[Review] 77 Outdoors D25 Headlamp (18650)

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[Review] 77 Outdoors D25 Headlamp (18650)

I was recently approached by Sue “from 77 Outdoor-a new company supported by Sofirn.” This is the first I’ve heard of 77 Outdoors; but I tend to like Sofirn and the relationship they have with us here at BLF. So… I agreed to do a review of their D25 Headlamp (Amazon, non-aff link).

Instead of boring you with paragraphs of details, I’ll give ya’ll the cliffnotes:

The Good

  • Very bright! Approximately 1181 lumens by my estimation
  • Lightweight and easy to wear, won’t slip down. I measured 75g without battery and 120g with it.
  • Anodizing is smooth and even
  • Including a battery was a nice and unexpected token
  • The user interface (button presses) isn’t too bad, but might take some getting used to. I like that the Strobe / SOS / Beacon is hidden.
  • Built in charging is nice; charging stopped at 4.19V
  • Low Voltage cutoff is conservative, which I like. My headlamp turned off at 2.95 volts.
  • LED has a nice tint; almost pure white with maybe a faint touch of blue
  • Square-cut threads

The Not-So-Good

  • The threads are very shallow, they feel cheap when you go to unscrew the end caps
  • The reflector retainer is made of plastic; it’s not really a big issue, but feels a bit cheap if you notice it.
  • The reflector retainer is not sealed; that means it’s not really waterproof. It needs a gasket or silicone to be sealed.
  • No instructions included. Thankfully there are instructions on the Amazon listing, but having a small instruction sheet in the box would be nice.
  • This is personal preference, but the LEDs are a very cool white. Many people like that, but I generally prefer a more neutral white (around 5000K). I kinda wish the MCPCB was 3535 instead of 5050, as I have a bunch of 3535 LEDs around… pretty much no 5050’s.

The UI:

  • From off, single-click to activate the middle mode (~273 lumens); single-click within 2 seconds of turning on to enter high (~1181 lumens)
  • When on, single-click to turn off
  • When on, press & hold the switch to enter (stepped) “ramping” (5 brightness level from 25%-10%-3%-100%-50%)
  • From any mode, double-click to activate strobe; double-click again to active SOS; double-click again to active Beacon

Modes: lumens are rough estimates, of course!

Thanks to Sue from 77 Outdoors for providing the headlamp for this review.

Package includes the headlamp, strap, micro USB cable, and a Sofirn 2200mAh battery

Business-end of the D25: dual XM-L2’s

Reflector housing removed, note: not sealed

Uniquely shaped aluminum MCPCB, thermal adhesive

D25 weighs in at 119g with battery, barely more than the AA/14500 Thrunite TH20

Thrunite TH20 with battery weighing in at 107g, almost as much as the 18650 D25

Same diameter as the TH20, and only a little bit longer

Cool white D25 vs the neutral TH20 against a white cloth

Cool white D25 vs the neutral TH20 against a wooden table

Runtime graph: fast drop in the first ~5 minutes, fairly stable after that

Edited by: gchart on 02/22/2019 - 16:00
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UI / MCU Mod

While the original UI isn’t terrible, it could be so much better. So… I tore down the headlamp (desolder LED wires from MCPCB and unscrew the button-end of the lamp, then push out the internals from the battery side) to prepare it for a brain transplant.

The driver itself is completely separate from the charging circuit, thankfully. Unfortunately though, the MCU wasn’t labelled and was probably PIC or something else I’m unfamiliar with (due to the pin layout with VDD and GND on opposing pins). Thankfully, that’s the same layout as the new attiny412 chips! But that brings it’s own set of difficulties: no firmware and scarce documentation on programming them.

Firmware: I started writing my own e-switch firmware mostly from scratch, but then I realized that what I was creating was almost identical to TomE and TK’s RampingIOS (found in the Emisar lights). So… I modified RampingIOS to accept compile-time switches for Attiny85 / 412 / 416 / 817 / etc. I also added compile-time switches for single channel vs dual-channel. All of this fit nicely onto the 4KB program space of the 412, which fit nicely onto the footprint of the old MCU. It’s running flawlessly… with the exception that I still need to dial in the temperature calibration. The AS-IS firmware can be found here.

Programming: the new AVR chips use UPDI (universal programming and debugging interface) instead of our old standby SPI interface (the 6 wire VDD/GND/RESET/SCK/MISO/MOSI). UPDI uses only 3 wires (VDD/GND/RESET), but the options for programming is a bit sparse. El Tangas has come up with a nice solution that I need to try. But for now, I bought a Attiny416 Xplained Nano development board and disconnected the onboard MCU. This allows it to be used as a programmer for other MCUs. AVRDUDE now has support for this, but you have to build it from scratch (it’s currently not in the pre-compiled versions). I installed Window (yuck) on an old laptop I had sitting around and installed Atmel Studio 7, which has great UPDI support and allows for in-system debugging (which has been extremely helpful).

Now the D25 runs RampingIOS, and I’ll say… it’s pretty great. Very intuitive interface. Well done, TomE and ToyKeeper!

Here’s the pin-out, and with the attiny412 in place. Note the hole drilled under the UPDI pad so that I can program the 412 while the headlamp is assembled.

pennzy
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I to have one of these . My charge indicator light turns green at 4.1 volts . It continues to charge after that to 4.22 volts and then stops.

I used mine this week to paint a room and it worked very well for cutting in the ceiling/wall line.

I to would prefer 5000k NW but it is not too cold.

Overall, a decent headlamp.

Lightbringer
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Beat me to it… I just got mine, was gonna review it here, too. Smile

I also noticed the same “D25” moniker for this, Boruit, and Xanes. It’s enough to get you dizzy trying to keep track of which ones came first. LOL

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Lightbringer wrote:
Beat me to it..

I thought you might be reviewing it too… Sue accidentally called me LightBringer in one email
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I have the xanes version, but only able to get 700ish lumens out of mine. I have the same super cool 6500k+ twin xpl“s…guessing yours has a updated/different driver?

Sometimes being a newb is the best part of a hobbie

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Redlyne22 wrote:
I have the xanes version, but only able to get 700lumens out of my twin xpl“s…guessing your has a different driver?

I plan on dismantling it soon. Based on pictures of the driver I’ve seen from other threads, I think I can swap out the MCU (current one is likely unlabelled). I’ll make sure to take pics while I’m in there.
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gchart wrote:
I thought you might be reviewing it too… Sue accidentally called me LightBringer in one email

LOL

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Redlyne22
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gchart wrote:
Redlyne22 wrote:
I have the xanes version, but only able to get 700lumens out of my twin xpl“s…guessing your has a different driver?
I plan on dismantling it soon. Based on pictures of the driver I’ve seen from other threads, I think I can swap out the MCU (current one is likely unlabelled). I’ll make sure to take pics while I’m in there.

Sometimes being a newb is the best part of a hobbie

Redlyne22
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Sweet Smile looking forward to it.

Just imagine a pair of 90+cri LEDs being pushed with 1300+ lumens and this will be one badaxx headlight.

Sometimes being a newb is the best part of a hobbie

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Just chiming in to say I got my “rebate” from Sue, also. So they seem legit.

The Sofirn 2200 mAh battery tested at 2348 mAh on my Lii-500.

This light is exactly like the Boruit D10 in so many ways (UI, build, etc.) except with 2 no-name emitters.


But it does look a lot brighter and wider-beamed to me. The weight difference is negligible, but 1.87A to 2.49A max current will probably cause a noticeable drop in battery life for those who use the highest mode a lot.

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I was wondering how long before I started seeing this light reviewed. I have been approached a few times by folks offering a rebate for a review and have passed. This time I bit, and they were pretty quick at providing the refund after my purchase. I have not even received the light yet, it’s due to arrive on Monday. I didn’t read the listing on amazon closely, but it was not clear if it came with a battery or not (now I know), and it it also seemed like it only had low, high, and a bunch of blinky modes, which I was not too excited about in a headlamp. Glad to hear it has a decent UI, we will see how I deal with the color, I’m not super fond of colors above 5K.

PocketSammich wrote: I don’t need this, but I want it. Please sign me up.

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Yeah, it’s close to Angry Blue in CT, but it’s also pretty bright for a headlamp.

And I was all prepared to hate the UI, but it grew on me. When you figure that medium and well-done are likely gonna be the 2 most-used modes, you get ‘em with 1 or 2 clicks from off. For all others, press’n‘hold to step from medium to medium-rare, rare, then well, medium-well, back to medium, and repeat the cycle. And 1 click for off.

I already put up my review on Amazon, dunno if it’s “published” yet. Once it is, I’ll copy it here.

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@gchart, are you sure about the 0.2mA current draw when the light is off? I did not measure that with my meter, I actually did not match any of the numbers you got. My meter is old and not calibrated, but I did see the current drop roughly at the same rate as you did. I measured 1.2a, 0.62A, 0.32A, 0.17A and 0.09A with my meter on the 10A scale. I measured 0.02mA on the mA scale, and 0.01 with my meter on the uA scale. I thought maybe those scales were not working, so I checked my d4 (which has an aux light board in it) and measured 0.7mA on both the mA and uA scales. This agrees with what I measured on a calibrated meter at my work.

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gchart
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Were you using a fully charged battery? That will make a big difference in this light since the driver is essentially a few current limiting resistors (in parallel) being PWM’ed by a couple small FETs. Following Ohms Law, if your voltage is lower than in my test, so would your current be.

If your battery was fully charged, then I scratch my head a bit. My amp readings seem to coincide with the lumen measurements pretty well.

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I did not have a fully charged battery. I did charge it last night, and the higher intensity current values went up, but the bottom end was still 0.18A, 0.09A. But what I was mostly wondering was the off current. 0.2mA says the battery will be dead in a month and a half. I did not measure that much current, and I was able to measure 0.7mA on my D4, which I am sure is very close to accurate.

PocketSammich wrote: I don’t need this, but I want it. Please sign me up.

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My measurements of the lower levels was 0.08A and 0.20A, which seems pretty close to your measurements of 0.09A and 0.18A… no?

Here’s my estimate for standby drain with included 2200mAh battery and my measurement of 0.2mA drain:

  • 2200mAh ÷ 0.2mA = 11,000 hours
  • 11,000 hours ÷ 24 hours/day = 458 days
  • 458 days ÷ ~30 days/month = 15 months

It’s entirely possible that I wrote down the figure incorrectly, but 0.2mA doesn’t seem unreasonable for standby drain. I remember it acting a bit odd, though. I feel like standby was near immeasurable until I turned the light on and off again, at which point it went up to ~0.2mA. Its as if some of the MCU peripherals (like perhaps a timer/counter, WDT, RTC, or BOD) didn’t get turned on until the light was turned on for the first time after a battery swap; but once enabled, they didn’t get shut off again for standby. Just a guess, but plausible.

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Driver mod complete – now running RampingIOS! See Post 2

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Thanks for the review and update on an excellent mod. Beer

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

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MRsDNF wrote:
Thanks for the review and update on an excellent mod. Beer
x2! wish I had the time a patience to fool around with doing this sort of thing.

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Thanks guys! Oh, and if anyone isn’t up for flashing the firmware but is interested in doing this with their D25, I might be able to send a pre-flashed attiny412 to drop in (once I get the temp calibration straightened up… we’ll see how that goes though, because this thing doesn’t have a very good thermal path to the driver).

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Wow, nice mod! Great minds think alike because I bought the same dual headlamp from this Ali store for $14 shipped. All I did was replace the LED's to 4C's for now. I use mine almost every day for bench work - light weight, easy to adjudt, easy UI for me so far, but of course I'd like to get smooth ramping in there.

I had no idea it was sold under other names, least looks the same.

 

How did you get access to the driver? I can't budge the end cap with the 2 notches - dunno if CW or CCW to unscrew, but either way very, very tight on mine.

Maybe they glued the heck out of mine? Cheaper source of course...

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Tom E wrote:
Wow, nice mod! … How did you get access to the driver?

Thanks Tom! And kudos on RampingIOS, I like this headlamp 10x now. I really would like some different emitters, but my only spare XM-L2’s are cool white. I’m kinda waiting to see if anyone gets the 4000K or 5000K SST-40’s in. Those are about the only other 3V 5050 LEDs I can think of unless (outside of those crazy 3V 50.2’s). But I really don’t want to dump a bunch of money in a cheap headlamp.
  1. Unscrew the end cap with the 2 notches CCW. It’s probably just tight. Mine had no hint of glue anywhere. There is an o-ring though that might be contributing to the resistance.
  2. Desolder the LED wires
  3. Using a wooden stick or something, push on the PCBs from the battery tube area

BTW, I’ve seen tear-downs of the single emitter version too. Same/similar driver. But the LED was mounted on our typical 20mm star, makings emitter swaps simple… and optics and option (link). The simplicity of this driver kinda bugs me, though. It’s just a few current limiting resistors being PWM’ed.

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Ok, thanx! Yea, scary the way some of these drivers are designed, now that I know more bout them.

I applied a lot of leverage with a decent pair of needlenose and it didn't budge - came close to wrecking the holes. I'll give it another go - maybe clamped in the vise using pine.

 

I started look'n at some of that review thread - interesting. What I really like bout this headlamp is super light weight even with an 18650, plenty of light, centered beam, centered weight on your head and 1-2 clicks for my mode, 1 click off.

The head strap though constantly loosens, PIA, but probably could use it with a better one.

I though it would have given off more of a wide beam but seems pretty circular - the 2 beams must converge. Does it look the same to you?

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Up close (say within the first foot or so) the beam is a bit wider. But once you get further than that away from the light source, a position offset of 3/4” or so doesn’t really make a lick of difference.

Garry has a few disassembly pics at the end of his first post in this thread (as a side note, I see his switch also had a debouncing capacitor+resistor… they must have changed to software debouncing later on). There might be more pics later on, as well. Good luck with getting it apart. You’re trying with the USB cover tightened down towards the emitters, right?

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I did it hard way.. This is modded ak-47A with 10 step ramping firmware Big SmileThumbs UpBeer

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Quadrupel wrote:
I did it hard way.. This is modded ak-47A with 10 step ramping firmware Big Smile

I won’t say that porting code to run on a different family of microcontroller is necessarily “the easy way”, but it certainly looks like you did choose a hard (but effective) way! Beer
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gchart wrote:
Up close (say within the first foot or so) the beam is a bit wider. But once you get further than that away from the light source, a position offset of 3/4" or so doesn't really make a lick of difference. Garry has a few disassembly pics at the end of his first post "in this thread":http://budgetlightforum.com/node/58827 (as a side note, I see his switch also had a debouncing capacitor+resistor... they must have changed to software debouncing later on). There might be more pics later on, as well. Good luck with getting it apart. You're trying with the USB cover tightened down towards the emitters, right?

Think so... I'm at work right now, maybe  in an hour or 2 can take a look. Not sure I understand the importance of having the button/driver end tightened though - maybe I didn't? Oh boy - let me look again.

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What kind of driver could it be replaced with? Mine’s elsewhere at the moment, so can’t really check. Flat Stare

Imagine any driver that takes an e-switch (eg, SP10?) might do it? “Standard” 17mm?

I don’t like resistor-type “regulation”… would be nice to have something more consistent.

Also, the “glue” that holds the mcpcb… hard like epoxy, or rubbery Fujik-like stuff? If the bezel could hold some TIRs in place, a pair of regular mcpcbs can be “floated” on the shelf with regular thermal goop (eg, AS5) once it’s cleaned.

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Tom E wrote:
Not sure I understand the importance of having the button/driver end tightened

It might not really matter, just worth a shot if nothing else is working.

Lightbringer wrote:
What kind of driver could it be replaced with? …
Also, the “glue” that holds the mcpcb… hard like epoxy, or rubbery Fujik-like stuff?

I’m not sure if much will be very “drop in” worthy. I thought about designing a driver for it, but I’m not sure if it’s really worth it at the moment. The MCPCB adhesive seems to be the rubbery white stuff. I think a TIR works in the single emitter version, but not really this one. I dunno, maybe some small AAA light ones would work.
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Hmm…

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