[Review] ThorFire TK05 1xAA/14500 eSwitch

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[Review] ThorFire TK05 1xAA/14500 eSwitch

Introduction: the ThorFire TK05 is a brand new AA / 14500 flashlight with a side e-switch and a Cree XP-G3 LED. The styling is rugged, featuring a few crenelations on the bezel and very large, grippy, knurling. The large, checkered knurling is a welcome break from what you’d typically find on a flashlight. It seems solid and is a decent size – it fits comfortably in the watch pocket of my jeans with just a little bit protruding from the top.

LED Tint: the LED tint is stated as being 5350-5700K. I’d say my sample seems a bit cooler than that. The hotspot is noticeably blue and even a few non flash-a-holics have commented on the color of the beam. What I haven’t noticed, however, is the tint shift that is all too common with the XP-G3. I would guess that the orange peel reflector is helping to blend the colors a bit.

Beam Pattern: as you’d expect from a small EDC flashlight with a narrow and shallow reflector, the beam is quite floody with useable spill. The TK05 is good for close range work – excursions around the house/office/garage, working on the car, general household work, etc.

Modes: the TK05 has three modes plus a hidden strobe mode. According to the manual, they are 13 lumens – 100 lumens – 600 lumens on a 14500; or 5 lumens – 70 lumens – 240 lumens on a AA battery. I don’t have equipment set up yet to take measurements, but in comparison to other flashlights, those numbers seems about right. One note on 14500 compatibility – you’ll need a button top. There is physical reverse protection that prevents flat-tops from making contact with the brass button on the driver.

UI: the operation is pretty standard. Press and release the side switch to turn on the flashlight, press and hold the switch to turn off the light. While on, press the button to advance modes. Double click from any mode to activate strobe. There is no electronic lockout, but physical lockout is easily achieved but a slight twist of the tailcap.

Other Features: when running on a 14500, there is a 3 minute turbo timer at which point the flashlight will step down to medium. A tap of the switch will take it back to high. While the flashlight was warm at this point, it was nowhere near hot and could still be held comfortably. There is mode memory where the current mode with be remembered if used for 3 seconds. Also, there is low voltage protection at 2.8 volts.

Build Quality: the TK05 feels very nice and solid in hand. The anodizing is good and similar to what you’d find on other recent ThorFire flashlights. The side button protrudes from the tube a bit. This makes it easier to find, but also easier to accidentally activate. I haven’t had a problem with that yet, but I’ve also been physically locking it out most of the time just to be safe.

Conclusion: I feel like the TK05 is a keeper, I’d give it four and a half stars (out of five). I think with this light, I’ve found my new EDC. My only problem is that bluish XP-G3. I realize the average consumer probably sees the bluish light, recognizes it as characteristic LED, and goes “ohhh ahhh”. But really, I’d love to see this with a 4000K-5000K (neutral) LED – then I’d give this flashlight a full five stars. I think I’m going to replace the LED and then carry the TK05 daily.

Purchasing & Discount: the TK05 is currently available on Amazon (non-affiliate link). Miranda at ThorFire has kindly provided a 20% off code for BLF members: L4SPZS6H

Disclaimer: I was kindly provided this light for review by ThorFire. That said, all remarks are my own and I’ve done my best to try and be unbiased.

Click images to see them full size

General shot of the new ThorFire TK05

Disassembled next to a protected 14500 cell

Line up for size comparison, left to right: TK15S, TK15, TK05, Klarus Mi7, unprotected 30Q

Beamshots, left to right: ThorFire TK05 (XP-G3), Klarus Mi7 (XP-L HI), Convoy M1 (XP-L 5000K)

Edited by: gchart on 01/11/2018 - 09:21
gchart
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Modding Post
As stated in the review, I really like this flashlight except for the stock LED. So what do you do? LED swap! I just ordered some Samsung LH351D’s in 5000K from Digi-Key with the intention of putting one in this light. See the reviews of that LED by Texas_Ace and maukka . That should give me a neutral tint AND even more lumens (perhaps 740 instead of 600?). Per a Digi-Key sales rep, their current stock of those LH351D’s are bin code F2R1W2, which just happens to be the same bin code as what Texas_Ace and maukka reviewed.

I have no plans for the driver, but the retaining ring is easily removable. Note, it is reverse threaded. Further note that someone in the manufacturing facility made a mistake and put a Sofirn-branded driver in the flashlight. ThorFire has acknowledged this and reportedly addressed the issue.

Here you can see the bezel screws off easily, no glue. And it looks like the MCPCB has thermal paste underneath, not adhesive. LED swap should be easy. I’ll wait until the LEDs come in before I actually remove it.

to be continued…

Ok ladies and gentlemen… disassembly and LED swap time!

First up, it looks like the driver is ~ 16.3mm. The switch board is integral with the main driver board, see pics below. I have more pictures if you’re looking for something specific. Also, the MCPCB is a standard aluminum one, approx 14mm with two small holes to fit the wires through – it wouldn’t be terribly easy to put back in place. I filed down a 16mm copper DTP board and used that for the new Samsung LH351D in 5000K.

Original LED (right) vs new LED (left). Note the dome on the LH351D is a bit bigger (almost XP-L size) but seems to fit into the reflector hole ok without any modifications. MCPCB is approx 14mm. I filed down a 16mm copper DTP to fit without any issues.

The driver measures around 16.3mm. Integrated switch board. Modding the driver is likely not for the faint of heart.

DoubleA
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I smell sofirn. LOL

and on the first day he said "Let there be light"...

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DoubleA wrote:
I smell sofirn. LOL

I checked out Sofirn’s current line-up and didn’t see anything that I felt would use this driver. Thought it’s entirely possible that they will in the near future. To be fair to ThorFire, I don’t want to get to far into that discussion. I’m sure they’re separate companies, though they do have some portfolio overlap and occasional mis-branding of products. To me, that sounds like problems at the ODM, not necessarily the two companies that are marketing and selling us the lights. I’m no expert in their processes, though, so I’m not fit to speculate too far.
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Just curious, what’s the e-switch mounting like? Is the driver a dual board with the e-switch mounted on the second one? Looking at modability – thanks!

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gchart wrote:
DoubleA wrote:
I smell sofirn. LOL
I checked out Sofirn’s current line-up and didn’t see anything that I felt would use this driver. Thought it’s entirely possible that they will in the near future. To be fair to ThorFire, I don’t want to get to far into that discussion. I’m sure they’re separate companies, though they do have some portfolio overlap and occasional mis-branding of products. To me, that sounds like problems at the ODM, not necessarily the two companies that are marketing and selling us the lights. I’m no expert in their processes, though, so I’m not fit to speculate too far.

Well Sofirn has every products Thorfire sells, with a different driver of course. Also just a few weeks ago Jaxman was whining about Thorfire copying their design in E3 thread if I believe correctly.

and on the first day he said "Let there be light"...

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Sprinkles wrote:
Just curious, what’s the e-switch mounting like? Is the driver a dual board with the e-switch mounted on the second one? Looking at modability – thanks!

I’m hoping to do the LED swap within the next week. While I’ve got things taken apart for that, I’ll try popping the driver out and getting some pics.
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Thank you for the review, I am a ThorFire fan and always had very positive experiences with their products. Since I can’t find a convoy AA yet I might want to pick this one up. e-switch is even better than expected.

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First of all, nice review gchart Wink Thanks for showing this Thorfire, never knew about it and it seems a very nice flashlight Wink

gchart wrote:
DoubleA wrote:
I smell sofirn. LOL
I checked out Sofirn’s current line-up and didn’t see anything that I felt would use this driver. Thought it’s entirely possible that they will in the near future. To be fair to ThorFire, I don’t want to get to far into that discussion. I’m sure they’re separate companies, though they do have some portfolio overlap and occasional mis-branding of products. To me, that sounds like problems at the ODM, not necessarily the two companies that are marketing and selling us the lights. I’m no expert in their processes, though, so I’m not fit to speculate too far.

I will not feed this discussion further, maybe I’ll try to clarify it for myself and other members, as well!
So, about what you said, I guess you are right, in some way.

The “in some way” part is due to the older version of the SP10A, that had a 3 modes + strobe driver (on 14500: 10lm > 89lm > 500lm). Different mode spacing and different rating lumens, for sure.

Currently, the SP10A version has 3 modes + High + strobe (on 14500: 2lm > 60lm > 224lm + 573 lm + strobe) & lockout .
The SP10A, in the new version, seems to be replacing the black SP10B, once the SP10B is now being sold in blue and red only (a AliExpress store).

So, what you say is right, there is no flashlight with that configuration from Sofirn, currently. But there was, before! Wink
Also, the mode spacing of the Thofire is somehow similar to the Sofirn SF14 (5lm > 110lm > 600lm), but I guess this won’t be relevant as this is a tailclicky Wink

Also, the LED tint apparently is very different among any of these models, once the Thorfire seems to be more “blueish” as you said, and the Sofirn’s have a more Neutral White tint, with some “yellowish” shifts here and there Wink

Once again, thank you for this review Thumbs Up

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

REVIEWS : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A / Sofirn SP32A / Sofirn SP10B / Odepro KL52 / Acebeam H20 / SS AAA / Wuben TO10R / BlitzWolf BW-ET1

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7                         Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI                             Others: Convoy S2+ Mini (Biscotti 3 & 1*7135)

Sofirn K6 Discussion: 1 / 2 / 3                                Triple TIR Lenses & XP-G2                                     MY GIVEAWAY

 

MascaratumB
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One thing I noticed on your review:

gchart wrote:
One note on 14500 compatibility – you’ll need a button top

Is this because of the driver’s shape? Or due to the interior distance between tailcap spring and driver?
I’m just asking because – again – on the Sofirn lights, unprotected button top (of their brand, that are smaller than Sanyo UR14500P) and unprotected flat top Sanyo UR14500P fit nicely and work without rattling! On the contrary, due to the battery tube inner diameter, it may be hard to fit protected batteries, as they are thicker…

I was just curious about this! Sorry to post 2 times in a row Oops

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

REVIEWS : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A / Sofirn SP32A / Sofirn SP10B / Odepro KL52 / Acebeam H20 / SS AAA / Wuben TO10R / BlitzWolf BW-ET1

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7                         Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI                             Others: Convoy S2+ Mini (Biscotti 3 & 1*7135)

Sofirn K6 Discussion: 1 / 2 / 3                                Triple TIR Lenses & XP-G2                                     MY GIVEAWAY

 

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The Sanyo UR14500P is the unprotected cell that I tried (my only unprotected 14500 that I have on hand). There didn’t seem to be any rattling, so I figured it wasn’t a length issue. While the driver side is a button, the tailcap has a pretty long spring that should accomodate a lot of cell sizes. I didn’t have any problems with the diameter of my protected Wuben-branded 14500 – it has room to spare.

MascaratumB
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Hum, maybe the button on the driver is more recessed, then! Or maybe there is no connection between the “safe” ring and the button!
Thanks for clarifying Wink

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

REVIEWS : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A / Sofirn SP32A / Sofirn SP10B / Odepro KL52 / Acebeam H20 / SS AAA / Wuben TO10R / BlitzWolf BW-ET1

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7                         Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI                             Others: Convoy S2+ Mini (Biscotti 3 & 1*7135)

Sofirn K6 Discussion: 1 / 2 / 3                                Triple TIR Lenses & XP-G2                                     MY GIVEAWAY

 

gchart
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Here’s a closer picture of that. I’d guess the button is recessed 1mm or so. I don’t have a DMM with me to measure continuity.


click for full size image

MascaratumB
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gchart wrote:
Here’s a closer picture of that. I’d guess the button is recessed 1mm or so. I don’t have a DMM with me to measure continuity.


click for full size image

Thanks for the pic gchart! It is recessed, indeed, but not more than the drivers of the flashlights I mentioned. Strange that the flat tops don’t work on that and work on mine Flat Stare
I was seeing my drivers and perceived that at least the Sanyo UR14500P flat top fits that “ring” perfectly so it probably makes contact with the button. Others with the button top just make contact with the driver’s button, not the ring.

Thanks again and sorry for bothering with these questions Facepalm

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

REVIEWS : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A / Sofirn SP32A / Sofirn SP10B / Odepro KL52 / Acebeam H20 / SS AAA / Wuben TO10R / BlitzWolf BW-ET1

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7                         Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI                             Others: Convoy S2+ Mini (Biscotti 3 & 1*7135)

Sofirn K6 Discussion: 1 / 2 / 3                                Triple TIR Lenses & XP-G2                                     MY GIVEAWAY

 

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Hmm, I might have to double check. I do recall a slight indentation on the top of my Sanyo (likely caused by too much pressure from the Mi7 that it’s usually in). Perhaps thats enough to prevent it from making contact.

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Ok, the modding post has been updated with the LED swap and driver info.

.

Also, I did an output/runtime graph with the original XP-G3 LED, the new LH351D, and the Klarus Mi7 for comparison. I just started using my light meter & tube, so I won’t claim to be accurate on lumen measurements, but the relative values should be fairly accurate. Some observations:

  • Out of the box, the TK05 seems to underperform, at least when compared to the Mi7. I suspect the 600 lumen claim is a bit elevated.
  • The TK05 runs in turbo for 3 minutes followed by a ~75% decrease whereas the Mi7 is considerably less conservative.
  • Due to the above, the Mi7 gets and stays hot while the TK05 does not.
  • Swapping the XP-G3 for a 5000K LH351D results in MUCH better tint. I hated the tint, but really like it now.
  • The LED swap also brought along a lot more lumens. About 50% more in turbo and 30% more in post-turbo stepdown.
  • Runtime is approximately the same before & after the LED swap.
  • Turbo on the TK05 with the LH351D nudges out turbo on the Mi7.
  • Big side note: the TK05 was tested with a Wuben-wrapped 600mah 14500. The Mi7 was using an Sanyo 800mah 14500. I want to see if I can get the TK05 to work with the Sanyo cell and retest it.

Now onto the graph… time scale is in minutes. Brightness scale is a a percentage based on the original TK05 brightness in turbo.

Persechini
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So, a sofirn driver in a thorfire host confirms we can refer to them as one company?

In my Tree

My collectionEmisar: D4 / D1 / D4 (broken) ― Convoy: C8 Clear / S2+ Clear / S2+ / S2+ UV / S6 ― Nitecore: Tube / Thumb / Concept 1 / HC30 / HC33 / TIP / TIP CRI (mail) / TINI ― Lumintop: Tool AAA / Tool AA / HLAAA / EDC05 (mail) ― Sofirn: SF10 / SF12 / SF12 (mail) / SF14 / SF14 (mail)/ SF14 (mail)/ SP10A (gifted) ― Jaxman: E3 (mail) ― UTorch: UT01 ― Trustfire: Z2 ― Skyfire: SF-065 (trashed)

gchart
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I’d say no, but I’d say it confirms they share a manufacturer/supplier.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_design_manufacturer

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The same manufacturer was given, since their line-up is almost identical, modes, switches. They being the same company I think is likely

In my Tree

My collectionEmisar: D4 / D1 / D4 (broken) ― Convoy: C8 Clear / S2+ Clear / S2+ / S2+ UV / S6 ― Nitecore: Tube / Thumb / Concept 1 / HC30 / HC33 / TIP / TIP CRI (mail) / TINI ― Lumintop: Tool AAA / Tool AA / HLAAA / EDC05 (mail) ― Sofirn: SF10 / SF12 / SF12 (mail) / SF14 / SF14 (mail)/ SF14 (mail)/ SP10A (gifted) ― Jaxman: E3 (mail) ― UTorch: UT01 ― Trustfire: Z2 ― Skyfire: SF-065 (trashed)

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gchart wrote:
I’d say no, but I’d say it confirms they share a manufacturer/supplier.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_design_manufacturer

+1!

BTW, I’ve seen Thorfire flashlights for a while before seeing Sofirn. BUT, indeed, they probably share some parts / suppliers!

And I don’t have any Thorfire, but I’ve read and seen some reviews – gchart’s included – and they really have pretty nice lights Blushing

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

REVIEWS : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A / Sofirn SP32A / Sofirn SP10B / Odepro KL52 / Acebeam H20 / SS AAA / Wuben TO10R / BlitzWolf BW-ET1

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7                         Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI                             Others: Convoy S2+ Mini (Biscotti 3 & 1*7135)

Sofirn K6 Discussion: 1 / 2 / 3                                Triple TIR Lenses & XP-G2                                     MY GIVEAWAY

 

agent80
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Thanks for clarifying the timed drop on the TK05 and comparison with the Mi7.

gchart wrote:
Ok, the modding post has been updated with the LED swap and driver info.

.

Also, I did an output/runtime graph with the original XP-G3 LED, the new LH351D, and the Klarus Mi7 for comparison. I just started using my light meter & tube, so I won’t claim to be accurate on lumen measurements, but the relative values should be fairly accurate. Some observations:

  • Out of the box, the TK05 seems to underperform, at least when compared to the Mi7. I suspect the 600 lumen claim is a bit elevated.
  • The TK05 runs in turbo for 3 minutes followed by a ~75% decrease whereas the Mi7 is considerably less conservative.
  • Due to the above, the Mi7 gets and stays hot while the TK05 does not.
  • Swapping the XP-G3 for a 5000K LH351D results in MUCH better tint. I hated the tint, but really like it now.
  • The LED swap also brought along a lot more lumens. About 50% more in turbo and 30% more in post-turbo stepdown.
  • Runtime is approximately the same before & after the LED swap.
  • Turbo on the TK05 with the LH351D nudges out turbo on the Mi7.
  • Big side note: the TK05 was tested with a Wuben-wrapped 600mah 14500. The Mi7 was using an Sanyo 800mah 14500. I want to see if I can get the TK05 to work with the Sanyo cell and retest it.

Now onto the graph… time scale is in minutes. Brightness scale is a a percentage based on the original TK05 brightness in turbo.