[Review] Tacklife LFL3A - A killer Buy

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jeff51
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[Review] Tacklife LFL3A - A killer Buy

A really – really good deal on a 26650 thrower.

I was alerted by this thread started by FromShadowlands
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/71527

It started life at $8.99 !! When I placed the order it was $10.99 on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DS7PLTB/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_...
Most of the Amazon reviews are for a second Tacklife zoomie light.
Why Amazon feels the need to mix reviews for different products is beyond me.

It comes nicely boxed.

We are informed that it’s supposed to be 1300L, for 6Hrs, with stormy weather ahead.

Inside we find the light, 26650 cell (protected I assume), Micro USB Charging cable, instructions, warranty card, and the ever-present lanyard.

Compared To
It is a bit longer than a C8 and quite a bit longer than a WOWTAC A4 V2.
It is heavier than both of them

The head is larger in diameter than both other lights.

It has a nifty charging system. Unscrew the tail cap and one finds – another tail cap?
The second cap contains the tail switch and light control electronics.
Inside are LEDs that indicated battery state and charge state (when charging).

Dememtions
Length: 170mm
Head Diameter: 55mm
Lens Diameter: 44mm
Head Length: 23mm
Grip area: 33mm
Tail Cap Diameter: 36mm

Weight with Battery: 12.7oz

An exploded view taken from the Amazon add

The UI
First click to High.
Second click to Medium (within about 5 seconds of first click)
Third click to Low (within about 5seconds of the second click)
Fourth click to Off (within about 5 seconds of the third click)

From any brightness (after the 5 second pause) One click to Off

A trick noted by posters in the above thread.
On High – press and hold (before 5 seconds), the light will dim to medium and turn off.
The next click will start in Medium.
The same trick works in Medium. Press and hold (within 5 sec), the light will dim to Low and turn off.
The next click will start in Low.

Kind of annoying but at least you can trick the light into starting in something other than high.
Double click gets the blinkies. I’ve never turned them on.

Note that others have found inconsistencies in the click and hold trick.

Lumens
Using a Samsung 21700 40T so as not to limit current –
On my almost calibrated Lumen Tube I measured:
Low: 108L
Medium: 413L (Turn On), 419L (30s) (??)
High: 867L (Turn On), 845L (30s), 838L (60s), 465L (18m).
Turning it off and on will jump the light back to full bright after it dims on high.

Run Times
Using the included Tacklife branded 26650 cell.
First 13 minutes

As you can see High is steady until about the 2m mark then it ramps down to a little less than 500L.
Turning it off and back into high yields the same behavior.
Notice the high amount of noise or chatter in the Lumen value. I don’t think this is a problem with my setup.

High Mode Full Runtime

After the High mode step down, the output is not well controlled and decreases slowly for about 5 hours.
Then the output drops off sharply as the battery depletes. At about 6 hours it’s nearly done with useful light.
I let it run overnight. The next day the light was out. Clicking it back on gave a moderate amount of light, I had stopped the logger (duh!) but it was like maybe 45L.
It ran and got steadily dimmer until the LED was just barely glowing.

Low Voltage Safety
After the overnight data log and light shut off – the battery was sitting at 3.05v. Kind of low for my thinking. Not sure what the light quit at and how much was a recovery.
I turned it back on and let it run until the LED was just a pale glimmer.
Checking the voltage and YIKES!! – 2.49v. WAY too low.
I stuck the charging cable in PDQ.
I feel the dendrites growing in my soul.

Temperature
Using my moderately calibrated hand, it only get warm running on high.
I don’t know if this is a result of the heavy head or poor heat transfer.
The above mentioned thread had some pics of the parts.
The WOWTAC A4 V2 running in high mode at about 1000L gets branding iron hot quickly.

Beam Pattern

As you can see the main spill is about 40 degrees to each side. The center spot is about 20 degrees.
There is some ringing just outside the hot spot.

Current
I could only measure high (sorta) because all the control stuff is in the tail. So this is a false reading because the tail cap electronics modulates the light. Lucky I didn’t fry anything.
I got 2.82 amps using the Samsung cell that was at 3.96 volts.

Battery

The included Tacklifebranded is battery is 70mm long with a slightly protruding flat top. I assume there is protection circuitry in there. Just hefting the battery, it’s got some weight to it.
It’s rated at 5000mAh. LIES!

On the LiitoKala

Mine tested to 5451mAh (!) and 91mOhms. Others in the above mentioned thread have all gotten batteries that test better than 5 amps.
This is certainly truly excellent performance in a “batteries included” $11.00 light.
I’ll retest it again after a while to see if it holds up.

Note that the protection circuit never kicked in during the second rundown test.
The battery voltage went below what is considered safe for Li-Ions as far as damage to the battery is concerned.

In Light Charging
After the run where the voltage dropped 2.49v, I plugged in the USB charging cable PDQ. It ran all afternoon and was still showing red at quitting time.
I took home and plugged it in again. The voltage was at 3.85. The in light charger was drawing .69 amps.
Eventually it turned green and I checked the battery – 4.04v. A might low but plenty safe.
The light was pulling .49a at this time.
An hour later the green was still lit and the light was pulling .25a.
Another hour passes and the light is pulling .22a.
30m later and the light is no longer pulling current through the USB port.

I pulled the battery. 4.24v YIKES again!
I turned the light to low so as to draw down the battery voltage.
The moral here is to not let the light sit charging for very long after the charge indicator turns green.
I’d rather give up some run time in favor of longer battery life.

PWM
A light is useless if the PWM is nasty. The Tacklife passes with flying waveforms.

PWM Low

PWM is 31.8Khz with a Duty Cycle of 10.5%

PWM Medium

PWM 31.8Khz with a Duty Cycle of 37.3%

PWM High

PWM 31.8Khz with a Duty Cycle of 76.4%

None of these is even close to being visible to mere eyeballs.

Impressions
This is one stout feeling light. It fits the hand well,

The light is not the only thing that’s stout. The button on the rear is the firmest press I’ve ever felt on a flashlight. Others in the Amazon reviews and the BLF thread mention how hard the button is to press.
I get the impression that some maybe harder than the one I’ve got.

The crenelations/slots cut into the head make a good place to rest a thumb while holding the light. They also prevent the light from rolling on a flat surface.

The other thread has info about mods.
Lightbringer recommends adding diffusion to mutate it from a thrower into a nice flood. I tried that and it works well.

The threads and O-rings on the two tail caps had some lube fresh from the box on mine. Others found none. Mine needed a bit more to work smoothly.

The USB port is about as well sealed as can be. Me thinks this is a light that can stand up to hash conditions.
The only question – how sturdy are the electronics are in the inner tail cap?
We shall wait on someone to try some destructive tests.

Recommendations?
Really, at $11 – this is a:
“Shut Up and Take My Money” Moment in Budget lights.
Just go ahead and click the darn button and order one.

The only real bummer is the poor design of the battery control circuit. It allows the battery to be drained below and charged above what are considered safe limits.
Care needs to be exercised to prevent battery damage.
Other than that it’s a good light to gift to muggles thinks I.
Hopefully users will be clever enough to charge the thing when the power button turns red or the light dims before going too dark.
Then pull the charger off after the indicator turns green and not let it sit for hours.

All the Best,
Jeff

Sudsy
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Great review! Thanks for all of the info. I had been especially curious to learn if the internals were smart enough to protect the battery from low and high voltage. I’ll be careful and enjoy using this one. Thanks.

CNCman
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Thanks for your hard work preparing a detailed review Thumbs Up
This guy will make Great Xmas gifts at a Great price ! Plus I want one for me too Evil

CNC & Manual Machinist. Think outside the box too long , cannot find your way back in.

Never give up, Never surrender. Make someone Smile today.

Lightbringer
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Balls. Thought they were back in stock or something.

These beasties are built like tanks, and even though they’re rather throwy with a hateful little G3 and all its multicolor rainbow vomited into the beam, some diffusion film works absolute wonders and makes it an excellent a perfect around-the-house light.

No need for adhesive on the film, either. Just cut it using the nice beefy thick glass as a template, then slap it between glass and reflector and screw it back together again.

One thing I did notice, though, is that it eats through that 5500mAH pretty quickly. Dunno if it’s parasitic drain or it just sucks down a lot on high (I rarely multiple-click it down when using it), but I’ve had to recharge it a few times so far, when I can go ages without charging some other lights.

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jeff51
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LB, I haven’t charged mine since I first tested it. Used it some since then. So like 5 months ago.
Checked the battery and it is sitting at 3.98v.
Less than I expected, but who knows.
I made note of the date and will check again after a while.
Maybe you just got a flakey battery.
How long does it take for your battery to drain?

Yeah, when i saw the update, I was hopeing they were back in stock.
A great light for muggle gifting. Or stashing around different places.

Flightless22, nice breakdown..
All the best,
Jeff

Lightbringer
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jeff51 wrote:
LB, I haven’t charged mine since I first tested it. Used it some since then. So like 5 months ago.

Checked the battery and it is sitting at 3.98v.

Less than I expected, but who knows.

I made note of the date and will check again after a while.

Maybe you just got a flakey battery.

How long does it take for your battery to drain?

Being that it always comes on in “turbo” (and does noticeably dim after a few minutes of use, dunno if intentional stepdown or the LED just heats up enough to get dimmer), I always end up using it full blast. Usually it’s going on a blood-hunt after a skeeter makes me itchy, so that can last a while.

Maybe I just use it more than I realise. Most other lights I usually fire up on low, so the Tacklife is the notable exception.

I got my Ope nearby, so I might just test the cell again. It clocked in at well over 5k when I got it, so that shouldn’t‘ve changed.

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bikenber73
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I thought they were on sale again!
Oh well 3 is company.
Cheers!

Lightbringer
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Just clocked in at 5380mAH on the Ope, at 1A, so no issues with the cell.

Maybe I just use it a lot without realising it, unno.

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mrstealyourgains
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They also make a 2×18650 headlamp with batteries included according to the Q&A:
https://www.amazon.com/Headlamp-Tacklife-Rechargeable-Waterproof-Includi...

It was $8 for awhile, but now its up to $20:
https://camelcamelcamel.com/product/B07C8HQ5KC