Carry Review of the DQG Tiny III 18650 light.

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ReManG
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Carry Review of the DQG Tiny III 18650 light.

This light is billed as the smallest 18650 light on the market, and indeed it is small for an 18650 light…. Many other reviews have covered the light in technical detail, the output, UI and other features including what makes it so small. I have had this light since mid May and figured I would review how it is to live with this light as an EDC. Here it is with a SK68 and a Streamlight Microstream.

Firstly, I purchased this light myself after extensive reading here at BLF and other places about this light and other DQG products. Nothing was provided to me for this review, either the light or other compensation. I want to give an impression on how it is to use this light daily for a couple of months as I feel it will be my companion for a long time. I have carried it daily, on me or in my bag at work.

When carrying stuff all day, size matters. If you are out for a walk, a bigger light can be carried. Going for a run toward nightfall, you can carry a smaller one on a keychain or necklace to have “just in case”. I carry more than just a flashlight in my pockets every day, most of us do… The fact of life is that a wallet, phone and keys are more than likely the minimal triad for most of us to carry. Personally, I also make room for a pen, a knife and a light as well as a tube of lip balm. Change and business cards or receipts also accumulate during the day, so some spare room is welcome. Size counts to me for stuff I am going to carry daily. My wallet is a model called Big Skinny (It is thin) and I carry everything in the front two pockets of my pants or shorts. I try hard to minimize the clutter.

This light with an 18650 battery of moderate capacity gives me more than enough run time for anything I may encounter over a day or two. It is nice having that long a run time in your pocket. Enough to run as a night light for a couple of nights on low, and still plenty left for any tasks or things that may come up. Size here is small, usage is huge, no worries like when I was carrying only a AAA Microstream that I would run out of juice.Then you start to think on how to carry spare AAA’s in your pockets. Once you are freed from the “run out of light” worries, you end up using your light a lot more too…

The size of the DQG Tiny III is only minimally larger than its 18650 sized battery, less than an inch longer, and a hair narrower than one inch wide, it is around the largest size I would carry daily. Its size did have some drawbacks for me. When clipped in the pocket with the original clip, it is fat enough that I could not get my hands out of my pocket without pulling the Tiny III out…. This was not good. I tried another clip I had that fit, same thing…. I let the light linger in the bottom of my pocket to alleviate this, no good, now the switch would come on (1 click to low) and I was worried about scratching the optics…. The side switch did make it easy to use, but the carry comfort was low with the stock clip for me.

After some trial and error, I came up with an easy to carry option. I use an O-ring on the groove just before the tail cap and have a clip with a split ring attached to this. This allows the light to hang far enough down in the pocket that it is not pulled up when I fish around for other pocket items, but it is also not rolling around on the bottom of the pocket with everything else. I found the clip here on BLF and ordered it from the ‘Bay, here , this is a non affiliated link. It is still easy to access and the clip makes it hang nice Outside of the pocket or from a shirt collar when you need to use it. Win, Win… Below is a picture of the current set up.

This is how it sits when you clip it to your collar. You cannot clip it to a hat very well anymore, but this works well and can be clipped to the outside of your pocket if you want the light lower too.


I had problems with it when I was using the stock clip and the second clip I had that fit it. Head down, it would occasionally turn on in my pocket. Low is one click from off and that is where I would find the light on occasion. Not a big deal, but aggravating, the lights tail-cap will lockout the switch with a quarter turn, so that was my solution. I also put an O-ring in the groove behind the switch, and this negated the turn on problem for me without tail cap lockout… The stock clip would not reverse for me to carry it head up, my initial fix. The head was too big and the clip would not seat fully in the forward clip groove. The other clip I had was from an AA light and broke a couple of weeks later (cracked and broke where it grabbed the body). The second clip was not a deep carry clip and the head rode too high out of the pocket head up, so that was nixed too. The current set up works great with the clip on the O-ring, and has cut the accidental turn-on’s to a very infrequent occasion compared to what they were doing on the original clip. Maybe three of them in the last five weeks, all on low. Lockout still works if this bothers you, but for me it is acceptable.

The anodizing has held up well, if I was not directly carrying the light (like at work) I had it thrown in my lunch bag. It has a couple of nicks and dings, but those would have happened to any finish and were the result of my mistreatment. Normal wear is non-existent on the finish at this point. The micro switch has been activated well over 2000 times. There for the first few weeks I had a goal of 60 presses a day and I exceeded this for over twenty days. My first E-switch light and I wanted to test it. Some people do not like the difference in colors of the anodizing between the body tube and the head or tail cap. I think it looks fine and goes well with the whole light as it is. Some things like this will kill a purchase for some people, that is their choice, but I think they are missing a fine light if they are worried only about the colors.

There was a lot of debate about the UI on this light. I like the UI, it works for me.
From Off- 1 click to low, 2 clicks to Med and 3 clicks to High. A long press from off does nothing.
From On- 1 click on Low, Med or High turns the light off. One long press (~1 sec) to go to Turbo from any level when the light is on. 2 clicks takes you up one level from where you are (except to Turbo). One click from Turbo back to the level you were on previously, or when the timer steps it down.

Some want Turbo from off, but three quick clicks gets you to high from off (300 lumen), and while turbo is rated at 800 lumen, I think it is only about 600 or so. If anyone has one of these and a light meter, please let us know more accurate numbers. 600 Lumen is still a lot in my book though. The UI works, and the software between your ears can adapt to most everything if you let it. Currently I just double click it to Med, then two more to high. If I want low from high, click once, wait half a sec and click it again for low. Works for me. Turbo is there if you need it, when the light is on.

The mode spacing is great, low is perfect for a bright night-light level, more than enough in a dark adjusted area to do what you need to. Medium is my most used mode and is generally bright enough for your immediate needs, works in a well lit room to look behind stuff, etc. High is bright enough, and throwy enough to check out the entire backyard on 1/2 an acre or so sized property, keeping an eye on a loose dog, etc. Indoors high is bright enough that it starts throwing too much light back at you up close… Turbo had enough throw and brightness for when you need it, but this thing is not a C8 by any means. The stepdown timer for Turbo is about spot on, and the thing will get warm with a couple of cycles.

I am currently running a 3.2V LiFePO4 18650 in this light with great results (for me). It runs cooler on Turbo and does not significantly heat up on high. Regular 3.7V ICR LiIon batteries do very well, but the Turbo gets pretty hot after a couple of cycles, and on high the warmth is enough that you would not want to drop it down the front of your pants, unless you were in a Kilt, but then again, those are not pants…. The output on Turbo is lower on the LiFePO4, maybe 15% less, but only on Turbo. The other modes seem unaffected and the driver is regulated anyway, so I imagine Turbo is a direct drive and the 3.2V would not be as bright in that mode….
Beamshots of the two types of batteries below, reload the page if they are out of sync, there is not much difference even on turbo and both sets of pics were at the same settings and distance.
LiIon 3.7V_________________________________________________________LiFePO4 3.2V

I had an extra O-ring on the tail cap to prevent the clip from rubbing the anodizing too much (Steel vs Aluminum, Steel wins… every time), but I have been thinking about PlastiDipping my tail cap so I can hold it in my teeth more comfortably. Go to the forum button up top on the link if you want to see some fun with cars and how durable the PlastiDip is. You can buy black in most Lowes or Home Depots spray can aisle for about $5, get the spray can version, it is easier to apply.

Conclusion:

Size is great for EDC with my space requirements.
The battery is the largest I will get in this size light (how long would my NCR18650B last?), so plenty of capacity, no fears of using it all in one day.
The carry method has been found that I will use for the foreseeable future and it is comfortable while out of the way.
The UI works for me, and I am familiar with it, the side-switch is very ergonomic on this light.
Waterproof enough in the rain and a couple of shower trips for testing, no worries there.
While some mods have been done to this light, it fits as it is in stock form so well to what I want, I have no desire to mod it. Got to love Firelight2’s triple mod though. I like his finish washer switch protector, but my epoxy skills are not that good, so I held off on this ONE mod I would do.

This is a comfortable small light for me, plenty of capacity and a common battery size make it an easy choice for my daily carry. An improved stock clip (more like an O-Light one) that fits both heads up and heads down would be a welcome improvement, but not a deal breaker as I found a method of carry that works without the stock clip. A more protected switch would be good too, but not a deal breaker either for me.

If anything in this review resonates with you, get a DQG Tiny III in 18650 for your daily carry, I do not think you will be disappointed if you have similar needs and wants to what I outlined here. Good luck!

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Edited by: ReManG on 07/18/2015 - 19:31
keengeorge
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Good Day ReManG, Smile

 

Great review!

 

The DQG Tiny III 18650 has also become one of my EDC lights.

 

Thank you Very Much,

George

MG
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Nice review. I was wondering about this light. DQG has some interesting products.

The paragraph on carry rationale was interesting, although some of us have enhanced options available :* .

sesgum
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Thanks for sharing your impression.

ReManG
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MG wrote:
Nice review. I was wondering about this light. DQG has some interesting products.

The paragraph on carry rationale was interesting, although some of us have enhanced options available :* .

Thanks, and there are always other options available for carry. I just always have my pockets with me…. I used to be jealous of ladies and their purses until I realized that men were cool with the double strapped purses they call backpacks… Now a laptop case is almost a square purse, stop by a coffee shop sometime and watch what people pull out of them…

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Firelight2
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I find my DQG Tiny III just the right size for EDC use. I carry it loose in my pocket. Any larger and it wouldn’t be comfortable but as-is it’s just right.

Mine’s heavily modified, but the outside looks almost the same. Only external difference other than the emitter is a modified #6 finishing washer around the button. The washer was a perfect fit as it looks like it came with the light.

It’s also completely effective at preventing any accidental pocket activation. In 6 weeks of pocket carry I’ve had zero accidental activations and I don’t lock out this light. The washer turns the protruding button into a recessed one. It makes the button easier to find by feel, acts as an anti-roll device, eliminates accidental pocket activation, and doesn’t interfere in any way with the ease of pressing the button. It’s a simple mod well worth doing on this light if you like to EDC it loose in your pocket.

ReManG
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Firelight2 wrote:
I find my DQG Tiny III just the right size for EDC use. I carry it loose in my pocket. Any larger and it wouldn’t be comfortable but as-is it’s just right.

Mine’s heavily modified, but the outside looks almost the same. Only external difference other than the emitter is a modified #6 finishing washer around the button. The washer was a perfect fit as it looks like it came with the light.

It’s also completely effective at preventing any accidental pocket activation. In 6 weeks of pocket carry I’ve had zero accidental activations and I don’t lock out this light. The washer turns the protruding button into a recessed one. It makes the button easier to find by feel, acts as an anti-roll device, eliminates accidental pocket activation, and doesn’t interfere in any way with the ease of pressing the button. It’s a simple mod well worth doing on this light if you like to EDC it loose in your pocket.

Yeah, I was looking at your mod with some awe. I have not had good luck with epoxy in the past, so I am holding out on the finish washer mod for now, perhaps some hot glue will do for a bit. Mine carried loose in the pocket very handily, I just did not like having to fish for it, so I came up with the current clip arrangement.

Try the O-ring and clip if you want a different and easy way to carry it, the whole assembly allows enough play and flexibility, while a thick enough O-ring is hard to pull over the tail while it is on. The clip I linked to is a steal at under a buck. I have put them on a full size Victorinox Swiss Army knife, those even carry well with that clip.

Seriously nice work on your triple though.

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Firelight2
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ReManG wrote:
Firelight2 wrote:
I find my DQG Tiny III just the right size for EDC use. I carry it loose in my pocket. Any larger and it wouldn’t be comfortable but as-is it’s just right.

Mine’s heavily modified, but the outside looks almost the same. Only external difference other than the emitter is a modified #6 finishing washer around the button. The washer was a perfect fit as it looks like it came with the light.

It’s also completely effective at preventing any accidental pocket activation. In 6 weeks of pocket carry I’ve had zero accidental activations and I don’t lock out this light. The washer turns the protruding button into a recessed one. It makes the button easier to find by feel, acts as an anti-roll device, eliminates accidental pocket activation, and doesn’t interfere in any way with the ease of pressing the button. It’s a simple mod well worth doing on this light if you like to EDC it loose in your pocket.

Yeah, I was looking at your mod with some awe. I have not had good luck with epoxy in the past, so I am holding out on the finish washer mod for now, perhaps some hot glue will do for a bit. Mine carried loose in the pocket very handily, I just did not like having to fish for it, so I came up with the current clip arrangement.

Try the O-ring and clip if you want a different and easy way to carry it, the whole assembly allows enough play and flexibility, while a thick enough O-ring is hard to pull over the tail while it is on. The clip I linked to is a steal at under a buck. I have put them on a full size Victorinox Swiss Army knife, those even carry well with that clip.

Seriously nice work on your triple though.

Thanks.

I ended using some conductive silver epoxy to hold on the washer. I’d temporarily run out of arctic alumina or I’d probably have used that. The silver epoxy worked great but costs 4x as much as arctic alumina.

To apply the epoxy I did the following:

1. Wrap the entire light except around the button in gaffer’s tape. This is so that if I get epoxy on my fingers I won’t accidentally screw up the anodizing on the light.
2. I used a round toothpick to completely fill up the inside of the washer with epoxy. I used another toothpick swiped across the bottom of the washer to make sure the epoxy was fairly flush with the bottom of the washer. I didn’t want a lot sticking out and potentially gumming up the switch.
3. I then used tweezers to place the washer into position. I took care to insure it was centered over the button and also not tilted toward either side of the light.
4. I used a QTIP to wipe away any epoxy on the chrome top and sides of the washer.
5. After the epoxy cured, I mixed up a fresh batch of epoxy and used a toothpick to insert it in the gaps below the left and right side of the washer. These gaps were caused by the top of the light being round while the washer is flat. I used a toothpick to make the epoxy in these gaps a straight vertical from the body of the light. This extra epoxy provides extra security for the washer as well as eliminating the chance something will get caught below the edge of the washer and yank it off.
6. After that cured the last step was to mix up some acrylic hobby paints into the same color as the anodizing. I painted over the small bit of visible epoxy, then finished with a layer of brush-on superglue and finally some flatcoat.

Hot glue might work, but I’m not sure it’s precise enough for this kind of application. On the upside, if the hot glue doesn’t work it’s very removable and won’t damage the light.

ReManG
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Well, I went a different direction for now on the switch mod.

I Plastidiped the light. I originally just was going to do the end cap so I can hold it between my teeth better, but you know how things go…

I taped off the bezel and the threads plus some of the body to where the cap fully screws on to the batteries I use. I then proceeded to spray several layers until buildup was achieved. The hot day helped between layers, maybe 5-10 minutes per layer.

The trick with plastidip is to remove the tape when it is wet, this leaves a clean line. My finish is a bit rough, they sell glossifier to smooth it out if you want it, but I just like the rough look.

This worked great and you can see the thickness of the dip where the body and the plastidip meet.

I did not mask the switch, my previous experience with plastidip was that it would simply bridge the small gap of the switch if I put it on fairly thick, and it did. It takes a little more effort to activate now, but is still reliable, and more waterproof most likely.

If I had Firelight2’s skills with epoxy, I would have gone that route, but that stuff is permanent. Whereas I can peel the plastidip off should I get sick of it.
I will wait until tomorrow before putting my O-ring/clip back on, just to let it cure fully.

The only negative is that if I use a longer battery, the light would look like this: EDIT Magic marker to match…

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Firelight2
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Nice job. Looks good and probably has a better grip.

I think the stock switch actually may be waterproof. When I drilled mine out from the inside I discovered a thin membrane that spanned the entirety of the switch mechanism. I think this was a waterproof membrane below the plunger protecting the light from water intrusion.

In my modded light the stock switch was acting unreliable (perhaps due to heat damage to this membrane) so I had to replace it. In doing so I lost this membrane so the switch in my modded light definitely isn’t waterproof.

ReManG
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I do know the stock switch IS waterproof, I have taken the light into the shower prior to this. Now it is MORE waterproof Big Smile

In all, the plastidip is more of a mechanical grip on the light, think shrink-wrap you spray on. If I wanted to do the switch cover with plastidip and keep the light stock, I would use the clear Plastidip. I would mask in front and behind the Knurling ring on the head. Then spray the Plastidip so it forms a circle around the head, sort of a ring that covers the knurling and the switch. This way the rubber, which shrinks when drying, would tighten up on the knurling and be there until you wanted to take it off. Slice and peel, it comes right off. The clear also frosts glass very well, I used it on some garage windows once, worked better than the “frosting” spray paint and was actually cheaper too. I may have to buy a can and frost some lenses to make them floody…

One day I will work up to your level of skill perhaps, but for now, the “removable” mods are good enough for me…

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Firelight2
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Wonder if I should try a can of that Plasti Dip on my Aleto N8 mod.

I just re-Duracoated it in tactical black. So far at least this Duracoat application looks much better than the one I tried last year in grey. The tactical black has a much flatter appearance. And the coating came out much smoother and more uniform due to me pre-heating the parts with a heat gun immediately prior to spraying.

The current body tube on my N8 has a smooth fluted area. Perhaps I should try masking off the rest of the light and applying Plasti Dip to create a thin rubberized grip there.

I think I’ll have to wait a month before trying though. Duracoat needs that long to fully cure and I don’t want to risk messing the light up. It looks pretty good right now.