[Review] MecArmy PT18 (3x XP-G2, 1x 18650, Rechargeable)

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UPz
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[Review] MecArmy PT18 (3x XP-G2, 1x 18650, Rechargeable)


MECARMY PT18
LED: 3x CREE XP-G2 cw
Battery: 1× 18650 (Included)
Modes: 4 (L-M-H-T) + 2 hidden strobe modes
Switch: Digital, head.
Date: March 2016
Links:
MecArmy · Hkequipment.net · ForoLinternas · RdL

PRESENTATION:
The PT series from manufacturer MecArmy is a quite unique line of flashlights, all using the same head, only differentiated by the type of battery used, and therefore the length and body diameter. What we have today on the table is the largest of all, the PT18 which uses an 18650. Details of this review can be helpful for those who are considering the acquisition of any other model of the PT series, since most details such interface or as general mechanical engineering are virtually identical.

The presentation of the flashlight is very interesting. The box that comes has a front flap that can open to show, through a plastic window, the flashlight inside the packaging.

Inside we find the flashlight accompanied by a few spare o-rings, paracord wrist strap and user manual (generic for all models of the PT range) in English.

EXTERIOR FINISH:
The MecArmy PT series has a similar appearance throughout its range, changing only the size of the tube housing the battery while maintaining a unique design.

The PT18 is machined in aluminum with an anodized finish in dark gray rather special, because it is not the classic gray “gun metal”.

The head of the flashlight is slightly oversized to accommodate the triple lens perfectly.

It has a crenelated stainless steel bezel, which held in place a triple TIR lens for three CREE XP-G2 emitters.

The head is surrounded by discrete dissipating fins, machined with two diametrically opposed flat where one of them features the switch, which is finished in stainless steel matching the bezel finish.

The threads hide in its lower part the microUSB port for recharging the flashlight without removing the battery or use an external charger. The threads have a trapezoidal cut, and are anodized making it possible to block the flashlight through a mild unscrewed.

The tube has a rather peculiar finish with a smooth and not very aggressive rhombic knurling.

The tailcap of the flashlight is also slightly oversized, and has a stable base that allows us to put the flashlight in tailstand safely. The three tailcap battlements are perforated to provide an anchor point for the lanyard.

The dimensions and weight of the flashlight are surprisingly low considering that it is a flashlight with built-in charger.

USER INTERFACE:
The user interface is quite simple, but perfectly covers all the basic functions quite intuitively.

  • ON and OFF: The MecArmy PT series is activated by a simple click on the digital switch located on the head. To turn off simply make another simple click on the switch.
  • Changing Modes: With the flashlight turned on hold the switch down and the flashlight will switch between the four main modes in ascending order: L-> M-> H> T
  • Memory mode: The activation is set by default to Low mode, so this flashlight does not have any kind of memory mode.
  • Direct access to Turbo mode: With the flashlight off, two quick clicks turn on the flashlight directly in Turbo mode.
  • “Momentary” activation: By pressing and holding the switch with the flashlight off, the flashlight turn on Turbo “momentary” mode for as long as we keep the pressure on the digital switch. This function has a slight delay between the press until the flashlight emits light of about one second.
  • Strobe & SOS: The strobe modes of the PT are hidden. To access them we must make a quick triple click from off, going directly to variable frequency strobe mode. To switch to the SOS mode keep the switch pressed as with regular modes.

  • Recharging: The charging function of the battery is quite simple. Simply unscrew and remove the flashlight head to access the microUSB port located between the threads of the head. When connecting the torch to a source, such as a smartphone adapter, the charging process will begin, and we can see how the disk surrounding the central contact in the tube flashlight glows red. Once fully charged battery such lighting turns green. The charging current is ~1Ah, so it requires about three hours to fully recharge the 2600mAh included battery with the flashlight.
  • Block-out: We can easily block the PT18 by slightly unscrewed from any of its threads, thus avoiding any accidental activation and also avoiding the parasitic current draw that inevitably causes the digital switch. According to my own measurements the PT18 circuit consumes approximately 48uA with a fully charged battery, current that will drain empty the battery included in more than six years, or more than seven years for a NCR18650A of 3100mAh, both calculations excluding the self-discharge rate of the battery itself. We can conclude that the standby current of this PT18 is completely negligible.


_(All measurements are taken following the procedure ANSI NEMA FL1, taking as value the highest reading of between 30 and 120 seconds after activation. More details here
The distribution of intensities is good, with 10, 100, 330 and 1000lm spec’d lumens. The Low mode, with its 10lm, is really suitable for a default on indoors. Turbo mode has a time-controlled stepdown, coming down from the initial value to about 550lm. The correlation between specified by the manufacturer and measured in the integrating sphere is very good.
Unlike as we saw in the SGN3, this PT18 modes are achieved by regulated current with no signs of PWM.

PERFORMANCE:

PT18 performance in its Turbo mode is pretty good. This mode has a time controlled output stepdown which reduces the flashlight output past three minutes from ignition to protect it from overheating damage. Once reduced, output is maintained until the time when the voltage is insufficient and starts a gradual drop in performance without turning off the flashlight abruptly.

To check the difference between the supplied battery (“2600mAh”) and a NCR18650A, and incidentally to compare equal this flashlight I repeated the test but this time with a Panasonic 18650 (“3100mAh”) obtaining a slight improvement in the runtime, what let me think that the included battery, even when labeled with “only” 2.6Ah has a certain quality.


The stepdown is gradual, not a sharp fall, so it is unnoticeable to the human eye. The stepdown employs about two and a half minutes to perform the progressive descent.

Finally, we have a comparison with other flashlights, although the nature of the PT18 I doesn’t have many really comparable alternatives.

As stepdowns are heavily concentrated in the first minutes of the comparison, I’ve crop the same graph to get a better appreciation of those first important minutes of each flashlight.

EFFICIENCY:
As I started in the previous review I published a few days ago, I am introducing a new feature to my reviews with an “analysis” of efficiency in lm·h.
Following the publication of the first “analysis”, and after some discussion exchange with several forum users, I decided to make some small modifications to the calculation.


(More details of how this calculation was made here.)

Basically what we do now is make two parallel calculations, one containing the runtime up to 50% and the other to 10%, so you get different values that will give us a more accurate approximation of efficiency, first reflecting the typical usable (50%), and another value with a more comprehensive measurement of driver efficiency (10%).
To calculate the cut in the formula ANSI value (higher measurement between 30 and 120 seconds after activation) has been used as reference to find the right cutting time.

Flashlights with flat regulation will score better in calculation to 50%, while those with a “direct drive” type regulation will do better in the calculation to 10%, but the combination of both values gives us a nice visual approximation to the efficiency grade of each flashlight.

BEAM PROFILE:
The projection of this triple XP-G2 is clearly floody, with a wide and generous area illuminated by the spill of nearly 180 degrees, while maintaining a well-defined big spot, making it very practical both indoors with low modes and outdoors with higher modes.


One of the star features of the TIR lenses is their superiority when it comes to obtaining a uniform tint. The PT18 is no exception and in its beam one can only identify a single tinted light, cool white without the classic distortions seen in parabolic reflector optics and last gen CREE emitters, especially in the area surrounding the hotspot.



PERSONAL CONCLUSION:
The design of the product line MecArmy offers is a breath of fresh air within the mass produced segment, with details that are repeated between different models and are very interesting such as the included charger that takes no additional space to the total flashlight size.



MecArmy PT18 · Manker U11 · Nitecore EC21 · Fenix PD32

Negatives: It seems a pity that the battery included in the price of this flashlight is of such limited capacity, especially being already in the era when the 3400mAh battery is implanted and massively extended. Although I personally prefer flashlights that start default with the low mode, some people certainly will miss memory mode so as to avoid having them to switch between all modes if their usage habits and needs commonly require the higher mode.

Positives: Contrary to how I pronounced on the user interface of the SGN3, this PT18 has a really intuitive user interface and I rate it convenient and quick to master.
The recharge function is really well integrated, actually occupying zero space, and the solution to hide the recharge port between the threads of the head prevents the common problem of ingress of dirt inside the port. I rate as a great move the universal connector, allowing us to recharge using the adapter of any smartphone. The construction of the flashlight is very good, with quality details and a very own distinctive look.

pilotdog68
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Very thorough review!

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Top notch review. Smile

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ReManG
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Very nice review, appreciate the details that you include and really like the efficiency charts…..

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That UI seems perfect, like an Olight UI plus the momentary turbo!

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Very nice review! The PT18 is the one of these I want the most due to the added runtime compared to the other versions. Would make a good substitute for one of my favorite EDC lights, the S20 Baton.

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Good review. I have both the PT18 and PT16. I really love their small size. They have replaced my current EDC lights Olight S10R & S15R.

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Good job UPz, a really thorough review!

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great review indeed!

 

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Nice review, and a nicelight as well. like a pineapple that knurdling looks

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Well done sir. Fresh point of view regarding reviews.

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Worthy of mention is that the triple optics are not the standard fare, these are 24mm instead of the 20mm from Carclo. I believe these are proprietary, specially made for this series. They have a nice beam profile that is also very welcome.

My first meeting with these lights was with an older variant PT-16 (16340), the UI was not as nice and they were in the process of updating it when I bought it. I knew this, and figured I’d mod it because of it, so it wasn’t a let down. Point being, inquire as to whether or not the UI is the updated version as the new one is actually quite nice. I got it in the 10440 PT-10.

Unable to resist the pineapple knurling and unique styling, I also have a PT-14 (14500) on the way. Smile

Nicely done, love your graphic charts and run times…

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Excellent review

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Nice review as always.
Too bad tailcap is too big for my taste

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UPz
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Thank you all guys!

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I love the look of the lights, but for me an EDC must have a ML mode. 10 lumens is not a ML mode, way to bright in the middle of the night.

EDC rotation:
FW1A, LH351D 4000k (second favorite)
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FW3A, Nichia 4000k sw40 r9080 (favorite light!)
FW3A, Cree XP-L Hi 5A3
Emisar D4V2, SST20 4000k
S2+, XM-L2 T6 4C

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Fantastic review and I see a lot to like with this light- the modes are perfect for me, the gradual stepdown is sweet, and the integrated charger handy for field use. Plus it looks good, including the beam.

Phil

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DB Custom wrote:
My first meeting with these lights was with an older variant PT-16 (16340), the UI was not as nice and they were in the process of updating it when I bought it. I knew this, and figured I’d mod it because of it, so it wasn’t a let down. Point being, inquire as to whether or not the UI is the updated version as the new one is actually quite nice.

I second the sentiments on ensuring you get the new UI. I got a PT-18 and a PT-16 yesterday from the latest MassDrop. The PT-16 was the older UI and it is terrible.

The PT-18 on the other-hand is very nice.

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I put a ramping UI FET driver in my PT-16 and made it a quad. It now does right at 2200 lumens. Smile Wasn’t easy either!

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Thanks for the great review and information.

I just received a modified PT-18 with 4000k N219b
Im really really happy with it. Smile

I measured the output on my very rudimentary light meter setup. I do believe it is reasonably accurate, as other lights I own measure about what they should. Anyway, take it as a ball park if you will. I added my numbers to yours so I could chart them.. the way you did

The tint in the photo is quite close to what I actually see, when whitewall hunting in the dark with both beams on simultaneously. Bear in mind when only using one beam, the brain quickly readjusts its white balance to the ambient source.
L to R,
PT18 4000k N219b 200 Bin, L11c 4500k N219b 220 Bin

UPz
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very nice tint! Congrats on the new light. Thumbs Up