Texas_Ace Review: Sofirn SP32 E-swtich XP-L2 V6, great light in stock form, the dual switch SP31 is better.

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Texas_Ace Review: Sofirn SP32 E-swtich XP-L2 V6, great light in stock form, the dual switch SP31 is better.

Ok, as ya’ll know I don’t usually do reviews but I was asked if I wanted to do a review of this light : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0716D3P5T/

I thought I was being offered the dual switch SP31 version which looked very interesting as I am a big fan of dual switch lights. Turned out to be the SP32 side-switch only version that I received. It was free though (well .27 cents but who’s counting lol) so I am not upset since I had some free time this weekend anyways.

You can see SoCalTiger’s review of the SP31 here: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/54566 The beamshots are the same as SoCalTiger’s and I don’t have any good location to take them myself, so I would recommend looking at his.

Now for the review of this light.

Overall I have to say it is a nice light for what it is.

It arrived in a standard cardboard box with the 2800ma protected button top cell based on a BAK cell (these are reasonably good quality cells out of china), basic usb charger and cable. No lanyard though which was kind of strange seeing as it has a lanyard hole.

Click any image for full size



First impressions after I took it “apart” and once tossing in a battery are it is quite nice. The UI’s only fault is that it is not Narsil, you really get spoiled once you have narsil. I like that it starts off in moon and goes up with no blinky or strobe modes.



It has mode memory so it will come on with a short click to whatever the last used mode was. If you long press to turn it on it always starts in moon mode which is a nice feature. Turning it off is the best they can with with a long press but without using narsil there is no real way around this.

The mode group is like this:

L > M > H > Turbo
With mode memory
Long click from off enters moon mode
Double click enters strobe mode

Mode spacing is pretty good, I am a big fan of 4 mode groups, mode then that is annoying IMHO.

It also have a nice ramp feature between mode changes much like bistro that gives it a nice feel. Although the ramp is just a tad slower then I would prefer personally but thats just personal preference.



I do wish I has the dual switch version, from tigers review it has exactly the UI I was hoping for with the power being controlled by the tailswitch and the modes by the e-switch.

The threads are nicely square cut and smooth. The springs are also nice and firm with enough give to fit either flat top or protected button top cells.

I wish the pocket clip was a deep carry clip but you can use an A6 / S41 clip on this light, although it doesn’t fit perfectly.


Now for the heart of the light, the LED. It uses an XP-L2 V6 LED which is quite nice. It is advertised as a 5000k tint (my guess is an Easywhite 3 bin) but due to how the XP-L2 looks the hotspot is a bit cooler at I would say ~5500k with a bit warmer corona. It doesn’t have the tint shift “ring” around the outside of the beam though, so that is real nice.

It also appears to be on a DTP copper star, although it was kind of hard to understand the translation.

The LED is classic low ~70cri, nothing special about colors from it other then things are not bright blue.

The heat is very manageable in this light as well, even on turbo it gets warm but not hot. This would be due to the moderate drive currents and efficient driver but it still manages over 1000 lumens while doing that is impressive.

The reflector is much like the A6 but appears to be a bit deeper and it is SMO instead of OP. I think an OP reflector would have been the better option in this case but the SMO works surprisingly well.

Side by side with the A6 3D the beam pattern is virtually the same (the A6 is a bit smoother due to the OP naturally) but the S1 3D tint actually looks green when compared with the SP31. I have to say, I actually prefer the SP31 beam over the A6.

The only real complaint I have with this light other then not being the dual switch version is the e-switch itself. It will sometimes not detect the click even though I can feel it click. So I have to press a bit harder to get it to detect the click. Not a major deal but a little annoying. EDIT: After talking to some others with this light and Sofirn I am pretty sure that my switch issues are a fluke with my sample light. It does not appear to be a common problem.

Now for some tech specs and measurements.

My interests tend to focus more on the technical aspects of a light then cosmetic, so naturally that is how my reviews will go as well. These numbers are off my sphere used for the LED tests in my sig along with my bench power supply for the driver tests.

This light is rated at 960 lumens on turbo. In my testing I got a bit over 1100 lumens at turbo on and it stabilized just under 1100 lumens by 30 seconds. Pretty nice to see a flashlight that is underrated instead of overrated!

Approx Lumens by mode (rounded slightly to make it easier to read)
Moon – 1
Low – 14
Medium – 140
High – 500
Turbo – 1100

The mode spacing is good, I like the moon to med spacing for sure, I setup my own lights with very similar spacing. High and turbo are a bit close together for my tastes. I personally go from ~150-200 lumens in med mode to ~1000 lumens in high on my lights and find it to work very well. Since they put moon mode in a septate section (aka, long click from off) I can see why they did it this way though.

The glass lens also appears to have some kind of AR coating. Not the best coating I have seen for sure but good to at least see the effort. The glass is very clear and I expect minimal losses from it.

This light is powered by a buck driver that can handle up to 6V input voltage (2x CR123) and does a really good job at keeping a constant regulated output. From 3.8v up to 6V it maintained almost exactly 10W of power output and held that until it stepped down from turbo mode after ~3 mins. This translates to around 2.8-3A on a DMM although for buck drivers Amps is not a very usable measurement.

After the first ~30 seconds of “minor stabilizing losses” the output remained almost unchanged until I stopped checking ~5 minutes later. This is a good sign the the heat path is good enough to not cause a drop in output while the driver maintains the current.

Around 3.7-3.8V the output increased slightly as it started to fall out of regulation. It then fell out of regulation entirely at ~3.6v. This is impressive, it then started to drop output with voltage but was still over 900 lumens at 3.5V.

Low voltage appears to start kicking in about as advertised at ~3.1V.

The parasitic drain is about 0.2ma, higher then I would like to see but not unacceptable. It should still get you over 1.5 years before draining the included battery and the battery it comes with is protected. This is another reason to get the dual switch version, it would have zero drain while off.

Overall this is a very good driver indeed. It just needs narsil and it would be great.

Now for the bad news, this light is good as it comes stock but sadly for most that is all it will ever be. Both the driver and reflector are glued down tight. You can see traces of the glue on the threads if you look close. I tried opening them up but it started to bend my pliers on the retaining ring. I really like the light and didn’t feel like damaging it to get it apart right now. This is disappointing for modders but a non-issue for everyone else.

Conclusion time

Overall I really like this light, after seeing this I want to try out an XP-L2 EDC light for myself. If this was the dual switch SP31 model I would even consider carrying this light as an EDC. I am not a fan of side switch only lights though, I feel it is too hard to find the switch in the dark when you need it. I always know where the tailswitch is on the other hand.

So if you want to get one of these, I highly recommend springing for the dual switch SP31 model. This would make a great gift for just about anyone. This set will handle 90% of lighting tasks people may need inside ~100ft.

I would put it above the A6 / S1 for your “normal person” since it doesn’t get burning hot in seconds and is much more practical due to this. Although it does give up a bit of output for this practicality but not enough to notice in most situations. I had to try them side by side to notice in the real world.

Also it is good to support a company that not only correctly rates the output of their lights but even under rates that. I am so tired of the bloated and overrated lights out there.

Edited by: Texas_Ace on 06/26/2017 - 09:45
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If people like this review and I have time I might consider doing a few more if the light interests me.

So if manufactures out there have something unique they would like me to review, let me know what it is and I will consider it.

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I have the SP-31, and you’re right, it’s a nice tube light. The one thing I really like about it is the low voltage warning. Like you said, flashes at 3v which you can click to turn off and keep using the light. Then at 2.8v it flashes then shuts off, but you can click again to continue using the light. Kind of nice in case you were in a situation where you absolutely needed some light. Better to kill a battery than be in trouble with no light source.

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How is the e-switch button on yours? I am curious if it being slightly hard to press on mine is normal or just mine.

I have to say, I really like the driver from what I can see. It appears to be pretty low resistance to maintain regulation until 3.6v and it regulates amazingly precise. If it used Narsil it would be basically perfect.

Being able to override the low voltage is a nice feature, I am a fan of this as long as it is very obvious to the user that the batteries are dead.

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Texas_Ace wrote:
How is the e-switch button on yours? I am curious if it being slightly hard to press on mine is normal or just mine.

I have to say, I really like the driver from what I can see. It appears to be pretty low resistance to maintain regulation until 3.6v and it regulates amazingly precise. If it used Narsil it would be basically perfect.

Being able to override the low voltage is a nice feature, I am a fan of this as long as it is very obvious to the user that the batteries are dead.

The switch on mine is easy to press with good feedback. The tail switch has momentary. And yes, one has to be completely oblivious not to see the low voltage warnings, especially the last one that flashes then shuts off your light. Great entry level light and pretty much a no-brainer for the price.

The tint is similar to this blf A6 NW (A6 on the left, SP-31 on right)

And a nice beam

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Good to know, so I guess it is just mine with the switch. It has a nice click, it just doesn’t always register a click when you feel it for some reason.

The beamshot is what I see as well, a slight green hue on the A6 vs the SP32.

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Texas_Ace wrote:
Good to know, so I guess it is just mine with the switch. It has a nice click, it just doesn’t always register a click when you feel it for some reason.

The switch is pretty flush with the body and isn’t raised up much, so maybe that’s it.

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Possible, I can clearly feel the click, it just doesn’t register it maybe 1 out of 10 times. Like I said, not a big deal but something I noticed.

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Thanks for the review Texas_Ace! That e-switch issue is a bum deal. I hope you get it worked out! I prefer side switch lights personally (if they’re working right) over tail switch. Yes, the side switch can take some time to find. But, I’m not expecting to ever really need to find it quickly. I’ve never had a dual switch light. It might be the best of both worlds and I’m just missing out! Silly

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The e-switch works fine 90% of the time, just misses a press every now and then. If I press a bit harder it works 100% of the time. Not really a big deal, just something worth mentioning in the interest of full disclosure.

When I do use my EDC light I can easily have to use it 10-20 times that night, I get annoyed if a few seconds are added each time I use it trying to find the button, just not the most efficient way of doing it but I get annoyed by things like that easier then most.

Dual switch is great, I love it on the few lights I own with it, which is why I was looking forward to reviewing an EDC sized dual switch.

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Does the tailcap thread lego with any other lights? If so, you could swap it to get a tail switch.

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I asked about this and tried it by unscrewing the cap to turn it off but the UI is different on the SP31 vs SP32. So on this light it is useless to have the tailswitch sadly.

It does actually lego with my S8 / S2 tailcaps though.

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Texas_Ace wrote:
I asked about this and tried it by unscrewing the cap to turn it off but the UI is different on the SP31 vs SP32. So on this light it is useless to have the tailswitch sadly.

It does actually lego with my S8 / S2 tailcaps though.


Well, I guess you could go full mod, changing the driver as well, and the LED if you so choose. If it were me, I’d just use the side switch and be happy or give it to someone who would. Wink

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I am gonna try it out as is for a little while but knowing me I will get tired of it at some point and risk damage to get it apart for some real power. Although hopefully the stock driver can be resistor modded for more power, I really like the idea of a good buck driver in a tube light. This driver held an amazingly consistent output, it appears to be well designed.

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The tailcap thread matches the S2, but I could not get the flashlight to light up when I swapped tailcaps.

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The S2 tailcap could be a different length and not contact the end of the battery tube. I used my S8 tailcap personally which fits on the S2 so I assumed the S2 would work as well. Also remember that you would have to still press the side switch to turn it on, the tailcap does nothing on the SP32 except eliminate the drain.

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Texas_Ace wrote:
The S2 tailcap could be a different length and not contact the end of the battery tube. I used my S8 tailcap personally which fits on the S2 so I assumed the S2 would work as well. Also remember that you would have to still press the side switch to turn it on, the tailcap does nothing on the SP32 except eliminate the drain.

Yeah, for an e-switch only driver, you would expect the light to do nothing when power is applied. This is because every time the cells are changed, there will be power applied to the driver.

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Yes, I did try using the side switch after Lego-ing on an S2+ tailcap (and after trying an S2+ battery tube also).
Never got it to light up.

Tried a different (red S2+) tailcap just now and it does Lego fine, tailswitch controls the light as it ought to.

(I’d noticed long ago that I have some Convoys that don’t Lego together — even exchanging parts from identical models, there’s been some variation in the threads over time.)

Also tried an S8 tailcap just now, and the threads don’t quite match — stops screwing down on the SP32 with a couple of threads still revealed.
No light after fiddling with the sideswitch.

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Yeah, the convoys have changed some over time. I guess the one I tried happened to work. Course most of mine are fairly recent versions so that could explain it.

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About lego again Smile

SP32 works fine with short 18350 tube from Convoy. Just use it in reversed position: anodized part to head and clear to tailcap.

Update: it works in normal position too, just use piece of aluminium foil in tailcap to make better electrical contact Smile

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The driver ring is not glued, it’s just a left-hand thread …

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Wildcat wrote:
The driver ring is not glued, it’s just a left-hand thread …

I feel silly for not trying that now, first time I have seen that to be honest. They went to a lot of trouble to make it happen with reverse threads inside of the normal threads for the body.

Sadly it doesn’t allow you to access the driver as the wires are too short to pull the driver out.

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Thank you Texas_Ace for the review, and also for the information about the “lego” you and other member have been giving!

I have one SP32 on the way and I really had that questions about using it with SP31’s tail switch. That’s a “No”, but I’m glad it works with some pieces of the Convoy! Smile

Please, clarify me:
1) about parasitic drain, unscrewing the tailcap would make any difference, or is it too long that one would have to unscrew a lot to stop the drain?

2) you mentioned the “lego” with S2 pieces, not S2+, right? So, no chance of operating it with a S2+ switch? Or it may depend on the “versions” of the S2+?

Once again, thank you!! Thumbs Up
Best regards!

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1: It only takes about 1/4 turn to lock-out the light with either the tailcap or body. So that is an option.

2: It is going to depend on the version of convoy you have, all of my various convoy tube lights lego IIRC but they are all also of the same generation.

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Texas_Ace wrote:
1: It only takes about 1/4 turn to lock-out the light with either the tailcap or body. So that is an option.

2: It is going to depend on the version of convoy you have, all of my various convoy tube lights lego IIRC but they are all also of the same generation.

Thanks for your answers Wink
I guess I’ll have to try both things when it arrives Big Smile

A last question I just remembered! Do you think the output would benefit from a cell like the INR Samsung 30Q or another for high drain, or it wouldn’t make a real difference if using a Panasonic NCR18650B? (I mention these because they’re the ones I have …)

Thank you and best regards! Thumbs Up

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It uses a regulated buck driver, the nice thing about this is that it will maintain the same output regardless of the cell as long as the voltage is above ~3.6v.

Now a high drain cell might end up maintaining that voltage longer due to less voltage sag but overall I doubt you will notice much of a difference either way. It won’t get any brighter with a high drain cell for sure.

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Thank you for your answer and explanation once again!
It’s clear for me now!! Smile
Thanks Thumbs Up