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Topics - gearhounds

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1
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. 



2
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.


3
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]

4
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!

5
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.



6
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.



7
General Flashlight Discussion / Lighten7 Max L2A Review
« on: May 04, 2012, 03:35:03 AM »


I recently had opportunity to review lights from the fledgling company, Lighten7, which is based in Hong Kong, with a satellite affiliate in Australia. In addition to the Elite line models, the M1A and M1B, I present the company flagship light, the Max L2A. A big thanks to Howard for making it all possible. See the entire product line at:

http://lighten7.com/index.html

In a departure from the afore mentioned lights in the previous reviews, the L2A is strictly a single battery power configuration, that being 2 18650 Li-ion's in series. CR123, or RCR123 batteries are not supported, which personally, I think a better decision. Unlike the M1A and M1B, which both use unique methods to change modes; the L2A is a traditional rear clicky switch light. The lights dimensions are as follows:

length- 8 5/8"- 218mm
width of bezel- 1 13/16"- 48mm
body width- 1"- 25.5mm
weight- empty 10.5 oz/ 299gms; with batteries 13.7 oz/ 388gms (head assembly 6.8 oz/ 190 gms)
retail cost- $119

The light is shipped in a securely closing cardboard, foam lined box embossed with product information.


Included with the light are instruction manual, lightweight lanyard (for those that use them), and replacement O-rings. There are 4 body tube O-rings, and 2 large silicone lens/bezel O-rings as well.


The L2A is a beefy, robust, no-nonsense design, and easily falls into the "duty light" category. Here, it is flanked by the Eagletac M2XC4 and Streamlight Stinger LED.


Like it's sibling lights, the L2A sports an aggressive strike bezel of machined stainless steel. It also functions to retain the lens and reflector, so removal is not an option. A smooth, low profile ring would be a welcome addition to the retail package.


Lumens are provided courtesy of Cree's popular XM-L emitter, which is found at the base of a moderately textured, somewhat deep reflector.


The lights electronics are housed in a beefy brass pill set securely into the head assembly. The emitter board appears to be attached with a compound resembling Arctic Silver.


The head of the light has excellent mass paired with deep cooling fins to dissipate heat.


Inside the driver side of the head- spring loaded to eliminate battery bounce.


Threading at both ends of the body tube are identical and reversible. It consists of a heavy, smooth, trapezoidal cut, and is well anodized. Loosening the tail cap or head will result in lock-out. Double O-rings at both ends provide secure water resistance. 


Brass inserts provide solid bases to the body tube, and should keep the aluminum ends from getting chewed up.


Laser etched lettering is clean and well centered.


Knurling throughout the L2A is a textured diamond pattern and provides sufficient grip.


The tail cap has textured rings to make battery changes a snap; lanyard cuts allow attachment that don't interfere with tail standing, but the L2A is too top heavy to do so without risking the light falling over.


Electrical contact within the tail cap is provided by a heavy, spring loaded brass plunger.


Time now to load 2 freshly charged 18650's into the L2A, and see how it does. As expected, the light is quite bright; the spot is intense, and blends seamlessly into the surrounding corona with very little by way of artifacts. Tint from the XM-L is only very slightly cool, tending toward white. The combination of a fairly deep reflector and moderate texturing yields very good throw characteristics, while managing not to appear too focused on one small area. The XM-L's clearly has the ability to excel with overwhelming output in just about every light I have seen it in.

Modes with output and runtimes are as follows as per Lighten7; after activation, a quick light press is enough to change modes in descending order. The strobe function is fairly rapid and horribly disorienting at any distance, and appears to be at full brightness. When compared to known output in other lights, it is apparent the output is represented in values at the emitter:

high- 800 lumens/ 1.8 hours
medium- 500 lumens/ 3.6 hours
low- 350 lumens/ 7 hours
dim- 90 lumens/ 35 hours
strobe- 3.5 hours

Output on high is constant current regulated, with lower modes stepped down via PWM. I was pleased to find that the PWM of lower modes was virtually undetectable with the naked eye unless waved rapidly before me. The whine that was easily detected in the sibling M1A and M1B lights, was almost non-existent. A quick read of the lights literature showed an absence of the reduced output function shared by the M1A and M1B, and an email to Howard at Lighten7 confirmed it is not present in the L2A.

Next comes the current draw values measured at the tail cap, and are as follows:

high- 1.41A
medium- .71A
low- .35A
dim- .06A

The light slowly warms on high, but never really seems to get uncomfortably hot, thanks to the large amount of mass in the head assembly. In fact, at @6.8oz/ 190 grams, the head comprises roughly 2/3 of the lights total weight.

BEAMSHOTS

As the L2A is obviously a thrower, close range pics are limited, and flashback tends to overwhelm the camera.

All beamshots are labeled

Indoor- to hearth

dim- 25'


dim- 35' across room


low- 25'


low- 35' across room


medium- 25'


medium- 35' across room


high- 25'


high- 35' across room


OUTDOOR

Garage white wall

dim- 15'


dim- 25'


dim- 50'


low- 25'


low- 50'


low- 100'


medium- 25'


medium- 50'


medium- 100'


high- 25'


high- 50'


high- 100'


To tree- @20'

dim


low


medium


high


To front of house @35'

dim


low


medium


high


To shed closest corner @50'

dim


low


medium


high


CONCLUSIONS

The Max L2A is a fine light; construction oozes quality and a clear attention to detail. It feels sturdy and weighty in hand, and as mentioned, easily fits in the category of "duty light". Output for a light of this type is about right, and I am glad to see SOS was not included.

If I could change or add anything to the L2A, it would be to include a smooth, low profile bezel ring for those that don't need such an aggressive leading edge. As it sits, some subtle smoothing of the current ones sharp edges could be without sacrificing function as a defensive striking tool.

Some may desire a forward momentary style switch, but it is not a necessity in my opinion. There are better light platforms for close in tactical work, where a large light would become unwieldy.

Overall, I am impressed with the L2A and look forward to carrying it on duty to put it through its paces in the field. Well done Lighten7!



8
General Flashlight Discussion / Lighten7 Elite M1A Review
« on: April 23, 2012, 02:59:23 AM »


Recently, I was given the opportunity to review flashlights from a new company, Lighten7. This review is of the Elite M1A, which is touted as a tactical light, but like it's siblings, is marketed as an outdoorsman's light as well. Thanks to Howard; the available products can be found here:

http://lighten7.com/index.html

For changes in output, the M1A relies on a unique rheostat style switch built into the tail cap that offers output from full brightness at turn on, down to 5% at the lowest setting. Switching the light on offers full brightness, and a quick second press activates a strobe mode. Holding the switch, while strobing for 2-3 seconds sends the light into SOS mode. Specifications of the M1A are as follows:

length- 7"/ 176mm
width at head- 1.25"/ 45mm
width at body tube- 1.1"/ 27.3mm
weight- 7.9 oz/ 221 gms
retail- $105

The M1A is shipped in a sturdy, securely closed case, emblazoned with company info.


Inside you will find the standard lanyard, spare O-ring, and user manual.


Like the M1B model I recently reviewed, the M1A is beefy and solid; because of the tail cap design, it does have a reasonable level of anti-roll. Dimensions are as follows:


Size wise, the M1A falls between a typical tactical light and full sized duty light. Here it is seen flanked by the Olight M21X and Jetbeam Jet-III M series.
 

The M1A can be powered by either a single Li-ion 18650 or 2 CR123 batteries; RCR123 Li-ion batteries are not supported.

The removable stainless steel strike bezel is heavy and aggressive. In internal lip retains the lens is the bezel is not desired. A plain, low profile would be a welcome addition to the retail package.


Lumens are provided by Cree's popular and versatile XM-L emitter. It is found at the bottom of a moderately textured reflector, which offers  a  trade- off of increased spill over longer throw.


The pill assembly is securely threaded into the main body tube, and surrounded by plenty of mass to provide heat sinking.


The head is heavy and complimented by grooves to offer a bit more surface area.


The minimal lettering is well centered, and unobtrusive.
 

The checkered stippling on the body tube and tail cap are reasonably grippy.

 
Threading at the tail of the light is of the square cut variety.


The switch is a reverse clicky that is fairly stiff, small, and set deep enough as to avoid accidental activation. A generous lanyard cut is provided for those that use them.   


Time to power up the M1A and check output with a fresh 18650. Tint on this sample is slightly cool, tending to white; as mentioned, the moderately textured reflector serves to blend the spot and corona, even if its depth limits spill compared to lights of the same size with smooth reflectors.

High is constant current regulated and to the eye appears very similar to that of the M1B I previously reviewed. All lower levels of output are controlled by PWM, and there is slight PWM whine at all levels. The PWM is fairly rapid until roughly 2/3 of the output drop. When there is about 1/3 left to go until the lowest level, PWM flickering becomes more pronounced and easy to detect.

The strobe is relatively fast, and comparable to Wolf Eye's products I have seen. The SOS mode, like the M1B, is in reality a repeating S-O, instead of a true SOS. This is a simple fix when programming the driver at the factory, which I will recommend.

Lighten7 advertises the M1A as having an "intelligent output management system", meaning that output on high is reduced automatically if left on for several minutes. Certainly not the first manufacturer to do this, I would rather see high be left as constant high with perhaps a drop in output when the battery capacity drops too low to support it; lower modes are selectable by the user, so it is unnecessary in my opinion. Howard at Lighten7 indicated he would look into the matter.

Due to the design of the light, I was unable to get any current draw readings at the tail of the light; as high output is almost identical to the M1B to the eye, I suspect similar performance. I will add that output is brighter with CR123's but the whining is much more pronounced. For this reason, I chose to forego testing with CR123's to avoid damaging the circuitry. 

I found that when very slowly dialing the rheostat switch from high to low, I could discern 15 different levels of output. Due to the stiffness of the rheostat knob, one handed adjustments are difficult; I would recommend reducing the amount of resistance needed to turn it. 


BEAMSHOTS-
As the M1a is a large light with fairly bright output, I decided to depart from my usual habit of several indoor distances, and concentrate on somewhat longer range shots. Beam shots were shot at the lowest level, midway through the dial, and on high to get a general idea of perceived output.

All beam shots are labeled

Indoor- to hearth

low- 25'


low- 35' across house


mid- 25'


mid- 35' across house


high- 25'


high- 35' across house


OUTDOOR

Garage white wall

low- 15'


low- 25'


mid- 15'


mid- 25'


mid- 50'


high- 15'


high- 25'


high- 50'


high- 100'


To tree @20'

low


mid


high


To front of house @35'

low


mid


high


To shed closest corner @50'

low


mid


high


CONCLUSIONS

The Elite M1A, like its sibling, the M1B is physically a well made light. It is beefy, feels weighty in the hand, and is likely to take abuse well. The rheostat style switch is an interesting design, and offers the user the ability to tailor output to their liking, rather than making them choose between set levels. It should, however, be less difficult to turn to facilitate one handed operation while insuring that accidental mode changes aren't possible from incidental contact.

Like the M1B, Lighten7 needs to adress the circuitry of the M1A to make the regulation more efficient, and address the whine while under PWM regulation, as well as reduce the visible flickering at low levels. As stated earlier, I believe the removal of the current limiting intelligent circuit on high will please more users in the long run, which again, Lighten7 is looking into.

With a little refinement, the Elite M1A has potential.



9
General Flashlight Discussion / Lighten7 Elite M1B Review
« on: April 17, 2012, 03:10:49 AM »


In the last few years, there has been a myriad of new light companies appearing, and one of the recent additions is Lighten7. When I saw some pics of the companyís lights, I expressed interest in the product line, especially the tactical variants. I was contacted by Howard, who was happy to send a few lights for evaluation. For an idea of what is offered in the Lighten7 lineup, check out:

http://lighten7.com/index.html

The M1B arrived in a sturdy plastic case that clamps shut securely.


Included inside is the light, lanyard, spare O-ring, and user manual.


The light is beefy and feels quite solid and sturdy. It is fairly large, and falls somewhere between a tactical belt light and duty light. I found that the light has no anti-roll ability, and should probably not be set down on its side on a flat surface. Dimensions are as follows:

length- 7"/ 176mm
width at head- 1.25"/ 45mm
width at body tube- 1"/ 26mm
weight- 7.2 oz/ 201gm
retail price- $95

The M1B is shown here flanked by the Olight M21X and Jetbeam Jet-III M series.


The M1B can be powered by either a single 18650 Li-ion battery, or 2 CR123's. RCR123 Li-ion's are not supported.

Starting at the head, the M1B is outfitted with an aggressive, removable stainless steel strike bezel that will clearly display activation when head standing, and protect the glass lens.


The reflector is fairly deep and moderately textured; nestled at the base is Cree's popular XM-L emitter.


The pill is a beefy aluminum affair which is securely screwed into the light body, offering excellent heat sinking.


Output of the M1B is controlled via a ring with magnetic stops. There are four levels of output, as well as a strobe and SOS setting. Output on high is rated by Lighten7 as 650 lumens with an 18650, and 800 lumens with 2 CR123's. These figures are apparently measured at the emitter, as a ceiling bounce test against the Jetbeam M (@450 lumens) is nearly identical with a single 18650. Lower levels of output are only given for CR123's as 580(medium), 380(low), and 100(dim) lumens respectively.


The minimal lettering on the light is clean and well centered; the finish is claimed by Lighten7 as HA-III, and is a good looking matte black.


The M1B is equipped with a clip, but is placed in roughly the center of the light; pocketing the light leaves the heavy head extending well outside the pocket, and shouldn't be utilized for long term use in my opinion. It would be helpful stabilizing the light in a holster, should one become available.


Threading for the tail cap is square cut and smooth. Full anodization allows for lockout with a slight loosening of the tail cap.


The tail cap utilizes a forward momentary switch for instant on/off, with a full press to click on for constant on. An inside view of the tail cap.


The switch cover is recessed to protect against unintentional activation; it will allow tailstanding, but the top heavy design would make it impractical.


The only textured surface on the M1B is found at the tail cap.


Time to load fresh batteries and check the output quality. Tint from the XM-L is slightly cool, tending more toward white; the moderately textured reflector blends the hot spot into the corona with very little artifacts in evidence.

The reflectors depth paired with texture results in decent throw, but limits spill somewhat. High is constant current regulated, and lower modes are controlled via very rapid PWM. I did notice that in the lower output modes, there is a very pronounced whine that is evident out to armís length that may annoy some.

The strobe function is bright and disorienting, but not overly fast. I don't have access to an oscilloscope, but would equate speed to some Wolf- Eyes products. The SOS function in this sample is a repeated S-O-S-O; in other words, it is missing the second "S". a mistake in programming, it would seem.

Lighten7 advertises the M1B as having an "intelligent output management system", meaning that output on high is reduced automatically if left on for several minutes. Certainly not the first manufacturer to do this, I would suggest that high be left as constant high; lower modes are available, and should be left to the user to decide how long they want individual mode brightness. Howard at Lighten7 indicated he would suggest this course of action.

Next, to get out the multi-meter and determine current draw numbers at the tail end of the M1B with fresh batteries. Results:

18650
dim- .17A
low- .7A
medium- 1.2A
high- 1.7A

CR123
dim- .26
low- 1.1A
medium- 1.72A
high- 2.35A

I had to double check to make sure I had written the values down properly; the results I obtained seemed counter intuitive to what I expected to find. I was expecting a higher current draw with the lower voltage 18650, rather than what I actually found. Output is clearly brighter with CR123's, but is sufficiently bright when using an 18650. I also found the light to heat rather rapidly on high. Rather than damaging the light, I am going to do all beamshots with an 18650, and will bring the current draw information to Lighten7's attention.

Beamshots- As the M1B is a large light with bright output, I decided to depart from my usual habit of several indoor distances, and concentrate on longer range shots.

All beamshots are labeled

Indoor- to hearth

dim- 25'


low- 25'


medium- 25'


high- 25'


across house- 35'

dim


low


medium


high


Outdoor
Garage white wall

dim- 15'


dim- 25'


dim- 50'


low- 15'


low- 25'


low- 50'


medium- 15'


medium- 25'


medium- 50'


high- 15'


high- 25'


high- 50'


high- 100'


To tree- @20'

dim


low


medium


high


To front of house @35'

dim


low


medium


high


To shed- closest corner @50'

dim


low


medium


high


CONCLUSIONS

Overall, I find the construction of the M1B to be quite good. The light feels very solid and substantial in hand, and the  materials have a quality feel. The stainless steel bezel is very sharp and should provide good lens protection, and an effective striking edge if necessary. It would be nice if an additional smooth bezel was included for those that don't need such an aggressive edge. The finish is uniform and machining appears good.

The magnetic mode ring does what it is designed to do, and has very positive stops for modes. I discovered that because it shares the same finish as the rest of the light, that it can be slightly difficult to locate in the dark during use. Some added knurling would alleviate this.

I would like to see Lighten7 address the driver whine, as well as tuning the SOS function.

The M1B seems like a nice, sturdy light, but is in need of some refinement and fine tuning to work out some minor bugs. I will forward my suggestions to Howard at Lighten7 and await a response.



10
Suggestion Box / Spammers
« on: November 22, 2011, 08:42:32 PM »
Seems lately there is a large rash of spammers in pretty much all the sub forums. Time for a banfest!

11
General Flashlight Discussion / Jetbeam ST Cycler XM-L Review
« on: November 17, 2011, 03:19:51 AM »

   
In late August 2011, Jetbeam released a new light that is a continuation of the Jet III Pro ST series. The newest version, dubbed the ST Cycler, is aimed at users of the outdoors, specifically, but not limited to, cyclists. As I am especially interested in lights with a straight walled profile, I was happy when given the opportunity to evaluate the Cycler. My thanks to Flavio over at Bug out gear, home to JetbeamUSA for the opportunity. You can find the cycler at:

 http://www.BugoutGearUSA.com

Opening the postal package, I found the familiar folding heavy card stock retail box embossed with the company name, which is secured by a hidden magnetic catch. Good looking, and well suited for gifting.
 

Inside was the light, warranty card, lanyard, spare o-rings, and spare switch cover. The light sits in a cutout in the foam liner, and like other Jetbeam lights, is shipped with a small silica gel desiccant pouch inside it. This pretty much negates any possibility of moisture existing inside it until the end user opens it for the first time.


Also inside the packaging, I found Jetbeamís economy handlebar light mount. It has the ability to swivel and lock in different positions, a good feature when considering the light has to be mounted to either side of the gooseneck.



Taking the Cycler in hand, I could see and feel the HA III anodizing was well matched and slick. Like the Jet III XM-L edition, it is a good looking gun metal gray, and without any apparent flaws or defects. Even empty, the light feels solid and robust, but not bulky.


The dimensions for the Cycler are as follows:

length- 121mm/4.7"
width- 25.4/1"
weight- 70 gms/2.5 oz. (head assembly 32 gms/1.1 oz)

Modes are broken down into two groups; Outdoor (head tightened), and Cycling (head slightly loosened. Some of the modes are unique- they are noted below along with stated output and runtimes, as per Jetbeam:

Outdoor- full mode memory, even during battery changes.
turbo-425 lumens/ 1.5 hours
high- 190 lumens/ 3.5 hours
mid- 50 lumens/ 14 hours
strobe- 425 lumens/ no time given- variable and randomized- VERY annoying to the receiver!

Cycling- no mode memory, defaults to low after 1 second of deactivation.
low- 10 lumens/ 45 hours
warning signal- 425 lumens/ no time given- a slow strobe, roughly 1 flash per second
warning lighting- 270 lumens/ 2 hours- constant output with an embedded flash at higher brightness once per second.
SOS- 425 lumens, no time given.

Size wise, the Cycler compares favorably with other straight walled lights. Here the Cycler is flanked by the Eagletac T10L, and Fenix PD32.


Jetbeam advises an IPX-8 water resistance to 2 meters, and the light should easily take rainy/snowy conditions.


The Cycler can be powered by either 18650 Li-ion or 2 CR123 lithium batteries. Jetbeam makes no mention of use 2 RCR123 Li-ion batteries, but even if it can handle the voltage, I don't see them lasting long enough in the light before being depleted, at least on the turbo setting.


The light itself can be broken down into the head assembly, body tube, and tail cap assembly.


Starting at the head, the bezel is smooth, and lacks the stainless steel ring of previous models.


The AR coated mineral glass is crystal clear; the reflector is very slightly textured, and is very smooth and glossy and free of blemishes or fingerprints. At the base of the reflector you will find Cree's XM-L, which has found a home in a large number of modern light offerings. The entire assembly is clean and free of any noticeable manufacturing debris.


The standard warning...


The 2 part head assembly accounts for close to half the lights total empty weight, and is glue sealed. Like other Pro series lights, it has grippy knurling to facilitate mode changes.


The circuit board is sprung for shock absorption, and retaining electrical conductivity during high impact activities.


The head end of the body tube features clean, rectangular cut threading to ensure electrical contact is constant under mode changes. The single o-ring is snug and well lubed.


Lettering throughout the Cycler is clean looking, even, and well centered.


Knurling on the body tube is a textured diamond pattern with longitudinal grooves for a better grip.


Threading at the tail cap side of the body tube is anodized, allowing lockout to prevent accidental activation with a 1/4 turn. Threads at either end of the body tube are not interchangeable.  Again, a single, well sealing o-ring.


Inside the tail cap.


The tail cap shares the same diamond pattern knurling, and features a reverse clicky switch, which is very sensitive once activated. This is a plus for bicyclists for fast mode changes on the fly. The light should tail stand easily with a lanyard, thanks to the generous cut, and the cutout around the switch cover makes mode changing easy with gloves.


Time to break out the multi-meter and check current draw values at the tail end at start up with fresh batteries; results are as follows:

18650
low- .04A
mid- .13A
high- .51A
turbo- 1.5A

CR123
low- .03A
mid- .10
high- .39A
turbo- 1.15A

The Cycler is not pushed terribly hard, which is fine for a light of this size. In terms of beam characteristics, I was expecting a wall of light; I was impressed at how much throw is actually generated, and there is no shortage of spill. At  6', the spot covers @20", and the spot/corona @42" or so.

Tint on this sample is a quite nice; near pure white within the spot, with the corona taking on a cream colored hue. This made for an almost warmish effect at distance, and excellent color rendition out of doors.

BEAMSHOTS

All beam shots are labeled

Indoor- to hearth

low-6'


low-15'


mid-6'


mid-15'


high-6'


high-15'


high-25'


turbo-6'


turbo-15'


turbo-25'


turbo-35' across house


toy room- 20'
low


mid


high


turbo


Outdoor
Garage white wall

low-6'


low-15'


mid-6'


mid-15'


high-6'


high-15'


high-25'


turbo-15'


turbo-25'


turbo-50'


20' to tree-turbo


35' to front of house


50' to shed closest corner

mid


high


turbo


Environmental beam shots- since the Cyclist is billed as an outdoor/cycling light, I have added some appropriate usage pics. As usual, they are labeled.

From handlebar mount, pavement
low


mid


high


turbo


From handlebar mount, woodland road- first tree at right is @60' away

low


mid


high


turbo


turbo- this time from helmet high- note the increase in spot/corona, but very little loss of spill, despite the steeper beam down angle.


Additional environmental pics- as the Cycler is double billed an outdoor use light, I took a few pics at a local cave. Here is the entrance.


About 300' inside the cave (complete darkness); the center far wall is @35' away.

low


mid


high


turbo



Conclusions

The ST Cycler is a well made, nicely sized light. The build quality is excellent, and modes just about right. Threading is butter smooth, and o-rings very snug. If I had a choice, I would have low a good bit dimmer for even longer runtime in extreme circumstances. I really like the memory of the Outdoor mode group, and have no problem with the lack of memory in the Cycling group. 

Being a fan of straight tube profile lights, I really like its form factor, and have no problem expanding it's intended use into other areas. For instance, it is the perfect size for a close quarters tactical light. At room sized distances is blindingly bright from almost any angle, a huge plus when doing room entry's where there are unknown threats. On traffic stops, I noticed it illuminates the entire interior of almost any passenger car you might encounter. The randomized strobe is horribly disorienting when on the receiving end, again, from pretty much angle. A tactical light need not be a throw monster, and obviously the Cycler was never intended to be. I have other lights to fit that bill if need be!

The Cycler is exactly what Jetbeam bills it as- on my handlebars, it provides a car headlight-like wash of light in front of my bike. I really liked the output from head high, and am going to fashion a mount for my helmet. The imbedded flash in the warning lighting mode adds just a bit more visual stimulus to uncoming vehicles, and is easy to see at longer distances. The bike mount that I tried out did well on paved road surfaces, but I noticed that on bumpy surfaces, the constant jarring tended to make the light want to migrate around.

I think the Cycler does quite well as a general outdoors light, but for extreme environments such as caves, mountain climbing, etc., it should not be mistaken for a replacement for a good headlamp system, where hands-free is a must. But for the everyday cyclist, hiker, camper, or general outdoorsman, the light fits a lot of niches, and is compact enough to be unobtrusive until needed.


12
General Flashlight Discussion / Fenix PD32 Review
« on: November 06, 2011, 04:32:54 AM »


A while back, Fenix announced a global review opportunity for the PD32, which apparently is a remake/update of the short run PD31. I threw my hat into the ring, and was pleasantly surprised to find I was one of 50 folks worldwide to be chosen to evaluate the prototype sample. Fenix is encouraging feedback, which is a good approach to figuring what the flashlight community wants in a new light.

The PD32 arrived in a plain white package that resembles the current Fenix standard retail format. Also in the shipping box were 2 new Tenergy CR123 batteries.


Inside was the light, and nothing else; the retail package will include a removable clip, and I assume, the regular o-rings, spare switch cover, and holster.


Dimensions on this sample are as follows:

length- @5"/127mm
width-  1"/25.4mm
weight-61.1 grams/ 2.10 oz.

Retail cost of the PD32 is around $68-$70, depending on vendor.

The light itself, like the PD31, is a straight tube profile, which will appeal to many general users. While a little on the large side at @5" long, I still found it easy to drop into a pocket and walk around with. The clip should make it even more portable.


The PD32 fits the hand well, and is simple to use in an overhand grip.


With a little practice, activation of the mode switch in tandem with the momentary is no problem.


For comparison, the PD32 is seen here alongside the Eagletac D25LC2.


Shown along with Fenix's PD20, and LD10, the family resemblance is undeniable.


The PD32 can be powered by either 2 CR123 lithium batteries, or a single 18650/17670 Li-ion rechargeable battery. For the time being, Fenix states that 2 RCR123 batteries are not supported.


The PD32 can be broken down into 3 components; sealed head, body tube, and tail cap.


Starting at the head, the PD32 has a reasonably aggressive crenelated bezel, evenly machined, and free of overly sharp edges. The toughened glass lens has an anti-reflective coating and is very clear. The reflector is smooth to maximize throw; it is glossy and free of any visible defects.


Providing illumination is Cree's XP-G emitter, which along with Cree's XM-L, is the emitter of choice in many production lights from a variety of manufacturers. The head assembly on this sample is free of any visible defects, fingerprints, or debris.


The head, which makes up almost half of the lights total mass, is machined with 5 flat surfaces which provide anti-roll function on flat surfaces. It rolls easily with any increase in grade, but the clip that will be supplied with production lights will negate this. The head is glue sealed, as is common with all Fenix lights.
 

Also found on the head is a mode changing switch, which only slightly protrudes from the surface. 


A view of the circuit board shows it to be embossed with the model number.


Threading at both ends of the body tube are squared, fully anodized and smooth. A single, snug o-ring is found at each end as well. The light arrived dry, so a dab of synthetic grease was necessary to lube for use. Although the threading at the head was slightly longer by one thread, it is possible to swap ends and have the light function. Loosening either the head or tail cap allows the light to be locked out.



Knurling on the body tube, like other PD series lights, is a grippy diamond/dot affair, with two longitudinal lines for an extra measure of hold-ability.


Even though this is a prototype, lettering on the PD32 is crisp, clear, and well centered.


Inside view of the tail cap.


The tail cap of the PD32 features knurling similar to the body tube.


The switch cover protrudes past the end of the tail cap, so the PD32 will not tail stand. Twin holes will make attaching a lanyard a breeze, for those that use them. Deeply cut grooves allow for trouble free activation, even with gloves. The switch itself is a forward momentary style for instant on/off, or clicking on when desired; it is sufficiently stiff to make accidental activation less likely.


Modes are broken down in two levels:
General mode- turbo, low, medium, high.
Flashing mode- strobe, SOS

Output and runtimes, as per Fenix, are as follows:

General mode
low- 9 lumens/200 hrs.
mid- 70 lumens/16 hrs.
high- 130 lumens/8 hrs
turbo- 315 lumens/2 hrs. ** turbo will run for 30 minutes before dropping back to the high mode


Flashing mode
strobe- 315 lumens
SOS- 130 lumens

The mode arrangement is the same, but can initiate at any of the above levels; in other words, mode memory for the general modes, and strobe/SOS only become available when the user chooses to activate them! Excellent!

The mode switch on the head of the PD32 allows the user to cycle between low, medium, high, and turbo with a quick press once clicked on. With the light activated, a one second hold transitions to a unique strobe function- three seconds of fast strobe, followed by a three seconds of a slower strobe (@4 flashes per second). A three second hold will send the light into an SOS mode. Turning the light off resets the curcuit to whatever mode it was in before the strobe/SOS was activated.

Time to drop in fresh batteries and check current draw values measured at the tail of the PD32. They are as follows:

18650 Li-ion
low- .01A
mid- .15A
high- .31A
turbo- 1.07

CR123
low- .01
mid- .11
high- .24
turbo- .85

As can be seen from either battery choice, the PD32 is not pushed excessively hard, which is fine for a light in this form factor. It seems to be a good balance between brightness and runtime.

Tint of the sample PD32 is excellent; while rated as a cool white, it definately leans toward pure white, if not neutral.

Beam characteristics include a tight hot spot (for the XP-G), with a moderately sized corona. Unfortunately, due to the smooth reflector, there is a large ring evident, which is easily seen against a white wall at most distances especially on turbo. The ring becomes less noticeable in normal outdoor use, and at lower output levels.

BEAMSHOTS

All beamshots are labeled

Indoor- to hearth
low- 6'


low- 15'


mid- 6'


mid- 15'


mid- 25'


high- 6'


high- 15'


high- 25'


turbo- 6'


turbo- 15'


turbo- 25'


turbo- 35' across room


Toy room- @20'

low


mid


high


turbo


Outdoor
Garage white wall

low- 6'


low- 15'


mid- 6'


mid- 15'


mid- 25'


high- 6'


high- 15'


high- 25'


high- 50'


turbo- 6'


turbo- 15'


turbo- 25'


turbo- 50'


turbo- 100'


To tree- 20' turbo


To front of house- 35' turbo


To shed- 50'

low


mid


high


turbo


Environmental tests

I tried to expose the PD32 to conditions one could expect to see under normal hard use, those being impacts, moisture, and temperature differences.

For starters, after obtaining all of my beamshots, I saw that rain was in the forecast. I decided there was little risk to the innards of the light to toss the light about 25' out into the yard repeatedly (about ten times). The light was not activated, and this was more of a shock resistance test. The next morning, as expected, no issues with water intrusion, and the light activated without issue.


Next, I turned the light on in turbo mode and placed in in about 12" of water heated to @99 degrees Farenheit (ie in the hot tub) for approximately 1/2 hour. Upon removing the light, I saw no evidence of water intrusion.


From the heated water, the PD32 next went directly into the freezer, in the ice tray on the turbo setting. My thinking was that if any water managed to get into the light anywhere, the temperature change would cause visible condensation on the lens or reflector. Happily, the o-rings seemed to do what was expected of them. I could find no evidence of environmental damage to the light.


Conclusions

After what appeared to be a teaser release of the PD31, the release of the PD32 seems like a good idea to me. The form factor will appeal to most users as a general purpose light, and will certainly stand up to the types of conditions that can be expected from a pocket light.

I found the mode switch on the head a welcome change from the standard Fenix user interface which requires a head twist to access different modes, and no memory. With the PD32, mode memory is a HUGE plus, as was the forward clicky switch.

As far as modes go, I would have liked to see a lower low setting; the mid setting can be counted on to do everything the current low now offers, so an extreme low (moonlight) of 1 lumen or less would be more preferable to me, and I assume, others as well.

It would have been nice to have a clip with the light to better evaluate it during carry.

Lastly, the addition of even a fractional amount of texturing to the reflector could improve the quality of the beam characteristics. and serve to soften the spot and expand the spot/corona area in general.

Overall, as it sits, I think the PD32 is a well made, rugged light that will easily absorb whatever the average user could hope to throw at it under normal use. With a little tweaking, it could be improved to where you would really look hard to find fault with it.


13
Flashlight Components / 18650 Battery Recycling
« on: September 29, 2011, 02:53:05 PM »
I've been doing this for a couple of years now, and have had so much success with it, I thought I'd share the info for those that aren't already doing it.

It started when an old Dell lap top battery pack went "bad", and I was curious what I would find inside it. When I opened the pack, I was surprised to find 18650 Li-ion batteries. Since that time, I have taken apart about 15 or so packs and kept some, given some away. Here is typically what happens.

I start with a "bad" battery pack. I say "bad" because the packs register on the computer as so. This time around I am working with an HP pack.


The only tools I've needed for disassembly are :


I start by finding a seam between halves of the pack housing.


After gently prying the haves slightly apart with a heavy knife blade, I carefully insert a screwdriver blade and twist to seperate. Some packs pop right open, some (like this one) take a little more effort. Take care not to probe inside the pack; often some of the batteries have a good charge and can shock or ground out, and exposed circuit boards are still hot.


Here is typically what you will see upon opening.


The battery/electronics assembly generally pops right out.


I have found batteries manufactured by LG, Samsung, Sanyo, Panasonic, and Sony. The power range has been anywhere from 2200mAh to 2600mAh. A little research shows this pack to contain LG 2200mAh batteries.


I usually pull the battery packs apart in groups (the batteries are wired in parallel, and the parallel packs in series for the desired combination of voltage vs. mAh.


Be very careful when separating the individual batteries. The tac-welded tabs are extremely sharp, especially when they are cut or torn. Use needle nose pliers for any tab removal.


It has been my experience that when a pack goes bad, it is almost always the electronics. Most of the time, all the batteries are salvagable. Occasionally, 2 or so batteries are bad as a result of this. In this pack, 4 of the batteries read @3.6A and 2 read @2.73A; 2 of the batteries read 0.00A.


After the tabs are pulled off, I gently dremel the weld points until the surface is flat to avoid damaging circuit boards or binding springs.



Occasionally, battery covers get scuffed; a little piece of scotch tape will eliminate contact in a light body tube.


Into the charger they go for the final test.


If you are good with soldering, flat tops become button top easily. Some surfaces just won't hold solder, and DO NOT ATTEMPT if not proficient. They won't be as pretty as real button tops, but will work fine.


For storing your "new" batteries, the original pack halves often snap back together just fine. Also, if you have any friends with kids, these Gerber plastic containers are great for pairs.



I hope this was helpful to someone. I have recovered dozens of good batteries, and use them often. I have yet to kill a battery from overdrawing, but if I do, no great loss. Then I'll recycle it at Best Buy, or similar place that takes them.

14
General Flashlight Discussion / Dereelight CL1H-T XP-G Review
« on: September 27, 2011, 02:44:01 PM »


For more than 14 years, Dereelight has been making quality flashlights that have always been on the forefront pushing the boundaries of performance, and testing the waters on the limits of the emitters used in their lights. Alan, the main man at Deree, not only runs the show, but takes the time to answer emails personally. A couple of years ago I inquired about obtaining a few of Alan's excellent 1.2A drivers for pet modding projects, and was happily obliged. Recently I expressed interest in reviewing one of Dereelights latest creations, which turns out to be a renewed version of the company's core model, the CL1H. Introduced in August 2011, and bears the designation of CL1H-T (tactical).

The original CL1H has always been thought of as one of the best P60 platforms available. Robust and well made, it epitomizes the P60 platform. See it here:

http://www.dereelight.com/cl1h-t.htm

Opening the shipping container, I found the retail packaging similar to many other lights on the market; a sturdy cardstock box with a hidden magnetic latch.


In the box I found the light securely in its formed channel of high density foam. Also included were a basic instruction manual, spare o-rings, a glow in the dark switch cover, and for those who don't like clips, a textured ring that can be used in its place.




The CL1H-T itself is a good looking light that falls squarely into the category of "tactical" light.


Dimensions of the CL1H-T are as follows:

length- 128mm/ 5.5"
width- body 25mm/ 1", head 34mm/ 1 3/8"
weight- @131 grams/4.6 oz.

Price for the base model from Dereelight is $62

For a size comparison, here is the CL1H-T in the center, along with (L-R) the Olight M21-X, Wolf Eye's Sniper, Eagletac T10L, and Jetbeam Jet III-M


The CL1H-T can be completely disassembled with no difficulty. 


This makes the process of upgrading the light by the owner extremely easy and convenient, and a variety of emitter bins and power options are available at reasonable prices. Exercise care to keep the reflector/lens assembly free of dust and fingerprints when doing so. Here are some factory options:

http://www.dereelight.com/pills.htm

Starting at the head, the CL1H-T shares that same thick bezel configuration as its predecessor. The glass lens is coated on the interior and exterior with an anti-reflective treatment, and the reflector is moderately textured and free of visible defects.


The emitter utilized in this particular sample is Cree's XP-G, and is my personal favorite for all around performance in a tac-light.

 
Small indentions on the head provide anti-roll stability of flat level surfaces only.


The only obvious change to the exterior of the newest version of the CL1H is the addition of heavy cooling fins to dissipate heat. A textured grip ring makes mode changes easier to perform.


At the heart of the CL1H-T is the P60 assembly, with standard aluminum reflector, brass pill, and heavy taper positive contact spring to keep current flowing under impacts.


A close up of the driver shows that this pill houses a 2MT-S, or 2 mode tactical for a single lithium-ion battery.


Mode arrangement for this particular driver are as follows:

head tightened- tactical mode- maximum output
head loosened (@1/4 turn)- general mode- low<medium<maximum

The head end of the battery tube contains an insert that both retains the battery when the head is removed, and eliminates the possibility of the positive spring grounding out.


Body tube threads at the head side are medium standard, and well greased from the factory. Double o-rings are very snug, and need to be lubed every time the head is removed. They should offer excellent water resistance. 


Laser etched lettering is clean, well centered and unobtrusive.


Knurling on the body tube is diamond shaped and sufficiently grippy. The clip is very strong and allows for a secure bezel down carry. It also serves as an anti-roll device.


The clip itself is threaded onto the body tube and is very secure when tightened. Included in the retail packaging is a threaded ring for those not desiring a clip, which protects threading.


The CL1H-T with the optional clip-less ring attached.


Threading at the tail is also medium standard, well lubed and backed up by very tight double o-rings. As mentioned with the head end o-rings, lubricate often to reduce wear and retain water resistance.


The tail cap shares the same knurling of the body tube.


The tail cap switch function is a sufficiently stiff momentary when pressed lightly, and click for constant on. The cupped area around the switch cover makes activation easy, even with heavy gloves. An exposed switch cover means no tail standing, which is probably not a good idea with a heavy headed light like the CL1H-T.


Time to insert a fresh 18650 battery, and check current draw values at the tail end of the CL1H-T. They are as follows:

general mode
low- .10A
medium- .85A
max- 1.45A

Tactical mode
max- 1.45A

The XP-G emitter is being pushed relatively hard, near its factory set limit of 1.5A, which in a poorly designed light could spell trouble when excess heat cannot be drawn off effectively. It was immediately apparent that the CL1H-T, like its predecessor, is manufactured to close internal tolerances as it warmed quickly, specifically in the area of the cooling fins.

Tint on this sample was especially warm, with almost an incandescent look to it. This became most apparent when paired side by side with my Wolf Eyes Sniper XP-G, which is clearly cool white. While I realized this would likely decrease output in lumens, the tradeoff of the high color rendition index would be well worth it. Beautiful output!


Beam characteristics on this sample out of the box at a distance of 6' was an intense center spot to @ 10" wide, tapering to a corona that gradually spread to @20". Spill reached to approximately 75" in diameter. Spread occurs very rapidly, which has been my experience when the XP-G is paired with a P60 reflector. One pleasant surprise I did not expect-absolutely zero artifacts. A completely flawless spot to spill transition, which I'm not sure I've ever seen with any P60.

Dereelight estimates out the front lumens at @300, which seems close, if not slightly lower, when compared to bounce tests with my Sniper. Again, given the tint, that is to be expected. Throw is respectable for an XP-G emitter from a P60 reflector, and for a tactical platform is more than adequate. I have a smooth reflector that I may have to try out and see if throw can be improved.

BEAMSHOTS
All beam shots are labeled

Indoor- to hearth

low 6'


low15'


medium 6'


medium 15'


medium 25'


max 6'


max 15'


max 25'


max 35' across house


toy room 20'
low


medium


max


Outdoor

Garage white wall

low 6'


low 15'


medium 6'


medium 15'

 
medium 25'


max 6'


max 15'


max 25'


high 50'- max


to tree 20'- max


to front of house 35'- max


@20' onto tree- max


to shed closest corner 50'- max


Conclusions

Overall, I like the CL1H-T. It is a beefy, heavy duty tac-light that enjoys excellent build quality, and the versatility you can only find in a P60 type light. In fact, it seems to be one of the only high quality non custom P60 lights available that can accept a 18650 Li-ion battery. A good quality "lego-able" light is becoming increasingly difficult to get ahold of without resorting to home made heat mitigation with tin foil, and the like.

Output could undoubtedly be higher with a cooler tinted emitter, but so far I have noticed colors to be much more vibrant with this warmer tinted version. This is especially apparent when looking at green foliage.

I like the ability to custom order, and install different powered pills, reflector, and different emitter choices without having to purchase a new light. Also, should one already have a P60 they like, an entire host body of the previous model, the CL1H, can be had for a paltry $32. All in all, Deree products are built duty tough and available in enough configurations to satisfy everyone.


15
Up for grabs is the Eagletac D25C I recently reviewed courtesy of Mike at Pacific Tactical Solutions.

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

The review can be viewed at:

http://flashlight-forums.com/index.php?topic=9282.0

Simply respond in this thread indicating interest (1 entry per person) and within 30 days a winner will be chosen at random. They will receive the standard retail package, and 2 brand new Panasonic CR123 batteries. The package will be shipped free via standard snail mail (any expedited shipping at winners expense).

Good luck, and thanks to Mike at PTS for this generous offer!

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