Review: Nitecore EX10

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old4570
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Review: Nitecore EX10

100_2847.jpg

 

I got me a Nitecore EX10 PD [ powered by CR123A ]


 

Features

Unique electronic-controlled switch (Smart PD System), very reliable;

Unique Infinitely Variable Digital-controlled Brightness System; 

Quick direct access min & max brightness, very simple user interface;

Made from military grade aluminum alloy, really strong; 

Extremely compact size and light weight suitable for EDC (every day carry); 

Mil-Spec Type III Hard Anodized finish; 

Resistance to impact by dropping according to US MIL-STD-810F; 

Waterproof to IPX-8 standard; 

Broad-voltage fully-regulated circuit, compatible with kinds of batteries; 

Built in CREE R2 WC high efficiency LED (Light Emitting Diodes); 

Torch Lumen 145 lumens; 

Extended runtime; 

Metal reflector; 

Impact-resistant optical window with anti-reflective coating

Tactical lanyards braided with military grade 550 parachute-cord;

Tail stand.

 

Specification

Dimension: Total length 77mm; Diameter 21.5mm; 

Weight: 35g 

Battery: powered by one CR123 battery or other types of batteries of the same size 

 

Output & Runtime:

CR123 battery

Maximum output 145 lumens, for about 90 minutes (with brightness declines to 50%)

Minimum output 3 lumens(1%), for about 65 hours (with brightness declines to 50%)


Li-ion Battery

Maximum output 145 lumens, for about 80 minutes (with brightness declines to 50%)

Minimum output 5 lumens(1%), for about 60 hours (with brightness declines to 50%) 


100_2848.jpg


100_2841.jpg


100_2850.jpg 100_2852.jpg


The first thing you notice using the Nitecore is the User Interface , it's different to say the least , especially after all the regular 5 mode Chinese lights Ive grown accustomed to . After inserting the battery and closing the light  , you will find the light has turned on , Click once to turn it of , Click again to turn it on .   If you Click and hold [ from the light being of ] it will go into safety mode , and to turn on the light Click 3 times . To change modes [ light is on ] simply click and hold and the light will cycle through the modes . Just a interesting little thing I noticed , if you turn the light of in Medium [ has memory ] and turn it back on and then change modes , it will not go into High , but rather goes into low mode , and then cycles normally . [ PD system , Cycles through Lo Med High ] 

     Both SOS and strobe are hidden modes [ I like that ] and if the user wishes , you never have to be bothered by them . But should you be at a disco or something , to access strobe , from the light being on click twice and hold on the second click , sos same but dont hold on the second click . 


Overall build quality is excellent , I got mine with the clip , and it came with spare screws and the key to install or remove the screws . The screws are tiny , and the instillation of the clip was fiddly , but in the end I was able to fiddle it together . Speaking of the clip , it has to be one of the best available , its very solid and sturdy , holding the light in place very well . It really allows you to carry the light with confidence , knowing its not going to go anywhere . Beam quality is excellent , and offers a decent amount of spill VS throw for me [ This is very personal , so may not please everyone ] . 


Lets move onto performance : 


AW RCR123A 4.2v Battery 


High = 212L @ 1A 

Med = 78L @ 0.28A

Low = 6L @ 0.03A 


On a Primary CR123A 3volt  


High = 143L @ now this was interesting , started about 1.2A and as the light was on climbed to 3A holding output at 143L , I suspect this was due to voltage sag under load , so better quality CR123A Primaries may do much better . 

Med = 38L @ 0.2A

Low = 3L @ 0.01A 


The above description came from Nitecore , and Im not sure about the run time on high , now the only other thing is the clicky , I really have to press hard to change modes , after two days of using the light , I have a sore thumb , I think its called RSI [ repetitive strain injury ] . It really does take a bit of force holding the button down to cycle the modes , and if you dont press hard enough , you may turn the light of or go into strobe or sos , which can be a little annoying . I find myself lubing the plunger tube often , so as to ease up the force needed to reliably change modes .  It might take a while for the O ring to bed in nicely and hopefully ease up , making mode changes easier on my thumb .   

   Well , I like the Nitecore , its a quality Light , and if it falls within your price range , I can recommend it , just be aware that the thumb activation might be a little heavy , and lubing the plunger tube might be necessary .

Update , the DX 10 is some what battery challenged , I started of by using my AW 16340's as they have sat around doing nothing for the last 12 months or so , but then I thought , I should try out a few other cells . I started with the Trustfire [Flame] protected , and its too long for the light to work . Grey protected 16340 and Grey Trustfire protected are aslo to long , in fact anything longer than a Primary CR123A will induce greater force into the clicky action as the cell is longer , it looks like you need very short Protected cells or unprotected cells . Sorry guys , been bussy with school , or I would have checked sooner .


P9040004.jpg


Low Mode ...


P9040001.jpg


Medium Mode ...


P9040007.jpg


High Mode ...


Beams was with AW RCR123A 4.2v Li-ion  

Just a tid bit on the parasitic drain = Measured @ 0.23mA 

That = 6mA per day 

or 180mA per month [ around ] 

So bear that in mind .. 

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:00
okwchin
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Piston action can be smoothed in the SP by grinding the inside of the o-ring out a little with a dremel with a small stone bur. Carefully reducing the diameter of the o-ring allows you to lighten the piston FRICTION. Be careful not to over-do this, as it will compromise the water seal if you reduce it too much. Alternatively, try to source a smaller sized o-ring to use for the piston.

Piston force is determined by the 2 springs in the torch, but I find these to be very balanced in all of mine except in the custom. Its mostly a friction issue, causing the higher activation forces.

The other thing you need to do is use Minimal lube. Excessive lubing Will casue increased activation force becasue the oil accumulates on the flat surface on the end of the piston, and you end up having to break the surface tension of the lube with every press of the piston (quite significant in a EX10). What you need to do is lube the piston o-ring, and then wipe off all the oil on the flat part of the piston end, and also off the corresponding surface inside the body tube.

 

I must agree that beam quality is very nice on the newer nitecore EX10s

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

fishinfool
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Awesome review as usual old. 

 

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

old4570
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I removed most of the lube , and there is only a minute amount left , and it does seem a little easier to use , maybe a 20% improvement , but still heavy .. 

I might try a little wet and dry on the O ring , help it bed in so to speak 

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

Boaz
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 Great pics ...If you unscrew the body a little bit  you can use it like a forward clicky for a momentary bit of light .What I found is by doing that it gives you a longer throw on the piston and maybe like okwchin is saying it breaks the seal  loose. It makes a little pop sound and is much easier to use .there are mods on the piston where they cut them down a little bit so they have a little more travel too. I have found that some are tighter than others. that's kind of funny talking about sanding on a O-ring But like Okwichin said in another thread these lights are like a gun .Now we are talking about filing down the fireing pin. Smile

I should have warned you about the clip ..It takes 3 hands and 2 beers to install it .there's a you tube video on it ..first one took me 15 minutes and the second one I did in 4 .Another person would seriously help. it is a really good clip  

καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν

okwchin
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Trick for the clip is to put the inside piece in place, align it, then hold it in place with your thumb over the back of the torch. Then put one screw half way in with the clip in place. After that bring the clip against the body and adjust until the hole on the other side is aligned enough to get the second screw in. Bring the screws in at the same time, only doing the final tightening after its all together.

 

My clips go on without any problems, well I've never had any problems. Except with Ti ones where the threads on the screw are too soft.

 

 

Speaking of piston throw, I personally like short throw pistons! haha, personal preference here, but I like it shorter so that it activates more easily, I find the SP ones far too long to my liking.

grinding the o-ring is very much like filing the firing pin! lol.

Boaz, you should not have the popping sensation on the piston at all, having it means you have alot of oil/grease/lube on the flat part of your piston.

These are extreme cases, but it shows where the grease/oil/lube problem area is. You can see the stock nitecore blue grease with the suction lines where it presses against the body. This area and the corresponding part of the body must be FREE of grease/oil/lube to prevent the popping feeling of the switch, and to reduce activation force. You can also see my ground down o-ring, slightly more flush with the button part.

Plus, I dont recommend a grease, I recommend a thin oil for the o-ring becasue a double tap requires a smooth frictionless piston. Any friction slows the return of the piston and makes it significantly harder to activate. Also make sure your lubricant doesnt dissolve the o-rings! that just makes the o-ring fat and worsens everything.

The above piston is for a D10 tribute. In the EX10, the flat area is even bigger and has even more effect.

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

old4570
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With the clip I went the other way ..

I actually put the clip in place , put in a screw [ one side only ] then put the small retainer [ threaded part that goes inside next to the clicky ] on , using the one screw to line it up , then put the screw in part way [ still lose ] and then put in the other screw .. 

Lube = I cleaned most of it of , 99% removed ..  I will [ used to call it lapping ] lap the O ring gently with wet and dry , as it is a rather tight fit [ I guess to make it water proof ] 

How about a Dry Lube [ Teflon ] ? 

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

Don
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Or graphite? It's a lot cheaper for anyone who has a pencil.

 

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

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

old4570
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I just gently lapped the O ring , and it made a world of difference .. Still a little heavy , but so much smoother ...

The O ring is still a tight fit in the body , so might lap it just a Bee's Tit more . 

 

Ok , I just went through my O ring collection , and put in a much thinner O ring , mucho better !  

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

ky70
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Thanks for the review!! Can someone help me understand how this light can have the same light output on high with both a CR123 and a RCR123 but less runtime on the RCR123? In a regulated light, shouldn't we see more runtime out of the higher voltage rcr123 than in a primary cr123 (or am I missing something)?
old4570
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AW RCR123A 4.2v Battery 


High = 212L @ 1A 

Med = 78L @ 0.28A

Low = 6L @ 0.03A 


On a Primary CR123A 3volt  


High = 143L @ now this was interesting , started about 1.2A and as the light was on , climbed to 3A holding output at 143L , I suspect this was due to voltage sag under load , so better quality CR123A Primaries may do much better . 

Med = 38L @ 0.2A

Low = 3L @ 0.01A 

 

If your talking about the Nitecore Description ? [ id say an error on there part ] and its not fully regulated [ not at 4.2v ] , with a Primary it might be to 50% battery capacity ..

But with a 4.2v battery as the cell is depleted , output drops . 

Now unless you run a good protected cell , this could be troublesome .. [ At least with the Akoray - Programable lights - you can set it to the battery you run , Primary or rechargeable 4.2v ]  With the Nitecore , if the protection does not kick in , you could kill the battery . 

 Something to be said for the cheap Chinese lights that dont run primaries ...  

But for those folk who do run Primaries , the Nitecore just might be the bees knees .  


 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

ky70
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Thank for the additional detail. So there is an output difference when using a rcr123 vs. a cr123...that would explain the shorter runtime on the rcr. Everywhere I see this light discussed, I see the reported output on high listed as the same on both cr123 and rcr123 and that was confusing to me as the runtime on the primary is listed as longer. So I'm happy to see the increase in output using the rcr123 yet still decent runtime. I just reread your review and saw that you did list the difference in output...sorry I missed that initially and thanks for taking the time to write that out again. I may have to snatch 1 up from Boaz as this is my favorite light configuration. I have the D10 and really like the UI on this light.
sb56637
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Thanks for the detailed review and the excellent shots, as usual! Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

I do like the looks of the Nitecore lineup, but I can't bring myself to pay that much.

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

Boaz
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sb56637 wrote:

Thanks for the detailed review and the excellent shots, as usual! Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

I do like the looks of the Nitecore lineup, but I can't bring myself to pay that much.

since it's you I'll offer the coupon code for an added discount that Okwchin suggested earlier in the WTS sales thread..

Just use the .."Boaz has too many nitecores" ...to get a 6% off shipping .  (okwchin the comedian):)

  That cracked me up when I did the math on that one ...On international shipping it saves you about 40 cents . Smile

It hurts but ..i'll do it for you guys

καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν

okwchin
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ky70 wrote:
Thanks for the review!! Can someone help me understand how this light can have the same light output on high with both a CR123 and a RCR123 but less runtime on the RCR123? In a regulated light, shouldn't we see more runtime out of the higher voltage rcr123 than in a primary cr123 (or am I missing something)?

 

The Nitecore torches run regulated above 1.3v, so any voltage above this will give the same regulated output. Current draw will be adjusted according to the battery voltage. Therefore the voltage of the battery cell is not relevant in this torch, only the energy density of the cell.

 

Our RCRs have up to 700mA capacity at 3.7 volts. = 2.5 watts

CR123s have up to 1500mA capacity at 3.0 volts. = 4.5 watt

Even if it was 1000mA capacity at 3.0 volts = 3.0 watts

 

So the RCR is fundamentally a lower energy source, and accordingly will give shorter runtimes for the same output. 

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

ky70
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okwchin wrote:
The Nitecore torches run regulated above 1.3v, so any voltage above this will give the same regulated output. Current draw will be adjusted according to the battery voltage. Therefore the voltage of the battery cell is not relevant in this torch, only the energy density of the cell.

 

Our RCRs have up to 700mA capacity at 3.7 volts. = 2.5 watts

CR123s have up to 1500mA capacity at 3.0 volts. = 4.5 watt

Even if it was 1000mA capacity at 3.0 volts = 3.0 watts

 

So the RCR is fundamentally a lower energy source, and accordingly will give shorter runtimes for the same output. 

thank you for that detail...I appreciate it. I got mixed up and was thinking of how the li-on 14500 has more energy than the primary AA batteries...I forgot that is not the case when it comes to li-on 16340 compared to cr123 primaries.
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Hey Old4570 I got my NiteCore EX10 SP from Boaz as well and i'm not being picky or anything but you have made a mistake in the discription. I assume you copied from NiteCore without reading for yourself but this part is incorrect "Unique Infinitely Variable Digital-controlled Brightness System; Quick direct access min & max brightness" The EX10 Smart PD has low, medium, and high...not Infinitely Variable and there is quick access to strobe and SOS Not min and max modes.

I just wanted to type out the difference so people that don't own this light can see the difference. (I know you obiviously know the difference)

Other than that little boo boo great review as always. I really like mine alot and like you said a wee bit of tweaking to get the piston tension how you prefer it and just be careful with unprotected RCR123's and all is good.

Keep Your Soul Clean, Your GunPowder Dry and Your Batteries Charged!!!

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old4570
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What they mean , I think ?   Is that by holding the button/clicky down you can infinately cycle through the modes ...   I think ...

I dont know if there is  a EX10 with ramping ?  But yeah , I copied from Nitecore web site , and it was the only description available . 

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

tbenedict
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Yep, the original EX10/D10 ramp up and down continuosly.  I think a lot of people missed the ramping so they came out with a retro model (forgot what they called it).  I had one of the EX10's that way (traded it for a NW Quark) and now have a ramping D10.

I'm curious if these new ones are PMW or current regulated.  PMW isn't an issue on mine, just wondering if they changed it.

ky70
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old4570 wrote:
What they mean , I think ?   Is that by holding the button/clicky down you can infinately cycle through the modes ...   I think ...

I dont know if there is  a EX10 with ramping ?  But yeah , I copied from Nitecore web site , and it was the only description available . 

I think that script is from the ramping version of the EX10 (and D10) that proceeded this version.  I was confused reading the review too, as I thought maybe you had the older ramping version.

old4570
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No PWM with this one ....  Yeah I wasnt sure ...  I will edit the post ... .. [ checked with digital camera PWM ]

 

Update , the DX 10 is some what battery challenged , I started of by using my AW 16340's as they have sat around doing nothing for the last 12 months or so , but then I thought , I should try out a few other cells . I started with the Trustfire [Flame] protected , and its too long for the light to work . Grey protected 16340 and Grey Trustfire protected are aslo to long , in fact anything longer than a Primary CR123A will induce greater force into the clicky action as the cell is longer , it looks like you need very short Protected cells or unprotected cells . Sorry guys , been bussy with school , or I would have checked sooner .

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

okwchin
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The Ramping one has a couple hundred levels of brightness in later models, but are rare as 4 leaf clovers now.

I believe nitecore uses PWM, but in the 1Khz+ range. 

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

old4570
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Guys , I should have been clearer ...   My bad ...   Left it a little open maybe , though I did say modes , Hi med Lo , but I should have not left any doubt ... Fixed now .  [ re Modes ] 

Unfortunately during the week im in School "mode" [ IT Course ] and this week my brain was wrapped around VB [ Visual Basic ] and wasnt that fun . 

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

tbenedict
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Yeah, I remember my Trusfire (gray w/black lettering) RCR123's were too long for my ramping EX10.  I ended up trading it.   

old4570
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I have 4 AW's and 4 Good generic Unprotected cells [ Ebay ] + A few more [ recent culling thinned the heard of 16340 ] RCR123A .

The Blue and white solarforce cells are fantastic , but simply wont fit as there even longer than the Trustfires .

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

BlueBeam
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okwchin wrote:

The Ramping one has a couple hundred levels of brightness in later models, but are rare as 4 leaf clovers now.

I believe nitecore uses PWM, but in the 1Khz+ range. 

This is correct...it is PWM but it is the fastest I have ever seen, it is next to impossible to detect with the eye but if you try to see it and know what you are looking for you can make yourself see it. Without trying very very hard to see it it is absolutely undetectable.

Keep Your Soul Clean, Your GunPowder Dry and Your Batteries Charged!!!

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New ones are the D11/ EX11. Slightly different externals, internally fundamentally similar or close, but what is a little different is the UI. 

New one (D11/EX11) is a Ramping with shortcuts to Strobe and SOS (and a digital lockout function). Fundamentally its the SP model, but with ramping brightness instead of the 3 mode cycle. Press and hold to ramp up, press and hold again to ramp the other way.

Personally I don't like the newer version because it takes a whole 4 seconds or something to ramp from min to max and back the other way. Takes too long if you wanted moonlight from max.. The SP is a far more practical model (as sold by boaz)

The Old ramping model does not have any strobe or SOS hidden modes, nor does it have digital lockout. What it has are shortcuts to high and low.

 

Cells that are too long (trustfires) dont really work in the EX10/EX11. The trustfire flames I was using only needed an additional 0.5mm of space, which the normal 1mm spring wire thickness was taking up. You need shorter cells, or for mine, I made a new shorter spring that sits within the depression at the bottom of the piston with some 0.7mm SS wire. Its a little tricky, but after a few attempts I got mine to work.

I Dont like the feel of the piston with the mod though... Just not right to me. (im expecting close to perfection haha!)

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

tbenedict
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Does the D11 have the double click high/double click hold for low?  A slower ramp would be great for the low range on the old style, but the double clicking options are invaluable.

higbvuyb
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I think the strobe/SOS shortcuts replace the maximum/minimum shortcuts of the D10 / EX10.

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The ramping speed of the D11/EX11 isnt that much better in the low range, however the loss of the shortcuts to high/low are the whole reason I DISLIKE the new model. Its really impractical now, fancy, but not actually functional anymore. 

Other problem with the new model is the parasitic drain. The older D10/EX10 circuit has between 0.5-2mA parasitic drain, the newer circuit has at least 6-8mA drain, some maybe more. That means you will be flattening batteries in a week or two.

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

jamesearljonesi...
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Air tool oil seems to work pretty good as a lube for the oring a lot easier smoother action. Used them in paintball guns where theres high air pressure.

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