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Torch recommendation

Discussion in 'Dive Equipment' started by ScubaDanny, Sep 27, 2020.

  1. ScubaDanny

    ScubaDanny New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I’m looking for a secondary dive torch for no more than £100/120. Any suggestion?
    I’d be interested in the Orcatorch 550 but I’m curious to know your opinion.

    thanks
     
  2. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    If the torch is just for a backup, it needs to be able to be left on kit and unused for months. Reliability is critical. So for me, I like to use a twist-on torch with 'dry' (non-rechargeable) batteries as these don’t self-discharge when left unused for long periods.

    I have a couple of Amonite torches; LED1 and LED2. These are mounted on my harnesses on the lower part shoulder strap, clipped to the chest D-ring. This place is out of the way and is accessible albeit with a faff. Whenever I test the torches they always work. In use they’re bright enough, but obviously no match for the bright primary torches.

    What kind of setup do you dive?
     
  3. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    Depends what the use of the torch is, just a backup? The Orcatorch 550 looks fine and Wibble's suggestions will be fine too.

    What is your main torch?

    Light4Me used to make good backup torches and would have been who i'd have suggested but they've fallen out of favour recently.
     
  4. ScubaDanny

    ScubaDanny New Member

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    I do not have a primary torch at the moment as I just spent big money for a new drysuit from the guys up in Bradford, however, my Idea was to just get a secondary torch to use for a few dives before buying a primary one when my bank account allows it.
    I’m planning to dive quarries In Bristol Area so hopefully a smaller torch will be enough. (If you guys think is not... please let me know and I’ll change plans)

    I will definitely take in consideration what you said about reliability Wibble, it’s a good point.

    At the moment I’m using a Zeagle Ranger so I have plenty of space with the pockets but I’m looking into an harness setup for the future.
    90% of my dives were in warm waters while working so I still need to get used to UK diving even though I actually did my OW course in Capernwray years ago.

    Thanks
     
  5. jb2cool

    jb2cool Moderator
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    With LED lights these days ‘backup’ torches can be as bright as ‘primary’ lights, just Seth less burntime.

    Diving with just a backup light is fine, this is exactly what my girlfriend does.
     
  6. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    As it's going to double as a primary at first, a rechargeable torch might be better for you. That way you can get a brighter one and not fork out for batteries all the time. Dive torches, especially umbilical torches, can be ridiculously expensive. There's a certain element of fashion and branding with these, but a torch does need to work otherwise the dive could be ruined.

    Brightness is a function of the light thrown out of the "bulb", measured in lumens. If all this light is tightly focussed in to one small area, it'll appear brighter. If it's spread wider, it'll appear dimmer (same light, more area). If you're signalling to other divers, you'll need a tighter spot to be clearly seen; if you're diving on your own it's nicer to have a slightly wider beam with a spot in the middle. Then there's UK diving where the visibility can be cack, where a tighter beam works better as there's less back-scatter.

    Note about cheapo Chinese et al manufacturers... They lie and pull the Lumen numbers out of their jacksies. Big numbers of lumens means big numbers of Watts to run the torch which you can't get out of a small battery. I've personally had problems with crappy cheap Far-Eastern torches that literally dissolve in the sea and give up after a handful of dives. Not all Far-Eastern torches are crap, there's some cheap video lights which apparently work quite well (need to ask others about these).

    We used to happily recommend Light-for-Me torches which work very well. Alas the company seems to have imploded and their after sales service stinks. So not only has the main UK importer stopped selling their kit (DirDirect.com) but most divers won't recommend them. Which is a pity as my LfM kit is really good (except for taking nearly a year to replace an umbilical cable and fix a battery).

    A note about batteries. The ubiquitous 18650 types (18mm diameter, 65mm length) are exceedingly variable depending on the make. Quality ones will produce twice or more of the power of cheap ones. There's a wider version of this battery, 26650 which as greater power storage.

    The "backup" torches listed on DirDirect.com site look generally pretty good. Obviously the lower power ones are far better as pure backup lights.

    As for which OrcaTorch or others... Have to wait for someone else to answer that!
     
  7. BabyShark

    BabyShark New Member

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    I use an Orcatorch D630 and its battery is quite impressive. I never had to recharge during my dive trips and hardly feel the need to recharge it after long time without using. The beam is insanely bright as well - it's got a narrow beam + wide beam at the same time, so excellent for low viz. However I have to cycle through the various modes to turn off, which is a bit annoying. Overall I'm quite happy with it.
     
  8. ScubaDanny

    ScubaDanny New Member

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    Thanks everyone for all the infos.
    I shifted my interest on the Led 1 which has a reasonable price.
    Ammonite System recently updated all their compact torches lineup and the LED1 is now 400 lumen (I think the old one is 260) and a slightly different shape.
    @Wibble do you think 400 lumen is enough as temporary single torch considering you know how much light the previous model provides?
    I haven’t been diving around Bristol yet and I don’t know how conditions are exactly, however I remember from Capernwray that a torch wasn’t really necessary as viz was good enough so I imagine that 400 lumen will be ok.
     
  9. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    I think the "requirements" for a torch used mainly as a backup are slightly different from a torch that will be used as the only torch will be different.

    As a backup the main requirement is that it's going to work after long periods (months, years, hundreds of dives) of being attached to one's kit/harness without being used. The Ammonite LED1 and LED2 are really good at that. The LED1 is smaller using a couple of AA batteries, so is a better fit on the harness; the LED2 is a bit larger using two (three?) 'C' type batteries but brighter too. Neither are particularly bright when compared with a primary torch, especially an umbilical which has a large battery. Both will save a dive, in that should the primary fail and depending on the sort of dive it is, you'll be able to continue the dive or simply be able to get out of the hole you find yourself (e.g. underground or inside a wreck). I've probably used them more as a torch I've handed over to a buddy who's torch has failed/forgotten.

    For a torch that's going to be used as a primary for a while, it's probably more important to have a brighter beam but at the cost of shorter battery life. That's where rechargeable batteries come into their own, providing more power for a short time at a much lower price than 'dry' batteries. If they're used for backup duty, you'll need to check them and regularly check that the batteries are fully charged, possibly using them more often. I think this is the market for most of the Orca and Tovatec style torches are aimed at.

    One thing I did learn early on was that there's not many cheap dive torches that work as advertised. I went though three or four different cheap and nasty Chinese torches which simply didn't work: they all failed after a handful of dives (reliability), and the aluminium on a couple simply started to dissolve!

    For British sea diving, especially the South Coast, where the dive is frequently dark, you need a torch to be able to dive. Even under good visibility conditions, the ambient light levels are quite low, so you need a torch to see under or in things. For a large number of dives -- for the past month! -- it's pretty much pitch black down there, so a torch isn't an option, it's a necessity. Whilst a pencil thin beam is great for signalling and looking inside/under, I do like to have the option of a wider beam to give that overall view. The problem is that a wide beam needs to be very bright as the beam's spread wider. This needs a lot of power and especially if using a camera. But, being British dives, this then illuminates the 'snot' or particulate in the water and you now see that instead of the wreck.

    To answer your question about lumens though; more is better, but not always! A torch with a variable focussing beam could be quite useful as you can tweak it for wider but dimmer against sharper but brighter. Your eyes do adapt a bit, so after a few minutes you should be able to get used to the light. But a brighter 'bulb' would always be better.
     
  10. ScubaDanny

    ScubaDanny New Member

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    Thank you very much everyone for the info.
    I will make a decision shortly and update this tread when I get the new toy (when I decide which one)

    :geek:
     
    Wibble likes this.
  11. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Torches are a bit like that. Before long you'll find torches actually interesting!

    Couple of things about them which might be of interest.

    Handles. There's a Goodman Handle which enables your hand to be pushed into it, but it leaves your fingers free to grasp things. It's best combined with an umbilical torch that has a cable to the battery, but the real use is you don't loose it if it falls off! Goodman Handles are very comfy and if adjusted right the torch will be held in place.

    Umbilical torches tend to have bigger, stronger, and longer lasting batteries. This additional power generally means brighter torch heads which will easily last for a few dives. The real problem with these torches are the costs. From loads of money right up to 'ow much, you're having a giraffe! When you know you're getting more serious with your diving you'll start to look enviously at torches of many hundreds of pounds and above.

    Are they worth it... Depends how much you value that they work reliably and are bright. My expensive torches (a Light for Me NW7 and an Anchor 189) work very well and have both narrow and wide beams. The wide beams are exceedingly bright, circa 4000 lumens, but they do work with video cameras. If only my video skills were good enough...


    I think for a hand-held torch, I'd recommend attaching a length of bungee (50cm?) with a bolt snap to clip off to you whilst using it. Just means you keep it if you drop it. Another bolt snap clipped close would mean you can clip it to your chest D-ring to park it out of the way when not in immediate use. Or just dangling it down whilst you fiddle with your SMB in the dark.
     
  12. ScubaDanny

    ScubaDanny New Member

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    It was over my budget but... you only live once they say

    :geek:

    E5847988-F3FF-4280-9C2C-2D30F50DF410.jpeg
     

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