Another Thorfire S70 review. Who likes lumen?

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ReManG
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Another Thorfire S70 review. Who likes lumen?

Here is my Thorfire S70 review. This light has seen some coverage here on BLF, mostly positive. I received one of the new batch lights with the gray side switch cover from Banggood for this review. I have to say, this is an impressive light all around.  Output, finish, packaging, everything works and the price is right on this light for what you get.

 

I had 26650’s on hand, so that was good, but on a light like this, buy 2-4 cells and dedicate them to this light because it uses the cells in series. You do not need to be using a 200-cycle battery with a 10-cycle one when running in series; this can cause bad stresses on the batteries, up to and including overheating or venting. This includes the 18650’s as the S70 can use them as well with the included adapters. So with this one caveat, here we go into my review.

This is a light that can go for between $50 and $70, depending on sales and codes, why review such an “expensive” light like this (again) here on BLF? Value, that is why. IF you need lumen and a good amount of throw, this is the best value light that you can get out of the box right now in my opinion. In other reviews there have been tests showing this thing puts out 4000+ lumen, stock and out of the box. At the full price of $70 this thing is a value just for the output vs money ratio. The build quality and runtimes are icing on the cake here with the S70, and it is good icing….

 

 

Now on to the light. The light came in the typical (very good) packaging from Thorfire. I have to say that Thorfire usually has not only good packaging, but some good spare parts tucked into the box as well. This light was not a letdown in this regard. An extra lens, some switch covers for the tailswitch and o-rings for the battery tube and front bezel. That is worth $10 at least right there, plus the good packaging… Value point #1 Extra lens, O-rings and rear switch boots included, plus the light will get to you undamaged unless the post office REALLY tries to bang it up.

 

Look at the thickness of the lens...

 

This is a big light for most people, no pocket rocket here, unless you have them shoplifting pants where the front pocket stops around the knee… It is not overly big however, especially for the proportions. I can hold it by the “cigar” ring and use the tail switch to blink it on and off… The battery tube is thick enough for the 26650’s and sturdy, the reflector is large, but well-proportioned to the battery tube, this results in a good looking light. If you put it on a shelf and view it from afar, it still looks good, not a straw stuck into an umbrella anchor like some of the bigger headed thrower style lights do. The build is beefy enough, you could club something with it should you have to, but regular rounds of whack a mole will void the warranty I am sure. You have a spare lens, but no bezel, so go for the soft spots like the leg if you just want to keep your light in working order and you have to hit something or someone. The old problem of dropping an elephant and an ant from a water tower and seeing which one will walk away tends to creep into larger items like this light. I am pretty sure this light hits the sweet spot in being heavy enough, but robust enough to take some hits and drops without coming apart, yet it is not so overbuilt it is not fun to use. This is a hard thing to get just right, and to my feel, Thorfire has done this with the S70.

 

How to tame the size of this larger light? Use a sling, like a rifle or folding chair bag… Luckily this has been included in the box of goodies that the S70 comes with. The clips are good and solid metal, the webbing is thin enough to be comfortable, but thick enough to work… The sling clips to the head and the “cigar” ring on the tail. This turns it into a hip or abdomen lamp, which unlike a headlamp, will not turn where you look without belly dancing lessons… It is actually nice to have this thing on a sling, walking a dog, searching for a lost cat, chasing the kids off your lawn, this set up allows you to have two hands free to do things and still have the light pointed forward. So you can see whom you are spraying with the garden hose, don’t grab the wrong cat from the fence or if you have to throw your hands in the air to make it look like your dog is walking you too fast, for instance.

 

Now on to the use of this light. There is plenty of light available in stock form, enough to make most people say “whoa” when they turn it on in a sunny room in the daytime…. Yup, high is at LEAST the advertised 3000 lumen, and tested by others to exceed 4000 lumen . There are a couple of easy mods to bring this already obscene lumen count up should you have a soldering iron, the inclination and a spare set of batteries since the runtime will be halved for almost twice the output… HERE is the easiest and least scientific… Like PD68 did, just blob some solder between pads to bypass the sense resistors and double the output. I feel no need for this, so it has not been done. In fact, this will stay a stock light, and the only other lights to stay stock in my stable is my DQG Tiny 18650 III and IV…

 

The other modes are mostly for saving battery. For instance, you can get the 1800 lumen that High the S70 gives you , with a DIY triple and a FET driver in a suitable host. This level is included with the S70 for free, and so you do not have to order/build/carry a second light. It will also increase your run time, advertised at almost half a work day on 5000mah 26650’s, three hours and forty five minutes! The Medium is there to give you two full shifts worth of decent light in the 320+ (more like 500 lumen to my eye) lumen range, roughly 16 hours… Low is simply added to show that restraint is possible with the XHP70 LED and that true Moonlight is for pocket lights… This is a Texas Moonlight setting and will make Maglite owners feel good about their lights if the S70 is in this sleeper mode when you cross their dim beams… The fact will still be that you can eke out about 90 hours on the factory specs from a set of 5000mah 26650’s, that’s roughly a ½ pickup truck load of C or D cells in an incandescent Maglite. I seriously think Thorfire has underbid their numbers and hours on this light, and I like hyperbole. Perhaps they had a set of the *****fire batteries on hand that were rated 5000mah and were really 2500ma, maybe I was talking about a toy pickup truck… Who knows, you get more light and more runtime than advertised with this light so far in my experience, this is good. Value point #2 more light than you pay for…

 

The build is solid, the anodizing good to great. I prefer the more matte finish, but this is smooth and consistent with no flaws except where I put them. The sling mounts did mark the anodizing where I had them in the holes, but I was out and using the sling, not worrying about the finish. For the money, this much surface area is the equivalent of about four C8 lights, and you still have a very nice and consistent finish on the sample I received. I think that once again, for the money, this is well executed and shows Thorfire’s commitment to quality. I could not expect a full HAI III on this light at this price point, but the finish that is there still exceeds the price point in quality.

There was some ruckus about the grey switch boot on this second run of the S70… I did not really notice this issue, except what I saw on BLF. I have no real use for it on a light like this with good runtimes from the ever capable 26650 battery size. I am not downplaying any complaints by members about this change and not having the transparent one, but here is my reasoning behind this. The advertised Turbo lumen of 3000 runs for 1 hour 15 minutes on that level, there is some thermal step down after 3 minutes and I am sure if you were actually keeping it on high, it would get very hot over 20-30 minutes. So much so, that you would not want to handle it… Good for looking further, but not the full time run level most will use.

 

The real use level is therefore High at 1800 lumen and no thermal step down. You have almost four hours of use by the book, 3 hours 45 minutes, on the High level. Lets take that as 15 minute sections for calculations. There are four 15 minute sections per hour, and three in the 45 minutes, for a total of 15 sections of 15 minutes each. High is a bit less than 1/4 the runtime of Medium, therefore if you only had one 15 minute segment of High left over, it would be about 1 hour on medium. High is about 1/22nd the runtime of low and its 65 lumen, which is still a good amount of light for walking or doing other simple tasks at night. If you had one 15 minute segment of high left, then you would have about 5 ½ hours of light left, which would get you most of the way to dawn. This is after 3 ½ hours of high, mind you… You would have to be an insomniac or night shift person to really use this much light, or perhaps stuck someplace with a flashaholic...

 

Lets say you are out using this light for searching a field, or working on the farm or whatever scenario you envision… If you take a break every few hours, you are going to have time to change batteries (and charge the ones you took out)… So no runtime indicator needed in my opinion, the workload will dictate the battery changes. But what if you are a workaholic and do not want to change batteries or take a break? You then have a light that if you turn it down one level in three and a half hours, you still have another hour on mid which is 320 lumen by the book. Or if you go to the Texas Moonlight level, you should have the rest of the night available to you at the 65 lumen level… I am pretty lazy when it comes to working like this, I would carry spare batteries for the extended High mode instead of working at a measly 320 or even worse 65 lumen… The horror of my dilated pupils at these "low" levels… This is a real amount of run time and one of the reasons I have been exploring the 26650 lights as of late, and the reason I do not sweat not being able to see the battery indicator through the gray switch cover.  I am sure that Thorfire will make clear/transparent caps available again for this light, the feedback has not been good, but they do listen to their customers. Not worth waiting for the next run though, you shouldn't let something this small stop you from getting a light like this. 

 

The emitter is the XHP70, covered elsewhere in much greater technicality than I can. It is mounted on the direct thermal path copper board for -good- excellent heat transfer to keep this thing going. The tint is listed as a Cool White… Most CW I have no use for, this one is about 5700-6000K and just ever so slightly bluish at low levels. I actually like it for the light output; it is a clear cool white and does not look at all like a cheap tint…. I would love to see the S70 in something like a 4000-4500K tint or even warmer, but this CW one is not going to be replaced anytime soon, it is more than satisfactory for a CW emitter for someone like me that prefers a Neutral White tint. A stock home run for a cool white emitter, in my humble opinion.

 

The use and modes of this light are straightforward, click the tail switch forward to turn the light on, all the way or only half way for a momentary peek. Once the light is on, use the side switch to change between the four modes, or press and hold for SOS, or double click for a blinding turbo strobe level… Since the light has mode memory, whatever level you turn the light off and you are in, is where the light starts again when you turn it on via the tail cap. Simple to use, and believe it or not, the “cigar” ring thing works in my hands to point the light and use it for looking around.  Heck of a big cigar though...

 

The most frustrating part of this light, I cannot get good beam shots at a distance. I went out several times when there was less dust, but could not get some good settings for showing the distance shots of the beam at night. I will keep trying, but this thing is ridiculously bright for the price, I am just not a good enough cameraman to get the pics.. . The modes are well spaced and the beam pattern is good for general purpose use, but that huge orange peel reflector should kill the throw. The XHP70 just puts out so many lumen that it still throws exceptionally well.  I detuned the settings in the gif below so you can barely see the 65 lumen low.  The high and turbo are not done justice in the gif, but the color on my monitor is about correct for what I see. The turbo is much brighter in real life than what this shows...

 

The size may throw some people off, but if you need a light with a boatload of lumen AND good runtimes, look no farther. I think that the S70 is a great value if you are looking for a super bright LED light with throw. The only drawback is the batteries in series precautions to me. This is easily overcome with just buying a dedicated set of batteries for the light. In the case of the 26650, you will spend more than the 18650’s but get great run time. If you just get a couple of 18650’s dedicated to this light, you will still have a great light to show off or use for whatever you may want, and it will be a bit lighter and have a shorter runtime. Either way you go, this is an easy way to break the 3000 lumen barrier in your personal collection!

 

PM member M4D M4X for the code on this light at Banggood. The price is nice and the lumen are plenty!

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Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 11:53
The Miller
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Not the first review, but definetly the funniest!
One minor thing, no it won’t get hot I have had it on a cell drain test for over an hour with at least 60 minutes of that on turbo and it stayed cool.

ReManG
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I had it going on turbo for about four cycles and just got tired of bumping it up, so the heat was assumptive. That much light does make heat, but just tailstanding it only got warm… As the fellow said that was using his for fishing in Australia, it is a rather sharp step down, so for me it would be used mainly on high unless something further away was needed to be seen….

Even if you ran turbo for an hour, then went to high doe the last 15 minute block, tjat is about 2 hours of light above 1800 lumen… Pretty impressive..

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1dash1
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Regarding the switch covers, here are the before and after pictures of my S70:

       

 

Like night and day!

I don’t think I would have missed it, if I hadn’t “switched” covers.

But having changed from the grey cover to the translucent cover makes a world of difference.

Rule 1-1 as it applies to life, take it as it comes.

Kusie
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One question: I guess to get rid of the timed stepdown you´d have to replace the driver completely?
From what I´ve read here the torch/LED should be able to handle the heat in constant turbo in stock setup, right?
Thanks,
K.

ReManG
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It would seem that you would have to replace the driver….

This would have to be a FET driver for the lumen this is capable of, and either be a programmable turbo timer like Moppydrv or just asked to not be set when flashed. Perhaps Dr Jones would have a nice ramping firmware for a FET driver…

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SCEman
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Great review – thanks!
IMHO the clear cover battery level indicator is a nice feature. Especially since it’s illuminated while the light is on. No big deal to pick up a clear replacement boot.

MRsDNF
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Thanks for the review RMG. Nice light.

 

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