ThorFire TD26 Diving Flashlight Review

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Kalihi
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ThorFire TD26 Diving Flashlight Review


ThorFire sent me their yet-unreleased TD26 Diving Flashlight for review. It arrived yesterday, and since it arrived at a time when it will be a week or more until I get photos with it under the ocean, I will fill the time by giving you an above-water first impressions review.
Amazon link preview: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LQ5WJL0

Specs:
The TD26 uses a Cree XP-L emitter and a 26650 battery. (An 18650 adapter sleeve was also included in the box.)

Modes are described as follows (with a 5,000mAh 26650 ThorFire battery):
Low: 30 lumens for 48 hours
Mid: 200 lumens for 2 hours and 45 minutes
High: 500 lumens for 1 hour and 25 minutes
Turbo: 1,000 lumens for 45 minutes
All of these output levels seem pretty accurate to me. With those run times, I suspect that ThorFire measures the length of time those light levels are actually maintained, as opposed to the ANSI measurements other manufacturers use where they continue to count run time after the light has stepped down to lower light levels (but still above the 10% cut-off).
Distance: 350m
Beam intensity: 9800cd (Typo? The hotspot is less than half the size of the Nitecore MH20’s)

ThorFire claims the light is waterproof to 100 meters and drop resistant to 1 meter.

Listed size specs:
Length: 148mm
Head diameter: 50mm
Body diameter: 35mm

What’s in the box:
The flashlight itself was protected by a bubble-wrap sleeve. Also in the box were ThorFire’s “Happy?” card, the manual, two spare O-rings, a lanyard, and an 18650 adapter sleeve. It also comes with a 5,000mAh ThorFire branded INR 26650 protected battery and a ThorFire branded charger (model NK-905), rated for 1A and 4.25 volts. I haven’t used it, however, since every cheap charger I have gotten from companies like Thrunite or ThorFire has charged batteries to 4.28 to 4.3 volts, while I like to keep my batteries below ~4.2 volts for longevity.

Size comparison:
L-R: Thrunite T10 XP-L 252 lumen (2016), Nitecore MH20, ThorFire TD26, Thrunite TN12





Feel:
At about 375 grams with a 26650 battery, this light is a beast. However, it feels good in the hand, and the aggressive ribbing on the handle gives you a very strong grip on the light. Its mass also does a great job as a heat-sink, so I have been using the light on turbo without heat being a problem.



The magnetic side-button has smooth travel with about a pound of spring resistance that doesn’t stack very much as the button is depressed. The button’s travel ends when it is about flush with the light. Ergonomically, it’s pretty nice to use, even with gloves on.

Of course, the light tail-stands very stably.

Control:
There is only one control on the light, a magnetic side switch. Press the switch to turn it on to the last mode it was in. (There is no way to turn it on to anything other than its memorized mode.) Press the button again to cycle through the four modes. Double-press it to switch to the strobe, and press it again to return to the last used power level. Hold the switch for about a second to turn the light off. There is a small delay between releasing the switch and the light coming on. It’s pretty short, but it still resulted in me blasting my eyes with light the first time I used it as I checked to see if the light was actually coming on. The delay between releasing the switch and the power level changing is about half a second, which actually is kind of annoying.

Overall quality impressions:
The machining is nicely done and the edges are nicely broken while still providing good grip. The anodizing is even and consistent over the whole light.
There are two O-rings to facilitate the light’s 100m waterproof rating:

The threads are trapezoidal cut, but are well lubed and smooth to use:

There are springs at both ends:

Beam shot/tint:
The hotspot is definitely smaller than the MH20’s. Colors aren’t as rich as those from a neutral white emitter, but they really aren’t bad.
Left: Nitecore MH20 Neutral White
Right: Thorfire TD26

More pictures:


More to come once I actually get this light under the ocean!

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:34
flydiver
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Hey, it’s been a month. Did you dive with the light? If so how does it compare to other lights you are familiar with?

Kalihi
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Well, the rainy season hit, and the waters have been pretty murky and brown. I have taken the light under the ocean a couple times, but still not below about 20 feet.

Here are a few pictures. Keep in mind that getting clear photos underwater in rough currents without using a flash (Thorfire flashlight only!) is pretty difficult.

This first shot shows you how limited my visibility has been around the shore reefs.

A couple more observations:

For the first 20-30 times you press the button after getting out of the water, it squelches and spits out a few droplets of water. The light has been submerged about 15 times, and does the same thing every time, with no water getting to the light itself. One of my concerns has been the very fine sand I encounter when entering and exiting from beaches with very rough surf. This fine sand strips away sealing grease and lets the seawater get into things like reed switch magnets and corrode them. So far, only a single grain of this fine sand has gotten between the switch and the body.

I haven’t been able to get the closed-loop wrist strap through the lanyard hole. I tried things like using the tiniest hex wrench I have to push it through, with no success. So, I just ended up tying the strap to the light with polyester twine.

everydaysurvivalgear
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Cool review mate thanks! I tried to take photos of mine under water but the camera skills are bad lol.

flydiver
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Taking pictures UW are challenging anytime. Can’t say I’ve tried to take pictures of a light beam.
Does that lanyard hole have sharp edges? One guy lost a light that way, but I don’t recall if its the Thorfire.

Jerommel
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Kalihi wrote:

For the first 20-30 times you press the button after getting out of the water, it squelches and spits out a few droplets of water. The light has been submerged about 15 times, and does the same thing every time, with no water getting to the light itself. One of my concerns has been the very fine sand I encounter when entering and exiting from beaches with very rough surf. This fine sand strips away sealing grease and lets the seawater get into things like reed switch magnets and corrode them.

There’s probably a rubber membrane under it, not just greased O-rings.
Kalihi
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flydiver wrote:
Taking pictures UW are challenging anytime. Can’t say I’ve tried to take pictures of a light beam.
Does that lanyard hole have sharp edges? One guy lost a light that way, but I don’t recall if its the Thorfire.
No, the edges on the entire body are nicely broken, like it was well tumbled before it was anodized.

Jerommel wrote:
There’s probably a rubber membrane under it, not just greased O-rings.
Since it’s a magnetic switch, it might be that it just sits in a machined cylinder that doesn’t go all the way through the aluminum body of the light. Even if that is the case, seawater could still get behind the button and corrode the return spring. The switch is held onto the body by a retaining ring with four half-moon cutouts for screwing/unscrewing it. I just don’t have a good tool for taking it off to see how it is sealed underneath. Hopefully it is a rubber membrane, since one of the upsides of the fine sand is that it is much smoother than larger sand grains, and thus less abrasive on rubber.

Anyway, final thoughts:
It’s a great light with fantastic power for its size. My biggest annoyance so far has been the minor delay between hitting the button and the modes actually changing, and the need to hold the button for about a second and a half to turn the light off. Most lights that fail go for several dives before they start to leak, so I will keep you updated if I do get any problems.

Jerommel
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Ah yes, a magnetic switch. I see.
Otherwise the water pressure would push the switch under a flexible membrane.
Let’s hope they used a stainless steel spring under the button…

RobertB
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Run down to your local hardware store and buy a small stainless shackle to tie your lanyard to. Put a drop of locktite on the threads. I’ve seen these made out of a strong nylon type plastic before too.

Kalihi
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Ok, since the lanyard hole ended up getting more attention than I expected it to, I went ahead and ran some twine through the wrist strap and used that to pull it through the lanyard hole. The hole doesn’t feel like it is likely to abrade through the strap.

HiTiT
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Thanks for the review Smile

Any chance you have the reflector dimensions?

Merry Christmas!

Kalihi
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HiTiT wrote:
Thanks for the review Smile

Any chance you have the reflector dimensions?

Merry Christmas!

I don’t have the dimensions, and I don’t really want to try taking a waterproof light apart to check, but here are some photos comparing it to my XP-L HI Convoy C8. The C8’s reflector is a little bit deeper and wider. The XP-L HI C8 and TD26’s hotspots are almost identical in size. The C8’s hotspot is brighter in the center and has a diffuse border, while the TD26’s hotspot has even intensity throughout and has a defined border.

TD26 left, C8 XP-L HI right

kramer5150
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Nice… any PWM on the lower modes?

Kalihi
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kramer5150 wrote:
Nice… any PWM on the lower modes?

No PWM that I can detect on video.
jumblies
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Just returned from a diving vacation with this light. I found myself a little disappointed, particularly when comparing the to $6 cheap chinese twist switch lights.

One design feature that is lacking is an “index” for blind one handed operation to find the button. I would even go so far as to say that a triangular light would be better with the switch at a corner.

On dark dives, I found myself spinning the light to find the switch.

Also, the number of modes is IMHO excessive. Strobe is great but 4 levels plus strobe is a little too much. I was unable to find a situation where I could discern any superior penetration from levels 3 and 4. Were I to create the driver, I’d make it 2 plus strobe with a moonlight+ for surface and beacon purposes.

As weird as it is to say, the driver from the $6 light in this host would be a better match but then it still lacks the index.

The benefits over the cheapies are: good optics, built like a brick outhouse, one handed operation, high lumen output with a nice color spectrum.

Interestingly, I did not find much difference in the underwater perception of the warmer Thorfire when compared to a cool white. I’d like to hear others input on that. On land, the color difference is much more aesthetically pleasing.