[Review] 2018 Convoy L2 Sand (1 / 2 x 26650, XP-L HI) ~ A new look for the community's favourite thrower

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bilakos10
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[Review] 2018 Convoy L2 Sand (1 / 2 x 26650, XP-L HI) ~ A new look for the community's favourite thrower

The flashlight was provided by Banggood.com for review purposes. 
Here's the product's link: Convoy L2 Sand / Silver (The code: d1b2f7 brings the price down to $36.99)


Starting with the packaging, you get the regular Convoy branded cardboard box.


Here's how the included accessories are organized.


In total you get an 26650 extension tube, a tactical / cigar grip ring, 4 x 18650 to 26650 adapter rings, an adjustable wrist lanyard and
two little magnets which tbh I am not sure what they are used for. 


Coming at the flashlight itself, the body has been pretty much been kept identical to the previous model.
Of course, the main change in here is the absolutely stunning anodization color.


The head integrates the regular thick, deep heatsinking grooves and an anti-roll pattern in the bezel's portion.


With the help of the extension tube, the light turns into a monster size-wise.
Thanks to the dual 26650 configuration, the flashlight allows for a wide range of mods to be 


The light comes with thick, square cut threads, with the ones on the tail side being anodized to allow for a mechanical lock out.


Here's the cigar grip installed onto the extension tube.


The switch's rubber boot is placed lower than the two side flaps of the tail and as a result the flashlight can tail stand.


The tail switch is held in place by a brass retaining ring.
In my case, the ring had some darker spots probably caused by the machining process.


And that's the tail side taken apart.
It's worth mentioning that the switch is forward clicky.


The head houses the driver which is also retained by a brass ring.
The 17mm LD25 Linear driver that's used is coupled with a ~21mm contact plate.
(Don't mind the scratches, as these were created when my crappy snap ring pliers slipped when I tried to unscrew the ring.)


Being a thrower, the L2 uses an XP-L HI housed inside its wide, deep, smooth reflector.


The emitter is mounted onto a 20mm DTP copper star which is secured into position by two screws.



User Interface

The Convoy L2 is using a very simple user interface.
Please do keep in mind that due to the forward clicky switch that's used, the mode changes can only occur while the flashlight is turned off.

Turn on / off: Full press of the switch.
Momentary on: Half press of the switch.
Mode change: Quickly turn on and off of the light ( Low - Mid - High )
Strobe: Same as mode change, but two times in a row.


Performance
The LD25 that's used is a linear driver.
This means that it can provide a constant current if the battery's voltage is kept above the Vf of the emitter that's being driven.

 Here's my ceiling bounce measurements along with the current draw for each power level.


Here's Turbo mode compared to my other lights:


Keep in mind that the readings are a bit lower than expected (indicating around 900Lm instead of 1000).
That's probably due to the tight hotspot of the flashlight combined with the Warm (3000K) XP-L HI that I have decided to go with.

Beamshots

@10m

@30m


@35


@220m


As with most Convoy products, the new L2 is an excellent flashlight.
Its machining and anodization is flawless, while it's extremely modable.
Like with most BLF's members, the L2 is probably my favorite thrower!

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Edited by: bilakos10 on 09/19/2018 - 03:04
johnkey68
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LD – 29 ?

Zulumoose
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Quote:
two little magnets which tbh I am not sure what they are used for

If you have 2× 26650 and they are flat-top, they will make contact at the springs on both ends of the tube but not with each other in the middle, that is what I used the magnets for, 3 would have been better for even contact area.

Beam me up!

bilakos10
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johnkey68 wrote:
LD – 29 ?

Are you talking about the driver that’s being used?
I took mine apart and indeed there is an LD25 in there, or at least that’s what is imprinted onto the pcb.

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Satan@103TFS
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I like the L2 look and function 1s/2s but 2.8 mA for such a big guy in 2018 Facepalm

bilakos10
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Satan@103TFS wrote:
I like the L2 look and function 1s/2s but 2.8 mA for such a big guy in 2018 Facepalm

On the plus side, the light can sustain full regulation and low head temperature for its entire battery life.

Of course, being a flashaholic, there is no way I am keeping it stock – An A17DD-L should be in the way Smile
I was also going to swap the emitter for a cooler one, though I have started to like the extra warm tint in my throwers!

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eas
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It seems unlikely that Convoy is using a linear driver with a light that can be converted between 1s and 2s. Especially since they had been using a buck driver.

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Jtm94
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I just received mine not long ago and it’s my throwiest light by a bit. Mine also clocked in around 900 lumens with my rudimentary tests.
I like the full-size of this thing so I’m gonna try the route of stacking on more sense resistors to reach around 4.5A to the emitter. If that’s not satisfactory then I guess FET it is.

bilakos10
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Jtm94 wrote:
I just received mine not long ago and it’s my throwiest light by a bit. Mine also clocked in around 900 lumens with my rudimentary tests. I like the full-size of this thing so I’m gonna try the route of stacking on more sense resistors to reach around 4.5A to the emitter. If that’s not satisfactory then I guess FET it is.

Do you know where the sense resistor is located?
I might try to stack some resistors as well!

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d_t_a
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Using the “shine flashlight thru a portable fan’s blades” method, I do not detect any PWM on the Convoy L2 (I have the older Silver version) — I think this is one of the few Convoys that do not use PWM for the lower brightness modes (unlike the Convoy S2+/C8 “old firmware” which has relatively slow PWM, or the new firmware Biscotti that also uses faster PWM; or I think even the Convoy L6 uses PWM for its lower modes)

I measured only around 2.4A tailcap current on High mode for my Convoy L2 (I got the warm-white 4500K tint XP-L Hi version) — mine appears a bit low compared to yours..

bilakos10
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d_t_a wrote:
Using the “shine flashlight thru a portable fan’s blades” method, I do not detect any PWM on the Convoy L2 (I have the older Silver version) — I think this is one of the few Convoys that do not use PWM for the lower brightness modes (unlike the Convoy S2+/C8 “old firmware” which has relatively slow PWM, or the new firmware Biscotti that also uses faster PWM; or I think even the Convoy L6 uses PWM for its lower modes)

I measured only around 2.4A tailcap current on High mode for my Convoy L2 (I got the warm-white 4500K tint XP-L Hi version) — mine appears a bit low compared to yours..

Perform spring bypasses on both springs and tighten the brass retaining rings.

In most of my reviews I bypass the springs before I take my final current measurements.

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Jtm94
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The sense resistors should be at the base of the black wire on the driver. This thread should be of use.
HKJ shared this photo:

I ordered a bunch of 0805 0.1R SMD resistors to stack. Stacking another R025 on top seemed to push towards 5.6A and make the driver very hot so we’ll see how far I can go.

bilakos10
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Jtm94 wrote:
The sense resistors should be at the base of the black wire on the driver. This thread should be of use. HKJ shared this photo: I ordered a bunch of 0805 0.1R SMD resistors to stack. Stacking another R025 on top seemed to push towards 5.6A and make the driver very hot so we’ll see how far I can go.

I believe I have a dozen of 0805 0.1R resistors laying around from a similar mod I had done in my L6.
I might go the same route as you until my FET driver arrives!

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bilakos10
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Zulumoose wrote:
Quote:
two little magnets which tbh I am not sure what they are used for

If you have 2× 26650 and they are flat-top, they will make contact at the springs on both ends of the tube but not with each other in the middle, that is what I used the magnets for, 3 would have been better for even contact area.

Even though I have used magnets before, it never crossed my mind that Convoy would include them to deal with certain flat top batteries Smile

Thanks for pointing it out!

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The be reason you don’t see PWM is because there’s an inductor in between the switcher transformer and LED. the inductor stores energy in a magnetic field. The inductor dumps stored energy into the circuit when the transistor is off, filtering the power sent to the emitter. PWM is still there, PWM is always there.

It doesn’t make sense (to me) that a linear regulator would be used anywhere near a flashlight. Linear regulators are less efficient and run hotter. Linear regulators are more difficult to control digitally. With a switcher, the processor drives the power mosfet directly. Lower parts count, less heat, longer battery life. What’s not to like?

Thats my $.02.

Cheers

d_t_a wrote:
Using the “shine flashlight thru a portable fan’s blades” method, I do not detect any PWM on the Convoy L2 (I have the older Silver version) — I think this is one of the few Convoys that do not use PWM for the lower brightness modes (unlike the Convoy S2+/C8 “old firmware” which has relatively slow PWM, or the new firmware Biscotti that also uses faster PWM; or I think even the Convoy L6 uses PWM for its lower modes)

I measured only around 2.4A tailcap current on High mode for my Convoy L2 (I got the warm-white 4500K tint XP-L Hi version) — mine appears a bit low compared to yours..

patchythepirate
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Any idea on the diameter of the tube? Wondering if the liitokala 26650s will fit.

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patchythepirate wrote:
Any idea on the diameter of the tube? Wondering if the liitokala 26650s will fit.

i have liitokala 26650 5000mAh and they fit fine.

d_t_a
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vt2nv wrote:
The be reason you don’t see PWM is because there’s an inductor in between the switcher transformer and LED. the inductor stores energy in a magnetic field. The inductor dumps stored energy into the circuit when the transistor is off, filtering the power sent to the emitter. PWM is still there, PWM is always there.

It doesn’t make sense (to me) that a linear regulator would be used anywhere near a flashlight. Linear regulators are less efficient and run hotter. Linear regulators are more difficult to control digitally. With a switcher, the processor drives the power mosfet directly. Lower parts count, less heat, longer battery life. What’s not to like?

Thats my $.02.

Cheers

d_t_a wrote:
Using the “shine flashlight thru a portable fan’s blades” method, I do not detect any PWM on the Convoy L2 (I have the older Silver version) — I think this is one of the few Convoys that do not use PWM for the lower brightness modes (unlike the Convoy S2+/C8 “old firmware” which has relatively slow PWM, or the new firmware Biscotti that also uses faster PWM; or I think even the Convoy L6 uses PWM for its lower modes)

I measured only around 2.4A tailcap current on High mode for my Convoy L2 (I got the warm-white 4500K tint XP-L Hi version) — mine appears a bit low compared to yours..

Thanks for the explanation!
(though I’m not sure I fully understand it…)

Anyway, so PWM is there but it’s not visible due to the inductor filtering the power sent to the emitter.
Pardon my next question, is this considered “good” or not that good?

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Mine arrived today. Build quality of this light is great, I was extremely pleased with. The matte anodizing is very nice and itself provides quite a nice grip aside from the knurling.

“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.

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bilakos10
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Jtm94 wrote:
The sense resistors should be at the base of the black wire on the driver. This thread should be of use. HKJ shared this photo: I ordered a bunch of 0805 0.1R SMD resistors to stack. Stacking another R025 on top seemed to push towards 5.6A and make the driver very hot so we’ll see how far I can go.

Today I went ahead and stacked two R100 resistors on top of the R020 sense resistor.
The current was bumped to 3.5A which is quite convincing, yet nowhere near where I would like it to be Smile

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Jtm94
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Aw that is a little low. Is that with bypassed springs also?

bilakos10
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Jtm94 wrote:
Aw that is a little low. Is that with bypassed springs also?

Yep that’s with bypasses.
By stacking the resistors I theoretically decreased the resistance by 25% and got 20% of actual current increase.
Keep in mind that the LD25 in my L2 came with an R020 resistor by default, not with an R025 like the LD29s.

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My L2 from GB 1 year ago have different driver it should be LD29 but not the same as Jtm94 any idea how to pump the current ?

L291

Satan@103TFS
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Should be this one?
!20180709_1648391!

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Satan@103TFS wrote:
Should be this one? !20180709_1648391!

Yep this is it.

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Great review thank you. I am researching and learning for my second torch purchase. My first, Kinfire KO1B-T6, has convinced me these new-fangled LED torches are amazing.
So I’m thinking the new Convoy L2 Sand will make a more serious light and worthwhile upgrade for $36.99 plus 2 × 18650. Maybe a C8+ will be better for a beginner like me?

I do like more of a spreader and maybe I should make a white plastic diffuser for wide short range work.

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d_t_a wrote:
vt2nv wrote:
The be reason you don’t see PWM is because there’s an inductor in between the switcher transformer and LED. the inductor stores energy in a magnetic field. The inductor dumps stored energy into the circuit when the transistor is off, filtering the power sent to the emitter. PWM is still there, PWM is always there.

It doesn’t make sense (to me) that a linear regulator would be used anywhere near a flashlight. Linear regulators are less efficient and run hotter. Linear regulators are more difficult to control digitally. With a switcher, the processor drives the power mosfet directly. Lower parts count, less heat, longer battery life. What’s not to like?

Thats my $.02.

Cheers

d_t_a wrote:
Using the “shine flashlight thru a portable fan’s blades” method, I do not detect any PWM on the Convoy L2 (I have the older Silver version) — I think this is one of the few Convoys that do not use PWM for the lower brightness modes (unlike the Convoy S2+/C8 “old firmware” which has relatively slow PWM, or the new firmware Biscotti that also uses faster PWM; or I think even the Convoy L6 uses PWM for its lower modes)

I measured only around 2.4A tailcap current on High mode for my Convoy L2 (I got the warm-white 4500K tint XP-L Hi version) — mine appears a bit low compared to yours..

Thanks for the explanation!
(though I’m not sure I fully understand it…)

Anyway, so PWM is there but it’s not visible due to the inductor filtering the power sent to the emitter.
Pardon my next question, is this considered “good” or not that good?

An inductor is used in just about every switching regulator, and that’s a good thing. In a flashlight, the inductor is usually toriodal, it looks like a donut with wire wrapped around it. Every light in my (small-ish) collection uses an inductor to filter PWM pulses. the only lights I own that don’t use an inductor are a pair of Ultrafire XM-L zoomies I bought years ago, when I didn’t know any better.

eas
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It makes zero sense that this has an LD-25 or any other linear driver.

How are you powering it? 1s, or 2s? A linear driver would have to burn off ~50% of total power consumption (~10W) on high when powered by two LiIon batteries in series.

Either it has an LD-29 just like all the stock L2s over the last few years, just like it says on both the Bangood and Convoy product listings, or someone made a mistake during manufacturing and QA.

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It’s a buck driver, or a variable FET driver.

Otherwise, it would burn instantly with 2S voltages.

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Does the L2 sand have the same color like the S2+ sand?
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/56687

And how many extension tubes can be sticked together to expand the size and runtime of the flashlight?

bilakos10
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angerdan wrote:
Does the L2 sand have the same color like the S2+ sand?
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/56687

And how many extension tubes can be sticked together to expand the size and runtime of the flashlight?

I got both lights and the L2’s color is exactly the same with the S2+ sand.
The extension tube simply screws onto the rear part of the original tube.

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