Review: ThruNite TN11S (XM-L U2 | 1 x 18650 / 2 x CR123A)

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Review: ThruNite TN11S (XM-L U2 | 1 x 18650 / 2 x CR123A)

ThruNite continues their onslaught of new products releases with the latest being the TN11S. I'd hesitate to call this the TN11's replacement as they are two very different lights (at least the UI). I just got it in today so am putting up the specs and a condensed video summary for you to get the high-level 411 and will be fleshing it out in the days ahead.




MFG SPECS
MSRP: $109USD
- LED: Cree XML U2 LED with a lifespan of 20+years of run time.
- Max 830 lumen output using 3 or 4*CR123A or 2*18650 batteries (with extended tubes).
- Low: 9.4 lm. 130 hours; Mid: 424.7 lm. 3 hours; High: 830lm. 80 minutes; Strobe: 830lm. 2.7 hours.
- Working voltage: 3V to 12V.
- Removable steel pocket clip.
- Max runtime: 130 hours.
- Max beam distance: 355 meters.
- Peak beam intensity: 28900cd.
- Impact resistant: 1.2 meters.
- Waterproof to IPX-8 standard.
- 157.50mm length, 41.00mm bezel diameter. (without extended tube)
- Weight: 169.20g without battery.
- Aircraft grade aluminum body structure.
- Premium type III hard anodized anti-abrasive finish.
- Ultra-clear tempered glass lens with anti-reflective coating.
- Momentary forward click tactical switch.
- Programmable memory function.
- Strobe mode for tactical and emergency use.
- Low, medium and high modes to balance power consumption and light output.
- Stainless steel front striking bezel.
- Smooth reflector for max light output.
- Highly focused beam for maximum distance.
- Tactical knurling for firm grip.
- Streamlined body design.
- Reversed polarity protection.
- Durable T-shaped thread.
- Side switch on tail cap for direct access to strobe from power-off and changing modes form power-on for Military and Tactical Application.


PACKAGING / CONTENTS
The TN11S comes with a standard outer cardboard box and inner plastic shell:

As is typical for ThruNite, they have packed a bunch of accessories which included:
- 1 x battery anti-rattle tube (for use w/2xCR123A's or 2x16340's)
- 1 x clip
- 1 x GITD tailcap
- 1 x lanyard
- 2 x o-ring's
- 2 x extensions (although I'm uncertain how many should be included by default)


CONDENSED VIDEO SUMMARY

DESIGN / FEATURES
For all intents and purposes, the TN11S is a reincarnation of the TN11 but with a slightly different styled body, a higher bin emitter (U2 vs. T6) and a new electronic side switch on the tail cap. As can be seen below, the parts are completely interchangeable between the two (as well as the TN10), however, as per my video below re: intercompatibility, each light requires its own tailcap switch in order to be fully functional


The bezel is also identical and also holds a doubl-sided coated AR lens that protects the XM-L U2 emitter which is perfectly centered:


The head can be disassembled as follows:


While the o-ring is around the reflector in the pic above, care should be taken to place it on top of the reflector during reinstallation to ensure water resistance is not adversely impacted:


The reflector was extremely smooth and I didn't notice any artifacts whatsoever. It measures 34.7mm in diam and 32.2mm in depth:


The centering mold helps the reflector sit perectly centered around the emitter:


As for the exterior design of the head, it actually reminds me a lot of the Scorpion's turbo head, however it's not identical:


The anti-roll ring is actually functional if placed on the apex of one of the sides which alternates between a curved and flat pattern:


The three cooling fins aid w/heat dissapation but temps are rather moderate on one cell:

With two cells, the TN11S can hit temps of 105+ so caution should be excercised if using High output continuously (see Runtime section for further details).

The tube features two flat sides that continues ThruNite's traditon of having the company name and slogan on one side and the model name and serial # on the other:


While the texture aids with the grip, the tactical ring serves that purpose much better:

It also assists with anti-roll as well.

[NEW 7/1: There is one mounting point for the lanyard:


It can be removed to assist with tailstanding on a flat stable surface in a pinch:
]

The same texture applied on the tube also features prominently on the tailcap as well. There is a mechanical forward-clicky switch at the end of the tailcap that functions as the master on/off button. Since it protrudes out significantly it renders the TN11S unable to tailstand (however, check my video for a workaround):


Before we hit the star of the show, I just wanted to highlight that the threads are nicely square-cut and anodized:


So now we get to the main attraction, the newly incorporated side switch:

[NEW 6/26: The side-switch provides instant access to the Strobe function as well as level changes (more in UI section) and the rubber is of sufficient thickness so as to require a decent amount of force to activate to reduce the likelihood of accidental activation.

It can be disassembled by removing the retaining disc with a pair of needle-nose pliers or tweezers:


As can be seen here, the side switch is a soft-touch electronic type:


There is additional circuitry within the switch of which chief amongst them is a resistor:


The resistor reduces resting voltage with the master clicky switch on or off:


Isolated with just a battery, it draws 10.3µA with the master switch off and 117.4mA while on:

That's actually significant so I'll try to rig it up w/the head to see what exactly all the current draws for each level are.

The groove helps ensure that the switch is properly aligned during reinstallation:
]

[NEW 7/1: The tail cap cover is a standard 14mm type and can be swapped out with the included GITD one (or any of the same size for that matter):


The holster has a velcro loop in addition to the button for added security:

Although not recommended, it could potentially be used without the velcro portion by slotting the belt between the fasteners for quicker removal (but with reduced grip).]


SIZE / HANDLING
No ext. tube

L to R: RL3100 | Sunwayman T20C | XENO G10v2 | ThruNite TN10 | FoxFury Rook CheckMate | Fenix TK21 | ThruNite TN11 | ThruNite TN11S | Lighten7 Elite M1A | Lighten7 Elite M1B


The TN11S is on the larger end of my 1 x 18650 sized lights. It just edges out the TN11 due to the new tail switch being just a little longer.]

Here are two quick comparo shots to the TN11:


[NEW 7/1: And in my medium-sized hand:


w/1 ext. tube

L to R: RL3100 | Crelant V9-T6 | Lighten7 Elite M1A | Lighten7 Elite M1B | ThruNite TN10 | ThruNite TN11 | ThruNite TN11S | Niteye EYE25



I don't have too many lights in this size category so elected to include some of my largest 1x18650 lights and the shortest 2x18650 light. The size is still pretty manageable and doesn't feel too unbalanced in the hand:

A cigar-grip can still be employed without too much effort.

w/2 ext. tube

L to R: RL3100 | Niteye EYE25 | Klarus XT20 | Lighten7 Max L2A | ThruNite TN11 w/2 x ext. | SureFire M3LT | ThruNite TN11S w/2 x ext. | Sunwayman T40CS

With both extension tubes installed, the TN11S doesn't feel too unbalanced since the head isn't particularly large or heavy unlike some of its peers:




So here's what's different about the extension tubes; the ones for the TN11/TN10 were anodized thus forcing them to be installed on the tailcap side only since the head side must remain unanodized in order for the light to remain programmable:


To recap, the TN10/11 featured dual negative paths for the circuit to detect which state the head was in (tightened/loosened):

L: TN11 head; first negative path is the threads and second is via the aluminum ring on the base of the head | R: The TN11S lacks this aspect

This allows some flexibility on how the extension tubes can be mounted for if you'll note in the pics above of the TN11S, I have them in various positions either on the head end or the tailcap end. Ultimately, it's really about aesthetics and personal choice, however, it will impact holster use w/the tactical ring in place as the end of the holster isn't large enough to fit the tactical ring through in which case, the extension tubes must be mounted on the tailcap end.

Without an extension tube, the tactical ring sits comfortably within the holster,however, with one extension, it'll be really tough (albeit not entirely impossible) to fit it through given the tapered edge:

However, once it passes through, it'll be extremely difficult to remove especially with the flat end now facing the end of the holster.

Thus if use with a holster is desired, then the extension tubes should be installed on the tailcap side:


Of note though is that if the main tube is situated anywhere except for the very end, you'll lose the anti-roll capability from the tactical ring:


What would be really interesting is if there was a shorty tube available. For this pic, I simply placed the tailcap at the very end of one extension tube:


To provide a better perspective on the size, here's a comparo shot next to the TN11 w/standard tube:


The tube will need to feature a male connection at both ends:



FIT & FINISH
The overall quality of the TN11S seems to have been bumped up a small notch from the TN11/TN10 series. The square cut threads are very smooth however, given the ones in the tailcap aren't anodized, a thicker grease might be preferred.

The anodizing is flawless and matches between all parts, including the extensions:

(flash intentionally used to help highlight mismatching but none found)

The laser engravings are nice and sharp w/no blotchiness:


I however, have some concerns re: the anodizing's toughness as it seems to mark easily. These marks on the tactical ring were incurred from the simple act of (carefully) attaching the lanyard:


There have been concerns raised re: the tailcaps on the TN10/TN11 in that they were prone to coming loose so I spent some time testing this in-depth and thus far feel that the TN11S should hopefully not face the same problem:


There have been slight revisions to the way it mounts. Previously the TN10/11 had an aluminum mounting ring that threaded on to anodized finish. This created a smooth mating surface and reduced the coefficient of friction. Couple this with the fact that the switch internals threaded on CCW thus in the opposite direction of the tailcap when one is threading it on to replace the battery creating a natural loosening effect each time the tailcap was tightened.

The TN11S's aluminum retaining cap now threads on to a non-anodized surface thus increasing the coefficient of friction and has the internals threading on in the traditional CW fashion thus when the tailcap is being screwed back in and tightened, the tightening action increases for the retaining ring as well. Of course, this is just based on my preliminary analysis so I'll report back on the tailcap holds up in the long run but thus far in the few weeks I've been testing it, it hasn't come loose yet.

While we're on the topic of the retaining ring, I did notice some burrs around the edges:

These should be removed when you have the tailcap apart.

Nitpicking-wise, while there was some grease applied on the threads, it was very little and none were on the o-rings. Beyond that, I really couldn't find anything else to fault on the TN11S.


UI
The TN11S features 3 output levels (L, M, H ) + a variable frequency Strobe mode that is all controlled through the side switch. The clicky in the tailcap only serves to turn the TN11S on or off. It however will not lock out the side switch even when it's off.

With the master switch off, the strobe can instantly be accessed by clicking on the sideswitch. If depressed and held for longer than 5 seconds, the strobe mode will stay in constant on mode. If the sideswitch is held for less than that, it'll only be in momentary mode.

With the master switch on, each depress of the side switch will cycle through the 3 output levels as well as the strobe mode. The current output level selected will be memorized (except strobe in which case, it'll default back to High).]


BEAMSHOTS
Indoors (5m)
1x18650


High


Med


Low

For details of the above indoor shots and comparo vs. many other lights, please check Epic Indoor Shots Trilogy


RUNTIME
The relevant battery stats are provided above each runtime graph along with:
- Voltage of the battery at the start and end of the test
- Current draw as taken right before the test
- Actual runtime using ANSI FL1 (first in HR and then in M so for the RL3100 read this as 2.3hrs OR 138min)
- Also for High, captured the temperature: ambient, the head at start and the max it reached (fan was used for all bats)
[NEW 6/22: 1 x LI-ION CELL

On a RL3100, after an initial steep drop of approx. 100lms in the first minute or so, the TN11s runs in semi-regulated mode for the next 8 minutes before beginning a steady decline. About an hour into the run, there is a step-down of approx. 150lms and another steady (albeit slightly more gradual) decline for over an hour. The AW2600 and AW IMR also feature this pattern except with a more rapid decline after the stepdown.

The TN11S features a low voltage warning in that it will start to blink when the cells are depleted (which has been consistently invoked at 3.24V/3.25V).


2 X LI-ION CELLS
]
On two Li-Ion cells (and I suspect 2 primaries as well) the TN11S will run pretty well regulated after a slight initial drop. When the cells are nearly depleted, there is a distinct step down of roughly 250lms after which it will continue to run at this level for a short period before the low voltage warning kicks in. In the case of the RL3100 run, one of the PCB's tripped. This is likely due to a major boost to maintain regulation as the cell is near complete depletion thus incurring a substantial voltage sag. I'd strongly recommend not running the light further after this step down as it'll be easy to overdischarge your cells beyond this point. The boost to maintain regulation is also likely why the runtime is shorter with two cells vs. single cell.



As expected, with smaller cells come significantly reduced runtime. As with the 2x18650 run, there is a distinct step down as cells are nearing depletion. Highlights of these runs are:
- Fluke logger crashed during the AW 16340 run thus I lost the temperature data but it was roughly inline w/the other two runs. The PCB's did not trip on this run but rather the light shut off abruptly without invoking the low-voltage indicator. Given the current draw exceeds suggestd max discharge rate (1.2A), it's not recommended to use these cells with the TN11S.
- for the AW IMR 16340 run (maroon line), I unforutnately stepped away for a bit right before the step down (and eventually low voltage indicator blinking) thus these cells were severly overdischarged
- one extension tube was used to conduct the 18490 run; this should be a great config for those wishing to have nearly perfect regulation with some decent runtime yet still keeping the overall length of the TN11S reasonable. With lessons learned from the IMR 16340 run, I shut the light off shortly after the step down to prevent over-discharge]

INITIAL CONCLUSION
The side switch is a welcome feature and simplifies operation of the light in that there are three well spaced levels* easily accessed with a click of a button. Since the strobe can be accessed instantaneously w/the light off or by depressing and holding the side switch for at least 4 seconds, I would've personally preferred that it had been kept as a "hidden" mode so that one need not cycle through it when changing output levels. There is however the loss of the firefly mode so if that is important then one may wish to stick w/the now discontinued TN10/11 models. The TN11S should carry the baton well enough as the flagship of the 1x18650-sized light in the TN line. While I feel the tailcap loosening issue that afflicted the TN10/11 should now be resolved (as detailed in the Fit and Finish section), I'll report back how it actaully fares in the long run. For now:

turboBB-licious

  • quality bumped up a notch vs. TN10/11 models
  • great regulation and output on 2x18350 cells while maintaining overall 1x18650 form factor
  • instant access to strobe
  • easy of mode cycling w/overhand grip (might give pinky or ring finger a workout with underhand grip though)



turboBB-cautious

  • must cycle through strobe when changing output levels
  • output level on my sample doesn't correspond with clams
  • tailcap loosening issues should be resolved (listing under here as it remains to be seen how it holds up long term)
  • *medium mode on my sample doesn't match claims; I measure output at only 50lms vs. 424.7 claimed (I have an inquiry with ThruNite re: this)



turboBB-wishes

  • larger turbo or collimator head option
  • shorty tube



TN11S GALLERY


=======
Disclosure: TN11S provided by ThruNite for review.   

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:20
DARCANGEL
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Nice work turboBB, I like the new design with the knurling as opposed to the v1 and it looks like they put a scorpion v2 turbo head on this light.Boo to no tailstand,and I don't know if it's the camera but the beam looks really sick purple,real turn off for me.Looking forward to beamshots!

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The video was using custom white balancing so the beam color isn’t accurate at all. However, as compared to the TN11, the beam is definitely more whiter. The TN11 has noticeable green tint which is only very moderate on the TN11S.

I should have some indoor shots up later tonight.

Cheers,
Tim

sb56637
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Thanks a lot turboBB! Just PM me when you’re done with the review and I’ll make it Frontpage and Sticky.

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

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Will do SB!

All, Indoors (5m) bounce and beamshots added along w/runtime for High using 1x18650 battery.

Cheers,

Tim

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Alrighty, I’m counting this one as good to go. Frontpage’d and Sticky’d. Thanks so much Turbo!

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fishinfool
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Looking really good as usual turbo!  

 

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

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Thx guys!  Additional runtime on H using various 2 x cells added.

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Bulk of Designs/Features section added (w/a bit more to add) and all Runtime on H w/various battery config I'm capable of have been posted.

I also put together this video covering the compatibility between the TN11S and the TN11/10:

Cheers,
Tim

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Short of whitewall/outdoor shots, this review is now completely fleshed out.

Cheers,

Tim

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Tim, as always an incredibly detailed informative review. Thanks for all your hard work. I am already a Thrunite fan, really dig this light.

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Thx!  I've added the Initial Conclusion as well.


Cheers,

Tim