May 27, 2008 at 8:07 pm #1229204
Companion forum thread to:May 28, 2008 at 7:12 pm #1435460
I would definitely suggest obtaining the CR123 batteries online – going to the store they are sold at an outrageous price. Rechargeable versions are also available.May 29, 2008 at 3:01 am #1435504
@pjLocale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
generally, online, high quality brand name CR123A cells (like Energizer and Duracell) go for between $1.17 and $1.25 each with occasional $1.00 each for cells with only a couple of (to a few) years until expiration (this makes them attractive for immediate or near immediate use). these cells have 1500mAh capacity.
one can find, online, "no-name" brand CR123A cells for $0.79 each. even though these cells usually claim 1300mAh capacity or even 1400mAh capacity, they often do NOT perform up to what one might expect. why?…
i've read the Mfr. Spec Sheets on some of these "no-name" cells and the discharge rates are very, very low (lower even than some older single 5mm white LEDs lights would draw). this allows the cell to continue to deliver current for a longer period of time. i won't go into the mechanism/reason involved here, suffice it to say that the capacity of a battery will vary somewhat with the rate of discharge of that battery with higher discharge rates resulting in lower capacity (we'll the theory about this for another post, maybe).
as long as one knows this going in, the "no-name" cells can still be a good value, just don't expect them to last thirteen, or fourteen fifteenths (1300 or 1400 mAh vs. 1500 mAh) as long as a good brand name cell – more like 50% to 75% as long, depending upon the rate at which current is drawn from the cell.
also, remember that these are Li primary cells, and as such partake of the benefits of Li chemistry, e.g., supposed/claimed better resistance to cold temps than alkaline and NiMH cells, less voltage sag than alkalines (due to lower internal resistance), and also a more linear characteristic (i.e. "flatter") discharge curve under loads than alkaline cells.
given the much higher cost per cell of Li AA and Li AAA cells, CR123A cells are a better value. even alkaline AA cells are typically $0.50 each. so, "no-name" CR123A cells are only ~%60 more expensive (though in some applications, this may increase due to the poorer performance of these "no-name" cells esp. in devices placing a greater load on the cell).
IMO, unless one's budget is VERY tight, or many, many cells need to be purchased and used in a short time frame, the added cost is pretty much of a non-issue (sorta' like "majoring in the minors", so to speak, – there are other things that cost much, much more in L/UL backpacking than 20 or so CR123A cells for six mos. or a year's supply – even CR2016 and CR2032 cells for "microlights" cost fifty to eighty cents each and we don't bat an eye at buying them for anemic microlights which supply BRIGHT light for only ~15 minutes and then are at ~25% of their initial starting brightness, and often after 2h use are at ~10% of their initial starting brightness). [Note: i've sworn off microlights; IF i now absolutely NEED a 5mm light; i've gone to a 9V Pak-Lite (personally, i use 9V NiMH batteries as they still last a very long time and they may eventually pay for themselves f i use them enough)].
of course, *AVAILABILITY* (and maybe that's the crux of the matter, otherwise this might be a "no-brainer" of a choice) and availability of good headlamp designs (though there are some good CR123A headlamps available now) is NOT as good as for CR123A cells as for ALKALINE AA or AAA cells (NOT Li AA/AAA cells – at least in stores where i've shopped recently – in fact, i've found, in brick-and-mortar stores, very expensive Duracell CR123A cells when there were no Li AA/AAA cells were even stocked by the store) .
lastly, when used in modern "regulated" headlamps and flashlights, one can consider in practical use that the stored energy is roughly equivalent b/t CR123A and both alk. and Li AA cells with CR123A cells coming out just a tad ahead of Li AA and even a bit more ahead of alk. AA cells. remember, the CR123A cell is delivering its energy at a higher voltage than AA cells (roughly 2x the voltage of both alk. and Li AA/AAA cells). this fact allows the boost converters and regulator electronics in some modern (properly designed) lighting devices to draw less current from the cell to supply the proper current to the load. nominal voltage on CR123A cells is usually ~+3.25VDC to ~+3.35VDC on "fresh" cells that i've measured on a DMM.
just some thoughts.
my two shekels, YMMV. ok. 'nuff said.May 29, 2008 at 5:12 pm #1435659
@mad777Locale: South Florida
Here is something that is a little smaller, lighter lantern from Brunton. Does anyone have any experience with this?
.May 29, 2008 at 6:15 pm #1435675
Amazon has a few reviews on the Brunton flashlight/lantern, some more informative than others:
Personally I'd like to find a River Rock LED Lantern, a while back people on various flashlight forums were raving about them and the fact you could get them at Target of all places, but Target doesn't seem to carry them anymore and cannot find anyone online that carries them.May 29, 2008 at 6:52 pm #1435683
If it's too bright, I've heard of people using scotch tape. A more permanent solution is going over the outside of the lantern with fine grit sandpaper.May 30, 2008 at 10:00 am #1435747
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I bought a different Coleman Xponent LED lantern W/ a CREE bulb. It's rectangular and uses 4 AA batteries so it's necesssarily heavier and even more unsuited for backpacking. It operates exactly the same as way the triangular Xponent lantern you reviewed.
We use this lantern for car camping and mainly as an emergency home lantern. With lithium batteries, which I keep in the lantern for long term storage reasons, it would be OK for a winter camp situation where a pulk is used to haul equipment.
All things considered, especially the use of AA batteries, I feel this "other Exponent" LED lantern, with its high lumen, low drain CREE bulb, is a good choice for non backpacking use. NOW… if Coleman would incorporate a true regulated circuitry it would be a great lantern, not just merely very good. For that true regulated circuitry I'd pay another U.S. $15.
EricMay 31, 2008 at 3:03 pm #1435959
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> We use this lantern for car camping and mainly as an emergency home lantern.
It makes an excellent emergency light for home! I couldn't agree more. An ideal application for it.
CheersMay 31, 2008 at 8:23 pm #1436001
I have a River Rock LED Lantern that I bought at Target about a month ago because my couriousity got the best of me. If I remember correctly it costs under $10.00. It weighs an even once on my scale with the included snap-swivel clip and its two 3V coin batteries. It has two modes: "ON" and "STROBE". I've found the light output is pretty ineffective beyond 6-8 ft. and has a large blind spot directly under it. It would be okay for use as a tent or shelter light, but as far as lighting a work area for tasks or nightly chores, I personally give it a thumbs down. IMHO, I think one might be better off with a LED head light or a Photon LED between your teeth. Its limitations as a "tent light" pretty much make it a uni-tasker.May 31, 2008 at 9:03 pm #1436007
The river rock led lantern is fairly big and uses four AA batteries. What lantern are you speaking of?May 31, 2008 at 9:27 pm #1436010
Well, aparently not the same one :) The one I have is a wee little thing made by River Rock. It literally looks like a little lantern.
Nevermind then… carry on… as you were.Jun 2, 2008 at 10:26 am #1436153
@dufus934Locale: North Texas
I've got this light,and I'm not to ompressed. It (the brunton light) can function as both a flashlight and a lantern, but neither are very bright. A bit over priced for what you get.Jun 9, 2008 at 12:05 am #1437313
F. Thomas MaticaMember
@ftm1776Locale: Vancouver, WA
I've been using a homemade "lantern". I use a small, 2 inch tall, translucent white pill bottle with the label removed. I heated the neck of the bottle and squeezed it narrower so that my CMG Infinity, single led, single AA battery light will just hold if inserted. It gives a very nice difuse light inside the tent and can still be easily removed from the neck of the bottle for outside Pee excursions. It can be hung or just laid on its side. If I feel a little claustrophobic, I just leave it on all night. The Infinity will burn for up to 40 hours with its single led. Too bad the little CMG Infinity is no longer made. Luckily, I saw the end coming and bought 3 of them. The led is suppose to last 10,000 hours! Let's hope that I do too ! ! ! !Jun 9, 2008 at 9:59 am #1437352
Thanks for the description of your homemade lantern. I am intrigued. Is it possible for you to post a photograph of your work. It might be something some of us (especially me) would like to duplicate if possible. Thanks,
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