REVIEW- Crelant V11A Single AA/14500 Light

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ReManG
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REVIEW- Crelant V11A Single AA/14500 Light

This is a single cell AA/14500 light from Crelant. This is my first light from this manufacturer and this light was sent to me by Banggood in return for this review.  HERE is a link to their page with it, and if you pester member M4D M4X enough, he will send you a code for a discount... If I get a public one, I will post it here...

 

The light comes well packaged and has two extra O rings and a very nice lanyard in the box, along with a good instruction sheet. The light takes either an Alkaline or Lithium primary AA battery, or better yet, a 14500 sized LiIon battery for more output.

 

The light is on the large size for a single AA sized light, but this is not all bad. I am impressed by the feel of this light, but for an AA it is larger than most.

There is no tail cap per se, the body unscrews in the middle for changing batteries. The tail switch has the standard rubber boot and the switch PCB is accessed from the rear of the light via the external retaining ring around the switch boot. I had not seen this before and it seems to work well, the switch and boot are easily accessed when the retaining ring is removed. The ring sits on the switch boot flange and compresses it to allow both waterproofing and this force acts like a lock washer, keeping the ring in place. It works well and makes changing a switch boot easier than fishing around in a tail cap.

 

The front end has a nice stainless steel bezel and the driver side is fully insulated between the + contact and the side of the driver ring. This is a plus and a minus. The plus we can see from the recent Cometa issue where lights are shorting out without the insulation. The negative, not so mod friendly it seems. Going in the front of the light, the bezel unscrews and the Lens, O-ring, and reflector are easy to get out. I like lights that the lens is easy to access. The hardest ones like the Convoy S series are still not that hard to get into, but a front bezel makes this process go quickly should you have to swap lenses or put diffusion film on them. The LED MCPCB is hidden behind a centering ring/full insulation cover. The entire board is covered and the LED is in the center with a lip from the insulator to center the reflector in the head. The good, no possibility of shorting. The bad, not mod friendly for swapping emitters. I cannot figure a way to remove this without going destructive, so to swap the emitter, you may have to wreck the centering ring to get in and desolder the old one.

 

The emitter is an XM-L2 in CW, no specific tint given from what I have seen. It has a very slight blueish tint, so somewhere in the 1A area I would guess. Not being a big fan of CW in general, I am always wondering why manufacturers go with CW, the lumen loss is at the most 20% to go to NW, but more than likely less than 10% if they spec it to the supplier. Most of us will not notice a 10% lumen loss on a light like this, but we will notice the tint being much more relaxing and not as washed out looking in use. Just my opinion of course. I would also like more warm white availability, but hey, NW is a fine general purpose tint and would be great, so I am not pressing my luck and asking for WW….Regardless of my opinion on tints, it is a useable tint and not the glaring purple/blue like cheap lights use.

 

The output on this light is decent, typical of a light with AA/14500 boost driver. Boost drivers are always an in between issue driver anyway, they have to boost 1.2V to 3.6V (3x roughly) which means if they are pulling 1A at the tail of an alkaline, you are getting roughly 330ma to the emitter. This is theoretical, but with actual drivers, there will be some loss, so less than 300ma in actuality. 300ma in a an XM-L2 is a good amount of light, so it is no dim incandescent flashlight of days past, but not what a straight LiIon light can do. So a 2000ma Alkaline will give you two hours of runtime that would be less than the output of a single LiIon on a 1x7135 (350-380ma) driver. Then the driver has the option of LiIon 14500's so you can get more brightness for less draw as the voltage of the LiIon is above the voltage required to activate the LED. The runtime is a bit shorter than on the AA due to the drivers inefficiency and the fact that the LiIon only has around 600-700mah which is typical for the LiIon chemistry, i.e. higher voltage, lower mah for the same size as an alkaline/NiMh.  The actual numbers from Crelant are below.  They match pretty well to what I found in my runtime checks with regards to the time.  It does get warm on High with a 14500. 

 

The beam is more flood than throw, but not all flood if that makes sense. It has a large hot spot and a good spill. It is a very practical beam pattern for a general purpose light like this. I think the beam pattern is about perfect for the levels of output this light has on either AA or 14500. I like a good floody beam personally, though I have some throwers, but most of my actual work and use is within 10 yards. This means I like to have an area lit up, compared to just a spot… Think of it like this, if you have a light like the BLF A6 and a light like the BLF D80, this beam profile would be between them. More throw than an A6 beam, with more good spill than a D80…. On the same output levels of course… I like it and think it is about perfect for a stock light in this output and size range. It will reach across the backyard, or let you change a tire without being blinded by a spot. It works for me.

 

Here are the levels and beam pattern on LiIon and AA

 

The switch is a forward clicky, and therefore has the ability to blink on without clicking the switch fully. The other name for this switch type is "tactical" so you can just blink when you want to, or click the switch fully on to keep the light on the mode you want. The light has three modes, and starts on High mode. The literature states there is no mode memory, but mine exhibited mode memory and seemed to start on the last mode left, up to overnight. The mode order is High-Med-Low and the driver acts kind of like an on time memory driver, but it is not. Specific double taps are required to change modes, they have to come relatively quickly. I found this odd at first, as I have no other lights that have this requirement to change modes. I find it is actually quite nice once you get used to it. With the forward clicky switch, you can select the mode before turning the light fully on by blinking it to the level you want and click the switch to keep it on the mode you want. If you just need to blink the light to get somebody's attention, just blinking at 1/2 second intervals will not change the modes, so it works once you get used to it. There are not any hidden strobes or blinky modes on this light, and that is a good thing in my opinion. All too often, other useable light levels are given to strobes and SOS (or SOP, or POS or whatever the Morse code is actually saying...) when in actuality, 3 good levels are most often what you need, like this light has.

 LiIon comparison with stock new version of Thorfire TG06

 

Comparision between V11A and stock new version Thorfire TG06 on AA alkaline.

 

The mode spacing is nice and the levels are spaced apart enough to be individually useful. There is not a true Moon mode, and that would be all I would want extra on this driver. The sub lumen modes are nice to leave on for locating a light in the dark, but it is not a big deal that this has no moon mode, the low is pretty low on AA alkalines. No visible PWM is noted on this light, another good thing and my only gripe about other AA/14500 lights like the Thorfire TG06…. Cant.Stand.Visible.PWM...

 

The clip is large and allows plenty of attachment space, I doubt that there is a pants pocket this would not cover. The clip gap would allow you to clip this light to a partition in a backpack or purse, or other thicker material, so this is a good clip in my opinion. The only deficit from the clip arrangement is that it cannot be reversed for hat brim use. Regardless, it is a good, strong clip and holds well. The lanyard attachments on this light are fantastic, the body ring surrounding the switch boot is hefty and has plenty of attachment points. If you are into lanyards, the tail points have slots that would fit 550 cord if you flatten it out to get it through at the tail…

The body ring also allows for good tailstanding, something that a lot of smaller AA sized lights can do, but are rather tippy due to their narrow body tubes. This thing is stable head standing or tail standing due to the larger body on it. I like the feel of this larger AA, but if you were motivated, there should be enough room to bore it out for a 18500 if you wanted…This would be a fantastic light with a 1600-2000mah 18500….

 

Overall this is a solid, but larger AA/14500 light. A simple UI, decent output and a fairly balanced beam make this a good buy for a general purpose light. The accessories, packaging and manual are all more than adequate. The down side of this light would be the lack of modability for the BLF crowd. It does not come apart at the head and driver without having to break into the plastic insulators. This is a plus for a non flashaholic though… I would like to see a NW/WW option on this light as well as the clip be reversible for hat brim use, but otherwise it is a strong AA/14500 stock light. I would rate this light a buy for an easy-to-use, good general purpose light that takes common cells and LiIon…

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Edited by: ReManG on 05/07/2016 - 17:01
Beachlogger
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Thanks for the review, I’ve been a fan of crelant stuff since my first headlamp from them

firedome
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Absolutely awesome review! Extremely thorough. Thanks for taking your time to do this for all of us.

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