Review: Trustfire S-A6

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Don
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Review: Trustfire S-A6

 

Trustfire S-A6

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★

Trustfire S-A6 in box

 

Summary:

 

Battery:  AAA / 10440
Switch:  Twisty
Modes:  5
LED Type:  Cree XP-E Q4
Lens:  Feels like glass
Tailstands:  No
Price Payed:  $17.10
From: DX
Date Ordered:

23rd December 2010

Arrived

22nd January 2011

 

Pros:

  • Stainless steel
  • Bright for an AAA light
  • Very solid body
  • Good beam quality, typical of XP-E
  • Works with protected 10440s which are too long for many AAA lights
  • Twisty switch so basically nothing to go wrong.
  • Will accomodate most AAA/10440 cells, certainly all the ones I threw at it.

 

Cons:

  • Quite expensive - for a budget light.
  • Engraving on the back
  • Didn't work on arrival
  • Mode changes quite tricky
  • Body too long for AAA NiMH - need to use magnets as spacers
  • Stainless steel so gets hot on high with a 10440
  • The neck chain gets in the way of operating the switch. When doing mode changes for the beamshots it got painful.
  • Enough threading for it to be a battery crusher - a modicum of care needed here.

Features / Value: ★★★

Arrived in the typical Trustfire box. As boxes go, it's not bad though the styling could be more subdued by my preference. Note it says 500m range. That will be right! The same way that I can spit 500m.

I wonder what "Circuit Controlling" is?

The box

 

The box is filled with closed-cell foam which is quite dense and gives good protection to the light in transit. It does add 50 grammes to the shipping weight (The light weighs 83.4g with a protected 10440) but I reckon it gives better protection on three sides than bubble wrap and reckon the box is a worthwhile addition. Others may disagree. Certainly it didn't stop my one from arriving in less than working condition.

It did work, briefly, then stopped working. After a moan to DX - still waiting for a response, I decided to take it apart as what did I have to lose?

It comes with some rather odd engraving on the back. It might be possible to grind this out, but I went for a less effortful solution. The finish is a sort of slightly dulled mirror polish which shows every finger mark.

Strange!

Sorted!

 

Design / Build Quality: ★★★

The innards. Essentially it is a lump of stainless steel with a reflector and lens in one end and a plug switch at the other.

With a protected 10440 in it. Note the dog hairs. My assistant is terribly generous with her hair - you open a can of beans and there's a dog hair floating on top of it. Sad

Back end

 

The switch/tailcap. It appears to be quite well made, if not very well finished on the back end. There are what appear to be file marks on it. If I could be bothered, I'd polish them out with a Dremel. It isn't noticeable to my ageing eyes without magnification.

Switch Switch installed 

The light emitting end.

front end

 

Reflector and light emitting end innards. The black thing is to stop the back of the reflector from shorting out the contacts on top of the LED. The reflector is metal. DX says the glass is coated. If it is, some Chinese factory has invented invisible coating. and ineffective coating...

Head guts

 

Looking down on the pill. That's a lot of thermal goop. A lot more than is necessary or desirable. It may be thermal epoxy rather than silicone heatsink goop, I forgot to check.

Re pill

 

The pill. The thread only engages at the bottom - you don't have to unscrew it for an hour to wind it out, you just need a few turns then can push it out with a pen or the like. But it took the hour of trying before I discovered that.

The pill Side of pill Back of pill

The source of the problems was the good old perennial of the pill's being loose. No problems since I tightened it down hard. But it is losing a couple of stars for that. It has a lot of similarities with the Trustfire XP-E F23 - the output is almost the same. Whether it is worth the extra $4 depends on whether you like the styling or not. I do like it apart from the taped over engraving on the back. It is less than a fifth of the price of the similarly styled (AA battery) Xeno Cube which I consider to be an incredibly desirable (But very non-budget) light.

 

Battery Life: ★★★

Giving it four stars forwhat it is - this is reasonable by the standards of silly output AAA lights. It isn't something to buy for a whole night's illumination unless you own a lot more 10440s than I do.

Runtimes and current draw to be done. I'd not expect much over 12 minutes on high with a 10440. This is typical of the breed. I'd be very surprised if the runtime graphs turn out significantly different from the Trustfire F23's.

Current draw:

High: 1050mA That is pretty fierce for a 10440!

Medium: 450mA

Low: 100mA

Here are the F23 charts till I generate S-A6 ones.

f23h

 

f23l

 

Light Output: ★★★★★

    Lightbox lux Lightbox lux Lightbox lux Est. Lumens Est. Lumens Est. Lumens Throw at 1 metre lux
Light Battery Turn-on 30 secs 2 Minutes Switch-on 30 secs 2 Minutes  
Trustfire S-A6 High 10440 975 645 589 175 116 106 2920
Trustfire S-A6 Medium 10440 437 399 350 78 72 63 1510
Trustfire S-A6 Low 10440 99 94 92 18 17 17 343
Trustfire S-A6 High AAA NiMH 393 391 390 70 70 70 1428
Trustfire S-A6 Medium AAA NiMH 170 169 170 30 30 30 620
Trustfire S-A6 Low AAA NiMH 40 39 40 7 7 7 139
Trustfire S-A6 High AAA 398 387 390 71 69 70 973
Trustfire S-A6 Medium AAA 169 169 169 30 30 30 444
Trustfire S-A6 Low AAA 38 37 38 7 7 7 112

It isn't as bright on a 10440 as the ITP A3 EOS Upgrade but you are specifically warned not to use that light for more than a few seconds on high with a 10440. Output is at the same level as the Trustfire XP-E F23. This probably represents the maximum practical output from a 10440 sized light with current LEDs and drivers.

All beamshots done with a Trustfire protected 10440.

Ceiling. As ever, the bluish patch is the camera's sensor, not the light. The beam colour apart from the blue bit is what I'm seeing with my eyes.

Ceiling beamshot

 

Outdoors

Control

Control shot

 

Low

Low

 

Medium

Medium

 

High

High

 

Comparisons

ITP A3 EOS Upgrade with 10440 Low

a3 l

 

A3 Medium

a3 med

 

A3 High

a3 h

 

Akoray K-103/10440

k-103 10440

 

Trustfire F23 Low/10440

F23 Low

 

Trustfire F23 High/10440

F23 H

 

Ultrafire UF-H3D lowest/18650. This is not intended for distance use - it is primarily a headlamp.

UF-H3D Low

 

Ultrafire UF-H3D Highest/18650

This is not a distance light

 

 

 

 

Summary: ★★★

It is quite big for an AAA light, but not the biggest. Top to bottom, the enormous Mr.Lite J4 (With the switch from the BLF variant) it is the only AA light here, the rest are AAA. Aurora SH0031, Trustfire S-A6, Trustfire F23, Akoray K103, Tank007 TK-703, Mr.Lite KC-05

Sizes

 

Upright

Standing

 

I like it, but it is a flawed light. Nothing is glued so it's easy enough to fix. But they shouldn't ship them with loose pills. That and the engraving I could live without. I don't think i could have justified more than four stars for this light. I do like it, it has been my constant companion since it arrived as it is a rather good bright searching under the desk light. The chain is just long enough for it to sit in a shirt pocket - but i am below average height and the chain would definitely be too short for people much taller than I am. So I'm giving it four stars overall and I'd probably do the same even if there had been no fault with the pill.



 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:12
Budgeteer
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If you ever want to or manage to polish away the back engraved nonsense I'll be interested to see the results. It does actually look rather nice. The only other deterrent must be the switch... i bet it easy to lose if that tailcap is supposed to twist to turn on.

 

*cough*

I know you want to polish it... Smile

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

Don
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Duct tape works for me Smile

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

Match
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The comments under Design, Battery life, and Summery look like pure spam....Am I missing something?

Don
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Match wrote:

The comments under Design, Battery life, and Summery look like pure spam....Am I missing something?

 

That's just the standard dog-Latin placeholder text. It is normal in publishing to give a shape to the page before you enter the text.

It will get replaced when I get around to writing the sections up. Still considering about what precisely to say. Once I've decided I'll complete the review.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

FlashPilot
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Thanks for another great review. Its nice to see that it holds up well to the F23. I didnt realize that it was machined out of a solid chuck of stainless and had assumed it to be Al when I first saw it. Looks great in the line-up too! Would you buy it again considering the slight problems?

Don
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FlashPilot wrote:

Thanks for another great review. Its nice to see that it holds up well to the F23. I didnt realize that it was machined out of a solid chuck of stainless and had assumed it to be Al when I first saw it. Looks great in the line-up too! Would you buy it again considering the slight problems?

 

The main reason I've not completed the review is that I'm still thinking about that. I'd certainly find it hard to recommend it over the F23 though you get two more modes. For 30% more money. Since it's still a nice stainless steel light and I do like stainless steel lights, the answer is probably yes. Despite the problems it'd be a definite yes if it wasn't for the silly engraving on the back. 

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

SPAMBOT
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A crown with wings, a snake on a cross and the word "blessed", what is not to like about that? Yell

Nice review Don.

Now with 100% all natural asbestos!

sb56637
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Review's looking really good Don! Subscribing to this post... just let me know when you want it to go frontpage.

Hmmm, as long as that light is, it seems like it should have a clicky switch. Like you said, a twisty with a chain is not the best design decision in my opinion.

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

sb56637
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Here's another professional review of Don's on the frontpage for everyone to enjoy.

Thanks for the great details!

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