Review: Four-way Convoy S2/S3 mini-review

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rivet62
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Convoy S2/S3 mini-review

I’ve been thinking about upgrading my EDC, an Eagletac D25C2 mini. It is a 2xCR123 XPG light with an advertised 343 lumens. Although it suits my needs well, I’m moving toward 18650 LiIon cells for my using lights, and perhaps it is time for an upgrade.

I saw the EDC 18650 at intl-outdoor, and being unable to decide between the new XP-G2 and XM-L emitters, I bought both. Then, fasttech added the same lights to their web page. I went a little nuts and bought a Convoy S3 and a Convoy S3 from fasttech, too.

Initial impressions

The three Convoy S3 hosts are identical, as you would expect. The fit and finish is excellent with no significant flaws that I can see. The knurling is on the smooth side, so it certainly won’t wear out your pants. The overall aesthetic is plain, which suits me just fine. The only concessions to ornament are the glow-in-the-dark switch button and lens o-ring, and the stainless bezel ring.

Here is a surprise. Notice in the title picture, the S2 is a bit longer than the S3s? The S2 has a deeper reflector than the S3. It’s hard to judge how much deeper it is, but I’d guess around 8-9mm.


This is the white-wall beamshot setup. The lights are turned on to their highest mode, set 50cm from the wall. From left to right, they are the Intl-outdoor S3 with XP-G2, the Intl-Outdoor S3 with XM-L, the Fasttech S3 with XM-L, and the Fasttech S2 with XM-L. The last light, on the far right, is an Eagletac P20C2. I used it for comparison because it is also an XM-L with a similar sized reflector.


This is the same scene shot in full manual mode, 1/125 at F6.3, ISO 100.


This is 1/80 at F4 ISO 100, intentionally over-exposed a couple of stops to better show the spill beams. I had the white balance set to daylight, thus the orange tint.

You’ll notice that the S3 beams are floody. I don’t think the above pictures do justice to the reality. I would say that the S3 lights are extremely floody, more so than any other XM-L light I own. Even the 2.8A Intl-outdoor version lacks the “wow” factor usually associated with heavily-driven XM-L lights. It constantly makes me want to turn it to a higher mode, even when it is already on high.

The XP-G2 is a little better, but not much. The Fasttech S2, with its deeper reflector, has a beam more like what I was looking for. Unfortunately, it only has a 3*AMC7135 driver, so it isn’t as bright as the more heavily driven lights.

Conclusion

The S3 has the makings of a good light, but it suffers from a fatal flaw. The reflector needs to be optimized for the XM-L emitter, to allow a more balanced beam profile. The S2 seems to have potential, but I’d really need to see one with a driver pushing more current to the LED. An XP-G2 combined with the deeper S2 reflector would have promise.

So, is it time to retire my trusty D25C2? Nope, it remains safe for now. The beam pattern is only half the reason, take a look:

Obviously, an 18650 light is going to be a little bigger than a 2xCR123 light. The Convoy, though crosses an invisible line. The D25C2 clips unobtrusively iinside my front pants pocket. Pocket carry of the S3 is going to generate “are you happy to see me?” comments. Sure, I could carry it in a jacket pocket, but if I’m going to do that, why not carry a P60 class light, or even a C8?

Verdict: 3/5

Objective measurements

Here is the methodology for the following measurements. The tailcap current test was done with a inexpensive Radio Shack DMM in the normal manner. I was using the 20A scale, so the lower readings may have some measurement error. For the temperature test, each light was turned on its highest level, and the temperature was measured with an infrared temp gun once per minute for ten minutes of continuous operation. Finally, a lightmeter was used to measure the brightest part of the beam for each light’s highest mode.

intl-outdoor Convoy S3 XP-G2 R5 2B 3 mode

tailcap current measurement:
L 0.08 A
M 0.43 A
H 1.38 A

temperature measurement:
0:00 25 C
0:01 29 C
0:02 31 C
0:03 34 C
0:04 35 C
0:05 35 C
0:06 36 C
0:07 37 C
0:08 36 C
0:09 40 C
0:10 38 C

lightmeter measurement:
4100 lux @ 1m

intl-outdoor Convoy S3 XM-L U2 1A 3/5 mode

tailcap current measurement:
L 0.16 A
M 1.40 A
H 2.81 A

temperature measurement:
0:00 29 C
0:01 36 C
0:02 41 C
0:03 46 C
0:04 51 C
0:05 55 C
0:06 58 C
0:07 61 C
0:08 63 C
0:09 65 C
0:10 66 C

lightmeter measurement:
5300 lux @ 1m

fasttech Convoy S3 XM-L U2 1B 3 mode

tailcap current measurement:
L 0.08 A
M 0.44 A
H 1.39 A

temperature measurement:
0:00 26 C
0:01 31 C
0:02 33 C
0:03 35 C
0:04 36 C
0:05 37 C
0:06 37 C
0:07 38 C
0:08 40 C
0:09 40 C
0:10 41 C

lightmeter measurement:
3300 lux @ 1m

fasttech Convoy S2 XM-L U2 1B 3/5 mode

tailcap current measurement:
L 0.06 A
M 0.52 A
H 1.05 A

temperature measurement:
0:00 25 C
0:01 28 C
0:02 30 C
0:03 31 C
0:04 32 C
0:05 31 C
0:06 32 C
0:07 33 C
0:08 35 C
0:09 36 C
0:10 37 C

lightmeter measurement:
3000 lux @ 1m

rivet62
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pics coming

I have a few pics (including beamshots) to add, as soon as I figure out how to put them in Smile

mfpmax
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Now what’s interesting is

Now what’s interesting is most of the “S3s” i’ve seen were Grey color(like the S2), while all of yours are black. I’d like to get another “S3” so I can get a actual black version. Right now I have a Gold one I mistakenly ordered(didn’t check the box for Grey)

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The Xml 5C emitter is

The Xml 5C emitter is nice and so is the driver ..  the Convoy s2  has a serious lack of knurling. If you don't mind a smooth almost slippery light than this guy might work for you . I need much more bite on a light so the convoy is asking for at least a big fat rubber band wrapped around it between the body and  the tail like a makeshift cigar grip .Otherwise it's WAY too slick a light for me. With the green gitd tailcap it almost smacks of cheap .

Sorry to hear that the s3 has the same problem ..

 that said the driver choices from fasttech are amazing and again the 5c is a nice neutral without being to warm .its a perfectly smooth beam and all flood ..thats just the way it is .Mine are running at 2.1 amps which seems to be a perfectly fine set up for this light . 

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rivet62
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mfpmax, I know someone that

mfpmax, I know someone that has three black S3s. Smile Shoot me a PM if you’re interested.

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Should tape them all 3

Should tape them all 3 together into one light Crazy

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Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for sharing! Smile

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Thanks very much! Frontpage’d

Thanks very much! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

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bdiddle
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So what you are saying is

So what you are saying is that the S2 has a better beam than the S3, and since fasttech sells a 2.8A version, I need to buy it. Right?

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Try using a Sanyo 16650 in

Try using a Sanyo 16650 in your D25C2. A perfect fit.

rivet62
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bdiddle wrote:So what you are

bdiddle wrote:
So what you are saying is that the S2 has a better beam than the S3, and since fasttech sells a 2.8A version, I need to buy it. Right?

I’d definitely recommend the S2 over the S3 for a general purpose EDC. The 2.8A version gets hot quickly on high, but if that doesn’t bother you, go for it. I’d probably go for the 2.1A driver, myself. Either way, it’s hard to go wrong for less than $20.

rivet62
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Ouchyfoot wrote:Try using a

Ouchyfoot wrote:
Try using a Sanyo 16650 in your D25C2. A perfect fit.

I never knew such a creature existed, and yet there it is on intl-outdoor’s web site. I think I’ll add one to my next order and see how I like it.

Thanks for the suggestion. Big smile

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rivet62 wrote:bdiddle

rivet62 wrote:
bdiddle wrote:
So what you are saying is that the S2 has a better beam than the S3, and since fasttech sells a 2.8A version, I need to buy it. Right?

I’d definitely recommend the S2 over the S3 for a general purpose EDC. The 2.8A version gets hot quickly on high, but if that doesn’t bother you, go for it. I’d probably go for the 2.1A driver, myself. Either way, it’s hard to go wrong for less than $20.

Yeah I already ordered the 2100mah S3, but I think I will ahve to order the S2 now.

Did you notice if any pocket clips fit them?

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XML S3 Convoy XML U2 needs higher high

Great review. Wish I had read it before I bought.

Just got my 2.8 Convoy U2 from Fasttech today. And like you, every time I thumb through the modes, I keep waiting for there to be one extra mode to push it into real turbo. But I can see why they did what they did, I think. Overdrive it any more and you could boil a can of soup on it.

Having said that, it’s a great little light. Nicely built. Takes unprotected and protected 18650s. Small. About 3/4” shorter than a 501B; 1/2” smaller than the Ultrafire 2100; about the same size as the dismal (horrible beam, low power) SacredFire NF-918. So the size is definitely right.

The flood has its place for walks and around-the-house use where you don’t want to burn out your eyes.

But where is that turbo mode?

Oh and the ability to turn off disco modes is STELLAR!!!! Manufacturers take note: Hide the blinking modes or just kill ‘em altogether. They are annoying beyond words. Tear-out-your-hair annoying.

Thanks for the great review!!!!

rivet62
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[bdiddle wrote:Did you notice

[

bdiddle wrote:
Did you notice if any pocket clips fit them?

I tried a Solarforce L2 clip from solarforce-sales.com. It physically fit between the tailcap and body, but the tailcap did not make electrical contact. It might be possible to make it work by shimming the contact ring in the tailcap to compensate, but I haven’t done that yet.

The S2 body is 24mm in diameter, if that helps your search.

rivet62
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Thanks, Ubehebe. It is a

Thanks, Ubehebe.

It is a decent little light; I’m actually quite impressed with the build quality. And if you need a “room sweeper”, the S3 is your huckleberry.

I’ve played around with the S2 a bit more, comparing it to the Eagletac P20C2 and D25C2. The S2 beam profile is almost identical, and conforms well to my idea of an all-round EDC.

Good point on being able to disable the disco modes. That was the first thing I did to each light, but I failed to mention that.

bdiddle
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Have you checked if we can

Have you checked if we can add a few more 7135’s easily? Get that turbo?

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More 7135s

>>>>>Have you checked if we can add a few more 7135’s easily?

I should know how to do that, but don’t. Is there a BLF FAQ kicking around about it?

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Hi My “S3 convoy” arrives

Hi
My “S3 convoy” arrives tomorrow, my only 18650 are Nitecore, do you think that will take? I am somewhat concerned, I think they are too large.

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Big batteries

>>>>> do you think that will take? I am somewhat concerned, I think they are too large.

I noticed kind of an odd thing with the S3 — so you may have a battery issue, but maybe not. I can use keepower protected, Fasttech’s Samsung and sanyo protected, teneregy, etc. But here’s the deal. The threads are anodized (or painted), so the only way you can get a contact is to screw the cap on ++ALL++ the way until it contacts the body tube. The tube top has the paint removed, which contacts the switch retainer ring. If the battery is too long, you can just remove a patch of paint on the tube and cap and that will give you a contact with the cap not screwed down all the way for long batteries.

I can see (I think) why they did this. You can leave the light in an “unarmed” state by unscrewing the switch cap by like a 1/2 turn, if you want to leave batteries in it for a long time and are concerened about shorts or whatever, or the battery draining over time. However, the downside is that some longish batteries fit pretty snugly, maybe too snugly. I get a driver whine when I use the fasttech sam/sanyo longish protecteds. Probably nothing to worry about, but maybe it is. Looking down in the barrel, the extra pressure could be causing the spring to bend and touch one of the chips or chip contacts? Or maybe it is just a peculiarity with the fasttech protected circuit.

Another neat feature: The s3 blinks when you get down to about 3 volts left in the battery. I should have let it go and see if it shut off the battery, but I didn’t. :-0

The more I use this light, the more I liike it.

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Thank you very much for your

Thank you very much for your quick response.
Tomorrow I will find out.

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rivet62 wrote:[bdiddle

rivet62 wrote:
bdiddle wrote:
Did you notice if any pocket clips fit them?
I tried a Solarforce L2 clip from solarforce-sales.com. It physically fit between the tailcap and body, but the tailcap did not make electrical contact. It might be possible to make it work by shimming the contact ring in the tailcap to compensate, but I haven't done that yet. The S2 body is 24mm in diameter, if that helps your search.

What about this clip at Wallbuys?  I have no idea what diameter it fits though - any ideas?  Ah, I see it's for a Jetbeam PC20 - EDIT - no, I think PC20 is just the clip's model number, it says "Suitable for:T20,T25,M20".  Gotta look up those diameters.

1

-Garry

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Ok that clip seems to be for

Ok that clip seems to be for an Olight T20 which is stated as being 24mm diameter. 

-Garry

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Fenix clip with an O-ring

Fenix clip with an O-ring works as well. Pictures of the Fenix clip in the other EDC 18650 thread.

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I wonder if the intl' outdoor

I wonder if the intl' outdoor clip would fit through the lanyard holes of the S2.

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The issue with that is that

The issue with that is that it would hit the switch boot. I think someone mentioned or did use a clip like that but drilled new holes instead. Which probably would be better as to not intrude onto the switch boot.

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Maybe a small countersunk

Maybe a small countersunk bolt would fix that problem without having to damage the anodizing? The main question is, would the distance between bolts fit? For the rest I would find a way to make it work.

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Now I have S2 with T5 5C and

Now I have S2 with T5 5C and 1,4A driver.
The best EDC light Big smile

rivet62
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Congratulations, nekdo12,

Congratulations, nekdo12, that sounds like a great combo.

How do you like the 5C tint? I haven’t used a light with that tint yet, but I sure like the 3C in my C8.

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3C is better, but 5C is also

3C is better, but 5C is also ok.
I also sended 3 requests at Fasttech for S2 with 3C. After CNY I will send another Big smile

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nekdo12 wrote:3C is better,

nekdo12 wrote:
3C is better, but 5C is also ok.

…but 4C is sublime.

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