[Review] Astrolux FT02 2250 Lumen Thrower

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WalkIntoTheLight
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[Review] Astrolux FT02 2250 Lumen Thrower

This is a review of the Astrolux FT02 flashlight. It is a high-powered light that takes a single 18650 or 21700 battery. An XHP35 HI emitter and large diameter reflector gives this light amazing throw that clearly illuminates objects a long distance away.

This light has been in development for over a year, and the refined design and powerful output makes it well worth the wait.

For those of you that have a thrower like a C8, but sit at home and sulk because it just won’t throw far enough, the Astrolux FT02 will solve all your problems! Well, it will solve the problems that a long-distance flashlight can solve; your other issues might require different help.

This light is over twice as bright as a Convoy C8, and has three times the lux. At 2200 lumens and 180,000 candella, it leaves smaller lights in the dust. The throw is 850 meters to 0.25 lux. As usual, you can probably half that distance in real-world use, since 0.25 lux is pretty dim illumination. When I was doing tests with the FT02, I could clearly see things at a distance of 300 meters, which a Convoy C8 wasn’t showing very well. It is very impressive for a small-ish flashlight, and almost as easy to carry as a C8.

Will this light make you the envy of your friends, or the enemy of your neighbors? At the very least, the FT02 might be your new best friend, and unlike your other friends it won’t complain about being shoved in a drawer all day.


The light was provided by Banggood for review purposes. I receive no other form of compensation, and all my reviews are independent. You can find the Astrolux FT02 on Banggood’s site here, along with further details:

https://goo.gl/mr9bUK

There is currently a discount code, BGFT02, which brings the light down to $52.99.


A Youtube video review I did is available here:

The video contains additional things like beam-shots and comparisons to other lights.



Overview:

First, thank you to Banggood for sending me this pre-production version for testing. Note that it is not the final release, although it must be pretty close. I am told that there will be some tweaks to the driver, and they are still working on increasing the output. I tested my version at the 2200 lumens claimed in the specs, so if they increase that further, that would be a bonus.

One thing I can confirm is that the final version has an improved user interface, which has a nice ramping mode for selection of output.

I was playing with the Astrolux FT02 in a large, open field when I received it. I have to say, it was fun! There’s something about a long-distance thrower that brings out the kid in flashaholics. Clearly seeing stuff hundreds of meters away seems almost like some kind of superpower. And, compared to what we had available in lights just a few years ago, perhaps it is!

Large, open, dark spaces is where this light thrives. This is not a light to use around the house, or for walks in areas lit by streetlights. This is for the dark, or more precisely, this is a light to destroy the dark.

The FT02 is comfortable to hold, with plenty of knurling for good grip, and balances nicely in the hand with your thumb on the electronic side switch. It is well made with anodized aluminum, and has plenty of fins for heat dissipation. It is also a very nice-looking light, looking high-tech without being garish.

The light is made to take a single 21700 lithium-ion battery, but comes supplied with an adapter so it can also take an 18650 battery. You should use a high-drain cell for this light.

It also features built-in micro USB charging at a 1.4 amp rate, for those of you too lazy to take the battery out to charge it separately. It’s okay, we all have busy lives. I found the built-in charger to be very accurate, and terminated at exactly 4.20v.

One very important thing to point out is that the Astrolux FT02 uses a boost-driver to raise the voltage level required for the XHP35 HI emitter. This has the benefit of allowing regulated output, so that high output is maintained even as the battery voltage drops during discharge. I find that the FT02 puts out 2200 lumens with a battery at only 3.7v (resting), just as it does with one fully-charged at 4.2v. This is a really important advantage over lights which use FET drivers that depend on the battery voltage to perform at maximum output.

The FT02 can get pretty warm on turbo. However, it does have thermal controls to decrease output. This takes about a minute or two, and then output will drop by about half. In my opinion, I think it drops the output too quickly, as the light is large enough to take quite a bit more run-time before it gets hot. My version is a pre-production release, so perhaps this will be adjusted in the final version.


Specifications:

Output: Output goes from a low mode of about 1 lumen, up to turbo at 2250 lumens (for final release; my sample maxed out at 2200).

Throw: 850 meters and 180,000 candella.

Beam profile: Intense hot-spot with dim spill. Surprisingly, the hot spot is slightly larger than a C8, but measures much higher intensity.

LED: Cree XHP35 high intensity emitter.

Tint: Available in cool-white or neutral-white. The cool white version I am testing is about 5800K, so quite nice for a cool white.

Size: 154mm long, 58mm head diameter.

Weight: 256g + battery.

Construction: Aluminum body with anodized coating. Water proof to IPx7. Drop-proof to 2 meters. It is very solid and well built.

Battery type: High discharge 21700 or 18650. Includes adapter for 18650 use.

Springs: Tail uses a double-spring for high current conductivity.

Tail-stands: Yes.

USB charging: Yes, via micro-USB. Fully charges an installed battery to 4.20v. The switch uses a flashing indicator when charging, and turns solid when done. Charging current is 1.4A.

Protection: Over-discharge and over-charge.

Contents:

Astrolux FT02 Flashlight
18650 battery adapter
Spare o-rings
Lanyard
Manual


Operation:

The Astrolux FT02 I was sent is a pre-production version, so the interface I tested is likely not the one to be used in the final version. I understand the final version features a ramping interface, whereas mine has 4 discreet modes.

The ramping is a standard press & hold to ramp, with double-click for turbo.

The FT02 features as lit side-switch, which slowly pulses green when the light is not in use. This is very handy for finding the button in the dark, because the light is entirely black.

The indicator in the switch also gives some additional feedback, such as telling you if the battery is getting low. It also flashes quickly during charging, and turns solid when done.

Clicking the switch once will turn on the light. Clicking it will turn it off.

Double-click at any time to turn the light on to maximum output. It is nice that there is a way to instantly turn the light on full, since that is really the only mode I want in a thrower. Full power!

Triple-click for strobes. Yes, you can annoy people even more than simply shining the light in their eyes. You have a fast strobe, an SOS (for those times when you’re stranded on Gilligan’s Island and need to signal the International Space Station), and a beacon mode.

Quad-click for momentary mode. This is a nice for when you want instant access to turbo, but only for brief periods of time. While you hold the switch, the light will turn on to max.

5-clicks for battery check. 1 to 5 blinks to indicate remaining battery life.

6-clicks for electronic lock-out.

7-clicks to turn on or off the side switch LED indicator.

Wow, I’m running out of fingers, so I’m glad there aren’t any more clicks.


My impressions:

Pros:

- Wow! It has an amazing throw. Bright, very long reach, but still a hot-spot that is large enough to be useful.

- Well designed, solid construction, and the ergonomics are very good.

- Regulated output that maintains the full 2200 lumens at all battery discharge levels.

- Efficient driver. At about 100 lumens per watt, you get a long run-time.

- Built-in USB charging.

- Illuminated switch makes the light easy to find in darkness.

- Supports both the new 21700 cells, as well as the traditional 18650 size.

Cons:

- Thermal controls kick in a little sooner than needed. This may be improved in the production version of the FT02.

- Honestly, there really isn’t much to complain about in this light.


Pictures:


Comparison to Convoy C8:


That’s all for now. Thank you for reading.

Edited by: WalkIntoTheLight on 12/17/2018 - 08:30
TexasToasted
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Nice! Gotta get some more Samsung cells form Illumn while they are still on sale.

Ragsy
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Hi WITL
Good review !

I’ve got one on preorder.

I also convinced a mate of mine to go for this too….hopefully it’s better than a stock UTorch UT02 which he wanted so bad after playing with mine. But that’s out of stock so settled for this instead

Re Stepdown – So are you saying you can change the thermal shutdown temp setting ?

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
This ain't no fooling around

WalkIntoTheLight
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Ragsy wrote:
Hi WITL
Good review !

I’ve got one on preorder.

I also convinced a mate of mine to go for this too….hopefully it’s better than a stock UTorch UT02 which he wanted so bad after playing with mine. But that’s out of stock so settled for this instead

Re Stepdown – So are you saying you can change the thermal shutdown temp setting ?

On my version, which uses a pre-release driver, I can’t. I don’t think you can on the final version either, but I’m not positive. What I meant is that hopefully they extended the default run-time on turbo before it steps down. If not, you can always boost it back up, but I’d rather it ran something like 3 minutes if possible. I think it could take that without overheating.

Though, it does drain a cell fast on turbo. So, you probably wouldn’t want to run it on turbo for extended periods anyway. But, 3-minutes is my sweet-spot for a good turbo run before a step-down. I find short step-downs (such as a BLF A6 with its 45 second step-down) to be annoyingly short. Luckily, the FT02 isn’t that short.

klrman
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Any thoughts on how the FT02 throw and beam compares to the Catapult V6?

wstrachan
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This light should easily outdo the V6.

light addict....yeah I've got the bug.

Atrolux MF02_O2S
Imalent DT70
Emissar (All Models)
Lumintop ODL20C
Wuben A21 & T70
thrunite tn32 ut
acebeam k60
many, many others...

klrman
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was just comparing specs and seems like a 25-30% increase in numbers across the board vs the v6.  Probably not enough for me to buy one as of yet as astrolux claims are usually overstated by 30% or more.  I'm guessing the v6 may outdo it in real world comparison.

wstrachan
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klrman wrote:

was just comparing specs and seems like a 25-30% increase in numbers across the board vs the v6.  Probably not enough for me to buy one as of yet as astrolux claims are usually overstated by 30% or more.  I’m guessing the v6 may outdo it in real world comparison.

I have seen the astrolux inflated numbers but the prototype has been tested. I expect the production model will perform

light addict....yeah I've got the bug.

Atrolux MF02_O2S
Imalent DT70
Emissar (All Models)
Lumintop ODL20C
Wuben A21 & T70
thrunite tn32 ut
acebeam k60
many, many others...

WalkIntoTheLight
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Banggood sent me a discount code for the light:

https://goo.gl/mr9bUK

Use code BGFT02 at checkout, which brings the light down to $52.99. I think that’s about half-price.

TexasToasted
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Freeme’s code gives a better discount

WalkIntoTheLight
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I strongly suggest you use the best discount code you can find. This is just the one I’m passing along, if you don’t have another.

JordanZHP
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Would output benefit from say a 21700 30T or is that overkill?

Agro
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No, it wouldn’t.

nottawhackjob
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GREAT review! Thumbs Up

“In many things in order to truly understand the small picture you have to understand the big picture first.”

Satan@103TFS
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What is the measured intensity of this FT02 ?

woodyt
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Was your light in CW or NW ? Nice review. Oooops never mind I do see it was CW now. Thanks

wellerus
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How many amps does it pull on max?

Which 21700 battery do you suggest, maybe Samsung INR21700-40T 4000mAh – 35A

With Samsung INR21700-50E 5000mAh – 10A probably will not get a maximum output?

Agro
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It should be able to get maximum output with 50E as well.

WalkIntoTheLight
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I’d go with the 40T. It will pull more than 10A on turbo. You might get away with the 50E for short periods of time, but since this uses a boost driver, the voltage sag of the 50E will cause it to draw even more current.

TomNMich
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Mine pulls 10 amps at tail cap with 50E and 9.5 amps with 40T. Drops out of turbo at about 70 seconds to 3.5 amps at tail cap. (cheap meter with 14 gauge wires). I would like to have a lower turbo mode. Catapult V6 runs for 3 min. on turbo at lower amps.

WalkIntoTheLight
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Okay, that’s good to know it can take the 50E.

Did you test the amp draw at lower battery voltage levels? It might go up, since it uses a boost driver.

scr79423
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TomNMich wrote:
Mine pulls 10 amps at tail cap with 50E and 9.5 amps with 40T. Drops out of turbo at about 70 seconds to 3.5 amps at tail cap. (cheap meter with 14 gauge wires). I would like to have a lower turbo mode. Catapult V6 runs for 3 min. on turbo at lower amps.

are you sure its not the other way around? how does a lower Amp rating battery (50E) give more Amps then a higher Amp rating battery(40T)

BlueSwordM
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Since the 50E has higher internal resistance than the 40T, at start up, the voltage under load will be lower.

Therefore, to keep 2250 lumens, the boost driver will pull more current from the 50E than the 40T.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

scr79423
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BlueSwordM wrote:
Since the 50E has higher internal resistance than the 40T, at start up, the voltage under load will be lower.

Therefore, to keep 2250 lumens, the boost driver will pull more current from the 50E than the 40T.

so between 50E and 40T, which will have longer battery life in turbo?

TomNMich
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Just tested 40T on turbo. Ran for 1 min. 30 sec. before ramping down. 20 seconds longer than 50E. I will use the 40T.

BlueSwordM
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@scr79423, the 40T will have longer turbo battery life.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

TomNMich
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Swapped led and driver in mine. Did not like the short runtime in turbo or the dim output when it steps down. Posted info in 3v XHP50 thread.

4492011
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I am experiencing what I would consider very high parasitic drain on this light, after about 1 week battery is dead, anyone else experiencing this ?

4492011
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4492011 wrote:
I am experiencing what I would consider very high parasitic drain on this light, after about 1 week battery is dead, anyone else experiencing this ?

Never mind just read that this is normal for this light, checked with my vom and got 4.16 ma drain, so normal.
Pavlo
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Nice review and beamshots!

A refreshing change to see a boost driver instead of a FET one. I personally don’t care much for 21700 batteries/lights. I hope astrolux integrates this design in 18650 and 26650 single cell lights soon.