MecArmy PT60 review (16x XP-G2, 4x18650)

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maukka
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MecArmy PT60 review (16x XP-G2, 4x18650)

Among all the multi XHP70 lights MecArmy PT60 with its XP-G2 and optics arrangement provides a different approach.

Manufacturer’s specifications
Battery: proprietary 4× 18650 3400 mAh pack in 2S2P configuration
LED: 12x Cree XP-G2 in cool white
Waterproof: IPX8
Mode memory: no
Low voltage protection: built into the batteries
Electronic lockout: yes, press and hold switch 3 sec when the light is off, unlock in similar fashion
USB charging: yes, up to 3 A

Manufacturer’s output specs
Maximum output: 9600 lumens
Other output levels: 21/500/2120 lumens
Strobe: 9600 lumens
Light intensity: 43238 candela
Beam distance: 415 m

Measured dimensions and weight
Length: 122 mm
Head width: 75 mm
Handle width: 52 mm
Weight: 798 g

Box contents

Holster
Lanyard
Micro USB charging cable
2 spare o-rings
User manual

Only thing missing is a USB charger. A simple high output one port charger would have been nice to have.

User interface

The PT60 is operated by a single electronic side switch with a good light feel. It doesn’t have the crispiest click but you’ll definitely feel it activate. Because of the battery pack connection, I skipped the stanbdy current measurement.

The light always comes on on low, but there is a shortcut from off to turbo by a double click or a momentary turbo with click and hold. Turbo can’t be accessed directly if the light is already on. but the light cycles through low-mid-high-turbo so turbo isn’t a special mode in that sense.

From off:
Single click turns the light on on low
Double click turns the light on on turbo
Long click and hold turns the light momentarily on on turbo until the switch is released
Triple click activates strobe (alternates between 7.7 and 12.5 hertz), long press advances to SOS

From on:
Single click turns the light off
Long press cycles modes (low-mid-high-turbo-low…)

There was some play on the optics on my sample. Shaking makes the light rattle. Otherwise the build quality seems excellent.

Battery and charging

What sets the MecArmy PT-series apart is its battery pack which can also be used as a power bank. The proprietary battery pack consists of 4 18650 3400 mAh cells arranged in 2S2P configuration. The pack is connected to the charging/power bank circuit via an XT60 connector. The batteries have low voltage protection so running the light unattended will not totally deplete and harm the batteries. The USB charger can reset the protection circuit.


Pressing the button on th e battery pack / power bank tells you the charge level with 4 leds.


The battery is connected to the charging circuit with an XT60 connector.


Output voltage regulation of the USB output is stable at a 1 amp load.


Charging the battery at almost 3 amps takes a bit over 4 hours.

With a capable USB charger the battery pack will charge at the maximum rate of 2.8 amps. I used a Blitzwolf BW-S7 5 port charger successfully at 2.8 A. You can also reach similar charge speeds with three 1 amp chargers. The charging process takes a bit over 4 hours and terminates at 0.5 amps.

The power bank charges an iPad at 2.0 A and the USB output reports DCP 5V 1.5A (D+ 1.66, D- 1.64 V). As a power bank its capacity at 1 A discharge is 42.7 Wh, which I consider very good for a four 18650 pack. Assuming a Panasonic NCR18650B cells are used, the efficienty of the power bank is about 93 %. The regulation is also top notch as the output voltage from the USB port never drops below 5 volts and the output is capable of driving even 4 amp loads.


Power bank USB output voltage at different currents. Awesome results with 5 volts at all currents up to 4 amps.


My first sample had a defective power bank electronics board, but MecArmy swiftly sent me another one that works flawlessly.

Size and beam comparison

Beam and tint

Like in most optic based lights the beam has a big distinct hotspot and a narrower spill than with a reflector. Still the spill is wide enough to see in front of you when walking in a dark forest with obstacles on the path. The tint consistency is also very good and only gets slightly cooler at the edges. Sadly there is no neutral white option.


Color temperature in different parts of the beam.


Tint in different parts of the beam.


Tint in different brightness modes

Spectral data and color rendering

For spectral information and CRI calculations I use an X-rite i1Pro spectrophotometer with HCFR, Babelcolor CT&A and ArgyllCMS spotread for the graphs and data. For runtime tests I use spotread with a custom script and an i1Display Pro because it doesn’t require calibration every 30 minutes like the i1Pro.

Explanation of abbreviations

CCT = correlated color temperature, higher temperature means cooler (bluish)
CRI (Ra) = color rendering index consisting of 8 different colors (R1-R8), max value 100
CRI (R9) = color rendering index with deep red, usually difficult for led based light sources, max value 100
TLCI = television lighting consistency index, max value 100
CQS (Qa) = Proposed replacement for CRI, RMS average of 15 color samples
CRI2012 (Ra,2012) = Another proposed replacement for CRI, consists of 17 color samples
MCRI = Color rendering index based on the memory of colors or 9 familiar objects
NEW Read more about the IES TM-30-15 method
TM-30 = The newest color rendering method using 99 samples. Preferred for comparing LEDs.
TM-30 (Rf) = Accuracy of colors, fidelity index. Replaces CRI.
TM-30 (Rg) = Gamut of colors, saturation index. Higher number means more saturated colors.
Tint dev. (“Duv” in the CTA screenshots) is the tint’s distance to the black body radiator line in the CIE graphs. The higher the number, the greener the tint. 0,0000 means absolutely neutral white and negative numbers mean rosy/magenta tint. Anything over 0,0100 can be described as visibly green.

Output and runtimes

MecArmy sent me an updated firmware with which the thermal regulation has been improved and the output stays higher longer on turbo. The output also ramps back up if you cool down the light after it has stepped down. With most simple temperature controlled lights this usually requires an off/on cycle.


Output starts to ramp down as soon as the handle temperature hits 50°C, which is perfect for not burning your hand.

PWM

PWM at 1 kHz exists in all modes except turbo. On mid and high the light has loud audible whine. :thumbsdow


High


The duty cycle is very small on mid and low.

Verdict

The MecArmy PT60 might just be one of the most impressive things you have ever seen. It certainly has earned the most OOHS and AAHS out of ordinary people to whom I’ve shown it. This is most likely because of its output to size ratio. For a soda can light its throw is good and the bright big hotspot will light up a large area superbly.

The best part of the beam is its consistent tint: there’s no shift to green or blue around the hotspot like in most XHP70 flashlights. MecArmys application of XP-G2 and optics is very successful, albeit much less floody than in its reflector based competitor. The light does not represent colors very well with a CRI of 66 and TM-30(Rf) of 61.

The biggest problem of the light is the visible and audible PWM at low, mid and high. The PWM operates at 1 kHz with a very low duty cycle (25% on high, super short pulsing on low and mid). This makes all specular highlights flicker and prevents using the light with photos or video. Turbo does not have PWM before stepdown but as the light starts to throttle its output, PWM becomes apparent.

The knurling isn’t that effective in improving grip especially with gloves. The PT60 is quite slippery and the thick handle makes it pretty tiring to hold in your hand in prolonged usage. I would totally recommend attaching the lanyard just in case. The holster is of good quality although the light fits fine into a jacket pocket.

Charging the batteries is done via 1-3 micro USB connectors at a maximum rate of 2.8 amps. The ports are located in the body and can be found after screwing the head off. With a single good USB charger it is possible to fill an empty pack in a bit over 4 hours. As long as the USB charger is capable of high currents, there’s no advantage in using serveral of them. Using several will balance the power draw from each.

The body part of the PT60 also acts as a portable power bank. Its USB output provides current up to at least 4 amps (I didn’t test higher). The output stays above 5 volts at all currents.

+ Big bright hotspot
+ Consistent tint throughout the beam
+ No green or magenta, nice pure cool white
+ Handle acts as a very powerful and efficient power bank (>5 V @ 4 A)
+ Fast USB charging (4 and a bit hours for a 0 to 100% charge)

- Very low color rendering index (CRI 66, TM-30(Rf) 61)
- Bad PWM on all modes except turbo
- Loud whine on mid and high
- Proprietary battery pack (4×18650 2S2P)
- Charges even totally depleted batteries at maximum speed (this can be avoided by using a lower output USB charger)
- Rattling optics on my sample
- The light is quite slippery

Edited by: maukka on 02/19/2017 - 11:56
Hikelite
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2960lm – 24900cd, 8.4 candela per lumen
But it does not correlate at all with the Turbo throw, 9300lm and 53000Cd, 5.7 candela per lumen
Candela per lumen must be constant, not change.
610lm – 5130cd – 8.7 candela per lumen
37lm – 314cd – 8.5 candela per lumen

We can easily allow this sort of 8.4 to 8.5 error which is 1.2% tolerance which is really nothing, neither 8.5 – 8.7 matters, well withing tolerances.
That being said either the lumen value is too high for turbo or the candela value too low, (correlated to 8.5 candela per lumen, either 6250lm either 79000cd) I tend to believe the latter.

Actually the proprietary pack is a good idea, eliminates issue with people keep discrediting springs, needing of spring modes, spring
melts, possible shake issues with single sided spring flashlight etc. So that is quite a good solution actually for certain issues.

maukka
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Good eye! Had my Excel crash during reorganizing tables and had some old numbers on medium and high. Also fixed the graphs to match. Thanks a lot!

Hikelite
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Nice, you have updated the numbers.

hIKARInoob
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People who bought the old PT60 and seeing this review/runtime data must be having a really bad day…