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ATEX and IEC Ex Flame-proof Explosion Proof Lighting & Equipment
Explosion Proof Lights
Explosion Proof Motors - Motors for Hazardous Locations
Industrial and Vaporproof Emergency Failsafe Lighting
Industrial Cord Reels and Tool Taps
Industrial Work Area Heaters
Machine Vision Lights
QC Series Industrial Portable Lighting - Quick Change Mount
Rig Lights
Stadium lights
String Lights and Temporary Light Stringers
Tank Cleaning Lights
Three Phase Motor Soft Starters
Vapor Proof LED Lights
Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)
Vehicle Mounting Plates
Workboat Light Fixtures & Lighting Equipment
Yacht Engine Room Lights
Color Changing LED RGB Lighting
Explosion Proof Cord Reels
GOLIGHT Spotlights
Larson FUTURE - Lease Lighting
Remote Area Lighting and Scene Lights
Utility Bucket Mount, Receiver Hitch & Trailer Mount Lighting
Aevum Control Lighting and Equipment - IIoT
Butane and Solvent Extraction Room Lighting and Equipment
DC to DC Transformers and Power Supplies
Explosion Proof Fans & Blowers
Explosion Proof Paint Spray Booth Approved Lights
Explosion Proof String Lights
Explosion Proof Switchgear & Controls
Fleet Service Lights and Lighting Equipment
Industrial Equipment Trailers
Industrial Handlamps & Droplights
ISO 14644/FS-209E Clean Room Lighting
LED Blasting Lights
Night Time Fishing Lights
Portable AC Power Supply Units
Portable Power Distribution Panels
Power Distribution Panels with KVA Transformers
Self-Contained Lighting
Service Pit Lighting
Solar Generators & Solar Powered Lighting
Agricultural Farm Equipment Lighting & Beacons
Explosion Proof Cameras & Surveillance Systems
Explosion Proof Emergency Lights
Explosion Proof Heaters
Garage & Gas Station Canopy Lights
LED Grow Lights
LED Lights
NDT Ultraviolet Lights
Portable Hazardous Location Lighting
Radio Communication Towers and Equipment
Salt Water Processing Equipment
Shelter & Tent Lighting
Thermal Monitoring Cameras and Systems
48V LED Equipment Lights
ATEX Rated Explosion Proof Lights
Automotive Lighting
Class Rated Signals, Alarms, and Systems
Hazardous Location Area Lights and Portable Lighting
HID Equipment Lights
Hot Work Permit Lighting and Equipment
Hunting Lights
Industrial lasers
Industrial Transformers
Light Towers
Outdoor Lighting
Remote Security and Surveillance Systems
Temporary Construction Lights
Vehicle Mounted Spotlights
Equipment & Heavy Machinery LED Light Package Fitouts
Phase Converters - Single to Three Phase
Marine Shore Power Cords and Equipment
24 Volt Military Lights
Disaster Relief / First Responders / Search & Rescue Lighting
Plastic Handcuff Key
110/120 Volt Flood Lights
Post Mount Spotlights
Magnetic Work Lights
Crank-up Light Masts
Intrinsically Safe Lights
Military Flashlights
LED Waterproof Lanterns
Work Area Lights
12 Volt Flood Lights
Boat Spotlights
New Boat Lights
HID Boat Lights
Boat Dock Lights
Remote Control Lights
Control Lights
Tow Lights
Magnetic Control Lights
NEW Lights and New Products
Evaporative Coolers
Police Equipment
AC/DC Transformers
Power Supplies
Military Spotlights 24V
Infrared Filters, Covert Covers, and Blackout IR Lenses
Military Equipment
Ultralife Batteries
Remote Control Pan Tilt Base
Larson Electronics Spotlights
Larson Electronics Parts
Replacement Lamps
Cords - Brackets
Portable Wheeled Generators
Non-Hazardous Location Extension Cords / Plugs / Outlets
HID Work Lights
HID Dive Lights
HID Off Road Lights
Acro Lights HID Lights
Halogen Lights
Acro Light Flashlight
Xenon HID Flashlights
Powerlight Flashlight
HID Flashlights
Xenon Flashlights
LED Status Lights
Forklift Lights
Tractor Lights
HID Post Mount Lights
Roof Mount Lights
Post Mount Light parts
Flashlight Holder
Magnet Spotlight Base
Tripods-Magnetic Base
Recharging Spotlights
Fire Rescue Lights
LED Street Lights
Utility Lights
Hazard Lights
Strobe Lights - Battery Operated
Strobes & Beacons
Strobe Light Bars
Headlights - Headlamps - Hard Hat Lights
Suction Mount Lights
Magnetic Spotlights
12/24 Volt Spotlights
Gifts For Men
New 12 / 24 Volt Lights
Explosion Proof Accessories and Replacement Parts
Explosion Proof Lighting
Explosion Proof Hand Lamps (Drop Lights)
Explosion Proof Lights - Stand/Dolly
Explosion Proof Tank Lights
Explosion Proof Phones and Intercoms
Explosion Proof Extension Cords
Black Friday & Cyber Monday Specials
Crane Lights
Explosion Proof Light Rentals
General Light Rentals
Light Tower and Light Plant Rentals
Power Distribution Rentals
Power Plant Lighting
Refinery lights
Environmental Services Lights
Aerospace Lights
Chemical Plant Lights
Food Grade Safe Lights
Film and Entertainment Lights
Handheld Meters and Devices
Waste Water Treatment Lights
Mining Lights
Ship Yard Lights
Work Site Lighting

10/18/10 The All-Around Performance of LED Flashlights

Choosing a flashlight has become a great deal more complicated since the days when aluminum bodied flashlights with three D cell batteries dominated the market. Nowadays there are as many types of flashlights as there are possible uses for them, and with advancements in lighting technology continually growing, the variety increases. Despite this there are actually only three main types of lamps that are practical for use in flashlights, and these make up the majority of bulbs used in most flashlights on the market today.

The first and still most common type of lamp used in flashlights is the standard incandescent bulb. Whether it is a plain incandescent, Krypton, or Halogen bulb, it still consists of a simple wire filament stretched between two posts that is heated by electrical energy to produce light. The designations of Krypton or Halogen refer to the gases contained within the bulb which have varying effect on its brightness and longevity, but in general these are still inefficient and produce a weak to moderately powerful light beam. Incandescent lamps are fragile and prone to damage from dropping and vibrations because these impacts can cause the thin filament to break, especially when the lamp is switched on. The main advantages of incandescent lamps have been their convenience and inexpensive nature. Incandescent lamps require no extra electronics or ballast to operate and are cheap to manufacture, which is the chief reason why they are still the dominant lamp in flashlights today.

The second most common lamps and also one of the newest are LEDs. LEDs are in fact not light bulbs, but rather solid state diodes. Instead of a filament, LEDs consist of a layered diode which is constructed of semi-conducting materials. As electricity is passed through these materials they emit light photons through a process called electroluminescence. This process creates very little heat which in turn means more energy is radiated as visible light rather than wasted.  LEDs are the second most efficient of all flashlight lamps and can produce very strong light beams with little current draw. This has allowed LED equipped flashlights to have some of the longest rated run times on a single charge or set of batteries, oftentimes lasting for over several hours on a single charge. Because of this they are fast becoming the most popular lamp used in flashlights today and are expected to eventually replace standard incandescent bulbs as the dominant lamp type.

 LEDs are also extremely rugged and resistant to environmental conditions due to their solid state design. LEDs are resistant to weather and easily sealed against intrusions by water or contaminants. They contain no breakable glass in their design. LEDs have no fragile filament in their construction which makes them very resistant to damage from dropping or vibrations. These traits have contributed to the popularity of LEDs and proven an excellent addition to flashlight technology, improving the durability and versatility of LED equipped flashlights greatly over their incandescent lamp equipped counterparts.

The least common yet most powerful of the flashlight lamps are the HIDs. These lamps, as with LEDs, produce light much differently than the standard incandescent lamp. Instead of a filament, HIDs have two electrical posts inside a sealed glass bulb that is filled with gases and metallic salts. When an HID lamp is switched on, an arc is created between the two electrical posts which in turn ignites the gases and salts within the bulb and produces a plasma reaction that emits energy as intense light. HIDs are the most powerful of flashlight lamps and can produce over three thousand lumens of intense light from a small handheld unit. This high power has made HIDs popular for use in professional grade and tactical flashlights like those used by the military and law enforcement personnel. HID’s are also very efficient and produce a great deal more lumens per watt as compared to an incandescent bulb.

Some of the drawbacks with HIDs are their high heat production and delayed startup. Some of the more powerful HID flashlights can actually burn materials that are held too close to the lamp, which makes burns associated with using HID flashlights a distinct possibility. HIDs typically require 10-60 seconds to reach full power and so are not good choices for applications that require an instant full power capability. One other problem with HIDs is their susceptibility to degradation from repeated switching on and off, and in some cases they cannot be turned back on until after having had adequate time to cool down first. Despite these concerns HIDs remain an excellent choice for applications that require the most powerful and intense lighting available that is also portable.

For overall utility, durability, longevity and power, the LED is in most cases the best all around choice. Flashlights like Larson Electronics’s LEDPL-5 LED Flashlight demonstrate all the qualities that make up a solid and powerful LED unit that is capable of fulfilling several different roles effectively while easily outperforming the traditional incandescent flashlight. With a single LED producing 200 lumens of bright white light, this light is capable of effectively working as a tactical, professional, or utility light. Small and easily carried in a pocket, this LED equipped flashlight produces a strong beam reaching up to 700 feet in length. The light is aluminum bodied and well sealed, making it extremely durable and weatherproof, allowing it to be used in professional roles such as those found in law enforcement and emergency services regardless of weather conditions.

The LED although powerful, still provides approximately 4 hours of runtime on a set of CR123A batteries and is compatible with rechargeable 18650 batteries which further enhance this lights convenience and versatility. These characteristics when coupled with the aluminum housing and the inherent ruggedness of the LED lamp results in a flashlight that is capable of withstanding significant abuse and still performing beyond expectations. A traditional incandescent lamp in contrast produces only 35-65 lumens of light, is prone to burnout and bulb damage from rough handling, and loses its most effective output within 1 - 2 hours of operation as batteries are quickly depleted of their charge.

While LEDs are not yet capable of producing the all out performance found with HID lamps, they make up for this lower output with long battery life and virtually no heat production while still outperforming incandescent lamps by a wide margin. An LED flashlight can be left on for an hour and will only be slightly warm to the touch, while an HID in contrast could cause severe burns.

As with any technology LEDs are still evolving and advancements appear on a regular basis. At this current time however LEDs are well beyond the performance of the best incandescent bulbs and offer an excellent alternative for the individual seeking a powerful and long lasting flashlight that can take abuse and still perform. Only time will tell if LEDs will eventually overtake the HID in sheer power, but the benefits in long battery life, extreme durability, and safe operation already make the LED a good alternative to the HID. There may be only three main types of lamps used in traditional style flashlights today, but only one is a true all around performer, the LED.

Related Categories/Products
Category/Product (click on link below for more information)
LED Flashlights
Explosion Proof LED Flashlight - 4 Watt - Push Button Switch - 100 Lumens - IP67 Waterproof
LED Flashlight - 200 Lumens - 600' Beam - Intense LED Illumination
LED Keychain Light - Task Light - 120 Lumen - 330' Beam
LED Rechargeable Spotlight w/ Red LED Night Vision - 5 Hour Runtime - 600 Lumen - 3 CREE LEDs
Ultraviolet LED Flashlight 365NM - Intense UV Illumination - Lightweight and Durable Design
Rechargeable LED Flashlight - Accessory Kit - 600' Spot Beam - 200 Lumen
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