New Spy DQG just breaking into the exclusive market of tiny keychain flashlights feeded on exotic 10180 rechargeable lithium batteries. As is the manufacturer tradition DQG, SPY is the most smaller on market, external machining of the body that resembles the AAA version, with also two modes with slight differences in their operation.
The DQG SPY comes in the metal box used for AAA versions and includes a li-ion battery 10180 signed by Veleno Designs. A Key ring attachment and a few of O-rings accompanying the small flashlight.
The DQG Spy has a very familiar appearance, as if a DQG TinyAAA were reduced.
Mechanized Titanium has a size and difficult weight imagine, really small and light. With just over 5 grams is 10180 torch certainly lighter on market, and also length beat the competition offered by other similar lights manufacturers.
The head of the SPY, very similar to the AAA, with a small knurling area between the bezel and neck. This new DQG dispenses with classical TIR lens found in the previous lights from this same manufacturer, and introduces the “mule” concept, with the LED without any collimator at its emitter and so beam provided would be purely flooder. The LED is located behind a *quartz lens *on the first batch (already sold out) and will have glass with AR treatment in the next batch by specifications provided by the manufacturer.
The threads are very similar to those found in the AAA version, even being compatible in its pitch.
As I have been told, the next batch of SPY will be slightly modified in design to the interchangeable heads with O-ring AAA is completely within the neck.
Edited: As I’ve been told today, the thread modification to fully match DQG AAA body is not possible due size issues.
Inside we see the positive contact of the circuit, surrounded by a protective foam that acts as a mechanism against inverted battery fitment, and prevents the battery from ranting when the flashlight is off. Among the knurling and neck there is a discreet but quite legible lettering recorded with the make and model of the flashlight.
The small tube, as in the AAA versions has no spring inside and instead there is a lug directly machining in the bottom. The exterior design features a “scale-like” AAA version, with a very interesting tailcap in which we find a drilling for the chain ring, and a second hole in which CNQG has installed a tritium vial.
This tritium vial is like the old GITD point of AAA but with the peculiarity that needs no previously “charge” of light to glow in the dark because there is inside there is a gas radiolucent that emits light by itself. More information on the tritium and the radioluminescence.
We can choose the color of the luminescence of tritium in CNQG web interface between the green typical “radioactive” and orange. We can even acquire additional vials to change or add any extra if we are handy with drill.
Tritium vial installed appears by cyanoacrylate adhesive, and there are abundant traces of this around the tailcap of the two units that I have in my possession.
A couple of pictures to compare their size and design with other 10180 flashlights:
(Pictures courtesy of stirner)
*USER INTERFACE: *
The DQG SPY has only two modes, low and high, both selectable through twisty, but this time selecting mode is slightly different from what we are used to seeing earlier in DQG AAA.
Twisting his head, lights starts on Low. This is the main mode of the light as always will start in this mode whatever we do. To access the high mode we have continue tightening the head, about half turn from activation in low, at which point the flashlight switch to High mode.
When inspecting the positive contact inside the SPY head can warn as this has some kind of membrane in interior, and put pressure on the contact noticed as there is a “click” point at which the mode changes flashlight due to the extra pressure by tapping the battery to ½ turn more.
The CNQG site has erroneous specifications as said by DQG. Instead of 10-200LM (values of the first prototype manufactured), the final version should be specified as 10-125LM. The designer says that these values are approximate and have completely deducted by the current driver supplied after comparison with theXP-G2 LED datasheet.
After the usual mode measurement on integrating sphere we can see see how George is right, and DQG SPY has a low mode with around 9LM and around 130LM for CW High mode (120LM for the NW).
One of the major challenges in designing a flashlight work with a 10180 battery is the major limitation in that the battery has as far as capacity is concerned. The famous AW manufacturer declared in this format 90mAh, and batteries included with the SPY, signed by veleno designs have an unknown capacity. Thanks to OPUS BT-C3100 I could get an idea the real capacity of these batteries, skimming 85mAh when tested in discharge current 200mA (minimum discharge current capable for the analyzer charger). Well, with just 85mAh, we face a crossroads where we must decide if we prioritize the runtime or the usual nice flat regulation. DQG has chosen the first option, and regulation is within the direct drive type, thus increasing substantially the time of use of the flashlight with small battery sacrificing linear regulation as other DQG AAA have shown.
The low mode obtains a great runtime of just over four hours, starting with a good real 10LM. You can note as the output of the flashlight, thus even in low mode, it does decrease during the entire operating time. This is due to falling battery voltage. If he had chosen a flat regulated output as in AAA’s, the time would be much lower, because maintaining the brightness need increasingly driver current (mA) to compensate for the drop voltage (V) of the battery, further subjecting it to gradually discharge and drastically shortening their runtime.
The High mode offers a similar regulation, providing gradually decreasing output as in the low mode. This decrease is gradual and not visible at all to naked human eye. The version with neutral tint provides slight lower output, as is usual in warm or neutral variants of the same powerled. Still, I must confess that I have been pleasantly surprised to and see how well balanced this regulation, providing useful light for over 25 minutes with so small cell capacity.
The new concept of optical “mule” type featuring a much floody beam than the AAA versions, with no hotspot in its huge lighted area evenly lightened. Light angle is also much wider than that offered by the AAA TIR lens.
The tint in both flashlights is very nice, XP-G2 R5 1A for cold white and XP-G2 R5 4C for the neutral white variant.
Without reflector or collimator lens, the SPY offers a beam covering a huge area by flooding homogeneously without a defined center hotspot, although if increased the shutter speed camera can pick how the metal lining the perimeter of the LED collimates some light.
Therefore, the angle of light is much wider than any other AAA flashlight equipped with reflector or TIR lens.
*PERSONAL CONCLUSION: *
Those who have followed closely the previous reviews of DQG in the past knows that stirner and I have actively participated in the development phase of some lights as first Tiny18650. This DQG SPY was suggested and practically devised by us, building up a complete dossier with all the interesting concepts and advice documentation for George to weigh the feasibility of the project.
Fortunately, this idea seemed interesting and has communication with been smooth and friendly as ever, and over the last 6 months have been working to offer you this small piece of art by admired creator of DQG saga. Initially, the idea was to simply machine an additional tube for use with head DQG TinyAAA Ti II, the first DQG AAA supporting Li-Ion, but eventually George decided to use a completely new model using the design basis made by us time back. In parallel, he has developed an entirely independent variable, you just see the light as the unit of production and which I have been fortunate to receive the first unit machined and assembled for a brief introduction to the model, DQG FAIRY, the which you have more information on the next post.
Negatives: I was struck that all those who have received the SPY units have the same problem with glue used to fix the tritium vial in the tailcap. Apparently, and as said by DQG, the installation of this element is carried out by CNQG staff, and does not seem to be paying much attention to detail.
Positives: I will not dwell on the reasons obvious given above, but the DQG SPY seems a genuine piece of flashlight art, a keychain flashlight that you really forget about it till you need it, powerful, light and compact, machined in titanium, with tritium vial installed that can be customized, two really usable modes, always starting on low, great tints in both variants and runtime more than acceptable for the type of battery used.
|Thank stirner for the invaluable help in the hours and hours of work and extensive documentation involved in the design of this great little flashlight.|