Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby LukeM » Aug 24, 2011 7:56 am

You will need a charger that works with 18650(size) li-ion batteries, so things like the usual La Crosse and Maha recommended chargers are out since they're for NiCd and NiMH batteries. An 18650 cell is larger than an AA cell and operates at a totally different voltage. I don't know too much about li-ion chargers but you would generally look for independent charging of cells, and "smart" features like thermal protection, overcharge protection, short circuit protection, trickle charging, etc. Li-ions can be dangerous if used improperly so a charger that has safeguards is important.
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Batgirl » Aug 24, 2011 9:40 am

After comparing both the Fenix and the Spark with the Sten, I think they make the Sten look like an average flashlight. The Fenix has an advantage in that it takes AA batteries while the Spark requires a rechargable Li battery. The comparison breaks down like this for me: The Sten’s max setting is 140 lumens for only 2 hours and it costs $370. The high setting on the Fenix allows 133 lumens for 9 hours. You get a little less light (but it won’t really be noticeable) for a much longer period of time and it only costs $60. The Spark’s mid 2 level setting allows 150 lumens for 8 hours and it costs $130 including the extra battery and charger. For an 8-9 hour trip (which is pretty standard for me) both the Fenix and the Spark are pretty close - lumens wise.

The question here is: Is it worth messing around with an Li battery vs AA? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Does it matter?
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby LukeM » Aug 24, 2011 10:29 am

Li-ion batteries have a higher energy density than an AA alkaline or NiMH battery, so more energy/less weight. Because of the higher voltage a single cell can be used, like in the Spark, which is really cool.

Disadvantages? They have a life span, not as good as NiMH recharchables like eneloops, though you'll still likely get a couple years out of them before you've lost a significant amount of capacity. If treated improperly (overcharged, shorted, etc) they will basically explode in a flaming mess. I'm careful about where I charge mine. Also, cost is higher, though always coming down.
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Lava » Aug 24, 2011 11:15 am

The Spark can run on either a rechargeable LiIon 18650 cell or two Li primary CR123A cells.
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Dangerjudy » Aug 24, 2011 11:47 am

Is the run time substantially different if you use the 18650 cell vs. the CR123A cells in the Spark?

Also I am equally cautious about a charger for 18650 cells (or any battery charger) that is only $10.
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Cody JW » Aug 24, 2011 2:23 pm

Batgirl wrote:After comparing both the Fenix and the Spark with the Sten, I think they make the Sten look like an average flashlight. The Fenix has an advantage in that it takes AA batteries while the Spark requires a rechargable Li battery. The comparison breaks down like this for me: The Sten’s max setting is 140 lumens for only 2 hours and it costs $370. The high setting on the Fenix allows 133 lumens for 9 hours. You get a little less light (but it won’t really be noticeable) for a much longer period of time and it only costs $60. The Spark’s mid 2 level setting allows 150 lumens for 8 hours and it costs $130 including the extra battery and charger. For an 8-9 hour trip (which is pretty standard for me) both the Fenix and the Spark are pretty close - lumens wise.

The question here is: Is it worth messing around with an Li battery vs AA? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Does it matter?
I thought the sten premium has a max output over 300 Lumens ?? I do not own one but I thought I read that somewhere. . Also keep in mind that any light that runs off AAs will be brighter with eneloops compared to alkaline. I am old fashioned when it comes to batteries and like the fact that if you have a AA light you can run off eneloops or similar or Duracell lithium or alkaline. It is nice to know that since caving takes you out to rual areas that if worse comes to worse you can always go to any gas station and buy alkaline AAs in a pinch. That is why I think it is wise for sten or any premium light mfgr. to give you the option of using AAs.I think it would be hard to find a regular sten or Spark battery in a pinch out in the middle of nowhere. I just wished my HP-10 had the option of a better light spread like you have with the Spark.
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Extremeophile » Aug 24, 2011 2:49 pm

Batgirl wrote:After comparing both the Fenix and the Spark with the Sten, I think they make the Sten look like an average flashlight. The Fenix has an advantage in that it takes AA batteries while the Spark requires a rechargable Li battery. The comparison breaks down like this for me: The Sten’s max setting is 140 lumens for only 2 hours and it costs $370. The high setting on the Fenix allows 133 lumens for 9 hours. You get a little less light (but it won’t really be noticeable) for a much longer period of time and it only costs $60. The Spark’s mid 2 level setting allows 150 lumens for 8 hours and it costs $130 including the extra battery and charger. For an 8-9 hour trip (which is pretty standard for me) both the Fenix and the Spark are pretty close - lumens wise.

The question here is: Is it worth messing around with an Li battery vs AA? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Does it matter?

I don't think you have the right specs on the Sten. The Turbo setting is ~370 lumens and will last 4-5 hours, but temperature sensors will cut it back to ~300 lumens, but with greater battery life. On high the Sten puts out ~150 lumens for 8-10 hours, and on medium it puts out maybe 40 lumens for 40 hours. I bought the larger (5.0 Ah) battery with my Sten so I got about 22-25 hours on the high setting, and over 80 hours on medium. I'm typically doing 14-18 hour day trips to survey and like to be able to run it on high all the time. When you have plenty of battery capacity it's like having a brighter light.

I have a strong preference for Li-ion over NiMH. Even on longer trips you never need to change batteries. I've done several 4 day camp trips with a Sten without a battery change, and I've heard of people doing 7-8 day trips without a change.

Not sure about the claim that Li-ion cells won't last as long as NiMH. I've heard they can last up to 10 years with proper care.
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Batgirl » Aug 24, 2011 3:05 pm

My apologies, your right. I was looking at the specks online and didn't realize that the fact sheet was indicating minimums rather than maximums. But I can't seem to find the max stats that you quoted.

http://www.stenlight.com/fact-sheet.htm
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Caver John » Aug 24, 2011 4:14 pm

Extremeophile: thanks for the sten facts, I've been wondering fOr a while. So the sten does prove to be sufficient for us lumenholics afterall. Despite the price.

Has anyone used a spark without the reflector? I hear this provides a nice flood...
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby rlboyce » Aug 24, 2011 5:12 pm

I'm also curious/dubious about these Sten specifications. It is certainly a bright light, and certainly more than enough light for 99% of caving situations, but I'm not so sure any of these output estimates are correct. If you go to Karst Sports, they have both the S7 and S7-premium. The regular version is stated to be 140 lumens on turbo. They claim the premium version is 40% brighter than the regular version. That equates to about 200 lumens. Sure, Karst Sports could be incorrect, but having had the opportunity on many occasions to compare my 130 lumen apex to premium Stens, 200 lumens seems much closer to the real output than 370 lumens. I'd be happy to be proven wrong with some official specifications or thorough calculations though...
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Extremeophile » Aug 24, 2011 7:27 pm

rlboyce wrote:I'm also curious/dubious about these Sten specifications. It is certainly a bright light, and certainly more than enough light for 99% of caving situations, but I'm not so sure any of these output estimates are correct. If you go to Karst Sports, they have both the S7 and S7-premium. The regular version is stated to be 140 lumens on turbo. They claim the premium version is 40% brighter than the regular version. That equates to about 200 lumens. Sure, Karst Sports could be incorrect, but having had the opportunity on many occasions to compare my 130 lumen apex to premium Stens, 200 lumens seems much closer to the real output than 370 lumens. I'd be happy to be proven wrong with some official specifications or thorough calculations though...

I don't have any "official" specifications. Below are the values for the Sten Premium (why even consider the regular S7?) that I received when I inquired in Nov '09.


Image

When I received the lamp I charged the battery and ran in on "high" (level 3) and it went 20 hours before stepping down. A little over a year later I tried this again and got 25 hours. I'm not sure if the battery is holding more charge or if the circuitry is delivering fewer amps to the emitter (and therefore reduced lumen output). They claim that their lumen ratings are OTF and conservative and I tend to believe this based on comparisons to other lights. There are more efficient lights now with the Cree XP-G and XM-L LEDs, but manufacturers haven't put them into a lamp package that is as appealing to cavers as the Sten. The small, light weight aluminum head coupled to a Li-ion battery is hard to beat. That's why so many people own them.
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Cody JW » Aug 24, 2011 7:29 pm

I wonder about the actual Lumen rating on The Sten also. I have caved with guys who have the premium when I was using my Fennix HP -10. The Fennix HP-10 appeared to me to have a brighter spot area on its high vs the sten turbo, BUT the sten had a wider spread of beam. And I was using alkalines , the fennix may be brighter on eneloops. I think the HP-10 was rated a little over 200 Lumens, I suspect that figure is using eneloops, may be less with alkalines. Not sure anymore when you are given a lumen rating for a AA light if that rating is assuming you are using rechargeable s or regular alkalines. The HP-10 is very bright within its spot area. The problem is the beam spread is not suitable for some cavers. The practical side of me is seeing lights like the HP-10 , Spark and others that are very close in lumens to The Sten but are about one quarter the cost and seem to be cave worthy. With the way LED tech seems to change so rapidly, I am just not convinced it is wise to spend that much on any light.
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Extremeophile » Aug 24, 2011 7:38 pm

Caver John wrote:So the sten does prove to be sufficient for us lumenholics afterall. Despite the price.

For the true lumenholic - Scurion, there is no substitute

Image
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Caver John » Aug 24, 2011 8:13 pm

Extremeophile wrote:
Caver John wrote:So the sten does prove to be sufficient for us lumenholics afterall. Despite the price.

For the true lumenholic - Scurion, there is no substitute

Image



Wow that's alot of light!

But they're just may be a substitute in the works by the name o Rude Nora.
This bad little monkey gets my pupils dilated!
Can't wait for the release.
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Re: Fenix hp-11 or Spark st-6 500cw

Postby Cody JW » Aug 24, 2011 9:09 pm

Caver John wrote:
Extremeophile wrote:
Caver John wrote:So the sten does prove to be sufficient for us lumenholics afterall. Despite the price.

For the true lumenholic - Scurion, there is no substitute

Image



Wow that's alot of light!

But they're just may be a substitute in the works by the name o Rude Nora.
This bad little monkey gets my pupils dilated!
Can't wait for the release.
I too am waiting for the release as his prior light the Hurricane looked very nice, BUT I would be surprised if it is comparable to the Scurion. I just cannot see a need for the amount of light The Scurion has unless you cave exclusively in The Sarawak Chamber in Malaysia. A sten seems to have sufficient light for most US caves like the big rooms in camps gulf or TAG pits.
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