[Review] NITECORE EAX Hammer (2x XM-L2 T6 CW, 8x AA)

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UPz
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[Review] NITECORE EAX Hammer (2x XM-L2 T6 CW, 8x AA)


NITECORE EAX Hammer
LED: 2x CREE XM-L2 T6 CW
Battery: 8x AA
Modes: 8 (Lower, Low, Med, High, Turbo / / Strobe, SOS, Beacon)
Switch: Electronic “Two-Stage”
Date: June 2014
Links:
Nitecore / Flashaholics.co.uk / RdL / ForoLinternas

INTRODUCTION:
The new proposal by Nitecore within their range of Explorer torches is this EAX, a strong high performance flashlight that feeds on common AA batteries and comes with two XM-L2 emitters placed after a smooth and generously sized reflector, all in a relatively compact flashlight using the base seen before in the Explorer EA8 Caveman.

The flashlight comes in a cardboard box following the guidelines that Nitecore has accustomed us, and is being accompanied by a holster, a bag in which we find together spare o-rings and classic adjustable strap paracord, and the usual user manual (in English) along the warranty card.

The holster is very similar to that which comes with the TM15, nylon textile type and expecting a velcro flap closure, being open at its bottom, and with different types of anchors on its back.

EXTERIOR FINISH:
The external appearance of this EAX has his own personal touch, with nuances that clearly identified within the family of Nitecore Explorers for multiple AA batteries. Broadly speaking, one could say that it is a hybrid between EA8 and MT26.

The material used is black anodized aluminum with a porous matte tone very similar or identical to that found in the popular EA4.

The head has a rectangular finish with cut angles and almost totally covered with discrete cooling fins. The bezel is flat and is bolted through eight allen screws. The lens has the usual AR treatment that prevents the emitted light being reflected on it and being trapped inside. The double smooth reflector overlaps, allowing a substantially greater depth to what could have been achieved with separate reflectors as in the case of the MT26.

Both XM-L2 are correctly centered, even without the usual plastic centering mechanism.

In the neck we find the “two stage” switch, a Nitecore patented digital switch system with advanced features and a backlight blue led to operate further embedded as a locator, emitting a flash every few seconds when the flashlight is off, does features low voltage warning with the flashlight on and battery voltage reader when inserting or blocking the light. It is covered by a dark but translucent silicone which allows us to see through it the switch flicker hits.

The tube, virtually identical to the EA8 is fully coated by grooves carved around it, which give it a more than acceptable amount of grip without the typical knurling. It has two flat surfaces levels on both sides, where laser engraved logos, model and relevant patents are displayed.

The tailcap design is common with Explorers multi-AA family, with a good knurling to provide us your unscrewing, adding a very good grip.

At the base, Nitecore machined some sort of cross, in which at one end has made a hole for attaching the strap, without preventing tailstand the flashlight in very solid way.

USER INTERFACE:
EAX user interface is very similar to that found in other models of the Explorer range of Nitecore.
With the “two-stage” switch, which acts as a camera trigger detecting a complete or partial pulsation, mode selection is fast, accurate and intuitive:

The principal mode group contains the Micro, Low, Medium and High. To access it just make a simple press of the switch. Repeat pressing to toggle between modes. Turn off the flashlight with a full press.
This group of primary modes, has memory and will remember it on the next activation.

A second group of modes is available with a full press (to the bottom, you’ll hear a click). This second group contains the Turbo mode and High mode. Accessing through complete pulsation, flashlight always starts on Turbo, with a soft touch and will alternate with the High mode. This mode group has no memory, and always turns on Turbo.

A third group of modes, called “special modes” contains strobe mode, SOS and beacon mode. To access this mode group, simply do a quickly double full press with the flashlight on in any mode. After doing that, the flashlight goes into strobe mode, which has a variable frequency. To switch between the special modes, it is necessary to keep the switch down (not to the click) a pair of seconds. The following is the SOS mode and repeat the operation to enter beacon mode, emitting a flash about every two seconds.

Besides all this, we have several interesting features:

  • Locator / Beacon Switch: Similar to as we saw in the EA4 or P25, the backlit button is a feature that allows us to locate flashlight in darkness. In addition it acts as a low voltage warning, and we can even see that we have available voltage remaining in the installed battery set.

  • Shortcut to Turbo mode with the flashlight on: From any of the main modes (Micro, Low, Medium, High) we can tackle the Turbo mode, simply holding the switch down slightly for two more than one second.
  • Electronic block-out: If we want to prevent accidental activation, Nitecore has implemented a useful function to block out the EAX. Suffice it to turn the flashlight on by pressing to the bottom and holding the switch for a couple of seconds down. The flashlight will emit a flash of confirmation, and the button is locked. After entering the block-out mode, the button illumination will perform a series of flashes, which are a reading of battery voltage (batteries are in 4S2P configuration). While the flashlight remains blocked, the function of flashing / locator is void. To unlock just hold the flashlight switch to the bottom by just over two seconds.
  • Battery voltage reading: A very interesting and usual role in the new Nitecore models is the possibility of knowing, by a sequence of flashes of light switch, the remaining voltage of the battery pack. This function is accessible in two ways: Whenever we insert batteries in the EAX, after threading its tailcap or as indicated above after the block-out the flashlight.
  • Momentary on: The versatile EAX switch also offers a momentary on function. Holding the switch softly (ie. Not to the bottom), the flashlight will perform a momentary on for the time we maintain the switch pressure. This function uses the memory stored mode for the momentary activation.

Broadly speaking, the interface is common to EA4 and EA8.


_(All measurements are taken following the procedure ANSI NEMA FL1 using the highest reading of between 30 and 120 seconds after activation. More details in my ForoLinternas thread
After the usual test in the IS of the different modes of the flashlight, and a comparison between measured and specified, I can say the EAX gets more than acceptable consistency in all its different modes.

PERFORMANCE:
As expected, this EAX Turbo mode has a time-controlled stepdown, which reduces down the output after three minutes of continuous usage. Unlike EA4, the stepdown is carried out gradually over the next 5 minutes, so you will not notice a significant change in the brightness of the flashlight. After the first three minutes early and the next 5 minutes progressively lowering output, the EAX stabilizes its output around 1600LM, where it remains linearly regulated to 20 minutes from activation, at which lowers to the High mode, with ~1200LM and staying again linearly regulated up to 80 minutes, at which point the batteries are unable to supply sufficient voltage and losing regulation entering a final phase of free fall “direct drive-like”, squeezing the most out of the 8 AA batteries.

Looking for more detail at the early stages of regulation, I have prepared this expanded graph by limiting the time to 30 minutes.

As for the type of power is difficult to compare the performance of this EAX and the 8 AA batteries, I have chosen to make this comparison with other models of different battery configurations and emitters:


(NOTE: The batteries used in the different test embodied in this graph are the Panasonic NCR18650A of nominal 3100mAh and AA Sanyo Eneloop 1900mAh Min, colloquially known as 2000mAh.)

The first interesting feature is the extreme difference in efficiency between the EAX and Niwalker Vostro BK-FA01 considering the batteries employing for each flashlights. I have chosen to include in this comparison the EA4W (remember that this is neutral tint version) and one of the competitors like the Jetbeam SRA40, using 4 AA batteries. The EagleTac SX25L3 and Niwalker Vostro BK-FA02 uses a MT-G2 emitter with three and four 18650 batteries respectively. The Fenix TK75 uses three XM-L U2 emitters and 4 18650 batteries, so it is logical that obtains the highest output runtime and efficiency of the whole family.

Again, I go back to using an expanded graph so that you can observe in detail how all samples perform compared with much more detail during the first half hour of continuous usage.

BEAM PROFILE:
This type of optics, which use a set of twin reflectors in which each emitter is not completely isolated from the other field of thought always seems to create a profile in which you can see some unusual shapes, because some light from emitter 1 is collimated by the reflector 2. This phenomenon creates a projection in which we can see, especially at short distances, as the hotspot and traditional spill are surrounded to respective sides by a sort of half-moons, arising light which is collimated by the reflector opposite. This detail disappears when projecting light to a few tens of meters away.

Having used partially overlapping reflectors allows a greater depth than with separate reflectors, giving the EAX Hammer the figure of 490 meters maximum range, and 60kcd max intensity (manufacturer rated, ANSI NEMA FL1 Standard).


The tint is typically seen in other brand flashlights that use this XM-L2 T6 CW, a cool white with a slight greenish trend in the gradient of the hotspot.

PERSONAL CONCLUSION:
Nitecore in their EA4, EA8 and now EAX try to offer typical high performance flashlights traditionally fed by rechargeable lithium batteries 18650, but with common AA batteries, either primary or rechargeable.

Nitecore EAX • MagLite 2C •• Fenix TK75


Nitecore EAX • Nitecore EA4W • JETBeam SRA40
Perhaps for those used to rechargeable lithium this type battery configuration may involve some hassle, but the result is a real 2000LM flashlight operable with 8 AA batteries you can buy in any store locally.
Dislike: As I just mentioned, the Li-Ion dispense of feeding requires the use of multiple batteries, and hold up to 8 AA batteries ready for use in the flashlight can be certainly cumbersome, especially when charging as 8 bays chargers are not too popular.
Like: As usual I stay always amazed with the mechanical quality of the finishes of any of the new Nitecores. This EAX has a great fit and finish and own appearance, yet is easily identifiable with the other models of the Explorer range. 2000LM from your actual TV remote control batteries is simply spectacular. Excellent spaced modes, now with a really low 1LM lower mode with 800h (33 days) of runtime. The Nitecore “two stage” switch management is really a delight with all functions available with a single switch, without being complicated to use. Those who know or follow my analysis will know that these types of flashlights, with high performance and considerable size, are not my favorite format for the use to which I employ, but this EAX seems like a really interesting piece, both in concept, performance and battery configuration.

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 11:48
RAW74
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Another great review!Thanks UTz.Now I understand why I never noticed the step-down.Nitecore should have done this with all of there lights.I have also noticed that the LED heatsinking seems to be better than the EA8/4.This thing gets alot hotter.
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Thank you for the excellent review! This looks like the light you get when you dread li-ions or air travel.

rollinstone157
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While using alkalines would hardly give ideal runtimes or light output, it would work—and in an emergency being able to use a more regularly available battery could be an important feature!

And it looks like Thor’s hammer, so it’s got that going for it, which is nice.

musicmagic
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UPz wrote:
…which are a reading of battery voltage (batteries are in 4S4P configuration).

4S4P would be 16 cells. This light uses 4C2P.

very good overall review. I agree, 8 cells are a pain to charge at once.

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Thanks UPz for the great review, again!

I personally think that the LEDs are not that well-centered from the pictures and Nitecore should stick to using centering disk.

UPz
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musicmagic wrote:
UPz wrote:
…which are a reading of battery voltage (batteries are in 4S4P configuration).

4S4P would be 16 cells. This light uses 4C2P.

very good overall review. I agree, 8 cells are a pain to charge at once.

Right… My bad. Fixed.
Thanks for pointing out!

UPz
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bibihang wrote:
Thanks UPz for the great review, again!

I personally think that the LEDs are not that well-centered from the pictures and Nitecore should stick to using centering disk.

Yes, I think so. They are “OK” centered, but not as perfectly as it would have been if they used the usual centering disk.
Anyway, due the overlaping reflector, there won’t be much difference as in a single emitter thrower.

Thanks!

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Great review UPz, thanks. Probably too much of a hassle to keep 8 eneloops ready for this light, but maybe good for those folk not liking li-ions.

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I was going to mention the same thing, they are off centered, clearly visible on the front view picture
Thanks for the review

Mooooooo

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I have had my eax for about 2 weeks and am loving it. I am running mine on 4th gen eneloop pro

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
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Just came across a post in CPF. If you scroll down a bit and see the EAX Hammer picture (pre-realeased version?) the LEDs have black centering disk on them.

As much as I observed many of the Nitecore lights have centering disk on their LED, not sure why yours are missing though.

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Man I would love to be able to buy just the reflector!

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I wonder if it's possible to convert this light into 2 MT-G2s? Big Smile

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http://75.65.123.78/wtmfh.jpg

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I usually hate AA lights, but I love the eax. So bright with great throw and such a great hand-feel. Running sanyo 2700s…

BLF

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Thanks for the excellent pics, looks like the Fenix 75 has a much better beam.

Fenix TK12, TK15, TK21-U2, TK61, TK75 Olight M20S, M21<span style="color: #0000ff;"