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Deputydave
06-04-2012, 16:29
On the advice of Bolster in another thread, I purchased a Sipik SR68 flashlight off of Ebay for $10 S&H included. I just received it today and popped in an Alkaline battery from CVS. I don't have anyway to measure lumens...but WOW! That sucker is bright! I think the Ebay ad said something like 160 lumens though I don't know if this is with a standard alkaline AA. I've also seen talk about a 14500 battery but don't know anything about them. Are 14500 rechargeable or one-use? Are they better? I see they are something like 3.7V as opposed to 1.5 for alkaline or 1.2 for rechargeables. Is there any benefit to a 14500? Is there any downside to them?

Looking forward to taking it out tonight after dark to see what it can do. So far I'm impressed. So much so that I ordered another one off of Ebay for $8 S&H included. This one says it is 250 lumens. Again, don't know if that is on a regular alkaline AA or not though. But I like to be as redundant as possible in some areas and flashlights is one of them. Particularly in the area of emergency preparedness and primitive camping.

Info on 14500 batteries is appreciated, or any other batteries as well. My experience right now is limited to NiMH/Nicad rechargeable and alkaline. Thanks.

Clusterfrack
06-04-2012, 16:36
The 14500 is a lithium ion rechargeable AA size battery. However, it is 3.6V, so I can damage equipment that is only rated for 1.5V standard AAs. If your light is rated for 3.6V, it can be much brighter than with a wimpy AA. E.g. my 1xAA Nitecore Defender Infinity puts out ~190 lumens with a 14500.


This one has protection circuitry that reduces the chance of a dangerous battery failure:
http://store.yahoo.com/theshorelinemarket/protected-14500-lithium.html

Here's a charger:
http://www.batteryjunction.com/wf-139-.html

Bolster
06-04-2012, 16:36
So, the SK-68 showed up finally, eh? Be careful, kid, you'll put your eye out.

So I see you are considering the jump to 14500 Li-Ion. That's a rechargeable cell, and you'll need to buy a quality cell (such as one of the AW (http://www.4sevens.com/index.php?cPath=53_57) cells but avoid cells ending in "fire" they tend to be the cheapies, and this is an area you don't want to buy cheapest), a decent Li-Ion charger (4sevens (http://www.4sevens.com/product_info.php?cPath=53_434&products_id=2582)), and brains & cajones to learn the process and confidently use it.

Now every time I mention the volatility of charge-it-yourself Li-Ion, somebody calls me a "coward" and says there's nothing to worry about, and 99% of the time, there isn't. Read up on Li-Ion learn what it takes to be safe. Just because your cell phone (with matched charger and low amp battery) is li-ion, doesn't mean that a mix-and-match high-amp Li-Ion home-brew will be as safe. Lots of people make the mistake of thinking all Li-Ion is the same. Although you're pretty safe if you use SINGLE-celled Li-Ion lights. (Multi cells and differential discharge are what make for accidental hand grenades.)

I had a bad 18650 Li-Ion experience and I returned the cells and chargers, I'm back to Eneloops. (Didn't need any "vent with flame" excitement in a headlamp, for obvious reasons.) Personally I would not try LiIon in a cheapie light like the Sipik. I would want a quality light for the added safety margin.

And the Sipik is a cheap-ass light, let there be no doubt about it.

If you do run Li-Ion, then WOW, it's bright. If you decide to NOT go for all the gear it takes to run a LiIon, then your next best cells for maximum performance in a flashlight would be Eneloops or the off-the-shelf Lithium AAs. Both those chemistries will dump you a lot of amps into your emitter.

Bolster
06-04-2012, 16:58
If anyone is wondering what light we're discussing:

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/sipik-sk68-cree-q3-wc-120-lumen-convex-lens-led-flashlight-black-1-aa-1-14500-39585

...as I said, cheap-ass, butt-ugly, and tremendous bang-for-the-buck, the SKS of flashlights. I am simultaneously attracted and repulsed by them. I own two which ride around in the vehicles. No problems so far, but how much faith do you put in a $9 light???

Deputydave
06-05-2012, 15:37
It's odd that I see the lumens anywhere from 80 to over 400 on these flashlights. The second one I purchased yesterday is this one;

250 lumen Sipik (http://www.ebay.com/itm/120924847006?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649)

The title says 250 lumens but in the description it says that it can get beyond 400. This is all new to me of course, but the one that came in yesterday as I mentioned is pretty darn bright. Easily brighter than any small flashlight I currently have and even brighter than most of the bigger ones.

I looked at the review on Budget Light Forums and the guy figured 80 lumens on his model with NiMH AA's and around 160 on the 14500. The run time on the NiMH's was over an hour and the 14500 was around 45 minutes or so. For now I'll probably just stick with an alkaline AA or one of the NiMH's that I have and see how it goes.

I have a Maglite XL50 on the way that I got on Ebay for $20 including S&H and the second Sipik so with what I've already got I'm pretty well set for lumination. Looking forward to comparing the XL50 to the Sipik.

Bolster
06-05-2012, 20:45
Roger.

Remember that lumens are on a logarithmic scale as far as brightness is concerned. It takes 3x to 4x the lumens to look twice as bright.

Deputydave
06-06-2012, 14:09
Damn it Bolster...see what you've done!!! You got me thinking about flashlights and going to other forums like CPF and BLF and doing research and all that stuff. As a result I found out this little Sipik comes in a 3-mode;

3-mode Sipik (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Zoom-In-Out-to-Focus-CREE-Q5-LED-300Lumen-3Mode-7-W-Flashlight-Torch-Light-Clip?item=130695122777&cmd=ViewItem&_trksid=p5197.m7&_trkparms=algo%3DLVI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D4%26po%3DLVI%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D8950540983651656408)

And of course I had to have one of those as well. Price keeps going down i.e. first one was $10, second $8 and this is less than $7!

And it's all your fault :rofl:

I figure you owe me about $25...S&H included :tongueout:

On a serious note, I appreciate the education and links you've given me. Thank you :wavey:

Bolster
06-06-2012, 16:15
Well shewt, I did not even know about the existence of that $7 one. Plus it has high/low. Dang, I feel as if I've been ripped off paying $9.

I see it's branded "Ultrafire," which is probably responsible for the $2 penalty. They're sort of the "Huffy" brand (if you're into bikes). But it looks identical to the Sipik doesn't it.

Please let me know how it performs/if you like it. I'm particularly interested if the "low" is a low-low.

Newbies are always going for brightest, but enthusiasts are usually asking "does it go low enough."

Looks like we got this thread all to ourselves. Flashlights don't kill anybody and these Sipik's don't leave much room for braggin, so nobody's interested except you and me!

Deputydave
06-07-2012, 06:58
I have to admit, this little sucker is really starting to grow on me. I've been looking forward to receiving the Maglite XL50 I purchased but now I might just end up carrying the Sipik more often.

The Sipik I have now has 'Sipik' on one side and 'Cree' on the other side. I looked back at the ad and it had it listed as 200 lumen. The second one that's coming looks to be the same thing, at least from the picture except it is listed at 250 lumen. And the third is listed at 300 lumen but doesn't say what the low is going to be? I didn't even really notice the 'Ultra Fire' logo on the side. They really do all look pretty much the same.

The one I have now seems to be fine on a regular CVS alkaline AA. I had thought about the 14500 batteries like I mentioned above. But I'm not so sure now that I've read your advice. As I understand it, the 14500 provides more power and would make it even brighter, but would it shorten the life of the LED? Or cause the light some other sort of problems?

I've been taking a look at those Eneloops that you've mentioned. I like the 1500 recharge cycles. Are these 1.2V like other NiHm's? Is this a special charger or can you charge them on any AA charger? I have a Rayovac 16 hour charger at the moment. And I'm assuming the 14500's need a specific charger?

Don't know if the Sipik is something that will last to pass down to my great-great grandson, but so far it seems like a sturdy little light. Don't know if the Cree LED is really 100,000 hours or if that is marketing hype, but it seems nice so far. Overall, it looks to be a pretty good emergency preparedness light. I don't think I'd trust any light as my one-and-only light as far as survival no matter what the cost of the light. I really like redundancy in certain areas. But for the price I've got one with two more on the way. Seems like a good bang-for-the-buck item to have a few of in addition to other types of lights.

Bolster
06-07-2012, 10:43
Don’t know if these are “answers” or juts “opinions” of mine but here goes:

1) Sipik is the China brand name of the light, and Cree is the famous manufacturer of emitters. Cree is quality, which is why they brag it.

2) Lumen is a game you can cheat, depending on how you measure, if you measure the brightness of the emitter or the reflected brightness, etc. Some brands (such as SureFire) are known to UNDERestimate their brightness. Most cheap China brands OVERestimate, so take with a grain of salt. And remember that incremental gains on the high end may not even be visible due to the logarithmic scale discussed earlier.

3) Yes the LiIon provides more energy & brightness, with more effort and expense on your part. Up to you if you want to expend the effort. No, would not noticeably shorten the life of the emitter if the light’s built to take it.

4) The hours you get from an LED is less “hypey” than, say, brightness. Generally these long life LEDs are darned near immortal. They last so long it’s even hard to judge. If you used a light 3 hours EVERY NIGHT you’d know if it was marketing hype or not in 91 years.

5) What will give out long before the emitter, is the fabrication of the cheap light itself. A soldered connection will disconnect, a leaky alkaline will eat the motherboard, you’ll drop it and something will pop loose or crack, and you can bet the switch will eventually fail. This is not a quality light so don’t expect longevity, but the Cree emitter won’t likely be the cause of failure. Its not working will just be the evidence of failure elsewhere.

6) Eneloops are not a “should I or shouldn’t I” issue. The overwhelming evidence and advice is that Eneloops are an ideal solution for high-drain flashlights. Particularly if you want to keep prices low, and avoid leaks. They come with their own chargers if you buy a pack / kit from Costco or Amazon. Any charger for AA NiMH should work on Eneloops. I have no idea about your Rayovac. LiIon most definitely takes its own charger!! Generally dangerous to try to charge on chargers not built for the specific chemistry.

7) No, I would not consider the Sipik sturdy. Maybe yours will last, maybe it won’t. It’s a $7 light. Disposable quality, made by rushed and careless Chinese workers who crank them out as fast as possible with the cheapest of materials. You want a step up in quality? Get a Quark, a Zebralight, a Surefire, a Fenix, or about a hundred other quality lights.

You seem like a quantity over quality guy. Nothing wrong with that, but I'd recommend the opposite strategy on your next light. Get just one good one and see if it's worth five cheap ones. I'll bet it will be. My recommendation (http://www.zebralight.com/Flashlight_c_8.html)?

Deputydave
06-07-2012, 12:09
1. Ah, got it now. So 'Cree' would be an emitter used in a lot of other LED flashlights then as well. Now I understand why 'Cree' is so predominately displayed in the ad banner.

2. I was figuring that lumens was something they could play around with. I didn't know about the increments though until you discussed it in your post. Good to know.

3-5. Good to know the Cree emiter is going to last that long. As you stated, I suppose the flashlight would fall apart around the emitter before the emitter gives out. The 14500's will be something on the back burner, but I'll wait awhile and get more of an education about them.

6. Looking at the Eneloop's and I like them. Only thing keeping me from placing an order on Amazon is I was given about 30 NiMh AA for free about a week ago. I don't think they're anything special. I believe they're 1500mah. And though they've been used they seem to be taking/holding a charge (or had a charge when I got them). I could use some quality AAA's though since I've got that Maglite XL50 coming in.

7. I do have a bunch of cheap lites for around the house/toss in the car etc. But I've got some good ones as well i.e. the Maglites and Stinger Streamlight. Figure a good mix will work overall. But I'm gaining an education in this area which is always going to be a plus. And I appreciate the link for the Zebra lights. I'll continue looking at these suggestions.
:cool: