[Review] Convoy Z1 - good zoomie, finally. (SST40, Biscotty, 2000lumens, 5000k, 21700, stabilization)

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Lumeniac
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[Review] Convoy Z1 - good zoomie, finally. (SST40, Biscotty, 2000lumens, 5000k, 21700, stabilization)

that is Narmattaru. I changed forum nickname according to my channel name

What does an ordinary person do when wants to buy a flashlight? Goes to aliexpress, types in “powerful bright flashlight” and gets in the search results just such a coprophilic selection.

See how many zoomie flashlights are there. And specs promise crazy brightness and battery capacity. So, soon time affter, buyer unpacks parcel and thinks “I took 20,000 lumens for 10 bucks! i am damn smart!not like all sorts of fools who pay as much as $ 30 for Sofirn \ Convoy “(not to mention more famous brands). What I mean. Structurally and in terms of light, almost everything (there are a couple of rare exceptions such as Gryphon G20 or Fenix ​​FD), all lense flashlights are outright rubbish, the purchase of which can be justified only by a penny price and once in month sort of use.

I told and showed in detail about what accompanies flashlights with a lens in my guide for choosing flashlights. I will not dwell on the details chewed up there, I will just say that the zoom devices only deceptively promise the universality of light for a penny price. In reality they lose to ordinary pocket flashlights both in close and far range.

Unexpectedly, Convoy has expanded its assortment with such a flashlight. A sort of pull-up – a head with a zoom pulls it into the primitive swamp of the times of 2200mah 18650, and quite a fresh and vigorous bundle of SST40 LEDs and 21700 power supplies inspires cautious optimism to a potential buyer as well. What will win in the end? Blind Cyclopian eye lenses or trendy giblets? And if it doesn’t win, then what is better to buy?

buy Convoy Z1 at ALIEXPRESS
BANGGOOD and GEARBEST ask way more for it )

i also can recomment best battery store ever – NKON.NL
i buy batteries there for years

LED: 1 * luminus SST40 (6500 \ 5000K)
FLUX: max 2000lm
Mode: 4 modes 0.1% -3% -30% -100% / 12groups
Mode memory: yes
Battery: 1 * 21700/18650 (not included)
Material: aluminum alloy
Color: Black
Switch type: reverse
Lens: Convex lens (high borosilicate glass)
Diameter: head 52mm / tail 28.2mm
Length: 135.8mm (zoom in) /149.5mm (zoom out)

Package and appearance

By the standards of Convoy, the packaging is the top-end. Namely, the well-known thick-walled beige cardboard with a sticker indicating the model name and color temperature.

There is a generous set inside: Z1 itself and a lanyard.

The lanyard, although cheap, is not bad.

Convoy Z1 itself looks pretty good though. I especially liked the matte anodizing. The design is really simple, here Convoy does not change itself, but this is a pleasant simplicity.



And even such a simple design looks like a baroque Versailles luxury against the background of a mongrel freak, the most popular sub-flashlight – crappy Ultrafire LED T6 Zoom. Here, by the way, you can evaluate the dimensions of Z1 in both focal lengths, where the length of the Convoy Z1 varies from 135 to 150mm.


There is only one eyelet for the lanyard, the button is very nice, metal. The stroke is soft with a light click.

On the reverse side of the medium thickness, a bridged spring. By the way, there are many complaints about the quality of the shunt soldering. If you are interested, it is better to re-solder it yourself so that it does not chip off.

Medium thread is lubricated well

The knurling is very tenacious. Not a rasp, but it sits in the hand like a glove. And the grip itself is quite comfortable.



The cooling fins are quite good. Although, as you will see later, their efficiency should not be overestimated.

Then the fun begins. The only way I know of to achieve at least normal light distribution in a zoom lens is a movable TIR lens.

This is how it looks in a cheap analogue – Sofirn S11 (which died soon after i turned it on. so – dont recommend)


The convoy Z1 has the simplest lense possible – the usual aspherical. As a result, it sticks out of the head of the lantern as giant eye.

There is SST40 LED under it.


The bezel can be easily removed


As for the lens movement mechanism itself, here it goes along the thread. Although the zoomies are poorly waterproof, this model is ok – there are O-rings in the appropriate places.



At this stage, there is nothing to complain about, except that I already understand that the use of an aspheric lens will obviously give a worse light in comparison with TIR optics.

UI

Well-known biscotti interface. In general, this system is quite flexible and convenient for everyday purposes. As a rule, all you need is to see which group of modes will be optimal for you, choose it and that`s it.

I usually choose # 2 or # 10.

No. 12 is good for hunting.

Choosing a good flashlight with a lens: Convoy Z1 SST40 vs Ultrafire LED T6

Convoy Z1 illumination

There are 2 advantages over Ultrafire: color temperature and significantly higher brightness.

Whatever they say in the specifications, the maximum that can be counted on in the latter is about 300 lumens and in the photo below you can see that at maximum brightness of Ultrafire is only symbolically brighter than 10%

The Convoy Z1 has a 55 degree thermal cut off. So, 100% mode here works like a classic turbo – the brightness is kept for about a minute, then it rapidly dives to half. So there is no reason to count on constant 100%. I am specifying this specifically for fans of zoomie flashlights, who, as a rule, dont really know how flashlights work.

The working maximum modes here will be either 50% or 35%. But they will be fully stabilized and significantly brighter than the same Ultrafire, whose brightness will still be systematically falling into nowhere.

tests were made with 4000mah battery. i recommend 4800mah 21700 battery

currents: 100% 4.4A (i couldnt measure high amperage properly, it should be around 6A) | 35% 2.1A | 10% 0.6A | 1% 0.047A | 0.1% 0.001A

As for the light distribution, then everything is disgusting as usually. Nevertheless, people with alternative tastes find both the evenly flooded circle falling off into the dark and the “throwy” square as delightfully comfortable.

There are two important clarifications about Ultrafire and other craps like it:
1) at short focus, lower modes are useless, they will not be able to achieve practical brightness over the entire area of ​​the circle. Prepare for increased battery drain at 100%.
2) due to specific optics, most of the luminous flux is lost at the far “long-range” focus. Such loss may almost 70%! Well, the veined square itself does not add joy either.

Therefore, it turned out that a completely ordinary and purely short-range S + in its most budget version on xml-2 4×7135 gave almost immediately the same throw as stinking ultrafire. And at the same time, S2+ can also be used at close range light with much more comfort than an all these zoomies with T6

As a result, if we take the near and far focus as 0 and 100, then more or less you can use it in the range of + 15-85. That is, all the versatility comes to naught, and the flashlight already works like an average mid-range model, where there are lots of significantly more convenient competitors.


In the case of the Convoy Z1, the situation has become much better and the flashlight can be used normally already by 10%, by 35% it becomes generally quite acceptable. For zoomie, of course.

But, nevertheless, a more or less acceptable picture becomes if you push lense somewhere at 4/5. In this case, the flashlight becomes a kind of between mid\far range model.

Throw, by the way, is quite good. This surprised me as I expected worse. I think you can get around 200m throw .


and much more alive performance in this video review

OVERALL impressions

The Convoy Z1 is WAY better than the Ultrafire. It has a modern bright SST40 LED with normal color temperature, full stabilization and good control. And it looks much better.

However, speaking of the brightness, it is worth clarifying that in reality you have to rely on a maximum of 50% – the maximum is quite good, but it drops after a minute. The light distribution at both ends is as poor (for my taste) as the unnamed ultrafires. 21700 battery is not an advantage here, since the sh1tfires can also store it.

What’s left in the bottom line? If you fundamentally need to buy an LED flashlight with a lens from aliexpress, then, yes – the Convoy Z1 will be BEST option. The question is that fans of this kind of flashlights, in the exceptional majority of cases, are not ready to pay more than 10 bucks for a flashlight, and no matter what advantages the Z1 has, they will most likely buy a deliberate sh1t purely because it is cheap. Fans of models with LEDs labeled XHP90 \ XHP100 (only these letters are in common with the original Cree LEDs) will still, I am sure, continue to buy all this slag purely because the sellers draw frankly insane brightness numbers in specs.

In short, so. The Convoy Z1 is as good as possible for an aspherical lens lens.

It shines well into the distance and in high modes gives a wide bright circle for near range use. But I still think that it is more justified to take some kind of mid-range Convoy S11 \ S12. They are much more convenient and practical at close range, and can even somehow throw to about 150 meters.

Edited by: Lumeniac on 09/01/2020 - 03:35
MascaratumB
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Ah, I was remembering the name from somewhere Silly It was the YT name of the channel Wink

Thanks for the review! Thumbs Up

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d_t_a
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I just got a Convoy Z1 SST40 5000k, 12-groups variant.

I notice that when twisting the head to zoom in and out, produces a noisy squeaking sound -- just wondering for those who also have the Z1, does your unit also have this noisy zooming in and out?   Any idea how to fix it (I suppose need to place some lubricant or oil somewhere -- but I'm not sure where?

 

video of Convoy Z1 with squeaking sound while twisting to zoom in and out:

Lumeniac
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suppse u have to add some lubrication

 

mine does no sound at all

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I’ll get mine in a week hopefully and I’ll dismantle it. I might install a Osram to see how far it throws.

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Lumeniac wrote:

suppse u have to add some lubrication


 


mine does no sound at all

I probably sound quite ignorant… but where do I apply the lubricant (just outside the zooming head portion?) and what kind of lubricant is safe to do? Do you think it will squeak again when the lubricant dries up? Or is my unit just not properly assembled causing the movable zooming parts to rub against each other?

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I don’t have the Z1, but I think a drop or two of Mineral Oil could help. It seems to be a threaded zoooming head right. Not sure if you have the Super Lube brand locally, but I think Mineral Oil is the same thing?

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Nice review Lumeniac. Another great flashlight from Simon at Convoy.

I’d rather use my flashlight around the house than turn on the lights.

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caramba wrote:
I don’t have the Z1, but I think a drop or two of Mineral Oil could help. It seems to be a threaded zoooming head right. Not sure if you have the Super Lube brand locally, but I think Mineral Oil is the same thing.

Super Lube is a synthetic lubricant vs mineral oil is petroleum. Synthetic lubricant seems to be a better choice for flashlights due to the O-rings.

I’d rather use my flashlight around the house than turn on the lights.

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NeutralFan wrote:
caramba wrote:
I don’t have the Z1, but I think a drop or two of Mineral Oil could help. It seems to be a threaded zoooming head right. Not sure if you have the Super Lube brand locally, but I think Mineral Oil is the same thing.

Super Lube is a synthetic lubricant vs mineral oil is petroleum. Synthetic lubricant seems to be a better choice for flashlights due to the O-rings.

You are totally right, I thought the H-3 Lightweight Oil was basically Mineral Oil.

which Superlube do you use? synthetic with PTFE Syncolon?

By the way, I think petroleum Jelly destroys rubber O-rings, does that mean Petroleum Mineral Oil destroy them as well?

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Super Lube doesn’t harm o-rings. As a rule, anything that’s petroleum based is harmful to o-rings (including mineral oil). I use Super lube because it’s dielectric, doesn’t dry out, non toxic, and won’t harm o-rings. You can also use silicone paste (expensive and hard to find sometimes) or Mobil 1 full synthetic grease if you can’t get Super Lube or silicone paste.

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I bought the above XY-2 multi-purpose lubricating grease years ago, it also is marketed for flashlights:

It's the same product. Why are they listing it twice with two different prices? God knows (some slip-up, of course).

Needless to say it works super and o-rings are unharmed by it. Pretty affordable, too. Smile 

 

Thanks for the Z1 review. I like it. Aspherics for the win. Big Smile

However, 2K lumens? Seriously? Who is going to believe that?

At (close to) 6A of current drive an SST-40 can barely output 2K lumens with good cooling. Considering this flashlight may output close to 70% of the emitter lumens out the front when in flood, a more correct figure would probably be 1300 lumens. Probably.

Could you please measure the lens diameter (with and without edges), Lumeniac?

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d_t_a wrote:

I just got a Convoy Z1 SST40 5000k, 12-groups variant.

I notice that when twisting the head to zoom in and out, produces a noisy squeaking sound

- Unscrew bezel
- Remove lens
- apply a little lube to the thread inside the head

Don’t unscrew the head so far it comes off the inner threads otherwise the oring comes out. I spent 2 hours trying to figure out how to put it back, tore 5 orings until I figured it out.

Texas Ace Lumen Tube calibrated with maukka lights

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d_t_a
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Funtastic wrote:
d_t_a wrote:

I just got a Convoy Z1 SST40 5000k, 12-groups variant.

I notice that when twisting the head to zoom in and out, produces a noisy squeaking sound

- Unscrew bezel
- Remove lens
- apply a little lube to the thread inside the head

Don’t unscrew the head so far it comes off the inner threads otherwise the oring comes out. I spent 2 hours trying to figure out how to put it back, tore 5 orings until I figured it out.

I asked Simon about my squeaky Z1, and he mentioned it could be a misalignment somewhere..

Unfortunately, your message is a bit late — I’ve already unscrewed the head, and am not able to place the o-ring properly.
Without the o-ring instead, there is no squeaky sound. But similar to what you mentioned – I couldn’t properly place the o-ring (it gets very tight, tried several times without success, until the o-ring got torn. Sad

Anyway, without the o-ring, there’s no squeaky sound anymore (I did apply some Xtar flashlight lubricant, so that could have helped too).

I wonder if it’s possible to find the same size o-ring inside the Z1…

Also, can you mention how to properly place the o-ring inside the screw head (if I’m able to get a replacement o-ring next time)?

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So, the o-ring placement inside the Z1's head is somehow tricky. Funtastic, if you were so glad to provide us with the o-ring size (outside diameter plus thickness, for example), people here would be grateful for it. At least d_t_a is going to be, as he will be able to order spare o-rings (very easy to come by in AliExpress).

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Barkuti wrote:

So, the o-ring placement inside the Z1’s head is somehow tricky. Funtastic, if you were so glad to provide us with the o-ring size (outside diameter plus thickness, for example), people here would be grateful for it. At least d_t_a is going to be, as he will be able to order spare o-rings (very easy to come by in AliExpress).

I need to get a proper replacement from Simon, I just used a spare one from a Sofirn SP32A, tjis was much smaller.

I’ll take photos tonight or a video of installation

You place the oring on the lower ledge below where the head slides when zooming. Move the head down so it’s just over the lip and then push oring into place, you’ll feel it pop into its slot.

Screw up the head very very slowly and stop every mm and make sure the oring remains in its slot or it’ll tear.

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Understood. Also, once an o-ring is severely damaged or destroyed it can be hard to get a proper measurement of it.

A bit of lubricant can help with o-ring installations.

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Barkuti wrote:


A bit of lubricant can help with o-ring installations.

I used lubricant first and ended up wiping if off and reinstalling it, you don’t want lube all over the tube when the head is extended.

Maybe I just used too much

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I hear you Funtastic. Many of us may hold related incorrect beliefs like “more is better” or “better in excess than short of”, but just the right amount is always the best option.

It's easy to go over the line when applying lubricant, but then we'll have to clean up more.

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Funtastic wrote:
Barkuti wrote:

So, the o-ring placement inside the Z1’s head is somehow tricky. Funtastic, if you were so glad to provide us with the o-ring size (outside diameter plus thickness, for example), people here would be grateful for it. At least d_t_a is going to be, as he will be able to order spare o-rings (very easy to come by in AliExpress).

I need to get a proper replacement from Simon, I just used a spare one from a Sofirn SP32A, tjis was much smaller.

I’ll take photos tonight or a video of installation

You place the oring on the lower ledge below where the head slides when zooming. Move the head down so it’s just over the lip and then push oring into place, you’ll feel it pop into its slot.

Screw up the head very very slowly and stop every mm and make sure the oring remains in its slot or it’ll tear.

I believe I did that part right – o-ring on the lower ledge below where the head slides. But there wasn’t any “pop into the slot” (either I did it incorrectly, or my o-ring really has an issue.. ). I’ve asked Simon about the replacement o-ring.

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Received another order of 13pcs and all squeak. This is extremely annoying to have to disassemble them all and add lubricant. Some didn’t have an issue until I played with it for a bit and then the squeaking starts.

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Is the strobe on the Biscotti-like interface constant frequency or alternating frequency?

d_t_a
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stephenk wrote:
Is the strobe on the Biscotti-like interface constant frequency or alternating frequency?

It’s an alternating fast-and-slow strobe on the Biscotti-clone.

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d_t_a wrote:
stephenk wrote:
Is the strobe on the Biscotti-like interface constant frequency or alternating frequency?

It’s an alternating fast-and-slow strobe on the Biscotti-clone.

Thanks for the info. That’s a shame, alternating frequency strobes kill sales to light painters.
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stephenk wrote:
d_t_a wrote:
stephenk wrote:
Is the strobe on the Biscotti-like interface constant frequency or alternating frequency?

It’s an alternating fast-and-slow strobe on the Biscotti-clone.

Thanks for the info. That’s a shame, alternating frequency strobes kill sales to light painters.

Just purchase another driver and change it

Texas Ace Lumen Tube calibrated with maukka lights

New Zealand store – https://www.piercingthedarkness.co.nz (NZ customers only)

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Funtastic wrote:
stephenk wrote:
d_t_a wrote:
stephenk wrote:
Is the strobe on the Biscotti-like interface constant frequency or alternating frequency?

It’s an alternating fast-and-slow strobe on the Biscotti-clone.

Thanks for the info. That’s a shame, alternating frequency strobes kill sales to light painters.

Just purchase another driver and change it

Or simply just buy a different light that had a constant frequency strobe!
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Yes, that would be the simplest of options Cool

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