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FAQs - Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

The Right Light - How can I choose a flashlight for my needs?

Light Measurement - How is light output measured?

Candlepower vs Lumens - Can I convert candlepower to lumens?

LED, Light Emitting Diode - What is an LED?

HID, High Intensity Discharge - What is HID?

Safety Ratings - What is a hazardous location?

Finding Safety Rated Flashlights - How can I find safety-rated flashlights?



The Right Light
Flashlight choice depends on intended use. Typically, there is no single flashlight that works well in all situations. Consider your application, then ask yourself the questions below. Keep in mind, if you are confused by all of the choices and need some help, please don't hesitate to call us at 888-881-1908 (toll free within continental US) or 440-942-8318, Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm ET. You can also send your questions to us via email at info@brightguy.com or contact us through this website.

Do I need a light for close-up or long range?
In general, flashlights with smooth deep reflectors are best for distance. Flashlights with larger heads - wider and deeper - will, in most cases, project a beam further. As an example, you can look at the Streamlight Strion DS HPL. You will notice that it has a wide head with a very deep reflector; which makes the Strion DS HPL one of the best distance performers. A smooth, deep reflector concentrates the light into a bright far-reaching beam. Flashlights with textured reflectors give a smoother beam; but generally speaking, will not shine quite as far as flashlights with smooth reflectors. The Streamlight Waypoint Rechargeable Spotlight is also an excellent distance performer.

What features do I prefer?
You can easily search the BrightGuy website by product feature. Just use the navigation menu on the left side of the page to find products with your preferred body material, key characteristics, switch style, etc., or narrow your choice further by using BrightGuy's Advanced Search.

How long a run time do I need?
The BrightGuy website lists the run time of each flashlight. Just be sure to "click through" to the final detail page for the flashlight you've selected and click on the "Specificiations" tab.

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Light Measurement*
In an effort to standardize performance measurement, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) with input from various flashlight manufacturers, developed performance standards and symbols to effectively measure and communicate a flashlight's features and benefits including brightness, runtime, beam distance, peak beam intensity, protection against water penetration and impact resistance. Streamlight, Pelican, Energizer, Maglite, Nite Ize (Inova), Fenix, Bayco and Petzl are now rating their new models using the ANSI Standards. This will make is easier to compare flashlights across these brands.

All light measurements can be traced back to the Candela, which is the unit of luminous intensity. The Candela is also sometimes called candlepower, and is similar to an older unit, the candle, which was based upon an actual candle of specified dimensions and construction.

There are two basic methods used by various flashlight manufacturers to rate the light output of their products.

Total Luminous Output may be expressed in candela or in lumens. This is a measure of the entire light output of the flashlight regardless of beam focus. It is almost solely a function of the lamp, and for practical purposes is equal to the lamp output which lamp manufacturers rate in Mean Spherical Candela (Sometimes called Mean Spherical Candlepower which is not the same as peak beam candlepower), or in lumens. Multiply candela by 12.57 to convert to lumens. For example, the 20 watt lamp used in the SL-35X is rated at 450 lumens or 35.8 Mean Spherical Candela.

Peak Beam Candlepower is a measure of the brightest spot in the focused beam. It is a function of both the output of the lamp and the efficiency of the reflector. The focused spot of light has the same intensity that a bare source of unfocused light of the same candlepower would produce on the same area from the same distance. For example, a flashlight of 20,000 beam candlepower would project, within its "hot spot," the same amount of light on a wall as would a bare lamp of 20,000 candela at the same distance. Typical values of beam candlepower will run into the tens of thousands for powerful rechargeable flashlights.

Since the Total Output system does not take into account the focusing efficiency of the reflector, there is no way to convert between peak beam candlepower and lumens.

Additionally, all light rating systems depend on the perception of the human eye and are therefore subjective. Another important factor besides absolute intensity is the whiteness (technically the Color Temperature) of the light source. If two equally intense light sources differ in color temperature, the eye will perceive the whiter source (higher color temperature) to be brighter than the more yellow one. Color temperature is expressed in degrees on the Kelvin scale. A very white flashlight lamp will be rated around 3200 K.*

*Streamlight, "Information about how the brightness of a light (luminosity) is measured.", http://www.streamlight.com/releases/light_measurement.htm (accessed January 25, 2005).

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LED
If you haven't seen an LED flashlight lately, well, you haven't seen an LED flashlight! LEDs have really come a long way; and now, the performance of many LED flashlights exceeds that of incandescent flashlights using Xenon or Krypton bulbs. Most LEDs give off a very white light which makes the light from a Xenon or Krypton bulb look yellow. So, generally speaking, LED light appears brighter to the eye. What's more, many LED flashlights have deep reflectors which concentrate the light into a tightly focused beam that will shine for long distances - as far as if not further than a flashlight using a Xenon or Krypton bulb. Keep in mind, though, that most flashlights with multiple LEDs that don't use a reflector or have special optics are best for area light and won't give you a concentrated beam. Also, the color temperature of LEDs does vary from flashlight to flashlight; and the light can have a slight blue or green tint.

Searching for LED Flashlights
To search for LED flashlights, just use the green navigation bar on the left side of the page and click on the "Advanced Search" button. From the Advanced Search Page, under Keyword Search, select "LED" and use the other categories to narrow your search.

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Candlepower vs Lumens
Peak beam candlepower is the measure of the brightest spot in the beam and is a function of both the output of the lamp and the efficiency of the reflector. As a result, peak beam candlepower is a subjective measurement, and different flashlight manufacturers measure it differently. Therefore, comparing peak beam candlepower ratings of flashlights from various manufacturers will not give an accurate comparison of brightness.

On the other hand, lumens can be used when comparing brightness because it is a measurement of the entire light output regardless of beam focus.

Since peak beam candlepower is a measure of the reflected light, there is no way to convert peak beam candlepower into lumens.

The BrightGuy website shows light output in peak beam candlepower (referred to as candlepower or CP) and/or lumens. This information comes directly from the manufacturers.

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HID
HID or "High Intensity Discharge" is a type of bulb. Unlike a standard bulb that uses a glowing filament of tungsten for the light source, HID light is emitted from a very small glowing ball of ionized gas. As a result, you will get 3 times as much light from a set of batteries and the light output will be much whiter - closer to sunlight. An additional advantages of HID is increased bulb life - HID bulb life is up to 20 times longer than halogen or xenon.

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What is a hazardous location?
Hazardous locations are areas where fire or explosion hazards may exist due to the presence of ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, liquids, vapors, dusts or ignitable fibers or flyings. These locations are grouped according to the properties of the flammable materials that may be present and the likelihood of flammable concentrations.

The National Electric Code (NEC) defines hazardous locations by "class" and "division."

There are three classes as follows:
Class 1 locations are made hazardous by the presence of flammable gases, liquids or vapors.
Class 2 locations are described as hazardous because of the presence of combustible dusts.
Class 3 locations contain easily ignitable fibers or flyings.

"Division" refers to the likelihood that ignitable concentrations of flammable materials are present.
Division 1 designates an environment where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, liquids, vapors or dusts can exist some of the time or all of the time under normal operationg conditions or where easily ignitable fibers and flyings are manufactured, handled or used.
Divison 2 locations are areas where ignitable concentrations are not likely to exist under normal operating conditions or where Class 3 materials are stored or handled.

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Finding safety-rated flashlights
It's easy to find safety-rated flashlights on the BrightGuy website. Just use the Advanced Search page (there is a link to Advanced Search in the left hand navigation bar).

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