Comparing two versions of Novatac SPA 120T

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jon_slider
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Comparing two versions of Novatac SPA 120T

I just received a Novatac Spa with black bezel, and I really like it. Feels great in hand. The knurling is flat, smooth and comfortable. Very different than the first Novatac SPA I got, that has the bezel matching the body color.

Im having fun noticing differences, and similarities.

Both lights reach no more than 74 lumens on high (not 120 lumens), both have photographable interference lines on video. Both lights are on their 0.1 lumen lowest modes, the black bezel light shows the flicker a bit more than the anodized model.

the one with black bezel:

and the one with anodized bazel:

comparing anti reflective coating illuminated by daylight:
the black bezel has a Green AR coating, the anodized bezel has violet AR coating.

Illuminating the LED with UV
the black bezel light does not have rings in the reflector, and the LED glows green under UV. This model of the reflector has more throw and a tigheter hotspot. In this photo the LED is turned off and is under UV light.

The anodized bezel light, has the rings in the reflector, the LED does not react to UV in any color. This reflector produces a slightly diffused hotspot, with less throw. In this photo the LED is also turned off and is under UV light:

I wonder if the difference in UV response is related to the AR coating, or is due to them being different LED models, with different phosphors

comparing the two tints
the black bezel has a pink tint that I really like, and the anodize bezel has a green tint, that I dont like as much, my camera did not catch the difference as well as my eyes do:

and here compared to N219b 4500k 9080:

Here the two lights are turned on to the lowest mode, 0.1 lumens, to highlight the difference in the construction of the reflector: The reflector on the left of the light that has the black bezel, is more focused, and less fuzzy than the one on the right, constructed with rings around the reflector surface, in the light with the anodyzed bezel.

Led Closeups, theres a difference in the number of wires I think

I like just about everything about the black bezel light, better than the anodized bezel.

I have cracked both with the 250 click, and both are fully programmable, presently set to 120P defaults.

Im really enjoying the hand feel of the black bezel light, I can cigar grip, or hold any other way, without getting my delicate hands scratched or poked.

Im curious to find a pocket clip for the novatac, and one of the tritium bezels.. accessories are fun.. if anyone knows of some available, please PM me.

I also wonder if anyone has any information about what the two different LEDs might be. Maybe different batches of the LED with normal tint variation. The difference in the color of the AR coating may also play into it.

Edited by: jon_slider on 09/05/2018 - 11:57
CRX
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Nice lights, looks like the old SSC P4 LED.

I’ve modded a couple of these for other people, really wanted to CRX them up with triple setups, improved drivers, switches and use 18350 cells but all that was asked for was Nichia emitter swaps Innocent

The Nichia’s boosted the output quite a bit and much better tint, I got numbers like these:

Before:
High – 74lm
Low – 10lm

After: Nichia NVSL219BT-V1 4000K 90+ CRI
High – 250lm
Low – 38lm
.
Before:
High – 54lm
Low – 8lm

After: Nichia 219C D280 5000k 80CRI
High – 220lm
Low – 38lm

Not sure about a clip, what diameter is needed?

Coppet
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These are really nice flashlights, too bad that they hardly exist in Germany or at horrendous prices. But very nice pictures and thanks for pointing out the differences!
@CRX I would like to see a Novatac with triple setups, improved drivers and switches from you Thumbs Up

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thanks for the info and brightness specs before and after CRX, N219b (3x brighter), and after N219c (4x brighter)
You make a good point about the lights being bored large enough to fit 18350, if paired with a different switch, and possibly a different driver.

I dont yet know what clip diameter is required.

I tested the Low Battery warning on the Novatac, and it starts at 3.1v
These lights dont have true OverDischarge Protection, they are designed to keep glowing dimly and not to turn off suddently

after initially stepping down several times, when a 16340 drops below 3.1v, the light goes into a 1 lumen mode that strobes. I ran it that way for 45 minutes before I decided to shut the light off and then turn it back on. I used a protected cell, and when I turned the light back on, it came on at my preset of about 5 lumens, shortly after the Overdischarge Protection in the battery, shut the light off.

here is what the Low Voltage behaviour looks like after step downs:

Novatacs require a battery reset to recognize Primary CR123 and LiIon, so if the light has been using LiIon, and the user wants to switch to Primary CR123, a Battery Reset is required. Otherwise, after using LiIon, inserting a CR123 fools the light into thinking it is a depleted LiIon and the step down program comes into play while the CR123 is in use. The battery reset requires the operator to perform a specific behavior, battery detection is not automatic in the Novatac line. That makes it safe to open and remove a LiIon, and reinsert it, even if the LiIon is below 3.3v, without the light mistaking it for Primary, and causing overdischarge.

yes coppett, the tripple is tempting, here is one:
http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1116907#comment-1116907

lumenzilla wrote:

I use a coin sized copper as the base (heat dissipation won’t be great though) and using rubber silicon to wrap 20 mm TIR optic to fit the host.

Triple nichias and optic were bought from Kaidomain.

CRX
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So, how many attempts did it take with the 250 clicks? Innocent

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CRX wrote:
So, how many attempts did it take with the 250 clicks? Innocent

about 2000 clicks the first time.. eek!

on the second light it took about 1000..

Im really good at it now.. LOL
I turn on the light, then put the light bezel down on a table, and click till it starts flashing, no need to count…
once it starts flashing, stop clicking for a moment, then click pause 8 times to reach menu 9. At that point press hold until the light turns off.
when the button is released the light comes back on. It is then programmable after that.

For reference here is the manual for Novatac
https://www.hdssystems.com/Products/Legacy/NovaTac/NovaTacUsersGuide.pdf

and this is the instruction for a battery reset from that manual:
Battery-Detect-Reset – required to detect battery configuration changes. Perform a soft-reset but while the dim light is on, press and hold the button for 5 seconds until your light dims. Release the button when your light dims. Identified by 5 seconds of bright light followed by dim light. Does not change your settings.

Use caution when doing a Battery Detect Reset, dont do a Factory Reset by mistake, if you are using a 120T that has been cracked to programmable with the 250 click trick, a factory reset will relock the programming and return the default presets to 120T, (Tactical) instead of 120P (Programmable) configuration.

There is no need to do a battery detect reset unless changing from LiIon to Primary, or vice versa. If I keep using LiIon, the light continues to remember its battery detect configuration. Therefore, the Novatac does not get confused if I remove a LiIon to test its voltage, and put it back in the light, even if the voltage is low, and would normally confuse a modern HDS into thinking it is a CR123, and thereby bypassing the Low Battery Warning circuit. In a modern HDS, battery detection is automatic, it is recommended NOT to open the light to check the voltage of a LiIon.

here is a cheat sheet for the programming and preset options for the Novatac with Programmable options enabled (120P):

CRX
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Good info Thumbs Up

jon_slider
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thanks for the encouragement CRX
I hope ven manages to figure out how to access programming in his two Novatac 120T that you modded for him.

But so far, he has been defeated by the click monsters. I have more time for this sort of thing than he does. Wink

ven
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Haha, i did it at least 3 or 4 times on the bounce, but for some reason the 8 clicks never did anything. I got the flashlight part, both lights in fact. Tell truth i just dont care, and enjoy them as they are anyway. I dont want any lower modes than the lows of either, only thing i would change is the SPA coming on in high. Again no big deal, 200+ lumens of nichia……………….well lets be honest, could be worse Big Smile

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all good ven, I am inspired by your CRX mods to Nichia, and hope to copy you.

fwiw, here are some minutiae about Low Battery Behaviors:

I did a test of the Low Voltage Warning behavior of the two different lights, using 16340.

When they reach* 3.13v*, the lights begin to step down from High dropping to about 35 lumens, about 30 seconds later they drop to about 19 lumens, 30 seconds later they drop to 10 lumens

When the battery reaches below 3.04v the step down goes to 5 lumens, 3 lumens, then 1.7 lumens

Once the battery drops below 3v the lights drop to 1 lumen, then .5 lumen, then .2 lumens

At 3.00v the lights go into a 0.1 lumen flashing mode. This continues for at least 45 minutes.

At that point I turned the lights off, and back on. Here there was a difference:

The black bezel light would come back on at the 0.1 lumen flashing mode. It would not go higher, even if I tried to access a higher mode. This is excellent Low Voltage behavior, it avoided triggering the OverDischargeProtection circuit built into the 16340 batteries I use.

The anodized bezel light turned on at 5 lumens, and I could even turn it up to 19 lumens.. a few seconds later, the light went dark, the OverDischargeProtection built into the battery was triggered.

  • So, the Black Bezel light remains in 0.1 lumen flashing mode below 3.00v, even if cycled off and on. This is excellent.

otoh, the Anodized bezel light does not remember its 0.1 lumen flashing mode, if cycled off and on, it comes on at several lumens, and this almost instantly OverDischarges the LiIon.

subtle differences, but significant imo.

I would say neither light has true OverDischargeProtection, but they both have excellent step downs, that start at about 3.15v. And they both go into 0.1 lumen strobing, below 3.00v.

These warnings are ample to inform that a battery change is needed. The black bezel model is just better, in that it will not come on above 0.1 flashing lumens, so OverDischarge is delayed.

Inserting a fresh LiIon, the lights resume their normal operation. However, inserting a CR123, triggers the step downs, unless a battery detection reset is performed.

From this I learned that using a CR123 as a backup battery, to a LiIon, is not ideal, as the CR123 quickly goes into the step down sequence, and will begin to strobe at 0.1 lumens within 5 minutes or less.

I was suprised that the anodized bezel model, “forgets” its 0.1 lumens strobing mode, and that cycling off and on almost immediately took the battery to OverDischarge levels. No harm, as I use Protected LiIon.

Otoh, I much prefer the behavior of the black bezel light, since it remembers that below 3v, it is supposed to be strobing at 0.1 lumens.

Both are good, the Black Bezel model is better.

In real life, I hope never to need to use a Novatac with a LiIon below 3v. The Low Battery Warnings are excellent imo. I hesitate to call it OverDischargeProtection, but it is an excellent Low Battery Warning system.

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As we know maximum of the SPA Defense lights were manufactured in China. I don’t know for sure that they “twitched” the programming, but I wouldn’t deny it in order to make the light so that it didn’t need to be calibrated, thus greatly speeding up production and most likely causing several concerns with the programming itself.

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Yes, I think the later SPA bodies with anodized bezels were outsourced. I’ve heard they also did some creative Printing of the Made in USA logo on the tailcap.

I dont think the electronics were outsourced, but clearly the calibration step was skipped. Both my 120 lumen SPA actually put out no more than 74 lumens on a fresh 16340.. But, a Nichia swap promises to triple that output. Im hoping to get a 4500k N219b put into one of my SPA. The other I fantasize would be fun with a triple with Warm Nichias.

I think of Novatacs as the poor man’s HDS. All the programming and clicking fun, for about 15% the cost of a “real” HDS.

I have seen zero issues with the programming features of my Novatacs. In fact Im quite entertained by the 250 click hack. Its like getting a free 120P, for the price of a SPA 120T

btw, if anyone has a pocket clip for a SPA, I would be interested, please PM me. Even the fancy trit bezel would be entertaining, but likely to cost more than I paid for the light.. LOL

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CRX wrote:

The Nichia’s boosted the output quite a bit and much better tint, I got numbers like these:

Before:
High – 74 lumens

After: Nichia NVSL219BT-V1 4000K 90+ CRI
High – 250 lumens

.
Before:
High – 54 lumens

After: Nichia 219C D280 5000k 80CRI
High – 220 lumens

The Pewter Spa just got back from being modified to N219b 4500k 9080

lumen values are on my homebrew meter, which reads about 17% low, based on my HDS 200 that reads 166 lumens on my meter, with the exact same fully charged battery that I used to test the SPA.

lumens before the mod
low 0.1
high 74 lumens

lumens after the N219b mod
low 0.12
high 260 lumens woooohooo Smile

winner!
me so happy!

fwiw my Gold Storm also with 219b 4500k 9080
low 0.2
high 101 lumens

that is a huge variation between the Pewter SPA and the Gold Storm
there are also differences in the amount of flicker that can be captured on video
the other two lights are an RRT-01 and an HDS Rotary


for best effect, watch the video in full screen mode
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The Gold Standard

Sardinian Attack Cat Inspection

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Looks awesome Thumbs Up