LED Lenser T-Square 240 Lumen Tactical Flashlight

880229 LED Lenser-240 lumens T square Flashlight note: article first appeared in December 2015

Back in January of this year I did a review on a tactical flashlight that I have been using for a number of years now. It is the LED Lenser V2. I absolutely love that flashlight! It has done everything I’ve ever asked of it and then some. It has never failed me, that is saying something.

The V2 was always plenty bright enough, tough as nails, fit my carbine’s vertical grip perfectly and was just an all-round perfect tactical flashlight. It was so good actually that I made it my family’s all-purpose flashlight. Yes, that means we standardized on it.

Then LED Lenser discontinued manufacturing it. But, they supposedly replaced it with a new and improved version. I am always leery of “replacements”, they never seem to be as good. This review is all about the “T Square” replacement version (model # 880229) of the LED Lenser.

The mission:

“A single flashlight that is capable of operating in the most demanding of tactical environments, bright enough to see a minimum of 100 yards, and battery efficient.”

Here were the flashlight restrictions and requirements:

  • Metal & tough enough to handle any reasonable field or tactical handling for our family/group.
  • Lightweight & compact enough for pocket use.
  • AAA or AA batteries.
  • Water resistant enough to handle any rain and momentary submersion.
  • Bright enough for any tactical weapon usage. Minimum beam distance 100 yards.
  • Narrow light beam.
  • Fit any 1” light mount.

880229 LED Lenser 240 lumen T square FlashlightThe flashlight specs:

FEATURE
V2 (original) T-Square (new)
Lumens 104
  • 240 high beam
  • 25 low beam
Lighting Modes 1 (2) High & Low Beam
Beam Distance 180 yards
  • 197 yards high beam
  • 60 yards low beam
Length 4.5” 4.5”
Diameter 1” 1”
Weight 3.6oz 3.56oz
Batteries 3 x AAA 3 x AAA
Housing Aluminum Aluminum
Water Submersion Rating IPX4 IPX4
Finish Semi-Gloss Black Matte Black
Burn Time 4 hrs
  • 4 hrs high beam
  • 25 hrs low beam
Switch
  • Momentary on
  • Constant on
  • High beam – Momentary on
  • High beam – Constant on
  • Low beam – Momentary on
  • Low beam – Constant on

I’ve owned this line of flashlights for a very long time. I think I had one of the first V2’s that hit the market. I really like the way they feel, and how sturdy and dependable they are. The first model had a slick/smooth switch cap in the end of the tube. I am not talking “slick” as in a good thing, I am saying there was no positive grip to it. Then they upgraded to a nice button with checker boarding in the rubber. That really made this flashlight a winner.

So, I open the box, excited as always anytime I get a new product to review, and what do I see? This stupid orange target on the switch button cap. I mean bright orange and it looks just like a clay pigeon. I hate that!

LED Lenser 880229 T square FlashlightOK, that relieved a little stress. Can anyone in their right mind tell me why a company would go with a bright orange anything on a tactical flashlight? I mean seriously…do they think we can’t find the button without it being bright orange? And another bad thing is the button cap is now back to being “slick” as in slippery.

Well, that is the downside. Everything else about this flashlight rocks!

The finish on the flashlight is better than before, less reflective. I also found that the finish added to my ability to hold onto the tube. This is especially helpful when your hands are wet with body fluids or something similar.

LED Lenser T square Flashlight 240 lumens 880229One of the first things I noticed, after the bright orange crap, was a distinctive red band around the inside of then lens right below the flashlight’s lip. I liked the “look” of it but had no idea what the purpose or advantage would be. So I kept looking at it from different angles. Low and behold I figured it out. While it may be unintentional it is interesting. I held a V2 model up to the new model and saw that from the side view the red band inside the lens drastically reduced the amount of light seen from the sides.

LED-Lenser-240TsquareFlashlight-004aYeah, think that one through for a minute. If you are trying to reduce your night-time profile you want to use red light. But for most tactical purposes you want to keep your overall location pretty much to yourself, right? So there you are in a warehouse, the middle of the night, using your new 240T on low beam. The red reduces the amount of light seen from the side and reduces the other guy from being able to get a solid “fix” on you. Sure, they can see your beam out in front of you but it is hard to spot the origin of the beam. The red simply helps keep you more covert.

Well, while I was playing around with that idea I tried shining one light on the front of the other light’s front. The light without the red in the lens reflected back brightly. The red lens lights barely reflected at all. So another nice feature at covertness.

Here is the biggest change to the new 240T light…the button switch. There are multiple positions now for the switch. The V2 had a partial depress would give you the beam that would turn off as soon as you let up the pressure on the switch. Fully depress the switch and the beam would stay on until you fully depressed the switch again. The new 240T has a high beam and a low beam light.

You activate the light just as before, but this time when you partially depress it the first time you get the high beam. Next time you partially depress it you get the low beam. Same goes for full depression of the switch for constant on. You have to do the depressing quickly for the switch to go from high to low.

What I mean is it alternates between coming on with the high, then the low beam. But it “resets” after about 5 seconds to come back on with the high beam.

So I have mixed feelings and opinion about the whole high/low beam thing. The low beam keeps your projected light much closer in and significantly increases burn time. And that is a really nice thing. I think the vast majority of my flashlight time is more closely associated with low beam needs than high beam capability.

I wanted to verify that Amazon had them for sale. While I was looking at the product to validate it, I noticed that there was a review with a “one star” rating. So here is the 1-star review, “When i received I saw different than this in the picture, and when I was using did not work.”

Yeah, I don’t put any value to that review whatsoever. It reads like they are from Russia. I think it was a “plant” to run down the product vs. what someone who actually bought and used the flashlight. I have bought a bunch of these flashlights over the years; never, not once, did they arrive broken or misrepresented. Actually, I have yet to break one of these flashlights or even burnout a bulb.

Other than a couple of subtle differences, the newer version flashlight is as rock solid as the V2. And I love the V2!

Final note, the flashlight carries the name “Leatherman” and I believe this is a marketing thing only. I don’t think this is a true Leatherman designed, engineered, and manufactured product. But, that being said, it is still a quality piece of gear.

My recommendation…”BUY!”  I did…multiple times.

Buy It !

Amazon leatherman LED Lenser T2 T square FlashlightTip: The LED Lenser tactical light fits perfectly in a pistol magazine pouch.LED Lenser in pistol single mag pouch

 

 

 

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LED Lenser V2 Tactical Flashlight

LED Lenser Flashlight V2note: article first appeared in January 2015

Let me start this review of the LED Lenser V2 by describing what I was looking for in a flashlight.

The mission was:

“A single flashlight that was compact, lightweight and bright enough to standardize on a single brand & model.”

Here were the flashlight requirements:

  1. Metal & tough enough to handle any field or tactical handling.
  2. Lightweight & compact enough for pocket use.
  3. AAA or AA batteries.
  4. Water resistant/proof enough to handle any rain and momentary submersion.
  5. Bright enough for any tactical weapon usage. Minimum beam distance 100 yards. Narrow beam.
  6. Fit any 1” light mount.

To sum it all up – This flashlight does the job in every aspect, excels at each requirement.

So here are the technical details –LED Lenser Flashlight V2

  • Length: 4-1/2”
  • Diameter: 1”
  • Weight: 3.6oz
  • Tough aluminum housing with checker boarding for sure non-slip grip.
  • Uses 3 AAA batteries.
  • IPX4 water resistant rating (it’s not designed as a submersible light but is water resistant under pressure).
  • 94 – 104 lumens (brightness) in a narrow beam that can reach nearly 180+ yards.
  • 4 hour constant burn time with medium quality batteries.
  • Finish: Black matte

I first started using this brand/model of flashlight nearly 8 years ago and I’ve never been disappointed. Actually, I’ve been CAA Comand Arms foregrip flashlightthrilled with it! It is a great size for my pants pocket and fits any flashlight holder on a spare belt mounted spare magazine holder that I use. I use a Command Arms Accessories Flashlight Holder Grip Adapter on my AR and this light fits it perfectly. The light shines a very bright narrow beam of light that exceeds my expectations of a tactical light. The light is not so bright that it will washout my vision in the dark but plenty bright enough for me to do whatever I need to with it. The distance the beam goes is amazing for such a little unit running on AAA batteries.

My Duracell batteries will last well over two years in the light depending on how much I use it. The battery carrier/cartridge is absolutely high quality, as is the entire housing. I felt the quality and close tolerances as soon as I began to unscrew the battery cartridge. This flashlight is a top-quality piece of equipment.

The checker   boarding on the body is substantial but not uncomfortable, they struck a happy medium. It has never slipped in my hand under any conditions, wet or dry. The newer models have a thumb switch that has ‘nubs’ on it as well to ensure that your thumb won’t slip off. And speaking of the switch, it does have the momentary-on capability or the ‘click-on’ for a constant light.

This flashlight has replaced all my other flashlights except my big 4 x D-cell Mag light that I keep under the front seat of the truck. You won’t need another flashlight (other than a ‘tire check’) once you’ve tried out this keeper, you’ll love it! Use with absolute confidence.LED Lenser Flashlight V2

The price on this can vary from about $28 – $40 out on the Internet so shop around. I’ve bought mine (6 of them now) off of eBay.

Note: If you are going to submerse your tactical light for any length of time you might not want to search elsewhere or waterproof the Lenser yourself. I don’t think it would hold up too long underwater but I haven’t done any conclusive testing on it for that particular mission.

 

 

 

 

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Shotgun Ammo Load-Out

Shotgun Ammunition loadoutnote: article first appeared in August 2015

Some years ago I came to the conclusion on what combination of guns that I wanted to have. They were; 1) pistol, 2) shotgun, and 3) tactical carbine. I felt that was the right combination of defensive weapons to deal with any disaster, emergency or “grid-down” situation. Today, more than ever, I am convinced that I am right. I even wrote about “Choosing the Right Gun” in three separate articles.

And then I wrote an article about tactical vests to carry the right equipment, and that included the magazines and

Siaga 12

Siaga 12

ammunition for the “right gun.” Yes, I know, shotguns don’t have magazines. Well, unless the shotgun is a Siaga 12 and then you have magazines😉

But the focus of this article is putting together a very specific “load” of ammunition to have assembled for your shotgun. And, just for the record, I am not talking about your quail hunting shotgun. I am talking about your defensive weapon, a tactical shotgun. Or at least a shotgun that you will use as your defensive weapon.

I have talked about shotgun ammunition before. Essentially I believe in three types of ammo for a shotgun; 1) 00 buck, 2) 1oz slugs, and 3) Hornady SST sabots. Just a quick explanation…

00 Buck is probably one of the best rounds ever made. It is unreal devastating when it comes to personal defense. 00 buck shotgun ammunition Remember, for a round to be effective it must create significant shock and a debilitating wound channel. The shock stops a person’s mind from continuing to function. The wound channel creates physical trauma to prevent the person’s body from continuing to function. Those two things combined stops the bad guy from hurting you or your family member. 00 Buck comes in a two basic options 7 and 9 pellet. Obviously the 9 pellet version is better generally speaking. That is 9 rounds of .31 caliber balls heading down range to stop the bad guy.

1oz Slugs are a pretty amazing round. They transfer a massive amount of energy to whatever it hits. The little 12ga 1oz rifled slug shotgun ammunitiondimple in the nose ensures that it expands, transferring even more energy with expanding mass. It is a good hunting round; it can bring down large white tail deer without any problem. It can also breach a door nicely. They are a little limited in range. Most slugs, in the hands of the average person, are good for 50 – 100 yard shots, not much more.

 

 

Hornady SST is a fairly recent newcomer to the shotgun ammo scene. It weighs in at 2/3oz, making it 2/3 the Hornady 12ga SST shotgun ammunitionweight of the slugs mentioned above. But the nice thing is the ballistics and performance of the SST. You can get sub-2” groups at 100 yards, and 4” – 6” at 200 yards with plenty of energy in the round to bring down medium sized game. So, for a little less weight you get very decent accuracy. And can you imagine getting hit with a 300gr / .68oz round? Ouch!

Those are the three basic type of shotgun rounds that are appropriate for defensive purposes for the average person in an emergency, disaster, or grid-down scenario.

OK, moving right along…But how do you store your shotgun ammo and is it ready to go at a moments notice? Do you have the right number of each type of rounds and are they ready to be picked up and carried off without searching, scrounging and praying?Storing your shotgun ammunition in a .50cal ammo can

Well, I have a suggestion for you and one worth considering. I spent a whole lot of time thinking through what the different kinds of defensive encounters that the average person might encounter during the scenarios mentioned above. I then thought through which round would be best suited for dealing with the threat that each encounter might produce.

Once I accomplished that then I started thinking about the best way to store the right amount of ammunition that an average person could reasonably be expected to carry. And here is my suggestion:ShotgunAmmo-03

  • 145 rounds of 00 buck
  • 30 rounds of slugs
  • 25 rounds of Hornady SST

And to store them…a .50cal ammo can.

Yup, that simple. Those rounds fit perfectly in the space that a .50cal can has. The can seals out water, air, dirt and dust. A perfect Shotgun Ammunition loadout in a .50cal ammo canenvironment for your ammunition. There is a bonus…it has a built-in handle that you just grab and go. Then there is the whole stacking thing if you have multiple cans.

The ammo can only weighs in at 24 pounds with the ammo listed above. That is well within the capability of any adult and many children. You can store it just about anywhere and never worry about the ammo “going bad.” It just won’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some brands and types of ammunition I use –00 Buck Federal Law Enforcement 2-3/4" w/ Flight Control - LE127

  • 00 Buck Federal Law Enforcement 2-3/4″ w/ Flight Control – LE127

 

00 Buck Winchester Ranger 2-3/4"

  • 00 Buck Winchester Ranger 2-3/4″

 

 

 

  • 12ga 300gr Hornady SSTHornady 300gr 12ga SST shotgun ammunition

 

.68 ounces

.68 ounces

 

 

 

ShotgunAmmo-07bShotgunAmmo-07c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Princeton Tec Tactical Quad Headlamp

Princeton Tec headlamp reviewnote: article first appeared in May 2016

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy, no, truly love my original model Petzl Tactika XP headlamp. It is exactly what I want a headlamp to be. But, why am I talking about a Petzl when I am reviewing a Princeton Tec headlamp? Simple, the original model Petzl Tactica XP is the standard by which I will, I must, judge all other headlamps.

Original Petzl Tactika XP

Original Petzl Tactika XP

Sooooooo right about now you are saying to yourself, “Why doesn’t AH just buy himself another original model Petzl Tactika XP headlamp?”

Well, I would if they still made them. Yup, Petzl (in all their stupidity) discontinued making that little gem a couple years ago. True, they still have a Tactika model but I already did a review on that new model. Yeah, it sucks compared to the original model. So I have been on a quest ever since to find a headlamp that is just as good, maybe even better. The Princeton Tec Tactical Quad is the latest contender.

As always…the mission –

“To provide personal lighting capability for night operations in a tactical or camping environment.”

Requirements & Restrictions –

  1. Must be water resistant.
  2. Must be rugged.
  3. Must provide foolproof for “red lens” operations.
  4. Must operate on AAA batteries.
  5. Should be camouflage or flat earth color.
  6. Must have headband operation capability.
  7. Should have helmet mount capability.
  8. Should contain the lamp and batteries in the same housing.

With all of that in mind I began searching for an acceptable substitute for my old Petzl. This Princeton Tec Tactical Quad model stuck out to me as possibly meeting all my criteria and it looked like it was positioned at very reasonable price point as well. What really caught my attention was the red lens that operated similarly to the Petzl as well as being the right color and compact in size.

The headlamp arrives and right off the mark I see that the housing is not the best quality plastic. There is a gasket to protects the inside components from moisture but it requires tightening a thumb screw to tighten it down. And, there is an option to use a screwdriver, but that might be a problem. What happens when someone tightens it with a screwdriver and you don’t have a screwdriver when swapping the batteries?

The four LEDs are plenty bright enough but they cast a semi-focused wide light pattern. And that pattern sends light too much to the sides for my liking. Although it is pretty focused in the middle of the pattern. I want the light to be tightly focused out in front of me. I am not worried about a “wide” light pattern, I want to see what is out in front of me. The leftover or light-bleed will allow my eyes to pick up details peripherally vs. really bright light. I don’t need the headlamp intentionally sending out a wide pattern or for everyone and their brother to see it.

PrincetonTec-002So I am not crazy about the white light pattern very much but it is acceptable.

Where this headlamp really shinned (no pun intended) was the red lens light pattern. It is really nice, great pattern, and another nice feature was the red lens, you can tell that it is in place making it tough to accidentally light up the area in white light.

The red lens simply slides up into place.

The red lens simply slides up into place.

Princeton Tec red lensSince the headlamp has three intensity settings you can adjust as needed. The picture above is at the high intensity setting.

Another really nice aspect of the headlamp is the band. It is a decent piece of expandable material that appears to be top quality.Buy It !

At $42+ online, it is at the top of my acceptable price range. But, I still give it a “buy” recommendation…but barely and only if you really need a headlamp and can’t find one anywhere else. Wait till you hear about it’s brother…the Princeton EOS model…Sweet:)

 

Amazon-PrincetonTec

 

 

 

 

 

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Multitool – Ozark Trail 12-in-1

Oarktrail 12-in-1 MultiToolnote: first appeared in July 2016

Son of gun! So I was in Walmart the other day and passed by the sporting goods counter. Low and behold what did I see? A multitool that looked pretty decent. But, that isn’t what grabbed me…the price pulled my eyeballs out of my head.

I thought the price applied to something else, but I had to ask, “Are those multitools actually priced $3.97?”

“Yes sir they are,” was the associate’s reply.

I bought 10. Yeah, 10…right there, right then…on the spot.

I got home and buyer’s remorse started kicking in. I kept wondering are they worth it, should I have waited, will they be a cheap piece of crap? All of those questions were floating around in my head. I couldn’t wait to get home and get some testing done.

Well, I could go on and on about this mutlitool, but there’s no point. Here is my summary –

  • Is this a cheap piece of crap? Nope.
  • Is this going to last my lifetime? Nope.
  • Is this going to get work done? Yup.
  • Is the knife blade sharp? Yup.
  • Is the saw blade sharp? Not really, but it does cut.
  • Do the screwdriver blades work and fit screws correctly? Yup.
  • Does the file work and appear to be decent? Yup.
  • Does the bottle opener work? Yup. (But who uses a bottle opener anymore?)
  • Does the can opener work? Yup.
  • Are the tools easy to get open from the handle compartment? Not real easy but they open.
  • Do the tools snap and lock into place? Nope. But neither do my higher end multitools either.
  • Does the wire cutter actually cut wire? Yup. Just don’t try to go too big. I did 12ga with no problems. And it cur zip ties just fine as well.
  • Do the pliers pieces line up correctly and their faces flush? Yup. Surprisingly so actually.
  • Is this equal in quality to a Leatherman, SOG, or Gerber? Nope.MultiTool-Ozark-001

Bottom line – Buy this freaking multitool !

Here’s why I did…I needed ten of them. I am responsible for a 10-person response team for our church’s emergency preparedness. I’ve put together kits for each person. So when they show-up I can hand them a kit and they have some basics; knife, radio, flashlight, writing tablet, pen, etc. Now I have added a multitool to the kit. And I spent less than $40 doing so. Yup!!!

So, is a SOG, Leatherman, or Geber better? I think so. But they also cost a whole heck of a lot more money too. So, is the Ozark Trail worth the $35 Gerber? Maybe, probably not. But the Gerber is not 8 times better than the Ozark Trail but it costs 8 times more. So use the Ozark Trail until it breaks…throw it away and get another one out of storage. Repeat 6 more times as needed.

If you want to get a multitool in the hands of each family member, each group member, or just have a supply on-hand this is the way to go. I have no problem recommending this to you…especially at this price…$3.97!!  So go to the sporting good’s counter at your local Walmart and look for it. The picture at the beginning of this article and it will show you exactly what to look for.

 

 

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Hey, wanna date?

You wanna datenote: article first appeared October 2015

Yeah, I bet that got your attention! Yeah, and I know what the answer is…”No!”  Well, at least that would be (or should be) the answer for those of you that know me 😉

But let’s get back to the article and the real intent of the headline

A few weeks ago my prepper buddy & battle buddy made a statement to me that I thought was interesting. Not the exact words, but he said something along the lines of, “If it doesn’t fall apart by the end of September I am done with being prepared!”

I remember at the time I was a little taken back and I really didn’t respond to that statement, I just continued on to another subject. But, another interesting thing I’ve noticed the last couple of weeks is his interests shifting towards things other than prepping. He doesn’t even really bring up any negative news items like he used to. No, he has not abandoned prepping, he is just taking a little break and focusing more on other things such as family, work, music, his cars, etc. And that is fine with me.

OK, set that little tidbit of information aside…on to the next item I want to share. I frequent another prepper website, mostly Christian folks, patriots, conservative, etc. What has been interesting over the last 6 – 8 months is the shift in their collective attitude. There has been and is much more focus on things other than true prepping. A lot of dreams, visions, conspiracies, and books about the same subjects. And, a whole lot of projection of hard dates for the economy to fall apart, for martial law to be declared, for the stock market to crash, for earthquakes to split the continent, a meteor to strike the earth, etc. What I find interesting is not the event itself, but the fact they were actually setting firm dates for these things to happen. And of course when none of those events occurred you can imagine what came next.

There is/was a mix of responses. Everything from “we got the year wrong” to “they must be a false prophet” to “oh, disappointed prepperswe didn’t read it right,” etc. A few faced the fact that those people that were prophesying those dates just didn’t know what the heck they were talking about.

Now, let me change it up again for a minute and then come back to tie it all together.

In September I was a guest on a Fox radio station in St. George, UT. I was on for an hour-long live segment. One of the questions that Kate Dalley asked me was, “what would happen between now and the end of the year and when did I expect it all to fall apart?”

But, that was not the first time I’ve been asked that question and I will share my answer now.

Why share it now? Because I think it is important to think about this and talk it through. Why? Because I think there are a lot of new preppers out there that are preparing for a cataclysmic event that is imminent. I also think that there a lot of vintage preppers that are looking for some validation to what they have been doing over the years. And, I think there are folks that are looking at the world today and wonder how long we can keep going on like this before it all explodes/implodes into TEOTWAWKI.

Generally speaking I like the idea that people are prepping, I don’t really care what their motivation is, for the most part. As long as they are preparing for emergencies, disasters, and grid-down I am good with it. However, there is a Unrealistic Expectations Dangercliff looming up ahead for some, maybe many, preppers if they are not careful.

Unrealistic expectations.

Yeah, an ugly thing just by itself, but even worse in relation to what I am talking about…prepping.

So normally what happens to people when they get their heart set on something and it doesn’t happen?

What happens to those folks who get all worked up about something they “know” will happen and then it doesn’t?

What happens when good, dedicated people take actions that their family and friends think are maybe just a bit bizarre? And while doing so might have spent money that wasn’t really part of the “extra” category?

My fear is some folks set unrealistic expectations for what they saw coming, wanted to have happen, or worked towards making happen…and then it didn’t happen at all. What will those folks do now?

A well-grounded prepper will be just that…well-grounded, realistic, sensible, and have realistic expectations of what might happen, what will happen, and no calendar for all of the above. Are you well-grounded?

Forty years ago if you would have described an America in the condition it is today, I would have called you politicians todayinsane. Back then if you would have projected a world like we have now I would have wondered which mental hospital you escaped from.

And that would be true for thirty years ago, twenty years ago, and even ten years ago. I never, ever thought we would have the crap police state in americasandwich that we have today in the United States or world-wide. Yup, never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined us being in the horrible condition that we have in every aspect of modern society.

Yet, here we are.

What am I getting at? Let me answer you with the same info that I gave during the radio show…

The world can fall apart tomorrow. I fully expect that I could wake up in the morning and the grid would be down, the government would be in full-on martial law, no utilities, no food, and violence everywhere.

Date-004aOr, ten years from now I am looking back and wonder how we could have fallen so far in the last ten years.

Yup, a cop-out answer for sure:

  1. The “fall” could happen any day, especially by the end of the year.
  2. We could continue the slide even further into the sewage pit, and do so for the next 20 years.

My point is…DO NOT SET A DATE!

Don’t fall into the trap of getting caught up in blood moons, some vision, some dream, some prophecy, some panel of experts projection, some Mayan calendar, or any other male cow dung junk like that. Don’t buy into some Rabbi’s interpretation of a Bishop’s vision based on a long-dead guy’s 5th-century dream.

types of disasters, emergencies, grid-downPreppers have to stick with the basics…we are preparing for emergencies, disasters, and grid-down events. When they will happen we don’t know. How bad they will be we don’t know. We just know that they will come and we are better off being prepared for them when they do occur.

Do not think for a minute I am saying the world around us is in no danger of collapsing. I said clearly I think it could happen tomorrow. And, don’t think I am not belittling people who claim dreams, visions, and prophecy. I believe in those things as well, to one extent or another.

What I don’t buy into is date setting by people who have no real authority or special gift to do so. Seriously, who are they to “know” some date when something will happen? And who are you to think they have some validity in what they are saying?

Think about it…Why would you believe someone who says the economy will collapse on November 15, 2020? Or, why would you believe someone who would say the stock market will crash next Monday?

Really? Who the heck are they to make such wild and unsubstantiated claims? And, why would you even want to listen to them, let alone believe them?

I don’t!! Period…I don’t.

Why? Because I think that someone, with authority, can be prophetic in that way. And, it’s because that every Date-005day, normal, average folks have been making these wild prophetic claims for years, decades, centuries, and none of it has really came true. They had no authority to make those prophecies.

OK, before some of you want to blast me with examples, don’t. A person can take a Nostradamus thing and turn it into pretty much whatever they want to make it out to be…and call it true. Don’t go there.

What I am asking you to do is be realistic. Go with what you know. Don’t buy into all of these predictions that involve specific dates. If you buy in to the date thing you are likely to be pretty disappointed.

Prepping is a life-long endeavor.

Emergency preparedness is using common sense principles to prepare yourself and your family for the Preppers Waiting for Instructions SHTF ICStypes of events that would/could prove devastating. Well, devastating if you are not prepared. Look at prepping as “insurance” against emergencies, disasters, and grid-down. You pay your premium each month and sleep well at night knowing you are covered.

Wrapping this article up, I am asking you to be balanced and enjoy your life. Be a prepper and allow that prepping to enhance your life that much more, not take it over, and consume you and your family. Be happy, enjoy sunsets, love sunrises, go for great walks with your spouse, throw the football with your kids, and then work on your solar project or build your radio GoBox as time permits.

And, finally, sorry to disappoint you that I wasn’t really looking for a date. I know, I am such a tease…right?

Balanced Prepper life

 

 

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MFJ-4416B Battery Booster

MFJ-4416B BATTERY VOLTAGE BOOSTERMFJ-4416B battery voltage boosterI really have mixed emotions and opinions on this piece of equipment. In one aspect this is a great piece of equipment that can play an important part of a prepper’s power equipment inventory. On the other hand, it can destroy perfectly good batteries that are expensive to replace. That left me in a tug-of-war on the overall recommendation on this piece of equipment. So I will leave my “buy or no-buy” recommendation till the very end of the article.

First let me describe what this this gem does. The whole concept of this “battery booster’ is to do just that…boost low battery voltage levels to more operational levels for your electronic needs. Specifically, your radio operational needs. Here are the specifics on how it does that.

Your radio has voltage needs for power. My Yeasu FT-8900R needs a little over 10 vDC to continue to operate. MFJ-4416B battery voltage boosterBelow that and it will automatically shut down. That can be a bad thing if you need to stay on the air. So the MFJ-4416B steps in to handle that situation.

The 4416B is designed to take DC voltage as low as 9 vDC and boost it to the level that is required by your equipment. So take the example of my Yaesu FT-8900R, it needs 10+ vDC but the battery is only putting out 9.2vDC. The MJF-4416B boosts that voltage up to a usable level, 11 or 12 vDC (user selectable).

The two most basic elements of this unit are; 1) available voltage going into the unit, and 2) the level of voltage the unit can output. The 4416B can accept voltages as low as 9vDC. It can also be set to output voltages between 11 and 13.8 vDC. If you set the output voltage at 12, any voltage greater than 12v will pass though vs. being stepped-down.

But here is an interesting twist…there is an RF sensor built into the unit. Let me back-track for a minute. Your radio draws a fraction of the power when in receive mode vs. transmit mode. So you really don’t need to “boost” voltage/power when receiving. The RF sensor allows the unit’s regulator to be by-passed unless you are transmitting when the most voltage/power is needed the most. The RF sensor connection is nothing more than a “T” placed inline with your antenna coax and hooked to the 4416B.

There is also a built-in user adjustable feature of a LVD (low voltage disconnect). The LVD option can be set at 9, 10, or 11 volts. I like this added feature. A stand-alone LVD can easily run $50 – $90.

Here is the downside, if you run a SLA AGM battery down to even 11 volts you have damaged the battery and reduced the lifespan of that battery (reduced recharge cycles). If you run down a regular lead acid battery to 10 or 11 volts you are probably OK. You run them down to 9 volts and you’ve just shorted their life considerably.

Here is the upside, if you are running alkaline batteries the 9v input capability (LVD) just gained you a MFJ-4416B battery voltage boostersignificant additional amount of life out of your battery. Who cares how low you run an alkaline battery down to. The alkaline battery only has one life anyways, you might as well squeeze every last minute of operating time out it while you can.

And there is another upside as well, if you are really, really needing the operational time from your radio and you just have to keep it up and running, the booster will allow you to do that. So you will get additional operational time out of your batteries; albeit, you may destroy them in the process. But, it might be worth it.

While doing my research I did find some not-so-complimentary issues with “noise” going out, especially when using the RF sensor. However, those issues were all over 6 years old or more. And from what I can tell it was all with the original version of the 4416 not the 4416B version which is what I tested. I did a quick search and couldn’t find any vendor still selling the original version. Although you might see one come up on eBay, I doubt anything other than the “B” version is being sold.

An interesting side-benefit to using this booster is kind of interesting. Radios generate heat based on incoming voltage among other things. If a radio can operate on 12v it will generally run cooler at 12v vs. 13.8v. With the 4416B you can use your batteries at 12v, the 4416 booster set at 13.8v in conjunction with the RF sensor. So anything 12v or over passes through while in non-transmitting mode. But at 12v your radio is in receive mode at 12v, it is not being automatically being boosted to 13.8v. Well, not being boosted to 13.8v until you hit the PTT key. While transmitting the 4416 will boost to 13.8v to give you maximum output wattage and then return to whatever your battery is putting out (12v or greater). Nice way to keep your radio a bit cooler.

MFJ-4416B-remoteThere is a remote control option available for this battery booster. Sweet little set-up for convenience sake should you choose to go with this battery booster. MFJ-4416BRC gives you full remote control of your MFJ-4416B Super Battery Booster plus it allows you to monitor battery voltage and battery booster output voltage.

You can place the battery booster near your battery or other convenient location close to your radio. The MFJ-4416BRC lets you turn booster and low battery alert on and off. It has boosting and low battery LEDs to let you know what is going on with the booster.

It requires a Cat-5 cable to connect the remote to the battery booster. It measures a compact 5″w x 2″d x 3″h and mounts with 4 screws. I think this is an absolute “must-have” if you are using the booster for your primary rig. Just makes sense to monitor what is going on with your power. If you are using the 4416B to begin with, you obviously have a serious need. Why not be able to monitor exactly what is going on with your batteries and your booster; performance monitoring.

So here is where I would use the MFJ-4416B battery booster:

  1. When my rechargeable batteries wouldn’t be harmed running down to 9, 10 or 11 volts (user selectable).
  2. When I was boosting alkaline batteries and they were throw-a-ways once I was done with them.
  3. If I had to keep my radio up and running, even when battery voltage was running low. This would be an emergency operations type of situation.
  4. I was in procession of a decent supply of 12v rechargeable batteries, car batteries or similar.

Here is where I would not use the MFJ-4416B battery booster:

  1. I was running AGM, SLA batteries that would be harmed by over-discharging them.
  2. I would not use this booster in any other situation or application other than to keep a radio up and running. I can’t think of any other piece of electronic gear that would be worth potentially destroying 12v rechargeable batteries.

I like the product and own it. Obviously, or I wouldn’t be able to do a review on it. But, the usage of a battery booster is limited in scope and focus. Using it in the wrong application can cause you to spend a whole lot of money replacing your AGM, SLA batteries. And in disaster, emergencies and during “grid-down” batteries might be a bit hard to come by.

Technical Information –
  • Battery Booster Width: 7.750 in.
  • Battery Booster Height: 4.000 in.
  • Battery Booster Depth: 2.125 in.
  • Battery Booster Weight: 1.30 lbs.
Sales Pitch (straight from the website) –

Keeps your transceiver operating at full efficiency and performance by eliminating low or marginal voltages in the mobile environment.  MFJ 4416B super battery boosters keep your transceiver operating at full efficiency and performance by eliminating low or marginal voltages in the mobile environment. They accomplish this by boosting input voltages as low as 9 V up to the desired 13.8 V at 25 amps peak with a typical efficiency of close to 90 percent. Even at their compact, lightweight 1.3 lbs., they are designed to be rugged, reliable, and easy to use. The MFJ 4416B super battery boosters include Anderson PowerPole connectors and high-current, 5-way binding posts for both the DC input and regulated output. An internal 30 amp input fuse protects them from excess output current demands. There are also selectable limits on the minimum voltage that can be accepted, protecting you from over-discharging a battery and possibly damaging it. They also include output over-voltage crowbar protection, should regulation be lost. An RF sampling port can be connected to your transceiver’s transmission line with a UHF-T connector, which is sold separately. An additional efficiency enhancement feature is a user-adjustable output voltage control, which lets you set the output voltage anywhere between 12 and 13.8 V. When setting the output at 12 V, input voltages greater than 12 V will pass through, but the efficiency of the regulator is higher, and lower input voltage means that your transceiver will run cooler. They typically save over 30 watts in heat dissipation during transmit, and even 3-4 watts during receive.

 

 

 

 

 

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