Cree LEDs Suck

A few years ago, I bought a flashlight from the Cree Store at the recommendation of a friend who worked for them.  In fact, I ordered three.  Big fucking mistake.  One worked reliably, and the other two had to be shaken to get a beam.  OK, so the LED technology used in the lights was reasonably new, and I wasn’t sure if that was the problem, or if it was the power supply circuitry.

Fast forward to last week.  I bought a two-pack of flashlights from Sportsman’s Guide that use a newer version of Cree’s LEDs.  One worked fine out of the box.  The second was a little flaky at first, but I blamed that on the switch because after cycling it a few times, it worked fine.  For a very short time.

I had them sitting upright on my desk, with the lamp portion resting on the desk.  At some point, I accidentally knocked one over.  Not onto the floor.  It simply tipped over, transitioning from a vertical orientation to a horizontal one, still on the desk.  I picked it up and turned it on.  Nothing.  I shook it.  It blinked as I shook it.

Bottom line:  Stay away from anything that uses Cree LEDs if you want them to survive even the most minor bumps.  Either the LEDs themselves or the circuitry that enables them to operate on 1.5 volts is WAY too fragile for a utility flashlight, much less one that is marketed as “tactical” like the ones from SPG.

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5 Responses to Cree LEDs Suck

  1. skidmarkva says:

    “Tatical” is not composed merely of being black, having a lanyard, and looking good in the picture. SMG is known for carrying a certain quality level – you get what you pay for. If you want a flashlight that will survive a nuclear detonation 10 feet away and also run 10,000 hours on the “low” setting while being able to set forests alight on the strobe setting, you are going to need to shell out a few more bucks than what you did. And most of those lights are going to have Cree LEDS. Check out for what you got as opposed to what you wanted to have.

    stay safe.

    • alaskan454 says:

      Sorry, this got caught in my spam filter, and I didn’t see it until now.

      I knew the “tactical” label was just that. A label. However, I was hoping for a decent utility light, and at almost thirty bucks for two, I figured they’d at least be that much. We sell cheap LED lights near the registers at work for three bucks, and I know they are crap. I expected these to be much better than those. Live and learn, I guess.

  2. Critter says:

    yeah, they’re cheap lights. spend a little more and get better quality. same goes for tomato presses, yanno.

    • alaskan454 says:

      Wouldn’t know anything about tomato presses.

      As for the lights, you think that if they’re that damn cheap/fragile/whatever, they wouldn’t specify the brand name of the LED. But they advertise it like it’s a big selling factor. For me, it’s a “buy something else” indicator.

  3. Whatever says:

    Err, this has nothing to do with LEDs and everything to do with “The future of stupidity.” LED flashlights are good at one thing only, saving battery life and have all sorts of fragile electronics behind them that help “save battery life.” Honestly, you don’t need much circuitry to light an LED; so they’re probably doing stupid stuff like pulsing it faster than the eye can recognize (but still overall dimming the luminosity) and you damaged that instead.

    LEDs can (somewhat) be hammered and still operate, I’d say you could fracture the protective plastic but been a while since I blatantly destroyed electronics ;p

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