Fenix E15 2016 edition, a Cr123/16340 A LITTLE BIG LIGHT. Review, code available!

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ReManG
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Fenix E15 2016 edition, a Cr123/16340 A LITTLE BIG LIGHT. Review, code available!

This is a review of the Fenix E15 2016 version from Banggood I was sent this light for review from Banggood.

This is the upgraded/redesigned version of the E15… It is a very good looking little flashlight. Simple, and the 2106 version looks like a flashlight (bigger head than body), compared to a tube with light coming out one end like the previous version. The fit and finish are great, the anodizing and lettering on the body is flawless.

I have not owned a Fenix E15 before, but looking around the net, it seems this is a much improved version. It is basically the twisty version for those that do not want an Eswitch light like the Olight S1. There is less here to go wrong than a light with a switch, if that is important to you. TIR lens is unbreakable, and throws a good spot with a double spill, so you have enough light to the sides to do work without it all being either spot or flood. It is much more throwy than the Olight S1, not that either is bad, but if you want more spot than throw, pick this light. If you want more flood than spot, pick the Olight S1…

This is an impressive little light for a single Cr123/16340 light. It does not look mod friendly to me, but is one of the better factory lights for mode spacing and levels that I have seen. Besides the CW emitter color, I see nothing I would personally want to change. As it looks very difficult to get into for an emitter swap, and the CW emitter is not too blue, I would leave this one stock and not be upset. It puts out an impressive amount of light on Turbo, and while it gets warm, it does so for as long as the battery holds out. With full thermal regulation, and a turbo timer of five minutes, tailstanding in turbo resulted in a hot, but not too hot to handle light. Less than a minute in your hand while hot, and the light was cool enough to hand to someone else.

Here it is next to an Olight S1


It boasts an increase in lumen over the previous version (Up to 450 lumen in this version.), a spring in the tail section for better mode selection and a slightly redesigned body… The complaints on the earlier version, at least what I read, was that the design was without a spring, and changing modes could be difficult to do at times. The spring-less version meant that a bump at the time of mode changes made your mode jump one or two more than you wanted as the light lost/regained contact with the battery… I have bumped up one mode more than I wanted on this version, but I was doing the flip through modes twisting to get up to turbo and went too fast, going past turbo. This was one handed as well, the threads and machining are fine enough that with two hands, there is never an issue, but if you try to hot rod it like a six shooter in an old western, you may go one more mode than you wanted. There is no mode memory, so your light always starts on low when it has been off for over 3 seconds. This is a good thing, as if it comes on in the low mode in your pocket for whatever reason, it is not eating a battery (40 hrs runtime on 16340/72 hrs on CR123) and will not heat up or cause a fire hazard.

The modes and runtime are listed as follows:

CR123
Low 8 lumen – 72 hours
Med 50 lumen – 12 hours and 30 minutes
High 110 lumen – 5 hours and 5 minutes
Turbo 270 lumen – 1 hour 35 minutes

16340
Low 8 lumen – 40 hours
Med 50 lumen – 9 hours 25 minutes
High 110 lumen – 3 hours 15 minutes
Turbo 450 lumen for five minutes, then step down to 270 lumen. Total time is 55 minutes on turbo with a 16340.

This light does have Low Voltage Protection (LVP), BUT IT IS ONLY ON YOUR 16340 IF IT IS ABOVE 3.0V WHEN INSERTED. If you have a partially depleted 16340, and you put it in, this light will run it flat. You see, it thinks anything below 3.0V at turn on is a CR123 and it wants to suck everything it can out of those batteries. That is where the longer runtimes in the above listings come from… So just make sure you use charged 16340’s an you will have LVP. I have only one kind of protected 16340, and it would not fit. It was not too long, the reverse polarity contact pads were too tall, the nub on the + end would not make contact with the pad on the head. They fit fine in the tube and the head screwed on enough to make it look like they should work, but they did not… You could remedy this with a thin layer of copper on the + contact if you had short nub protected cells… I trust the light enough to not have to run protected cells, so I did not mod it.

A great use for a small light like this is a stash light. Put it in a hunting bag, or your camping gear, tackle box or some other infrequent use gear. Load it with CR123 batteries that keep for 10 years and it will be ready to go when you are. The finish may wear, the TIR may scratch, but you will have light when you need it. The lithium primary cells like CR123’s also store well in extreme temps and work in the cold better than other battery types, so this is a win win with a light like this. One thing to remember with a polycarbonate TIR like on this one, DEET insect repelent and some types of soft fishing worms/baits may cause the polycarbonate to melt. My solution for protection? Clear Packing tape… it seems to hold up very well to these kinds of solvents (I believe it is vinyl based) and prevents scratches on all but the biggest impacts to the polycarbonate. Cut a circle big enough to seal onto the aluminum and you should never have an issue with a polycarbonate lens melting from some light solvent exposure.

This is a serious little light, thus I call it a Little Big light. Small in size, but engineered to use daily and last a long time. To give you some examples of what I mean, the pictures below compare it to another Fenix, the E01 which is a cockroach light (designed to survive anything). The head end is designed for long term use, in the picture below, the contact points for the battery tube and reverse polarity protection (physical, battery – will not make contact due to pads on either side of head contact) are all visible. The contact points are thick and look like they will stand up to years of use. Contact pads on other twisty style lights are sometimes only the PCB trace and a year or so of good use will wear them down to the board and the light will not work until repaired.

Here it is again without all the arrows and circles

Here is a Fenix E01 head to show you about the contact pads on the head.

The machining and anodizing are top notch, what you would expect from a name brand light like this. The accessories included are simple, an extra O-ring and a 3/8” split ring to attach it to your keychain with. I have attached a clip like THIS ONE and it makes for a light that disappears into your pocket, but is easy to retrieve. This light is small enough and short enough to hold in your mouth for an extended period should you need hands free light. Not actually a bad way to do this, the mouth hold is not as comfortable as being able to clip it to a hat, but I do not always have a hat on me…

I will get some amp readings tomorrow, I have been slammed at work and not had a chance to get the clamp on Ammeter to do them.

Beamshots against an Olight S1, as that is the only comparable light I have.

Improvements needed on this light: NONE. Great stock light

Improvements I would like to see: I am a fan of NW an even WW emitters, I would like to see at least a good NW of a 4 or 5 tint. Lumen spacing could be improved slightly, but they are fairly even and usable stock. Maybe a bit lower medium and a 1-3 lumen low. I am happy with where they are stock, so this is just a “what could I say” wish.

Due to MAP, there will be no public code, PM me and I will see if I can get a better price code. I know member M4D M4X has a code already if you want to PM him.

Thanks for reading and if anyone gets one of these, feel free to post your impression or do a review yourselves, let make BLF the go to place for great reviews!

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Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:02
will34
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Nice, I would like to know if there’s possibility to mod, I’ve been looking at it too but I’m afraid the twisty operation limits what driver can fit in… Right now my keychain light is a maratac AAA but I don’t mind having a bigger 1,000+ lumens light instead!

Also amps readings would be nice, because the S1 is very efficient with li-ions.

ReManG
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I will try and get amp readings on a 16340. So far, no way to get into it that I can see, ill post pics in the review…

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sesgum
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Looking forward to your review. One was delivered to my house but I am at work. Sad

ReManG
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Review posted. I will get some amp readings tomorrow. Been slammed at work and haven’t had the time.

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will34
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I’m surprised it is longer than the S1… I wanted this for my keychain because the S1 was too fat.

It seems to have some room between the driver and the led shelf, might be able to fit a 12 or 15mm FET driver in there. Can you determine if there’s a press-fitted pill or led shelf, or a LED swap is absolutely impossible?

Thanks!

ReManG
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If you look at the pic of the head face down, there are two light colored dashes on the board. They are between the + contact and the side tube contacts. It is actually end grain of what looks like a vertical board in the head. I have a feeling you would have to break off the brass ears holding the PCB in the head to remove it….

It is a very good light stock. It is slightly longer than the S1, and about the same diameter. If you get one and figure a way into it, post a thread to inspire others…

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will34
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Oh you’re right I missed that! It uses the T-shape driver like the PD35 and many other fenix light, perhaps possible to bump the amps via current resistor… and also enough room for a 12mm piggyback or even a full 17mm FET+1 swap if I manage to stop the bat- from touching ground.

I’ll be ordering one since it is inexpensive even before the coupon. I’m ok with an R5 but would’ve loved an S2 in there.

THE_dAY
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Thanks for the review and pics. I’ve been debating getting this light. I have the older version for keychain use and it has been such a solid performer. Been dropped with keys onto concrete many times for the past few years and still works like a charm every time.
The improved threads (smoother twist action) for this newer light and the full Li-ion support puts this on my want list.

I had the LED replaced on the older E15 so I assume this newer one is same. You have to unscrew the head, the head will come off with the optic attached as the optic is sealed to the head on the older model so I assume this is similar.

I don’t know why you would want to change out the driver from what I understand the E15 has a very efficient driver. The levels could be spaced better but they are still decent. An LED swap would be nice, and I know from experience that a Nichia 219 fits this optic beautifully, makes for a perfect smooth edc (close to mid range) beam.

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