UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

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UPz
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UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)


ULTRATAC A5
LED: CREE XP-G2 S4 CW
Battery: 1x AAA / 1× 10440
Modes: 3 (M, L, H)
Switch: Reverse, at tailcap
Date: June 2017
Links:
Ultratac · RdLinternas · ForoLinternas

INTRODUCTION
Ultratac has recently launched a new AAA model: this is the Ultratac A5, a compact flashlight but designed for use beyond the typical keychain duty.

The flashlight comes in a plastic box, similar to the one found in the Lumintop Tool / Worm range, only a little more spacious.

Inside you will find the flashlight accompanied by an AAA alkaline, a small silicone diffuser, a pair of spare o-rings, a brass ring, small split ring and user manual with warranty card. The presentation is excellent.

EXTERNAL FINISH
As I mentioned the Ultratac A5 is a flashlight that has an unconventional design, since although it uses a common battery for super-compact / keychain flashlights, this new Ultratac seems to be designed more for a shirt-pocket duty, since its noticeably longer thanks to its mechanical switch located in the tail.

Its dimensions define it as a kind of compact penlinght, ideal for carrying it in the pocket of a shirt.

At just 16g, the Ultratac A5 is a relatively light flashlight. With an AAA NiMH we go to almost 27g.

The entire body is made of anodized aluminum with a super nice matt finish. The tone of the color is uniform throughout the different parts that make up the flashlight. The machining is quite original, with a square area in the center of the tube where it has been used to engrave the logos on the opposite faces.

The A5 can be disassembled into three main parts. On the one hand the head, on the other the body containing the mechanical switch and finally the tail plug, which in practice does not allow us to change the battery from there since it has no access to the battery housing.

The tailcap contains the pushbutton that acts on the switch itself on the body of the flashlight. It is made of steel and has a very good feel.

Thanks to its flat base, it allows to place the light in candle mode, extremely useful if it is used combined with the included mini diffuser.

The threads have a standard triangular cut, and come clean and slightly greased. The battery housing is generous, suitable even for protected 10440 batteries.

The pocket clip is removable. The brass ring is to be placed as a bezel, supplementing the space the clip itself leaves when being removed.

The cool white tinted CREE XP-G2 S4 emitter is correctly centered behind a small textured reflector. The lens is made of glass with anti-reflective treatment.

USER INTERFACE
With the features of its mechanical construction you will have already intuited what kind of user interface this new Ultratac A5 has: Three modes selectable from its mechanical type reverse switch …

  • Switching on and off: Using the switch located on the tail of the flashlight, you can turn the A5 on and off. Since it is a mechanical reverse type switch it is necessary to press completely (until the click) and release so that the flashlight switches on or off.
  • Changing modes: With the flashlight on, simply press the switch slightly, without clicking – just to interrupt the circuit for an instant and release – to change the mode. The order of modes is Medium-Low-High.
  • Memory: The Ultratac A5 has no memory mode and, passed five seconds since its last use, it will reset and always switch back to Medium mode as default.
  • Blocking: The flashlight can be locked mechanically with a slight unscrewing of the thread of its head. The A5 has no parasitic consumption as it uses a mechanical switch, and is not particularly prone to being turned on accidentally, but I guess it is always okay to block it.


( All measurements are taken following the ANSI NEMA FL1 procedure, taking as value the highest reading between the second 30 and 120 after activation )

Although this Ultratac A5 is already a final / production version, it does not yet have final product specifications. After my own measurements I’ve found a well-balanced mode distribution for the type of interface it haves (no memory-default on the Medium mode). The low mode, with its 2.5lm is very usable. A medium mode with 14 lumen is fine for a default mode, and the almost 100 lumen of its high mode now offers that plus for spot situations where more light is required.

PERFORMANCE

Something in which Ultratac has worked very hard in the design phase of the circuit of this A5 is to obtain a much higher efficiency than usual. I know that the team of engineers of the brand has worked hard and well to reach this circuit that offers a TOP efficiency of the range. Almost 50 minutes of fully regulated output with over 90 real lumen all that time with a mundane AAA Eneloop of 750mAh.

While it is true that there are more or less current flashlights that offer much more spectacular outputs, compared to the efficiency of this Ultratac A5 there is only one possible rival …

… and that rival is the acclaimed Maratac AAA REV3 (copper version). You can see that both flashlights have almost exactly the same output and type of regulation, although the Maratac seems to maintain the regulation a couple of minutes more in front of the Ultratac, although once lost the so precious regulation the fall in the Maratac is sharper than in the A5. I would leave him in a technical tie …

BEAM PROFILE
As expected, with an optics so similar to the K18, the projection of the Ultratac A5 is identical to the one in its digital switch equipped sister flashlight.


We have a large hotspot that is softly blurred with the spill creating an overflowing character projection.

The tint is exactly the same as we saw on the K18 v2017, cold white without a clear dominant. Great tint for such a high bin CREE LED emitter me thinks.

The beam profile of the A5 is clean, balanced and versatile, ideal for everyday close range use at or as a backup flashlight.

PERSONAL CONCLUSION
In recent times we are seeing how many brands are incorporating switches to their AAA models. When you think of a AAA with rear switch the most popular example is perhaps the Lumintop Tool AAA … And it is a certainly attractive model but its poor performance, and especially its low efficiency makes it little useful compared to other alternatives. The A5 is a flashlight that, from a short penlight point of view, is a great alternative for those who need a small but yet comfortable to use flashlight that fits in the shirt pocket as if it were a short pen.



Lumintop Tool Ti · Ultratac K18 v2017 · Lumintop Tool Cu · Ultratac A5

Negatives: Aesthetically I think the design of the A5 isn’t attractive. It can be extremely long if we are accustomed to compact flashlights or to keychain lights, although this becomes a positive thing if we look at it from the ergonomics point of view.

Positive aspects: Ultratac could, as other manufacturers do, have used the same driver already designed for the K18, adapting only the switch response … instead of that, they have designed a completely new driver chasing the highest efficiency levels of the range … and I think they have succeeded. And I also think they have improved it, since they have done so without PWM, and compatible with 10440 batteries. I hope that in the future the experience gained in the development of this model will be applied in future models and updates, and that Ultratac delight us with these performance levels also in their other models.

AgentSteel
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Looks like a great little light! (only missing a neutral white tint!)

Thanks for the review Thumbs Up

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur

UPz
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haven’t tried (yet), but the brass retaining ring on the driver looks like an easy way to access the guts… easier than in the k18 to swap the cool white cree for a neutral cree or nichia.
Thanks for the comment! Thumbs Up

yizhiren
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Very good efficiency. Did you test the run time of 10440 battery? 

UPz
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I’ll be testing with 10440 maybe tomorrow Wink

TheBo
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i wondered how this performed against the k18v2017 and finally we have a good review about it. So this should be an improved k18v2017? better output and better efficency? right?.... a shame i like the looks of the new k18 more... Flat Stare

Rufusbduck wrote:
Getting discouraged is normal but doesn't finish the job.
mattlward
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Really like the look of this one. It is a Tool that will tailstand without having to be a darn twisty! Hope the LED can be changed, but I bet it is glued up tight!

EDC rotation:
Convoy S2+, 6*7135, XM-L2 3D, 10 degree TIR, PilotDog lighted tailcap.
Convoy S2+, H17F, XM-L2 4C, lighted tailcap
Zebralight SC52w-L2
Olight S1A
Olight S1R

djburkes
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If the Tool could be modded so can this. The last few Tools that I modded had glue on the pill threads but they still came out fairly easy. This light looks a tad easier to mod since it has a retaining ring. We’ll see, my wife’s been wanting me to mod another Tool but they are a PIA because the parts are so small…she may like this one better any way.

tempo
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I M in for 1

AAA cklicies are a rarity. Good ones

mattlward
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DJ, with a very sharp pair of tweezers, I find the tools easy to mod. Yup, some have glue but between the ears on the driver and the little holes in the driver I have yet to damage one. I may have to try one of these, just hope the PWM is not horrible!

EDC rotation:
Convoy S2+, 6*7135, XM-L2 3D, 10 degree TIR, PilotDog lighted tailcap.
Convoy S2+, H17F, XM-L2 4C, lighted tailcap
Zebralight SC52w-L2
Olight S1A
Olight S1R

mattlward
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The copper Reylight Tool and the Ti Reylight Tools have been my goto AAA clicky lights. I also really like this little guy, but it has PWM and no clip but tail stands well and has a 219B installed! I would love to see this light in brass or copper.

EDC rotation:
Convoy S2+, 6*7135, XM-L2 3D, 10 degree TIR, PilotDog lighted tailcap.
Convoy S2+, H17F, XM-L2 4C, lighted tailcap
Zebralight SC52w-L2
Olight S1A
Olight S1R

djburkes
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mattlward wrote:
The copper Reylight Tool and the Ti Reylight Tools have been my goto AAA clicky lights. I also really like this little guy, but it has PWM and no clip but tail stands well and has a 219B installed! I would love to see this light in brass or copper.

That does look pretty cool…almost like a CRX modded light Big Smile

TheBo
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Also... Is the tint the same icy/gray tint of the k18... At least the k18 with xp-g2 s2?...

 

I don't know if the s4 looks the same.

 

I kinda like it for a cool tint

Rufusbduck wrote:
Getting discouraged is normal but doesn't finish the job.
djburkes
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I ordered an A5 the Dat this review came out because I like to mod small lights into pocket rockets. It has a very nice look and feel. The bad part is the metal switch, in a way, it seems like a smaller version of what is used on the Reylight TI. It took a little work to get the switch to feel good on the Reylight. This metal switch cap has the worst rattle…it’s definitely going to take some work to get the rattle out.

The driver retaining ring was glued in but it’s so small that a pair of needle nose pliers makes short work of the glue. Once the retaining ring is removed, everything comes out of the head quite nicely. The led will be replaced with a Nichia 319A on a 10mm Sinkpad and the driver with a 10mm fet…should be interesting.

UPz
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I’ve tested both the A5 and the k18 v2017 with 10440 battery. The cell used is a 330mAh (tested capacity in mc3000 device) li-ion battery from fasttech, which I have removed the protection board and rewrapped.

None of the two lights shows any signs of regulation on any modes.
K18 v2017 performs somewhat better, but the low voltage warning (nice feature btw) in the higher mode kicks in early (at ~3V) and stepdowns the light to low with the blinky signal every few seconds. Med mode on the K18 looks better, not fully flat regulated but looking good and useful imho.
A5 has no low batt warning feature so it tortures the 10440 down to 1.xV (you can see how the driver thinks the depelled liion battery is a fresh nimh-alkaline aaa and try to go flat hh) and thus extracts much higher efficiency than the K18 v2017. A5 Med mode has great performance with unregulated output fading slowly from ~170lm at the first seconds.