review: nitecore TM16 - final!

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M4D M4X
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review: nitecore TM16 - final!

Hello my friends!

 

banggood sent me a nitecore TM16 - a Tiny Monster!

they also offer it for us to a unbeatable price Wink

you can find the other glossy advertisement pictures in banggoods webshop Wink

 

the Specifications: (from the shop)

Product name:NITECORE TM16 4x CREE XM-L2 U2 LED Flashlight
Brand:NITECORE
Model:TM16
Emitter BrandCREE
Emitter Type:XM-L2 U2
Material:Aerograde aluminum alloy
Total Emitters:4x
Lumens:4000lm,1780lm,680m,280lm,5lm
Runtime:45min,2h30mim,6h,16hmin,520h
Special modes:Strobe/Location Beacon/SOS
Battery Configurations:4x 18650 batteries (not included)
Peak Beam Intensity:122,500cd
Switch Type:clicky
Switch Location:body side of the flashlight
Impact Resistant1.5 meters
Max Output:4000 lumens
Range:700 meters (max)
Lens:Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass
with anti-reflective coating
Carrying Strap:included
Waterproof:IPX-8 (two meters submersible)
Color:black
Weight:506 g without battery
Size:182mm x 89mm x 53mm(length x head x body diameter)


Features
· Features advanced temperature regulation (ATR) technology
· Dual-switch user interface ensures one-handed easy operation
· Features 5 brightness levels and 3 special modes
· High efficiency circuit board provides max runtime up to 520 hours
· Integrated power indicator light displays remaining battery power
(patented)
· Power indicator’s secondary function displays battery voltage (accurate
to 0.1V)
· Direct access to ultra-low or turbo ensures flexibility and convenience
· Reverse polarity protection prevents damage from incorrectly inserted
batteries
· Stainless steel retaining ring protects the core components from
damage
· Rear tripod connector brings extra funtionality
· Sturdy HAIII military grade hard-anodized
· Tail stand capability

 

 

but now to real life!

 

once again - i got a box 

 

the light is very well secured (as all nitecore lights i got since now) - no need to be afraid along the long way from china

 

accessories are: a lanyard, 2 O-rings, warranty card and a chinese User manual

 

well.... what ??

fortunately i found the english manual at the manufacturers homepage

 

lets look on whats mentioned in the title - the light:

 

the tailcap has a thread for a tripod, and 3 lanyardholes

 

and the tailcap is the only part with knurling

 

the anodisation and letters are very good - i only found one little dent

 

the head has some medium deep cooling fins

 

the light has two switches behind a rubber boot

 

i do not know if its on purpose that its skewed - but i see no disadvantage...

 

since i write about the switches... the UI is quite good!

  • a ON/OFF switch and a mode switch to toggle the 5 brightness levels from lower to higher modes with last mode memory
  • i love the possibility starting with ultra-low or turbo when holding the ON/OFF or mode button from OFF regardless the memorized mode! (most nitecore lights work that way!)
  • to enter the disco modes hold the mode button when the light is ON to activate Strobe - another hold toggles beacon and SOS (hmmm - bacon)

additional features:

  • "standby" means that the power switch flashes blue once every 3 seconds (can be deactivated)
  • "lockout" means that a (accidentially) press of a switch does not turn on the light (which happened some times while my test)
  • klicking the mode button in OFF gives 1 to 3 blue flashes - 1 means batteries are empty, 2 is below 50% and 3 above 50% Power
  • when the tailcap (and electrical connection on the batteries) is closed the blue light flashes according to the cell voltage. at 4.2 Volt the blue power indicator will blink 4 times, followed by a one second pause and another 2 blinks for example

 

 

but back to the appearance...

 

tailstand?

[x] check!

 

very clear AR-coated Lens?

[x] check!

 

the bright side:

the LEDs are not 100% centered

 but i do not think thats a big problem here since the beam profile is not exactly circular Wink

 

size comparison:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




















opening the battery tube shows a nicely lubes square cut thread

 

the tailcap has a PCB which closes the connection of the 4 batteries (i am quite sure in series...)

 

well made with doubled springs to lower the resistance (the bolts are just for correct positioning)

 

hint: the PCB is not screwed, but glued...

 

in the battery tube are stickers which show the polarity for each slot

BUT it may lead to confusion since (R)CR123 are not allowed!

 

at the driver side you see the double springs and a black plastic? foil which works as reverse polarity protection.

this prevents flat top batteries from working!

 

thats why i had to apply a solder blob on my Sony VTs

 

short batteries are a problem at all - i had to use 1mm magnets at the negative side of the cells to ensure propper function when shaking the light hard...

my Panasonic NCR18650B (near 70mm long) work perfect

 

at the End of part 1 i have a small gif to show mode spacing and beam profile

(ISO 200 / F5 / 1/4sec)

 

 

in the second part of the review i will try to open the light as far as possible to see whats inside and at least get rid of the reverse polarity protection thingie to make it work with all my cells!

i also try to find out how the Advanced temperature regulation (ATR) technology works and how different cells perform.

and i will have some tables...

 

stay tuned!

 

in the meanwhile you could send me a PM if you are interested in a really good offer for that light Wink

 

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before you buy elsewhere mail me: MARTIN@M4DM4X.COM - i will try to save you money!

Edited by: M4D M4X on 09/08/2015 - 15:35
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today i have some insights of that great light...

 

remember i did not like the reverse polarity protection?

(in fact it drove me crazy so it was the important thing i was doing after i did not manage to open the light)

it was a hard fight...

 

but i won (using a heatgun to soften the plastic did the job)

 

the contact board (i was right guessing a 4S arrangement of the cells)

 

despite mild force only little damage was done

 

now every cell has contact - but they sit a bit deep now (and some damage was done on this side too)

 

using rubberised gloves the bezel opened up at the end

 

the lens is hold/sealed within a C-shaped "O-ring"

 

the reflector is made of plastic...

 

the bright part!

 

the solder needed a lot of heat (i used flux core solder to alloy it)

the PTC (NTC?)

 

the MCPCB is made from alluminium and meassures 40x40x2 mm - it is NOT DTP (direct thermal path)

 

since i was not pleased with the centering i filed a bit off the stands (might be neccessary to work also on the MCPCB - i will see when i reassemble the light)

 

using a lot elbowgrease and a heatgun took me here (finally)

 

the base where the MCPCB sits is 3 mm thick

 

the electronics assembly is secured with this ring - it should be possible to tighten it farther down and compensate the missing reverse polatity pcastic

 

down there sits the contact board

 

i was "complaining" about the tilted switch... it can be mounted nicer Wink

 

the switch PCB

 

whis is soldered to the driver

 

after i desolderd that i got the whole assembly out of the tube...

the contact board in detail

 

the wires connection to the drivers backside (which actually facing forward when mounted)

question: what is LA----~~LB for?

another angle shows contacs for programming the MCU, the thermistor wires and switchboard

 

finally: the populated side of the driver:

R205 seems to be the sense resistor... Wink

 

 

i did not manage to get useful results on that ATR feature - it gets hot on high (50°C) for sure !

 

my observations lead me to the conclusion that the voltage on turbo is influencing the brigthness A LOT!

the different cells perform very different (might be the voltage sag?)

some raw numb3rs:

BatteryultraLOWLOWMIDHIGHTURBOTURBO
prot. Panasonic NCR18650B0.004 A0.045 A0.320 A0.99 A2.23 A 
Sony US18650VT (pulls)    2,6 A 
       
prot. Panasonic NCR18650B3 Lm377 Lm867 Lm2330 Lm4050 Lm12760 Lx@3m / 114.84 kLx
Sony US18650VT (pulls)3 Lm374 Lm859 Lm2325 Lm4350 Lm13230 Lx@3m / 119.07 kLx
LG 18650HE23 Lm375 Lm857 Lm2305 Lm4600 Lm13860 Lx@3m / 124.74 kLx
ICR18650-22P (pulls)    4450 Lm 
acebeam ARC18650NP-260A    4200 Lm 
acebeam ARC18650H-250A    4850 Lm15080 Lx@3m / 135.72 kLx
       
for comparisonM43 XP-G2 ddX60 6500TM06K40M4D  
same testrun6400 Lm6900 Lm3800 Lm4300 Lm  

 

 

things to be updated on this post:

reassemble the light (modify maybe?)

make more meassurements to understand input voltage/Amps to Lumen OTF

take temperature measurements vs time

 

 

my conclusion (so far):

+ i like that light!

+ powerfull / useful / good size!

+ nitecore build quality

+ great UI

- can´t use the cells I want (without voiding warranty)

- plastic reflector (can´t say what is not as good as a metal one - but its plastic...)

 

 

update 27.7.2015:

i took some time and finished my review

 

plasitc reflectors leak some light i was told - so i tested that:

here you see the amount of light thats actually going thru and is lost!

ISO200 , 1/2 sec

 

measured Vf of the 4 LEDs (at the driver) 

battery typelowerlowmidhighturbo
old sony VT 4,11V10,2311,111,5712,4413,25
acebeam ARC18650H-250A  4,13V10,2211,111,5612,4613,78
Pana NCR18650B prot. 4.14V    13,18
acebeam ARC18650NP-260A prot. 4,12V10,2311,111,5812,4713,34
acebeam ARC18650NP-260A prot. 4,12V0,003A0,175A0,414A1,22A2,43A

i think: the less the voltage of the cells drops under load, the higher is the Vf delivered to the LEDs on turbo - all other modes are well regulated

the numbers fit to my lumens i measured above....

 

next test:

i made a run with the floating LED-board - NO cooling NO heatsink!!!

after ~50 secs on high it had ~100°C and stepped down a lot (the thermistor works)

 

last test:

setup:

 

i took amperes between driver and MCPCB and (used x10 in the graph for a better display)

temperature was measured between 2 LEDs on a blackened field with the IR-thermometer ( swinging a bit and took highest reading)

"input"voltage from the 4S cells - because i think that voltage provided under load mostly affects what comes OTF

the fan of the pure copper heatsink ran on 12V

cells used: acebeam ARC18650NP-260A prot. with 4,05V at start without load

minute012345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031
                FAN OFF       stepdownturbo + FAN ON      Light OFF
emitter ampere2,22,152,1252,0952,0652,035

2,005

1,9751,951,921,891,861,8351,8151,7851,7621,7771,7721,7731,7721,7691,761,7551,751,181,71,641,581,541,5051,480
temperature MCPCB °C202525252626,5272727,5282828,5282828,5283133,53637,54041,54344,547403533313028,525
voltage 4S under load15,0514,9214,8114,7314,6114,5514,5214,4914,4614,4214,3914,3814,3514,3214,2814,2614,2214,2214,1514,1114,0714,0314,0113,9814,2613,9513,9513,9513,9513,9413,9414,65
calculated cell voltage3,763,733,703,683,653,643,633,623,623,613,603,603,593,583,573,573,563,563,543,533,523,513,503,503,573,493,493,493,493,493,493,66

as graph:

 

 what I think to see:

  • with good cooling there is no stepdown the first 15 minutes - output Amps ran slowly down according to dropping input voltage
  • even with the fan switched off and heating up the Amps ran down according to dropping input voltage until the stepdown (to high) happened
  • after FAN ON and step back to turbo same picture...

 

 

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jfong
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Looking forward to more info!

blueb8llz
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thanks for the review.
quick questions….is there a step down from turbo? if so, how long?
to turn on and off light, does it require holding down the switch? or is it a simple quick click?
lastly, if possible, i would like to see a beam shot comparision with your k40m please.

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blueb8llz wrote:
thanks for the review. quick questions….is there a step down from turbo? if so, how long? to turn on and off light, does it require holding down the switch? or is it a simple quick click? lastly, if possible, i would like to see a beam shot comparision with your k40m please.

stepdown: not measured yet
on/off: single short click to memory (long for ultralow or turbo from off)
beamshots will follow soon

 

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keltex78
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How about an Old Lumens style post-review giveaway? Cash Cash Cash Cash Cash Cash Cash Cash Cash Cash Cash Cash Cash


Keepin’ the “B” in BLF

Don wrote:
It sounds like the XM LEDs won’t really be suitable for flashlight use. Pity…

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i did that already… (with a JM35, a nitecore sens AA and a kindire K1200S)

but i like this one too much Silly

 

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Interesting, looks like the leds are all mounted on the same mcpcb, it might make modding a bit difficult if the reflector has a flat base.

I’ve been looking for a multi led thrower to mod with XPL HI, and this could be it. Will wait for part II of your review

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I recieved a my TM16 (DHL baby!). I too really like it. I took it out for some night fishing, during which I intended to get some beamshots, but the fish were unrelenting. In the few breaks in action we had I pulled it out and delivered some daylight to the trusses and shoreline 200yds away even through the dense air. I also finally got to test out my UF-1504 (sliced dome xpg2 3A) which was a bit disapointing comparatively. Great for cruising and spotting buoys with very little spill hitting the boat, but not enough light to illuminate a large spot.

Anyway, I think I have a new best flashlight in my collection. Smile

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if the baby ever again goes to sleep i can update post 1 Wink
tiredashell

i also made a beamshotsession (470m and 200m) with 14 lights – also in progress to resize and make a post worth reading…

 

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Were you able to confirm the 4000 lumens for the TM16?

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see Post#1 Wink

 

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M4D M4X wrote:
see Post#1 Wink

Thanks Max. WIll wait for your regulation results before deciding on one Silly

What does not having DTP mean for the TM16 then? Can someone explain that?

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If there is one word to describe Nitecore flashlights it’s THIN.

Old-Lumens wrote:
I love modding, but I don't have much use at all for flashlights in general.
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Nice comprehensive strip down. The review needs an X rating.Smile

 

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

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

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.

 

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Thanks for the great review! Great disassembling!

Definitely great flashlight. Just wish Nitecore to not take so much care for the weight of their products,which is important for the regular user,but possibly limiting the performance.

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Awesome job !!! Thanks for the disassembling. :bigsmile:
thanks…thanks….and thanks..

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Excellent review! Many thanks Smile

I stand waiting with the step – down Wink

Sorry for my bad English…

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M4D M4X wrote:
if the baby ever again goes to sleep i can update post 1 Wink
tiredashell

i also made a beamshotsession (470m and 200m) with 14 lights – also in progress to resize and make a post worth reading…

Many thanks for that…

Did you by chance had a k60 in that 14’s lights list?

Rufusbduck wrote:
Getting discouraged is normal but doesn't finish the job.
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unfortunately not Sad

not easy to get one for cheap …

 

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Yeah I know…

k60 vs tm16 could be interesting maybe also a comparison with a sd75… I’m undecided for the tm16… Since the k60 claims more lumen (and I suspect they could go all with the spill since throw it’s similar) which is not a bad thing…

The driver efficiency seems better on k60 (if we just take the manufacturer specs) the low is lower, the max is higher… So it seems a better light in almost every situation… BUT acebeam reputation is… Hum… Don’t know… And I do not like their MAP attitude… So… Just taking into account the GB price and the unavailability of an equivalent good discount on k60….

Very undecided

Rufusbduck wrote:
Getting discouraged is normal but doesn't finish the job.
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Thanks for the disassembly!!

If the TM16 does 135kcd stock imagine what 4x XP-L HI can do, 250kcd maybe?

It seem to fit 4× 16mm mcpcb in there with minor modifications, but I wonder how good does the plastic reflector perform, sometimes they leak light causing low efficiency.

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hey guys!

i am very busy these days and i struggle to set up a testscenario to get useable data…

so far i found out that the all modes exept turbo are very well regulated and showthe same output.
on turbo it depends on the voltage sag how it performs…

i think i have to skip lumens (maybe only ceiling bounce) to be able to measure emitter amps, mcpcb temparature and battery voltages over time.
but that needs a bit more time…

 

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Great stuff!

₪₪₪₪ ΟΥΔΕΝ ΚΡΥΠΤΟΝ ΥΠΟ ΤΟΝ ΗΛΙΟ ₪₪₪₪

My YouTube channel

Flashlights & edc gear

K40M F16

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updated post #1

 

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tempo
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very detailed technical informative review, excellent work there!!

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Really good breakdown of the TM16. This gives a very good insight into the working of the torch. Thanks for working through the task and posting the details.

 

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Nice review, i like to See all the innards.

How did you find out that it is no dtp? Did you desolder one of the leds or could you measure the centerpad on the solderblob?

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there have been 2 blobs and i also scratched the mask beside a LED with a skalpel….no cuntinuity

 

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Plastic reflectors are a bit disappointing for such a nice light, even if it’s 5% that’s 200 lumens lost!

I’ve looking to mod a monster light like this or the TK75, which also has a plastic reflector.

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Thanks M4D M4X -for such a comprehensive review. I found the reflector issue and the output difference[cell draw and current] while using a different cells very interesting. The tear down shots are appreciated as provides and insight for anyone considering modding or upgrading, great pics great review.

Old Mate

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