Hugsby V1 (SK68 type) review.

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Lancman
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Hugsby V1 (SK68 type) review.

These days it has become almost impossible to find a low budget light sporting a genuine Cree emitter. Latticebright LEDs now dominate the low end of the market.
One exception has been the Hugsby brand, so when I spotted the new (to me) V1 on eBay , I was curious to see if it continued the trend.

It was ordered from one of the many Tomtop eBay stores and arrived in 18 days.

It came in the typical white box but this one was stronger than usual and actually had some useful information on it.

The light itself is actually a complete re-design of the SK68 rather than the usual copy and is mostly the better for it.

Overall build quality is very good, as we have come to expect from Hugsby. The knurling and anodising are well done and the threads are nicely cut, clean, well lubricated and as smooth as silk. Thanks to the new design the clip is fitted backwards and is VERY strong. It almost feels like it’s welded to the side of the tube.

One thing I like about the re-design is how mod friendly it is. No tools are needed to completely disassemble it and get to the LED and driver.



I can’t decide if the switch is screwed in or just push fit. There are no holes in the retaining ring for turning but it has resisted all attempts to push it out.

The LED does indeed appear to be a genuine Cree XP-E2. The marks on the plastic surround were present on arrival.

Notice how deep the LED sits in the pill.

The star is of an unusual design and the LED pad does not appear to be dead in the centre. The pill is solid and the star is well fixed in place with thermal glue.

Again we can see how deep the LED sits in the pill. In contrast, my other SK68 has the LED nearly flush with the top.

Beamshots. I apologise in advance, but my camera and it’s operator suck at beamshots. Sick
Zoomed in (or is it out?)

Zoomed out (or is it in?)

As you can see, the zoomed out beam is totally weird and looks to me like a giant eyeball. My theory is it’s caused by reflections off the sides of that deep pill. I’m going to experiment with some black paint to see if I can improve things. In real life the emitter die is clearly in focus – not just the round blob in the photo. Must get a better camera.
Otherwise performance is slightly better than my Ultrafire SK68 but not significantly so.
As for the driver, I’m afraid it’s a bog standard 3 mode with strobe and the dreaded next mode memory. Why Hugsby, why? It’s 2016 for goodness sake, you’ve known for years that everybody HATES next mode memory! Sick
My crude and no doubt inaccurate tailcap measurements showed 0.65A on high and 0.2A on low with an Efest 14500. So significant room for improvement with a better driver.

In conclusion, the good points:

Great build quality.
Mod-friendly design (with the possible exception of the tailcap).
Solid pill.
Genuine Cree LED, and XP-*E2* as well.
Good value at the price paid (£3.73 / $5.22)

The not so good points:

Backwards facing clip which for me was a bit too strong.
LED not well centred on the star.
That ‘orrible driver!
Weird beam pattern when zoomed out (in?), possibly caused by the pill design.
Out of the box performance not significantly better than cheaper alternatives.

Despite the negatives I feel it’s still the best of the SK68 type lights out there at the moment, but could so easily have been even better.

Update: Quick experiments with a permanent marker have confirmed that the ‘eyeball’ effect is indeed caused by reflections from the side wall of the pill.

Edited by: Lancman on 03/05/2016 - 17:02
MRsDNF
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Thanks for the review Lancman. Hopefully Hugsby read your review and fix the driver and the ring quick smart. If they do and keep the price down using genuine Cree leds they should be onto a winner.

 

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.

 

hank
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> Notice how deep the LED sits in the pill.
Hm, so the lens never gets close to the LED — limiting the diameter of the flood.
That’d make room for a big chunk of copper heatsink to bring the emitter forward.
How much space is there on the other side of the pill for a decent driver to replace the next-mode thing?

Fritz t. Cat
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Trapezoidal threads, but I don’t like the shape well enough to pay the prices I see. Around $ 10.

Flashlight designers should look at lighthouses and pottery.
这些谁设计的手电筒应该看灯塔,以及在陶器。

bikenber73
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Thanks!!

jescereal
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Great review!

bobofire
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Yep, great review. I’ve also been a fan of the brand at least the Hugsby XP-1 and Xp-2. Feel they gave a lot for the money and their quality control was consistently good on 35 units purchased over a 6 month period. Made good gifts. Unfortunate, the list of design shortcomings but maybe there are workarounds for some of them.

Lancman
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Thanks guys. Smile

MRsDNF wrote:
Thanks for the review Lancman. Hopefully Hugsby read your review and fix the driver and the ring quick smart. If they do and keep the price down using genuine Cree leds they should be onto a winner.

I agree it has great potential, just a couple of odd design choices holding it back.

Fritz t. Cat wrote:
Trapezoidal threads, but I don’t like the shape well enough to pay the prices I see. Around $ 10.

Yes, $10 is too much. It would be better to get a generic SK68 clone and mod it yourself. At the $5 mark that I paid it starts to make a lot more sense.

hank wrote:
> Notice how deep the LED sits in the pill.
Hm, so the lens never gets close to the LED — limiting the diameter of the flood.
That’d make room for a big chunk of copper heatsink to bring the emitter forward.
How much space is there on the other side of the pill for a decent driver to replace the next-mode thing?

Good idea, that copper spacer would also help solve the eyeball effect.
There is about 5mm from the face of the driver to the underside of the pill.

It’s a 15mm driver but in the past I’ve just sat a 17mm one on top of the pill and used pressure from the battery to hold it in place. Works well.

bobofire wrote:
Yep, great review. I’ve also been a fan of the brand at least the Hugsby XP-1 and Xp-2. Feel they gave a lot for the money and their quality control was consistently good on 35 units purchased over a 6 month period. Made good gifts. Unfortunate, the list of design shortcomings but maybe there are workarounds for some of them.

Yes, the driver is an easy swap and the eyeball effect could be sorted by Hank’s suggestion or painting the wall of the pill with matt black paint. It’s just frstrating that Hugsby didn’t sort these issues to begin with. Still, gives us modders something to do I suppose!

The clip actually works well on a baseball cap and as it’s so tight there’s no way that sucker is coming off by accident.

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I’ve bought one some days ago directly from Tomtop shop (tomtop.com) for $5,98 shipped to look at it’s potential. 80lm doesn’t sound that much for an AA/14500 light. So it seems it’s to big/too heavy for what it can do in it’s original condition.
For me, it looks like an older Hugsby design, maybe from the XR-E ages. A XR-E is some mm higher together with it’s star and this could partially explain the deep position the emitter has now. The reason for this assumption is that I also have a Hugsby P2 with similar appearance and this is an older model for sure. I’ve bought this P2 not so long ago from Tomtop to mod it. It still had the old XR-E on delivery and I’ve replaced this with a XP-G2. At first, the TIR optics doesn’t match the new emitter very well, I had to grind the bottom of the TIR to get the XP-G2 higher inside. The throw of the XR-E together with this special TIR was almost too much for EDC use, after my mod the beam is a bit wider.
These old designs are rather heavy compared to newer lights and very well+solid made. The P2 has a changable design to match AA/14500 and CR123A as well, maybe that adds to its weight. At least it always starts at high, no next mode driver.

Lancman
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Antenne wrote:
I’ve bought one some days ago directly from Tomtop shop (tomtop.com) for $5,98 shipped to look at it’s potential.

Good, let us know what you think when it arrives.

Lancman
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Update: I am pleased to report that painting the pill black has almost completely removed the eyeball effect. It is no longer noticeable in everyday use.

To the naked eye it is much fainter than the photo would suggest.

Antenne
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I forgot to mention: a strip of black paper may have the same effect?!

Lancman
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Yes, that would probably work as well.

Keenjah
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Can thus take aa alkaline

Lancman
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Keenjah wrote:
Can thus take aa alkaline

Yes it can run on AA batteries.

hank
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So

Quote:
The star is of an unusual design and the LED pad does not appear to be dead in the centre. The pill is solid and the star is well fixed in place with thermal glue.

Since the star sits down deep — and the pill has a solid surface, not a hole — a copper slug could drop into that hole and bring the emitter up near the lens.

Has anyone tried that? Are there any stock spacers that would fit?

Lancman
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hank wrote:

Since the star sits down deep — and the pill has a solid surface, not a hole — a copper slug could drop into that hole and bring the emitter up near the lens.

Has anyone tried that? Are there any stock spacers that would fit?

Not tried it myself, I wondered what effect it would have on the focus?

hank
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It would lose the narrow spot focus — you’d need to swap in a different lens.

With the SK68 and #3 zoomie, taking metal off the slidey part on the end away from the lens works because shortening the slidey part brings the lens closer to the emitter (wider flood) while making no change in the maximum possible distance (spot) between lens and emitter.

Firelight2
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I purchased a light very similar to this from Amazon Helotex VG1

Some notes:

  • Adding a large copper heatsink under the star and moving the star closer to the lens is not a good idea. For the widest possible flood mode you want top of the LED dome to almost touch the back of the aspheric lens. As such, adding a copper heatsink to raise the star would indeed greatly improve the flood. However, it would also decrease the distance between the LED and the lens in spot mode. The bezel would not extend far enough to put the LED on the focal point. Result is you’d lose the tight spot mode completely.
  • a better idea is to file off pieces of the lightto allow the bezel to retract further. Increasing the travel distance of the bezel in this manner has a number of advantages: (1) greatly improved flood, (2) no affect on throw, and (3) entire light is shorter and more compact making for better pocket EDC carry.

To accomplish this, the following parts may need to be filed down:

  • Back of the sliding bezel. Don’t file too far … there still needs to be a lip preventing the bezel from falling off the light. It just doesn’t need to be as wide.
  • The clip mount on the body. File off all or part of the clip mount bringing that portion of the body tube flush with the neck. This should allow the bezel to retract much further.
  • Top of the pill. File it down so that it starts just above the top of LED dome. Make sure to file a couple notches on opposite sides so you can unscrew it.

I’ve done the above mods on many different zoomies and have gotten good results.

My overall impression of the VG1 was that it wasn’t a bad light, but wasn’t useful without modification due to the narrow flood beam. The much cheaper and smaller “Cree 3W” lights are simply better for pocket EDC. They do the same thing out of the box, have wider flood, and are much more compact (which is good for pocket EDC).

However, if you want to do a more ambitious mod, such as retrofitting a cheapie zoomie with an LED Lenser style optic, then this light is a good choice. The extra room in the head should be sufficient for the new larger optic.

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Awesome review, thanks for sharing!

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light --- Plato

bikenber73
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I ordered this one for $5 off Amazon Prime.

Virtually identical to the pictures here . Driver is the same and even the box looks the same.

I tried the Old Pencil Trick on the driver and it worked . Now it starts on High every time. Ordered another.

bikenber73
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Mine turns off after 45 seconds on High with a 14500. I need a new 15mm driver for these.