HDS Rotary compared to Novatac

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jon_slider
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HDS Rotary compared to Novatac

I got my first Rotary, after many years of saying they are too big, too heavy, and too expensive.. that is all true, but, I just could not resist trying one out for myself.

I like that I cannot see the flicker on Low mode on HDS, which I can see on the Novatac. Both use pulses, but the HDS hides them better, in a way that most people wont notice.

I can only see the PWM on the HDS

if I wave the light, but that is not what I do with a light “in normal use”. (Im not normal).

Ive set up the Rotary and the Clicky with all the same levels. The only difference is that with the Rotary I can change levels without clicking secret codes.

Since my Novatac has my favorite LED, I find I prefer to use it over the Rotary.. which means, the Rotary is going to need an LED swap Smile

fwiw, the HDS is heavier, by 20 grams.. slightly more than the weight of a spare 16340. These lights also work with CR123, but I dont use those cells, they small bad, and I cant recharge them..

One thing I do not like about the Rotary, is that if I turn the dial too fast, it feels like Im getting strobed, because the ramping occurs in steps, it is not continuously smooth..


Thats OK, the benefit is I can see when I turn the dial, slowly, that the brightness has changed by a visible increment.

Bottom line is the Rotary and the Clicky can both do all the same things.. except the Rotary is Brighter.. On my meter, which reads about 10% low, the Novatac maxes out at about 90 lumens, and the Rotary maxes out at double that..

The Novatac has an advantange in how it can be configured for Battery detection. It stays set to whatever battery I trained it to recognize. With the HDS battery detection is automatic, this presents a problem if I open the light to test the battery. It is possible for a low battery to fool the HDS into thinking it is a Primary, and this can overdischarge a LiIon.. but I use protected cells, so I dont have to rely on the HDS/Novatac Low Voltage Warnings.. which are useful, but not equal to full Protection.

Im very impressed with the HDS/Novatac narrow beam and tight hotspot.. It throws really well, and is suprisingly bright, in the small area of the hotspot. Makes it easy to see the fence at the end of my back yard, or accross a street.

The programmability of these lights is really cool.. and I like that they have sublumen lows, plus an option for a strobe, and the nifty ability to press for maximum, and double click back and forth between a low and a medium level.

Im using the turn on preset for my lowest mode, a double click for 20 lumens, and a triple click is reserved for strobe, which I find useful when crossing the street. I notice cars really take my pedestrian mode seriously when they see the flashing light. They come to a complete stop. The other day, during the day, I used the strobe to inform a car that wanted to turn across the crosswalk I was in. I got a smile from a pretty woman that was driving.. I think she wanted to date me, cause I have such cool flashlights, but, I was not available to pick her up, so I let her continue on her way with just a friendly wave.

here are my dynamic duo:

Life is good in High CRI.. even Cool White Low CRI is good in the dark, but, High CRI is just Better.. for me Smile

I love my Pink Nichias! on left 90 CRI N219b 4500k 9080, a grail LED for me. On right 73 CRI XPG 6200k

fun times Smile

Edited by: jon_slider on 11/09/2018 - 18:55
Geuzzz
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Nice and honest write up Jon. Thnx!

Touchofred
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That Novatac looks really nice, where did you buy that one? Smile

jon_slider
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Geuzzz wrote:
Nice and honest write up Jon. Thnx!
thanks Smile

Touchofred wrote:
That Novatac looks really nice, where did you buy that one? Smile

I got lucky, it was offered here and I was fortunate to get to it first.. Novatacs go pretty quickly on that forum, and this one already has my favorite LED mod.

I have found other Novatacs on Ebay, and there are also some new ones available, posted here and there are some on Amazon

Dont be fooled by this guy on Amazon selling porn videos, he has been using this listing, he is not actually selling a Novatac, and has been selling porn with that listing since at least 2011. The tipoff is to read the reviews, where customers complain they got a video instead of light.

Warning, you have to be lucky with Novatacs, many have issues with the signal spring grounding out the switch. This can be fixed with a new spring.. read all about it in my other Novatac threads..

Many Novatacs also have visible flicker.. which is unfortunate, because they have other great features, including the HDS Clicky UI.

Touchofred
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Thanks ! I live in Sweden, so shipping is often a problem when ordering though.
I don’t know much about Novatac, but are they semicustom lights? I wonder Because of the price.

jon_slider
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Touchofred wrote:
I don’t know much about Novatac, but are they semicustom lights?… I wonder Because of the price

You can learn a lot about Novatacs by reading my other posts in this forum.

Prices vary greatly depending on the seller.

No, Novatacs and HDS are not semicustom,

They just cost more because they are sold by people that live in USA, where cost of living is more expensive.
They are also marketed to the Military, which has an unlimited budget (taxpayer dollars), to pay exorbitant prices.

I sometimes help friends overseas by shipping lights to them. PM me if you would like my help spending your money. Wink I do not charge any fees, I only do it to share the Love, (or obsession)…

There are also remailing services, that will take delivery at a USA address and then forward the mail to you, for a fee. (I have no affiliations to remailing services, just sharing options)

fwiw, HDS lights are almost as large and heavy as some 18650 lights:
the light on the left is 18650, the others all use 16340

Were it not for the fascination I have with programmable and ramping UIs, lights with Cult Reputations, and rotary dials, I would just buy a Zebralight or an Emissar D4

chadvone
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Another nice write up. Looking forward to your opinions after you have had the HDS for some time.

jon_slider
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Thank you for the encouraging words.. Smile

atm, my bias for the High CRI Nichia, is giving the Storm an advantage over the HDS

the thrill of spinning the HDS dial wore off quickly, particularly because I find the flashes at each step disconcerting

I seem to care more about Tint and CRI, than UI

but, if or when the HDS gets an sw45 upgrade, to match the Storm, that would level the field, and could be a game changer
atm, the HDS LED simply cant compete in terms of tint, CRI, or focus.. there is a big donut hole in the HDS beam, at extreme close range:

left to right, 90CRI N219b 4000k 9050, 90CRI N219b 4500k 9080, 73CRI XPG 6200k

Battery Chemistry Esoterica

Some observations about the HDS and Novatac Battery Detection and Low Voltage Warning System.

Novatac
Battery detection requires a 5 second press hold during startup
For the following scenario, assume I am running LiIon, and the light has been set to Detect LiIon chemistry correctly.

I can remove a battery to check its voltage, and even if it is at 3.3v and I choose to put it back in, there will be no change in the preset battery detection.

This allows the Novatac built in Low Voltage Warnings and LiIon Protection stepdowns to stay operational.

HDS
Battery detection is automatic
If I start with a fresh LiIon, the HDS enables a system of step downs and flashes, to warn me when the battery is below 3.4v and to protect the LiIon from being overdischarged.

But because the battery chemistry detection is automatic, it can be confused If I reinsert a LiIon that is below 3.4v.

If I remove a depleted LiIon battery, when it has triggered the first step down from Maximum, to check its voltage, this happens @3.4v, and I choose to put the depleted cell back in the light, there will be a change in the preset battery detection, to Primary.

The HDS will confuse the LiIon for a Primary, and will disable the Low Voltage step down trigger.

And the HDS will allow the light to attempt to operate at Maximum brightness, as if it was loaded with a full Primary, but the Overdischarge Protection circuit in a Battery will trigger, and produce sudden darkness. The battery will read 0 volts, and be useless, until placed on a charger.

.
.

Lessons Learned
Its not nice to fool HDS by inserting depleted LiIon
Even an HDS loaded with depleted LiIon, that has been fooled into thinking it is loaded with a Primary, will work fine at lower levels of 60 lumens or less.

But it will trip protection on the battery, if maximum mode is requested by the misguided operator.

Recommendations..
Respect the HDS Low Voltage warnings for LiIon, and when they trigger, reload a fresh battery.
Do not open an HDS light to test battery voltage, unless you reload with a battery above 3.4v.

Novatacs dont mind if we check battery voltage, they remember their chemistry class.

It is not prudent to reload partly depleted LiIon in HDS, even if they have their own built in Overdischarge Protection circuit.. because sudden darkness is bad. It is better to have step downs and for the light to prevent use of higher modes, when the LiIon is depleted.

With Novatac, it is OK to to reinsert depleted LiIon, because the Low Voltage Stepdowns will prevent use of higher modes that would trigger Overdischarge protection built into the battery.

In all cases, if possible under the circumstances, it is better to reload with a fresh charged LiIon, than to continue to use a LiIon that has triggered Low Voltage step downs

.

Regarding CR123 Primaries

A Novatac that has been set to LiIon detection will have a problem running CR123, it will treat them like depleted LiIon.. this is bad.

An HDS that has previously been using LiIon, will have no problem running CR123, because it will automatically turn off the Low Voltage warnings that apply only to LiIon

So if CR123 are going to be used, the HDS will know automatically, on the Novatac it would require an educated operator to do a battery detect reset to use Primaries…

.

One Man’s Ceiling, is Another Man’s Floor, or, Its a Feature, Not a Bug

The HDS automatic battery detection system is safer for a soldier in the field

The Novatac manual battery detection system is more entertaining for an educated operator, with access to an instruction manual. (and it can also be safely deployed in the field, as long as the light is configured for CR123 to begin with)

Nicolicous
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wow the pink nichia look nice. can i ask where you buy the led from?

Nico -.-

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Nicolicous wrote:
wow the pink nichia look nice. can i ask where you buy the led from?

https://www.virence.com/shop
but they are sold out
the cream of the crop on Clemences site right now, imo, are the E21A LEDs.. note he also offers some lights modified to that LED.. highly recommended, especially if you want to experience Warm and Cool High CRI.. One of each seems a reasonable place to start. LOL

HDS has some of the pink sw45 nichias, but they are reserved until after the fancy metals ship next year

here is an HDS for sale that has one installed (I have no relation to the seller).

Some modders still have stock of sw45, check w Texas Ace, he supplied me one, and installed it in a Utorch that I really like.

chadvone
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I had a milk carton light box set up. I scaled min-max with my HDS200. I checked it with my other 2 HDS’s and every level read the same.

HDS lights are calibrated vary accurately. You could use your rotary and easily scale your light box set up for super accuracy under 200 lumens.

jon_slider
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chadvone wrote:
HDS lights are calibrated vary accurately. You could use your rotary and easily scale your light box set up for super accuracy under 200 lumens.

Definitely!

A calibrated HDS does wonders for fine tuning the values from my homebrew light meter.

My HDS XPG 200 reads 180 on my meter as currently configured. So my reported values seem to be about 10% low, at that lumen level

the lowest level on my meter reads 0.08, and HDS spec for 2011 was 0.07 for some models and .08 for others.. so my faith in my meter is strong!

I do find the meter very useful for many things, even if the calibration is off:
when I change levels on the storm, to confirm my approximate lumen value.
to set lights to similar brightness when I line them up for beamshots
to confirm if the HDS steps down when I enable the “burst” feature.. etc

One of the most unexpected uses I have found for the light meter, is to detect how the earth magnetic field affects lights with magnetic rotary rings, such as the V11R and RRT-01

The HDS Rotary, and the Novatac Clicky, are immune to that geomagnetic dimming effect, since they lack magnetic control rings.