Review: Convoy S2 2800mA U2 1B from Fasttech

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Bort
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Review: Convoy S2 2800mA U2 1B from Fasttech

https://www.fasttech.com/products/1601/10002364/1195010

I’ve always bought lights based on BLF reviews so I’ve never felt the need to write a review till now
To view any pics in full size please right click and click view image

Specs
105C driver, Low Voltage Warning, Reverse Polarity Protection, Mode Memory
Flashlight Modes – Group 1 (5-Mode): Lo (5%) > Mid (40%) > Hi (100%) > Strobe > SOS; Group 2 (3-Mode): Lo (5%) > Mid (40%) > Hi (100%)
Coated Glass Lens
Reflector Type Aluminum Textured/OP
Switch Features Glow-in-the-dark
Switch Type Clicky
Light Source BIN U2
Light Source Color 1B
Light Source Model XM-L
Battery Form Factor 18650
Dimensions
Depth 24 mm
Height 124 mm
Width 24 mm
Product Weight 78 g
FASTTECH SKU 1195010

Body only

Pill

Hollow head

Reflector and lens

Backside of pill installed in the head

Head

Tailcap

Innards of tailcap

Empty tailcap

Empty tailcap from the outside

Reassembled tailcap from the back

Two flaws, present when light arrived

Alternate view of same flaws

Pros
It has a floodier beam with less throw then most lights I’ve encountered which comes in handy in some situations, especially when used indoors
It can take protected cells
Many lights have a turbo mode that you can’t bypass, I think of this light as having a user controlled turbo (see overheating below)

Cons
If jostled the right way an unprotected cell can lose contact for a fraction of a second, leading to a flicker and sometimes the low voltage warning
The head heats up very quickly, and can get too hot to hold after 5-10 minutes if used on high, i don’t know what would happen if it were left on till battery depletion, would there be LED damage or just your hands burned? Therefore i use medium the most and high for short periods.
There was a blob of thermal paste under the star which would reduce heat transfer, but is easy enough to remove

Thoughts
The quality of the anodizing is great except for the nicks shown above
If the lens is coated, I can’t tell, most coated lenses i’ve seen have a green or purple hue, but none is seen on this light, however that doesn’t mean it is not coated
The tailcap end has the double brass treatment, the headcap does not, however most people won’t be opening the headcap very often (except for certain BLFers) so brass inserts are not really needed on that side
The lanyard broke after about 2 weeks, fortunately it happened to fall on my chair so no harm done
The light took about 2 weeks to arrive, which is faster then my order from intl outdoor (registered) and any other order I’ve received, I dunno how they do it
The tailcap threads were anodized but the headcap ones are not, its an example of cutting costs by using cheaper solutions where they won’t be seen and don’t need the full treatment (this ‘feature’ is not a big detraction for the light, its rather inconsequential)
The tailcap didn’t need lubrication on arrival, but the headcap did, and on my Convoy M1 both ends needed lube (yes, pun somewhat intended)
This light uses the venerable 105C driver, but with a twist, it has 2 group modes, Low-Med-High and Low-Med-High-Strobe-SOS
You toggle between them by putting the light in low and waiting a few seconds for a single flicker then quickly turning off the light or changing modes brings you to 5 mode operation.
I find this to be annoying and have ended up in 5 modes inadvertently a few times, and also several times the light has changed groups on its own. My Convoy M1 also does this so its not a specific problem with my light
One can hope that soldering the correct star can get rid of the 5 mode group.


Summary
This light is great for situations that need more flood then an average light, and do well on medium output for longer periods and high for short periods (under 5 minutes)
The quality of construction is excellent, rate of thermal transfer is great, and the only problem in everyday use is the unprotected cell jostling issue, but it doesn’t come up unless you subject the light to a good force (say with your hand)


Writing this review has shown me how much of my photography skills come in handy and how long composing a review takes, so thanks for reading, and thanks to all the other reviewers on BLF

If I’ve missed anything please let me know, i’m going to get a head shot and beam comparison with the Convoy M1 tomorrow

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

Edited by: Bort on 04/26/2013 - 23:59
Bort
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Beam shots
Both were ordered as the same Tint, so i am not sure if the differences are due to tint or the reflectors


Convoy S2


Convoy M1


[Left] Convoy S2 Convoy M1 [Right]

Aug 2014 update: I’ve easily put over 500 and maybe over 1000 hours of use on this light (if XM-L didn’t run on rechargeable batteries i would have been in the poor house long ago), and it is the most useful light i own for indoor use, its great for residential construction work, cleaning floors/walls/crevices, cutting wood outside at night, lighting up rooms and just about any other household use you can think of. I mostly use the 40% medium mode, its bright enough to light up pitch dark areas, but doesn’t overheat the light and can be used at that level till the battery is drained.

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

whokilledJR
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Thanks for the review Bort! Like your work

raccoon city
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Awesome review, Bort!

Rolz
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Very good review.

I purchased one a couple of months ago and am very impressed with the quality of the body and it’s performance. Mine was perfect without flaws. I’m using a Pansonic 3400mAh protected cell. It fits perfectly without any issues. Overall one of my favorite torches. For the price ~$US14 posted it’s excellent value. I’ve set the mode to H-M-L

 

iron potato
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Likewise sir, also got one around two weeks ago, stacked two more 7135 regulators onto a 3 *7135 three modes Nanjg driver from my previous host, powered by an unprotected Sanyo 2600mAh, one of my EDC till now, love the beam Beer

Rolz wrote:
Very good review.

I purchased one a couple of months ago and am very impressed with the quality of the body and it’s performance. Mine was perfect without flaws. I’m using a Pansonic 3400mAh protected cell. It fits perfectly without any issues. Overall one of my favorite torches. For the price ~$US14 posted it’s excellent value. I’ve set the mode to H-M-L

Tecmo
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Thanks for the review!

RaceR86
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Nice job on the review! Thanks for sharing!

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http://budgetlightforum.com/node/19342

Itinifni
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Nice review, thanks.

I remember a time, when I searched for lights to fit my needs. Now I search for needs to fit my lights.

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Thanks for the review Bort. On the small lights l build I prefer the XPG led for the reasons you have expressed above. The XML is a very floody light whereas the XPG seems a lot brighter because off the smaller hot spot. These Convoy light are getting a bit off a reputation for being a very good budget light.

 

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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At 3V under load the light will dim to around the lowest mode and flash every couple of seconds.

I’d be interested to know if it is easy enough to remove the 5-mode group by soldering to one of the stars on the back?

I didn’t think it was and the only way I’d heard of was connecting two legs on an atmel chip inside. I actually tried that before though and couldn’t get it to work, but maybe I was connecting the wrong two legs..

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RedForest UK wrote:
At 3V under load the light will dim to around the lowest mode and flash every couple of seconds.

My C20 from FastTech (http://budgetlightforum.com/node/19686) does the same thing. After I did the tailcap mod, it improved, but when the light is jarred against a hard surface, it goes to the blink-every-few-seconds mode. I didn't know that was the low battery warning either, thanks for the info! I know I'm going to have to take mine apart and replace the spring on the driver to improve contact as it's very annoying as it is. I may also take the opportunity to install one of the new 20ma-low Nanjg drivers from IO (http://budgetlightforum.com/node/19989) on this light...


Keepin’ the “B” in BLF

Don wrote:
It sounds like the XM LEDs won’t really be suitable for flashlight use. Pity…

gords1001
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nice review bort, I’m interested to see your m1 comparison. Smile

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> The tailcap end has the double brass treatment, the headcap does not

How did you take it out ? :quest:

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RedForest UK wrote:
I’d be interested to know if it is easy enough to remove the 5-mode group by soldering to one of the stars on the back?

This 2 group Nangj 105c variant cannot be modded by soldering stars as you switch mod with the flicker on low mode. soldering the stars is a way to trigger something in the firmware, when the drivers do not have something related to the stars in the firmware it do simply nothing.

I don’t solder stars, I flash the firmware (luxdrv 0.30b).

WarHawk-AVG
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Great review

I got the one from banggood in T6-4C (FT didn't have that in the S2, they did in the S5(which I did get), came with a 3chip Nangj AK-47A, tried stacking to get 6 killed the driver (at least I think I killed it, haven't had a chance to test it yet), dropped in a 6*7135 105C, doing VERY good, gets warm pretty fast at 2100mA, I can imagine how hot it gets at 2800mA, was recommended to go with that because I usually run in high mode...

I am glad I got the Convoy...definitely the best of the "budget" flashlights!

 

To me the beamshot above the S2 looks more like a 1A tint, the M2 looks more like a 4C tint (but as they say it's subjective)

 

Payday I might be getting me a few of these, threaded reflectors

http://dx.com/p/18-5mm-smooth-aluminum-reflector-5960 <- SMO
and
http://dx.com/p/18-5mm-textured-aluminum-reflector-5951 <- OP

see how it changes up the beam pattern, more throwy and less floody?  However some have said the threaded insert makes it much better in seating (might even help pull the heat away from pill better too)

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I got my S2+ today. (from Simon)
Two things are annoying me:
1- There is a distinctive buzzing noise on 40% and 5% modes. I wasn’t successful at stopping it. Is there a way?
2- The mode memory isn’t very intuitive. You have to leave the light in a mode for long enough for it to remember it (instead of having to leave it off for long enough). And when you want to change mode the first time you half press it stays in the same mode (you have to half press twice to go from 5% to 40% for example). It looks like the driver was designed for a forward clicky switch or something like that. Is that the reason?

Appart from that I’m happy. I will use it as a bike light with this holder so I will probably place a small piece of paper behind the front glass to stop blinding other cars.

My English isn’t perfect but I’m trying to improve it. If you see something that doesn’t sound right or is just plain wrong, please feel free to point it out! Smile

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I just got the CustomLites stainless steel light and it is almost identical in size to Bort’s Covroy S2 except about 3mm longer. The driver board in the head appears identical but mine has 4 modes including a Moonlight mode. None of the stars are soldered that I can see. GITD tail switch rubber. In fact it looks to me like probably built with Convoy internals. The body is heavy and thick walled so the light with battery is 206 Grams weight. Very simple looking light with no body texturing, just six turned grooves.

http://www.customlites.com/Solid-Stainless-XML-1×18650-FL-STXML2.htm

I am also expecting the Mountain Electronics 3 LED 5.8 Amp battery draw “S3” due tomorrow per the USPS. Same size basically as Bort’s and the CustomLites lights and using Convoy base unit but I expect it to have a truly spectacular turbo mode output for the size and get hot FAST.

Rich Wood
Reno, NV

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lagman wrote:
I got my S2+ today. (from Simon)
Two things are annoying me:
1- There is a distinctive buzzing noise on 40% and 5% modes. I wasn’t successful at stopping it. Is there a way?
2- The mode memory isn’t very intuitive. You have to leave the light in a mode for long enough for it to remember it (instead of having to leave it off for long enough). And when you want to change mode the first time you half press it stays in the same mode (you have to half press twice to go from 5% to 40% for example). It looks like the driver was designed for a forward clicky switch or something like that. Is that the reason?

Appart from that I’m happy. I will use it as a bike light with this holder so I will probably place a small piece of paper behind the front glass to stop blinding other cars.


I found that a driver swap will fix the noise. You can get a Qlite driver with the NLITE firmware, and that will fix the noise and give a better mode memory setup. If you are able to flash your own firmware, you may be able to flash your current driver with the NLITE firmware.

I like the look of that bike light mount. Do you already have the mount? If so, does it hold the light steady when riding over bumps? I currently use TwoFish lock blocks too mount my lights. The TwoFish mount does okay, but the light does shake a little bit when riding on a rough road.

lagman
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Thanks for the tips.
I will order that bike mount soon. I need it for a city bike so it looks good. Plus it is cheap which is a big plus as people in my city like to steal anything that is on your bike… even a light mount.
I’ll try to remember to post my feedback of that mount when I get it.

EDIT: Is it possible to take the firmware out of the µcontroller (read the code), then modify it and put it back in? Or is there some sort of protection that prevents you from extracting the code?
EDIT2: I now have the mount. It’s really good and feels solid. The only con is the rotating system’s notches. Each notch rotates of about 15° which is too much for me as I wanted to be able to point the light straight forward. But it’s ok.

My English isn’t perfect but I’m trying to improve it. If you see something that doesn’t sound right or is just plain wrong, please feel free to point it out! Smile

aw73
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WarHawk-AVG wrote:

Great review

I got the one from banggood in T6-4C (FT didn’t have that in the S2, they did in the S5(which I did get), came with a 3chip Nangj AK-47A, tried stacking to get 6 killed the driver (at least I think I killed it, haven’t had a chance to test it yet), dropped in a 6*7135 105C, doing VERY good, gets warm pretty fast at 2100mA, I can imagine how hot it gets at 2800mA, was recommended to go with that because I usually run in high mode…

I am glad I got the Convoy…definitely the best of the “budget” flashlights!

 

To me the beamshot above the S2 looks more like a 1A tint, the M2 looks more like a 4C tint (but as they say it’s subjective)

 

Payday I might be getting me a few of these, threaded reflectors

http://dx.com/p/18-5mm-smooth-aluminum-reflector-5960 <- SMO
and
http://dx.com/p/18-5mm-textured-aluminum-reflector-5951 <- OP

see how it changes up the beam pattern, more throwy and less floody?  However some have said the threaded insert makes it much better in seating (might even help pull the heat away from pill better too)

did you ever try these reflectors in the s2? i have the convoy s8 and i would like to try these reflectors if they will work.

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lagman wrote:
I got my S2+ today. (from Simon)
Two things are annoying me:
1- There is a distinctive buzzing noise on 40% and 5% modes. I wasn’t successful at stopping it. Is there a way?
2- The mode memory isn’t very intuitive. You have to leave the light in a mode for long enough for it to remember it (instead of having to leave it off for long enough). And when you want to change mode the first time you half press it stays in the same mode (you have to half press twice to go from 5% to 40% for example). It looks like the driver was designed for a forward clicky switch or something like that. Is that the reason?

Appart from that I’m happy. I will use it as a bike light with this holder so I will probably place a small piece of paper behind the front glass to stop blinding other cars.

Just flash another firmware, maybe JohnnyC’s Star, then it will do high pwm, no more buzzing. you can then also flash an off-time firmware version of that, but you have to add a capacitor for that too).
Exctracion of the current fw is not possible, thats why DrJones made Nlite.

I run the Star Fw (on time) on my S2, with 2800ma Nanjg 105c, turbo timer 90 seconds to half power due to getting it to hot to hold. at 50% after the turbo timeout i can hold it pretty comfortable for long times(although its still warm) .
My modes are Moon, ~10% and 100% (fallback to ~50%)

/ Just a Byte /

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Had one of these for about a year and find it very useful for walks in the dark. The only downside is the heat that results whilst on high. This renders High of limited value. I’ve been tempted to get a 2.1A Roche F12 as an alternative. A 2.1A S2 would also be a wise choice and better value.

 

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This happens to be my very first decent flashlight. Thanks for sharing Bort Smile

I wonder if there is a black model somewhere? They should have launched it in black, together with gun metal gray model just like S2+. I prefer S2 over S2+.

 

©freemex1thedeals.com

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intl outdoor has them “ as host only
price is steep, gray you buy at fasttech for USD 8.78, almost half te price

/ Just a Byte /

aw73
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Rolz wrote:
Had one of these for about a year and find it very useful for walks in the dark. The only downside is the heat that results whilst on high. This renders High of limited value. I’ve been tempted to get a 2.1A Roche F12 as an alternative. A 2.1A S2 would also be a wise choice and better value.

my s8 is ok for walks but, i wish it had a little wider flood and a little more throw, guess you cant have everything. not sure if it has the same reflector as the s2 but, the flood almost seems as bright as the spot. and the flood at 5 to 10 feet is only about 3 or 4 feet circle and it stops sharply.

i have the 2800ma version and it gets pretty warm after 90 seconds, but i think im gonna bump it up to 3600ma just for fun…. Smile i want to change the led aluminum sink to noctigon, does anyone know if it just has thermal compound?

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Nice find! But I will doubt anyone will pay $16 for that. For that price, I will rather get BG S3 black at $9.99.

LanWolf wrote:
intl outdoor has them " as host only ":http://intl-outdoor.com/t14-18650-flashlight-host-p-805.html price is steep, gray you buy at "fasttech":http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10002463/1277401-convoy-s2-diy-edc-le... for USD 8.78, almost half te price

©freemex1thedeals.com

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The price is nice for a ready to run light. Great photography!

Bort, what was your shipping time?

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freeme wrote:

Nice find! But I will doubt anyone will pay $16 for that. For that price, I will rather get BG S3 black at $9.99.

LanWolf wrote:
intl outdoor has them “ as host only price is steep, gray you buy at fasttech for USD 8.78, almost half te price

Never BG again. My S6 was Banged up Good Shocked

Bort
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Illuminaria wrote:
The price is nice for a ready to run light. Great photography!

Bort, what was your shipping time?


It took about 2 weeks, but i bought it over a year ago

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

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aw73 wrote:
WarHawk-AVG wrote:

Great review

I got the one from banggood in T6-4C (FT didn’t have that in the S2, they did in the S5(which I did get), came with a 3chip Nangj AK-47A, tried stacking to get 6 killed the driver (at least I think I killed it, haven’t had a chance to test it yet), dropped in a 6*7135 105C, doing VERY good, gets warm pretty fast at 2100mA, I can imagine how hot it gets at 2800mA, was recommended to go with that because I usually run in high mode…

I am glad I got the Convoy…definitely the best of the “budget” flashlights!

 

To me the beamshot above the S2 looks more like a 1A tint, the M2 looks more like a 4C tint (but as they say it’s subjective)

 

Payday I might be getting me a few of these, threaded reflectors

http://dx.com/p/18-5mm-smooth-aluminum-reflector-5960 <- SMO
and
http://dx.com/p/18-5mm-textured-aluminum-reflector-5951 <- OP

see how it changes up the beam pattern, more throwy and less floody?  However some have said the threaded insert makes it much better in seating (might even help pull the heat away from pill better too)

did you ever try these reflectors in the s2? i have the convoy s8 and i would like to try these reflectors if they will work.


Negative, I never got any in

I did however change the firmware…I put STAR with the ability to auto throttle and after 60 seconds drop from “Turbo” to a lower mode as to not overheat, still runs at 2800mA but instead of running wide open and getting INCREDIBLY HOT it gets warm then throttles back, the light slightly dims when it drops back but no longer overheats

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