Is there any interest in hunting lights?

N10sivern

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Aug 8, 2012
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Biloxi, MS
This isn't a for sale thread so please do not post anything along those lines.

I am thinking about expanding a hobby of mine. I currently build my own flashlights. I use red LED's and IR LED's for my night vision. I was thinking about making some to sell locally or elsewhere, but I don't know how much of an interest/need there is. These wouldn't be cheap $20 lights. Both the red and IR light up 200-300 yards depending on conditions. Red and IR don't throw as far as a white light. They would include the quality rechargeable batteries, a quality charger, and a picatinny mount. I will also probably cerakote the flashlight body as well. Most of the lights I see for sale are $100+ and include a cheapo charger with cheap batteries.

I have been using red lights for hog hunting and they work awesome. They don't spook deer or hogs. I've used green before and it spooked the deer. Would you pay this for a quality hunting light? I'm just trying to get a feel before I drop several hundred dollars on supplies.
 

N10sivern

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Biloxi, MS
I just looked at those lights. All I can say is wow. I'll reserve any other comments out of respect for the company. I bought a VRL-1 several years ago, which was my first expensive red light. I look at it now as a learning experience.

If there is a market for it, I'll look into it further. I would save money by buying in quantity which will decrease the cost of the light in the end. I just don't want to shell out a lot of cash and not get it back. I just want to share some of the benefits of my hobbies with other and make a couple dollars to support my habits.
 

geo4061

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I like to buy the best I can afford and then use it until it's trash. I hate to spend that much on lights,however, I do not want to have to upgrade. If you have a better option I am listening.
 

Santiam338

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Jan 16, 2015
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Oregon
I was going to upgrade to the 402 mostly because of the focusable beam..I call bobcats in heavier cover and thought a wider beamed kill light would be useful..

That would interest me..

 

Galveston340

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Mar 18, 2015
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Dickinson, Texas
N10sivern, I have been looking around as well for a good high quality red LED as well. I have used them up in Central Texas for night hog hunting and the ones I used were mounted on a tripod. A high power light that either mounts on the wep or could be mounted remotely would work nicely here. Interested to see what you come up with.
 

geo4061

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I have done a lot more looking since my last post. I think I have just set the bar a little higher. Since you are going to try to build your own shoot for the Sniper Hog 661r with the dimmer. That is the best I have found so far. I would be interested if the stats were the same or better and you were able to save us some cash. It would have to be at a good price point since they offer a warranty. Thanks
 

N10sivern

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Biloxi, MS
OK, we are going to have a little flashlight inservice. In this, my goal is not to degrade any of the companies listed, only to educate everybody. I will give a little info prior to jumping into the company's products.

LED PCB's: LED's turn current into two things, primarily heat and then their light. A large amount of heat is generated with LED's. The hotter the actual LED gets, the less output it will have. They have to have a way to get rid of that heat so it can spread to the body of the flashlight to be dissipated. Most LED's come on cheap PCB's, or the material that they are soldered on to that the wires are connected to. They have multiple layers, and in the middle is a layer that isolates everything but has a low thermal transfer rate. Essential the PCB takes the heat from the LED and passes it to the flashlight, but with the cheap PCB's they transfer the heat slower. More expensive PCB's have a DTP, or a direct thermal pathway. That means there is an uninterrupted pathway for the heat to go from the bottom of the LED. The best of these are made of copper as it has a higher transfer rate than aluminum.

LED types: There are only a few LED manufacturers that make red SMD mounted LED's. Some are out of the price range of the regular light and generate way to much heat to be passively eliminated by just transfer to the body of a flashlight. In other words it would be too hot to hold after a few minutes (trust me, I have one). If you compare the companies, Cree has some of the better cheap LED's. They have just a little higher output. There are multiple generations of LED's. Over the last 5 years, the advancements have been rapid. As a newer generation comes out, the older ones become cheaper and a little more obsolete. Ignore lumen outputs. It is completely useless. I have a flashlight that the LED is only rated at say 300 lumen, but it will shine further than a LED rated at 1000 lumen. How is that possible? Well, it has to do with several factors. One is beam intensity. The surface area on some LED's are a little bigger than others. A common LED the XM-L or XM-L2 has a surface area of around 4mm^2 where the XP-G/XP-G2/XP-E/XP-E2/XR-E have a surface area between 1-2mm^2. That means the light is coming from a smaller area and more concentrated. If that more concentrated light is directed outward with the right reflector or aspheric lens, they the beam will stay concentrated and travel further. Just know that 99% of ALL flashlights give a reported LED lumens or a made up lumens, and in the end, it doesn't matter. In regard to hunting, it is all about the throw which is essentially unrelated to lumens.

Batteries and Chargers: Ever heard the saying that a rifle is only as good as the glass? The same goes for flashlights and batteries. Cheap batteries give bad performance and can actually be dangerous. Lithium Ion batteries can catch fire and explode. They aren't like NiMh or NiCd or Lithium/Alkaline batteries. They can only work within a desired range of voltages without risking permanent damage or self destruction. If they are discharged too much or charged too much, the cells become damaged. There are A LOT of cheap Chinese batteries out there and most ALL of them are complete crap. They are rated to have a higher capacity than they do, and in some cases some list a higher capacity than is even possible. They lie! Chargers are important too. Because these batteries are dangerous, a cheap charger is too. A cheap charger can over charge a battery or damage a battery by using poor charging algorithms. There have been multiple cases of fires related to cheap battery chargers and Li-Ion batteries. Also, if a battery is discharged below 2.5V, it can be dangerous. Good chargers won't rapidly charge a battery that is below that because it could result in a fire. A good recommendation is if a charger or battery has FIRE in the name, avoid it (ultrafire, trustfire, etc).

Drivers: This is the circuit board that controls the LED's. It is what regulates current to the LED and changes modes such as high/med/low. There are some that are more efficient than others. They typically generate heat as they regulate the amperage to the LED. Also, most common LED's are rated at 3V input so if you use multiple batteries in series, the driver has to regulate the voltage of 2 batteries down to the voltage of one battery. This generates even more heat. Jumping back to LED's for a sec, they come rated from the factory to be used within a certain current range. They do this to protect the LED, so it is rated considering that the LED will be placed on a crappy PCB with poor thermal interface between the PCB and the flashlight. On a copper DTP PCB, I can drive a XP-G2 at 6A current for extended amounts of time, but Cree rates them at a max of 1.5A. All of the current is controlled by the driver.

Now that the school lesson is completed, on to the flashlights.

One of the lights somebody mentioned is Wicked Lights. If you look at their accessories, they list batteries for sale. These are the same batteries that they include with their lights (according to other pictures).
b1b235_20533840d6a34a8ea5ce64b2c576d409.jpg_srb_p_285_200_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srb

Those are cheap Ultrafire batteries. They are about $5 for two of them. Here is a link to a guy that actually tested these batteries. Look Here. That is some unknown name cheap charger that probably costs about $4-7 and I wouldn't trust it either.

Here is the kicker. Look at this picture.
b1b235_1d53446bfa214381b32cbaf10d745e92.png_srz_p_977_577_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srz


At the bottom it states they got those numbers using "Fully charged, High Quality, Tenergy" batteries. So they post up these numbers for their lights with batteries they don't even give you. Tenergy is a middle of the road battery, neither great nor horrible. The difference is Ultrafire batters are $5 a pair, Tenergy batteries are much higher (overpriced for what you get anyway) at $15-20 a pair.

Here is a picture of one of their drop in LED's. The PCB that the LED is on is one of the cheap ones I was talking about.
b1b235_3149b3149d5045ddbe81ffc784449bd0.png_srb_p_285_200_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srb


On to Sniper Hawg Lights.
Their charger looks like this. It's a steal at $16.99
BATCHR2-2.jpg


Identical to a Ultrafire charger which I've seen as low as $6 each.
61cgZuMObPL._SL1024_.jpg

There is a review of the charger here.

Since they are using Ultrafire chargers with their label over it, I would have to assume that they are using Ultrafire batteries as well. I can't tell as they have placed a wrapper with their name on it over the actual batteries.

Their pictures don't show much other detail that I can exploit. I am willing to bet that their lights are contracted out to a Chinese manufacturer to produce with their labels on it. As such, I can only assume that the LED's will be on crappy PCB's driven at the recommended currents, as there are only a select few that use DTP PCB's and will go over the recommended currents. That's the advantage of what I do. Every light I make is using a Chinese body, but I build each one of them by hand, using newest generation LED's on DTP PCB's driven at currents I specify which are typically over the recommended limit, using top quality batteries, that I charge on a quality charger.

Look at Sniper Hog Light's distances here.
I looked at the numbers on the websites for these lights, and to be honest I am not impressed. I can build lights that far exceed some of their numbers all day long. The reason I say some, is because some of their numbers are bogus, and here is why. They are using ANSI calculations which are basically the norm in the industry. A lot of the numbers are theoretical though. The distance numbers are the distance to have the same light as a full moon. Thats great, their white 350 light will do 843 yards. Reality is, you can see an animal out to about 400 yards. Where I hunt, there are trees (oh my) and shadows (oh my) and I can tell you that on a night with a full moon, I can't see animals more than about 40 yards away in the wide open. So, the distance thing is completely bogus and not even close to reality. Wicked Lights has an adjusted distance with their figures (its in a picture above) which are much closer to reality, but may still be a little inflated.

I am currently working to reach 400,000 candela out of one of my lights. I am at 368,000 at present which is still twice what either wicked lights or sniper hog lights are doing. The trade off is less run time. This is my personal light, running at almost 6A. It generates a lot of heat, maxes out the LED, and run time is only about 30 minutes. I don't care as I have A LOT of batteries. If you use the same formula as Sniper Hog Lights, my light is currently at 1213 meters or 1326 yards. My goal is 600-800 yards of light I can identify an animal with.

Back to my lights, I will have an updated product to show you in about 2 weeks. My light will unfortunately be heavier than their lights as I am using 26650 batteries. The reason for this is so that I can push the LED's a little harder than they are spec'd for and still have adequate run time. These lights can still use 18650 batteries with a spacer. The 26650 batteries I am testing have almost twice the capacity of the 18650 batteries. I am actually testing the batteries as I type to see how they test to what they are listed at. My lights come with a regular tail cap, pressure switch, 2 quality name brand tested batteries, and a name brand quality charger. I don't claim my light will do such and such without giving you the same product. The batteries are the killer part. Even with 18650's, quality batteries are usually $10 each, they are more with the 26650's. The batteries I'm testing are a little cheaper, but I don't know if they can handle what I am doing with the lights. We shall see. I will post up once I have some time do some further testing in the field which will be about 2 weeks.

Sorry for the long winded dissertation. I just wanted to clarify a few things. I can build lights that are better than those mention for around the same price, maybe cheaper, maybe more. It all depends on the accessories. I could definitely beat their price if I wanted to use crappy batteries and chargers and old LED's. The difference is I can vouch for every piece of my product as being quality. I am trying to get out to my hunting camp on a moonless night where I can take pictures of objects at varying distances so that you can see what reality is versus the numbers.
 

geo4061

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Jun 25, 2014
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Southern Oklahoma
Thanks for the update and back ground on these lights. I even found a light at Wally World that looks similar and brags 1100 lumens for 69 bucks. Yes I got what you said about lumens. It does give common Joe a starting place. The good thing about Walmart, Cabelas. etc. you can try it and if it falls short return it. I am looking forward to see what you come up with. I had much rather buy quality up front and be done with it.
 

N10sivern

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Aug 8, 2012
Messages
150
Location
Biloxi, MS
Just playing around tonight. The tree in the beam is 250 meters away. I have to do a little tweaking as I think I can get more out of it.

73AAB983-CF8B-4E02-A524-9E868227A49D.jpg


7BAB4E2B-EF6D-4ABC-80E7-BA97E995222A.jpg
 

N10sivern

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Aug 8, 2012
Messages
150
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Biloxi, MS
I'm about to almost double the current to the LED when I get my new drivers in. Once I do I will take some numbers for comparison. This was just a test run.
 

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