Sofirn SP30A Review by Texas_Ace - Nice Dual switch EDC with good UI

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Texas_Ace
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Sofirn SP30A Review by Texas_Ace - Nice Dual switch EDC with good UI

Ok, I was ordering a C8F from sofirn and while talking to them they asked if I wanted to review this light. A dual switch EDC? You bet I said yes!

For the record I LOVE properly done dual switch lights, it is how all lights should be.

The very basic function of a dual switch light should have the tail switch handling power and the side switch handling all mode changes. Simple, direct and easy for even novices to understand. It allows you to flash out morse code if you wanted or whatever else you might want.

The light itself is the basic EDC tube design we have come to know and love. The head is slightly larger then normal. It has a clear switch cover with Green, yellow and Red LED’s along with a USB charging port.

The included accessories are basic but functional. USB charge cable, manual and some spare o-rings.

The UI is pretty good for a Non-BLF firmware, although basic. The tailswitch turns the light on and off, that is it, just like it should be. The side switch is used for mode changes. I like the instant response to all button presses. Although some menu options and possibly a ramping option would be nice to see. Still this gets a firm thumbs up for a factory firmware.

Some (mostly) readable pictures of the manual for future reference.

Construction quality is good, it is very light weight, good threads and overall fit and finish. I wish it had some more heat sinking personally and a bit more mass but then I prefer heavy lights and pocket knives, I am Texan.

The LED rests on a DTP Copper mcpcb and it is an XP-L HD LED with a reasonable tint. I would put the tint around 5000k but it has a slight magenta hue to the beam that makes it look a bit cooler. Still much better then the ice cold LED’s you get with most lights.

I then tested this light in my TA Sphere 2.0 with the new ANSI calibration that has been verified to be within spitting distance of real ANSI readings.

I got just over 900 lumens in turbo A bit below spec but pretty good for the light at a whole. I am not sure it would handle much more then this heat wise anyways.

I also measured the input power and it is using a buck driver that allows it to run 2x CR123 cells with regulation until ~4V. When in regulation it maintains a solid 10W of power (about 2.7A tailcap current) which is about right for a light this size.

Sadly with an 18650 it falls out of regulation almost immediately (which is why buck drivers for 3V LED’s do not work very well except at lower power levels). There is not much they can do about this while maintaining the CR123 compatibility.

Now for the nice bonus that this light offers which is a USB charging port. In e-switch lights this usually means they have high parasitic drain and but in this dual switch light it works great. Good charging current as well at over 0.8A (possible it would be a little higher with a fully drained cell). Note that you have to turn the tailswitch off for the USB charging to work.

Speaking of USB charging, I got a new USB tester and a load tester from RD tech the other day and I love it! It allows you to plug a USB cable into it which is nice for situations like this but also allows you to messure a USB cable resistance. It has already allowed me to figure out why one of my chargers was having issues but that will be for another review.

The voltage cutoff on the USB charging is good as well, here is the cell after letting it fully charge in the light:

So conclusions:

Pros:
-Dual switches with instant response and good UI
-Good and classic design
-Good belt clip
-Good USB charging current and cutoff voltage
-No worries about parasitic drain
-You always know where the power switch is
-Side switch only controls mode changes

Cons:
- Wish it had more heat sinking
- More power would be nice, I am going to look into resistor modding it but I do not expect much since it falls out of regulation so fast anyways.

Overall I have to say I really like this light and it makes me really want to work on a dual switch EDC like this with more power and a more powerful UI. It is the first host that has made me consider changing from my Convoy.

Edited by: Texas_Ace on 06/26/2018 - 20:43
zak.wilson
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Why is this the first dual-switch EDC you would actually use? It seems very comparable to what’s already on the market.

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Texas_Ace
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zak.wilson wrote:
Why is this the first dual-switch EDC you would actually use? It seems very comparable to what’s already on the market.

Because it is the first one I have tried that works well lol.

That doesn’t say a lot though, I have only tried like 2 before and they were off-brands. I have basically been out of the new flashlight game for the last year while I was working on the GT. I didn’t have time for anything but that GB thread. lol

What other models would you compare it to? If one of them is good I might consider switching my EDC.

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moderator007 wrote:
Spfirm Facepalm

I have no idea what you are talking about Innocent Innocent Innocent Silly

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Nice review TA. I really like all my sofirn lights so far. They seem to get how A simple good UI should be.
I carry a SP10A most of the time now, nice little light with a good UI.
.
p.s. I cleaned up a little Wink

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moderator007 wrote:
Nice review TA. I really like all my sofirn lights so far. They seem to get how A simple good UI should be. I carry a SP10A most of the time now, nice little light with a good UI. . p.s. I cleaned up a little Wink

lol, there was no need, thanks for pointing out the mistake.

I agree, sofirn has been a good budget option from the lights I have tried as well.

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moderator007 wrote:
Nice review TA. I really like all my sofirn lights so far. They seem to get how A simple good UI should be.

I carry a SP10A most of the time now, nice little light with a good UI.

Yep, I was carrying a SP10A as a “backup” to my main EDC and saving a SP10B for burning up alkaleaks around the house, but now I have it reversed, that I’m pocketing the B and burning off alkaleaks in the A around the house.

I haven’t heard of the SP30A, but all I know is that I want one!

 

“One”… who’m I kidding??

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I have many Sofirn lights and their UI have been some of the best out there. Like yourself, I especially like the dual switch UI. I like my SP31 alot. The SP30A seems to be a SP31 with usb function. I’ll buy a SP30A soon. Thanks for your review.

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Does anyone know what CRI this Cree emitter has in the SP30A?

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If it’s not spec’d it’s below 70. Cree begins spec’ing “high cri” bins at 70CRI and above.

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robertsig wrote:

Does anyone know what CRI this Cree emitter has in the SP30A?

62.789872536859345645
Or there abouts.
Or your guess is as good as mine. Smile

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it sometimes rhymes,” Mark Twain

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How is the USB charging on this?  Has anyone tested it to see how it compares to a standalone charger?  Most importantly, is it safe to give to someone who only uses that method to charge the battery?

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robertsig wrote:

How is the USB charging on this?  Has anyone tested it to see how it compares to a standalone charger?  Most importantly, is it safe to give to someone who only uses that method to charge the battery?

I tested the usb charging in my review. From my testing it was as good as a basic external charger. I still personally prefer to charge the cells externally for several reasons but you should be fine to only charge it in the light as well.

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I got an SP30A in and it works great.  One note from the review - my Portapow USB meter shows that the tail switch needs to be ON to charge.

Robert