Solar/ hand cranked flashlights, useless or useful?

Reviewing and testing solid lights for the survival/prepper/bush crafter

by Jesse Mathewson

January 2016, a purchase was made of over 20 solar powered, crank powered and alternative powered hand held lights. These flashlights all underwent extensive testing. This testing included the following steps for my personal use.

1. Drop testing (from 4 feet and 6 feet using different angles and surfaces) – I live in the high desert, if they can’t handle being banged around a bit I cannot use them, regardless what it is.

2. Water survivability – just because I live in the high desert, does not mean things cannot or will not get wet! I use from several inches through 4 feet of water and leave the products submerged for several minutes through overnight depending on their rated survivability.

3. Overall durability/ quality– I always test multiple versions of the same product, like testing accuracy using a full magazine or expansion using 5 rounds minimum, etc., a test is only as good as the amount of items used to ensure overall quality.

4. Battery life in use and stored – (this was originally going to be a year-long test, however, as of this writing only one flashlight has survived all testing and still retains a charge!)

The following lights were tested in full, using a minimum of two identical lights per test for each brand, maximum of four. (Donations always accepted of course, this gets expensive!)

· MECO emergency hand-cranked/solar powered light. (Four lights were tested, I had two fail using cranks, and one crank snapped off after just two cranks, however, they were relatively bright.)

· Thorfire LED solar and hand cranked light. (Being an avid fan of Thorlight battery powered LED lights, I expected great things. Sadly, after testing just 2, I was quickly put in my place. Where they as a company have excelled at building strong, bright small pocket lights, their foray into alternative energy approaches and unfortunately leaves much to be desired. I didn’t have a light last longer than an hour with full charge, and had one crank break, maybe a pattern in cranking lights?)

· Bear Motion – motion powered light with solar backup/ radio and ports to charge other devices (I have never used a Bear Motion product, however, have owned several motion activated watches and really enjoy the idea. Sadly, the charge barely lasted out a week in both lights tested, and when on they gave me between 45 minutes and an hour of light. Also, drop testing shattered one into a thousand pieces, so a definite NO for this light, except as a possible addition for your vehicle?)

· ECEEN solar torch, with port for charging using usb – (My son took one to England, used it well and had it work quite nicely. Sadly, when charged fully it retains battery power for only around 3 days. This means without direct continuous sunlight you will eventually lose charge. I do not use this model in my packs and would not recommend it, my son, however, loves the light and since we live in a VERY sunny area, it will work for him for now. It is both water-resistant and relatively shockproof having been through multiple baggage handlers and the like and lasted fine!)

· Hybrid Solar – Solar powered flashlight with emergency battery backup (This light is the clear winner, and the rest of the review will go into detail as to why with pictures and video attached.)

The rest of this review will focus solely on the Hybrid Solar, solar powered flashlight with emergency battery backup. First I want to review the factory specifications with you.

a. Recharges with any light source

b. 8 hours of light from one full charge

c. Holds a charge for up to 3 years

d. Water resistant to 3 meters

e. 40 lumens

f. 72 meter light beam

g. Floats

h. 3 click operation, one click is solar battery/charge light source, two clicks puts it in charge mode, three clicks puts it in backup battery mode

Now it’s my turn based on testing 4 identical lights from this manufacturer.

· It will charge if there is any ambient light in the room, however, full sunlight will charge it in under 3 hrs.

· My max life of light on solar powered side, without battery backup was 6.5 hours approximately, (plus or minus a minute or two) the minimum life was 5.5 hours (plus or minus a minute or two) I was never able to get a full 8 hours, however, I have never had a flashlight that met fully this particular claim regardless.

· As of right now I have one that I charged put through testing and charged again that has been sitting since the 20th of January of this year in a closet with no light, every week I test it just to see if it still lights up, so far it continues, NONE of the other lights tested lasted over a month.

· Because it DOES float, I had to hold it under water, which I did before and after drop testing. Without ANY ill effects and this was on all four being tested. One light I used in a pools deep end of 10 feet and had no problems, I have seen reviews from others that this is a light they used for snorkeling and took it to 40+ feet without any ill effects.

· The 40 lumens are closer to 100 for the first hour or so- however, again this averages out to 40 over the entire length of life lit. It is quite bright and while it cannot come close to my sun like de.Power 1000 lumen lights or an expensive 4000 lumen LED spotlight I have, it functions extremely well for the purposes it is designed. As a survival/ lightweight/ backpacking light!

· Measured beam averaged 70 meters, so this claim from the manufacturer is correct.

· I have used the clicker on one light specifically every day several times a day since purchasing and have had no failures, this was a weak point in a few other lights.

· There were no specific claims to drop testing, though they stated it was durable, my testing dropped it sideways and end over end onto concrete, gravel, dirt and tile. I had no major breakages and only one minor scuff mark on one flashlight as a result. While I would not use it as a baton, it is after all made entirely of polymers, I would not hesitate to rely on it while mountain climbing at this time.

· There is very little information about the power sources for this light, I am not even sure if you can replace the backup battery. However, from what I gather and can tell after breaking one down completely, the solar cells charge a capacitor style bank which stores the initial charge. The backup battery has the average shelf life of most batteries of 7 years and once it’s used up can be changed, using two CR2032 3v button cell. However, I did not test this feature, simply because I did not need too as the solar side/capacitors continue to work very well!

· The factory does not state the weight of this flashlight, so I weighed it myself, as weight is of course always an issue! It came out to right at 6 ounces.

· My children and wife both LOVED this light, and as a result, we are replacing all of our go bag/ vehicle lights with this light.

· Temperatures that it safely operates at, I left one of mine in the sunlight on the dashboard of my 4 Runner Sport in Tucson, Arizona since January. Quite literally it took temperatures from freezing through close to 150 degrees (inside the car) and didn’t waver for second, the polymer build means it will not necessarily burn your hands if you pick it up from being in the sun charging, versus other models which use aluminum casings meaning they get quite a bit hotter.

In conclusion, it is my educated opinion based on extreme testing that the Hybrid Solar flashlight (40-lumen model) is the overall best solar/ alternative energy powered light available at this time. Amazon carries these at a great price of under $20 apiece. Given the lack of need to change batteries, or bulbs due to the LED setup, this is an absolutely amazing price and because it weighs about half as much as most battery powered lights of the same size, carrying two would not be a bad thing and would essentially double your ability for the same weight requirements.

This light also comes in 120-lumen model as well, which is quite a bit brighter, however, again, for the weight savings and pricing, the 40-lumen model is sufficient in every way.

If you have any questions or would like to add your experiences, please feel free to do so. And as always, free the mind and the body will follow.

Jesse Mathewson bio:

  • BSCJA / Alpha Phi Sigma
  • Massad Ayoob graduate
  • Multiple advanced firearms schools
  • NRA range safety instructor

Currently volunteers time writing reviews and educational articles based on his experience and background, as well as being a disabled father at home.

He taught LE/Mil/Fed programs ranging from firearms safety through active use as well as surveillance/counter-surveillance as paid contractor and volunteer instructor

He has lived in and immersed himself in the Arizona high desert for over 25 years, experienced bushcrafter with extensive knowledge both taught and learned in the state/le/mil approach to the same.

Is an active non-voting, freedom loving, non-religious (in normal sense) human being with a desire to share freedom through knowledge with others.

Comments

  1. JP in MT says:

    Although I can’t supply specifics, my personal testing is such that I got with rechargeable batteries and battery packs for flashlights. I use regular batteries while they are available, then switch to the rechargeables.

    Seems to work for us.

    • I do enjoy my rechargeables, given Arizona’s sun. I figured I would look at reducing my reliance on batteries. Hence the article. Always enjoy feedback, thank you!

  2. SheepDog says:

    Using quality rechargeable batteries in quality lights/lanterns has become my solution as well!

    The issues as I see it are mediocre at best construction on most of these lights followed by solar panels that are much too small or crank mechanisms that are too fragile or both!

    Even my LED lanterns have been converted to rechargeable AA batteries via an insert case sized to fit the D/C cell they take that holds the rechargeable AA inside for perfect function on everything so far but one of my son’s toy cars.

    There is a good selection of AA/AAA pocket lights available and easy enough ways to charge those size batteries via USB/solar, 12 volt/solar and numerous 120 volt options.

    Throw in a few USB type LED lights as area lights for your USB batteries you likely have to keep your cellphone charged during 20 hour travel days and you have a very flexible lighting system that will take the daily abuse life seems to dish out to small electric/electrical devices we use so often.

    Something that might help is keeping your USB batteries in a small zipped case (thumb drive case works well) with a charging cord, LED/USB light and a USB/lighter plug 12 volt charger. A separate all comers charging kit is included for travel and your vehicle is setup to charge anything you use via onboard electric system and portable solar panel that can go in the windshield while you’re parked! Allow your panel to charge one of your USB batteries while parked and you have very long days before your needing more batteries than you have on hand!

    SD

    • While I agree, most are constructed in a fragile manner, the light I ended up choosing was extremely and has been extremly durable. Completely blowing my mind and ideas regarding them.

  3. When our electricity went out due to a severe storm this spring, I instructed our family to depend on our candles & to use a flashlight only when that wasn’t enough. Such a plan saves battery life. Candle wax can always be remelted & remolded w/ new wicks. You do have plenty of new candle wicks, right?

    • Absolutely, and planning on hives for extras shortly.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        Jesse,
        Keep in mind that harvesting wax or honey from hives will take several years, and quite often you start by purchasing wax in the form of foundation to get started. That’s not to say it’s a bad idea, since I and several friends keep bees; but, if you’re counting on it to have wax for candles, you should at least purchase the quantity you’ll need for several years. This is actually no different than having stored food in enough quantity to keep you going until production is up and running.

        • Absolutely, fortunately I have a bee keeper in the group locally, which should reduce the start time a bit.

          However, you are correct, time, it all takes time

    • OhioPrepper says:

      Red,
      Using candles, especially as I read this on a nearly 100 degree day, gives me pause; although I do have numerous candles, beeswax, and nearly 30 pounds of paraffin in blocks that were given to me a while back. You can also make candle wicks by soaking cotton string in salt brine and then drying. The salt impregnated in the string, helps keep it from burning, so it can be used as a wick is intended, which is to deliver the liquid fuel which In a candle is melted wax) to the air to be burned.
      If you don’t have any cotton string handy, you can also use thin strips of cotton cloth from worn out jeans, sheets, t-shirts, or pillow cases.
      We have several inexpensive LED lanterns that run a long time on a pair of D –cell batteries. I measured the current draw on these when I bought them, and IIRC they would run on the highest light setting, for something like 10 24-hour days on a pair of alkaline batteries, which is pretty good for the costs involved.
      For real backup lighting, especially in winter, we have several Aladdin lamps and a supply of lamp oil and paraffin oil, along with some of the commercially manufactured 100 hour candles.

      • Do you have estimates on life span for the lamp oil. I do have candles in bulk, 3 years at two a day- however, they do melt and do not always provide the best light, though I use candle lanterns (review upcoming)

        I need too and want to look into lanterns/oil- as an alternative. Thank you in advance for the information.

        • OhioPrepper says:

          Jesse,
          I don’t have a specific estimate for the lamp oil; but, I’ve used oil that was more than a decade old. The nice thing about the Aladdin lamps is that they’ll burn lamp oil (which is generally paraffin oil), K1 Kerosene or even the normal Kerosene. When burning the normal Kerosene you may have to clean things a little more often and more thoroughly; but, the high temperatures involved when the mantle incandesces, makes odor virtually a thing of the past; where, standard wick based lamps with old kerosene can have a nasty odor.
          I’m working on an article on the Aladdin lamp.

  4. I’ve had a flashlight for ten yrs now that has functioned perfectly, you just shake it for a few seconds to recharge the battery, it’s been dropped, tossed into the pickup and been abused in many ways, absolutely no complaints, unfortunately it Dosnt even have a name on it but I’m sure it’s made in China someplace.

    • JP in MT says:

      WxNW:

      I’ve got one of these, it hangs in the garage for an emergency light. I don’t recall them lasting too long on one charge, but the shaker is right there so it can be readily recharged.

    • We have a couple shakers, my kids love em, and they work!

      • OhioPrepper says:

        If they’re the clear Lucite ones, I have several I bought at a gun show for very little money. Turns out that the magnet in the coil was just a piece of steel rod and the flashlight ran on a CR2032 coin cell. Most of the circuitry was there, and fitting a magnet in the shaker seemed to fix things. I guess it’s always buyer beware. These are also the old technology where the LED’s have a blutetint to them; but, in a pinch, they’re better than nothing.

  5. Old Country Boy says:

    I found the artical both informative and interesting. Seems you have found and item through testing that works well for you and your family. Lights are like tools and everyone has opinions. Candles I feel don’t do well in wind or rain so there is a place for each and every tool. People have what they feel is best for them and I feel there is a place for the solar flash light. Thank you for the review.

    • I am happy to have candid, intelligent people responding. I have yet to be disappointed here with everyone, wonderful group of free minded people.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      Old Country Boy,
      A good compromise for candles in wind and rain are the Candle Lanterns. I have several, including a round one that packs well for an overnight hike.

  6. riverrider says:

    my wife uses one of those hybrid lights nightly, even though i gave her a much brighter light. it was mine to start but she commandeered it. it has lasted for years.

    • They are amazing, I have been very happy. And just a week ago, had my children throwing them around the yard (they enjoy helping me break test things).

      The brand I chose with all testing included was the Hybrid Solar flashlight – absolutely a fan and has changed my mind at least when it comes to flashlights.

      Obviously as per article, there are much brighter lights, however, for savings on batteries and storage/recharging etc. , these are my current go too for my light weight get home/ 3 day and 2 week bags.

      I still have and love several much brighter lights for my firearms/person. However, for purely survival needs, this currently fits the bill, hands down and two thumbs up for me.

  7. Loclyokel says:

    Hey Jesse, Good review! If marketed as a “survival” light, one should also contemplate the ever present shadow of EMP/Carrington Event related overload & breakdown. I don’t have one of these lights, they sound pretty good, and I’m not trying to pull away any positives with my thoughts. But if this is LED technology, it is going to have a circuit board and associated power regulating chips, diodes, etc. right? Most of which are going to be toast should we have an EMP event either man made or natural. Also without protection, I think the solar cells would have the possibility of damage. I don’t know how much damage something like this might sustain, as it doesn’t have a long antenna attached, but electronics are vulnerable. Still it is something we could add to our Faraday Cage and bring out in relays to test and replace batteries as needed and should last a long time as long as the sun shines!

    • As I do with everything, I have backups, in faraday cages/caches/drops- perhaps a review of my faraday cages next?

    • OhioPrepper says:

      A Carrington type event will not affect your flashlights, unless they are mains power rechargeable and are plugged in during the event.
      As for an EMP, the same generally probably applies. The fact that the device contains a circuit board or transistors or IC’s does not make it EMP susceptible just for those reasons. It must also contain enough wiring or surface area to collect the energy to allow damage to be caused.
      Anyone who has ever played with the crystal radio can see this. Plug the earpiece into your ear an tune and you hear nothing; until, you connect the antenna input to a long wire, metal gutter, or some other large electrical conductor, to collect enough energy to run the earpiece.
      Keeping spares in a sealed metal container, an aluminize Mylar bag, or even a box wrapped in aluminum foil would of course, still be prudent.

      • I use mylar bags, grounded cages etc.,

        • OhioPrepper says:

          Jesse,
          I assumed you mean aluminized Mylar bags. The standard Mylar bags used for food storage offer no protection, since they do not conduct electricity, only seal out the atmosphere. As for grounding the cage, it’s not really necessary and in some cases may be harmful. Look at the trash can article for more details and probably some arguments.

          • Absolutely, I also use industrial strength (6-8 mil) ziplocks for long term general storage and a variety of approaches with ammunition storage, (as you well know there are a few) . An endless list of items to review as it were. I enjoy sharing test results and always keep notes as well as test to extremes when possible. (amazing what the industrial strength ziplocks will take before giving out)

  8. American pacrat says:

    Jesse M
    I am ordering these as a give away gift for my bil’s boat repair business.
    He tries to find items for their monthly drawing for his clients, most times businesses that he buys parts from donates such give away items as a thank you for him doing business with them. This month he received nothing as a donation, so we will help him out. Great review, thank you.

    • That is a good thing, whomever recieves will absolutely enjoy them. And I appreciate the feedback. I hope to be able to contribute at least weekly, I have been reviewing a few great products for my family use, and well, knowledge is invaluable.

  9. One thing I don’t see reviewed in the article or the comments is the hand-squeeze/dynamo-powered flashlight. Here is an example. I got one as a gift decades ago. It was extremely sturdy, but, it only gave light for about 3 seconds per squeeze. After about 5 minutes, my hand was too fatigued to use it anymore. I think it’s great for exercise, and as a final backup when your batteries won’t recharge anymore, but I avoid using it whenever possible.

    On a related note, I got a hand-crank radio which was pretty much worthless. The crank powered the radio for just a few seconds longer than it was cranked, but made so much noise you couldn’t hear the radio.

    • Having attempted to review one of those, I chose to not do so at this time, as well as the shake lights. However, the idea may have aolid future potential, one can hope!

      On that note, I am currently working on and testing a windmill dynamo setup for basic electric needs. Using an older GM alternator, will submit reviews and build instructions in full when complete.

      (Have been doing this dance basically my entire life. Grew up in tornado alley, prepping is simple intelligence as we all know I am sure.)

      Thank you, again.

    • Curley Bull says:

      I have three hand crank radios that also can use batteries and one of them has a solar panel. Haven’t tested the panel yet. My first radio is about 16” L x 13” H x 4” thick and is called the “free play” radio. I’ve had it for 20+ years and have used it many times without failure. The one with solar panel is almost 1//4th that size and has been used several times without failure. The third one is small (will almost fit in pocket). Haven’t use it much, but seems to work “OK”. I’ve had three of those “shake” lights and don’t plan on EVER getting another one. I have a windup lantern (free play) I bought same time as the first radio. It can be charged using 120VAC and works good. The only problem I have with it using the windup is the NOISE as it unwinds. I also have a large (almost military looking) radio with AM, FM, SW, NOA, Police and aircraft bands. It operates on six D cell and I can’t believe how long it will last on one set of batteries. It’s really my favorite!

    • OhioPrepper says:

      John,
      I have an old one of those squeeze lights myself, and I concur with your opinion. Great for developing hand strength; but, not much for light. Mine is probably 40 years old.

  10. Chuck Findlay says:

    Several bad buys of these solar lights has taught me to buy quality lights that use AA and AAA batteries so I can use throw-away and rechargeable Sanyo Eneloop batteries.

    I have a home made solar charger and also a Mahe C-9,000 charger (simply the best AA and AAA battery charger made) that keeps my flashlights at the ready.

    PS: Sanyo Eneloop batteries hold 70% of their charge for 3-years. No other rechargeable battery does that. Sanyo does allow Apple to put their name on the Eneloop batts, but I don’t know what generation of Eneloops they are.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      I have found the same thing with the “Survival radios” they are of such low quality and lack anything remotely like quality that they are borderline useless.

      Better to buy a quality portable shortwave radio and run it from batteries you charge with a solar charger.

      Survival items are popular right now and that draws companies trying to cash in on the survival craze. Sadly many of these companies and their products are junk.

      • I would normally agree with you, however, having used them now and severely abused them, the Hybrid Solar flashlight is in my opinion a fine option that shows the advances made in the field. I believe amazon has them 2 for $18 right now, try it out. See for yourself.

        Again, as always thank you for the wonderful feedback.

  11. tommy2rs says:

    I keep shake lights in the glove box of our vehicles. They bake in the summer and freeze in the winter and have never failed to work when needed. Not a lot of light output but it’s always available when needed.

    I’ve got a hybrid that stays by the bedside as it charges whenever the bedside light is on. It’s dependable but I always reach for the little $3.00 Cree equipped Ultrafire that runs on one rechargeable AA. It’s much brighter and much heavier built and has withstood much abuse over the last few years. While I will admit my MIL has broken 3 of them somehow, everyone else I’ve given them to has been pleased with them.

  12. I do enjoy, ultrafires, thorfires and de.powers lights!

  13. I have a hand crank/solar/rechargeable sw/am/FM/NOAA it says in a Faraday cage. I have 2 Chinese hand shakers that use magnetic induction to charge. I also have a power source ,its a battery charger with a built in lantern and can charge other devices. Its a 12v system and can be charged from a car as well as 120v. It can run 12v,9v,6v and 3 volt systems hasa 15 amp fuse and even car cigarette lighter plugs. I had to replace the battery once so far and that was after 20 years. I even ran a TV off of it once when my Mom was visiting and we lost power in an ice storm so she could watch her soap opera. Life saver lol. Have since bought a generator for more power options.

    • My biggest selling point has been the quick charge this takes, and the length of time it holds a charge. Both amazing, as always, backups – a must- I definitely agree.

  14. Uncle George says:

    The thing to remember with hand crank or solar lights is that if the charge is stored in a battery, you need to keep the battery charged up. In other words, if you charge it up to test it, then wait 6 months or a year, it will probably be dead, and will not recharge. I crank up my devices at least every 3 months (usually every 30 days when I remember), and I keep my solar in a window to keep it charged up. I don’t know what kind of batteries are in them, or the science behind it, I just know that my method keeps the devices running when I need them.

    • This light has a capacitor type storage system, claims 3 years, I have one light that as of today is still bright and strong every time I test it, and it has been stored in a closet, no lights. So 7 months at this point.

      • Uncle George says:

        Oh, without a doubt it sounds like a fine piece of equipment, and you did an excellent test that satisfied all my concerns. I immediately followed the link and put it on my wish list. I was just trying to give some helpful advice, from my own experience, to folks who might have bought something else and are trying to make it work for them.

        • Like I have said and will again I am sure, the WolfPack as it were, is a fine bunch of good solid honest people.

          Personally, id rather get slapped in the face with honesty than kissed with a lie. 😉

          Keep on rocking sir!

      • OhioPrepper says:

        Jesse,
        You are correct that many of the newer devices use a super capacitor for energy storage. High capacity, low leakage super caps have gotten extremely inexpensive and efficient in the past 10 years or so, and I’ve used them in numerous circuits in products I’ve helped develop.

        • I would love to have or build, some larger house sized capacitors versus batteries, longevity alone is a huge selling point.

          • OhioPrepper says:

            Jesse,
            A house sized super cap would be interesting, and although we’re not quite there yet, MIT has been working on such a thing. MIT: Move Over Batteries, Here Come the Nanotube-Enhanced Capacitors: http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/mit-move-over-batteries-here-come-the-nanotube-enhanced-capacitors.html
            Current super caps are useful for short term low voltage devices like flahslifht or memory retention. The last design I used them in was a thermostat, and the power was used to drop the latching relays on an unexpected power down (err. Power Failure).

            • Mouth Watering in anticipation, I wonder how difficult it would be to obtain an industrial strength capacitor setup, like what the electric companies use at their substations- going to have to do some serious digging now. Thank you for that link, amazing what is out there that will make self sufficiency virtually unavoidable for the smart ones like we in the wolf pack!

              • OhioPrepper says:

                Jesse,
                The large capacitors at the substations do not store any energy. They are used for phasing. Connecting two or more multi phased lines together would cause a lot of havoc, and as the 60 Hz sine wave travels down the transmission lines, they are alternating the entire way. We’ve talked about radios in the 2 meter and 70cm bands, which are basically 150 MHz and 450 MHz respectively. At 60 Hz, the wave length is 5.0 Trillion meters; but, when power comes in from different substations and generating stations, even with that long wavelength the power from two points arrives at least slightly out of phase. The inductors and the capacitors at the substation are used to shift the phase of one or more of the incoming signals (power) so that they are in phase and can be combined without an issue.
                They are generally not a large capacitance or inductance; but, must be able to work at extremely high voltages. There is a substation about 5 miles from me that handles two 135KV and three 765 KV transmission lines and handling that kind of power take some serious planning, engineering, equipment, and maintenance.

                One of the best batteries that the power companies use is to have a lake on a hill. They pump water into the lake during off peak hors at Oh Dark 30, and then let the water generate hydro power when they need additional capacity during peak events.

  15. Also, running it dead, which I have done on purpose, and it still charges back up which is nice.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      Jesse,
      Running it dead and it still charges and works is another indication that the energy storage is probably a super cap instead of a battery. I have some high capacity, rather large, non super caps that are perhaps 30 years old, and they still work flawlessly. Unlike batteries, capacitors don’t use any chemical reaction or parts to wear out; so, unless materials change due to age, they last a long time and keep working.

  16. Most questions and or objections or benefits are stated in the article, I would like to think I did a decent job of testing overall. Take the time to read it and see if maybe I answer your questions and or problems. If I forget anything, it will help me test more thorougly in the future.

    As always, thank you for the wonderful feedback.

  17. Great article, Jesse, thank you for that.
    Has anyone tested a solar powered/charged headlight?

    • Personally no, however, I believe I will purchase some, I have several black diamond headlamps. And love em, but again, spare batteries, rechargeable or not add weight to packs- sooo, great idea – will get right on that- you should see a review within a few months from me on that, order will be placed monday-

  18. I bought one of these a year or so ago, for my son to use at cub scout camp, as he tends to break the handle on the crank style. I was impressed with it after the first camp out! It survived where others failed. Now I have a few more for the cars, work truck, bags…

  19. Thanks for doing the tests MD. Yours is one of the few credible survivalist sites.

  20. Almost There says:

    Thank you so much Jesse for this very informative article. I will be ordering soon as another person I know (and trust) gave this flashlight rave reviews and he has had his for 6 years.

    One thing I was reading on the reviews on Amazon was that once the battery won’t keep a charge anymore, it was hard to replace the coin battery…. I haven’t checked it out yet, but do they make rechargeable coin batteries and charger?

    Again, thanks so much for a great review.

  21. OhioPrepper says:

    This is a well written article with some great information. I only have a couple of small crank lights that I carry when I’m camping or hunting in case my battery powered lights run out of power and they are not bright at all; but, are bright enough to allow me to see in the dark while putting together a fire or expedient shelter. Otherwise I use numerous lights that use the rechargeable 18650 Li-ion batteries from 1000 to 1600 lumens. I have facilities to keep batteries charged from mains, 12 VDC from the vehicle or solar, so this works well for my personal needs.
    As an engineer who has been involved in designing many test scenarios over the years, it looks like your test arrangement and protocols were spot on.
    Flashlights have become a tricky subject in recent years, since the whole prepper / self reliance movement seems to have caught the attention of the media and the advertisers. One recent commercial advertised a light that is super bright @ 5000 LUX. Measuring light in LUX instead of lumens is like measuring gas mileage in tablespoons, so it is good to see an honest test and presentation with no hype. 5000 LUX by the way is about 1200 lumens or LUX per square meter depending on the distance being illuminated.
    Thanks for the article. I may now have a few new devices to evaluate myself.

    • I am as always extremely happy to see solid feedback, I have learned that feedback is necessary and the feedback I get here has always been very beneficial. Allowing me to better prepare and test products for everyone’s benefit, specifically budget priced gear which as we all know, can be just as awesome as ritzy snazzy rich stuff can be.

      So thank you, very much.

  22. 803DixieGirl says:

    Always a day late getting my email so hope its not too late to comment. I’ve been experimenting with solar for 2-3 years as a way to save my resources in every area, lighting included. I bought a set of high end ($50 for 2) garden solar lights advertised as 25 times bright (25x) which would give 6-8 hours of light in the evening depending on low to high setting. In the evening, you lift the lantern from the garden stake, take them inside, and you have instant light! You would be amazed at the output which is where the 25x bright comes into play. One lantern lights one room so well that you don’t need a backup. Then we’ll put the 2nd lantern down the hall in a bathroom and we’re covered for the night. They’re a winner. Well worth the money!

    • OhioPrepper says:

      803DixieGirl,
      Sounds interesting and the price isn’t really all that bad if they work. Could you post the details (make & model) please.

  23. Donald Wagner says:

    Dear 803 Dixie Girl: I’ve been searching for exactly the same type of lighting — outdoor lights that can be used for indoor lighting at night, thanks to its solar charge. As for quality….No luck, so far; but you seem to have found a “high end” brand that holds up. Two for $50 is expensive, but so long as they’re reliable then they’re worth the cost. Would you be so gracious as to E-mail me the name of the brand you use? Thank you very much. (Donald) (E=seahorsedonald @ Yahoo.com)

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