Stubborn, stupid, flashlights, amateur radio, and GPS

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by MrEUser, Mar 31, 2018.

  1. MrEUser

    MrEUser The Wandering Apistevist Lifetime Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    2
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2016
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    740
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    Apollo 13 taught us the importance of standardization. Engineers learned to fit a square peg into a round hole. Terrific.

    I initially started hiking/backpacking/camping with the intention of using nothing electrical. Instead of using a flashlight, I'd use a glow stick...

    When you're done laughing, and you should be laughing, don't worry, I've changed.

    I bragposted my Prometheus Alpha. I love this flashlight. I look forward to using it, and look for excuses to use it. It was stupid expensive, and I don't care.

    I'm also an Amateur radio operator that uses many handheld radios. Because why have just one hobby that can be expensive, when you can have two for twice the price?

    So I also have a TH-D74, an FT-2D, and an Anytone AT868UV (cuz digital modes).

    I have a GPS.

    And all the batteries are different. I could get packs for the HT's that allow me to use AA batteries like the GPS uses, but then I'm transmitting at low power. I'm leaning towards another solution for standardization.

    I've become a fan of the 18650 battery (example: https://www.18650batterystore.com/). I have nothing to do with the website, it was the first link in google when I googled 18650. This battery is a 3.6 to 3.7 volt and has from 2500 to 3600 mAh. What is great about it, is that you can charge 4 simultaneously on a USB port.

    Two cells hooked in series will have a voltage of 7.2 to 7.4 volts. Plenty of voltage for a handheld radio. The two cells would also provide enough power for 24 hours at a 5-5-90 duty cycle. One cell could be used in the flashlight, and one could be used in a GPS.

    The bonus is that two CR123 sized cells could replace a single 18650 cell. Alkaline CR123's are common enough you can find them for sale at supermarkets.

    The points I'm making are:
    1) AA batteries aren't useful for high power deep discharge electronics like what you would use in a field/extended field situation.
    2) Having to depend on lots of different types of batteries requires that you carry lots of different types of batteries... and they can't be switched out.
    3) I spend entirely too much money on stuff...

    And last...

    I'm going to design battery cases for my handhelds so that my flashlight and handheld radios can all use the same batteries, charging station, and alkaline CR123's if it comes to that.
     
  2. captjim_nm

    captjim_nm Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2014
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    156
    Location:
    San Antonio, NM
    Like you I standardize using the AA batteries. My ham HT, scanner, maglight, GPS all use AA batteries. Resupply is as close as the nearest Walmart or grocery store. I start using the HT with the rechargeable battery but carry the dry cell battery case and AA batteries for back-up.
    Another thing, how old are your rechargeable batteries? Most rechargeable batteries lose a large part of their capacity after 3 years. When you buy new rechargeable batteries, put the date on the batteries, then you know when to replace them and not leave yourself stranded. 73'S KA5SIW
     
  3. reppans

    reppans Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2015
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    676
    I hear you, and I've gone full circle. When li-ion consumer devices first hit the market, they were all proprietary meaning you needed to carry a dedicated backup batt and charger for every device - that was the worst! So then I switched over to a AA Eneloop standard, which was great for a while although limiting, and of course we now have the USB standard. I threw in the towel and now use whatever battery, and learned how to battery MacGyver with simple tools and tiny pocket charger/banks to shift the power around. For example, I can pull the 16650 from my flashlight to charge my Eneloop AAA/AAs or USB phone and then run my flashlight off of any scavenged battery; or charger up a battery bank from 3 AA/C/D cells; or run a 2AA device with a CR123; etc.

    Looks like everything is moving over to a USB standard, you can even get 1.5V 'AAs' (actually bucked down Li-ions) with a micro USB socket built into the side.
     
    marbleman likes this.
  4. Zunga

    Zunga Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Messages:
    4,238
    Likes Received:
    18,829
    Location:
    British Columbia
    I standardized batteries across my gear. I went AAA. Only because the majority of my gear was at the time. I had choosen those because. Most of my household stuff uses them. Then I can save buying bulk batteries. I am very happy with my mini Olight, Single triple A. For a non battery option. Luminaid.com has very good solar recharge lanterns. Size of a think credit card when stowed. Water proof, crash resistant, Floats and designed for lighting in very poor countries. Also @reppans is not the first fellow to sing the praises of the Eneloop batteries. They are on my shopping list. :dblthumb:
     
    Beach Hiker and reppans like this.
  5. Afterburner

    Afterburner Name: Jon - Ham Radio Callsign: KK6IQK Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2018
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    Shingle Springs , California
    I standardized my gear around AA batteries and USB based gear as well. While I have some very good ham radio gear, for backpacking, I like to use the UV3R Baofeng 2 meter and 70cm radio for my ham communications since it is easily charged off a backpack solar cell panel along with the rest of my USB electronics. It is an effective compromise to use these two power standards to work from. Even my Thrunite flashlights must adhere to the standard and I like the USB 18650 powered rechargeable models that can charge off my solar panel.
     
  6. kamagong

    kamagong Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    1,130
    Not me. I like CR123s. I like their capacity and long shelf life. Even better, they don't leak. I don't have to worry about leaving a light in the car for emergency purposes only to find it doesn't work because the alkaline batteries crapped out.

    Of course I still have a couple of AA lights around. As mentioned, they're very easy to find and that may come in handy if I ever let the CR123 stash dwindle. I think it makes sense to have some flexibility when it comes to your tools and what you feed them. Similar to how I favor .45 acp, but I still have a 9mm around just in case.
     
    Afterburner likes this.
  7. Afterburner

    Afterburner Name: Jon - Ham Radio Callsign: KK6IQK Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2018
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    Shingle Springs , California
    LOL - That statement brought back memories. My father designed the AJ10-137 Service Module Main Engine Nozzle for the Apollo program. When that accident happened with Apollo 13, he was one of the team that was on call and consultation with NASA since they were trying early on to determine if the main engine could be used for the return to Earth and ultimately they decided it was too risky to fire it with all the damage from the explosion. You are dead right on standards... The air filtration problem was a huge wake up call for interchangeability for critical systems like life-support, etc...
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
    marbleman likes this.
  8. marbleman

    marbleman Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,612
    Likes Received:
    4,827
    @Afterburner Apollo 13! Before that, I have a first day of issue stamp from 1969, with Neil Armstrong, or something. I think it is funny/cool, that everyone's smartphone now has more CPU horsepower than the early Cape Canaveral launches.

    As a ham radio aside, I have some 7/8" air-dialectric Andrew Heliax, from the Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral. It was listed in the classified ads of 73 Magazine.

    [​IMG]

    I also have a hand-written letter from John Glenn, that he wrote to my mother. It's not that valuable, but it's valuable to me.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  9. Afterburner

    Afterburner Name: Jon - Ham Radio Callsign: KK6IQK Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2018
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    Shingle Springs , California
    Keep those memorabilia - They *are* valuable artifacts. I like that air core coax - I've heard of that stuff before but never saw a pic of it. Yes on smartphone - Heck, your watch has more power than those old machines, but don't count out those old computers as primitive, especially the Apollo Guidance Computer or "AGC" - They could do things that many modern digital systems cannot do, such as power down and restart and continue right where they left off very quickly - an absolute requirement for that era, before there were quorum based clusters that cross-checked each other's calculations and performance like the Shuttles used. Just because something is old doesn't mean it is worse... There is much about the modern digital world that is inferior to those older analog and primitive digital architectures that have gone away. My favorite machine from my era was the legendary Vax 11/780 and I still miss that machine. It had what modern computers do not... Style and personality. And the Apollo AGC was in the same league, an utterly unique architecture that remains unmatched even today for parts of it's technology. The cloud infrastructures today just feel like empty-souled clones to me... No personality and you can't touch them. Just virtual info-foam that isn't even location dependent... lol. I guess my age is showing, but I like to see the machines and disc drives and KNOW where my information is stored. - 73 de KK6IQK.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_Guidance_Computer
     
    marbleman likes this.
  10. marbleman

    marbleman Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,612
    Likes Received:
    4,827
    @Afterburner I have two IBM AS/400s in my basement, but I don't want to spend the electricity to keep them powered up. I like Big Iron. They work fine, they are just obsolete. I also have some of an IBM System/360 mainframe, but I have given most of it away.
     
    Trail Angel and Afterburner like this.
  11. Afterburner

    Afterburner Name: Jon - Ham Radio Callsign: KK6IQK Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2018
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    Shingle Springs , California
    LOL - A man who understands what I am saying... I do like some of the emulator tech that is out there but they never quite match the majesty of the original machines - I have thought about getting myself an old Microvax just so I could have Vax VMS and write some good Fortran and C code for fun - lol...
     
    Trail Angel and marbleman like this.
  12. reppans

    reppans Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2015
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    676
    Many don't realize it, but the AA size battery can be had in many different chemistries and voltages to tune for specific performance needs - there's a 3V CRAA available which is the same as a CR123, and the rechargeable li-ion 14500 has more capacity than the equivelant RCR123/16340. Eneloops can out power a CR123 in the right flashlight, L91 lithium iron are rated twice the shelf life of CR123s, and Li-SOCl2 packs as nearly as much energy as 18650s (albeit at low draws). Alkaline and old Zinc carbons are the only ones that leak.

    But the real trick is finding a flashlight with an versatile driver that can run all the AA chemistries efficiently - they're kinda like .357 revolvers that can reliably run .38spc, .38+P, shotshells, and full house .357s.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  13. kamagong

    kamagong Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    1,130
    You're right. Many don't, but I do. When people refer to the ubiquity of AA, I presume they are talking either alkalines or lithiums as those are the most likely to be found in retail stores. Alkalines leak, while the AA lithiums are just as expensive as CR123. As to rechargables, I've not yet gone there though I have given it some thought. I see their advantage for items that are used consistently. But rechargeables self-discharge over time and are not a good idea for certain applications like a nightstand or glovebox light.

    Should I decide to go rechargeable I'll probably go with 16650s and 18650s. My favorite size of light is a 2-cell CR123. It's in the sweet spot for portability and capability. Plus using a single battery helps minimize the risks involved in recharging lithium-ions.

    Or I may stick with using primaries. I have a fair amount of lights, but I'm not a heavy user. I don't go for lights with a dozen modes or 1000 lumens, so the pair of CR123s I feed a light lasts a long time. A SureFire 6P with a Malkoff M61NL drop-in gives me 5+ hours of continuous use at 160 lumens. If I want even longer runtime there's the G2 in my bag with a Malkoff M61WLL. I get at least 10 hours with that.

    Either way, I figure lights are like knives and guns. It's your gear, use whatever works for you. I'm just glad we have so many choices.
     
    reppans and marbleman like this.

Share This Page