Convoy S2 (T5-5C, 1400mA) [FastTech] 18650 EDC!

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citruspers
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Convoy S2 (T5-5C, 1400mA) [FastTech] 18650 EDC!

Convoy S2 (T5-5C, 1400mA)
Reviewer’s Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary:

Battery: 1×18650 (fits protected cell)
Switch: Rear, Glow-in-the-Dark (reverse clicky)
Modes: 2 Groups, 3/5 mode (hidden blinkies!)
LED Type: CREE XM-L T5 (5C tint)
Lens: glass lens, uncoated
Tailstands: Yes, rock-solid with strap in notch
Price Paid: $15
From: https://www.fasttech.com/products/1195020
Date Ordered: July 4, 2013

Pros:

  • Small for an 18650 flashlight
  • Great tint options
  • “Low” low mode
  • No blinkies! Almost.
  • Nice color
  • Rugged
  • Glow in the Dark elements

Cons:

  • Annoying single blink on low
  • No XP-G emitter options
  • Mid mode could be lower
  • No clip (but available seperately)
  • No pouch, and doesn’t fit regular pouches

Convoy?

I’m going to call Convoy the evolution of budget 18650 lights. It seems that Fasttech is currently one of the few sellers that really listens to their customers and sells customizeable flashlights under the Convoy brand. So what’s so special about this light?
Well, first off, it’s part of the S-series of lights. They’re all roughly the same form-factor (tube-style) and the differences are mostly cosmetic with one caveat: some S-series lights don’t fit protected cells. This one does.
Once you make the body choice, it’s time to choose an emitter and driver combo. Fast-tech currently only offers XM-L emitters with one type of driver board, but you can choose between many tints, binnings and driver power.

Features / Value: ★★★★☆

“Evolution of budget lights?” you might think. Let’s take a step back and look at the main annoyances on cheap chinese lights. Poor build quality, bad assembly, nasty tints and annoying strobe modes. This light basically solves all those issues.

First off, you have a wide range of tint choices. I went for the 5C tint because it looks very pleasant and makes it much easier to see what you are doing. For the uninitiated, the 5C tint is much warmer than your generic LED emitter. Not quite as warm as an incandescent light, but somewhere in between. A good tradeoff between colour temperature and efficiency (efficiency lowers when you increase the color temperature as there needs to be more phosphor coating on the emitter).

Secondly, there’s the drive power choice. I went for the 1400mA version because let’s face it, you don’t need insanely high output from an EDC light. All you do is heat up the body and burn your hands! Besides, the reflector is very floody which makes it even more pointless to go lumen-crazy. Let’s save that for the throwers. Wink

That leaves the annoying strobe modes for now and I’m pleased to say Convoy found a great compromise. They basically divided the flashlight’s operation into two groups: L-M-H and L-M-H-Strobe-SOS. You can change modes by pressing the clicky button once after the light flashes on low mode after 5 seconds of operation. This works well, but the mandatory flash every time you use low is kind of annoying.

The strobe mode is of course as annoying as always, blinking constantly at what I think is 15 Hz. The SOS signs correctly and a bit faster than most lights I’ve seen.

Design / Build Quality: ★★★★★

Design….well. It’s a tube. With knurling. There’s some glass in the front where the light comes out of, and a button on the back to make the aforementioned light come out. How to make it special? Well, Convoy figured it out.

First off, the color is a very nice grey-black color which looks a bit like the type Jetbeam uses. The knurling isn’t too deep which gives the light a “finished” feel. There’s also some heatsinking ribs near the front.

The reflector is orange-peel type, which I think is great for this kind of light. The light is very floody and the hotspot transfers smoothly to flood and eventually spill. The glass is singlecoated, but feels sturdy enough. If you look closely at the front, you’ll see a green o-ring near the front and yup, that’s a glow in the dark ring. Nice. It’s recessed enough that it doesn’t get in the way, but when you look right into the light you can spot somewhat of a green tint, which you won’t see when you point the light at something.

Flipping the light over shows the (also) glow in the dark tailcap, which is a reverse clicky. It feels very solid and it’s recessed enough to make the light tailstand. Which, by the way, also works with a strap attached thanks to the small notch in the side.

Since the S2 is a round light which doesn’t have too many sides to examine, let’s open it up:

What we see here is even more O-rings, and something very important: anodized rear threads! This makes it extremely easy to lock out the light for transport. All threads are properly lubed as well.
The anodizing is pretty decent, but didn’t survive falling onto stone from 2 feet, which left a small nick on the side.

Finally, the website states IPX-8 compliance which seems feasible looking at the O-rings, but I haven’t tested it’s waterproofness….yet.

Bonus picture:

Battery Life: ★★★★☆

Pretty good! Used the light for camping for a week, included a bit of reading (~500 pages) and it drained my 2200 mAh cell from 4.12 to 3.72V.

In both groups the power settings are 5%, 50% and 100%, which is okay. I like the “low” low mode, but I would have liked to see the Mid mode at 20% instead of 50, given how our eyes perceive brightness. A firefly mode would have been nice though.

Multimeter readings @ 4.12V (tailcap readings)

Low: 0.072A
Mid: 0.688A
High: 1.384A

Light Output: ★★★★★

It’s an XM-L T5 5C which is an interesting compromise. The XM-L emitter is pretty efficient at ~500 lumen output at 1500 mA. Then again, the 5C tint reduces output, the uncoated lens reduces output and the orange peel reflector reduces output. All in all I guess that at 1400mA the light output OTF is somewhere around 300 lumens, comparing it to the Trustfire T2.

300 lumens is pretty much all I’d ever want from a floody EDC light, as anything more will just blind you with the hotspot. On high you have about a 50-60 meter range of identifying a human standing in front of a tree.

Beamshots

The light is resting on the rightmost plant…thing. White balance is set to 4200K which is according to spec with the CREE ANSI chart for 5C emitters. The light appears to actually be a bit warmer than that though, crossing into 6C and thus incandescent light territory.

Control

Low

Medium

High

Beam pattern:

Summary: ★★★★☆

All in all the Convoy is a very solid flashlight for a budget price. At 15 dollars you used to get a crappy flashy light with an old emitter whereas now you get a fully sealed, lubed flashlight with the emitter type of your choice and with an option to hide the strobe modes. The light has some flaws like the mode operation and the mid mode spacing, but these are small annoyances on what’s otherwise a great light for a very decent price. If you want a budget EDC light with a nice tint, or maybe you’re just curious to see what the different tints look like, this is the right light for you. Plus, doesn’t it feel good to order a specialized flashlight that’s built exactly how you want it, just like you might do in a starbucks or subway?

One Latte Macciato Convoy S2 Venti, coming right up!

Edited by: citruspers on 07/27/2013 - 17:00
rikr
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Great review!! I really like the Convoy lights. Thanks for your time and sharing.

THE_dAY
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Thanks for the review!
I really like the S2 design/color, it should make a good host for modding.
Very nice pics and beamshots!

comfychair
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So Convoy is Fasttech's own (re)brand? I kinda suspected that but never knew for sure. Makes this a little more annoying, don't you think?--> http://budgetlightforum.com/node/23225

Calmaja
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Thanks for the review, but are you sure Convoy is own by FastTech?

citruspers
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Thanks for the feedback guys. Turns out I may have been wrong about Convoy being owned by fasttech, so I edited the review a bit.
I’m going to leave the parts about fasttech in there though since they have a pretty neat interface for selecting body, emitter and driver power, coupled with the fact that I haven’t seen other websites sell Convoy. Smile

gords1001
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Ios has been shipping their edc18650 branded as a convoy for a bit.

Fasttech capitalised on it and since I like and order from both stores, I’ll leave it there, somewhere there’s an oem manufacturer making all these really nice hosts, I’d like to know what other hosts they make as they do cover all the ranges I like – edc, p60 sized (m lights) throwers (l2 can be a kick arse thrower if you build it right) if they would sell some multi emitter flooders I’d be happy as a pig in poo tbh.

Thanks for the review, personally I would buy the host and fit a qlite set to 4 mode and emitter of choice on copper, in edc size, I have come to the conclusion that I like hi cri xm-l2’s and xp-g2’s you get both decent output and great colour rendition, really, you cant loose, qlite addresses all your issues with the driver – no blinks, fire fly, low, medium high with mode spacing 5ma – 2% – 25% – 100% if you pick the fourth star

http://intl-outdoor.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&searc...

and the convoy hosts almost put themselves together, I’ve built a few, comfy chair has his own cottage industry going on Party

My two edc’s will be following this emitter format soon with my oem d5 (cnqg) getting a qlite and my edc18650 keeping its current controlled ld-25 driver, qlite also pretty much eliminates pwm as far as your eyes are concerned, ideal if you work around moving machinery as now you cam easily pick your outputs and still feel like your using a fully current controlled driver.

ryansoh3
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Wow, nice review, especially the photos! Great job!

BLF ≠ B-grade Flashlight Forum

 

MRsDNF
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I love your style. The bonus picture made a fantastic review just that little better. Smile
These Convoys are getting a good rap lately. I agree about the lack of XP-G option. I prefer this to an XML in smaller reflector lights. Cheers.

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

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.

 

garrybunk
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Great review. I EDC an S2 with the clip added and love it! Perfect for EDC use. 

-Garry

My Bike Lights Thread, Optics (TIR) Comparison Beamshots, Diffusion Techniques


NOTE: Moving my photos from PhotoBucket to Flickr. PM me or post in the thread if you can’t see my images and need me to fix or send a gallery link. PhotoBucket images should remain visible until November 2018.
tallboybass
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MRsDNF wrote:
I love your style. The bonus picture made a fantastic review just that little better. Smile
These Convoys are getting a good rap lately. I agree about the lack of XP-G option. I prefer this to an XML in smaller reflector lights. Cheers.

S4 is available with an XP-G: http://www.fasttech.com/products/1601/10002364/1311509-convoy-s4-cree-xp...
Calmaja
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citruspers wrote:
Thanks for the feedback guys. Turns out I may have been wrong about Convoy being owned by fasttech, so I edited the review a bit. I’m going to leave the parts about fasttech in there though since they have a pretty neat interface for selecting body, emitter and driver power, coupled with the fact that I haven’t seen other websites sell Convoy. Smile

This Aliexpress seller selling many range of Convoy. Almost same as FT, no L1 & L2, with color variation for S3 host. Some other Aliexpress seller also have it.

Sorry for become annoying, but if my memory serves me right, CNQG release it first (M2), so did Int’l Outdoor’ EDC (with Convoy S3 printed on the host) and FT used to release some Convoy with words like : Probably the best deal for Convoy ……

Once again thanks for the review and nice beam shot. Beer

RAW74
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garrybunk wrote:

Great review. I EDC an S2 with the clip added and love it! Perfect for EDC use. 

-Garry

Garry, what clip are you using with this light?-Rick
mhanlen
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Another great Convoy review.  Gotta love the utilitarian run times of the 1400 mah option.  Looks awesome!

garrybunk
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I'm using this clip. 

-Garry

My Bike Lights Thread, Optics (TIR) Comparison Beamshots, Diffusion Techniques


NOTE: Moving my photos from PhotoBucket to Flickr. PM me or post in the thread if you can’t see my images and need me to fix or send a gallery link. PhotoBucket images should remain visible until November 2018.
RAW74
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garrybunk wrote:

I’m using this clip. 

-Garry

OK, thanks!
M3TAL_L0RD
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tallboybass wrote:
MRsDNF wrote:
I love your style. The bonus picture made a fantastic review just that little better. Smile These Convoys are getting a good rap lately. I agree about the lack of XP-G option. I prefer this to an XML in smaller reflector lights. Cheers.
S4 is available with an XP-G: http://www.fasttech.com/products/1601/10002364/1311509-convoy-s4-cree-xp...

And you can always have Rolls Royce of Convoys.

http://intl-outdoor.com/edc-18650-xpg2-r5-xml-u2-910450lm-flashlight-p-5...

 Love mine.

citruspers
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Thanks for the heads-up about the clip, ordered one myself, along with a bike mount and a headlamp mount.

kreisler
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thoughtful review!

 

so what's the website of con-boy? (woa, what a n*sty name)

 

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
citruspers
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Don’t know, but FastTech.com carries them and has a nice interface for selecting model, driver board and tint.

comfychair
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Clip on my S2, installed on the opposite side so the lanyard holes are still usable. Super-thin-head 2mm laptop screws threaded directly into the tailcap, no nuts to get in the way of the switch boot.

citruspers
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Thanks for the info Comfy!

EDIT: did you drill the holes yourself? Because my S2 only has two openings around the lanyard hole.

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Well, looking up Convoy S2 and there are so many reviews, I’ll just post on this latest one. I got the Convoy S2 2800mAh T4-C7 this week and I’m very happy with the tint and output: it gives a nice orangey “sunset” feel to the light. I also got the recently popularized by Ubehebe, Samsung 2800mah unprotected 18650 batteries, so I used both in a run time test, cell charged to 4.2V. The flashlight did not get too hot to hold on high for an hour, but uncomfortable for a bit after about 15 min, used my hand as a heat sink at about 53 degrees outside. SRK would have fried me. I got almost exactly 60 min of run time on high until the voltage warning in the Convoy came on (just as I was going to switch it off due to dimming, perfect warning I think). The last 5-10mins you could definitely see the lowered output. Comparing HKJs review though, I think I got a very high performing cell since his got approximately 2400 mAh @ 4.2V start and I did get a full hour of good light out of the cell before it hit 3.0V. Overall very happy with light and batteries. Even got to see 5 rabbits, 2 beavers and one Coyote on my walk (luckily the dogs didnt see the Coyote).