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Thread: How expensive should a new primary be?

  1. #1
    TadPole
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    12/19/2011
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    How expensive should a new primary be?

    Hi folks

    I'm going to be getting into some night time shore diving sometime this year, and the current special from our friends at Scubatoys on the UK C8 eLED has me very interested in purchasing my first dive light.

    However, doing so is... probably financially unwise, at this stage. It's doable if I move some money around but would require putting some other Scuba needs on the backburner. Whenever I see people recommending lights under $100, I can't be sure if they mean as a primary for night diving, or as just a backup and for use during daytime diving and looking into naturally shaded parts of reef. I have heard that the C8 is a good primary, with the only downside being the switch used sometimes fails. So I'd like to ask, am I likely to get a good primary light for under $100, or should I jump on the $75 UK light, keeping in mind that after shipping, it will probably come closer to $120?

    Some input from people who have experience with lights would be good.

  2. #2
    Grouper
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    Hi Nerues,
    Given the rate of change in lights these days not expensive at all, I had one of these http://www.dx.com/p/q1301-cree-xm-l-...8#.VLStrXsXfBY for about 3 years, very very bright ( i never used it on full ), left it with one of the local guides in Fiji last year as I felt sorry for her trying to see stuff with the one the resort provided. Smaller still and able to use AAA batteries (won't be as bright though as with the 18650 battery) http://www.dx.com/p/richfire-sf-749b...6#.VLSt4HsXfBY. This one could be interesting http://www.dx.com/p/archon-d10u-cree...0#.VLSt93sXfBY and you could fit the last 2 to a goodman handle http://www.scubadoctor.com.au/divesh...e75dc69054c33d My apologies to Larry & Joe.
    Any dive you survive is a good dive

  3. #3
    The think I have noticed is that 10 years ago it was rare to find lights using the 18650 or 26650 batteries. Lights would use a couple of D-cell, C-cell batteries for primary and 3 or 4 AA or AAA batteries for a backup light. The bulbs were not Cree LED. The cost and size of light have come down a LOT now. Something like the UK C8 eLed is using LED lights but it is still using C-cell batteries. I can get a similar light with twice the lumens and half the size for the same price but it is using Cree T6 LEDs. The lights oddbod pointed out are from the same place as the lights I have.

    I bought a backup light (DiveRite) from ScubaToys but for a lot less money I purchased a light which was a lot brighter: http://www.dx.com/p/richfire-sf-749-...0#.VLUnhGTF9Wg.

    Shipping to North America takes a long time (5 weeks) but the savings are so high that it is worth the wait.

    The old dive lights I have are over 10 years old and still working fine. Maybe these cheaper lights won't last as long but for less than $20 I'm willing to give them a try.

    The important thing to remember is that a 'primary' light was the light bright enough to work in all conditions. You can now get something a lot smaller than the UK C8 eLED but a lot brighter. What would normally be considered a backup light because of its size is now a primary light because, although small, it is brighter than an old, primary light.
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  4. #4
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    Scubatoysjojo's Avatar
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    Hi Nereus. I agree that these days lights have gotten smaller and cheaper due to new technology. The C8 eLED is not the greatest light out there for a primary but with their outstanding customer service and lifetime warranty the light will certainly last you a lifetime and it is definitely more than enough for a primary. Obviously there are lighter, brighter and smaller lights out there but do they come with the same amount of burn time and great warrant? Some lights that come from overseas are amazing both in price and size but whenever you need to send it back to the factory for warranty work will it be as easy? Most likely not. I have dealt with many different manufacturers in my 17 years of working here and diving and UK has the best record of taking care of the customer no matter what.
    Thanks,
    Joey

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  5. #5
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    I just bought two dive lights CREE XM-L T6 2000lm Lumen High Power Waterproof Underwater diving Torch LED Flashlight+2*18650 Rechargeable battery+Car Charger from AliExpress in China. It will take a month to get here;but, for $16 including two batteries and free shipping, I don't mind waiting.

    http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/6...65361428563839


    It says it's 2000 Lumens; but, we are in doubt that it will be that bright.
    Last edited by Zeagle Eagle; 01-13-2015 at 17:48.
    --Zeagle Eagle

  6. #6
    Barracuda
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    I bought a c4 from UK several years ago from ST. Used it as a primary til it just quit working. I took it back to ST who sent it off for me for warrany. While thee I ended up buying SL4 L1 eled light as I was headed on a trip and my C4 wouldn't be back in time. I have a small backup I carry all the time. UK didn't send me my light back but upgraded me to thier newer L1 e led C4. Both lights are good for primary lights, long burn & lots of light. My brother has used his Go-Pro at night with me following behind & to the side lighting up the area for him. He got pretty good results.
    ST personel steered me to UK lights as a good light at a good price with the best warranty.

  7. #7
    jojo has a good point. The burn time for the UK C8 eLED is something like 8 hours. The burn time for a lot of the light from China tend to have a burn time of 1 to 1.5 hours. I bought the lights with a few rechargeable batteries. So if I take them on a dive I expect I'd need to use a lower brightness and/or change the battery for each dive. I also imagine the warranty is non-existent. Even if there was a warranty it would cost me too much in time and money to get one of those lights fixed.

    I'm also okay buying a $15-$20 light because I also have a UK C8, a DiveRite BX-1 and a few others (cannot remember which still work). So I'd take a reliable light (UK C8) and a Chinese light on a dive for the first few times. Or if I was doing a long shallow dive for over 2 hours I'd use my UK C8 as primary (8 hour burn time) and the BX-1 (4 hour burn time) as a back up light.

    I'm not sure how long these Chinese lights will last but I know I've had my UK C8 for over 10 years and it is working great. My first UK light, a Q40, just died recently (light burnt out) and it was something like 12 years old. I still have another Q40 for peeking in holes and under rocks.
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  8. #8
    TadPole
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    Thanks for all your opinions guys. I have heard excellent things about UK as a company, but the high price (relative to my income) of most of their lights has put me off in the past and the current special going now seemed like an excellent way of getting a good light at a cheap price. I am reassured that the lights oddbod linked are probably reasonably good lights even if built for more short dives, as a student the Chinese lights from DX look much more attractive, especially as living in New Zealand means sending anything off to a manufacturer can often cost as much as $50 anyway (more than the cost of some of the cheaper lights in the first place) so problems with the product are still costly even if the manufacturer provides a lifetime warranty.

  9. #9
    Grouper
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    The run time for the first one on low, which is possibly still as bright as the UK light, when I used it on a 24 hr rogaine, was over 10 hours. Just ordered http://www.dx.com/p/archon-34vr-2600...4#.VLY1wsnIqW8 to use with my GoPro, will post a review WHEN it arrives.
    Any dive you survive is a good dive

  10. #10
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    Wouldn't run time be a function of the battery?
    --Zeagle Eagle

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