Archon D10U 18650 aspheric diving flashlight, a non-diver review

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djozz
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Archon D10U 18650 aspheric diving flashlight, a non-diver review

Last time I did a review on a free sample from Banggood (an impressive three-barreled head/bikelight) I was pretty disappointed by it, it was a badly thought-out light, and I said so in the review. That did not discourage Banggood (to their credit, or their ignorance Wink ) to ask me to do another review, and of a nice looking light Smile .

The Archon D10U has been around for almost 2 years, and although it is mentioned here and there, I had not seen a review on it, probably because it is quite expensive (40+ dollars).  I am not a diver, so I can not judge the diving performance of this light (it should go up to 60 meters deep), but because it looks like a well build aspheric light, I will see how well it compares it to the BLFstandardaspheric: the Uniquefire UF-T20.

It comes in a pretty nice box, with two small jars of silicon lube, two extra o-rings for the tail-cap, a lanyard and two big diving lanyards.

  

The Archon looks very sturdy and has a perfect shiny anodised finish that looks thick and tough. It is a tail twisty and so the UI is kept simple, but still proved a bit confusing. The sequence is high, low, slow-strobe, with next mode memory Frown. But it took me some time to find out that in order to go to the next mode you need a 2-seconds off, any shorter and it will stay in the current mode.

Some numbers: the tail current at high setting is 2.15A. Zoomed out, the output is 420 lumen, zoomed in the output is 235 lumen. The throw when zoomed in is 23 klux @ 1 meter.

So the D10U is moderately driven, the output is pretty avarage for a xml-zoomie, and the throw is nothing special, as you expect from an XM-L led. The beam on a white wall looks pretty clean, nice even flood and good led-projection when zoomed in, but zoomed-in there are some (nothing annoying) rings around the hotspot. On my test-tree (Populus canadensis Smile) at 25meter distance zoomed out and zoomed-in it looks like this:

 

On the picture it looks a bit more impressive than in reality, the light throws ok, but it is not for really long distances (which is probably no use underwater anyway).

Disassembly:

     

Nothing special on the driver-led assembly, I'm no expert but it looks like a resistor-controlled (20mm) direct driver with PWM for low mode and strobe (pretty low PWM-frequency on low). The threads for screwing in the pill are on a free rotating separate ring around the pill, held in place by the screws that hold the led-board as well, a bit odd solution, but it is needed to keep the pill from turning and twisting the led wires, because the driver floats under the pill. The plus-battery spring is soldered through a hole in the board, it first goes through a thick plastic thingy that is there to spread out the impact of the battery to the side of the driver board when the light is accidently dropped. There is also a spring in the tail cap.

Concerning the physical build, it looks like it can handle some water pressure, the glass front lens is nice and thick (uncoated), the aluminium bezel-ring can screw the lens very tight onto the o-ring that sits on an edge. There is a brushed aluminium spacer between the glass lens and the aspheric, in flood modus it causes a dim and even spill around the flood beam which can be quite useful. The aluminium spacer presses the (plastic) aspheric lens onto a second o-ring:

 

The tail cap is very robust, many well lubed anodised threads inside the cap and on the body (after all it forms the switch) and two fat o-rings for water proofing. Under the sliding mechanism for zooming the the light, again two lubed o-rings and lubed threading.

Not sure how well it adds up to underwater performance, but as a layman I am impressed Smile .

 

Now comes the section where I am not impressed, a comparison to the Uniquefire UF-T20. The Archon is slightly larger, but the effective lens diameter is almost exactly the same (31mm vs 32mm):

 

The aspheric lens of the Archon has a considerably longer focal length, that does not make the Archon throw less but it does give less output by making the hotspot smaller, when zoomed in. The flood of the Archon is a bit wider than the Uniquefire. (left lens is from the Archon, right lens is from the Uniquefire):

I can not do a direct beam comparison between the two because though I have many pills for my UF-T20, there is not one left with an XM-L in it (who started the unsane trend putting XM-L's in aspherics anyway??). But because of the shorter focal length (glass) lens and the lack of an extra thick lens in front of it, I the UF-T20 will beat this Archon on every aspect (physics can't be defied).

 

Conclusion:

The Archon D10U is a nice looking and very robust light with an output performance that is worse than the comparable and well-build Uniquefire UF-T20 that costs half of it. That leaves two reasons to buy it:

1) it looks really well build, if you want an ok performing 18650 zoomie for very rough (and wet) use, this might be the one (I'd mod it with a more suitable led and better driver though).

2) you are a diver.

To finish the review I am looking for a diver who wants to put the light to some underwater testing, preferably up to 60 meters Evil , and report in this thread (with pictures please Smile ) . Please respond in this thread, the first serious responder who is willing to do the testing will receive the light. To limit my shipping costs, I will send the flashlight to anywhere in Europe for free (jay, one of those scarse giveaways not for US-members, though I love all of you americans all the same Love ), and the tester can keep the flashlight afterwards. Perhaps before testing, all the seals have to be checked/lubed because I have disassembled the light fully for the review.

Thanks for reading Smile

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:34
DayLighter
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Nice compact size diving light.. but aspheric in diving light? well.. ain’t no diver but if I’m in a total darkness under water I want as much light out of the front where I can see things clearly at least 50’ in front of me Big Smile

The only way to do a great work is to love what you do.

RaceR86
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Thanks for the review djozz.

Sorry I cant dive.. Maybe tie some rocks to me..  J)

BLF LED database – collaboration spreadsheet and latest news about where to buy LEDs
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/19342

Jerommel
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Glass and O ring are up to some pressure by the looks of them.

djozz
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DayLighter wrote:
Nice compact size diving light.. but aspheric in diving light? well.. ain't no diver but if I'm in a total darkness under water I want as much light out of the front where I can see things clearly at least 50' in front of me :D

As I understand, divers do profit from tight beams without much spill, it helps seeing through blurry water, same as they work better when seeing through fog, or smoke.

djozz
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RaceR86 wrote:

Thanks for the review djozz.

Sorry I cant dive.. Maybe tie some rocks to me..  J)

I will send you the light straight away Wink .

Please keep track of what is happening to the light on the way down, with depth numbers. You can send your notes to the surface tied to a small balloon.

RaceR86
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Big Smile

BLF LED database – collaboration spreadsheet and latest news about where to buy LEDs
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/19342

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Put it in a pressure cooker (snelkookpan) and pump it up (with an old CO2 fire extinguisher for example)
O, add a meter ! Silly

I miss your job sometimes, djozz.. Wink
But you could maybe simulate some depth by gas pressure.

djozz
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Jerommel wrote:
Put it in a pressure cooker (snelkookpan) and pump it up (with an old CO2 fire extinguisher for example) O, add a meter ! Silly I miss your job sometimes, djozz.. Wink But you could maybe simulate some depth by gas pressure.

Hmm, the hydrogen bottle at work is at 150 bar, I could hook it to some container filled with water and the flashlight, simulating 1500m depth :evil:.  But I guess a soda bottle will not do as a suitable container Wink

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I am a diver, but this has to be the stupidest idea for a torch ever. Yes, a hotspot is very important, but equally as important is spill.

djozz
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lionheart_2281 wrote:
I am a diver, but this has to be the stupidest idea for a torch ever. Yes, a hotspot is very important, but equally as important is spill.

Thanks lionheart for your view on this light, perhaps this is why there is little information about it on the internet.

Still looking for someone who wants to check it out at some depth underwater Smile 

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djozz wrote:

lionheart_2281 wrote:
I am a diver, but this has to be the stupidest idea for a torch ever. Yes, a hotspot is very important, but equally as important is spill.

Thanks lionheart for your view on this light, perhaps this is why there is little information about it on the internet.

Still looking for someone who wants to check it out at some depth underwater Smile 

We really do appreciate your reviews though mate, great job.

esmi83
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I totaly disagree actually, i think it is a good idea to focus lights for underwater use, if you want to i could test it down to 70mt or something…. But already before i have tested it i can mention some flaws…. it is to big to be a backuplight and to small to be a primary i think… (primary lights should have a long burn time) the design is also not that recognisable for divers… it needs a goodmanhandle of some sort (if it should be a primary). And i suspect it to be quite heavy in the front with the glass lens…. I would have solved it with a fresnell instead…

djozz
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esmi83 wrote:
I totaly disagree actually, i think it is a good idea to focus lights for underwater use, if you want to i could test it down to 70mt or something.... But already before i have tested it i can mention some flaws.... it is to big to be a backuplight and to small to be a primary i think... (primary lights should have a long burn time) the design is also not that recognisable for divers... it needs a goodmanhandle of some sort (if it should be a primary). And i suspect it to be quite heavy in the front with the glass lens.... I would have solved it with a fresnell instead...

Hi esmi83, I'm happy to send the flashlight to you for testing underwater. You can keep it afterwards so if it is destroyed in the process that's fine. I do like a report of the test in this review-thread, with perhaps if you have the opportunity some underwaterpictures (video? :bigsmile: ) of the light in action/ the light failing Cool. If you PM me your address I will send the light Smile

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I’m not getting how the zoom works. What is stopping the zoomies from being pushed in at higher depths? I have some tight sk68 and they’re very hard to zoom in/out just by air pressure difference, at sea level.

Now this thing will go to 60m – so that’s 7bar vs 1bar air inside = 6bar difference. Again, I’m not seeing how the zoom withstand this pressure difference and not being forcefully pushed in by invisible Hulk.

P.S: There’s a report at CPF that this light failed and leaked at first dive. Look forward to see how this one performs. If possible, videos Smile Smile

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I’m with Pulsar13. Being a diver there is significant pressure buildup underwater. Since the inside HAS to be air, and the outside water there is going to be some serious pressure there.
I can offer to take it diving but shipping to the US is likely prohibitive.

Tight beam vs. spill – is very much dependent on local conditions and what the diver wants to do with the light. For murky water and signaling you want a powerful tight beam. For clear tropical waters, video, and night diving in those conditions a light with more spill is often what is desired. I find it interesting that some of my NW dive colleagues take their halogen lumen monsters on tropical vacations. I think this is like bringing a car headlight indoors to find something in a closet.

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Forgot about this light…if you haven’t found someone to test this light I can, but it will only be to 35-40m (ex-HMAS Adelaide off Terrigal, NSW) and it won’t be until the water warms back up a bit (it’s currently 16 degrees, eek!!!)
Anyway, no great hurry, I won’t be diving before October.

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Wuss – Smile
Here it’s 10*C and the peak of summer warmth. Party
In a few months it’ll be 7*C.
Drysuits (almost) mandatory. If you don’t, you likely quit.

Ervin Anastasi
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Nice review djozz, i really like the photo of the beam on the tree. Trying to take good photos of my thrower i know is very difficult to take a clean shot of a thrower, at least i am failing. What camera do you use ?
Thinking about the light i think they have make the life too much difficult trying to make an aspheric that have moving parts an underwater solution. If this light do not take water inside @60m than Archon must be a very high quality line of lights.

some of my actual experiments and reviews:
UF-T20 review and mod —->http://budgetlightforum.com/node/30186#node-30186
My EBRZM, over 1 million cd thrower—-> http://budgetlightforum.com/node/30274#node-30274
Ervin’s try (2nd. Annual BLF Scratch Made L

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flydiver wrote:
Wuss – Smile Here it’s 10*C and the peak of summer warmth. Party In a few months it’ll be 7*C. Drysuits (almost) mandatory. If you don’t, you likely quit.

Drysuit? So you don’t feel the water temp at all?

Wuss Wink

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Right now, not much. In Feb – March, it can get a bit chilly. Shocked
You might consider it. A thin dry suit with minimal undergarment would vastly extend your dive season. One of the best parts is getting out and NOT being wet. Around here the late fall and early spring are the most interesting, and coldest, times to dive. Visibility can be highly variable in the summer plankton blooms or the winter rain+river flooding. Drysuit diving probably is around 90% of the active dive population. Wetsuit divers get drysuits or give up.

A newer club diver showed up a couple weeks ago in his old wetsuit. He thought it was warm enough to use it and was still not completely used to using a drysuit. He thought it would be relaxing to go back.
His opinion at the end of the dive – “I’ll never do that again!”

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flydiver wrote:
Right now, not much. In Feb – March, it can get a bit chilly. Shocked
You might consider it. A thin dry suit with minimal undergarment would vastly extend your dive season. One of the best parts is getting out and NOT being wet. Around here the late fall and early spring are the most interesting, and coldest, times to dive. Visibility can be highly variable in the summer plankton blooms or the winter rain+river flooding. Drysuit diving probably is around 90% of the active dive population. Wetsuit divers get drysuits or give up.

A newer club diver showed up a couple weeks ago in his old wetsuit. He thought it was warm enough to use it and was still not completely used to using a drysuit. He thought it would be relaxing to go back.
His opinion at the end of the dive – “I’ll never do that again!”

I have been looking at dry suits, I had my heart set on a D1 Hybrid (Waterproof) but then found out you need like 30lbs of weight with it. Still looking for a decent dry suit, Scubapro make some decent ones, so do DIY apparantly. I just invested in a Waterproof H1 7mm so that along with my W1 should vastly extend my dive seasons.

flydiver
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A 7mm wetsuit has a lot of floatation, most of it VERY compressible at depth. Buoyancy is highly variable due to compression. Same thing with a drysuit.
For your purposes a shell with appropriate undergarment would likely work better.
I use a high quality compressed neoprene here but that gets you into the $2500-3K level.
Weighting is a function of the insulation you are using. I actually dropped 6# and increased my bottom time 10” when I got that suit.

Got a steel tank?

lionheart_2281
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flydiver wrote:
A 7mm wetsuit has a lot of floatation, most of it VERY compressible at depth. Buoyancy is highly variable due to compression. Same thing with a drysuit.
For your purposes a shell with appropriate undergarment would likely work better.
I use a high quality compressed neoprene here but that gets you into the $2500-3K level.
Weighting is a function of the insulation you are using. I actually dropped 6# and increased my bottom time 10” when I got that suit.

Got a steel tank?

Yeah, I use a 12.2 Faber and 18lbs of weight with a 5mm W1, it’s JUST enough, hardly need to add a thing to my BCD for neutral buoyancy.
What type of drysuit would you recommend for someone that wants to dive with as little weight as possible?

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Totally forgot to report here in this thread. esmi83 did indeed succesfully dive with this flashlight and it survived, he even made some pictures but he did not post it or send them to me. So I just quote his PM he wrote in october to me here (I do not normally quote PM's btw, but I think in this case there's no harm in it):

esmi83 wrote:
hi there sorry for the late reply, have not done so much tec diving lately, today i brought the light down to 71m and it held up i got some pictures, but unfortually i do not think it is so easy to see the computer, but i could send them to you if you want…
flydiver
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lionheart_2281 wrote:
Yeah, I use a 12.2 Faber and 18lbs of weight with a 5mm W1, it’s JUST enough, hardly need to add a thing to my BCD for neutral buoyancy. What type of drysuit would you recommend for someone that wants to dive with as little weight as possible?

Off topic:
Sorry for the delayed response. Which suit is very difficult to tell since people are so different in their cold tolerance and you are in a completely different country so may have entirely different suits available. It also depends on water temps. Try talking to some locals that use them and factor out the BS (bullshit) factor common among men that think whatever they are using is the best there is. In addition if you are only going to use it a few months a year you may not want to throw as much money as one you use year around like here.

For example, here DUI is a very common and generally well respected suit. IMO it was….once. Now it’s overly expensive and not up to the standards it use to be, probably a victim of it’s own success. DUI-[dry until immersed] is often said a lot of the suit. The cross shoulder zipper is highly favored, OFTEN goes bad due to location and stress, and is expensive to replace as people find out after awhile.

esmi83
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Shit Totaly forgot aboute the whole thing! yeah I indeed brought it sucsessfully to 71m the pictures are not that good and i do not know how i should upload them here…. If there are some interest i could try to take some new ones but not before the water get a little warmer….. it is not that pleasant doing deco in 4degrees of water….
Actually the light were perfect as a signal light when we used it together with a camera/videorig. The focusing is a really good idea for a small light like this especally if it is intended for communication….

esmi83
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regarding drysuits the santi e.motion is good value for money, me myself have a DUI TLS for summer/vecation and a DUI CF200 for winter/abuse dives…. The DUI FLX would be my choise if I should have only one suit… But there is a lot of personal preferences involved

esmi83
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I liked the light alot, but i did not like the packaging, there is a ring on the light that i think is bullshit, there is no place to tie a hook proparly, It would be nice if the body were fatter and could fit a bigger battery…. but all in all it is a nice light….

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djozz wrote:

But because of the shorter focal length (glass) lens and the lack of an extra thick lens in front of it, I the UF-T20 will beat this Archon on every aspect (physics can’t be defied).

Based on your experience which other aspheric lens in the 40mm range beats the lens from the UF-T20 in terms of throw?