[Review] DQG SPY & DQG FAIRY (CREE XP-G2 R5, 1x 10180)

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UPz
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[Review] DQG SPY & DQG FAIRY (CREE XP-G2 R5, 1x 10180)

DQG SPY
LED: CREE XP-G2 R5 (1A CW / 4C NW)
Batery: 1× 10180
Modes: 2 (Low-High) No memory.
Switch: Twisty
Date: April 2014
Links:
Banggood / ForoLinternas / RdL

PRESENTATION:

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.

EXTERIOR FINISH:
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.


(All measurements are taken following the procedure ANSI NEMA FL1 using a value of the highest peak value of between 30 and 120 seconds after activation. More details here.)

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).

*PERFORMANCE: *
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.

BEAM PROFILE:
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.
Edited by: UPz on 02/22/2016 - 12:30
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DQG FAIRY
LED: CREE XP-G2 R5 (1A CW / 4C NW)
Battery: 1× 10180
Modes 2 (Low-High) No memory.
Switch: Twisty
Date: April 2014
Links:
Banggood

PRESENTATION:
As I advance in the previous review of DQG SPY, parallel with this project a second interpretation of how a 10180 flashlight could be produced by DQG was devised.
The concept of this DQG FAIRY is quite different from the Spy DQG since dispensed with the hallmarks of family TinyAAA to end in a simpler and flirty flashlight.
Some of the ideas were shuffled in principle machine it in copper and then platted in nickel with golden finish. Finally it was decided to mechanize it in brass (which is still an alloy of copper with zinc) which was originally to be gold plated nickel after machining of parts but for various problems has been left in polished brass.
The unit I am presenting is a pre-production unit (more or less finished prototype), and differs slightly from production batch that just went on sale.
First of all I will share some of the images from the first prototype development, in which you can see the changes that have gone shoves over recent months.

Initially, as I said in the review of DQG SPY, the idea was to machine and sell an extra tube for the (then) upcoming release of DQG TinyAAA Ti II. To show our idea, I made this crappy photoshop image to get an idea of how would be the possible future project.

Here you can see the first prototype of SPY / FAIRY. It’s just a sketch to test the driver but as you can see, the original design is pretty close to what has been finally the FAIRY.

This image shows the diagram of the design of both versions separately. Curious as FAIRY name has been changed at the last moment, since initially the second option would be called DQG SPY/G.

This image is a photo of the second prototype, once platted.

EXTERIOR FINISH:
The FAIRY is very different to the SPY, and has a smooth, polished finish on its surface, without knurling areas on head or tube with a cylindrical appearance only broken in the center by a small recess at the junction between the two pieces.
The lens is identical to that found in the SPY, the XP-G2 without reflector or TIR lens protected behind a glass lens (in this case also quartz), and surrounded by what appears to be part of the pill, also in brass.


Note: Can you see how the color of this unit is a very light gold, derived from the previously mentioned problems with the nickel platting.

Inside we find the same driver system, protected with foam. The threads in this unit (which to be a unit pre-production I’m not sure if the final version will be the same) are somewhat different in diameter than those found in the SPY titanium, so we can use the FAIRY head in the SPY body but not the other way.
Tailcap design is also quite different, with a perforated central stud incorporating the split ring, so that its attachment point at the center and not on one side as on the SPY. Although not very stable, you can put it down to this point tailstanding.
Like SPY the FAIRY incorporates tritium vial installed in a similar way in the tailcap. In my case the vial is green.

In general, FAIRY has a much more discreet and elegant finish.

User interface, performance and beam profile are identical to those just seen from the DQG SPY, although it is possible that being machined brass, count with more than his titanium sister model dissipation and is capable of giving some more light on runtime curve during the first minutes.

PERSONAL CONCLUSION:
More than a flashlight, FAIRY DQG has the appearance of a small keychain jewel, with a very distinctive and individual golden touch. I especially like they kept the tritium vial in the tailcap.

Negatives: If the SPY is already difficult to operate one-handed due size, the FAIRY is even more by the lack of knurling on its head. The nickel plated in my unit (and presumably final polished brass FAIRY) is quite slippery.

Positives: Two designs to choose from for the same Flashlight concept with identical features and performance seems like a good idea as it gives the opportunity to choose the model that we like best. Besides, this new simple and minimalist design adds a new shape to the already extensive Kaychain DQG family.

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Finally, I have reserved this space to present separately for another novelty that DQG introduced along the SPY and FAIRY. This is a mini-capsules or watertight keychain containers, nicknamed PSK.

They are sold in two sizes, PSK / S and PSK / M .

These capsules also serves as small containers fully waterproof to carry us through our key small objects inside, such as a folded money note, a pill, a small piece … are designed so that they can also be used as spacers for the battery 10180 to fit the bay of a common charger.
The PSK / S, the smaller of the two, along with battery 10180 give us similar to a CR123 (~ 35mm) battery length, so it is ideal if you are going to charge the battery in a charger for RCR’s / 16340.
The PSK / M, being longer, will give us the ability to charge the battery in a suitable battery bay for 14500 / AA. (*)

Both containers are machined from stainless steel and have a very good exterior finish, with compatible threads and the same pitch as the DQG lights, including O-rings to ensure tightness.
Finally, the PSK / M (Size-A) has another very interesting utility, and is machined allowing hold a 10180 battery inside, so it is ideal if we want to hang it on your keychain with our SPY or FAIRY and always have an extra battery replacement. Inside there is no electrical insulator, and while the inner diameter is similar to the flashlight tube, length height is significantly higher, so there is no risk of shorting the battery, as one of the two poles is always isolated from the capsule. The battery has no lateral play, can only move up or down, so there is no serious risk of abuse the 10180 by shaking it. Still, if we prefer it safe and forget the issue, we can always place one of the SPY or FAIRY spare O-ring in the bottom, or just cut a couple of tiny pieces of padded duct tape and stick on both inner planes to avoid the movement of the battery.

(*) NOTE: As already been mentioned in the general thread on the DQG SPY, small battery 10180 has a limited capacity of about 90mAh, so we will need a charger according to this data to obtain an effective and friendly recharge capability with the small Li-Ion. In principle, it would be ideal to recharge the battery at a current equal to half of its capacity, rounding about 50mAh, but have not reported any problems slightly using higher currents. Obviously, if you do not want to invest in a specific charger for these batteries (or easily mod one of the famous USB charge controller small and cheap boards) you will have to find a charger with the lowest possible charge current.
The problem of charging such batteries at high currents (and when I say high currents I am referring to up to 250mA, please avoid charging this small cell at more than 250mA!) will result in premature deterioration of its chemical and thus its capacity. Even so, and watching the price so affordable that CNQG offers to purchase extra batteries, I would not worry much about this issue and if in the future we see that the capacity has lessen significantly, just order a couple more.

UPz
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Thanks for reading! Party

Ledsmoke
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Excellent reviews. Thank you for the large effort. 

~ Ledsmoke ~

Dutch humor:

[quote=djozz]

 I do not think that the BLF-community ben

Mr Floppy
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Great review. I tried reading the Spanish one with the aid of google translate but this one is great.

Interchangeable heads with the AAA hey? Well, that’s two new lights on the horizon (my current DQG IV is the non lli-ion one). Does that mean that the SPY head will support 1.2V as well or just 10440 when swapped?

UPz
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Mr Floppy wrote:
Great review. I tried reading the Spanish one with the aid of google translate but this one is great.

Interchangeable heads with the AAA hey? Well, that’s two new lights on the horizon (my current DQG IV is the non lli-ion one). Does that mean that the SPY head will support 1.2V as well or just 10440 when swapped?

No, the SPY doesn’t support 1.2V battery.
I’ve been told today that the upgrade on the thread isn’t posible, as there is no room for compativility with the larger thread of the AAA version with the current SPY head size.
I’ll edit the review to delete that part. Sad
It is a real pity.

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off-topic, but I have been interested in using 10180 li-ions as a rechargable alternative to 3xLR44 used in so many devices…

I think the max discharge rated ~200mA is a problem however, seeing that LR44 is maybe 75mA…

Any thoughts about this type of usage?

I have 5mm RGB colour fade led lamps which I think I would like to try with 10180 li-ion. They have embedded ICs and are rated to 5V so I think they would work ok, if you can remember to turn them off :bigsmile:

hazna
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The DQG spy has finally motivated me to update my blog.

I think, I’ll leave the serious beamshots and runtime tests to others (like the OP), but here are few of my thoughts on the DQG spy:
http://keychainpockets.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/dqg-spy-10180-quick-revie...

A blog on keychain gadgets, pocket tools and more:

http://keychainpockets.blogspot.com/

josn
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Perfect reviews, fabulous pictures, and I like the most tiny flashlight in the world, small light with low capacity battery, which means I should recharge the battery frequently, the only pity.

sandalian
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They’re amazing lights!
I’m just wishing that DQG Fairy has more knurling on its body.

I'm switching my BLF account into LumenZilla. Thanks!

Gebe
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As always UPz, fabulous review and you are one of the best.

My brass Fairy arrived yesterday.The first thing I saw when I opened the package was the extra 10180 cell I had ordered and never seeing one before, I couldn’t believe how tiny the cell was. The light itself is also incredibly tiny. Pictures don’t do this thing justice as it’s so teeny, tiny you have to see it in person to appreciate just how small it is.

Of course like so many DQG lights, this Fairy light is no different than other DQG lights as it’s an O-ring eater! The O-ring installed on the light was ripped to shreds. I tried cleaning and smoothing out all the threads and installed a 2nd O-ring and with just a couple of activation’s, the 2nd O-ring was ripped to shreds. What’s up with that DQG?

I finally wrapped some Teflon tape around the threads because without the O-ring the head is too loose and the tape is working okay. You would think by now DQG could make lights that don’t rip up O-rings. I have 3 other DQG lights and all of them except one are O-rings eaters and have no O-rings in them.

On the positive side, this thing is more like a piece of jewelry than a light. The finish is beautiful with a nice semi-gloss brass finish. The Tritium vial in the tail is plenty bright and is a nice touch.

Of course this is a mule meaning there’s no beam to speak of because it doesn’t have a reflector but it puts out a nice swath of light. The high mode is pretty impressive for such a tiny thing. I like flood lights and this is a good one.

Except for the usual DQG lights hate O-rings thing, it’s a wonderful little light and well worth owning if not just for the “WOW, that’s so tiny!” factor and along with the Spy, it’s probably one of the best key chain lights out there.

Oh yeah, I also wanted wanted to say that at $20.00 less than the Spy, I think this is the real bargain of the two.

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Smile

hazna
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for what it’s worth, I haven’t had any issues with the o-ring in my dqg spy, so far.

A blog on keychain gadgets, pocket tools and more:

http://keychainpockets.blogspot.com/

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Great review, thanks UPz, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Amazing how small these things are now. 130lm OTF from something this tiny is remarkable. And then when you stop showing off and need the runtime, there’s 4hrs of it on low. Excellent design! I might really get this someday.

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What are you guys using for chargers for the 10180?

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For charger the 10180, I use these two :
- USB charger veleno Design (12$ plus shipping) http://www.velenodesigns.com/?page_id=15
- Cottonpickers Charger. There is a guy on the CPF, he can customize it, I asked a 60mA charge. 17$

Gebe
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Trevi_lux wrote:
For charger the 10180, I use these two : - USB charger veleno Design (12$ plus shipping) http://www.velenodesigns.com/?page_id=15 - Cottonpickers Charger. There is a guy on the CPF, he can customize it, I asked a 60mA charge. 17$

That’s good advice Trevi_Lux especially with Cottonpicker. He’s one of the best. I’ve been using his standard 100mA charger and it works great with the 10180 cell.

hank
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> machined brass

Can you identify the alloy used? The supplier should be able to tell you.

This (first few hits) will explain why it’s important to know the alloy:
https://www.google.com/search?q=brass+alloy+lead+surface

(briefly — because not everyone is as informed or as careful as possible, people should know this: in machining, the lead globules smear into a film on the surface of the metal, so the same issues as handling lead metal are a concern for machinists and customers)

Mr Floppy
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hank wrote:
> (briefly — because not everyone is as informed or as careful as possible, people should know this: in machining, the lead globules smear into a film on the surface of the metal, so the same issues as handling lead metal are a concern for machinists and customers)

How much lead are we talking about? Like lead paint exposure levels? Is there a test without going full chemical analysis? edit: looks like there are a few DIY methods.

rpm
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Does anyone know what size o-rings the DQG Spy takes? I’m not sure how to measure them. Mine is eating o-rings right now, so would like to get a bunch more.

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Thanks a bunch for the run times. Very impressive that it can still push out 60 lumens after 20 minutes on high.

Also awesome pics, love the comparisons with other lights!

Gebe
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rpm wrote:
Does anyone know what size o-rings the DQG Spy takes? I’m not sure how to measure them. Mine is eating o-rings right now, so would like to get a bunch more.

I’d like to know also as mine is eating them too. As I stated above, all my DQG lights are O-ring eaters.

charlestt
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Just spotted there is a DQG charger for it now and it looks very cool Smile

http://www.cnqualitygoods.com/goods.php?id=2056

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

Gebe
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charlestt wrote:
Just spotted there is a DQG charger for it now and it looks very cool Smile

http://www.cnqualitygoods.com/goods.php?id=2056

Just received the Spy/Fairy charger. It has a red LED in it and the LED goes out once the 10180 cell is charged. Right after the red LED went out I took a measurement and it charged the cell to 4.15 Volts.

Gebe
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I received three of the PSK mini containers. Two of the PSK-M and one of the smaller PSK-S. Unlike UPz’ review, neither of them came with O-rings. I had some O-rings of the correct size for the PSK’s but like all DQG items in my experience, the containers just chewed them up. Sad

The tiny PSK-S is pretty much useless, (unless you’re going to use it as a battery spacer), as it’s so small I doubt if it would even hold two aspirin tablets.

A 10180 cell fits into the larger PSK-M nicely but as UPz stated, the cell will rattle a little but a small piece of foam solved that problem.

An interesting fact is the tops of both capsules are interchangeable. I used the top from the small PSK-S on the larger PSK-M capsule and now with a 10180 cell in it, it’s 1/8” shorter and there’s no battery rattle. Also, the small PSK-S with the PSK-M top is now 1/8” larger and a little more useful.

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cnqualitygoods web site leaves a lot to be desired. I cannot make a purchase without providing some personal information that isn’t collected over https. I thought I would create an account and that doesn’t seem to be https: either for collecting passwords :-/

Gebe
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Gebe wrote:
rpm wrote:
Does anyone know what size o-rings the DQG Spy takes? I’m not sure how to measure them. Mine is eating o-rings right now, so would like to get a bunch more.

I’d like to know also as mine is eating them too. As I stated above, all my DQG lights are O-ring eaters.

I found them at CNQUALITYGOODS. Ten for $1.10 under the category of “Waterproof O-rings”.

I also wired brushed, (brass), all the threads on the Fairy and Spy and then coated the threads and O-rings with fluorinated grease. Now they both work like they should and aren’t eating up the O-rings.

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I would just like to say thank you to everyone who commented about this light, and to UPz for the review. This, combined with the titanium necklace I wear it on, is one of my most treasured belongings that I’ve been wearing for about 2 months now.

The chain I have it on is a 24”, 4mm thick titanium wheat chain, from TitaniumKay I bought on Amazon. I have it attached to the necklace with an old surgical steel earring. I absolutely love this light.

I took a few pictures of it’s awesomeness.

Gebe
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Very nice Lotus! I wear mine on a necklace too.

Gebe
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Gebe wrote:
charlestt wrote:
Just spotted there is a DQG charger for it now and it looks very cool Smile

http://www.cnqualitygoods.com/goods.php?id=2056

Just received the Spy/Fairy charger. It has a red LED in it and the LED goes out once the 10180 cell is charged. Right after the red LED went out I took a measurement and it charged the cell to 4.15 Volts.

Wanted to add, this Spy/Fairy charger is a “must have” for anyone who has either light. Mine is now charging my 10180 cells to 4.17V. It really is a great product.

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