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Ultracapacitor LED Flashlight Charges In 90 Seconds

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the doubles-as-a-stun-gun dept.

Power 131

Iddo Genuth writes "The California based company 5.11 Tactical has recently introduced a new innovative flashlight — 'Light For Life' UC3.400. Unlike regular flashlights requiring constant battery changing this new LED torch offers a rechargeable battery that can be recharged in as little as 90 seconds using ultracapacitor technology. Various military and rescue units might benefit from this new development, ensuring them a light source at all times."

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Future? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064409)

Replace AA batteries? Car batteries? Electric car charger?

I like this idea...

90 seconds! (5, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064423)

ensuring them a light source at all times.

Except those 90 seconds.

In which you will be eaten by a grue.

Re:90 seconds! (4, Funny)

click2005 (921437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064531)

Yeah and it'll be like every PC FPS with a flash light (HL2/F.E.A.R etc) where it lasts 30 seconds at a time.

Re:90 seconds! (1)

SupplyMission (1005737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065731)

Except for Doom 3, where the flashlight runs on power generated by essentially a perpetual motion machine.

Re:90 seconds! (2, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066217)

That's actually a myth, the flashlight in Doom 3 is actually grue powered.

Re:90 seconds! (4, Insightful)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066521)

That's actually a myth, the flashlight in Doom 3 is actually grue powered.

Do they have a small grue on a treadmill, forever running away from the light which it generates?

Re:90 seconds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26068235)

Good reason to give Stalker a go, if you can get over some of the bugginess.

Re:90 seconds! (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064559)

But you don't understand. This will be a back up for my PrincetonTec Eos, PrincetonTec Quad, Photon Light, two Mag flashlights, and my wife's Mag Solitaire and Photon Light. I'll show that Grue who's boss!

Re:90 seconds! (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064661)

ensuring them a light source at all times.

Except those 90 seconds.

In which you will be eaten by a grue.

I come on. Is it really that likely?

Re:90 seconds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065139)

Well, it is dark.

Re:90 seconds! (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065471)

In which you will be eaten by a grue.

I come on. Is it really that likely?

It depends. It needs to be pitch black. The LEDs from your router would drive it off.

Re:90 seconds! (1)

hawk (1151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065891)

>I come on. Is it really that likely?

We regret to inform you that the rest of this post is unavailable, as the author was eaten by a grue.

hawk

Re:90 seconds! (3, Informative)

Elder Entropist (788485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065365)

Except those 90 seconds.

In which you will be eaten by a grue.

You should still be fine if you don't move more than once during those 90 seconds. You have to move twice in the dark to get eaten by a grue.

Re:90 seconds! (1)

scribblej (195445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066461)

Only if the lights go out. If you walk into the dark, you're boned.

> GO NORTH

It is dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

> SHAKE FLASHLIGHT

The shaking only attracts the grue! You are boned!

Game over. You have achieved 1 of a possible bazillion points.

Simple solution (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065941)

Keep one flashlight in the charger, and one at-the-ready. That'll keep them Grues away, until a flashlight breaks, of course.

Re:90 seconds! (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066037)

May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.

May I be the first to say... (1, Funny)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064427)

What a bright idea.

Re:May I be the first to say... (2, Funny)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066629)

Brilliant! -- GENERATION 667: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation.

Re:May I be the first to say... (1)

CnlPepper (140772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26067679)

I wonder how intelligent the search and collection algorithm will be.....

GENERATION 28: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Then subtract 2.

Hmm... (2, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064429)

Slashvertisement, anyone?

Re:Hmm... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065339)

None for me, thanks. I'm driving.

Re:Hmm... (4, Funny)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065797)

I was gonna mod this as Funny cause I almost spit out my Pepsi when I read this. Then I saw someone modded it Informative...

Then I did spit out my Pepsi.

Re:Hmm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065909)

+1 insightful

Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (5, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064473)

TFA says it's a $170 flashlight. It's got a lifetime warranty, but I always lose flashlights before they fail on me.

What I want to know is, how quickly does it self-discharge? It doesn't do me any good to have it charge in 90 seconds if I don't need it until the power goes out.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (4, Insightful)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064619)

I paid $10 for a wind-up flashlight that appears to have the same style of 3-LED array as this one. It's nice and bright, requires about 1 minute of winding to provide 15 minutes of full illumination, with less-bright light available after that. Considering that I never need anything other than a working pair of hands to charge it, I think the one I've got is much better for ensuring there will always be light when I need it. In a power outage, or out in a tent somewhere, a 90-second DC charge time doesn't do me any good at all.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064665)

These two technologies are not mutually exclusive.

Patents (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064941)

These two technologies are not mutually exclusive.

Except perhaps if their respective patent holders refuse to cross-license to each other.

Re:Patents (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065071)

There are 4 billion Crank, squeeze, shake and twist flashlights out there. I'm pretty certain there is some way of doing it that would get around someone's patent.

Re:Patents (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065227)

Fleshlight's technology still doesn't seem to be used for illumination purposes. I'm sure they could harness that and power most large metropolitan areas.

Re:Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065367)

...where citizens can take shifts running on giant hamster wheels to power the city?

Re:Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065555)

no no no, more like take shifts masturbating

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065073)

Well both of my flashlights only require a regular shaking. The motion is something most slashdotters are good at anyways.
Led, a couple of capacitors, and a easy charge method works well

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (2, Insightful)

kv9 (697238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065535)

... a regular shaking. The motion is something most slashdotters are good at anyways.

yes, from constantly making martinis to all the hot mamas, right? shaken, not stirred ladies!

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (3, Funny)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065635)

I heard if you put those flashlights in a paint mixer, then when you turn them on there's a nuclear explosion.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (2, Informative)

Gary (9413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065245)

I do some work as a volunteer officer and the flashlights you get for $10 just don't compare. Most police-style flashlights are built much more ruggedly and are significantly brighter. When you find yourself facing a hostile assailant with nothing but a flashlight in your hand it's nice to know that the flashlight can function as an object for self defense if necessary, not to mention break-and-rake on car and house windows. Also the extra brightness is a safety feature too. Obviously searching a dark area with a brighter light is safer, assuming you need to use a light at all, not to mention being able to temporarily blind someone whose eyes are dark-adjusted.

Then of course the price is related to the market size. Not many people need a flashlight with these extra capabilities so less market = higher price.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (3, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066971)

One of my favorite old detective stories described a cop's 6 cell mag lite like this "except for the fact that it lit up when you pressed a button, it would not have been out of place at the battle of Agincourt"

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065513)

While specifications aren't given at the manufacturer's website, most "tactical" flashlights are extremely bright. A typical 2 CR123 cell light about 5 inches long, throwing ~60 lumens, will put a 3 D-cell maglite to shame. If this light offers performance similar to other tactical lights, it is impressive, indeed. The "nice and bright" of a windup flashlight isn't even comparable.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066227)

never need anything other than a working pair of hands to charge it

I only have 1 functioning hand...

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064675)

As long as it lasts half as long as the batteries in my Surefire, I'd be happy. After a couple packs of those you've pretty much paid for the flashlight all over again. That thing is bright though, enough to feel it on the back of your hand from half a meter away.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065063)

You're buying the wrong batteries. Check out Titanium brand. $1/battery for 123A

What I did about my Surefire... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065473)

Consider yourself a fool for spending money like that.

Inexpensive solution [ebay.com]

I bought a set of these for my SureFire and would never go back. They have about the same capacity and have lasted me a few dozen recharges with no apparent capacity problems.

The funny thing, of course, is that police departments have public funding and wouldn't think twice about ordering thousands of CR123 cells.

Re:What I did about my Surefire... (1)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 5 years ago | (#26067849)

The real value I see in this setup is in Fire/EMS service.

We have rechargeable Streamlight flashlights in al lthe apparatus on the fire department where I am a volunteer (EMS). The problem is that the lights stay on the chargers in the apparatus all the time, so the batteries really take a beating. With this ultracapacitor setup, all the problems associated with constant charging, partial discharge then recharge, etc. are resolved.

I plan to get one for evaluation, and if it makes the grade, persuading my department to outfit all of our apparatus with these.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064717)

the article claims its limited 90 minute operation

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

dfm3 (830843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064761)

how quickly does it self-discharge?

TFA says that it provides light for up to 90 minutes. But it uses a capacitor to store charge, so I imagine it could discharge very rapidly under the wrong conditions.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (2, Insightful)

nizo (81281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064923)

This thing could be really awesome if you were holding it when you walked outside in the rain.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064947)

how quickly does it self-discharge?

TFA says that it provides light for up to 90 minutes. But it uses a capacitor to store charge, so I imagine it could discharge very rapidly under the wrong conditions.

I think you are shorting him on the shocking details of ultra capacitor discharge.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

Adriax (746043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066401)

Your capacity for puns is astounding!

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066733)

TFA says that it provides light for up to 90 minutes. But it uses a capacitor to store charge, so I imagine it could discharge very rapidly under the wrong conditions.

So it doubles as a taser? Bonus!

Well, except that you'd then be in the dark with an only possibly incapacitated angry assailant.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26067461)

Sounds like there might be some military applications after all.

I can see using this for a few things,

  a full discharge at once to blind an opponent,
  flash tanning machine- use microwaves for extra points,(instant popcorn anyone?)
  portable painfield generator,
  perhaps an application in a portable HERF or EMP gun to freeze or disable IEDs,
  self contained tazer darts, no need for messy wires, and you can reload from a clip,
  laserguns that charge the ultra-capacitors off a power pack,

the list goes on and on..

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (2, Insightful)

pz (113803) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064787)

TFA says it's a $170 flashlight. It's got a lifetime warranty, but I always lose flashlights before they fail on me.

What I want to know is, how quickly does it self-discharge? It doesn't do me any good to have it charge in 90 seconds if I don't need it until the power goes out.

There's a really simple answer to this: use high-quality non-rechargeable batteries in your it-must-work-when-the-power-goes-out flashlight and change them once every few years. You can get Lithim chemistry AA batteries that have a claimed shelf life of over 10 years.

Then, use a separate flashlight with rechargeable batteries for when you just need it for a few minutes and can wait for a recharge, or can tolerate slightly-flat batteries.

The ultracapacitor flashlights are a very costly solution to a problem that, for most situations, is easily remedied with traditional flashlights and properly selected batteries that cost 1/20th as much. Hell, you can get a new 4-pack of lithium AAs every year for two decades and come out ahead cost-wise.

The ultracapacitors are for a different application, methinks. Like for the military, as suggested, where cost isn't an issue, power sources are readily available, and performance drives everything.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065195)

I keep a combination power flashlight on my window sill. It has a solar cell in it which keeps it charged up and ready when it's needed immediately. It also has a hand crank to recharge it for continued use. It also has a radio so I can find out when the power is expected back on.

I suspect the flashlight in TFA is more targeted to emergency services where presumably they will have a rapid charger in their vehicle and keep it standby charged at all times.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064913)

TFA wrote: Furthermore, the new flashlight is priced at $170; although this might not be suitable for private use, military organizations, police units and search and rescue teams might . . . be conned into replacing a cheap, widely available, reliable technology with an expen$$$ive, proprietary one.

How many conventional rechargeable lights would $170 buy? How hard would it be to keep at least one charged at all times? Would they have a 2-hour limit?

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (2, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065203)

A bunch, but the cost is a secondary consideration in a lot of circumstances. Surefire has long been selling handheld lights at even higher prices. Even their small personal incandescents were in the $100 after they started enforcing their dealer MAP agreements.

There are plenty of field applications where a person can't carry $170 worth of Wal-Mart flashlights, but needs something that stay lit for a while, recharge quickly, and is durable.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065391)

Try Coast LED Lenser lights. I have three, all of which can be found at retailers for less than $60 USD.

They have one that will run 83 lumens for 5 hours on three AAA's. Compared to 90 minutes of 90 lumens, that's a reasonable sacrifice imho.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065437)

I have and their switches are nowhere near as reliable as, say, Surefire. And they don't resist water as well. And the bodies of the lights are not remotely as durable. And I question the accuracy of their lumen ratings.

If you've not handled a (aluminum) Surefire light in person, try one. Very few people actually need that particular level of build quality for any reason other than satifying their flashlight geek needs, but the difference should be immediately obvious.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064917)

Honestly this has no use.

EMT and Other emergency setups have a CRAPLOAD of flashlights at the command station. if you need to charge your 90 second recharging flashlight, it takes longer than the 2.2 seconds to grab a fresh one off the LiION charger stand.

and at $170 it better have over 1,000,000CP output.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065571)

The technology has obvious weaponlight applications.

You can't put a shake powered light on an M4, you don't just go grab another off a charging stand when your light goes out, and you don't typically need that many cp.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (2, Informative)

computersareevil (244846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064937)

Ultracapacitors have very low self-discharge rates. Lower than most battery technologies.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065903)

Lower? Try almost none - they are caps! Problem is the converter circuitry for voltage/current conditioning. But I hope they have implemented a very simple mechanical switch just between the ultracap and said circuitry, instead of relying on some fancy-ass electronic switch.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (1)

inflex (123318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26068231)

Ultracaps still exhibit leaky, just obviously not as bad as things like standard electrolytes.

A lithium-ion polymer battery will retain its charge for longer than an ultracap (60~80% of charge after 12 months vs 25% of an ultracap).

As for the switches, they probably use a magnet + reed-switch, simple, effective and zero standby losses :)

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064939)

(if they can tolerate the 90 minute operational time limit). -TFA

Fleshlight discharge times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065145)

What I want to know is, how quickly does it self-discharge?

I think the discharge time is dependent on the particular fleshlight user.

Re:Fleshlight discharge times (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066649)

I think the discharge time is dependent on the particular fleshlight user.

Turn on your fleshlight
Let it shine wherever you go
Let it make a happy glow
For all the world to see
Turn on your fleshlight
In the middle of a young boy's dream
Don't wake me up too soon
Gonna take a ride across the moon
You and--

Yeah, I'm gonna stop it right there. Those lyrics are sounding a bit too perverted.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26066589)

I've had three battery operated LED flashlights, all purchased for under $5. And have lost all two of them.

Re:Better be a mighty fine flashlight for $170 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26066673)

Ultra capacitors typically discharge at under 1/100th the speed of regular batteries.

It's safe to say that it would still be quite charged after 1-2 years.

The question is the capacity - if you have to recharge it every 2 hours, it may be less useful than some heavy-duty batteries/spotlights.

Great for fire service... (1)

crowbarsarefornerdyg (1021537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064581)

As long as it can handle high heat, repeated drops to hard surfaces and into water, occasionally containing corrosive chemicals. And as long as they can be charged from 12 volts DC, and aren't heavier than a hand held radio. It needs to have a large button on it too, gloves and all that.

Preferably a blue or red LED as well, so it'll cut through the smoke.

Law enforcement would have to deal with practically the same situation.

Re:Great for fire service... (1)

Eg0Death (1282452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064831)

5.11 targets most of their products for law enforcement and other para-military usage. I receive email and catalogs from them frequently. Since I'm no longer in a law enforcement/para-military line of work, I can't justify buying all the nifty stuff they offer.

Re:Great for fire service... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065149)

Preferably a blue or red LED as well, so it'll cut through the smoke.

Law enforcement would have to deal with practically the same situation.

And movie studios - the "bright flashlight cutting through smoke and reflecting off all sorts of surfaces" cliche seems to have been very popular for a while.

Re:Great for fire service... (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065295)

And the blue / red LED cutting through smoke cliche is popular now.

I wonder which one is next to be touted to preserve a person's night vision?

Limited usefull information. (4, Informative)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064643)

VapourWare: Lights will be delivered on a first come, first serve basis in early 2009.
90-minute runtime
270 Lumens

The claim is 270L for 1.5h, using three emitters. It looks from that close-up of the head that Crees are used, so most likely XR-Es. I'll use a rough 100L/W for my estimates.

270L/3 = 90L per emitter

90L corresponds to about 350mA at 3.2V (very roughly) from an XR-E.

If*Vf*emitters*time = energy

0.35A*3.2V*3*1.5h = 5.04Wh

So, the supercap has about 5Wh in it (again, very roughly).

The above assumes 270L at the emitter. Let's say it's 270L OTF, which would mean around 360L at the emitters.

360/3 = 120L per emitter

120L corresponds to, say, 450mA at 3.3V or so.

0.45A*3.3V*3*1.5h = 6.7Wh

This more optimistic estimate (in terms of both energy storage and lumen claims) puts us at a little under 7Wh for the supercap used in the light.

Let's see what we get with a common AW 18650:

3.7V*2.2Ah=8.14Wh

So, this flashlight's power source has around 62% (pessimistically) or 82% (optimistically) of the energy of an 18650, but is several times the size.

I think I'll pass on this one.

Re:Limited usefull information. (2, Insightful)

jdong (1378773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064949)

Actually the reflector design makes me strongly suspect some 5mm's used. Even if they used premium quality 5mm emitters like the Nichia GS series, I doubt it'd have the same light output level of a Cree setup. Bottom line is parent is correct -- It takes me 5 seconds to swap out an 18650 or RCR123. Charging an integrated ultracapacitor for 90 seconds loses by any comparison.

Re:Limited usefull information. (2, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065359)

Lumen ratings have become a marketing game and nearly everyone is quoting theoretical numbers rather than measured ones.

Back in the incandescent days there wasn't as much advatage because most high end flashlight customers knew the ratings applied only to the first few seconds of operation. That and there wasn't enough competition among manufacturers to mean much. With constant voltage LED drivers lumens matter more, and now that there are several players in the emitter game, and making lights, things are getting out of hand.

No way on earth 5.11 is measuring 270 lumens out of this light with an integratign sphere.

Re:Limited usefull information. (3, Informative)

jdong (1378773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066013)

Oh without a doubt in my mind, from my experience with being a flashlightaholic (my collection of lights totals about $2000-ish), 5.11 is playing a few common low-grade marketing games here:
(1) Advertising emitter lumens instead of out-the-front lumens. The number almost certainly doesn't account for losses in the reflector.
(2) Advertising emitter lumens at peak driveable Vf and current. Almost every vendor except the Inova T-series and INFORCE (military) series does this -- they put a lumens number on the box that is taken from the spec sheet. Then, they do not actually drive the emitter at the power required to produce this amount, usually because it generates too much eat or returns too low of a runtime.
(3) Advertising useless runtime. My NiteCore D10 is a 1xAA Cree Q5 based emitter. On a 2000mAh NIMH cell, it produces a little over 2 hours of full DC-DC regulated brightness. Then, the output tapers off and goes into a "moon" brightness for 24 hours so you can find your next set of batteries. So, does this have 120 minutes of runtime or 24 hours of runtime? I'd say realistically the former -- Nitecore advertises the former (runtime to 50% brightness) -- but I've seen far too many products in this industry advertise the latter.

Bottom line is Inova's new INFORCE series military lights produce 150 or so out-the-front lumens and the light costs close to $200 MSRP. I don't see this product performing even in that ballpark. Press release = marketing speak; call me back when a reputable source produces a runtime graph and output graph.

Re:Limited usefull information. (1)

trickonion (943942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066515)

Can I get you drunk one day and have you tell me all about flashlights?

Re:Limited usefull information. (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064959)

I don't think I'd ever like to go shopping with you... I think you'd remove all of the fun out of impulse buying! :)

Re:Limited usefull information. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065447)

But you have to look at the big picture.

Lets say during an average 3-hour shopping experience, you may look at 15 items, and impulsively buy 2 items. Each impulsive buy brings you 10 mG* of fun.

2 * 10mG = 20mG / 3 hrs = 6.66 mG / hour of fun (roughly)

Guessing from your slashdot ID, you're fairly young, probably just past being teenage (again, very roughly.) Based on your age, looking at items that you might buy, but not actually buying them should give you about 5 mG of fun per hour.

6.66 mG + 5 mG = 11.66 mG per hour of fun.

B5 Geek shopping with you would admittedly remove much chance of you impulsively buying any items, but there's still the remote possibility of you buying one (say, for example, while he goes to the bathroom, or gets distracted counting ceiling tiles)

We'll say that there's roughly a 20% chance of impulsively buying an item with him around.

6.66 mG * 20% = 1.33mG of fun per hour from buying items

But the joy gained by admiring the disgusted looks from the many females you'd be passing in the mall, and the sighs of boredom from the retail clerks while B5 explains to them the features of the products they're selling combined would provide at LEAST 10 mG of fun per hour.

10mG + 1.33 mG = 11.33 mG per hour of fun.

So you see, while shopping with B5 Geek, you would really only be losing roughly 0.33 mG of fun per hour.

Combined with the fact that you could probably convince him to buy you lunch (He's probably lonely enough to pay just for your company) shopping with him might not be so bad after all.

*mG = milliGrin

Re:Limited usefull information. (1)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065009)

I wonder how come I still don't see any flashlights based on the fast charging lithium titanate batteries, such as the SCiB? They should charge in five minutes and shine much longer than an equivalent sized capacitor model.

Re:Limited usefull information. (3, Insightful)

captaindomon (870655) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065081)

The AW 18650 is a lithium ion rechargeable battery. This is a capacitor system, they are a very different technology. Try to get an AW 18650 to recharge in 90 seconds. It will asplode.

Re:Limited usefull information. (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065479)

Who cares about the battery charge time, I can refresh a primary cell light in about 15 seconds (20 if I have to take the new battery out of a blister pack). The whole advantage of rechargables is that they will be less expensive than primaries over time. At $170, you'd have to go through a lot of primaries to make it financially viable, and you could easily use a pair of swappable rechargeable batteries (one in the charger) to get the same effect for 1/5 the cost.

Not saying it's not neat, it's just not useful enough to be economical. I mean, if you're going to carry around a charger, why not just have that spare battery with you instead? (Unless you happen to be somewhere with a constant, line voltage power source but no access to batteries or a traditional charger...which would be practically nowhere never).

15 seconds to charge, two or three D cells worth of juice, and $10 should be the right spot.

Re:Limited usefull information. (2, Insightful)

archermadness (784657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065161)

So, this flashlight's power source has around 62% (pessimistically) or 82% (optimistically) of the energy of an 18650, but is several times the size.

I think I'll pass on this one.

Sure, it only has (according to your numbers) at most 82% of the charge capacity as an 18650 Li-Ion battery--but it can recharge in 90 seconds, and do that up to 50,000 times. That's something no battery can do. Plus, they shouldn't self-discharge (as that's typically an issue with batteries, not capacitors).

Re:Limited usefull information. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065493)

Yeah, but I can swap out a 18650 cell in less than 15 seconds.

Re:Limited usefull information. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26066763)

So, you think this flashlight is VapourWare, because you don't have a use for a 90 second rechargeable flashlight... that's what I think I'm reading in your comment.

So let's think of uses for this device.

The producer of this device is catering to law enforcement, paramilitary and emergency service users.

The AW 18650 you mentioned is a lithium ion rechargeable battery. It will explode and release a fume of toxic chemicals if it has to endure the slightest physical damage.
Ultracapacitors usually are approximately as toxic as lead-acid batteries. Which is not ideal, but better than lithium.

Try changing a battery if you're dressed in full firefighting/combat/whatever gear (handgloves and all), while driving in a truck at considerably high speeds down a bumpy road.

Now try to put your flashlight in a 12V socket installed in the car.

See?

Or a recharge socket back at the watch, while we're at it. You still have advantages as ultracaps don't age near as badly as rechargeable batteries. So you won't have to cope with batteries holding half their rated charge just because they've been (ab)used for half a year.

See? Energy density isn't necessarily the most important factor in deciding which flashlight to buy for some people.

Re:Limited usefull information. (1)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066829)

According to
http://www.maxwell.com/ultracapacitors/products/large-cell/bcap3000.asp [maxwell.com]
a commercial supercap is roughly 5.5 WH/Kg. So, sufficient Supercap to power this flashlight at your calculated 270 Lumen output is going to weigh roughly a kilogram, and take roughly a liter of volume.

That's a really big flashlight.

Re:Limited usefull information. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26066925)

So you don't only want a flashlight that charges in 90 sec, but it also has to be _way better_ in every other respect than flashlights already out there...

I think this flashlight is for people who want one that charges quickly.

Re:Limited usefull information. (1)

sslo (1143755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26067391)

Moderators, this needs to be modded down because of the blatant falsity of the calculations.

B5_Geek:

First, before doing your equations, please go and read the flashlight maker's own data sheet, which is linked from the Future of Things article. It explains that the 270 lumen output is only for 15 minutes, and that a longer runtime is available at a greatly reduced light output.

Thus all of your hasty, uninformed and premature numerical calculations are off by a factor of four.

Please read the much more accurate and informative post on the Future of Things site by Robert B., who correctly explained the engineering numbers that you have so eagerly pontificated about without bothering to look at the actual data.

Re:Limited usefull information. (3, Informative)

sslo (1143755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26067457)

Actually, your calculations are even further off than I thought. Rather than multiplying the 60 minute runtime (on low) by the 270 lumen brightness (on high) from the 5.11 data sheet, you have somehow posited 270 lumens for 1.5 hours - which seems to have come straight out of thin air.

This means that your calculations are off by a factor of six.

Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064699)

If they are the virus immune, anti-monopoly superfriendly corp they claim to be? yes.

Man! (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26064871)

I had this idea years ago! I calculated out that i could do it, and it wouldn't be too expensive, but it would only last about 15 minutes per charge. I assume they have done better?
-Taylor

Re:Man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26065263)

Are you Dr. Rodney McKay? The one who hasn't published a paper in over ten years? The one who always claims "Oh! I thought of that already" and "Hey! You stole my idea!"? It's like you disappeared off the face of the Earth or something.

Re:Man! (1)

mrmojorisn72 (587848) | more than 5 years ago | (#26068033)

Looks like you are about right... From a comment of TFA - "Great start, not quite there yet (12/10/08 - 16:41 - by Robert B.) The manufacturer\'s data sheet states 15 minutes output at 270 lumens on high (67 lumen-hrs), or 60 minutes at 90 lumens on low (90 lumen-hrs). From this, I\'d estimate that on low the device draws approximately 1 watt from the ultracap, with each LED each operating at 0.3 watt at around 100 lumens per watt, with roughly 90% DC-DC converter efficiency. This is 1 watt-hour from the ultracap. On high, this device would draw about 4 watts from the ultracap, with a little over 1 watt reaching each LED, given a slightly lower LED efficiency at the higher brightness and a significantly lower converter efficiency, possibly a bit over 75%. Compare this with two AA NiMH cells (at 3 watt-hours each) that together store 6 watt-hours. Ultracaps are a breakthrough technology, but the energy storage density is still pretty low, as we see here. It will be a few years before ultracaps become the most satisfactory overall choice for flashlights."

What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26064927)

Strange.. I have an LED flashlight that charges in under a second. You shake it, it's charged. Starts to dim? Shake it again.

Comes with mounting bracket. That means... (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26065847)

...I have finally solved the problem of powerful, easily rechargeable bicycle light. No worries about self-discharge due to humidity, no NiMH batteries to swap and recharge daily... just ride the hell outta my bike in any weather condition while illuminating the road really propa' (maybe a tad too strong, even...) and then recharge it in a minute and a half at home - and since it's a cap, I can do this ad aeternum!

Fuck yeah!!!!

Re:Comes with mounting bracket. That means... (1)

Synchis (191050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066475)

You know, technically *you* didn't solve it. :)

You simply found an application for a pre-made solution. :)

Re:Comes with mounting bracket. That means... (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066613)

er... okay, true.

That said, I'm sure the USPTO would grant me a patent nonetheless.

I just checked the mounting bracket, and it doesn't really work for what I had in mind. I'd have to fabricate something for the handlebar, that would somehow snap onto that bracket.

Best part of the whole deal: works at low temp. (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066005)

The biggest problem I have had with cycling during the winter is the ridicolously low capacity of NiMH cells at sub-zero temperatures (I sometimes cycle at -10C). In addition to a lower capacity during usage (and much higher self-discharge), the NiMH cells would break and degrade very quickly during the winter.

I'm glad we have supercaps now. No matter how much lower capacity they have, it sure beats the 15-20 minutes of useful time I could ever suck out of the NiMH batteries in the winter.

Finally (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066395)

Now I won't have to go stumbling around in the dark looking for fresh batteries next time there's a power failure!

constant pain (1)

White Yeti (927387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26066657)

Agreed. With my current flashlight I have to change the darn batteries every 4-6 hours! It's bankrupting me! I tried the crank/shake flashlights, but people kept snatching them away and smashing them.

I think what we all *really* want to know is (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#26067165)

... will it blend?

car charger (1)

SirLanse (625210) | more than 5 years ago | (#26067217)

If it comes with a charger for in the car it could be useful.
Contractors and cops would keep it plugged in, while driving and have it for inspections etc.
$170 is rather high, but a load of lithium that you are keeping out of the landfill might be worth it.

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