[REVIEW] Acebeam W10. 1KM of throw, in your front pocket. 21700/18650, USB-C charging.

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kaybi
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[REVIEW] Acebeam W10. 1KM of throw, in your front pocket. 21700/18650, USB-C charging.

Disclaimer: I received this flashlight for free, with the understanding that I would make a full review of it. I have tried to be as informative and impartial during this review as I possibly can.

The Acebeam W10 was provided by BestLight

Long story, short:

This is, pound for pound, the greatest thrower than you could possibly fit into a pocket. It has more throw per bezel MM than ANY other light I know about, including venerable and now impossible to acquire lights like the DEFT-X EDC (which was limited to a few units, and was double the price of this light, and was bigger at the bezel)

If you need throw on the go, this is the light for you.

Manufacturer specifications:

You can read the manufacturer specification on the acebeam page, to avoid cluttering the review. That said, the box itself includes some ANSI information, and the manual is fairly thorough.

Unboxing and Contents:

The W10 is very nicely packed inside a retail-ready cardboard box that features a picture of the light, and uses magnets to stay closed.

Inside the box, we can see the light inside a black foam cutout, along with the included accessories, which are:

A lithium-ion battery warning.

A user manual, very complete, and with both english and chinese sections.

Warranty Card: 15 days for exchange, 2 years for free warranty service, 5 years for warranty service, for the cost of the parts used on the repair.

Spare tailcap and O-rings, and 18650-to-21700 battery adapter.

Clip, installed. Very secure fit.

Green and red filters, that screw very nicely into the front of the light, and a strike bezel, which comes installed, and also threads into the front of the light.

USB-C charging cable.

5100 mAh Acebeam 21700 battery.

Build quality and durability:

Acebeam certainly knows what they are doing when they build a light. The anodizing feels thick and smooth, all the threads are very smooth, and greased in all the right places.

The tailcap switch is a forward clicky. The rubber boot feels like quality, the switch is very nice to press, with only a slight force required to activate it momentarily, but with what I consider a perfect amount of resistance before switching it on permanently.

The tailcap threads are nice and square, the oring is thick and sits snuggly in the groove. The tailcap MCPCB is held down with screws, and the spring is soldered securely.

The clip, while basic, performs it’s function well and is secure. For a light this size, I don’t consider deep carry much of a priority.

The knurling feels great, and it is very clean. Each of the diamond shapes in the knurling is concave, which makes the knurling hold onto your hand very nicely. The swirl-pattern on the tailcap and below the head are not quite as grippy, but I don’t think most people would really need more grip than what the center knurling provides.

The removable strike bezel is thick, pointy, and it would absolutely do damage to anyone it would hit. Minimal pressure is enough to feel the bezel “digging” into the skin, and a good hit would almost certainly draw blood and be quite painful.

The head has fins for heat tranfer, and during use, the light does not get too hot to hold at any point.

The head and front bezel are threadlocked securely. We can see some screws if we take a peek into the optic, which I assume are responsible for keeping the optic in place.

The light can charge whichever lithium-ion battery is installed via it’s USB-C port, which is quite well protected by a threaded section right behind the head of the light.

The light can be charged while running with the battery inside, or even be made to run directly from USB power, with no battery in the light.

It has a small indicating led. It will shine red while charging, and green when the battery is fully charged.

User Interface and switches:

You have on. You have off. You have a single switch. Not much to look at here, but for it’s purposes, I think it’s a great UI. If you turn this light on, you want to see something in the distance. No use for low modes.

Runtime:

Runtime, uncooled. 16.5 minutes to 80%, 87 minutes to 50%, 163 minutes to 10%, Acebeam 5100mah battery.

The light has no low voltage protection, and as such, I would recommend using protected batteries with the light, like the included 21700 battery.

Beamshots and comparison pictures:

I went to a near beach at night and took some pictures. The tiny cabin in the picture is for lifeguards to stay at during the day, so no one was bothered by the constant death rays Silly

The distance to the cabin is about 320 meters/1050 feet. All the pictures taken at the same settings, and as close to real life as I could manage.

Convoy C8: Zoomed out, zoomed in.^^Excuse ^^the ^^blurriness

Acebeam W10: Zoomed out, zoomed in.

Acebeam W10: green filter:Zoomed out, zoomed in

BLF GT: Zoomed out, zoomed in

The red filter stops far more light than the green one, and is not useful at such long distances.

Of course, comparing the W10 and the GT is a bit unfair. They play in entirely different leagues. But it does show you the kind of results the W10 is capable of doing at a small fraction of the size and weight of a behemoth like the GT.

Acebeam achieves this incredible throw on such a small light by using a different kind of LED compared to every other flashlight I know about, a LEP (Laser Excited Phosphor), which makes it quite different from the front compared to other lights.

Some pictures to give a sense of scale to the W10.

We can see that it is about as tall as a convoy C8, and much smaller at the bezel, but despite that fact, it has almost twice the throw.

No flashlight I have found that you can buy right now can reach the throw of the W10 in a bezel under 63mm diameter.

Lux and Lumen measurements:

I take my lumen measurements using a homemade “approximating sphere”. The results should be taken with a grain of salt, specially with such an outlier light (Very focused beam), but they are as follows:

Lux@7@30s meters= 4130 lux, or 211190 candela, or 919 meters of ANSI throw.

Lumens at 30s= 185 lumens

Personal opinion and recommendations to the manufacturer:

The Acebeam W10 is a fantastic piece of gear if you absolutely need to carry as much punch as you can in the smallest size possible. But, like every light, it has something to improve.

Personally, I would love to see an upgraded version with a more stable output/runtime.

And… that’s about it, really. While the light has a very limited skillset, it really, really excels at what it does. Throw far in a small form factor. If that is what you need on a light, there is nothing else even close to the W10.

saypat
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good thing you didn’t include the price anywhere in your thread Wink

kaybi
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Yeah, probably not the light for BLF, but hey. When someone starts sellings LEP emitters standalone, I will try to make my own cheaper version. For now, we will have to manage with osram flat blacks ;p

Until then, it costs what it costs because it is a unique light with a unique set of abilities.

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Thanks for the review, but could you include the pictures in the review itself instead of links to imgur, makes it soooo much more readable, and it saves your readers time and having to look at adverts and distractive pics irrelevant to your story.

link to djozz tests 

“I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”   (Gus Speth)

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Wow having no buck/boost driver for the laser diode on such an expensive light sucks, not a good solution as its peak lumens are already not that much

kaybi
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Djozz:

The issue is how many pictures there are. I wouldn’t want to include all the pictures and make the review annoying to read, either. Some of the pictures, specially the beamshots, are better when seen at full resolution too.

Perhaps adding the pictures at small scales would work better if I wanted to insert all the pictures directly.

Lexel: Agreed. It really should have a flat output at the price point. I don’t know what the amp draw and forward voltage is on the led, but perhaps the light could benefit from a driver swap.

Agro
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No regulation. No LVP. No UI. Does it even have a driver?

Looks like a prototype really….

I agree that embedding is better as an inline picture disturbs the flow of reading so much less than having to go to external site…

djozz
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I always resize my pictures to be seen sharp on an average monitor, but not bigger: 1000 pixels wide when filling out the page (100%), 800 pixels for 80% screen etc. This does not create large files and thus loading the page is fast. Only rarely a full size pic is relevant in my posts.

Btw, I’d love to see a teardown of the W10 head, who’s sacrifying one for the team? Party

link to djozz tests 

“I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”   (Gus Speth)

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That “Klingon Attack Bezel” is the ugliest thing I have seen in a while.

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right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

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I like AceBeam lights but they are never really cheap (huge margin). But i think the LEP emitter was to expensive so they had to cutback somewhere else to keep up the margin.
End result: It feels like a 270$ prototype.
I would like to know how much this emitter cost and how long we have to wait to be able to buy one.

BLF D 80 LT and Longer D80 Tubes for Sale http://budgetlightforum.com/node/62463

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Laser is definitely interesting. I wish there’s a version with much more than 200 lumens though.

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SKV89 wrote:
Laser is definitely interesting. I wish there’s a version with much more than 200 lumens though.

It’s hard to do without having the laser burn through the phosphor.
Agro
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Multi-emitter may be the answer.

kaybi
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Can’t do multi-emitter in an aspheric light without increasing head size, which would destroy the point of the W10, IMO.

I think we will simply have to wait for improvements to LEP emitters.

I personally don’t think the W10 needs more lumens. The emitter is already very inefficient. I’d rather get longer runtimes or even better throw. The W10 needs a companion flashlight to really be used in the field.

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kaybi wrote:
Can’t do multi-emitter in an aspheric light without increasing head size, which would destroy the point of the W10, IMO.

I think we will simply have to wait for improvements to LEP emitters.

I personally don’t think the W10 needs more lumens. The emitter is already very inefficient. I’d rather get longer runtimes or even better throw. The W10 needs a companion flashlight to really be used in the field.


Who said it should be aspheric? Wink
kaybi
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If you wanted to use multiple LEP emitters and reflectors to increase lumens, you would be better of with a typical led+reflector setup, really.

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Why?
LEP has double luminance of LED (as long as the LED doesn’t have a collar – and that’s the case with reflector lights).
This means double beam intensity.
…That’s assuming you can run them all to the max. Which should be doable as long as the host is properly sized.

kaybi
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LEP produce very few lumens. You really need to make use of every single one of those lumens and focus it without any spill to take advantage of the main feature of LEP: A very small die size.

A reflector won’t be able to do this as well as a properly focused lens.

If you want a similar throw, with more lumens (larger beam size at target distance), and are willing to increase bezel size to get there, an XHP-35 HI light with a reflector can easily get you there.

If you want double the throw, and are OK with the small beam size, you want a single LEP in a larger lens. http://www.acebeam.com/wl20-throw-2000m

It’s not hard to do what the W10 does with common leds if you don’t mind increasing bezel size. The entire point of the W10 is that the bezel is, for it’s throw, incredibly small.

Using 4 LEP is not the answer to increase throw. Using multiple emitters is never the answer for longest throw/bezel mm, because it increases die size. No dedicated thrower uses multiple emitters for this very reason.

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1. Reflector vs lens:
Properly focused reflector will capture more light than a properly focused lens. (Well, it’s actually independent from whether they are focused properly or not).
According to Enderman’s calculators deep reflector can capture about 60% of light. The rest is spill.
With a lens even 40% is a huge stretch. With a F# if 1 you’re capturing under 17%. The rest is lost.

2. XHP35 HI vs LEP
XHP35 HI gets 170 cd/mm² at the max. LEP does 400. You need to increase head diameter by 50% for the LED to compete.

3. Single vs. multi-emitter
In theory, using multiple emitters is often the best answer for the longest throw / size. But I define size as overall light volume, which boils down to head volume.
Why? As you noted, if you compare a single-emitter light to a multi-emitter and keep emitters constant, light emitting surface gets bigger which may cause thermal and electrical hardness.
Also, multi-emitter lights also have lower effective reflector area for the given head diameter.

The latter can be somehow countered by using configurations that maximize head usage. Like 7-up. Then you get a fair use of frontal area. Then you scale the diameter up to have the same effective area as with a single-emitter. You end up with smaller head volume yet the same throw.
The former can be countered in theory by using smaller emitters. LEPs are small. The smallest LED that we know to be good is a little over 1 mm². Quite big already, so in practice it’s not so great as in theory….because it adds up to 100 W near-peak with a 7-up. Needs a hefty host.

Also, focusing multi-emitter light might be harder. How precisely can we solder emitter to MCPCB? I have a hunch that the error margin may be comparable to light emission surface diameter….

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Thanks for sharing your information it is very informative.. Thumbs Up

kaybi
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1.

Given that I currently have a standard BLF GT, and a second one with exactly the same driver and led, but using a 120mm aspheric lens, and getting more throw out of it (1.3 vs 1.5mcd), I think there is more to it than “reflectors are better than lenses”. No wavien collar installed (yet).

Enderman himself has used lenses for a lot of his lights, and has had to stop because getting bigger lenses was getting impossible.

2.

Adding more emitters to increase throw forces you to have a bigger head regardless. If you try to cram more emitters in the same space, you have to get by with smaller reflectors/lenses for each emitter, which will decrease the focus/increase the spill/increase the angle of the beam.

3.

“In theory, using multiple emitters is often the best answer for the longest throw / size.” No it isn’t. It literally isn’t.

Just look at the list of the best throwers http://budgetlightforum.com/node/55467

Or even direct examples. The TN42 uses a single led+reflector on a 100mm bezel, 2000 lumens, and claims 1550 meters of throw. The TN40S uses 4 leds, the same 100mm bezel, 4450 lumens, and claims 1150 meters of throw. The XP-L HI emitters used on the TN40S even have higher cd/mm die than the XHP35 HI used on the TN42.

If you increase the throw by adding multiple emitters and running them all hard and increasing reflector size, you are not getting more throw because multiple emitters are better for throw. You are getting more throw because you have a using more power on a bigger light.

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kaybi wrote:
1.

Given that I currently have a standard BLF GT, and a second one with exactly the same driver and led, but using a 120mm aspheric lens, and getting more throw out of it (1.3 vs 1.5mcd), I think there is more to it than “reflectors are better than lenses”. No wavien collar installed (yet).


There are many factors that affect throw and optics quality is among them. A shallow reflector (like GT) has a smaller working area than a lens. A deep one has larger. Quality also matters, a lot.

kaybi wrote:
Enderman himself has used lenses for a lot of his lights, and has had to stop because getting bigger lenses was getting impossible.

With collar. Which is really a game changer.

kaybi wrote:
2.

Adding more emitters to increase throw forces you to have a bigger head regardless. If you try to cram more emitters in the same space, you have to get by with smaller reflectors/lenses for each emitter, which will decrease the focus/increase the spill/increase the angle of the beam.


Yes, you lose some area by having more emitter openings as well as some around the edges. In case of a siamesed 7-up it’s like what – 10% loss? Let’s make it 20% to have a good margin. You make up for it with 10% larger diameter. But your reflector is 6.3 times shorter. This won’t make your head 6 times shorter but 20%? Way more than that.

kaybi wrote:
3.

“In theory, using multiple emitters is often the best answer for the longest throw / size.” No it isn’t. It literally isn’t.

Just look at the list of the best throwers http://budgetlightforum.com/node/55467

Or even direct examples. The TN42 uses a single led+reflector on a 100mm bezel, 2000 lumens, and claims 1550 meters of throw. The TN40S uses 4 leds, the same 100mm bezel, 4450 lumens, and claims 1150 meters of throw. The XP-L HI emitters used on the TN40S even have higher cd/mm die than the XHP35 HI used on the TN42.


XHP35 HI at 2200 lumens does ~130 cd/mm². XP-L HI at 1200 lm does ~100 cd/mm².
I don’t really advocate quads as a quad is less efficient (when it comes to head use) than a 7-up.
And as I said, if you define size as diameter – single emitter wins. If you define it as volume – these 2 lights aren’t really comparable.

kaybi wrote:
If you increase the throw by adding multiple emitters and running them all hard and increasing reflector size, you are not getting more throw because multiple emitters are better for throw. You are getting more throw because you have a using more power on a bigger light.

As long as you reduce die size proportionally to the number of emitters – no, at the given luminance you use the same power. But as I said it works better in theory than it does in practice.
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Agro wrote:

3. Single vs. multi-emitter
In theory, using multiple emitters is often the best answer for the longest throw / size. But I define size as overall light volume, which boils down to head volume.
Why? As you noted, if you compare a single-emitter light to a multi-emitter and keep emitters constant, light emitting surface gets bigger which may cause thermal and electrical hardness.
Also, multi-emitter lights also have lower effective reflector area for the given head diameter.

Everything else you said is right, but if you simply add more emitters without changing the area of the optic all you’re doing is creating more lumens, not more throw.
The intensity would not change, the light output increases and you would get a larger spot (or multiple spots in this case, since the LES is so small)
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Enderman wrote:
Agro wrote:

3. Single vs. multi-emitter
In theory, using multiple emitters is often the best answer for the longest throw / size. But I define size as overall light volume, which boils down to head volume.
Why? As you noted, if you compare a single-emitter light to a multi-emitter and keep emitters constant, light emitting surface gets bigger which may cause thermal and electrical hardness.
Also, multi-emitter lights also have lower effective reflector area for the given head diameter.

Everything else you said is right, but if you simply add more emitters without changing the area of the optic all you’re doing is creating more lumens, not more throw.
The intensity would not change, the light output increases and you would get a larger spot (or multiple spots in this case, since the LES is so small)

Actually, since I said about making emitters smaller, I don’t gain lumens either. I just reduce head volume at the cost of having flowery beam and higher price. In some cases reducing cooling and worsening ergonomics as well, though in others either may be improved.

If we move out of the theoretical case of using 7-times smaller emitter then yes, multi-emitter thrower uses more power and gives more lumens without improving lux.

The whole discussion started with complaints that W10 does only 200 lm. I chimed in because I share that concern, I like certain cd/lm range and W10 is way out of it. A 7-up reflector would put at the very least 1500 in the beam and likely 2000+. It couldn’t be W10 sized though due to heat….

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Agro wrote:

Actually, since I said about making emitters smaller, I don’t gain lumens either. I just reduce head volume at the cost of having flowery beam and higher price. In some cases reducing cooling and worsening ergonomics as well, though in others either may be improved.

If we move out of the theoretical case of using 7-times smaller emitter then yes, multi-emitter thrower uses more power and gives more lumens without improving lux.

The whole discussion started with complaints that W10 does only 200 lm. I chimed in because I share that concern, I like certain cd/lm range and W10 is way out of it. A 7-up reflector would put at the very least 1500 in the beam and likely 2000+. It couldn’t be W10 sized though due to heat….


Oh you mean increasing the number of emitter but with their own optic each, then yeah that would increase intensity.
The reason the intensity increases is because of the more area, not more emitters.

If they used a more powerful but less concentrated laser they could achieve similar intensity but a larger spot and more lumens.
If they used a crystal they could get more lumens without increasing spot size, so both more lumens and more intensity.
But then it wouldn’t be a $200 flashlight it would be $1000.

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It seems I fail badly at speaking clearly today. This is not the only discussion where it shows…
I was debating 2 cases:

  • theoretical advantage of multi-emitter throwers (the sole advantage being smaller head volume for the given throw)
  • getting more lumens out of LEP lights to make the beam wider

On the first topic I meant only diameter increase that would keep reflector area constant.
On the second one I meant to keep head size constant by having more emitters and smaller per-emitter optics. The purpose would be to have the advantage of superb throw that LEP offers while widening the beam (so I can see the target without binoculars). Though I mentioned a larger head because of thermals – this would again narrow the beam down. So keeping the as-much-throw-as-size-allows that LEP offers together with beam that’s wide enough for me doesn’t seem possible with W10 tech. I suppose that to widen the beam one would have to either reduce thermal issues by underdriving the LEP or by purposefully defocusing the optics. At that point indeed LEDs look more attractive.

But you mentioned another topic that I haven’t seen before – “crystal”. Quick search – you mean single-crystal phosphors, right? I wonder what’s the source of your price quote, I see some company claiming them to be as cost-effective as mixed phosphors.
Do you know of anyone who tried transplanting such phosphor on a LED emitter? Seems like something that saabluster would do.

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Agro wrote:
But you mentioned another topic that I haven’t seen before – “crystal”. Quick search – you mean single-crystal phosphors, right? I wonder what’s the source of your price quote, I see some company claiming them to be as cost-effective as mixed phosphors. Do you know of anyone who tried transplanting such phosphor on a LED emitter? Seems like something that saabluster would do.

See here (in German). There’s a lot of additional information regarding laser phosphor systems in general in the first post of that thread.

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Agro wrote:
  • theoretical advantage of multi-emitter throwers (the sole advantage being smaller head volume for the given throw)

??
I don’t think I understand what you’re saying then, because no matter how many emitters you use the throw does not change if you keep a constant head diameter.

And yes I was talking about phosphor crystals.
The crystals are several hundred dollars, then a more powerful laser will also be several hundred dollars.
AFAIK there are only two companies that provide commercial phosphor crystals.

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Thank you The_Driver!

Enderman wrote:
Agro wrote:
  • theoretical advantage of multi-emitter throwers (the sole advantage being smaller head volume for the given throw)

??
I don’t think I understand what you’re saying then, because no matter how many emitters you use the throw does not change if you keep a constant head diameter.

And yes I was talking about phosphor crystals.
The crystals are several hundred dollars, then a more powerful laser will also be several hundred dollars.
AFAIK there are only two companies that provide commercial phosphor crystals.


Volume, not diameter. Multi-emitter reflectors are much shallower than single emitter ones of the same diameter.

Could you please name that companies?

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Agro wrote:
Thank you The_Driver!

Volume, not diameter. Multi-emitter reflectors are much shallower than single emitter ones of the same diameter.

Could you please name that companies?


Multi-emitter reflectors also have a lot of wasted area, which is why they are usually bad at throw.
One of the companies is cryphosphor, the other I cant remember but was way more expensive, you can find it by reading the research papers on single crystal phosphors, the universities state where they got their samples from.
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Siamesed 7-ups don’t have that much wasted area. You can make up for the area loss by increasing diameter.
After you do so you end up with exactly the same throw, a bit larger diameter, but smaller overall volume.

Cryphosphor is the company I found, they claim that cost is comparable to phosphor powders. Hmmmm….

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