargeable Inova T4. This little puppy has a 4 watt LED and puts out a whopping 100 lumens of light; enough to replace my Stinger. The Inova T5 is just like the T4, except that it uses replaceable alkalines. The manufacturer claims it will run 2 hours at full brightness, on a full charge - perfect for my needs.

The Stinger is a great, powerful, rechargeable flashlight. The setback is that it may or may not make it through my entire shift. As my shift drags on, the light intensity begins to drop off, and I sometimes find myself having to use my backup flashlights. Another thing about the Stinger is that its powerful Xenon bulb can sometimes leave you in the dark when you least expect it.

Anyway here's a couple of interesting sites that I have found useful in my quest for the "perfect" flashlight:

FlashlightNews.org

CandlePowerForums

Finally, check this link for what is possibly the most powerful LED available: PhysOrg.com
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Offline Whizbang

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #1 on: Mar 20, 2006, 11:25 AM »
We purchased the Faraday (formerly Everlight).  It works OK, but does not in any way offer the penetrating light of even a cheap 2-"C" cell unit.  It is OK for emergency use, and apparently will never go bad--->(yeah, right)  ::)

Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #2 on: Mar 21, 2006, 06:50 PM »
I picked up an Inova T3 today. This is a heavy-duty, tactical grade LED flashlight that operates on two Lithium CR123A batteries. This little handheld torch puts out a powerful, blinding light that will literally leave you seeing stars. I must admit that I'm very impressed with the high quality of this excellently engineered product.

I realize that some folks may not understand all the fuss over something as stupid as a flashlight, but you have to consider that in my line of work a flashlight has the potential to make the difference between life and death. The flashlights I carry for work must be rugged, extremely dependable, and fully functional. Inova certainly meets this criteria and makes among the finest flashlights that I've seen at any price.

For folks in the USA that might be interested, you can buy Inova LED flashlights at your local Target. Although Target does not carry the Inova tactical grade flashlights, the quality remains first-rate. Don't be surprised if they're sold out of certain models, since a lot of people are beginning to figure out that Inova flashlights are far superior to Mag-Lite flashlights and the like.
« Last Edit: Mar 21, 2006, 09:02 PM by scuzzy »
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Offline Neon

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #3 on: Mar 21, 2006, 08:50 PM »
Actually, I find this a quite useful discussion, as I've been interested in LED lights for some time.

I started buying LED lights for keychains from http://www.photonlight.com, after they handed some of them out at the AMD Athlon 64 product launch in 2003. They make nice little presents, too.

My current favorite is a 4 in. unit that has 8 white LEDs and runs on 3 AAA batteries. It's not especially heavy duty, but it was under $10 at a local electronics shop.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #4 on: Mar 21, 2006, 09:04 PM »
The first LED light I owned was in fact a Photon keychain model. I was immediately impressed with it, and I still have it - although the battery in it has been dead for at least 2 years.  ::)
« Last Edit: Mar 21, 2006, 09:04 PM by scuzzy »
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Offline Ace

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #5 on: Mar 22, 2006, 04:25 AM »
I know I shouldn't enter into technical discussions, but it's either this one or the one about violas, and since I have no idea why anyone would tune a viola that way I guess this will have to do.

I also have numerous flashlights whom have dead batteries, but they aren't light emitting.  Are there non-light emitting diodes?  My aunt's nickname was "Dode", short for "Doris."  As she got older I didn't think she was all that bright, either.

My brother in law has some large lensed flashlight that emits a daybeam at night.  He brings it out on NY Eve and shines it up and down the street.  I envision somebody in bed seeing this horrifically bright light entering in through their window, and figuring aliens are parking their vehicle and will be in momentarily for the abduction and full body probe.

I still have my cutting edge Athlon 64, so I am glad to see that mentioned.  I got a little Mag lite from my dad, for Christmas, once. It never did work.  

That's all I can share on the subject.  I might look for a photon keychain, but I'm thinking I'd rather go with a photon torpedo if I can locate one.  That I could use.

Ace; the root word of photon is "hot."
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #6 on: Mar 22, 2006, 10:19 AM »
CR123A Lithium batteries are not the "button" type. They look more like short, stubby AA batteries that ate too much bacon. Often referred to as photo batteries; they are 3 volts each and put out about 1300mah.

The blinding light is no exaggeration. I really was seeing stars for several minutes afterward. Remember the old photography flash bulbs? Imagine one of those going off about 12" in front of your face. That's what it reminded me of.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #7 on: Mar 22, 2006, 01:45 PM »
Here's the Inova T4 (FL494) review. BrightGuys.com has it for $111.95 + S/H

Or, you can get the Inova T5 for $83.50 + S/H. This is essentially the same as the T4, except that it uses disposable batteries. My preference is for the T4, since lithium batteries are quite expensive.
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Offline Ace

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #8 on: Mar 22, 2006, 04:19 PM »
Well, I feel compelled to participate, although I really have nothing to add... still, I remain stymied by that tuning system even if it is color coded.

Ok, doing the math, I'd have to say $111 and change would buy a lot of cheap flashlights let alone Bic clicks.  Actually, you could acquire a bunch of disposable lighters plus some flammable substance and get pretty close to daylight savings right there.  Good puddle of gasoline, one blue tip match, and it's gonna beat a lot of flashlights on luminence as well as shock value.

I'm not saying those light sticks aren't worth it, but there's a more economical means to lightening your way.  I mean, has anyone had and used one of those jobbies for 15-20 years?  Are there testimonials to the effect of "Boy, am I ever glad I spent beaucoups bucks on a really pricey flashlight, which has paid for itself several times over in light of (heh) some disposable cheap thing."  Or "after 20 years, I've gotta say this high class pricey flashlight sure beats any other lame unit I coulda bought, which I didn't."

Ace; my battery is single use.

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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #9 on: Mar 22, 2006, 07:30 PM »
I think I found the perfect LED light for Ace: Big-Mama LED Flashlight

Scuzzy; it even doubles as a shower head.
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Offline Ace

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #10 on: Mar 23, 2006, 04:19 AM »
Yes, Scuzzy is usually watching out for me.  Normally he just tells me to get the LED out.

I don't think extra illumination is appropriate for my shower.  I see enough as it is.  Unless you can sing into it, at which point it's an even worse idea.

I think putting "Quality" with "China" is intriguing.  I am trying that link, but so far it's just sitting dormant on my dial up.  Are the US making these pricey flashlights or are they crafted overseas?  That will make a difference as to my purchasing choice.

Yeah, right.  I'm going to just buy American Made from now on.  And Look For the Union Label.  "Well, dear, did you find what you were looking for at the mall?"  "No, sweetie, they didn't have anything."

Ace; unless I buy a Japanese car...
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #11 on: Mar 23, 2006, 10:11 AM »
"Mass tax" is another way of saying massive taxes.

Let us know when you get your new T4. I'd be interested in knowing how you like it, as well as what you think of it.

I was in a local cop shop a couple days ago (same place I bought my T3) comparing the T4 with a Stinger. I noticed that the Stinger had a slightly brighter hot spot, but the T4 outshined it in every other way. I'm totally sold on it and hope to get one next month.

The T4 gave off a pleasant white light, as oppossed to the Stinger's yellowish light. The T4 also brought out better contrast, which provided more details that were lost with the Stinger.

Other items that I like about the T4:

1. The LED should outlast me. No more sudden bulb-death syndrome.
2. Up to 2 hrs of near full brightness on a single charge vs. 1 hr of dimming light for the Stinger.
3. Lithium Ion batteries vs. Stinger's NiCads.
4. Lighter than the Stinger
5. LED lights are better at cutting through tinted windows.


The local cop shop dude was very clear on one thing about the T4, though. It will provide a strong light all the way up until the batteries runs down - then it will quit completely. There is no dimming near the end to indicate that it's time to recharge it.

If I could ask the Inova engineers for one option, though, it would be to add a dimmer switch for times that I don't need full brightness. For example, I only need 50% brightness when searching a vehicle, or looking through forms. This would have the added benefit of extending run times on a single charge.
« Last Edit: Mar 23, 2006, 10:13 AM by scuzzy »
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #12 on: Mar 23, 2006, 11:22 AM »
Here's an update on the brightest LED available. How about a whopping 420 lumens? Figure that 200 lumens is about 38,000 candlepower, so assuming all things are equal, 420 lumens should be over 76,000 candlepower.

OSTAR Lighting 420 lumen LED
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Offline Ace

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #13 on: Mar 24, 2006, 04:31 AM »
In my line of work, it's important I be kept in the dark.

I thought that said "ONSTAR" Lighting; like if you had car trouble and they'd pick up and send someone out with this LED deathstar light and shine it through your tinted windows and yell "HEY! Are you alright, or what?!"

At least it wasn't one of those plain white web sites where it doesn't have anything except a headline about China and you wait and you wait for the rest to appear....

I did change the "D" cells in a flashlight yesterday, using your advice.  My gosh, is it brighter now.  You could almost say it glows.

I've got a kicky new desk lab poised over the Logitech keyboard; it's in a satiny chrome.  I put a blue 25 watt bulb in it, to use if I'm playing a game at night but only want to illuminate the keyboard so I can find my potion and "switch weapons" keys without stumbling and accidentally changing the camera view or turning off my map.  I hate it when that happens, especially when you're being chased by some stinking dragon.  I do have a torch in Neverwinter, and that can help in the caves.

I don't think I'd like Doom III, if you have to use a flashlight to see anything at all and then wish you didn't.

Ace; no jokes about dim bulbs, either, dangit.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #14 on: Mar 24, 2006, 09:04 AM »
I've got a kicky new desk lab poised over the Logitech keyboard

What in h*ck is a desk lab? Is that anything like a desk golden retriever? And how did you get it to eat a 25 watt bulb? Did you flavor it with blueberries?

Scuzzy; it's gotta hurt when you plug him in.
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Offline Ace

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #15 on: Mar 24, 2006, 09:39 AM »
You know, I wrote the thing, and I have no idea.  None whatsoever.

Maybe I meant a black lab.  Or lap.  Although I sure am not expecting anyone's to be over my keyboard.  Might be lamp... that's logical, but that sure is a funny way to spell it.

I'd change it, but that would show your ignorance so I don't want to do that.  Like in "black labs aren't Republican, any longer."  Where I meant to say most of them, but not all.  I mean, sure. some are.  I heard that some radio guy got fired for calling Condoleeza Rice a deragotory term, although I don't know if that was what he called her.  I wouldn't be happy about it either.  Well, I wouldn't want to be called a lamp or lap either, if you get right down to it.  There's a blackened lab in France at that chemistry school that blew up.  Glad I'm not in that sorta place.  

That is puzzling.  What a stupid thing to write.  I like phonics, but they sure don't work very well for me.  I hear stuff wrong, sometimes, I guess.

Ace; hope it wasn't a lip, hovering... that'd be freaky. Maybe a lob, now that the nets are up.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #16 on: Mar 28, 2006, 07:28 PM »
I will be picking up my T4 at my local cop shop next week, and I can't wait to get my hands on it. My Stinger will be relagated to occassional use around the house and property.

My T3 paid for itself 10 times over just a couple days ago. I used it for over 1 hour straight and it stayed super bright the entire time. The next day, I used it several more times throughout the night. It continued running as bright as if the batteries had just been installed.

The Inova flashlights are indeed an incredible piece of hardware. I am truly amazed by their quality, especially in this day and age.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #17 on: Mar 31, 2006, 07:03 PM »
I'm traveling right now... I will be back home early next week. I'll make some recommendations to you then.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #18 on: Apr 04, 2006, 10:03 AM »
Here's my recommendation: Safariland Model 35 Baton Holder

The Model 35 holster is specifically designed for the ASP expandable baton, but works excellent with the Stinger and T4. All "quick access" Stinger holsters that I have come across are not dependable for keeping the flashlight in place, so I needed to find something better. Through trial and error I found that the ASP holder works perfect for the Stinger flashlight. For almost 3 yrs, my ASP holster has not once disappointed me.

Yesterday, I came home with my new Inova T4.  :) I tried it in the ASP holder and I couldn't be more pleased. What I thought was extra nice is that the T4's on/off switch is protected by the sheath, which means the flashlight will not be accidentally turned on while it's on my duty belt. On the Stinger, the on/off switch is exposed.

The ASP holster holds the T4 very securely, while still providing quick access - something that is very important to me. If you look closely at the holster you'll notice that it has adjustment screws on each side. I've never had to mess with them, but they're there if you need them.

I didn't go pricing them, but be warned that Safariland products are not known for cheap quality. The pricing will reflect that. Online, my favorite cop shop is Red Diamond, followed by Chief and Galls. All of these shops are reputable with fair pricing.

Unfortunately I have to exchange my T4. For some reason it's not properly focused. It has a dark spot in the center of the flood, which weakens its reach. Because of it, my T3 easily outperforms it. The store where I bought it will quickly exchange it, so I'll take care of it this afternoon. Aside from my unit being out of focus, I must admit that I'm very impressed by the quality. It is unusually solidly crafted, far exceeding my expectations. There is no doubt that it will one day be a family heirloom.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #19 on: Apr 04, 2006, 05:24 PM »
I use the 35 because it holds the Stinger so securely. It holds the T4 even better. It's not going to accidentally fall out, so I wouldn't concern myself with it.

If you really want a wrap around model, then I'd recommend that you find a local yocal who does custom leather.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #20 on: Apr 04, 2006, 06:56 PM »
You'll want the one for the 26" baton. I'm sorry I didn't clarify that earlier. Get one of the following three:

35F262M (plain black)
35F264M (basketweave)
SF35F269 (hi gloss)

I would recommend the plain black - but whatever suits your taste will work fine.
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Offline Igloo

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #21 on: Apr 05, 2006, 01:32 AM »
I'm looking for a anew flashlight (torch for us brits) to replace my now aging mag-lite.

The mag lite has allways proven itself many times in the past, But its now getting undependable, sometimes not working at all for no reason.

And as im going to be doing alot of crawling round in the roofs and spaces in buildings installing Cat5 cabling i want something dependable.
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Offline scuzzy

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #22 on: Apr 05, 2006, 10:14 AM »
I'm looking for a anew flashlight (torch for us brits) to replace my now aging mag-lite.

The mag lite has allways proven itself many times in the past, But its now getting undependable, sometimes not working at all for no reason.

And as im going to be doing alot of crawling round in the roofs and spaces in buildings installing Cat5 cabling i want something dependable.

Years ago Mag-Lite made about the best "torches" available for the average consumer. Things have changed though, especially with advances in LED technology.

I have several flashlights in my home, including those I use for duty. I also have an old Mag-Lite 3 D cell with a halogen bulb. Compared with the Inova T4, my old Mag-Lite seems like an ancient beast.

To my knowledge, Inova's T4 is the only rechargeable LED light on the market. Best of all the battery pack is Lithium ION. Unfortunately the T4 is anything but cheap. The plus is that you get 2 hrs of constant brightness on a single charge. The light is bright, pleasant, and uniform.

As far as LEDs go, I recommend a torch that has a regulated circuit and that uses Lithium 123A batteries. Avoid a spot light (uses a magnifying lens) and opt for a flood light (uses a reflector).
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Offline Ace

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #23 on: Nov 09, 2006, 06:02 AM »
J, you can try to revitalize this poast and reincarnate it and re-whatever else to it, but it is not gonna outdo the Snack poast no matter what you try.  Don't waste your time on it.

Nothing beats a good food poast, especially with election day results.  Lead flashlights just are not gonna have the cross-over appeal and "pizzaz" of pizza or criminy pretzels.

And it's no use trying to flatter Scuzzy or butter him up with accolades.  He'll just turn on you and make you look stupid.  Well, me.  I don't know what the Ph is of a horse, either.  I'm guessing they're slightly acidic.

I guess you could butter up Scuzzy in the snack poast, if you want.  Personally, I don't think it would help his sense of taste any, but you could try.

Also, not to be critical, but answering your own poast and then double spacing can make the chain look longer but it's sorta cheap to try to "pad" the poast like that...  I know sometimes people like throwing in those one line, superfluous poasts or load the things with emoticons, just to make them seem longer and boost their poast count...  It's so transparent, and people see right through it.  Hence the description of it being "transparent."  Some might not catch on, at least initially, so I guess to them maybe it's "transluscent."  You know, the really dense probably just see it as "opaque", heh.

Ok, so anyway, I'd probably use my headlights to lead me home rather than a flashlight, but that's just my opinion.  Anyway, I've got to go back to the Snack poast where the real action is.  Even if there's just more of that fake-Scottish accent drivel going on, at least there's a photo of Angelina Jolie over there.  That alone is worth the price of admission, you know!?

Ace; this was illuminating. :(

« Last Edit: Nov 09, 2006, 06:04 AM by Ace »
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Offline Bill

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #24 on: Nov 09, 2006, 07:53 AM »
Well, you certainly shed some light on the frivolity of attempting to enlighten readers on the benefits of a quality product.

 :P ;D

Who's transparent?

Humbug.  Yeah, we have some of them down here too.

Bill
« Last Edit: Nov 09, 2006, 07:55 AM by Bill »
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Offline Ace

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #25 on: Nov 09, 2006, 02:33 PM »
Well, I guess, but mentioning Scuzzy is sure to kill anyone's appetite...

Ah Doan Whan Nah Wake Flooshlite!  heh; that's a Scotsman  with a flashlight.

Ok, look, since food was spilled on this poast, howzabout I go over and introduce flashlights to the Snack poast?  That seems fair.

Ac;e slam
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Offline Bill

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #26 on: Nov 09, 2006, 02:56 PM »
Doesn't make much sense to ask...a waste of keyboarding effort.  The Jester is always going to be the Jester.  

How about if we just have one big thread and we can all just add our two cents, on everything, right there?

Bill; hard to follow but should be fun.
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Offline Ace

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #27 on: Nov 11, 2006, 04:43 AM »
Ok, Mr. J.A., "if that's your real name...".  It took me a while to figure that out, which isn't unusual, I know.

I thought you were referring to Cajun food, although I have no idea why you would be... That's what signalled me that there was more to that little fluff one-word "not even a sentence, let alone double spaced for filler" poast of yours.  More than meets the eye: I used my ears.

And I do not appreciate it, for a minute.  I guess it's supposed to be in a Scotch hold it Scot wait Scottish ok accent, like Bill and Sam and somebody else were doing.  First, I don't like being called a Liar.  Second, insulting my weight and size isn't very nice, either.  It'd be bad enough being just called "Liar!" but adding "Jumbo!" in front really takes the cake.  Well, and excess calories too, I suppose.

The large grinning freakish emoticon just added injury to insult.

Also, they're technically not "lies."  More in the line of fiction, or episodic utterances.  Or stream of consciousness blather.  Fibs, maybe.  "Taken Out Of Context Poast Projectiles."  "Lies" just sounds so harsh.  Sure, I make stuff up.  First, because my job is Jester, which suggests some creative bent.  Lacking that, I'm forced to steal from or misquote others.  Secondly, because I can't remember stuff, at least not for long.  

Anyway, don't think I'm not on to you.  I can read between the emoticon and that fake accent, and clearly see without benefit of some high-power LED.

Plus, I had coffee and cleaned my glasses this morning, so my senses are razor-sharp at this point in time.  Double or triple bladed, even.  With a nice fluffly handful of Barbasol, to go with.  I'm going to be watching these poasts like a Hawk.  From way far away, with eagle-eyed attention.

Ace; I didn't come here to be insulted.  :-\wait not that one :Dno ;)shoot :P ok dangit, they all look alike at this hour
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Offline Bill

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Re:LED Flashlights
« Reply #28 on: Nov 11, 2006, 05:45 AM »
ja,

In cyberspace, all prophets are honored, far from home or not.

You probably should have called it Cajun Stew instead of calling Mr. Ace a huge prefabricator. ;)

Although reading his faux rants brings a smile.

Bill; aye.
« Last Edit: Nov 11, 2006, 07:04 AM by Bill »
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: LED Flashlights
« Reply #29 on: Feb 24, 2008, 11:30 AM »
I presume that you mean "Inova". Ivona sounds like a girl's name.

You'll be happy to know that the latest generation T4 and T5 are even more powerful than what your link shows.

The newest T4 is rated at 175 lumen/350 ft; the newest T5 at 200 lumen/400 ft. Our first generation T4s are rated at a paltry 100 lumen.

More info here.
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