Sofirn SP40 Headlamp

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gchart
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Sofirn SP40 Headlamp

I was kindly offered the new Sofirn SP40 for review. I thank Sofirn for providing the light, and I promise to keep things honest and fair.


The SP40 is a brand new headlamp by Sofirn. This is their first “from the ground up” headlamp, and they did very well!

What I Like:

  • Bright, around 1233 lumens in turbo at turn-on
  • Neutral Cree XP-L LED: no Cree rainbow like from the recent flip-chips, and it even seems slightly warmer than my other Sofirns. It seems right around 5000K if I had to guess
  • Evenly spaced modes (as measured by myself): 12 lm ➙ 97 lm ➙ 536 lm ➙ 1233 lm
  • Thermal regulation
  • Relatively compact and light (59g without battery, without strap, with 18650 tube)
  • Good UI: click for on/off; hold to ramp up; double-click for turbo
  • Built-in micro-USB charing with indicator LEDs in the switch
  • Excellent kit: it includes a 18350 tube, a well-designed three-way strap, a pocket clip, and a charging cable
  • Pricing: at the time of this writing, it looks like the price will be $20-27 which seems extremely reasonable if not down-right cheap
  • Low-voltage cutoff kicked in at 2.85V
  • Built-in charging stopped at 4.18V
  • Low standby current, ~30uA

What Could Be Better:

  • I’d prefer Turbo to be in the normal UI rotation, not hidden behind a double-click
  • I’m sure not everyone wants this, but I’d love to be able to use the indicator LEDs as Aux LEDs while the light is off (and not charging)… it adds some style and makes it easier to find at night.
  • I find the button position to be a bit more awkward than if it were placed on the side
  • I wouldn’t mind the low mode being somewhat lower, perhaps 3 lm or so


Let me know if you have any questions I can answer!



Outdoor beauty shots:



Beamshots: (may add more later)



Side-by-side with the Sofirn SP40 and Convoy H1:



Runtime Graphs:



Since I just got the SP40 and Convoy H1 around the same time, I feel like a few comparison notes are in order:

  • The SP40 is lighter than the Convoy H1 (59g vs 70g, respectively, without battery and without strap)
  • The SP40 is slightly brighter
  • The SP40 has micro-USB charging (nice convenience, but makes modding slightly more difficult)
  • The Convoy H1 lacks any kind of step down (in stock form) and get ridiculously hot
  • The Convoy H1 is very mod-friendly
  • The SP40’s “click for off” is much nicer than the H1’s “hold for off”, in my opinion
  • The SP40’s kit, overall, is a bit nicer: 18350 tube included, nicer strap
  • I like the H1’s button position better (on side vs on end)



Modding Info:

  • MCPCB: standard-ish 16mm
  • Reflector height: 7.9mm
  • Reflector width (outer): 17.1mm
  • Lens width: 19.5mm
  • Lens height: 1.1mm

The emitter is super easy to get to. Just unscrew the bezel, no glue. The MCPCB has thermal grease under it, not adhesive.

The reflector is nestled completely inside an o-ring and pressed to the glass. Theoretically you could remove the o-ring or use a smaller one if you wanted to fit a TIR with a larger diameter. Or even remove the glass if you needed additional height.

Edited by: gchart on 05/30/2019 - 23:53
hasddie293
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Thanks gchart for great review…definitely helpful insights for SOFIRN SP40.

Wow, that on turbo 1000lms it can handle 3 minutes before turn down at 4mins…and down to 500lm (50% output) is really nice…gheezz!!

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aswang
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Nice review gchart. Too bad it doesn’t have ultra low or moonlight mode. Still a great light for its price though. Does it atleast have direct access to the low mode from off (without having to cycle from memorized mode)? Long press from off maybe?

gchart
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Thanks.

Long press from off sadly does nothing. Double click from off does go directly to turbo. No shortcut to low from off unless that’s what it has memorized.

aswang
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gchart wrote:
Thanks.

Long press from off sadly does nothing. Double click from off does go directly to turbo. No shortcut to low from off unless that’s what it has memorized.

Thanks for checking. Too bad. This could have been a great headlamp especially with the shorty tube. Are you able to access the emitter?

gchart
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aswang wrote:
Are you able to access the emitter?

Yup, super easy. I just added some modding notes to the bottom of the first post with dimensions. I meant to reserve the second post for teardown and potential modding. Oops. Facepalm
Nicolicous
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Yeah no moon mode Sad

Can u talk to Sofirn to convince them Smile

Nico -.-

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gchart wrote:

Thanks gchart!
If possible, please build a temperature graph starting in Hi-450Lm(536Lm) mode .

Sorry for my poor english.

leftdisconnected
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Thanks for the review! I was quite interested in this headlamp, but the lack of a Moon mode which is accessible from off is a real deal-killer, especially on a headlamp! What was Sofirn thinking? Headlamps are often used while camping/backpacking and those users know very well that predictable access to Moon mode is a must.

12lm on Low is not so bad, but it can’t be reliably accessed from off! If I owned this light, I would have to always set it back to Low before turning it off Silly and would inevitably get angry when someone else used it and left it on high to blind me by surprise Flat Stare .

I also agree that headlamp buttons should be on top or bottom, as I tend to grab the body with my thumb (underneath) and forefinger (on top) to use the switch. A button on the end works well when hand-holding, but not while on the head strap.

Again, I would develop a strange habit to resolve this; I would grab the lamp sideways with (right-hand) thumb on the tail and middle finger on the head in order to use the button without moving the light. You could do the reverse with the thumb on the button, but for me this would put my hand in front of the lens and partly blind me.

Too bad about the Moon issue, as the kit is very nice. Including the short tube is a great idea that satisfies more buyers. I don’t mind the “hidden” Turbo as that’s how most of my lights work. Hiding Turbo gives a pseudo-muggle mode for casual users and gives fast access to the highest output.

Take note, Sofirn. Users want reliable, quick access to both the lowest and highest outputs.

RobAllen

gchart
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Sofirn has asked for my feedback, so I feel like there is room for some change. We’ll see!

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gchart wrote:
Sofirn has asked for my feedback, so I feel like there is room for some change. We’ll see!

Thanks for the review gchart Wink
It seems to be a nice headlamp Wink

I’ll make “mine” these words, too:

leftdisconnected wrote:
… I was quite interested in this headlamp, but the lack of a Moon mode which is accessible from off is a real deal-killer, especially on a headlamp! […] Moon mode is a must.

12lm on Low is not so bad, but it can’t be reliably accessed from off!

I hope Sofirn “listens” to these things and that you can pass them our thoughts!
Being a 18650/18350 headlamp, I would get one if the Moon/direct access to moon is included Wink

[REVIEWS] ACEBEAM: H20 / TK16 // AMUTORCH: S3 / S3 vs 219c / AM30 / AX1 / VG10 // BLITZWOLF: BW-ET1 // BRINYTE: T28 / PT18pro / PT28 // DQG: AA Slim Ti // FIREFLIES: ROT66 GEN II // HC-LIGHTS: SS AAA // KLARUS: XT1C // LIVARNOLUX: 314791 // LUMINTOP: Tool AA V2.0 + Tool 25 // NITEFOX: UT20 / ES10K / K3 // ODEPRO: KL52 / B108 // OLIGHT: M2R Warrior / OW Mini // ON THE ROAD: M1 / i3 / M3 Pro / 311 / Z821 / i5 // ROVYVON: A2 + A5R / E300S / A8 / A23 / E200u // SKILHUNT: M150 / M200 // SOFIRN: SF14 + SP10A / SP32A / SP10B // WUBEN: TO10R / E05 / T70 / E10 / TO50R / E19 / E12R / E61 // XTAR: PB2 Charger // Mods: 1 / 2 // TIR: 1 / 2 // Others: Biscotti 3 + 1*7135 / Triple TIR w/ XP-G2 /// My Collection /// My Review’s Blog (PT) /// OL Contest 2019 /// GIVEAWAY: 1 / 2

gchart
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I’ve asked for Low to be lower, 1-3 lumens. And for direct access via long-press from Off.

I’m sure this is harder to change, but I also mentioned to them that the end-button is more awkward to use than side-button.

I think the headlamp is great as-is, but these things could make it a huge hit.

MascaratumB
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gchart wrote:
I’ve asked for Low to be lower, 1-3 lumens. And for direct access via long-press from Off.

I’m sure this is harder to change, but I also mentioned to them that the end-button is more awkward to use than side-button.

I think the headlamp is great as-is, but these things could make it a huge hit.


Thank you Wink
And I have the same opinion, this may be a big hit budget headlamp Wink

[REVIEWS] ACEBEAM: H20 / TK16 // AMUTORCH: S3 / S3 vs 219c / AM30 / AX1 / VG10 // BLITZWOLF: BW-ET1 // BRINYTE: T28 / PT18pro / PT28 // DQG: AA Slim Ti // FIREFLIES: ROT66 GEN II // HC-LIGHTS: SS AAA // KLARUS: XT1C // LIVARNOLUX: 314791 // LUMINTOP: Tool AA V2.0 + Tool 25 // NITEFOX: UT20 / ES10K / K3 // ODEPRO: KL52 / B108 // OLIGHT: M2R Warrior / OW Mini // ON THE ROAD: M1 / i3 / M3 Pro / 311 / Z821 / i5 // ROVYVON: A2 + A5R / E300S / A8 / A23 / E200u // SKILHUNT: M150 / M200 // SOFIRN: SF14 + SP10A / SP32A / SP10B // WUBEN: TO10R / E05 / T70 / E10 / TO50R / E19 / E12R / E61 // XTAR: PB2 Charger // Mods: 1 / 2 // TIR: 1 / 2 // Others: Biscotti 3 + 1*7135 / Triple TIR w/ XP-G2 /// My Collection /// My Review’s Blog (PT) /// OL Contest 2019 /// GIVEAWAY: 1 / 2

aswang
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gchart wrote:
I’ve asked for Low to be lower, 1-3 lumens. And for direct access via long-press from Off.

I’m sure this is harder to change, but I also mentioned to them that the end-button is more awkward to use than side-button.

I think the headlamp is great as-is, but these things could make it a huge hit.

Thanks gchart. Those would be great improvements. Although I’d also like to keep the 12 lm low mode in addition to the 1-3 lumens (or even lower) ultra low/moonlight mode. I think that would be ideal.

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The steel clip IMHO appears to be an improvement over some others provided by other mfg’s.

May end up getting the light to add to my right-angle tube light collection (for the time being, EagleEye X1R). Definitely could use a moonlight low mode.

I’ve got a thrower, a flooder, and an EDC too. Still looking for a bigger thrower, flooder, and a new EDC, give or take a few. I’m a flashaholic.

leftdisconnected
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aswang wrote:
I’d also like to keep the 12 lm low mode in addition to the 1-3 lumens (or even lower) ultra low/moonlight mode. I think that would be ideal.

+1. However, if they can reduce Low to 3lm or so, that would be acceptable. The spec is 5lm, but gchart measures 12lm, so it definitely needs to come down.

The button position can’t really be changed and that’s okay for this iteration as Sofirn tends to go to “v2” within a few months Silly .

MicroUSB is a terrible connector, but unavoidable at this price. I won’t use it, anyway. Surprisingly, I do sometimes use the USB-C charging on my Astrolux FT03, mainly because it’s faster than my “real” charger. I think built-in charging is great for muggles that can get everything they need in one kit, but I’d gladly trade it for a better UI or an extra strap (they wear out quickly, though I’m still using some 16 years old).

Thanks goodness there’s no SOS Thumbs Up , especially one in the main sequence! There’s a special place in hell for companies that put any bright flashing mode there.

The AliExpress page adds Sofirn’s “3000mAh” 18650 to the kit for $3 more. Nooner found the cell to be a DLG that 59 reported to be similar to the LG MH1. That’s not a high-drain cell, but $3 is fair enough. Note that Sofirn’s protected “3400mAh” cell was found to be the exact same battery.

Too bad we can’t have Narsil or Anduril on everything Wink . Budget drivers likely don’t use ATtinys, but a man can dream.

I need a new headlamp and would love to buy a Sofirn, so… firmware improvement would be nice and a group buy would be awesome.


Summarized:

  1. Lowest level < 5lm (headlamps need Moon mode!)
  2. Hold from Off —> Moon/Low (need instant access to lowest mode!)

If #2 is unreasonable, what about disabling mode memory and always starting at Moon/Low? 3-mode lights don’t really need memory and turbo is always available.

RobAllen

leftdisconnected
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leftdisconnected wrote:
I also agree that headlamp buttons should be on top or bottom, as I tend to grab the body with my thumb (underneath) and forefinger (on top) to use the switch. A button on the end works well when hand-holding, but not while on the head strap.

If the button is easy enough to press, you might be able to grab the sides of the head with thumb (under) and middle finger (top) and use the forefinger to press the button. Maybe. I can see how the button works best on the end from a design and manufacturing point of view, since there’s likely room for it to be recessed and the overall appearance is cleaner. It also gives access down the axis of the tube, which might be useful during assembly?

RobAllen

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Meanwhile I have also received my SP40. It's nice of Sofirn to include the 18350 battery tube. However, I also asked Sofirn to forward some suggestions to improve the UI, e.g. a hidden moonlight mode (long press from OFF) as well as a better configuration for the indicator LED. As far as I was told, they will forward my feedback to Barry.

 

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nice shorty light.

if it have moon mode around 1 lumens + ramping UI then im all over it Smile

Nico -.-

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gchart wrote:
I’ve asked for Low to be lower, 1-3 lumens. And for direct access via long-press from Off.

too high, it should be 0.3-1.0lm certainly not more then 1lm.

virence.com Nichia E21A sw30+sw40 Wizard Pro ; Skilhunt H03 XP-E2 660nm Photo Red ; Wizard Pro E21A 2000K ; S2+ E21A sw40 d220 (for sale)

 

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Thank you!
And the Sofirn SP40 headlamp kit are available on Amazon US, get one with 30% off code NOW! Please PM, if you are interested.

More information, please check this amazon link: Sofirn SP40

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By the way, thank you all for comment your thoughts and suggestions. Thumbs Up Thumbs Up
We appreciated it a lot.

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sunsethiker wrote:
[...] Edit. Does the button light stay on? This seems like it would be very annoying if the light was clipped to front of jacket.

I confirm that the button light always stays on. It's pretty bright, so some people may feel distracted/disturbed by it.

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[quote=Sofirn]By the way, thank you all for comment your thoughts and suggestions. Thumbs Up Thumbs Up
We appreciated it a lot.[/quote

Please make it happen and I will buy a couple Smile

I’m sure it will be hot sale if u listen to customers. Smile

Nico -.-

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Sofirn wrote:
By the way, thank you all for comment your thoughts and suggestions. Thumbs Up Thumbs Up We appreciated it a lot.

Yeah, looking forward for a dedicated,modern headlamp that one day will be most wanted…

In search of the most ideal flashlight in town:
1. BRIGHTNESS
2. Durabillity
3. Design
4. Quality
5. Price$$$

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Di_Joker wrote:
If possible, please build a temperature graph starting in Hi-450Lm(536Lm) mode .

Sorry for the delay… here ya go.

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Seems like this is a winner over the Convoy. But, I have my Lumzoo and a Boruit D10, and I already don’t use them Innocent

Old Lumens Contest 2020 - Hand-made light category

ZL SC62(w) | Jaxman E2L XP-G2 5A | Purple S2+ XPL-HI U6-3A | D4 w/ Luxeon V | RRT-01 | Purple FW3A, 4000K SST20 | Baton S1
Boruit D10 w/ Quadrupel Fet+1/Anduril | EagTac D25C Ti | DQG Slim AA Ti | Jaxman E3 | UF-T1 by CRX | Olight S15 Ti | Nitecore EX11.2
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Supfire M6 3xXHP50.2, Sofirn C8F, Unfinished: Sofirn SP70, IYP07/Tool AAA hot-rods, Jetbeam E3S
Others: Nitecore EC23 | Nebo Twyst | Streamlight ProTac 1AA | TerraLux LightStar 100

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Wait, why is regulation on high mode quite poor?

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

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BlueSwordM wrote:
Wait, why is regulation on high mode quite poor?

I didn't catch that, but yes. It looks like a thermal throttle at first, but I can't figure out why the output continues dropping past 300 lumens. I'd expect the battery, at 3500mAh, to last longer on high. Maybe not, though. 

Do we have to ask gchart for a temperature vs. voltage vs. output runtime graph now? Evil

Old Lumens Contest 2020 - Hand-made light category

ZL SC62(w) | Jaxman E2L XP-G2 5A | Purple S2+ XPL-HI U6-3A | D4 w/ Luxeon V | RRT-01 | Purple FW3A, 4000K SST20 | Baton S1
Boruit D10 w/ Quadrupel Fet+1/Anduril | EagTac D25C Ti | DQG Slim AA Ti | Jaxman E3 | UF-T1 by CRX | Olight S15 Ti | Nitecore EX11.2
L6 XHP70.2 P2 4000K FET+7135 | Jaxman M8 | MF02 | Jaxman Z1 CULNM1.TG | Blue S2+ w/ ML Special | Thrunite T10Tv2
Supfire M6 3xXHP50.2, Sofirn C8F, Unfinished: Sofirn SP70, IYP07/Tool AAA hot-rods, Jetbeam E3S
Others: Nitecore EC23 | Nebo Twyst | Streamlight ProTac 1AA | TerraLux LightStar 100

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Yes, and bypass the springs if possible.
The driver may see a lower voltage drop that way.
On high, it shouldn’t be a problem, but on turbo with active cooling(running), should help.

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

gchart
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Scallywag wrote:
Do we have to ask gchart for a temperature vs. voltage vs. output runtime graph now? Evil

That’s a bit much (I didn’t measure voltage), but here’s what I’ve got. Realistically, Turbo and High are the same thing except for the first few minutes, you get an extra burst in Turbo.

I haven’t done a disassembly yet, but it sounds like that might be in order. I’m curious as to what kind of driver this is using (linear, buck, or current-limiting resistor). Based on those curves, I’m almost wondering if it’s just a current-limiting resistor. Question

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