Apr 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm #1288507
I did a test today, the classic Bic mini vs. a Bic mini Electric. The Bic mini weighs 0.4oz, the Bic mini electric weighs 0.5oz. I placed them both in water for about 5 min. I timed how long it took to get a flame. The classic Bic mini took about 32 seconds to get a flame after I shook it off and blew some water off it, it took several tries, after the first light, it would only light about every other 4 flicks. The Bic mini Electric lit after 5 seconds of drying, and lit first try and every try after. The Bic mini Electric looks like it may hold more fuel too. I think I may add the mini electric version to my kit instead of the classic mini.Apr 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm #1865386
The electric one is also eaiser to light when its cold.Apr 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm #1865394
Colin KrusorBPL Member
@ckrusorLocale: Northwest US
Kaleb, thanks for doing this test. I have wondered about the mini electrics as an alternative to the mini for some time, and it was concerns about reliability that caused me to hesitate. Thanks.Apr 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm #1865428
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Thanks for the info. You might try another few tests to see if the initial results are repeatable.
BTW, it would be nice if Bic made this lighter with a sealable fip cap.Apr 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm #1865435
Is is peizo?Apr 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm #1865436
…Apr 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm #1865462
The electric Bic has a piezo, I'm not a smoker but use lighters for myog projects, and in my kit of course.
So I just ran them under the faucet for 1 min and put them in the freezer for 10min. I am very surprised to report that the mini electric Bic fired up after 10sec ! As I am writing this, the classic mini Bic still won't work after 10min, no spark from the flint.
We have a winnerApr 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm #1865463
John S.BPL Member
I think it has to be piezo. Does it keep working at altitude? I can't remember at what altitude they begin having problems or if I read wrong ; ).Apr 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm #1865475
@thefatboyLocale: St. Louis
I'm surprised it worked out this way… Good to know! I have avoided the electrics because I (apparently mistakenly) thought they would be more likely to fail in these situations. Guess I'll be picking up a couple as my existing stash runs out.
Thanks for doing these tests and posting back here!Apr 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm #1865476
Konrad .BPL Member
Whoa, I didn't even know these electric mini bics existed. Where can you get one? Gas stations? Walmarts? etc?
Piezo's haven't worked well for me at elevation either, so I guess I would bring an electric bic, and maybe a few matches as backup.Apr 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm #1865479
How about wind proof. The butane lighters have a glow wire to relight them. How does the bic handle a breeze?
Thanks for posting too.
(stupid phone spell checker)Apr 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm #1865480
I didn't know the Bic Mini electric existed either. I was in line at the grocery store and saw a "New" sign that caught my attention, it's was at Von's. I had a few mini Bic lighters that completely failed during fire making when I went camping in a snowstorm about a month ago, so I thought I should give these a try. Glad I could stumble across something that can help out the BPL crowd.Apr 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm #1865496
This might be a dumb question but in my defense, I have never smoked so buying lighters is not my forte. Where can you find these lighters? Would a regular supermarket carry them?Apr 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm #1865502
Colin KrusorBPL Member
@ckrusorLocale: Northwest US
I just bought five of the electric (piezo) mini bics on ebay for $10. I guess that price is a bit higher than I expected, but not exorbitant.Apr 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm #1865503
I've never found a very good selection of lighters at my regular supermarket. When I needed a Bic Mini, I had to go find a smoke shop.
–B.G.–Apr 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm #1865516
Ken T.BPL Member
Walgreens and Sav On would likely have them as well.Apr 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm #1865538
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
That electric BIC is a nice find. Have to play around with one. I bet it makes it a lot easier to light Esbit tabs… and maybe use less butane to do it.Apr 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm #1865544
"That electric BIC is a nice find. Have to play around with one. I bet it makes it a lot easier to light Esbit tabs… and maybe use less butane to do it."
–B.G.–Apr 9, 2012 at 7:11 pm #1865545
Suprised hiking Jim has not tested one yet.
I did try a butane refillable, but it was unreliable. I am on the hunt tomorrow.
Have to bring one to the GGG/IowahhhhhApr 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm #1865550
When you are trying to get a cold/wet lighter to flame, and it isn't working, such as the 30 flicks the mini classic Bic I was testing-it was wasting fuel, I could hear it. Having a lighter flame first try makes every fire making scenario better, faster, and more efficient.Apr 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm #1865556
@hope_for_gorillaLocale: Finger Lakes
Just to clarify, the electric Bic does not use a battery. The piezo ignitor strikes a quartz crystal when you push the button, which creates an electric current. The ignitor will eventually wear out, but you'll probably deplete the fuel long beforehand. I've never had a Bic piezo ignitor fail, and I've used up a number of lighters.
That said, it is not necessarily true that the piezo Bic holds more fuel than the flint model. The added bulk and weight may be entirely due to the piezo ignitor.
We could test to see: buy one of each model and weigh both. Tape the button down to jettison the fuel. (Blow the flame out so it doesn't melt, and do this outside!) Then, subtract the empty weight from the full weight to determine fuel capacity.
This might be splitting grams, but consider that the flint is slowly consumed with the traditional model, further reducing its weight.
For low-altitude trips, I'm ambivalent about which to take. For the PCT thru that I'm planning, I'll avoid piezo ignition due to its unreliability above several thousand feet. In my experience, a wet flint Bic will work again once it's dry.Apr 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm #1865579
I would rather have a lighter that works in wet and cold and at mid elevations very reliably than a lighter that doesn't work well/or at all in wet and cold but works at high elevations. I don't tend to start fires or cook up a meal on the top of passes or above treeline that often, and if I do I use storm matches anyway. Bic has had the big piezo lighters for many years, these mini ones look promising for backpacking.Apr 9, 2012 at 9:07 pm #1865586
Greg MihalikBPL Member
"I'll avoid piezo ignition due to its unreliability above several thousand feet."
Piezo ignitors on stoves seem to be problematical at elevation due to lower oxygen levels. (Brunton) A secondary issue is maintaining the proper spark gap, which on a stove is just hanging out there waiting for a bump.
Has there ever been a study, versus collected opinions, of electronic Lighter issues?
There are significant operational differences that could influence efficacy.
Just wondering….Apr 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm #1865589
We could always go back to the venerable Zippo.
–B.G.–Apr 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm #1865591
Old school thread stating piezo worked from 1800-4000 meters. Let's do some more testing…. Time will tell
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