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Messages - gearhounds

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1
General Flashlight Discussion / Re: Nitecore i4 Intellicharger ?
« on: September 16, 2013, 11:04:40 AM »
I've had one for about a year or so, and it is great. Along with the specified batteries, it will also fit (barely) a 26650 li-ion as well. I really like the compatibility with multiple chemistry cells.

2
General Flashlight Discussion / Lighten7 Max X3A Review
« on: September 06, 2013, 08:52:32 PM »


A relative newcomer to the flashlight manufacturing world, Lighten7 has evolved rapidly, and is keeping pace with the markets interests. While some of the first generation lights did have some slight issues with ergonomics and regulation inconsistency, the newest offerings are well made, well thought out products. The Hong Kong and Australia based company is incorporating the newest available emitters from Cree, and is keeping pace with other companies. One of Lighten7's newest lights to hit the street is the Max X3A. The form factor of this light is very compact, but promises a large punch. After reviewing its sibling, the Elite S1A, I was pleased to have the opportunity to check out the Max. Check out the company link:

http://lighten7.com/index.html

The light arrived in a standard retail box. The kit package will be, as I understand it, offered in a plastic tool box style case.


As I was sent an early sample light, the kit was short a few of the normally included items. I received the light, a lanyard, and factory manual. The complete kit will additionally include a protected 26650 lithium ion battery, battery charger, spare O-rings, and a conversion tube which will allow the use of a 18650 battery.


The Max X3A has a profile that incorporates a short barreled battery compartment and a wide turbo head. It is very beefy and solid in the hand. It is shown here next to a Lifeproof cased iPhone 4S.


Specs for the Max are as follows:

Length- 5 3/8"--136mm
width at bezel- 2 1/2"--63.5mm
width of body tube- 1 1/4"--32.5mm
weight- 266 grams/ 9.7oz (empty)--366 grams/ 12.9 oz. (with 26650 battery)
suggested retail- $149 for entire kit- includes light, 26650 battery, single bay charger, 18650 conversion tube, and lanyard.

The Max does not feel overly large in the hand.


Unlike the Elite S1A, which incorporates a dual switch interface, the Max has a single side mounted switch for activation. 

Here is the Max side by side with the Eagletac M2XC4


The voltage range for the Max is 2.5V-4.5V, allowing for use with a single li-ion battery only. As previously mentioned, the preferred power source is the large 26650, and the ability to use an 18650 in a pinch.


The Max can be broken down by the user into 2 main components; the body tube, and the head assembly.


Starting at the business end of the light, we find a smooth, heavy stainless steel ring, free of crenellations. Note the universal warning of a potentially hot surface.


Under the clear glass lens is a smooth triple aperture reflector. Both the lens and reflector on this sample are free of and distortions, flaws, or manufacturing debris.


Providing the lumens are 3 Cree XM-L2 emitters.


These are the latest generation of the XM-L series, and are a bit brighter than the previous iteration. Note the change to a continuous solid wafer as opposed to the older banded design.


Very heavy cooling fins create a great deal of surface area to dissipate excess heat.


The Max X3A incorporates what Lighten7 refers to as an "all in one" circuit room, which is just another way of saying that the light enjoys a 1 piece design internally. It is free of a threaded pill, and all electronics are mounted directly to a milled surface that transfers heat directly to the full bulk of the head of the light. The following link shows a view of the interior.

http://lighten7.com/products/elite_s1a/s1a.html

The positive end of the battery makes contact at the traditional end of the light. Reverse polarity protection works as advertised.


Threading is clean and fully anodized. Loosening the body tube slightly provides lockout against accidental activation.


Knurling on the body tube is sufficient for a good grip, and lettering is clean and well centered.


Battery contact at the negative is accomplished by a tension retained spring.


Although the change in knurling gives the impression of a tail cap, the body is all one piece. There are 3 milled slots for lanyard attachment, and tail standing is steady. The heavy head will require that this only done on a flat, level surface.


The user interface for the Max X3A is a simple low-medium-high affair, with a hidden strobe level. When activated via the side mounted switch, the Max starts off on low. a slow timed click raises output to medium, and another goes to high. There is no memory function, and turning the light off is accomplished by holding the switch down for @2 seconds. Turning the light off resets the next output to the default low upon activation. The strobe is activated by a quick double click, even from the off position. Care must be given between modes, as changing them too rapidly will result in activation of the strobe. I have suggested that the timing for entering strobe mode be sped up to counter this. Output, as per the manufacturer is as follows, and appears to be in lumens at the emitter, not out the front:

low- 150 lumens/ 17 hours
medium- 550 lumens/ 3.0 hours
high- 1500 lumens/ .9 hours
strobe- 1500 lumens/ 1.5 hours

Time to install a freshly 26650 li-ion battery, and check current draw values of the Max's driver.

low- .22A
mid- 1.2A
high- 3.8A

Regulation for the Max is constant current, with no indication of PWM. I was unable to detect any audible whine from the internals of the light. Reverse polarity protection functions as advertised when the battery is installed backwards.

Upon turning on the Max X3A, low is certainly bright enough for any close in to medium distance task, and does not irritate the eye, even when shined at a white surface. Mid level offers a jump in output that allows the user to illuminate objects to a more than reasonable range. High is very bright, and the output from the 3 Cree XM-L2 emitters is impressive to say the least. I can only imagine how bright this light could be if the emitters were pushed a bit harder. 3.8A divided between the 3 emitters is hardly taxing them at all, and will guarantee long life. A ceiling bounce test really exhibits the brightness of the Max; it completely blows the Eagletac M2XC4 out of the water, and makes its sibling the S1A seem dim by comparison.

Tint from the 3 XM-L2 emitters is cool white, as advertised, but only barely. It is a very appealing white somewhere just north of a pure white. The beam profile makes for excellent short to medium range use; the three reflector cups are just not large enough to have the Max be a true thrower, save by brute force. As is the case with every 3 emitter head light I have seen, the overlapping output from each emitter gives the edge of the light field a scalloped look. For all but the most fanatical white wall hunter, the edge artifacting is barely noticed. Lighten7 did a good job in designing the reflector set up, as the spot is well focused and defined.

BEAMSHOTS
All beamshots are labeled

Indoor
to hearth- 15'

low


mid


high


to hearth- 25'

low


mid


high


across house- 35'

low


mid


high


Outdoors
Garage white wall

at 25'

low


mid


high


at 50'

low


mid


high


at 100'

low


mid


high


To tree- 20'

low


mid


high


to front of house-35'

low


mid


high


to front of house- 50'

low


mid


high


to shed- closest corner @50'

low


mid


high


CONCLUSION

The Max X3A is overall a beefy, well-made product. It has a huge amount of its mass located in the head, but does not feel unbalanced to me. My personal preference is a light that starts off on high, but that does not appeal to everyone. I would not classify the Max as a tactical light anyway, so starting on low is not necessarily a bad thing.

Brightness levels seem well spaced, and are suited to most tasks. I see no real need for a lower low, as I always have an EDC on hand for true low light needs. As stated earlier, I would like to see a brighter high, even at the cost of shorter runtime- the Max certainly has the construction and mass to sink away excess heat. What would really allow the Max to hit its stride would be another body tube to allow the use of three 18650 li-ion batteries in parallel. 4000mAh is nice with a single 26650, but more than doubling battery capacity with todayís quality rechargeable would allow much higher output, without sacrificing runtime.

Overall, the Max X3A is an impressive little package that fits easily in the hand or back-pack. The price point for the entire kit is not unreasonable, especially since not everyone has 26650 li-ions lying around. Given that comparable products run @$50 more before batteries are factored in, the Max X3A is a solid deal. 



3
General Flashlight Discussion / Lighten7 Elite S1A Review
« on: October 24, 2012, 05:06:56 PM »


A relative newcomer to the flashlight world, Lighten7 has produced several flashlights in a short period of time. Based in Hong Kong, with an affiliate in Australia, the company advertises a line of lights that were inspired by adventurers from New Zealand and Australia. The idea was to build rugged, durable products that can take the abuse that field use can throw at them. Check out the company link below:

http://lighten7.com/index.html

I, like many, have a strong interest in tactical sized lights; in other words, a light that is bright, and easily belt mounted for fast access. Having reviewed a few of the Lighten7 offerings previously, I was very interested in the most recent addition to the lineup, the Elite S1A. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a sample unit- thanks to Howard at Lighten7.

The light arrived in a pre-retail shipping box- the finished product will be shipped in a "tool box" style case, as offered with some of the company's other lights.


Along with the light, the usual accompanying items to include spare o-rings, a lanyard with split ring for mounting, removable pocket clip, instruction manual. In addition, the standard retail packaging will include a spare lens, which is a nice extra for any light.


Also in the packaging, a functional holster which does the job. I found that the S1A fits my Surefire V70 holster on my duty belt like it was made for it.


The S1A is a fairly compact tac-light- stats are as follows:

length- 5 1/8"--130mm
width at bezel- 1 1/4"--32.5mm
body width- 1"--25.5mm
weight- 4.3 oz.--120 grams (empty), 5.8 oz.-- 164 grams (with a 18650 battery)
Suggested retail- $79

Two additional kit options will be available as well- one with a charger and single 18650 battery, and a Biker's kit, which will add a rear mounted AAA powered tail light.

The Elite S1A is fairly compact, yet hand filling, even in my largish hands. With practice, I find both switches can be used in tandem.



The S1A compared to a few familiar lights- from left to right: Fenix PD32, Jetbeam ST Cycler, Elite S1A, and Wolf-Eyes Sniper.


With a voltage range of 2.5V- 4.5V, the S1A is powered by a single lithium ion battery only- CR123's are not an option. It is designed to use primarily the 18650, but a 17670 can be used in a pinch. Flat top batteries are supported.


Starting at the head, is a stainless steel bezel, which is just the right profile in my opinion- aggressive enough to be used defensively, but smooth enough that it does not catch on skin or fabric under general use. This bezel differs slightly from that pictured in product images at the home website- it seems a better choice, as it appears to be more user friendly. The lens is clear, and the reflector is lightly textured and glossy. The head assembly is free of fingerprints and manufacturing debris.


The S1A utilizes Cree's familiar powerhouse XM-L emitter, this one a U2 cool white.


The S1A is a dual switch platform; the head assembly includes a side mounted switch, which is utilized to switch modes. It is low profile, and functions smoothly. Take note of the heavy cooling fins, and the industry standard warning of potential excessive heat. 


Rather than housing the electronics in a screw in pill, the head assembly is milled from a single piece of aerospace grade aluminum. In other words, heat from the XM-L emitter is transferred directly to the beefy head of the light in the area of the cooling fins; the head alone is 70 grams, and comprises almost 60% of the lights entire empty mass. The end result is excellent heat sinking and dissipation. The 1 piece construction can be clearly seen in the following link at Lighten7:

http://lighten7.com/products/elite_s1a/s1a.html

The view inside the head at the positive end of the battery- the raised brass post provides good contact, and the S1A incorporates reverse polarity protection, which works as tested.


Threading at both ends on the body tube are generously cut in a trapezoidal profile, and are smooth and anodized, allowing for lock-out if desired. Well lubed o-rings feel snug fitting and provide IPX-8 water resistance, as per the company.


Knurling on the body tube is a diamond pattern, and provides sufficient grip.


Laser etched lettering on the S1A is clean and well centered.


For those wishing to carry the S1A other than in the supplied holster  the removable pocket clip works nicely. The body tube being reversible allows bezel up or down, depending on preference. Having it installed is the only anti-roll option.


The tail cap is milled with a single large slot for mounting the supplied lanyard, and is knurled with a diamond pattern as well. Two side cuts allow for easy access to the rear switch, even with gloves. The switch is a forward clicky with a momentary function with moderate pressure to guard against accidental activation. It is smooth and operates cleanly, and extends slightly past the end of the cap- not a tail stander, but with so much weight at the other end, it wouldn't be practical anyway.


The user interface for the Elite S1A is intuitive and easy to use. For a tac-light, it is just about right, with 3 levels of steady output, and a quickly accesable strobe function. No un-needed extra modes to navigate through- simple and effective. Any time the light is activated, it will be on high. Once clicked on, a press of the side switch will cycle to medium, low, and back to high, in that order. A quick double click of the side switch in any mode gains access to a moderate speed strobe, which is at full brightness, and very disorienting. From strobe, a single side click, or off/on at the tail, and you are back to high. Simple, foolproof, and just what you would expect from a tactical light. Output and runtimes, as per the manufacturer are as follows:

high- 700 lumens/ 1.4 hours
medium- 270 lumens/ 4.5 hours
low- 30 lumens/ 28 hours
strobe- 700 lumens/ 2.8 hours

Time to install a freshly charged 18650, and check current draw values at the tail end. They are as follows:

high- 2.3A
medium- .66A
low- .11A

I was very pleased to find that, as the manufacturer stated, output is controlled via constant current regulation. No PWM, and no detectable circuit whine from the internals.

Upon firing the S1A up to check tint and beam characteristics, I was floored on just how bright this relatively diminutive little tac-light is. It is blistering bright on high, especially in an enclosed environment. In fact, I discovered that in terms of raw output, the S1A is brighter than both the Eagletac M2XC4, and Olight Warrior M21XI as evidenced by a ceiling bounce test.

I was equally impressed on how well the light was able to reach out, given the fairly compact size of the reflector. Clearly, the S1A was not designed to win throw contests, but what it is capable of is impressive. I found the lower modes to be almost perfect for my purposes. Medium mode gives more than ample output for most tasks, and low is sufficient for most close work without blinding the user, even against a white background.

Tint of this sample is the advertised cool white, but not excessively so. A well-defined spot is surrounded by a large, nebulous corona that shifts to an almost warmish tint. Spill from the corona to the outside edge returns to cool white and is very good- no artifacts to speak of. I was surprised to see the tint shift mirrored in the lower modes as well, as one can often expect a greenish tint when the XM-L is under powered.

BEAMSHOTS
All beamshots are labeled

Indoor
to hearth- 6'

low


medium


to hearth- 15'

low


medium


high


to hearth- 25'

low


medium


high


to hearth- 35'

high


Outdoors
Garage white wall-
at 6'

low


medium


at 15'

low


medium


high


at 25'

low


medium


high


at 50'

low


medium


high


at 100'

medium


high


20' to tree

low


medium

 
high


35' to front of house

low


medium


high


50' to front of house


50' to shed closest corner

low


medium


high


CONCLUSIONS

Overall I am very impressed with the Elite S1A in pretty much any category of discussion. Construction is top notch, both from a design and materials standpoint. While not designed as a thrower, the S1A manages to project bright light to a very reasonable distance by brute force. Compared to larger, wider headed tac-lights, what the S1A lacks in throw is more than made up by close to mid-range performance. And letís face it- this is a belt mounted sized light- it's job isn't to reach out to extreme distance; it is to light up as much as possible at closer ranges. I can say from a law enforcement perspective, this is exactly what a belt mounted tac-light should be doing. Extreme range illumination should be left to a true duty light.

At 2.3A pulled at the tail of the light, the XM-L is far from being over driven, and the solid head construction paired with heavy cooling fins really manages heat well. I never felt that the light got all that hot to the touch, which tells me that what heat is produced is rapidly and effectively dissipated. Obviously, this will preserve the XM-L emitter to extend its service life and retain brightness in the long term. Compared to lights with a screw in pill, there is simply no comparison to the ability to remove excess heat from the equation.

UI is easy to pick up, and from a tactical point of view, both practical and sensible. A duty belt mounted tactical light should always turn on in the high mode when activated at any time. Period. Whether doing room searches with frequent momentary switch activation, or lighting up a large group, maximum output each and every time is what is called for. If lower modes/strobe are what is called for, the side switch does a great job of isolating those modes. The ability to switch the light off and immediately back on in high mode is a huge plus in my opinion.

At the suggested price point of $79 the S1A is easily able to compete with lights of its form factor. Add in the more costly and effective construction necessary to create the light and the Elite S1A becomes a better and better bargain. Lighten7 has a real winner with the Elite S1A.


4
General Flashlight Discussion / Re: Will everything match?
« on: October 11, 2012, 02:13:44 PM »
Foil hat- Ha! That's funny! Seriously, though, one of the reasons I like 18650's platforms so much is that they produce great run time, especially for lights with available lower modes. For camping, car, hiking trips, etc, they are the best option for me. I have SEVERAL stored for pretty much any contingency such as an extended power outage, so I will never be without light. For someone with basic electronic skills (ie- me) they can also be used to power other devices if need be. An example might be a radio that runs on D cell batteries in which you have a known output level to meet. Figure the closest voltage equivalent and wire it up- easy.

5
Welcome and Introductions / Re: Hi, I am coming!!!
« on: October 07, 2012, 05:13:18 PM »
Must have been looking at your avatar Chronos  :P

6
General Flashlight Discussion / Re: Will everything match?
« on: October 07, 2012, 04:38:07 PM »
+1 on the Warrior- it is a fine light. The charger is a good choice if you plan to charge batteries with less capacity than a 18650, but if that is the only type Li-ion you plan to use, any number of chargers will do the job just as well. You could also plan on owning several 18650 batteries, and investing in a good waterproof case for them- that would negate the need to bring the charger into the field. 4-6 batteries would last you a LONG time on a trip, as long as you didn't run around on high mode the whole time ;)

The AW batteries are about as good as you'll find, and probably contain Panasonic base cells (not a guarantee, but likely).

That stove is interesting- a little pricey, but if it works as advertised, worth the cost in the long run. If it will charge a smart phone in 20 minutes for an hour of air time, thats not bad at all.

The only fly in the ointment will be battery charge time; a good charger may take several hours to charge fully depleted 18650's. That means you can expect to be tending the fire for some time, which could be a little tedious if you aren't planning to sit in one spot for a good while (you could plan on doing any charging at suppertime, and into the night I suppose)

All in all, everything looks to match up pretty well for the average camper.

7
Mac's Customs / Re: do you do repairs/ mods?
« on: September 02, 2012, 12:55:57 PM »
I just repaired one of these for another member, and would be willing to take a look at it (no promises on repair ability). PM me if you if you'd like me to take a crack at it.

8
Very cool! I wonder if you could open up the thing and find a way to manage the heat; I've toyed in  the past with cheap LED lights and non-conductive  heat compounds, paired with ground up copper and aluminum, with decent results. It's amazing how cheap some of the green lasers out there are, but I wonder about the IR filtration, even for the user.

9
General Flashlight Discussion / Eagletac D25LC2 Clicky XP-G S2 Review
« on: June 21, 2012, 11:43:31 AM »


Eagletac released the D25 series lights in September, 2011. As a twisty configuration, the series was dubbed the mini, and packed a real punch for the small price of admission. Since then, consumers had looked forward to the promised clicky version, which would make one handed use easier. The new "Clicky" models arrived with not only a different method of activation, but some changes in the user interface as well. This particular sample, the D25LC2, comes again courtesy of Mike at Pacific Tactical Solutions for evaluation. See the entire line up at:

http://www.pts-flashlights.com/

Once again, packaging is the standard Eagletac black box adorned with basic information; it looks good and is suitable for gifting.


Inside can be found the light, a handy battery magazine for CR123 use, holster, lanyard, spare O-ring, instruction manual, and warranty registration card. As with other Eagletac products, registering the light automatically enters the buyer in a monthly opportunity to win a free light.


Dimensions of the D25LC2 are as follows:

length- 4.5"/ 115mm
width- body- .85"/ 22mm, head- .9"/ 22.5mm
weight- empty- 1.7 oz/ 49 gms.
retail cost- $56.90

Size-wise, the D25LC2 compares favorably with other lights in it's form factor, and is pictured with the Fenix PD32, Jetbeam Cycler, and earlier sibling, the D25LC2 "Mini".


The Clicky is @1/2 inch longer than its predecessor, the Mini. It features, along with the switch mechanism, a new removable clip design, and lanyard mounting ring, also removable.


My favorite platforms are those that are capable of operating on multiple power sources. The D25LC2 is capable of running on 2 CR123s, 2 RCR123 li-ions, single 18650 or 17670 li-ions. Even less common li-ion sources such as 18500 0r 17500 can be used in a pinch, provided a spacer is used. Do note that only button top cells can be used as the reverse polarity ring makes flat top batteries unsupported.


Beginning at the head, a stainless steel bezel with a dark titanium finish protects the ultra-clear, double anti-reflective coated lens. The reflector, like other D25 clicky offerings, is very glossy and only slightly textured, offering a excellent throw from such a small platform, along with a smooth beam profile.


Providing output is Crees excellent XP-G emitter, which commands a leading role in modern LED lights.


The head of the light contains grippy diamond shaped knurling, and multiple cooling grooves to expand surface area for removing excess heat.


A view of the heads interior- the raised reverse polarity protection ring works as tested.


Square cut threads are found on the body tube, as well as a well lubed O-ring, and is identical at both ends of the body tube. This allows the head and tail cap to be swapped, making the light reversible for a bezel up or down carry. Operation is firm and butter smooth. The removable clip is retained by a textured ring which force-presses it into a notch, similar to some some 4Sevens offerings.


The clip also functions as an anti-roll device.


Knurling on the body tube is a textured diamond pattern, offering a solid grip.


Laser etched lettering is clean, smooth, and well centered.


The tail cap is similarly textured, and features a free turning, removable lanyard ring.


The cover over the reverse clicky switch is recessed and is embossed with the company logo.


On this sample, the switch cover protrudes slightly but still allows tailstanding on flat surfaces.


A well made, molded nylon holster allows easy carry with or without the clip attached.


The new D25 Clicky line features a UI change that approximates that which is offered by competitors such as Fenix and 4Sevens. With the head fully tightened (group 2), the light turns on in turbo mode; a soft press while activated switches to a moderately fast strobe. Loosen the head slightly, and you enter group 1, which gives the user varying options in terms of output. By 3 fast tighten/loosen cycles while activated, users can toggle between 2 separate sets of output brightness. Rather than attempting to regurgitate the numbers and confusing anyone, I have pasted a link that is easy to follow in regards to output and runtime figures:

http://eagletac.com/html/d25lc2rc/specs.html

Time to Install a fresh 18650 li-ion battery and look at beam characteristics. Even though this sample is marked as a cool white, I was pleased to see it tended more toward white. For such a small reflector, throw is excellent, with a crisp spot, surrounded by a wide corona, and less spill than expected, though perfectly adequate. All lower steady modes are regulated by constant current with no hint of PWM.

At first, I found the interchangeable moon and low modes hard to distinguish by eye, but after a few cycles back and forth, could more easily discern the difference. Turbo is blistering bright at 344 out the front lumens, and easily bests the highest output from my Fenix PD32. Although the turbo mode steps down to @80% after 90 seconds, the 275 lumens it yields is plenty bright. At first, I wasn't keen on the step down circuit idea, but in practical usage, I find I rarely have the light activated for that long anyway. The D25LC2 has no mode memory and will default to the first setting in the group if turned completely off and on; soft presses are the way to go when making mode changes.

BEAMSHOTS

All beamshots are labeled

Indoor to hearth- 6'

moon


low


medium


high


turbo


to hearth- 15'

moon


low


medium


high


turbo


to hearth- 25'

moon


low


medium


high


turbo


35' across house-turbo


Outside- garage white wall

6' to door

moon


low


15' to door

moon


low


medium


high


turbo


25' to door

low


medium


high


turbo


50' to door

medium


high


turbo


100' to door- turbo


to tree- 20'

low


medium


high


turbo


to front of house- 35'

low


medium


high


turbo


to shed-closest corner 50'

low


medium


high


turbo


CONCLUSIONS

The new D25LC2 clicky is a improvement on the original "mini" version. While I don't personally have a problem with the twisty operation of the latter, many will undoubtedly enjoy the ease of one handed operation, as well as a familiar and intuitive UI. Build quality, as with the mini, is excellent, especially when the price point is considered.

The UI can seem a bit unwieldy at first, but I find that with only a little usage, it becomes easy to operate without confusion. Undoubtedly, the extra hidden modes will not appeal to everyone, and this is actually a case where no mode memory can come in handy to avoid them. That they are available if needed is a plus.

Having the ability to run from a variety of power sources is a boon that is sure to please most anyone, and at any experience level. Those that like the simplicity of CR123's still have the option to include li-ion batteries at some point. Those like myself, that almost exclusively rely on 18650 li-ion's as their power source of choice will be happy as well.

If I could change something about this light, it would be to decrease the output in moon mode further. There is little difference between low and moon, and there is little you can do with low that you could not do with moon as well. A true moon mode of less than 1 lumen would make, well, a better moon mode IMO.
Also, it would have been nice if the pocket clip allowed a deeper pocket carry, but with a true tail cap, this was unavoidable.

Overall, the entire D25 Clicky series seem to be well made, wisely revamped versions of the preceding model, the Mini. Buyers of the new model will not be disappointed.
/D25LC/D25LC020.jpg[/IMG]

10
Winner chosen- eweiss at Sigforum- thanks to Mike at PTS and everyone that played!

11
General Flashlight Discussion / Eagletac D25A Clicky give away!
« on: June 09, 2012, 06:24:53 PM »
Courtesy of Mike at Pacific Tactical Solutions, I am offering up the D25A recently reviewed here:

http://flashlight-forums.com/index.php?topic=13086.0

The blight will be offered to a couple of other websites as well, but don't let that discourage anyone from entering. Just say you're in, and you'll be eligible. Good luck!

12
General Flashlight Discussion / Eagletac D25A Clicky XP-G S2 Review
« on: June 08, 2012, 03:32:10 AM »


Eagletac is known for producing well-made flashlights, without charging extreme prices for a product that works. They are rugged, functional, and bright in all their different guises. The D series lights began with the Mini, which as many know, are twist operated, with no mechanical switch. The new upgraded D series Clicky models incorporate a familiar tail cap switch similar to competitors light. In addition, small changes to the user interface (UI) make the new Clicky more palatable to those desiring easier one handed operation. This sample, the D25A, is provided by Mike at Pacific Tactical Solutions; see the full D25 Clicky line-up at:

http://www.pts-flashlights.com

Retail packaging is good looking and suitable for gifting.


Included are the light, holster, lanyard and spare O-ring, instruction manual, and registration card. Registering your new light gives you the opportunity to win a free light once per month.


This is my first time handling the AA powered D25A; I was impressed at just how small the light really is. Stats are as follows:

length- 3.4"/ 87mm
width- (head) .7"/ 17.5mm, (body) .65"/ 17mm
weight- (empty) .85 oz/ 24 gms
retail cost- $46.90

The D25A compared to other AA offerings, the Zebralight H51, and Fenix LD10.
 

The light appears barely thicker than the AA powering it. It is reminiscent of some AAA lights I've handled.


Starting at the head, the new D25A is still crowned with a protective stainless steel bezel, which has a dark titanium finish to blend with the lights anodized finish. The hardened ultra-clear lens is coated front and rear with an anti-reflective finish. The glossy reflector has a very subtle texture which yields a good blend of throw and spill beam.


Providing output for this particular light is Crees excellent XP-G S2 emitter; additional LED options include Crees XM-L and XT-E. The glue sealed head assembly is free of dust, and manufacturing debris.


The diamond shaped knurling on the head is grippy and makes mode group changes easy; shallow grooving increases surface area to dissipate heat. Laser etched lettering is crisp and well centered.


A view of the driver,  at the base of the head. A raised ring protects against reverse polarity damage from improper battery insertion.


Threading is square cut and butter smooth. Threads and O-ring are well lubed from the factory.


Like the head, the body tube is generously knurled for a grippy feel.


A sturdy stainless steel clip is attached at the extreme tail end of the light for as deep a carry position as possible, and doubles as an anti-roll device.



The tail contains a reverse clicky switch, and is generously milled for lanyard use, if desired.


The switch cover is embossed with Eagletacs logo, and is flush with the tail, which allows for stabile tail standing.

 
The molded nylon holster snugly retains the light when inserted, and is of very good quality.


The new D25 Clicky line features a UI change that approximates that which is offered by competitors such as Fenix and 4Sevens. With the head fully tightened (group 2), the light turns on in turbo mode; a soft press while activated switches to a moderately fast strobe. Loosen the head slightly, and you enter group 1, which gives the user varying options in terms of output. By 3 fast tighten/loosen cycles while activated, users can toggle between 2 seperate sets of output brightness. Mode layout is as follows:

head tightened
turbo- 110 lumens (for the first 90 seconds, then drops to @ 90 lumens to prevent excessive heat buildup)
strobe

head loosened
moon mode- .5 lumens
medium- 9 lumens
high- 71 lumens

mode up with triple twist yields:
low- 4 lumens
medium- 20 lumens
high- 71 lumens

While the D25A is designed to be used primarily with alkaline, Ni-mh, or AA lithium batteries, it is capable of utilizing 14500 lithium-ion batteries as well, which can be seen just to the right of the light.


When utilized, 14500 batteries cause the D25A to run in direct drive, which for the XP-G means @550 emitter lumens! Expect greater than 400 lumens out the front which is incredible for a light this diminutive. Be aware that that the D25A will become very hot very quickly, and should be used in short bursts, and NOT left unattended while activated. I did discover, however, that loosening the head will allow the light to utilize a low-high configuration. This is good, in that you are not limited to an "all or none" situation when using the little li-ion battery.

Time to install a fresh Energizer lithium AA and evaluate the output characteristics. Tint with this sample is billed as cool white, but like the previously reviewed D25C, leans more toward white. Thanks to the very lightly textured reflector, the little AA powered D25A throws a distinct spot quite a ways, and retains the continuity of the hot spot. Given the small reflector, this was a nice surprise. Once again, Eagletac has done their homework and paired the reflector to the XP-G emitter well.

Moon mode was extremely dim, and will be a welcome change from the previous Mini. Look for about 150 hours of continuous runtime, with ample navigation ability in total darkness. To my eye, the turbo output looked brighter than Eagletacs claim of 110 ANSI out the front lumens. When compared in a ceiling bounce test against a Fenix LD10 Q5 making a known 127 lumens (by integrating sphere) the overall brightness of the D25A was brighter, even if the XR-E emitter of the Fenix allowed for greater throw, and thereby, higher perceived output at distance.

All steady output levels are a result of constant current regulation as Eagletac advertises, with no sign of PWM. As with all of the new D25 Clicky models, 2 cycles through the steady output modes in group 1 will open the hidden modes. In order, they are: strobe, alternating fast/medium strobe, beacon (@2 flashes per second), fast SOS ( which like the D25C seems to be missing one of the slow "O" flashes), slow SOS, slow beacon (2 second flash @every 10 seconds), and beacon (flash every 2 seconds). It seems like a lot, and a bit confusing, but is easy to get used to. I did notice that the D25A has no mode memory in group 1, so avoiding unwanted modes is a snap; turning the light off for more than a second resets to the start up mode chosen (moon or low).

BEAMSHOTS

All beamshots are labeled

Indoor- to hearth 6'

moon
 

low


medium


high


turbo


to hearth- 15'

low


medium


high


turbo


to hearth- 25'

medium


high


turbo


turbo- 14500 li-ion


across room 35'-turbo- 14500 li-ion


Outdoor- garage white wall

moon- 6'


low- 6'


low- 15'


medium- 6'


medium- 15'


medium- 25'


high- 6'


high- 15'


high- 25'


turbo- 6'


turbo- 15'


turbo- 25'


turbo- 50'


turbo- 14500 li-ion- 25'


turbo- 14500 li-ion- 50'


turbo- 14500 li-ion- 100'


to tree- @20'

turbo


turbo- 14500 li-ion


to front of house- @35'

turbo


turbo- 14500 li-ion


to shed- closest corner @50'

medium


high


turbo


turbo- 14500 li-ion


CONCLUSIONS

The D25A is  well made, and reasonably bright light, given its power source. To say it is bright when using the 14500 li-ion option is an gross understatement- output is easily on the order of full sized tactical lights when this option is utilized. Even so, when standard alkaline, Ni-mh, or in this case primary lithium batteries are used, it is easily bright enough for what amounts to a tiny, lightweight EDC. Even by AA light standards, it is small, and disappears in the pocket.

I find the multiple steady output modes about right for close in to medium distance use; obviously not designed as a thrower, the D25A still puts out usable light to a respectable distance.

The multiple hidden modes will be a bit tiresome to some, but it is comforting to know they are available if needed, and easily avoidable if not.

Even with its small mass, I didn't find that the D25A became especially hot when turned on and left in turbo mode, so I'm not sure it was completely necessary to limit turbo output to 90 seconds before stepping down to protect the emitter lifespan. It is possible that given the ability of a single AA to boost voltage and current levels high enough to meet the needs of a high power LED for extended periods of time is reason enough.

Overall, given its price point of under $50, the D25A is an impressive little light for anyone looking for a small, easily carried EDC illumination tool.



13
General Flashlight Discussion / Eagletac D25C Clicky XP-G Review
« on: May 31, 2012, 02:50:39 AM »


In September of 2011, Eagletac released the D series of EDC flashlights, aptly named the Mini for all of the new models. They were designed as a twisty configuration and quickly gained a following, and were not short on brightness given the size of the various lights. Now, scarcely 8 months later, the US based company has unveiled clicky versions of the same lights with some minor, but sure to be well received changes in the user interface. Presented here, is the D25C Clicky, courtesy of Mike at Pacific Tactical Solutions. See the full line at:

http://www.pts-flashlights.com/

Packaging for the new light remains basically the same, with a tasteful looking cardboard box suitable for gifting.


Inside the retail package can be found the light, holster, lanyard, spare O-ring, user manual, and warranty registration card; by registering the light, buyers are automatically eligible to win a free light, which is awarded  once per month.


Dimensions if the D25C are as follows:

length- 2.9"/75mm
width- .78"/20mm
weight- 1oz/29gms

Retail cost- $49.90

The D25C compares quite well to lights of its kind; here it is flanked by 4Sevens Quark 123 and Jetbeam BC10.


Like its twisty predecessor, the D25C is capped with a stainless steel head which protects the lens from bumps and bruises. The new version has a dark titanium finish to blend better with the overall finish. The lens is coated internally and externally with an AR layer to increase light transmission. The reflector is very glossy, and subtly textured for optimum throw/spill characteristics.


The D25C is available with 3 emitter choices offered by Cree: the XM-L, XT-E, and as pictured with this particular sample, the XP-G.


The design of the head is basically the same with easy to grip diamond knurling, and grooves to dissipate heat. Laser etched lettering is clean and well centered.


The driver, located at the cathode end of the battery; the circuitry is protected from reverse polarity damage from improper battery installation.
 

The square cut threading is clean and smooth; a single O-ring provides water resistance, and the assembly came well lubed from the factory.


Ample body stippling makes for a grippy feel.


A sturdy polished stainless steel pocket clip places the D25C deeply within any pocket, decreasing the chance of it going missing. It also serves as an effective anti-roll device.



The tail end of the light houses the clicky switch, and is generously cut for the included lanyard use, if desired. The end is flush, and makes for a stable tail stand.


The switch cover is embossed with the company logo.


As with the previous design, the molded nylon holster has a quality feel for those that prefer them.


As mentioned earlier, the new D25 series incorporates a change in UI. Whereas before the twisty version allowed access to the turbo mode by cycling through L-M-H-T, the new UI incorporates a system similar to other manufacturers such as Fenix and 4Sevens. There are now 2 mode groups; with the head of the light tightened, group 2 gives a choice of turbo and strobe. Loosening the head enters group 1, which includes an easily programmable lowest mode. After activating the light in group 1, you will begin in a usable low. 3 quick tighten-loosening twists of the head will change the lowest mode to a very dim moon mode, which was something some felt lacking in the previous model. That the lowest mode is user programmable will please even the most picky user, as will the fact that group 1 will memorize the last mode used and start there at the next activation, even during battery changes. A quick mode layout:

head tightened- group 2)- turbo(219 lumens)/strobe- turbo is supported for @90 seconds, then drops to @175 lumens to prevent damage from excessive heat.
head loosened- (group 1)- moon(.5 lumens) or low(4 lumens), medium(23 lumens with moon, 65 with low), high(149 lumens), strobe, fast strobe, beacon (2 flash per second), fast SOS, slow SOS, slow beacon (1 flash per 10 seconds),  slow beacon (1 flash per 2 seconds)

Modes seem a little bewildering on paper, but in practice are quite easy and intuitive to master. At any rate, it is quite "busy", with a mode for just about any circumstance.

Runtimes are listed for when the light is programmed for moon mode- when programmed for low, expect slightly shorter runtimes:
moon- @150 hours
medium- @10 hours
high- @1.6 hours
turbo- @.9 hours.

The D25C can be powered either a single CR123, or RCR123 lithium ion rechargeable battery. Output values increase dramatically with Li-ion use, and should be used sparingly. Eagletac suggests limiting runtime to 5 minutes, then allowing the light to cool. Circuit protected batteries are suggested when using Li-ions.


Due to the nature of the UI as well as the design of the light, checking current draw numbers was not possible with any degree of accuracy.

Time to load a fresh CR123, and check out the output characteristics. While tint for this sample is listed as cool white, it is only barely so, leaning toward white. The D25C has excellent throw for a small EDC, with a moderately sized and well defined spot. There is ample spill at close to medium range. Moon mode is quite dim, but usable for navigation in full darkness. As expected, there is some tint shift in lower modes as the emitter is under-driven, but is not a great detraction. Overall, beam quality is very good, and this is owed to Eagletacs excellent blend of smoothness and texture in the reflector.

All output with the D25C is controlled via constant current; there is no evidence of PWM at any level. The strobe modes are sufficiently fast enough to cause discomfort, and the beacon/SOS modes are visible for a fairly large distance.

With a fresh Li-ion, the D25C is very bright, and is basically pushing the XP-G to its limit on direct drive. I would stick to less than 5 minutes, as the light becomes quite hot after just a couple of minutes. Heat builds up very quickly, so I would make sure not to set it down and walk away from it.

BEAMSHOTS
All beamshots are labeled

Indoor
to hearth- 6'

moon mode


low


medium


high


turbo


to hearth- 15'

low


medium


high


turbo


to hearth 25'

low


medium


high


turbo


across house @35'- turbo


with RCR123 Li-ion
to hearth- 25'


across house- @35'


Outdoors
Garage white wall

moon mode- 6'


low- 6'


low- 15'


medium- 6'


medium- 15'


medium- 25'


high- 15'


high- 25'


high- 50'


turbo- 15'


turbo- 25'


turbo- 50'


turbo- 100'


to tree- @20'

low


medium


high


turbo


turbo- w/RCR123 li-ion


to house front- @35'
 
medium


high


turbo


turbo- w/ RCR123 li-ion


to shed- closest corner @50'

medium


high


turbo


turbo- w/RCR123 li-ion


Conclusions

The new Eagletac D25C Clicky is an improvement on the original Mini, in that it now is an easier platform to navigate one handed. The changes in mode arrangement will undoubtedly be more familiar to many that are used to a turbo/strobe with the head tightened, paired with multiple hidden modes made accessible with a slight loosening of the head. True mode memory will be appreciated for those that don't want to flash through several modes to get back to where they were before turning off the light. I definitely like the addition of the moon mode; the previous UI in the Mini lacked a truly low mode for extended runtimes. That the low and moon modes can be programmed interchangeable makes for a more versatile EDC.

Personally, I could do without the extra fast SOS and moderately fast strobe in the head loosened mode group. The slow SOS is enough for emergency use, and the moderate strobe already exists in the head tightened mode. In fact, the fast SOS is so quick, that I am not sure one of the flashes isn't missing- it seems after several cycles that the last "O" flash is not present.

Size wise, the D25C Clicky is just about perfect for my purposes. It is easy to forget that you have it with you, especially as deep as the clip allows it to ride in pocket.

Lastly, for the level of quality of this robust little EDC, the price point of the Clicky version of the D25C makes it extremely competitive in a market where tiny lights are becoming more and more powerful, thanks to innovations in emitter output and efficiency.



14
If you don't mind the expense, Zebralight makes a couple of nice clip angle light choices (SC31 for CR123, SC51 for AA) for about $64 each. I have both, actually, and they are nice. The linked Energizer looks interesting, and I would hazard a guess t6hat it will be a good bit cheaper, but a whole lot less bright. The Zebra's will give you several output choices as well.

15
Unless the driver is a "buck/boost", meaning it will lower the voltage down to a certain level (say, around the minimum forward voltage needed to power a given led at full brightness), then boost the remaining voltage to reach the minimum level, which will drain the remaining power faster.

I suspect if you are talking about the Rom light, it will drop off below a certain level, and decline until close to 2.8V, as it is running on direct drive at this point.

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