[REVIEW] Astrolux FT02 ***Winner GAW***

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voip
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[REVIEW] Astrolux FT02 ***Winner GAW***
Disclaimer: The product was provided by the seller banggood as part of a giveway. I was the winner and no other compensation (monetary or material), discount or rebate was given and my opinion was not influenced by the manufacturer or seller. At no time was a review requested by neither Astrolux nor Banggood, this is a voluntary contribution. Therefore this review is my impartial, personal and honest opinion even though I did not pay for this item.
 
With the FT02 Astrolux are announcing another flashlight model that is a medium class thrower - it is equipped with a Cree XHP35-HI emitter driven by a single lithium battery (18650, 20700 or 21700 respectively). Because this flashlight is designed to be used with one lithium cell (1S), the driver is an efficient and regulated boost driver which provides 12V to the LED.
The flashlight comes with an electronic side switch and also an integrated battery charger which provides a standard micro USB connector. The product came in full OEM retail packaging, therefore I believe my FT02 is an in-market production flashlight. This product is currently available for purchase on banggood.com.
 
 
I would like to express my gratitude to Swi from banggood who helped me after the giveaway and with shipping logistics. This is the first time I have been working with banggood and I hope it will not be the last time! At every step of the way the Banggood customer service was available via the messaging system but also via email - I really appreciate the help and support afforded to me.
 
 
Banggood product details and specifications:
(as stated by the OEM or the seller on the product website and/or the manual)
 
The user manual:
 
 
Emitter
Cree XHP35-HI
Max Output
2215 Lumens
Max Beam Distance
848 m
Max Runtime
92 Minutes
Battery
21700, 18650 (with adapter), 20700
(Batteries not included and unprotected, high-drain batteries are recommended)
Nominal working voltage
3.7 V (1S)
Material
Aerospace grade aluminium alloy
Switch type:
Clicky 
(this is an error on the website, it is NOT a clicky switch)
Modes
Stepless Dimming: 0-100%
Turbo
Lowest
Strobe
Momentary Mode
Battery Check
 
Size
154mmx 58.5mm (Length x Diameter)
 
Weight
258g without battery
 
Waterproof
IPX7
 
Advertised features (copied from banggood.com)
- Fitted with 1x XHP35-HI LED
- Maximum output with 2215 lumens
- Max beam intensity with 180 000 CD
- Max beam distance with 848 meters
- High efficiency direct boost driver (>90%)
- 1A fast USB rechargeable with onboard charging circruit
- Battery percentage detection design
- Over-discharge and over charge protection
- High efficienty heat dissipation design
- Constructed from aerospace grade aluminium alloy with HAIII military grade hard anodized finish
- High reflectivity alumilum alloy reflector
- Impact resistent to 2 meters
- Waterproof inccordance with IPX7
 
 
Please post any questions you may have, I am happy to go into details or answer any feedback.
Further links regarding this product:
 
Actual measurements and real life experience after 3 days of use
 
Current measurements:
Moon:  ----- (no moon mode available!)
Low: 0.09 A
Medium:  ca. 0.79A (middle of ramp)
High: 1.27 A
Turbo:  2.99A  (DMM humming)
This flashlight provides stepless dimming.
(Max current: DMM measured with a Samsung 30Q)
Due to my relatively low quality DMM, my FT02 boost circuit starts humming when in turbo mode and most likely gives a wrong/low measurement.
 
 
Host / Build:
- Switch type: electronic switch (1x side switch)
- Body material: Hard anodized aluminum: black
- Lens: Glass, good AR coating without imperfections
- Tail-standing: capable
- Waterproof to IPX7
 
Electrical:
- Battery: 1x 21700 or 1x 18650 (with adapter) or 1x 20700
- Low-voltage protection: yes
- low-amperage indication: yes
(Flashlight doesn't go into high or turbo mode with low drain batteries)
- Thermal protection:
- Power can be locked out by loosening the tailcap, or by entering electronic lockout
- Reverse polarity protection is included in this flashlight, but it might not protect the cell (not tested)
 
Standby parasitic drain
There is 4.41mA parasitic drain on the circuit when the flashlight is switched off and not physically locked out. It appears that this drain will not change when the electronic lockout is enabled.
Parasitic drain:        4.41 mA
 
 
Packaging
The Astrolux FT02 comes in a high quality product packaging which looks more luxurious than a regular flashlight packaging. The white box has a symbol of the FT02 printed on the side and on the top, but has no key product facts printed on the outside. After sliding the top lid off, the inside of the product box looks organized. The amount of foam is more than enough to protect the flashlight during shipping. 
 
1x Lanyard (not tested)
2x spare O-ring (not tested)
1x User manual
There is no battery, no USB charging cable (but any micro USB cable will work) and no holster.
 
 
 
Physical appearance & functionality
- High quality craftsmanship with full black finish
(there are no issues with anodization or machining)
- Very high output and performance for a single cell/single emitter setup
- Hot spot is focused and without issues, there is some spill
- Very grippy knurling and attractive overall product design
- Near silent operation of the flashlight switch is possible
- The reflector is smooth, the lens is AR coated
- In addition to electronic lockout you can physically lock out the light by opening the tail cap approximately 1/2 turn
- The flashlight can tailstand
 
 
 
User interface
 
OFF state
  • Press/Hold  jump into lowest mode 
  • 1 click Switch on light at memorized mode (last used)
  • 2 clicks: Turbo mode
  • 3 clicks check battery level
  • 4 clicks Electronic lock-out (physical lock-out disables electronic lock-out!)
  • 5 clicks Enable Momentary mode
  • 6 clicks Enable or disable indicator LED behind switch ("breather LED")
 
ON state:
  • Press and Hold side switch: stepless dimming up or down
  • 1 click: Switch light off
  • 2 clicks: Turbo
  • 3 clicks: check battery level
  • 4 clicks: switches light off and enters electronic lock-out
  • 5 clicks: Momentary mode: you can do morse coding etc in Highest output mode.
  • 6 clicks: Enable or disable indicator LED behind switch ("breather LED")
 
 
Battery Check mode:
After entering the battery check mode, the following guide shows the battery charge level:
00-20% = Single (1x) flash
20-40% = 2 flashes
40-60% = 3 flashes
60-80% = 4 flashed
80-100%= 5 flashes
 
Moon mode:
This light does not have a moon mode, only a "low mode".
 
The light is operated with one electronic side switch. There is a green indicator LED under the switch to indicate battery charging status, it may also operate as a breather LED to find the flashlight in a dark environment if you wish. I find it interesting that the breather LED indicator can be enabled or disabled, this is an interesting quirk which is not always user configurable on all flashlights.
 
U/I
The light remembers this lockout unless you physically lockout the device (if circuit breaks, the electronic lockout is “forgotten”). Therefore it is not possible (or required?) to lock out the flashlight both physically and electronically.
 
 
 
 
Other actions:
One aspect that is definitely missing is having an indicator or the main led flash if you are trying to turn the light on when it has been locked out electronically. For new users or a non-enthusiast, it could otherwise be confusing as to why the light doesn’t switch on. However, a physical lockout DISABLES the electronic one.
 
Beamshot
The smooth reflector of this flashlight combined with the XHP35-HI emitter results in a very focused, sharp hotspot. No tint shift or other artifacts can be seen. There is some spill but not excessive, I would call the size of the hotspot "ideal".
 
 
 
 
Charging feature
This flashlight can charge the battery with an integrated charger. There is a micro USB port in the head, opposite to the switch. Remove the protective flap and insert the micro USB cable. Charging is indicated with three different states with a green LED under the switch.
The integrated chargers pulls 1.16A from an "Apple iPhone 6" charger (12W) with a Panasonic 18650 cell at 3.77V inside the flashlight. The flashlight CAN NOT be used when the charging cable is connected to it, unlike other flashlights I have used before. To avoid any charging issues, please always use a high-quality USB cable.
 
A Samsung 30Q cell inside the FT02 that is at...
...4.09V only charges at 0.68 A
...4.13V only charges at 0.50 A
...4.15V only charges at 0.35 A
(The charging circuit is working as expected and ramps down the amperage when cell is approaching 100% of charge).
Once the charger terminates charging when the battery is fully charged, the trickle charge was measured at 0.15A.
 
The measured termination voltage is at 4.18V, which is good.
 
 
 
Temperature
Like most newer flashlight there is a thermal regulation to protect the electronics, emitter and the user.
 
Temperature measurements with IR thermometer:
All measurements were taken at room temperature (about 27°C) and at the hottest point of the flashlight head after during 5 minutes on Turbo. I did not touch or handle the light while I was measuring and there was no airflow or air conditioning.The flashlight was tail-standing during the test and was not able to give away heat to a human hand.These values are only approximate and not scientific. 
 
Temperate measurements:
Control measurement light in OFF state after 1 hour: 27.2 °C
Low: remains at room temperature
Medium:
High:
Turbo measurements:
30 sec     Turbo   33.7 C
1 minute  Turbo   35.8°  C
2 minutes Turbo   37.0°  C
3 minutes Turbo   39.1 °C
4 minutes Turbo   40.7° C
5 minutes Turbo   41.7 ° C
The device remains stable around this mark, so the thermal step-down appears to be around the 42°C level. This is an acceptable value to aim for because the flashlight feels warm but not hot. Apparently this step-down feature will also stop the process of heating up the flashlight any further.
 
 
 
Ability to mod this light:
This part shall describe the ability for seasoned flashlight enthusiasts to open and modify the product.
As far as I can tell, no parts on the head of this flashlight are glued together, so in theory there shouldn't be any problem disassembling this flashlight. Although I haven't attempted a tear-down of this flashlight, I do not foresee any issues carrying it out.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What I liked about this flashlight:
+ Very high output/performance for a single emitter light
+ Good implementation of the e-switch and firmware, U/I
+ Very high quality, craftsmanship and finish
+ Highly efficient, regulated boost driver circuit
+ 21700 form factor results in good ergonomics
+ Good knurling that provides appropriate grip for this light
+ High quality adapter for 18650 cells is included
+ Excellent threads on the tube, appear to be equipped with NyoGel or similar
+ Warm/neutral tint available, not colored by a bad AR lens coating
+ Anodization is of great quality, seems durable
+ Tailcap is designed with thick, robust double springs
+ The head and thermal design is excellent at spreading the heat
+ Overall, this is a very attractive flashlight
 
 
Neutral aspects:
- There is no battery or holster included - at this price, at least a battery or a holster would be a useful option, especially since the 21700 battery form factor is still relatively new and not always accessible
- No indication of electronic lockout when trying to turn on the light while locked out
- Relatively high parasitic drain
- With enabled breather LED indicator, the breather functions is always on, even when the flashlight is switched on. This is a bit weird but you can disable the entire breather indicator function altogether.
 
 
Conclusion
The Astrolux FT02 is a great mid-range thrower flashlight that comes with an excellent build quality. The flashlight a very convenient and practical U/I and will be a good tool for outdoor or leisure uses. The FT02 is an excellent performer with great feeling of quality and almost reaches the advertised specifications.
The Astrolux FT02 also goes into the right direction with their electronic switch UI. Since there are no technical issues, it is clear why Astrolux went into the competitive flashlight market with this product. If I wouldn't have access to Anduril/Narsil or Biscotti, the FT02 UI is the one I would want.
This is also my first ever neutral-white thrower and I am very impressed by how good the neutral tint looks in this light.
 
Please post any questions you may have, I am happy to go into details or answer any feedback.
Further links regarding this product:
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: The product was provided by the seller banggood as part of a giveway. I was the winner and no other compensation (monetary or material), discount or rebate was given and my opinion was not influenced by the manufacturer or seller. At no time was a review requested by neither Astrolux nor Banggood, this is a voluntary contribution. Therefore this review is my impartial, personal and honest opinion even though I did not pay for this item.
 
Edited by: voip on 05/16/2019 - 11:15
MILSPEC
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Thank you for such a high quality review, this is a really nice light! It was on my banggood wishlist for a while. Are those double-springs in the tail cap? is there a need to braid them or are 2 springs good enough for the amps?
any chance you have beamshots? thank you

djozz
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A bypass is not very much needed (this light does not draw an excessive power), the boost circuit will provide a constant current to the led, adjusting the battery current drawn while it empties. You could win some minutes regulation at the end of the battery drain by doing a spring bypass, and perhaps the flashlight will overall be a bit more efficient with it (but not brighter).

RPI
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really good review! question. how can all batteries be a fit for this light (all sizes)? And also which battery is the best brand or model-type for this light?
I was going to pick up this light but was not sure about the battery.

MILSPEC
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thanks for the reply. guess I don’t need bypasses.

The batteries fit with multi sizes because of the adapter or the tube size.

I think this light is great but only with good batteries, I would go for a molicel on this light.

gottobegeek
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Great review. I like the light.
I don’t like the price however, at $108 CAN even with a discount code it will not be on my purchase list.

g

MILSPEC
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I used the code “LINEPAYFLT” when I bought it. then it was a lot cheaper.

Just couldn’t find molicel on banggood.

blueb8llz
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I like your review. Thank you. I really like my light until I found out it will drain my cells from 4.20 to 3.50 in 2 weeks. I have a. Defective light. Bummer.

MILSPEC
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Given the quality this is one of the best throwers out there currently! The boost driver is excellent and efficient and I always wanted more than linear. nice emitter too. But if you don’t use the light at all just unscrew the tail a tiny bit and you are fine! your light is not defective, the drain is just higher than usual. I never leave batteries inside the light when I don’t use them, so not a problem really

bmwsancho
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purchased this light and my battery is fine, no drain I could see. The neutral emitter is nice, quality is great. weight also.
but carrying it without bag is not that ideal.

Lightbringer
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blueb8llz wrote:
I like your review. Thank you. I really like my light until I found out it will drain my cells from 4.20 to 3.50 in 2 weeks. I have a. Defective light. Bummer.
MILSPEC wrote:
your light is not defective, the drain is just higher than usual. I never leave batteries inside the light when I don’t use them, so not a problem really

Wait, what?

Let’s say the cell (eg, a 30Q) is 3000mAH. 2wks is roughly 300H (cell’s not totally discharged, so the simplification would be okay). 3000mAH / 300H = 10mA. That seems quite high for standby.

Even a lit tailcap only uses o(1mA) or even less. Even my “always on” DV-S9 with magnetic slider (Hall-effect sensor) draws about that. Or was it 1mA? Either way, 10mA seems awfully high.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Lightbringer
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Hmm, looked above, 4.41mA parasitic drain listed. Same ballpark.

Really? No one thinks that’s rather high?

I leave my Cometa on all the time, and its lit tailcap doesn’t bite the cell that hard.

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DOHC20
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Im not too keen on the machining of that reflector, quite ringy, i know its a somewhat budget light but surely for a light that costs $116 AUD id expect better than that. Its not hard to set a feed and speed on a CNC lathe to get a decent finish.

djozz
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I have an FT02 (swapped the led with a 4000K 80CRI one from KD) and I think it is a great practical flashlight. The reflector is ringy but the beam is fine, it reaches out far with a good hotspot. How robust it is remains to be seen over time but I like already that the build is thick everywhere and that the lens is mounted in a silicone sleeve and will only break on direct heavy impact on the glass.

RPI
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I have already received this flashlight, it is actually better than expected. There doesn’t seem to be a parasitic drain problem on mine or at least not in a way I can measure it. Battery stays full from what I can tell.
There are “rings” on my reflector but the beam is not affected, nice hot spot.

Ragsy
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RPI wrote:
I have already received this flashlight, it is actually better than expected. There doesn't seem to be a parasitic drain problem on mine or at least not in a way I can measure it. Battery stays full from what I can tell. There are "rings" on my reflector but the beam is not affected, nice hot spot.

I like mine too but am curious  ...what battery are we all using ....I use a 21700 Liitokala 40a (yellow and black)

G'day mate, ow ya garn?
Yeah, nah good mate

MILSPEC
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21700 Liitokala 40a is also what I use. works great with this light.

voip
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Thanks for all the feedback/questions.
After using the light for a while, I have to say it really is a good one. No issues at all, I use Samsung 30Q 18650 and the Molicell also came in. they all work great.
the parasitic drain is not a problem when you mechanically lock the device.