Xtar VC4S Review (4 Bay, QC3, Capacity Testing & Storage Mode)

Xtar has an updated 4 bay charger on the market the VC4s. This is a do it all charger, with the ability to charge a wide variety of battery chemistries and sizes. The VC4s has QC3 input that allows for a maximum of 3A charging speed on one bay and the ability to do capacity testing, resistance testing while charging and also a storage mode. Thanks to Xtar for sending this to me to take a look at. 

 

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Packaging

Packaging is a nicely done retail style white box, with full color photos on front and back of the charger. On the sides it shows the types of batteries it supports and on the back is a more technical details. Inside the charger is surrounded by a clear plastic mold. Accessories are limited to the manual and a MicroUSB cable capable of QC3, and a nice silk style bag to put everything in. No AC charger is included here and it’s up to the owner to supply their own (Preferably with QC3).

https://i2.wp.com/i.imgur.com/kuSFGMZ.jpg?resize=525%2C295&ssl=1

Construction

The Xtar VC4s is a well built charter. It’s solid in the hand with no molding issues, creeks or cracks. On the top side it has only one input, a microUSB connector labeled QC3. On the bottom it has vents for the internal electronics. It also has a placard molded into the plastic with the input, output voltages, along with all the different sizes of cells and chemistries it supports. 

The top side features the spring loaded battery holders that expand to fit the different sizes of cells (too numerous to list). These are smooth and glide well, but provide enough tension to keep a cell in place. The most common sizes of batteries will fit this charger up to unprotected 21700 lithium batteries. The outside two slots are designed for batteries with larger diameters then 18mm. The inner two slots will fit a 21700 as long as it’s with a smaller battery next to it. 

 

The screen is 75mm by 32mm and a white and blue LCD on a black background. It’s clear and reasonably bright with a backlight that does dim after a minute or so. Each slot has a dial that shows the battery voltage, charging speed in the 3 to 6 oclock position, and then capacity at the bottom, this changes to full when finished. It’s enough information to get a good idea of what’s going on but not any more. 

Below the screen are two buttons that control the charger. On the left between slots 1 and 2 is the DISP button. This changes what the display is showing during the different modes. The choices are Cap (Capacity), Cur (Current), and IR (Resistance). The button on the right between slots 3 and 4 operate the different modes of the charger. Grad (Grading), Store (Storage).

 

I did take the charger apart and I will put up a few pictures of what I found inside. I didn’t see anything that concerned me, if you see something worth mentioning please make sure to comment about it. 

Recharging

The Xtar VC4s is capable of recharging Li-ion, IMR, INR, ICR, and Ni-MH batteries so this will cover the most common cells found today in your flashlights, vape pens, and other electronics. Let me run through some of the details here on the charging side of things. The charger does have 0 volt activation, and reverse polarity protection to keep things safe. I measured Li-ion Terminal Voltage at 4.161V and Ni-HM Terminal Voltage at 1.422V. 

Speed

Recharging speed is not manually configurable on this charger with a button but there are some things you can do to influence things. First the charger is capable of charging at up to 3A on one bay, if using a battery that is large enough (and low enough resistance), only having one cell connected at a time, and using a QC3 power source. As you start adding more batteries in the charger, speed slows down as current is shared between charging cells. I did observe 4 Eneloops charging all at 1A each as they were about half full. The charger can charge at 0.5a for smaller cells, 1A, 2A, and 3A. The only thing I dislike is that if charging 1 Ni-MH AA battery, I was able to charge it at an indicated 3A if no other batteries were in the charger at the start of charging. It eventually went to 2A as the cell came up in voltage. This is quicker then I would normally be comfortable charging this type of battery at. A dirty solution to fix this would be to insert another battery into the charger even if it’s fully charged. While QC3 is not required, I would strongly recommend using a charger that supports that so you can take advantage of the speed. 

Capacity Test

The Xtar VC4s has a nice additional feature of a capacity tester. I did some informal tests and compared it to my ISDT C4 tester which has a similar feature. On ISDT C4 charger with my Samsung 30Q battery, it tested capacity at 2788mAh, so very close. The Xtar VC4s tested the exact same battery at capacity of 2763mAh. I did the same thing with an Eneloop AA that I have had for several years and got 1906mAh on the VC4s, and 2109mAh on the ISDT C4. So a bit of a difference in results here. 

Storage Mode

In storage mode, the charger will charge or discharge cells accordingly to be at the optimal value for long term storage. This is a nice feature if you have a lot of batteries, or plan to put a cell in a light you intend to put away for a long time. Terminal voltage on a Samsung 30Q for the VC4s was 3.67V and you can do 4 at a time. 

It will even do storage on a NiHM cell but there isn’t as much reason to do this as there is on lithium chemistry cells.

Resistance

It’s an added feature to be able to toggle to view the resistance of a cell during charging. More information to know what’s going on is always nice. 

Pro

  • Nice to see some chargers start to use QC3 for power input.
  • I like the additional features here that allow you to charge, do a storage charge, and capacity testing as well as measure the cells resistance.
  • Wide range of battery support in size and battery chemistry, and faster then previous versions.
  • Affordable

 

Con

  • I would love to see information about the incoming power source on the display, at least the protocol thats being used.
  • MicroUSB for the power connection vs USB-C
  • Too fast of start charge for my taste if charging 1 AA Ni-MH cell.
  • No manual control over charging speed, the charger is pretty conservative so you should be safe.

 

Conclusion

The Xtar VC4s is a nice affordable upgrade over the VC4. The original VC4 was my main charger for the longest time because it was dead simple, safe, I liked the display and it was reliable. That said as time went on it was a bit slow, especially charging 4 cells at once. The VC4s improves these issues by adding QC3 which allows for more incoming voltage and thus faster charging. By modern standards this still isn’t a fast charger but I typically don’t need to charge batteries fast, and it’s actually better to charge them slower. I like the added features of testing capacity, and measure resistance during the charging cycle. These are things I will use as I test batteries. It’s a little disappointed to see USB-C not make the difference here and really give this a power boost but maybe that will be coming in a future model (hint hint). Overall this is a good charger and one I will be using to keep my cells full. I recommend it, as long as you have a QC3 power source (or purchase one) as well.

 

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Olight Javelot Pro Review (Neutral White, 1000 meters of throw, 2100 Lumens)

Olight has a new thrower on the market the Javelot Pro. This is a big update from the older MX3-UT Javelot that I reviewed quite a while back. The new light has an impressive 2100 lumens and 291,000 candela on turbo meaning it can throw 1000 meters. Thanks to SkyBen for sending this to me to review and tell you all about. Let’s jump in! 

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Packaging

Instead of a box, the Olight Javelot Pro comes in a plastic case similar to a Pelican case. It even has an air release valve on it to equalize pressure. Inside everything has foam cutouts and fit’s just right and a gasket around the opening. This is a nice case, nicer than many firearms come in. I do wonder how much this contributes to the lights price as you can’t buy it without the case. 

Accessories include a large belt holster for the light, manual, as well a larger magnetic charger capable (MCC5V) of charging at 2A. Battery is built in with the light, so it’s included as well. While my light didn’t come with these, the remote pressure switch (RWX-07) also fits the Javelot Pro as does the weapon mounts. My E-WM25 mount fit’s but could be more secure. Skyben also included a black an Olight i3E EOS AAA light and a 18650 battery case as a bonus for buying from them. 

Construction

It’s no surprise that the light is made from aluminum and hard anodized black. A desert tan version of this light is available in very limited quantities and only from Olight direct. As one would suspect fit and finish from Olight is great, no complaints or flaws to be found in that regard. That said I have seen in the forums some people are having issues with the black wearing off the side button on this light.

The tail on the very rear is bead blasted aluminum and serves as the contacts for the magnetic recharging as well as a momentary and full lock on/off switch. It reminds me of the tail that was on the M2R but larger. The sides have some flats milled in for grip and style. Inside we see some flat sheet brass contacts to manage the recharging, and dual wall construction of the light for the eswitch up front. 

The battery tube section of this light has great relief features milled in providing texture and something to grip on to. It’s much deeper then more traditional knurling and works well with gloved hands. I can’t imagine this is an inexpensive part to machine. Batteries are self contained inside by two retention rings on either side with generous amounts of black thread sealant applied. I tried to disassemble the retaining rings on either side without destroying the light but had to stop. It may work if you wanted to apply heat to break the thread sealant/epoxy. Olight has designed this so that the batteries are contained in the tube and not removable. 

The head of the Javelot Pro grows in diameter greatly from the body tube in 2 main sections. The first section is where the eswitch button is placed. It’s a large black silicone button with a battery level indicator in the middle and texture across the button. I have read that some people have had durability here with the blackness of the button but so far I have not. On the sides you have some milling for head dissipation. As we go up the head olight has nicely stylized things here with teardrops we have seen and then some additional areas milled out. It’s a stylish design. The front has the signature blue bezel with shallow crenulations. The lens is double anti reflective coated and the reflector is smooth and deep. 

Size/Weight/Comparisons

I measured the Javelot Pro’s length at 252mm. Maximum diameter at 63mm and minimum diameter on the body at 22mm. Weight with battery was 375.7g. The light is IPX8 rated and drop rated to 1 meter.

In comparison to my Klarus XT32 the Olight Javelot Pro is very similar in size in all dimensions. Same length and diameter pretty much. The Olight is a little lighter in the hand and has a more aggressive grip area and I think it’s a bit more attractive. But the Klarus does use standard 18650 batteries. 

LED/Beamshots/Runtime/Heat/Lumens

The Javelot Pro is running a Cree XHP35 HI LED in Neutral white. Who would have thought we would see an Olight available in only Neutral White! My only guess is that since this light is targeted at search and rescue and hunting is making a difference here. The tint does have just a slight amount of green in the beam but nothing like what I am used to from most Cree Neutral White LED. 

The beam is for the most part what you expect from a thrower. A vast majority of the light is focused in the center and it’s a small hot spot. The spill on the Javelot pro was a little more then I expected but the edge is where things get a little weird. At short distances you do see the outline of the crenulations on the end of the bezel. You then get a second very small ring outside the main spill. At distance neither of these really make an operational difference. 

The Javelot Pro isn’t a cool running light, but that’s not expected either with the 10 minutes of turbo runtime. I measured the following temps.

  • 1 Minute – 106 F (41C)
  • 5 Minutes – 140 F (60C)
  • 10 Minutes – 124 F (51C)

Olights Official lumen ratings which are generally pretty accurate are the following.

  • Turbo – 2,100 Lumens then 1,000 Lumens
  • High – 600 Lumens
  • Medium – 150 Lumens
  • Low – 15 Lumns

I was pleasantly surprised with runtime on the Javelot Pro for turbo. It stays at near the 2100 lumens for most of the 10 minutes Olight claims (Excuse the bump on my long duration graph (my mistake). It was even a more impressive 18 minutes when I ran it with a fan to dissipate heat. This is really nice to see since so many other higher output lights make turbo last for just a few minutes. I think on a thrower this is extra helpful if you do need that bump to reach maximum distance in say a search application. After turbo steps down you are left with 1000 lumens for about 120 minutes, and the light then takes an additional step down for about 10 minutes. Total runtime with the included 7,000mAh battery pack was 145 minutes. I did measure the voltage of the battery tube after the light shut off and measured 2.17v. I believe the internal cells to be at a higher voltage but there must be some protection circuitry that is factoring in here. 

Cooled Runtime

UI

Olight has chosen a little different interface here, then the standard they are known for and it works well with the tail and eswitch. Starting at the rear of the light you can half press on the switch here to activate a momentary low mode and if you give it a full press and hold you get momentary turbo. If you do a quick press in either half or full it will lock the light on. 

With the electronic switch on the front a quick tap activates the battery charge level indicator on the front of the light. A slightly longer press turns the light on in the mode last used (it starts in low by default). To increase the brightness a quick tap will do the job. Long press to shut the light off from the side switch. Lastly there is no strobe on the light. 

Recharging & Battery

The Olight Javelot Pro does come with Olights magnetic recharging system. It comes with a larger diameter recharging base (MCC5V) but charges at the roughly 2A speed of the MCC2A that recent models of Olights have been shipping with. The cable is longer here at 1.2M. I measured the speed of recharging of the internal 7,000mAh battery pack as taking 3 hours and 50 minutes at a maximum of 1.85A. The electronic switch does have an LED that gives battery level indication that goes through green, orange and red. 

As mentioned previously the batteries in this light are 2x 3,500mAh 18650 batteries. They are no user replaceable and instead Olight only is selling the battery tube with the cells inside for $49.00. It’s really unfortunate that Olight has decided to take a big step further down the non user replaceable battery path since the cells here are likely not to fancy or expensive. When buying an expensive light I expect to be able to find batteries for it for at least a decade, and thats not an issue when using standard 18560’s.

Pros

  • 10 minute Turbo runtime, best that I have tested among the throwers I have. (18 minutes if cooled)
  • Fantastic machining, fit, finish and packaging. Olight does it well here.
  • An Olight that’s only available in Neutral white? Crazy I know. My theory is this is because of the hunting community. 
  • No Strobe, while I am not disappointed with this it’s something I would have expected to see).

Cons

  • Battery replacements consist of replacing the body tube of the light instead of just the cells. This makes replacements expensive at $50 for an already expensive light, and they could become hard to source in a few years and I would imagine the limited edition desert tan tubes could be even more difficult to get.
  • Low capacity battery for it’s size. In 2019 we can do better then 7000mAh in a 149mm x 23mm package.
  • Limited Edition Desert Tan color, only available through OlightStore in the US, not the dealer network
  • It’s not using the standard Olight UI here but a modified version of it. It takes a little getting used to but works well.

Conclusion

While the performance and interface of this light are both nice, I have a hard time fully recommending a light in this price category that doesn’t have a more user friendly battery replacement option. I realize this is a choice Olight made to reduce consumer complaints and problems with people using the wrong batteries and then complaining about performance or runtime, but it just kind of rubs me the wrong way. Buying an entire new battery tube instead of just replacing the cells seems wasteful and expensive. I also think it’s a lost opportunity given this lights size to not have gone with 20700 or 21700 sized cells to get a lot more then a total of 7000mAh in capacity without much additional length or weight. Olight could have gone with a light capable of 10,000mAh battery here if they would have gone with 21700’s and this might have justified that higher price. 

Other then that this is the most ergonomic thrower I own, I love the design of the body tube and head. I like the olight blue accent touches as well. This is a big light but not crazy like the BLF GT or Sofrin SP70 I reviewed last week. I do really like that this has the longest “Turbo” runtime of any of the throwers I have, more lights need to engineer turbo to last longer and on a thrower that really makes a lot of sense and it’s an olight that’s only available in neutral white. Who would have thought we would have seen that day coming?

If you have any questions let me know in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. If you are interested in this light you can pick it up from Skyben on Amazon.

Sofirn SP70 Review (5500 Lumen Thrower, XHP 70.2)

Do you miss the days of having an old big multi cell Maglight? If so Sofrins SP70 is for you. It’s  their new, flagship thrower flashlight and it’s the largest modern flashlight I own. It’s so big in fact that it ships with a shoulder sling. Thanks to Bangood for sending this to me to review. If you are interested make sure to check the links in the description below for the discount that’s currently being offered on this light. 

 

Pickup the Sofirn SP70 at http://bit.ly/2J2vZxr and use Coupon Code: FINSP70 to get the light for $50 (Maker sure to choose the Chinese warehouse for the coupon to apply correctly)

 

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Packaging

Sofirn doesn’t spend any time or money on their packaging like some flashlight companies do, instead its a basic brown cardboard box with nothing on the outside, and foam inside protecting the contents. Accessories include a set of spare orings, an extra button and some steel rings to make attaching the shoulder strap. It also comes with a shoulder strap since this is such a large light.

 

There are a couple of versions available of the Sofirn SP70. I received just the light itself, but Sofrin also has a kit version that includes 26650 batteries and a basic charger. I know both versions are available on Amazon, but it looks like Banggod is only selling the light only version. 

 

Construction

The light is made from aluminium and has a smooth black anodizing on it. Quality overall is good, no sharp edges or visible machining marks. It is a heavy weight coming in at 864.7 grams. The light is large enough I am going to take it apart here to talk about the various components and fit them on frame. 

 

The tail has a mechanical button covered with a silicone button with grip. It’s surrounded by two wings that allow the light to tail stand. One has a rather large slot milled in it to allow for the shoulder strap to attach. On the sides the tail cap has a 12 sides milled in to give some style and a bit of grip. Inside is a stiff dual spring. 

 

On the body tube tail end threads are square cut and anodized. The light does have a tactical ring, but on a light this big it’s more of an anti roll ring. It has two holes where you could attach a lanyard if you wanted. The center part of the body tube has nice diamond knurling on it, providing a good level of grip. Threads on the top part of the body tube are anodized, square cut making it reversible.

The inside of the head has two springs as well which is nice to see in a light this size. The button is on the lowest level nearest the body tube and fits my hand pretty well. It has green LED’s underneath that power on when the light is on. There is a good amount of milled in heat syncing on the light all over the head to help dissipate heat and reduce weight. I do like that they left some metal in directly under the button to give you a place to rest your pointer finger when you press the button. Also in the head just in front of the button is the other shoulder strap attachment point. The very front of the light has a lightly crenelated bezel that allows for the glass lens to sit recessed. The reflector underneath is has a heavy orange peal all around it.

Size and Weight Comparisons

This is the first light that was too long to measure with my calipers in one go, Length was measured at 250mm, Diameter at its largest (Head) was 90mm, and minimum diameter on the body section was 34mm. I measured the weight with two KeepPower 26650 cells installed at 864.7g, which makes it the heaviest light I have tested. That almost 2lbs of flashlight, no wonder this comes with a shoulder sling. The light is IP67 water rated.

I don’t have any modern lights this long or with this big of head to compare it to. Here is a Klarus XT32 Thrower that uses 18650’s. The Klarus isn’t a small light either but the SP70 just puts it to shame in it’s size. I will insert a picture of the Astrolux FT03 I reviewed last week on this channel for comparisons in size too.

LED/Beamshots/Runtime/Lumens

The Sofirn SP70 uses a Cree XHP 70.2 LED at 6000k. It’s got the usual XHP 70.2 falts but here at least in my example the Cree rainbow isn’t as noticeable. It’s a good emitter for tons of output and throw. 

 

hat brings me to the beam pattern here, while a good thrower it’s not as tight as beam as I was expecting. The hotspot is pretty good size and doesn’t have the usual hard edges you see no a lot of throwers. In my night shots you saw that bigger beam and even larger spill. 

Sofrin lists the following outputs for group 1 modes. 

Moon – 2 Lumens

Eco – 60 Lumens

Low – 400 Lumens

Medium – 1,200 Lumens

High – 3,000 Lumens

Turbo – 5,500 Lumens

Beacon – 1,000 Lumens

 

Although this light can run on 18650, for the runtime and the performance benefits I would recommend running with 26650 batteries instead. In my runtime graphs here you can see the difference between using 18650 and 26550 batteries. Turbo would be the letdown here, because it only lasts about 2 minutes while decreasing in output. The light declines over about 30 minutes to around 70% relative output. At this point we see a large decrease in output to about 30% for the next hour. From here we see small declines then the light runs at a very low output for another 130 minutes for a total runtime of 240 minutes on 2 26650 batteries. On 18650’s total runtime was similar but you only got about 50 minutes of effective light. 

LVP kicked in at 2.85V. I did notice the cells didn’t discharge evenly (2.85V and 2.89V) so if I was using this light alot I would rotate positions every once and a while after a full recharge. 

UI

This light has 2 UI modes. By default it came in a more conventional stepped interface by default, but it’s also capable of a ramping UI. I did my testing with the default UI. It has 6 mode groups from 2 lumens to 5000 lumens. The UI starts on low and goes up progressively. The light has a mechanical switch at the rear and then an e-switch up at the top. The mechanical switch does work as a momentary. You can have the mechanical switch on the the e-+switch off but this does increase the power drain on the light. When the light is on if you want to turn it off (standby) with the eswitch a quick press will do that. Longer presses make it cycle up in modes. Double click takes you to turbo. The light has memory, and lockout modes as well. Overall it’s a pretty simple interface and pretty intuitive. I like that beacon is hard to access.

 

Pro’s

  • Thermals are pretty well controlled, for as many lumens as we see here it doesn’t get too hot to touch.
  • That said I would prefer active thermal controls over timed step down but that is more difficult to do at this price point.
  • Huge output and good throw
  • Beacon isn’t part of the main mode groups

 

Con’s

  • It’s really big and appropriately heavy, your not going to EDC this light in your pants pocket. The big head size does make me a bit worried about damaging the glass lens with an impact.
  • XHP 70.2 has some cree rainbow.

 

Conclusion

If you miss the days of having a big 3 or 4 cell D Maglight that had some real heft to it and in the market for a high lumen, long distance thrower light, the Sofirn SP70 is a good option and fairly affordable as well. Everything about this light is big, from it’s throw, lumen output, spill, or gross weight. Sofirn has done a good job in the past year of listening to enthusiasts and turning out better and better lights. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite budget brands to recommend and the SP70 is their best large format thrower to date that I have tested.

 

Pickup the Sofirn SP70 at http://bit.ly/2J2vZxr and use Coupon Code: FINSP70 to get the light for $50 (Maker sure to choose the Chinese warehouse for the coupon to apply correctly)

——————————————————————————————

Bangood is also having their summer prime sales, June 25th to July 12th with lots of prizes available.

Enter to win prizes http://bit.ly/2RKRdm9

They are divided into 3 mains section: The Lead Up period, followed by the Warmup period and finally the Detonation period.

Lead Up? June 25th-July 2nd
Warm-up? July 2nd-July 9th
Blowout Sale?July 9th-July 12th

Shopping Guide: http://bit.ly/324vMBl
Must Buy List: http://bit.ly/326AtL1
Giveaways List: http://bit.ly/2JbArIY

 

Astrolux FT03 (Best value large thrower of 2019, Coupon Available)

Astrolux has a new lare thrower the FT03. It features a large deep reflector and a SST-40 LED to to give it throw. It’s mated to a 26650 battery tube (but it can accept 21700’s and 18650’s (With an adapter too) and features USB-C fast recharging. Thanks to Banggood for sending this too me. They do have a pretty aggressive coupon available for this if your interested.

 

Pickup the Astrolux FT03 SST40-W at http://bit.ly/31CYUzb and use Coupon Code: BGAFT03 to get the light for $29.99 USA ONLY

 

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Packaging

The light came in a white sturdy cardboard box with minimal info on the outside. The light was packaged in foam on the inside. The included accessories were minimal, with a lanyard, spare orings, manual, and an adapter to fit 18650 batteries. No charging cable comes with this light.

 

Construction

The light is made from aluminium and has smooth anodizing, in a fairly mat finish. Starting at the tail cap the light does tail stand very well, thanks to the notch cut in it’s side to allow the lanyard to go through. It has an octadecagon milled in for grip. On the inside it has dual springs inside the simple tail PCB.

The body tube is directional (Threads and anodizing are different on each) with 12 panels of knurling. It has to flats milled on each side and a grid pattern milled in too. It’s a nice feel in the hand without tearing up your skin or clothing.

Moving up to the head section we have the e-switch with LED’s under that act as a way to find the light in the dark and as a charge status indicator when charging. It has minimal heat syncing milled in to the sides. Opposite the button is the USB-C charging port with a silicone cover that fits well and flush. It doesn’t get in my way. The bell of the light is smooth as is the top part of the head. The deep bezel piece has large shallow crenelations on it that allows a bit of light to spread when face down.

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 170mm, Maximum diameter in the head at 70mm, minimum diameter in the body at 32mm on the flats. Weight with a 26650 battery was 396.7g.

The FT03 fit’s pretty well in my hand. To me the 26650 tubes feel pretty natural and I like the length and where my fingers and thumb fit. Ergonomics are good.

A bit of comparisons with the Thrunite Catapult V6

LED/Runtime/Beam Profile

The FT03 comes with a clear domed SST-40 LED in Cool or Neutral white. Mine is a NW example. It’s surrounded by a fairly smooth reflector that is deep and helps this light throw. The reflector leaves a decent amount of space around the LED, about ¼”. The lens is glass and double anti reflective coated. It’s using the Texas Star FET driver.

The beam profile is that of a pretty typical thrower. Small hot center where 90+% of the light is focused and then a spill. I don’t see any real undesirable traits. You do notice if there is anything on the lens that’s dirty or causes distortion.

Runtime

Since this is a FET driven light, a high drain cell is recommended for most performance. That means a high drain 18650 like a Sony VTC6 or Samsung 30Q would be good choices, or for a little more runtime a 21700 sized cell. I ended up going with a Sony VTC6 (3000mAh) for my runtime tests. Turbo steps starts stepping down after about a minute, until the 5 minute mark where you see the aggressive output step down to about 30% relative output. It held this for about 140 minutes. At this point it did more pronounced steps down to almost nothing at the 175 min mark. The light at this point is still on but only in moonlight mode, I left it for another 100 minutes and stopped the test, since it was clearly in need of a recharge. With larger capacity cells I would expect the time after the initial step down to be longer.

I didn’t do a lot of formal heat testing with this light but I can tell you that even with the fairly aggressive turbo stepdowns the head section of the light gets warm to touch as does the body. Nothing dangerous but it’s definitely normal.

 

UI

The Astrolux FT03 is using the enthusiast developed NarsilM Firmware V1.3 along with an e-switch which is great. By default it ships in the ramping mode which is what I like, it also has a stepped mode you can switch it in to if you want. It’s highly configurable and can be a little complicated depending on what you wish to do. The good news is there are lots of guides on Youtube and various cheat sheets on BLF forums that I will try to link to as well. A couple shortcuts I find myself using is double clicking to strobe.

NarsilM 1.3 Firmware Guide http://liquidretro.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/NarsilM1.3.pdf

 

Recharging

This light does have USB-C for recharging, but it won’t charge batteries that are at 4v or above which is a little strange. So if you need to top up a cell after a brief use you would need to take it out and use a charger. Frustratingly the light also won’t charge from a USB-C to C cable, it requires a USB-A to USB-C cable or a microUSB to USB-C adapter. When recharging the LED’s under the E switch turn red, and then go green when charged. Maximum charge rate I saw was 1.9A so pretty close to the 2A that’s advertised. This means charging speed is pretty quick even on larger 26650 and 21700 batteries. Terminal voltage was 4.149v.

Pro

  • Fantastic value thrower especially with USB-C recharging
  • Fit’s a wide variety of Batteries, 26650, 21700, 18650 (With included adapter).
  • Good LED and I appreciate the tint choices at this price range
  • NarsilM Firmware

 

Con

  • Only will charge via USB-A to USB-C cables, no C-C cables allow for charging.
  • Won’t recharge cells if they are above 4.0V
  • Not a small light, but that’s to be expected with most throwers
  • Aggressive turbo step downs but this can be modified with the firmware.

 

Conclusion

At this price point, especially with the coupon I have here, the Astrolux FT03 is the best value thrower of 2019 that I have tested thus far. It’s using the great NarsilM firmware that’s highly user configurable, it has onboard recharging via USB-C (Even though it’s not capable of C-C charging), and is available in Neutral White or Cool white for whichever you prefer. The short of it I recommend this one if your looking for a larger thrower light. Don’t forget to click that link in the description and check it out over on Banggod.

 

Pickup the Astrolux FT03 SST40-W at http://bit.ly/31CYUzb and use Coupon Code: BGAFT03 to get the light for $29.99 USA ONLY

 

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Olight PL-Pro Review (1500 Lumen Weapon Light & Comparisons with the PL-2)

Today I have a review of the Olight PL-Pro Weapon light. This is a version of the PL-2 that came out last year but the Pro offers Olights built in magnetic recharging system, an optional remote pressure switch and a neutral white LED. Thanks to SkyBen for sending this to me to take a look at.

 

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Packaging

Packaging follows Olights recent trends for 2019. A white high quality box with a photo of the light on the front and information on all sides. Inside the light pulls out from a tray. Below is all the accessories including the picatinny insert (Glock insert comes preinstalled), extra screws, Torx driver, MCC1A USB charger, and the manual. Skyben also included a battery holder (Even though this light doesn’t have replaceable batteries).

I also got with my light the RPL-7 magnetic pressure switch which came in a small zip top bag. It includes the remote pressure switch itself, and then an adapter so that the switch can be mounted or zip tied to a picatinny rail section.

Construction

The body itself is made from hard type anodized aluminum. The battery compartment is contoured to match the PL-2  that had removable batteries where as the PL-Pro has an internal non removable cell. The PL-Pro carries over the mounting system from the PL-2RL by having a metal rail piece. Out of the box this came with the Glock sized rail preinstalled, but you get a 1913 rail piece in the box as well as an allen wrench to change it. The quick detach mount is very sturdy, and requires no tools to attach to the light. It has tension on the mounting system even in unlocked so it won’t drop free without pushing in from the side, I like this two step open option, as it makes sure the light won’t fall off if accidentally bumped or the unlock lever gets reversed.

The rear switches and battery cover look the same from the PL-2, the only exception is that on the PL-Pro they don’t open. On the bottom there is the magnetic charging pad. There is a slightly raised up section

The RPL-7 remote pressure switch fits onto the bottom of the PL-Pro perfectly. It’s a stronger magnet then the charger which is good because it’s not something you would want to fall off. The cable is a similar flat siliconized cover. The button itself is plenty long. My only semi complaint would be the way it attaches to your rifle, I would prefer a mount that screws into Picatinny rail or that Olight would offer a MLok adapter.

Size & Weight

Size wise the PL-Pro is basically identical to the PL-2. The only difference at the bottom there are little extra nibs on the Pro for the recharging base making it a little thicker. I don’t have a way to test this myself but I suspect some holsters that fit the PL-2 will also fit the PL-Pro or could with a very slight modification.  Weight of the PL-Pro is actually about 13 grams lighter. The PL-Pro is IPX6 rated.

 

PL-Pro PL-2
Length 81mm 80mm
Height 32.4mm 30.5mm
Width 36.6mm 36.6mm
Weight 103.4g 116.1g

 

Mounted Photos

LED/Runtime/Beamshot

The Olight PL-Pro is using a Cree XHP 35 HI NW. This is the same LED as the the PL-2 but in a different tint. My PL-2 is in a cool white, and the PL-Pro right now is only coming in neutral white. While I applaud Olight for offering a neutral white (Usually my preference) the bin they chose here has a good amount of green in it, and it’s most noticeable in lower output modes. In my comparison shots here it’s noticeable which is cool white and which is neutral white.

The beam is identical to the PL-2 due to the same reflector and LED being used with the difference being the tint of the LED. The light has a medium sized hotspot that throws pretty well out to 100 yards or so.

 

PL-2 On Left  —  PL-Pro on the Right

PL-2 on the Left — PL-Pro on the Right

In my runtimes were pretty accurate with what Olight saw. The internal battery is rated for 900mAh. On the full 1500 lumens the light lasted for 1.5 minutes, past that it saw a 60% relative output decrease where it ran for 35 minutes. Now this sounds like a big drop and it is but this was still quite a bit of output at 300 lumens. Next the light saw a step down to right at 20% relative output where it ran for another 10 minutes before shutting off. Step downs at the beginning are timed and then voltage controlled from there on out. Step downs are sudden and sharp. It would be nice to add a couple of flashes at the end of the runtime giving one last warning before the light shuts off.

Recharging of the built in 900mAh battery is accomplished with Olights MCCA1 charging system. It’s compatible with other older charges from Olight, except for the one for the PL-Mini. I saw a complete recharge in 1 hour and 18 minutes at a max charge rate of 0.9A.

UI

UI is a little different but similar on the PL-Pro. The light has 2 modes, a low power 300 lumen mode and a high power 1500 lumen mode. It’s pretty easy to switch between them, Just double click on one of the paddles to jump up into high or medium mode, similar to how you get to turbo on other Olights. Low Power mode is more of a lockout mode so it won’t burn a hole through you bag accidentally. To activate it with the light on press one of the paddles for 3 second then press and hold the other till the light shuts off. At this point it’s in a low power 100 lumen mode Olight is calling Lockout. To reverse this just do this process again.

In either mode the light a quick press of a paddle locks the light on, a longer press gives you momentary, and pressing both together gives you strobe.

 

Pro’s

  • Rechargeable is really convenient and cheaper to run if you are going to use a lot of hours on it.
  • Nice integration with a remote pressure pad as an option, gives this light the ability to mount on a rifle as well.
  • Neutral white, but that green tint kind of kills the deal here for me
  • Some holsters that fit the PL-2 may fit the PL pro as they are similar in dimensions. Your luck may vary

 

Con’s

  • LED choice resulted in a beam that has a green tinge.
  • Battery isn’t user replaceable thus it’s a consumable light.
  • Timed step downs for turbo.  

 

Conclusion

The Olight PL-Pro Valkyrie continues to show what Olight has learned when making weapon lights. The little refinements like making a low power (still 300 lumens) lockout mode to prevent the light from literally burning a hold in your bag is a simple, smart idea. I like the integration of the remote pressure switch as well being magnetic, meaning it can break free with sufficient force if needed without damaging things. It’s easy to reattach too. Olights tint choices for LED’s continue to confuse me. My only thought about the choice of going with neutral white here was to aid hunters who are more likely to use the rechargeable version of this light to save runtime costs over the CR123 version, over the PL-2 being more designed for a tactical role, better shelf stable batteries etc. The downside of neutral white at least here is more green tint then I would like to see.


Overall if you liked the PL-2 you will like the PL-Pro, and if your interested check out Skyben’s listings on amazon, to get it super fast if you have prime shipping that is.

Folomov C2 Review (400 lumens, 98CRI, Super small, 14300 battery, Summer EDC)

The Folomov C2, is a very small EDC light with a very high CRI (98CRI) warm beam, magnetic tail cap, and USB rechargeable battery. It might be a just about perfect little summer EDC. Thanks to Folomov (Affiliate Link) for sending it to me to take a closer look at and show to you guys.

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Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/CKowYeZ

Youtube Version of this Review: 

Packaging

Instead of a box, the C2 comes in a small tin with foam inserts. The top cover is laser engraved with the name and brand. It would make a nice gift box. Included with the light is a pocket clip, battery, extra orings, manual and micro USB charging cable.

Construction

The light is made from aluminum and hard anodized a satin black. Starting at the tail it’s magnetic, and flat, so it tails stands well. The tail cap sides have just a little milling in them to add style and a slight amount of grip. Inside threads are anodized and square cut. The body is tiny at only 19mm in diameter, It has 2 flats where the minimal labeling for the light is (Just the brand and model name).

The button and clip segment grow in diameter slightly, similar to the Olight Mini series of lights. Folomov choose a gray button that has 2 LED’s underneath to give a bit of a charge indication. They are green when the battery is charged and turn red when the battery is low. The head section has small teardrop areas milled in. The bezel is a polished aluminum. The glass lens sits recessed a little and underneath is a orange peel reflector.

The clip is fixed in a tip up position and fixed rotation, this allows you to mount the light on the bill of a hat if you wish to do so. The bad part about this clip is the bend at the top is just too tight, there is only about 1.5mm of space at the top of it, so it’s difficult to fit over the brim of most hats, and even pants or shorts pockets are usually thicker than that at the seam. The result is it just doesn’t carry as deep as it could, but it still carries better then many lights.

Size and Weight/Comparisons

This is a seriously small light, I measured length at 55mm, max diameter near the switch at 19mm, minimum at 16mm. Weight only comes in at 31.7 grams with the battery and clip. The light is IPX8 Water rated as well.

The C2 does share a lot of design features with the Olight SMini series of lights, but is about 20-30% smaller. It’s not a revolutionary design but one that works well. For me the C2 has proven to be a great summer carry, as I am wearing shorts more, I want smaller and lighter weight things in my pockets and the C2 fills that gap while still having quite a bit of power. The magnetic tail cap just add to it’s utility. It does only have tip up carry which some people will love, others will hate.

LED/Beamshots/Runtime

The little Folomov C2 is using a Nichia 21A LED. The tint is 3000k and an exciting 98 CRI. The beam has a hot center that covers about 30% of the beam and then a minimal amount of light in the spill. I like warm high CRI beams, I will admit the warmer tints can take some time getting used to especially if you have a lot of cool white low CRI lights now. For me I always will take high CRI if I can get it as I just prefer colors to look natural and it’s good for any photography too.

Folomov rates the light at a maximum of 400 lumens in turbo, 160 lumen in high, 50 lumen on medium, 10 lumen on low, and ½ lumen on moonlight. It also has strobe, SOS and bacon all at 160 lumens.

Runtime is nothing outstanding, due to the 14300 sized battery at 250mAh. It’s just a really small battery in terms of capacity, part of this is to fit the microUSB charging circuit on which barely fits. So in my runtime tests the light was on for 65 minutes. Turbo is really only good for about a minute, before stepping down pretty significantly. The next 30 minutes you get a usable amount of light. The last 30 minutes is just above moon light mode modestly.

Low voltage protection kicked in at 3.08V. The light does have reverse polarity protection and some thermal protection. Parasitic Drain was measured at 2.0uA.

 

UI

The UI is straightforward and logical in illumination mode.  Low, Medium, High, and then it repeats. Direct access to low is available by long pressing from off, and a double click takes you to turbo. Low, Medium and high are available for memory as well. There is lockout mode which you can activate by pressing the button 3 times quickly, and you do the same to unlock. This mode is very similar to Olight’s UI, so if you know it you will catch on quick.

There is a tactical mode which I think is a little silly on a light this small but it does have it. To go between the two you click the light 7 times from off. It makes the side switch a momentary turbo if pressed and held. If the button is pressed quickly it locks turbo on,and if you double click the side switch you get strobe.

The light ships in the default mode which is where I think most people will want to leave it.

 

Recharging and the Battery

Recharging the 14300 battery is easily accomplished with the MicroUSB port on it’s side. The USB charging circuit sits on top of the battery and has red/green LED to indicate charge status. Full Battery Voltage was measured at 4.207V. Total recharging time took just 1 hour and the maximum charging speed I saw was 0.3A which is appropriate for a cell of this size.

I suspect the battery being used here is really more like a 14200 sized sell with the last 10mm, being the USB recharging circuit. You can see the line in the battery. 14200s are also much more available then 14300s, that said I am not finding any 14200’s that match the capacity here. While I understand why they went with USB recharging especially for such a small cell, it does hurt capacity as it takes up valuable space.

 

Pro

  • Warm White high CRI. 98CRI is just fantastic on an EDC this size.
  • Small size, this was smaller than expected and carries really nice
  • Easy to use UI that’s what you would expect

Cons

  • The pocket clip is narrow, meaning anything but very thing pockets won’t ride all the way down in the clip.
  • Not a common battery size, Folomov says they will at some point have additional batteries for purchase.
  • Low capacity battery at only 250mAh.

 

Conclusion

For me the Folomov C2 is a hit. It’s enough light to get me through an office or light duty EDC use, but has enough power to do a few other small tasks. For any larger tasks I would want a larger light nearby in my home, car, or office. It’s not a light I would go camping with or use for extended times due to the small battery but it’s more useful than most keychain lights without being too big in a pocket. I love the high CRI warm LED, this is what sets it apart from the competition that typically prefers cool white LEDs. My only main concern is the availability and cost of replacement batteries. Folomov has said they will be available but hasn’t said when or at what cost.  Overall it’s a nice light, with a straight forward UI for a pretty affordable price. I recommend it for a very small light weight EDC.

 

Save 20% on the Folomov EDC C2 now through June 13th at https://amzn.to/2MCjAE5 (Affiliate Link)

WelTool M7 Review (Inspection Light)

WelTool has a new specialized flood inspection style light with the new M7. The light takes an 18650 battery and has a Aspherical lens creating a super even beam with hard cut off edges. This is a specialized light so let’s take a quick look at it and it’s use cases. Thanks to WelTool for sending it to me.

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Youtube Version of this Review: 

Packaging

The light comes in a red cardboard box, with Weltool branding on it. It’s a box that is designed to fit multiple models. Inside the light was packed in foam cut to fit the M7. Accessories were limited to the light itself, the included Weltool branded button top protected 2600mAh USB rechargeable 18650 battery, a pocket clip and a spare oring.

Weltool may have overdone it with their thesaurus when writing the description of this light on both their website and Amazon listing. In my opinion detracts from the light and just makes it look silly, less like a tool, and more like a marketing stunt. Weltool should hire a native English speaker to make sure everything translates well in meaning and isn’t over the top with buzz words. One of my favorite example is ““Eye of Heaven General”, the Eye of Wisdom, will watch over the hard work you pour your heart into.”

Construction

The light is made from aluminum, and anodized black. Overall machining is average, but I did have a small area in the head that seemed the anodizing was worn off, possibly due to shipping? Starting at the tail, you have a large proud rubber boot with a mechanical switch underneath. Inside the tail is a single spring, on the outside fairly standard diamond knurling can be found.

The clip attaches to the body in a head down only position. The clip makes and effort to allow for a slightly deeper carry but 29mm of the lights tail will still stick out. The clip is fairly robust for a push on design and is removable. The body and head sections are all milled as once piece. The body continues the same basic diamond knurling the tail has. The head grows slightly in diameter, and has a prominent anti roll ring that works well. The front bezel itself is plastic, and the lens itself is an Aspherical Acrylic lens. I do notice it collecting dirt down in the corner of the lense pretty easily.

Lastly the light has labeling around the rear switch saying “Only 18650 Available”, (Translation error?), and then up front it has the Weltool logo, model and “The Eyes of Heaven General” tagline they have chosen for this light, which happens to be slightly crooked.

Size/Weight

I measured length at 119mm, maximum diameter at 29mm, minimum diameter at 22mm. Weight with the included battery and clip is 122.8g. The light is only IP67 rated, meaning it can survive a drop into water up to a meter.

LED/Beam Pattern, Runtime

The make and model of the LED used in this light isn’t given, instead they call it a “X-LED”, more marketing and less facts for those who actually want to know. My guess is it’s something like a Cree XM-L series LED in a pretty cool white.

 

The beam as mentioned before is very round, consistent and even due to the acrylic aspherical lens. It has no hot spots, and really floods with little to no throw. Cut off is fairly hard on the edges as well.

The light uses constant current, and has no PWM which is nice. Output curve is pretty steady with no thermal or timed stepdowns, its brightness varies with the discharge profile of the battery largely. Total runtime I saw was 120 minutes, My runtime graph may not be entirely accurate due to the abnormal battery mine shipped with. More on that in the recharging section. I measured parasitic drain at 3.6uA.

UI

Ui on this M7 is very simple. You have two modes, low and high. Low is rated for 114 lumens while high is 353 lumens according to Weltool. You can full press or have press to switch between modes, the light does start on low. It’s nice they didn’t include strobe as that would not fit the intended useage of the light.

 

Recharging

I seem to have received a battery with a bit of a defective protection/charging circuit. On mine LVP kicked in at 3.44V, and reported as fully charged via the USB cable at 4.06V. I confirmed with Weltool that these are not normal behaviors. The battery that ships with the light is USB rechargeable, and only 2600mAh. I would like to see Weltool include a 3000 or 3500mAh battery in 2019 as the price difference is small and that would add a good amount more of runtime.

Pro

  • Beam makes it good for upclose work, reading or short range inspection tasks, It’s very even
  • I like that the light starts on Low
  • Decent clip

Con

  • Low 2600mAh battery included with the light with a pretty narrow range of operation 3.44V – 4.06V in my tests.
  • I would have liked to see an additional low mode, for up close reading type tasks.
  • I would have liked to see a magnet in the light, this could have made a nice under the hood type light if it had one.
  • Seems a bit expensive at the time of this review.

Conclusion

This is a specialized niche light for specialized purposes. I can see it being useful for close inspection work within a few feet of you or to provide some light while working on something with your hands (Although a headlamp would be my choice to do this). This isn’t the best choice for a general purpose light, to use while camping, walking the dog, or just general use.  My example had a few minor aesthetic issues with the anodizing and labels on the light, but other then that it’s ok. The labeling and writing for the marketing/technical details really are not for me, everything has been written in a grandiose fashion and that hasn’t always translated to english very well. This is a relatively easy fix for WelTool and I would encourage them to tame it down for future lights and stick to the facts that flashaholics and general consumers need when making a purchasing decision.

 

If you need a light with a super floody beam, for short distance work, this is an ok choice, but for most people a more conventional beam pattern with a bit of hot spot, more throw, will be more useful in general in my opinion. I feel like in terms of value at the time of writing this is a bit expensive for what your getting for most people.