JetBeam RRT01 Review 2019 (Rotary EDC Almost Perfection?)

Jetbeam has reintroduced an updated  RRT01 for 2019. This an exciting EDC light because it has a infinitely variable control ring meaning it’s a new affordable rotary light. It comes with a USB rechargeable 16340 battery but also takes 18350’s. Thanks to Banggood for sending this to me to take a look at.

 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/M1OMO3u

Youtube Version of this Review:

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Packaging

Pretty standard packaging from Jetbeam on this light. It’s a retail blue and black hanging box, with a picture of the light on the front. Banggod has kindly placed a large sticker and a piece of yellow tape on mine. On the back you get the features and specs. Included accessories are the light, a Jetbeam branded 16340 700mAh battery that is USB rechargeable, a decent lanyard, extra oring and small hex wrench for removing the clip, and small MicroUSB recharging cable.   

Construction

The light is made from aluminum and anodized a dark gray with the control bezel being a silver. It’s nice to see something that’s not black. Machining is very good. Starting at the tail, it’s flat, with 3 places for 12mm long tritium vials, it’s flat so the light will tail stand provided it doesn’t have a lanyard attached. There is a place for the lanyard in the side but doing so makes it not sit very flat anymore. The body section of the light has knurling around it with 2 flats with the minimal labeling on each side. The light then grows to match the size of the head and control ring.

The rotary control ring has some areas milled into it to give grip. It has a detent on both ends of the control area. From 0 to 100% is about 150 degrees of rotation. The detent in the control ring isn’t super crisp, but a little mushy, it also takes a decent amount of effort to get over the detentes but once over them it turns easily but has enough resistance to stay where you leave it. The rotary really allows you to dial in the exact amount of light you want very quickly.

The head has a aluminum bezel with shallow crenulations. It is not glued in place and is easily removed. I think this will be an easy and popular light to modify because of that. The glass lens is double anti reflective coated and it has a deep smooth reflector.

Size/Weight/Carry Comparison

While not the smallest 16340 light on the market for me this makes a really nice EDC. A big part of that is a good pocket clip, and while the stock one is decent, Jetbeam wisely decided to make this compatible with a wide variety of aftermarket clips such as, Steelflame, Okluma, Oveready, and others. The stock clip for me had just a little to much upward flare on the tipI measured the length at 81mm, maximum diameter at 26mm, and minimum diameter at 20mm. Weight with the included cell and clip was 93g.

LED/beamshot/Runtime

The RRT01 is using a Cree XP-L HI LED in cool white. No tint data is given but it is cool white, with no undesirable tints (green). The beam is has a slight donut that you notice with lower power levels. Around the hot spot there is a thin reflection an additional small artifact in the beam that’s brighter. It’s noticeable but not a deal killer given all the lights other strengths.

I did 2 uncooled runtime testes, one with the included 700mAh 16340 and the other with a 1200mAh 18350. With the 16340 the total output on the highest output lasted a total of 24 minutes. During this output decreased slowly and pretty linearly, before the LVP on the battery itself kicked in. The runtime using the 1200mAh unprotected 18350 was a similar but different story. Output was a little more stable at the top, and total output increased to over just under 40 minutes (Technically longer). Outputs were pretty smooth and similar but at the 30 minute mark we saw lots of very little steps and then at the very end the light flashed to let you know the cell was very low. However then instead of cutting off output the light continued to run since the light itself has no LVP. My recommendation would be to run this with a protected battery or just charge frequently to avoid damaging the cell from ultra low voltage running.

UI

UI on this light is super simple, Instead of buttons and modes it uses a rotary switch in the bezel with a detent on both ends. The detents are a little mushy, and do require some force. As mentioned earlier it’s about 160 degrees full rotation with detents. Low on this light is super low, sub lumen which is nice to see. I find the rotary switch to be faster than ramping UI with a ebutton too.

The light also has strobe if you rotate the rotary to maximum brightness past the detent, then reverse slightly over the denent and reverse again (Twice). Doing this twice gives you strove and then you can decrease brightness to the level you wish. Doing this 3 times gives you SOS. Rotate past the off detent to end the blinking modes.

 

Recharging

Included is a Jetbeam branded 700mAh 16340 battery that has recharging built in via MicroUSB on the battery. Charging speed was 0.4A which is what you want for these smaller capacity batteries. It took right at 2 hours to charge completely. The LED indicator on the battery goes Red when charging and Green when charged.

 

The light will take 18350 batteries too, these fill up the cavity better (Although no rattle with the 16340 that’s included) but if your using a protected 18350 it might not screw down completely flush. This doesn’t harm the IPX8 water resistance.

 

Pro

  • Love that it takes 18350’s including protected cells (with a bit of brass sticking out)
  • Great size and clip for EDC
  • Rotary switch in a small affordable package
  • Easily modifiable emitter
  • Takes standard clips if you want to upgrade.

 

Cons

  • There are some beam artifacts
  • No LVP (Running a protected battery is a good idea)
  • Not a completely smooth beam profile, there are some extra rings around the hot spot.

 

Conclusion

The Jetbeam RR01 2019 edition is a really nice little EDC light. It’s been my EDC since I got it, and that’s saying something. Rotary control rings this small are not common, and I think they should be used more. It allows you to get exactly the amount of illumination you need for your specific application. The RRT01 does a lot of things well for an EDC in my book.

The stock clip is pretty good for a fairly deep carry, and can easily be swapped out to a steelflame style clip from a variety of manufacturers if you would like. The modding potential for this light is big too, there is some talk of someone trying to make a triple in this light too which would be pretty awesome, and something I will definitely be paying attention too. I will probably look into an LED swap here in the coming weeks too, to get something high CRI and a touch warmer. Overall it’s a great little EDC light and I am glad Jetbeam revived the design and updated if for 2019. I definitely recommend it.

Banggod has provided me with a pretty good coupon on this one that I will have in the description and on my blog post so if your looking at getting one make sure you check that out as it does help out my channel/blog if you buy using the link I provide.

Get the JetBeam RRT01 2019 from Banggod at https://bit.ly/2VdivBz for $53.99 with code: BGRRT

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Olight Seeker 2 Pro Review (3200 Lumens, 21700, Triple LED)

Olight has a new light on the market, the Seeker 2 Pro. It uses a triple LED with an optic, and a proprietary 21700 battery, and has the magnetic tail cap with magnetic recharging. Along with this light Olight has included and announced a magnetic L bracket to mount the light and for easy charging of any of the magnetic tail cap rechargeable lights. Thanks to Skyben on Amazon for sending this to me to take a look at and review.

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

YouTube Version of this Review: 

Packaging

The packaging of the Seeker 2 Pro is impressive at this price range. Olight always does a good job but this might be the nicest packaging under $150 that I have seen. It’s a white heavy duty box that unfolds from the side and is held together magnetically. Inside it had the yellow instruction layer tucked nicely in that reminds you to remove the piece of plastic from the battery terminal and charge the battery before use. All of the accessories are tucked into two small boxes either side of the light. On the back you have the stats and more detailed info on the light.

The included accessories are the flashlight itself, along with a proprietary Olight branded 5000mAh 21700 battery. You get a long MCC1AL charging cable, high quality holster (Very similar to the M2R holster), lens cleaning cloth, and then the new L charging bracket. This bracket is a high density glass fiber reinforced bracket with 2 mounting screws in the side (Screws and drywall anchors included, as well as adhesive). The bracket is designed so that the flashlight hangs from it, and the magnetic charger goes on top (Can be reversed), the power is transmitted through. The cool thing about this is it works with all existing Olights that have the magnetic charging system except for the weapon lights because their polarity is different. Olight is also selling this bracket separately.

Construction

The light is made from aluminium and hard anodized black with an eggshell style finish. Machining is excellent with no sharp edges or tool marks to be found. Starting at the tail we notice the magnetic charging port that looks very similar to other similar Olights. It sits flush and allows for good tail standing. In the tailcap is the place for a thin lanyard to attach as well. The grip on the tail cap itself is straight fine knurling. Based on past experience these will show dirt and dust easily and are a little difficult to clean. Inside the tail cap there is not a spring, just a large brass contact and w outer rings with something bass inside it looks like. I would love to see the deconstruction of this tailcap if someone is willing as most of the charging system is here.

The body tube and head are one continuous piece and is one of the areas where things changed the most on this light. Instead of knurling in the aluminum Olight choose to mill in 2 ares and place in silicone grip panels with molding for your fingers. These appear to be held on with adhesive and on mine are very firmly attached.

For me the finger groves don’t’ fit my hands great, but they are small enough it doesn’t much matter. They provide grip and insulation from the heat when running the light in Turbo. They also wash off pretty easily with just some water, which is just fine since this light is IPX8 rated. They also milled in a flat on the switch side of the light for labeling and indexing purposes which is nice. Threads are small, but square cut and well spaced out. It was easy to thread.

Interestingly there are no springs on the head end of this light, but there is a raised structure the battery sits on. It looks almost like a solid brass cone. On the tail side there is a very small amount of give in the tail cap. There is no rattle or play with the cell in terms of rattle and it passes my non marring drop tests just fine.

The head section had 2 larger milling ares opposite the button. The Seeker 2 adopts the switch that the X9R premiered, with a 4 step led indicator on the left hand side for power level, and a 4 step indicator to the right of the button for battery power level. Thee battery counter ramps up over about a second, and ramps down at the end. Visually I think it’s a neat design apart from the PWM these small LED’s have. These LED’s stay on for about the first 8 seconds or when a button is pressed.  Further up the head as the diameter increases the milling decreases. There is the iconic Olight blue bezel on the Seeker 2 pro, and it does have a crenelated bezel, but it’s very blunt. When face down just a little light shows out, it’s more for looks then function I think. The lens itself is similar to Olights TIR optics but in a triple format.

The light comes with Olights first proprietary 21700 battery, As with other magnetic rechargeable Olights, the cell goes in with the positive facing the tail cap. How they do their recharging is on the positive end they also have a negative end. The 21700 adds a plastic spacer ring around the positive pole for a bit of added safety. More on the battery and recharging system in that section.

Size, Weight, & Comparison to other Olights

The new Seeker 2 Pro is a replacement for the old R50 Seeker series of lights. I have a R50 Seeker that I will be comparing it to, and they line up closer than I thought.

Seeker 2 Pro

  • Length – 128mm
  • Minimum Diameter – 27mm
  • Maximum Diameter – 35mm
  • Weight with the included cell – 197g

 

R50 Seeker

  • Length – 133mm
  • Minimum Diameter – 32mm
  • Maximum Diameter – 42mm
  • Weight with the included cell – 258.9g

So as you can see the Seeker 2 Pro is smaller in all dimensions but it’s not an enormous difference. Largest is definitely in the head, and you feel it in the body size difference as well, more so then what the numbers show I think. Weight difference is noticeable as well. Here is a photo of how it compares to some other recent Olight models as well.

LED/Beamshot/temps/Runtime

The Seeker 2 Pro is using Cree XP-L HD LEDs in CW. Olight doesn’t give an official tint number but I would guess mine is between 5000-6000k.  

The tripled LED combined with the TIR style optics means the beam is pretty smooth and floody. It’s not perfectly round but not something you notice at distance. The TIR optic also does a good job of hiding any obvious Cree Rainbow from the LED’s.

  • Moonlight  – 5 Lumens
  • Low – 50 Lumens
  • Medium 300 Lumens
  • High 1200 Lumens then 600
  • Turbo 3200 Lumens then 600

Runtimes

Turbo’s 3200 lumens only lasts for 2 minutes, and then the light decreases to 600 lumens for over 100 minutes, One more major step down came at the 105 minute mark which lasted then for around 50 minutes before the light stopped it’s output and LVP kicked in. Total runtime was right at 145 minutes.

Temps were well controlled during my uncooled runtime tests. The maximum temps I saw was 45C at the head within 2 minutes. The silicone grips provide a bit more insulation as well.

 

UI

UI is is very similar to other Olights, and that’s great because it’s a simple UI that I like. From off if you long press on the button the light comes on in moonlight, which on this light is a little bright for my liking. When the light is on it starts in low, and then you can hold the button and it will cycle from lowest to brightest, just stop on where you want to be. The light does have memory mode for low through high. For tubo just double click and for strobe just tipple click. The light also features a lockout mode and timer that’s available.

 

Recharging

Recharging is using Olights newer MCC1AL magnetic charging system. Olight does include a much longer cable to go along with the LDock on this light, that was just shy of 4ft long. I observed maximum charging speed of .9A which resulted in a total overall charge time of 6.5 hours for the 5000mAh 21700 battery. This is a conservative charging speed for such a large cell. Good for the overall lifespan of the cell if you can wait. Terminating Voltage for the charge was 4.16V.

As mentioned earlier Olight includes the new Ldock with this light and I think it’s an underrated simple add on. This allows you to mount the flashlight vertically or horizontally to charge on most surfaces and route the cable cleanly either down the back or to the side. It’s compatible with most other Olight’s using the magnetic charging system as well. Better yet Olight is selling these separately , or if you have a 3D printer you could probably whip out one of your own in an afternoon.

Pro

  • It’s nice to see 21700 sized batteries continue to enter the more mainstream market. They are the highest energy density form factor battery currently available.
  • This battery choice allows for a light that’s more slim in all dimensions.
  • I like the X9R style button for output level and battery indicator.
  • Less Cree Rainbow then the R50’s XHP 70 LED.
  • Pretty smooth and even beam pattern
  • Love the L charging bracket and that it’s compatible with older lights.

Cons

  • Proprietary battery is more costly when it comes to needing a replacement.
  • Not a substantial upgrade in performance over the R50, I do like the increased runtime and smaller size though.
  • Only CW non High CRI LED is offered
  • Relatively long charge time for a large 5000mAh battery.
  • A bit on the expensive side

 

Conclusion

The Olight Seeker 2 Pro I feel like is an incremental upgrade over the R50 Pro it takes it’s name from. The smaller form factor, and less weight without reducing performance or runtimes is a nice upgrade. I like the new button and external UI options. Performance wise it’s a nice beam, and 3200 lumens is very bright, but with turbo only lasting 2 minutes and it taking such a large drop to 600 lumens after is a bit disappointing. On this price level of light I would like to see active thermal regulation and not timed step down. I would also be happier with less overall turbo output for longer runtimes at lower output. It’s a little disappointing to see moonlight being 5 lumens here, typically moonlight is 1 lumen or less.

Olights proprietary batteries like other manufactures branded cells tend to be pretty expensive and while I love the 21700 format, it’s proprietary nature and cost ends up being a negative for me. Luckily you should be able to use a standard button top 21700 and a small magnet if you want a less expensive second battery option and are ok with charging on an external charger.

Overall it’s a very capable light that I think people who get one will be happy with as long as you know about it’s cons. I can recommend it with reservations.

If your interested, pick it up from Skyben on Amazon.


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Xtar EU4 USB Charging Hub Review (USB-C, QC3, 2x 2.4A)

Xtar not only makes battery charges but they have gotten into the USB Hub style chargers. Today I am taking a look at the Xtar EU4, a 4 port charger with 1 USB-C PD, 1 USB- QC 3.0, and 2 USB 2.4A ports and an LCD display. The charger can put out a maximum of 64W of power. Thanks to Xtar for sending this to me to take a look at.

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

YouTube Video Review: https://youtu.be/4vgUVCMcIos

 

Packaging

The packaging is a white retail Xtar box, with a nice picture of the charger on the front, emphasizing the screen and ports. The rear has the important specs and features. Inside the charger is packaged in a clear plastic holder. The only included accessories is the included power cable.

Construction

The charger itself is made from a soft touch plastic, thats matt black in color. It doesn’t finger print but will show streaks or oils from your hands easily. In my opinion it’s better than glossy plastic. It’s rectangular in shape with one rounded corner. On the left bottom is the AC in. It’s nice they choose to use a standard 2 prong AC cable, so it’s easily replaced if you lose it or you want to get an international version. On the very bottom of the charger you have all the required labeling and regulatory certifications. Labeling in general is easy to follow and intuitive.

On the right you have the 4 ports. Starting at the top you have Qualcomm QuickCharge 3 port in orange, Below it you have the 2x 2.4A standard USB ports. Below that you have the USB-C port.

The LCD shows all the information you would normally need a USB charger doctor or similar monitor for but it’s built in. This is great for data nerds like myself. In the center you get total charging wattage, in the top right you get the voltage going through the port displayed in the middle, and then in the lower right the amperage. On the top left and right you see which ports are active. This cycles around to each active port every few seconds. The LED screen is backlit, and has a high and low backlight mode. If you press and hold the button it will shut off all backlight which is perfect for nighttime bedroom charging.

Power

Input power is rated for 110-220V at 50/60hz so this is a great charger for travel or international use.

Output power depends on which ports your using and the combination. The charger has 1 QC 3 port, 2x 2.4A ports, and 1 USB-C PD port.

If using the QC3 port, you can use either the USB-C or the QC3 with the 2x 2.4A ports. The charger can switch between the two modes with the press of the button. Unfortunately it’s not intelligent enough to do so automatically.

The QC3 port is capable of upto 12V at 1.5A, or in lower voltages but greater amps. My tester with QC3 triggered was able to pull 3.65A at 4.95V, on the standard 2.4A ports I was able to pull 2.7A at 5V. Voltage on these ports started slightly higher at 5.29V with low load. Power was stable across high load scenarios that is until my tester wanted to shutdown to dissipate heat.

I don’t have as detailed analysis equipment for USB-C but what I can tell you is that it easily reaches the 64W claim and will charge my laptop which is a little picky. The laptop does take a moment to negotiate though.

 

Pros

  • USB-C PD Support upto 45w
  • QC3 Support for all your supported devices that don’t have USB-C
  • Built in LCD screen to let you know what’s happening and how fast for all the ports.
  • Good design, fit and finish

 

Cons

  • Not able to use all the ports at one time. It’s either USB-C & QC3 or QC3 and the two USB 2.4A ports.
  • It’s not quite smart enough to auto sense a cable is plugged in and switch modes and requires a button press.

Conclusion

This is my new main travel charger, With it I can replace a separate charger for my laptop, phone, and other USB powered devices. It fully supports different voltages and you could easily use plug adapters or buy a different cable to have an international plug if you were going to be in the country long term, since the end that plugs into the charger is not proprietary. Until then it’s been sitting in my nightstand and is used to charge most my mobile devices from day to day. It will work good to power your lithium battery chargers as well, like my older Xtar VC4, or any of the new X2 or X4 chargers I recently reviewed.

Pickup the EU4 at your favorite retailer like Illumn or Bangood.

Olight PL-Mini 2 Review (Sub Compact & Compact Weapon Light)

Today I am taking a look at the Olight PL-Mini 2, a weapon light from Olight designed for compacts and subcompact pistols. Thanks to Skyben for sending this Pl-Mini 2 to me to check out and test at the range.

 

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

YouTube Version of this Review:

Packaging

Packaging for the Olight PL-Mini 2 is much like other recent Olight’s with a white high quality cardboard outer box. On the inside, you have a pull out tray covered by a cardboard cover that contains the manual and a right angle torx key. The light, charger and accessories come housed in a plastic form fitted container. Included accessories are the PL-Mini 2 itself, Olight magnetic charger (Special for the PL Mini lights), a metal 1913 rail piece (Glock is preinstalled), 2 extra screws, and a T6 Torx wrench. Skyben also includes 2 extras, a small little battery case for CR123 batteries, and a USB flash drive sized LED light.

Construction

The light is built from anodized aluminium with a smooth fairly glossy finish. The rear left and right buttons are plastic, and designed to bet pulled down to actuate. Compared to the original PL-Mini the PL Mini 2 is shorter but a bit thicker in height.

The big difference here is the mount. It has the same quick detach lever as the PL2 RL that when unlocked you have to then push on this actuator to expand left and right the attachment point, I like this and it adds additional security incase the quick detach was to come unlatched, the light wont drop off your pistol. The element that the PL Mini 2 adds is that in the unlocked position the mount section then slides forward and backwards allowing you to get the rear end of the light to fit a wider selection of firearms.

For instance the original PL-Mini won’t fit on the rail section I have installed on my S&W Shield, the light is too long, but the PL-Mini 2 I am able to sift the light forward so that it will connect. For those of you wondering I am using a ReCover Tactical SHR9 Rail adapter, and it’s really a nice option for the shield, with super easy install.

One thing to note is that there is No locktight on the screws that hold the adjustable rail section to the light. It hasn’t been a problem through my shooting the light but it’s something I might end up doing to just make sure they won’t ever come loose. I did decide to see if I could pry off the small rail section to see inside, and with a little force I was able. Between the two pieces there is a black silicone gasket, and inside there is a 130mAh battery. I was a little surprised to see the light is mostly potted with a clear silicone type material.

I had no issues with durability, having shot about 300 rounds through it on two outings to the range, from 4 different guns in 3 different calibers, 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP.

Physical Comparisons

PL Mini 2

Weight – 73g

Length (Shortest) – 44mm

Length (Longest) – 52mm

Width – 27.5mm

Height – 32mm

 

PL Mini

Weight 65.5g

Length – 53mm

Width – 28.5mm

Height – 27mm

 

To sum up the numbers the PL Mini 2 is shorter, but has more height and weighs slightly more due to the more complex mount system.

LED/Beam/Runtime

This light uses the Cree XP-L HD LED in cool white. In comparison to the Original PL-Mini the tint in version 2 is a bit warmer, but with a slight green tint in my example. The reflector is a little larger due to the increased height of the light, and it seems to throw a bit larger beam. The light throws pretty well the reflector size, and for a weapon light this is what you want.

600 lumens on such a small platform will have a hard time dissipating heat and this is no different. It’s brightest mode only lasts 2-3 minutes, the good news is the step down is smooth and slow but significant. By the 11 minutes mark, the light is at about 10% relative output. It maintains this steadily for another 35 minutes before decreasing slowly down to almost nothing before it shut off at 100 minutes.

UI

The UI is very basic with essentially no options on this light. The buttons have basically one mode that either lock on if pressed quickly, or act in momentary if held down. There is no strobe on this light.

Recharging

Recharging happens via the magnetic olight charging system. The PL Mini 2 like the original use the special version of the charger, my guess this is to reduce the charging speed due to the small battery. Overall recharge time from shut off point was 52 minutes.

 

Pro’s

  • Adjustable solution that will fit most compact and subcompact pistols with rail support
  • Stepdowns are more gradual and slow, not big steps, but it’s initial 600 lumens only lasts 2-3 minutes.

 

Con’s

  • Holster Support – A few brands announced they will be making holsters for the lights, Olight still has a lot of work to do to catch up to the more established brands in the pistol light market for holster support.
  • Clamp on the left hand side, when mounted easily catches a finger when going to turn it on.

 

Conclusion

The PL-Mini 2 is almost a completely different light from the 1st generation. While they do similar things, the Mini 2 prioritizes it’s modularity to fit smaller compacts and subcompact pistols, and makes design decisions to accomplish this such increasing it’s height, to make it’s overall length shorter to better fit compact and subcompact framed pistols. As a weapon light it works well, I don’t have any complaints there, the magnetic recharging system is very convenient, and works well for the size. My two problems are the quick disconnect lever is a little too long and kind of covers the switch on that side. Left handed shooters would notice this the most or if you trigger the light activation with your off hand for right handed shooters. I think the design could be improved by at least making it round or perhaps coming up with another lever design that is smaller. The other main problem I see is holster support. There are a few manufactures that offer semi custom holsters but not many. Be prepared to be buying custom holsters if you decide to run this light as it’s just not widely supported like some other brands are, especially if you have an adapter rail like I do. As long as you know this going in it’s a nice little pistol light that works well in my testing.

Pick up the PL-Mini 2 on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2Zt1RkL

Klarus ST15R Review (Bike & Camping Flashlight)

Klarus has a new handheld light on the market called the ST15R Night Guardian. It’s a general purpose light that comes with a bike mount, diffuser and a clip to go with you where you go. It runs on multiple lithium battery sizes and will recharge 18650’s via onboard microUSB. Thanks to Flashlightz for sending it to me to take a look at today.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/WrODgx0

YouTube Version of this Review:

Packaging

Packaging on the Klarus ST15R is a retail top hanging box, that’s mat black with the light in raised gloss black on a camping scene, It touts the lumen rating on the front, that it includes a battery and that it’s rechargeable. The sides show a few feature such as the intelligent thermal protection system, USB rechargeable and others. On the back you get headlining features, and more detailed specifications including LED used, Brightness ratings, runtime, throw, and sizes and weight.

The package includes Flashlight, YLE 18650 2600mAh battery (More on that in the recharging section), pocket clip, lanyard, extra oring, MicroUSB charging cable, Bike Mount, and silicone reflector dome. The dome is nice, I wish more lights included them in the package.

Construction

Klarus stepped up the game on the ST15R in my opinion. The light is very nicely machined and the finish is without fault. The light is made from 6061-T6 Aluminium and anodized in a smooth mat black, with a very light texture. Starting at the tail, you have the mechanical switch that takes a firm press, covered with a silicone boot. It has 2 small raised areas for a lanyard to pass through and that allows the light to tail stand. While not truly deep carry the clip on the ST15R is only 20mm from the top allowing for a decently deep carry, much better than some of the competitors lights.

The tail and body are one piece, below the tail section there is a ring milled out for the clip to attach. The clip is fairly standard, it’s removable and rotates 360 degrees, plenty of relief to fit jeans or a fairly thick piece of clothing but there is a ledge that will get caught slightly. The finish looks to be a glossy parkerized type finish, not paint.

The body tube portion of the light has a nice milling pattern of a tight fine spiral of about 180 degrees. While this does not provide a ton of grip, I like the way it looks alot, it’s something different over standard knurling and is easier to keep clean too. I think it’s a classier look as well, and I suspect it isn’t cheap to machine either. Threads are anodized, and squarecut. There are springs on both ends of the light as well.

On the head section the button for me is a nice little upgrade. It’s an electronic switch with LED indicators underneath the bezel. The way the LED’s are diffused in the bezel makes the light soft and pretty even it just looks nicer than I expected. The LED’s are green, yellow and red based on the battery charge level. Opposite the button is the MicroUSB recharging port with a silicone cover. The cover is tight and there is a little extra bit to fit down into the port. I didn’t have any trouble with any of the MicroUSB cables I have but if yours had a wide connector area it might not fit. The of the head do have some milling for heat dissipation.

The front of the head section itself is smooth, the bezel is a silver anodized aluminum. It looks like the head is assembled from the front. The glass is double anti reflective coated with a large visible black o’ring. The reflector is smooth and deep. The LED is nicely centered and surrounded with a black disk.

Size/Weight

I measured length at 142mm, maximum diameter at 33mm and minimum diameter on the body tube at 25mm. Weight with the included battery, and clip came in at 152G.

Length wise it’s slightly shorter than an Olight Warrior X, and very similar in most dimensions to a Nitecore MH12GTS. See the video for some visual comparisons of this.

 

LED/BeamShots

LED in use is a Cree XP-L HD V6 LED, no official tint data is given but I would call it a bright white, not too cool, but not warm. I don’t find it offensive and like it. For nature stuff it’s probably a little too cool for my ideal light.

The beam pattern has a definite hot spot, more like a thrower, the spill is pretty minimal, less than 5% of the light if I had to guess. I like that Klarus decided to include the diffuser on this light, since it is a bit throwy this really change things up and provides more light 360 degrees around. Now you could use it not only at night while hiking but also inside a tent suspended from the top, etc. More lights should come with a diffuser.

Working Voltage is 2.5 – 8.4V beaning it has no problem taking 18650, 2x 18350, or 2x CR123A.

Low – 10 Lumens

Medium – 100 Lumens

High – 400 Lumens

Turbo – 1200 Lumens

 

Strobe – 1200 Lumens

Beacon  – 100 Lumens

SOS – 100 Lumens

 

For my runtime tests I used the included 2600mAh battery. Total runtime was 210 minutes. The curves on this are generally pretty gradual, no hard step downs until the end. I believe this is due to the active thermal controls the light has and not timed step downs. The light held 80% relative output for right at 20 minutes which is pretty good. The graphs really tell the story, so make sure to check those out.

UI

The light has an on/off switch on the tail, with an electronic switch in the head. Once turned on you have constant on modes, Low, Medium, High and Turbo and you cycle through these with a single click each. The light does have memory mode if switched off with the tail switch in the constant on modes. When the light is on double clicking the switch in the head gets to the strobe modes. Long press on the same button to switch between Strobe, Beacon, and SOS. There are no shortcuts to turbo, or low.

While charging you can can click the mode button and the light will come on in low.

 

Recharging

The light recharges via Micro USB in a port opposite the button. It is recessed and wide cables or cables with large molding may have trouble reaching. I didn’t have this problem on the 3 or 4 I tested. The light does have LED indicators around the button so it will show battery charge status for 5 second when the light is turned on or changed modes. Green is greater than 70%, Orange is between 30-70%, and red less than 30%, and red flashing is less than 10%

The light includes a 2600mAh 18650 battery that is a button top and protected cell. It says working voltage is 4.2V to 2.75V which is a bit low for my preferences. On mine I can clearly see the label of the underlying cell and in this case it’s a YLE INR18650A260 the datasheet can be found http://www.yiklik.com/upload/manual/INR18650A260.pdf This is a Chinese battery supplier, that makes a variety of 18650’s. It seems they have been focused more on batteries for bikes, other personal transportation, and tools more then high draw flashlights.

Recharging Speed was measured at 1A, so charging the light over USB from it’s shut off point took 3 hours and 5 minutes in my test. Terminating Charge Voltage after rest of the battery was 4.17V.

When charged the red LED’s around the switch go to green, and the light gives a brief low power flash of the main emitter. I like this, it’s more noticeable than just an LED changing color.

Pro’s

  • Can take a wide variety of batteries, 18650, 2x CR123A, 2x 16340, 2x 18350
  • Definite upgrade in machining, finish, and packaging.
  • I love the slight sliver of LED’s around the switch, it just better done then similar lights that do this.
  • Includes a bike mount and diffuser dome.

 

Con’s

  • Not a big fan of double click to strobe, I would prefer a double click to turbo UI with triple click to Strobe.
  • No Moonlight mode.
  • Not using a well known established brand of battery for their branded cells.
  • No holster is included, not a big deal for me personally but worth mentioning.

 

Conclusion

To sum up the Klarus ST15R is a nice balance for a light that can be used in a lot of different applications. I wish the user interface was a little different, because I don’t like strobe so easily accessed with a double click. It’s nice that it comes with a bike mount and a diffuser, and I think this improves its usability with it’s more throwy beam. The LED isn’t a super cool tint which can happen with other Klarus lights, so I like that too. The fit and finish is a step up too in my opinion from some of the Klarus lights I have looked at in the past. I love the milling pattern on the body and the anodizing seems to be nicer as well. It’s a pretty nice light and let’s hope Klarus continues this trend in 2019.

 

Pick one up at https://www.flashlightz.com/klarus-st15r-1200-lumens

Xtar X4 4 Bay Battery Charger Review

Xtar has a new charger on the market the X4. I previously looked at the X2 but today I have a review of the X4, the 4 bay version. It’s capable of 4A and capable of charging Li-ion and Ni-MH batteries, with AC or 5V MicroUSB Power. Thanks to Xtar for sending this to me to test and review.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/E6G69Ki

YouTube version of this Review:

Packaging

The packaging is a white retail box with a gloss photo of the X4 on the front. The sides list a few key features such as the charging speed, Inputs, LCD display, the chemistries and sizes of batteries that are supported. The back gives more specifications and features of the charger. It contains a scratch off anti counterfeit sticker and is insured worldwide. The package contains the charger, AC power cable, and the manual.

Construction

The Xtar X4 charger is a 4 bay charger that can accommodate most common battery sizes. I had no trouble with all 18650’s, it will fit 4x 26650, and I didn’t have any issues with an unprotected 21700. Smaller batteries were ok too, 18350, AAA, etc. It will not charge a protected 21700 battery. The metal sliders are fairly smooth and have enough tension on them to hold a battery securely.

The body of the charger is a black ABS plastic that is heat and flame retardant, and is kind of in an X configuration, in outside appearance. There isn’t a fan in this charger meaning it’s silent, and I didn’t notice it get very warm during use. There is one button on the top, middle near the screen that when held turns the screen off, for night time charging if you wish.

I took some photos of the inside of the charger here. I am not a circuit engineer but to me it looks decent. Quality of the solder joints look good, A few components are not 100% squarely placed but not bad either. I don’t see any cold joints or things that I am alarmed about. If you see something you are concerned about, make sure to leave a comment. I suspect the second contact further down the slot is used in the detection of the battery as well.

Screen

The screen is a LCD with a dark black background and white text that’s tinted blue with a blue backlight. On each bay you get a 0-100% indicator showing what percentage the battery is at, on the top right corner you get the current voltage, below that you get the charge rate, below that in the center you get the mAh that’s been put into the cell since the start of charging, and lastly on the bottom left hand corner you get the cell chemistry that’s been detected. The screen is easy to read and I had no complaints about it. It does time out after a few minutes, you can press the button to wake it up.

Performance

Performance of the X4 is similar to the X2 but faster. The X4 will charge at up to 1A for all 4 slots or 2A on the outer slots if they are used solo. The charger has reverse polarity detection and didn’t charge batteries when they were placed in backwards. Battery chemistry was correctly identified, when you place a new cell in it takes a few seconds for it to go through detection and begin charging. Depending on the battery voltage the charger will apply the proper charge for most cells.

I tried a variety of cells, all the way from 21700’s, 26650, 18350, and of course 18650’s. I had no complaints about Lithium ion charging. It will not charge protected 21700s. I do have a little complain on NiMH charging of AAA cells though. It detected my Duracell AAA batteries here as the proper chemistry but charged them at 1A each. While not terrible, it’s faster than I like to charge them, and I can’t decrease the charge rate with this charger.

Terminating Voltage for a 18650 cell was 4.16V

Terminating Voltage for a AA NiHM was  1.42V

Terminating voltages as you can see from above were lower then what I would expect to see. I probably need a larger sample size of cells and chargers to see if this is a problem with just my example of the charger or an issue with my batteries.

The charger has 0V activation (Although this is generally not recommended for batteries with a Lithium chemistry). For  charging it has a 3 step process TC-CC-CV with soft start technology. This helps with overall battery longevity and long term health. I had no problems with excess heat during use of the charger.

 

USB PowerBank Function

The charger also has a powerbank function on slot 4. If no incoming power is put into the charger and you put a lithium battery into slot 4, the charger will go into powerbank mode. Plug a USB-A cable into the charger and then plug in your device to charge and it’s that simple. It’s not a feature I use often but it’s nice to have if needed.

 

Pro’s

  • All automatic, this make the charger very easy to use but doesn’t give enthusiasts any options on what speed to charge the batteries at. Default settings are generally conservative, which is safe.
  • AC Power via a fairly standard cable. The charger is compatible with 120/240v so it’s safe for international use. It can also be powered via MicroUSB.
  • Affordable, at US retailers it’s coming around $25-30 generally

 

Con’s

  • I would like to see the USB input be in USB-C over MicroUSB because it’s 2019.
  • Terminating voltages seemed to be a little low
  • A little high charge rate of 1A for AAA NiHM batteries.
  • A total of only 4A total charge rate is a little slow for a 4 bay charger.

 

Conclusion

The Xtar X4 is a nice updated charger from Xtar at a pretty affordable price. I have been a fan of Xtar chargers because they are a good value and provide a quality, safe charging experience. I was a fan of the X2 and am also a fan of the X4.

 

A total of 4A charge rate between all 4 bays is a little slow when charging 4x 18650 or larger batteries. Most larger modern batteries can easily take 2A charging speed. That said it’s an upgrade over Xtar’s previous 4 bay model the VC4 that I still end up using a fair amount. It would just be nice to see the X4 do a total of 8A but this might make it a little less easy to use with then having options to select. Maybe that’s for a future product, to offer enthusiasts more options and higher charge rates. Time will tell if this holds true or not. Until then the X4 does a nice job at a pretty affordable price.

More Information on the Xtar X4 Charger  can be found at: http://www.xtar.cc/cdq/AC_Power_Series/2018/1116/292.html

Pick up an Xtar X4 at Illumn or Amazon.

Brinyte WT-01 Prototype Review (SST-40, Qi Wireless Charging)

Wireless charging is popular on many mobile devices these days, but most of the rechargeable flashlights have either a cable you need to plug in or a magnetic charger. Brinyte has come up with a flashlight that uses inductive charging to charge up the light. Today I have a prototype version of the Brinyte WT01. Thanks to them for sending it to me to take a look at.

 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/Yhdc5Co

YouTube Version of this Review:

Packaging

With my light being a prototype the packaging was not anything near final form. It was a sturdy brown cardboard box. Accessories included the light itself, unbranded generic 3000mAh protected button top 18650 battery, Generic international 2A AC USB adapter with US adapter plug, Charging cradle and microUSB cable.

Construction & Design

The light is made from aluminum, and will be offered in a sand and black anodizing. My prototype was in the Sand color and unfortunately it’s paint and not anodizing. The result is it’s not a very durable finish. I have been assured that in the production version this will be a hard anodizing.

As far as design it’s a larger light. It’s capable of using a 18650 battery with the included spacer or a 26650. Starting at the tail cap, it’s a bit large, and simple. It tail stands nicely. The tail cap is glued in place. On the body tube there is a slight ring to do a cigar grip on. Moving on to the body tube, there are rings milled in and then 4 flats milled in. On my example these flats don’t always line up with the switch which is a little disappointing.

Inside this is a double wall design, threads on the body tube are fine and square cut cut, I would prefer something a bit more course to make it a little easier to thread on and minimize the risk of cross threading. One thing that does happen is when you take off the head and put it back on the light does come on in low mode. There are springs on both the head and tail of the light.

The head of the light itself is pretty smooth, with minimal heat syncing. The switch is electronic and covered by a green silicone cover. It has green and red LED’s under used when charging. The front bezel is smooth, and able to be unscrewed. The glass lens is anti reflective coated. Underneath is a deep smooth reflector and the LED is nicely centered.

Size and Weight

I measured overall length at 156mm, width at its widest point was 45mm, and at it’s thinnest point 33mm. Weight with the included battery is 313g

While this light is capable of running at 26650 battery and double wall construction it just feels a bit long and a bit thick. The tailcap adds to the length.

LED/Runtime

SST-40 LED with deep smooth reflector that’s a fairly neutral white. The SST-40 is a pretty good LED in my opinion. It doesn’t seem to suffer noticeable rainbow but it does seem to turn a bit more green a lower power inputs. The beam is more of a thrower. It has a small hot center, with a small area around that center of corona before it fades into the spill.

Runtimes

I did my runtime testing with the included 3000mAh generic button top protected battery the light came with. Total runtime was just at 100 minutes of usable light. It did do a pretty good job of being able to sustain it’s brightest mode for almost 20 minutes.

UI

UI on this light is non traditional but not complicated. It has 4 output modes of constant light and starts at high, then decreases to medium, then low, each time the button is pressed then off. Press the power button again and you get turbo, then it steps down through all the lower modes. The mode spacing is pretty even to the eye.

Brinyte lists outputs as:

Turbo 1100 Lumens

High 430 Lumens

Medium 70 Lumens

Low 10 Lumens

Strobe and SOS 1100 Lumens

Long press for 2 seconds to reach the 2 blinking modes of Strobe and SOS. To go back to constant on mode you have to go through both blinking modes and the light will resume to where you left off. There were no No shortcuts to go to turbo or to shut off

Light does come on in low if you disconnect the head and reconnect it with a battery inside.

Recharging

This light uses wireless inductive charging in it’s cradle. The cradle is pretty basic, no instruction or lights on it, just a microUSB port. It appears to be using Qi charging, because my Anker Qi chargers recognize the light and it goes through a sequence where it starts to charge but then stops. My guess this is because the inductive coils are not oriented correctly. My guess would be these run around the tail cap and are not on the flat where they would be for a phone typically. The cradle draws 0.2A (about 1W) on standby regardless of if it’s charging or not which is kind of high.

When charging the flashlight has a Red LED inside the button that comes on and it goes green when fully charged. I observed a 1.2A charging rate during charging, so a flat battery took 3 hours and 30 minutes to fully charge. The charging curve was pretty flat, not the usual taper. At the end I measured cell voltage at 4.17V. I will insert a photo of what I found overall capacity of the cell was at when I put it through a capacity test.

One other feature I noticed when recharging this light was that when you pull it off the charger it automatically comes on in low mode, or if the power is stopped to the charger. I could see this being useful for use if your house were to lose mains power and it would help you locate the light.

Pro

  • SST-40 LED, Fairly neutral white, solid beam performance
  • I like that colors are being offered from the beginning. Hopefully the anodizing will be more durable.
  • Nice to see someone try inductive charging on a flashlight.

 

Con

  • It’s a chunky light, and personally I don’t find it very attractive.
  • Recharging cradle draws 0.20a (About 1W) on standby regardless of if it’s charging or not. Kind of high.
  • UI is just different I would like to long press to turn off, and double click to go to turbo, maybe triple click to go to strobe.

 

Conclusion

I like the idea of wireless charging that doesn’t have exposed contacts but not if the cost is a larger light. Design wise I feel like the light is just a bit too generic and large for me. I don’t love that the tail cap is glued in place, but understand why they are doing it. I would like to see them go back to the drawing board and try to reduce the overall size of the light and add some more interesting design features.

 

With the emergency power type of feature I think I will set this light on my kitchen counter in it’s charging cradle so that if the power goes off it will automatically come on and can easily be found. I would like to see at the minimum a UI tweak to allow you to shut off the light without cycling all the way through the other modes.

 

It’s fun taking a look at a prototype light, let’s see if Brinyte makes any changes to the production version before I can say definitely if I give it a recommendation or not.

Quadhands Deluxe Helping Hands System Review

I have been doing some flashlight repair recently and was tired of getting burned hand holding or propping up very small wires, on very small drivers and springs. I was looking at “Helping Hands” solutions on Amazon and just didn’t want to pay some of the higher prices for the quality flexible systems from the industry vendors like Panavise and I didn’t want something light and flimsy. I reached out to Quadhands to see if they would be interested in sending me one to take a look at and they agreed. Thanks to Mark at Quadhands for the support, I think he might be interested in the flashlight hobby now after talking too.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/az3yl4W

YouTube Version of this Review:

Packaging

Packaging is plain but functional on my Quadhands Deluxe. It’s a sturdy cardboard box and all of the individual pieces were wrapped up in bubble wrap to prevent any scratching or rubbing during transport. No assembly or manual was required.

Construction

The heart of this work holding is the 5lbs, 5mm thick steel plate that’s powder coated bright yellow. On the Deluxe kid like I have it’s 8.5” x 11” base, this is really a great size for smaller flashlight project and most larger electronics type projects as well. It gives you plenty of space to work around, and allows you to space out the 5 arms to get things positioned just right. On the bottom you have 4 fairly large rubber feet that keep it in place, on a variety of surfaces. The powder coating is a great choice here over paint because it’s more durable and can better tolerate heat if your soldering iron makes contact or a blob of solder falls onto it.

The deluxe kit came with 5 of the all metal magnetic arms. You get two 8” arms measured tip to tip, one 12” arm, and two 16” arms. The arms are black in color and are made of flexible metal painted a matt black. They are capable of bending in all directions, up, down and all 360 degrees. Each have an alligator style stainless steel clip to hold your wires, components and circuit boards. In addition to that each has a small knurled wheel made from a black nylon behind the clip that allows you to loosen the clip, to rotate it to the exact angle you need and then tighten it down. For me this was a 2 handed operation to get it just right. There is a little bit of spring back on more extreme bends, this can be a little annoying if you are holding a wire to a small pad to solder but I found moving the arm further away to make less of an extreme bend fixes this most of the time.

The arms have made an improvement over previous generations with exposed magnets. Now they are using a thin slick piece of slick plastic on the bottom to allow  the arms to slide around with no visible scratching while still holding strong. These are very strong rare earth N57 magnets. One of the arms can easily pick up the entire 5lb steel plate, and more.

How it works in practice

I used this most recently to replace some wires on a flashlight driver that had come off due to an impact it suffered. I found the shorter arms for me worked better to hold the circuit board. I held the small board with 2 short arms and then used a third to hold the wire and then held the iron and solder in my two hands. I have done this job before without the Quadhands helping hands system and the result often times was slightly burnt fingers.

I can think of a few improvements that they could implement as addons or different kits. Different size alligator clips could come in handy, even better if they were swapped on and off, I could also see maybe a multi head design to allow you to hold a clip and an electronics or multimeter probe. Maybe offer a heavier duty arm that was threaded with a ¼ 20 thread the popular size for camera tripods and flashlights would open up some cool ideas too for testing or filming with a gopro during testing etc.

Conclusion

The Quadhands workholding helping hands system is a really great option to hold your small PCB’s while soldering or doing other fine work. For a flashlight enthusiast and electronics builders this is a really nice option. I love that it’s made in the USA, and has makers that are easy to get a hold of. It really does work well for small soldering work, and foresee this meeting my needs for a long time. I think this is something that would fall into that buy it for life category and it’s all at an affordable price.

 

Quadhands Website https://www.quadhands.com/

Quadhands Deluxe on Amazon https://amzn.to/2JAaZQJ