Review: SkyRay S-A1

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fran82
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Review: SkyRay S-A1

SkyRay S-A1

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Flashlight

 

Summary:

Battery: AA/14500 both tolerable
Switch: Reverse clickie (at tailcap)
Modes: 5 (High, Mid, Low, Strobe, Sos)
LED Type: CREE XP-E Q3
Lens: Coated glass lens
Tailstands: No, but you can mod for tailstanding
Price Payed: 13,25 USD
From:DealExtreme.com
Date Ordered: February 2011

 

Pros:

  • Veery good performance on just Ni-Mh (+150 lumens on High.).
  • Good desing, good knurling, lightweight. Pretty dark grey color.
  • Memory mode works perfect.
  • Modes well spaced (100% 40% 10%).
  • Supports AA/14500 without destroying the driver.
  • Very throwy (more than AA-S1) . Good flood (similar to AA-S1).
  • O-rings everywhere.

Cons:

  • Lacks a clip (important for me)
  • Came unlubed and dirty
  • Can not tailstand (unless you do an easy mod)

 

Features / Value: ★★★★★

This flashlight has impressed me. http://www.dealextreme.com/p/skyray-s-a1-cree-xpe-q3-5-mode-160-lumen-me... .

It has become my perfect AA light (among the budget ones). After receiving it and testing it, the AA-S1 is in second place. This flashlight has practically all the good things of the AA-S1 except for the lack of clip. It has better performance than the AA-S1 and it has modes!. Also throws much more, and the flood capabilities are similar. The tint is not neither warm neither cool. Is good for me.

The 5 modes are usefull (specially the H M L ones) and are well spaced. The driver accepts AA/14500 with no issue.The most important thing: among all the AA lights I have, this has the better performance with just a Ni-Mh cell from all. I eye-estimate 150 lumens or more with a Ni-Mh cell.

I dont know if my unit has a new driver revision. In DX forums, there are reports of low frequency PWM... and even some people say that below 1,2volt this light is unusable...

In my unit, the PWM has high frequency, and works below 1,1volt (It switchs on perfectly, and I can change modes). However, below 1,1volt the light produced is 15 lumens or less maybe.

 

 

 

Design / Build Quality: ★★★★

The desing and build quality impressed me. I dont give 5 full stars due to the lack of clip and due to the fact that it came completely unlubed and with some dirty in the lens.

The body is pretty, painted with dark gray color, well mechanized, weight less than F20...

I love this desing, I didnt had a flashlight painted with this dark grey color. Also the knurling is very good and deep. It can be diassembled in both sides (head and tailcap).

The switch is one of the best I have seen (can be replaced, DX sells it), it has a firm and mechanical feeling...

The threads are smooth but needs some lubing when you get it. In the head, has more threads than in the tailcap. They are not anodized.

 

It is difficult to see, but inside battery tube there is a sticker showing how to insert battery (polarity) and the manufacture date (mine is 12/2010)

Compared to F20:

 

 

 

Battery Life: ★★★

I dont give 5 full stars due to the fact that with 14500 it draws 1,8 Amps (I dont know why) so the runtime should be 25 minutes or less on HIGH.

With Ni-Mh, of course, depends on the capacity of the cell, but it surprised me due to the fact that only draws 1,55Amp on HIGH.

Some measurements:

Alkalinas a 1,50v

H -> 1,3A  About 130 lumens
M-> 0,6A About 70 lumens
L-> 0,1A About 15 lumens

Ni-Mh a 1,41v

H -> 1,5A  Perhaps more than 150 lumens
M-> 0,65A About 80 lumens
L-> 0,12A About 20 lumens

14500 a 4,20v

H -> 1,8A  About or more than 200 lumens
M-> 0,65A About 120 lumens *
L-> 0,12A About 40 lumens *

* with this driver, when you use 4,2 volt batteries happens the same as with the F23, it gives a lot more output in MED and LOW

Driver board:

It is the typical "sandwitch" driver board, 2 boards joined together (2 floors)

 

 

 

Light Output: ★★★★★

5 full stars due to the beam quality/characteristics and due to the performance on Ni-Mh.

Beamshot at 1 meter with 14500 on HIGH:

Beamshots of SkyRay on HIGH, MED, LOW, from 3 meters with 14500:


 

The PWM on MED and LOW is clearly visible with a camera. With naked eyes, not easily.

As you can see in the photos, produces similar beam to the F23, a central spot NOT well defined with a big spill, which fades as you reaches the outter part of the beam. Near the central spot, the spill is maximun intensity and it begans to fade....

The tint, is not warm, is not cool. Similar to F23.

 

 

Summary: ★★★★★

In my opinion, this light is a must have in the AA category. It has caused to place the AA-S1 into second place due to the fact that it is multimode, supports AA/14500, throws much more and the flood capabilities are almost the same.

The desing, is new for me, good knurling, good grip, good paint job, good mechanizing....

However it lacks clip, which is important for me.

I include a VIDEO REVIEW of it:

 

This post/thread "may" contain referrals, a little contribution I "earn" in form of points ONLY if you buy the item. The purpose is to redeem items using the points and then making reviews of them in the forums to shar

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:06
Budgeteer
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Very... i noticed i get better results from firefox doing copy paste of the template lately.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

Budgeteer
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Very... i noticed i get better results from firefox doing copy paste of the template lately.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

fran82
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¿¿?¿?¿?

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Budgeteer
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Ah nevermind, just being naughty. Actually i have one of those from DX but mine behaves differently. On Eneloop Ni-Mh does about 80 lumens being perhaps a bit overly optimistic. 150 might be right with a 14500 though. My sample starts to behave badly after the voltage reaches 1,26V on any cell. Modes do not work properly and so on. At 1,2V cell voltage or below the flashlight do not turn on consistently. I'm interested how yours behave with a substantially drained AA battery.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

BlueBeam
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I really like my S-A1! It is an impressive torch and works as it should with NIMH but I love it with the Powergenix 1.6V. After my battery is low it will start to flicker on the medium and low setting.

My S-A1 has the smooth reflector and throws a nice beam free from artifacts and has a nice tint.

I wish the knurling gave the light more grip and that it would tailstand but it is a really good torch!

On mine there was no insulator between the LED and reflector, there was only a thin layer of clear rubber cement for a insulator and on my torch the LED shorted soon after I bought it. I removed the pill and used some electrical tape on the reflector and now it's perfect.

I'm glad to see a real review finally being posted about this torch. Thanks Fran for doing a review! I hope you like your S-A1 as much as I like mine.

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I like mine too but dislike what happens below 1,26V. :/

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

fran82
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Yes, sorry for the delay, I am a bit busy

I... LOVE! LOVE ! LOVE! this flashlight.

I completed the review at forolinternas, waiting for the photos this weekend, but... OMG

Now my favourite flashlight is the SkyRay S-A1. Even boasts the AA-S1 in almost everything.

http://www.forolinternas.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1700

 

NOTE: My sample is veery god, as said 150 lumens (if not more) with just a NiMh (eye estimated). Is the most powerfull AA light that I have.

My sample works perfect below 1,1 volt, it switchs on perfectly, I can change modes, no flickers at all, but below 1,1volt the light produced is very low, lets say 15 lumens or less.

 

(I beleive is a new driver version)

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UDO
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I love it too. I bought it, when it was on -30% sale on DX (around 9$). Great little light, bright as hell on 14500.  Your measurments are a little strange to me: u get more than 150 lumens out of ni-mh@ 1,5A, which is around 2W, but on li-ion you get just a little over 200 lumens@1,8A which is like 6W is that correct?  I think that this light should be much brighter on 14500 (like 2x as bright) at least from my expirience. Cool 

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fran82 wrote:

Yes, sorry for the delay, I am a bit busy

I... LOVE! LOVE ! LOVE! this flashlight.

I completed the review at forolinternas, waiting for the photos this weekend, but... OMG

Now my favourite flashlight is the SkyRay S-A1. Even boasts the AA-S1 in almost everything.

http://www.forolinternas.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1700

Porbably. Mine is 8 months old. DX. Will probably change the driver one of these days...

 

NOTE: My sample is veery god, as said 150 lumens (if not more) with just a NiMh (eye estimated). Is the most powerfull AA light that I have.

My sample works perfect below 1,1 volt, it switchs on perfectly, I can change modes, no flickers at all, but below 1,1volt the light produced is very low, lets say 15 lumens or less.

 

(I beleive is a new driver version)

Probably. I have a red pcb, not very common.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

UDO
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Mine have red pcb too. I have no problems with almost empty ni-mh - I just tried with 1,18V ni-mh and it works.  Maybe new driver is more ni-mh optimized, because I dont think mine puts out anywhere near 150 lumens on ni-mh.

fran82
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UDO - My measurements are OK. I also am very sdhfkjsdhfkjs of what is happening, specially about 1,8A current draw for 14500 and only slightly increase in output

The PCB of mine is RED too, the same pcb as always, "sandwich" driver, you can see 3 solders which join the 2 boards

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UDO
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Just made this two pics into gif. Both were shot from 2m away at iso 80, 1/25s, f2,8. Brightness comparison between ni-mh and li-ion in Skyray S-A1, both batteries were fully charged:

akyray s-a1 ni-mh vs li-ion

fran82
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Hi folks.

The review is finished but the photos will be uploaded tomorrow (I promise to).

Thanks

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I liked it in spanish ..

I have looked at this light for so long ..Old4570 liked this light too .I've meant to buy this one for a long long time ..lets do it ..I can wait 3 months for them to send it ...why not !

       καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν

                            

       Dc-fix diffuser film  >…  http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42208

fran82
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Folks, the review is finished and the photos added, but I am jinxed. I dont know what happend to me and the photos....

Someone can tellme how to correct those BIG images and put thumbnails or more adecuate sized?

 

Thanks!

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Match
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fran82 wrote:

Someone can tellme how to correct those BIG images and put thumbnails or more adecuate sized?

 

To go back and re-edit them just highlight a pic in your post, then click the insert/edit image button and look on the second tab called "appearance".  There you can type in the size you'd like.  I usually go 640x480.

Other than that, very nice review Fran.

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fran82 wrote:

Someone can tellme how to correct those BIG images and put thumbnails or more adecuate sized?

 

Thanks!

 

Could you adjust your pictures with that "100 %"-trick  (point 4).

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Ma sample pull 2,1A from a alkaline. should be a good 600mA to the led.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

fran82
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Photos repaired!

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Boaz wrote:

 

I liked it in spanish ..

I have looked at this light for so long ..Old4570 liked this light too .I've meant to buy this one for a long long time ..lets do it ..I can wait 3 months for them to send it ...why not !

Just buy it already!!

But once you get it be sure and remove the pill and put a piece of electrical tape on the reflector and cut a hole out for the LED to pass through.

It is really a very nice torch, a real sleeper that needs more attention in my opinion!!

I love mine!!!

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Very nice review Fran, that's an impressive output level for such an inexpensive light. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Hmmm, so no pocket clip and no tailstanding. Those are two very important features for me, unfortunately.

Frontpage'd and Sticky'd. Thanks for the review!

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

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fran82 wrote:

NOTE: My sample is veery god, as said 150 lumens (if not more) with just a NiMh (eye estimated). Is the most powerfull AA light that I have.

(I beleive is a new driver version)

Hmm, bright on Eneloops you say... I wasn't impressed with the two I had looked at, when they were on sale for small money on DX . Every one of the 8+ Hugsby's P31/P32 I checked were brighter. You must have a new driver version.

Hugsby P32 left                                              "old" Skyray SA-1 right (look how much dimmer the side spill is)

(pic has an angle to it, beam radii are the same, distances from wall are the same, both on "fresh" eneloops)

 

A friend is now trying to implement the Shiningbeam low voltage driver in his Skyray SA-1 together with an XP-G R5.

The copper ring is an oil drain screw gasket  from my Yamaha...lol... I'll let you know how it works out.

fran82
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Ok thanks for the info.

 

But...... the dude is. Mine is brighter due to a possible new driver revision? or yours are not bright due to QC issues? There is the question.... chinese cheapo lights..... that has happend to me with other lights. I order one light on January, it is good, I order the same light on June, is bad.....

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It wasn't just one but 2 Skyray's, that would mean that there was (or is? beamshot was made November 2010) most likely a complete batch which is considerably darker on Eneloops than the Hugsby's. Just a heads-up for potential buyers. Here is the old thread about them back in 2010.

fran82
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Maybe I should take a photo showing how bright it is comparing it with all my AA lights with a NiMh cell in all.

I have to charge all my NiMh cells and find a big white wall in my house....

 

Hope my mobile phone camera can catch the difference in output among them...

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Also your estimation of 150 lumens (OTF) with 1.5 A (on the tail) strikes me as very optimistic. The theoretical ouput with a perfect driver and no loses is 120 Lumens.  (1.5 (tail) /3= 0.5 A , Q3 at 0.5 A (to LED) ~120 Lumens) Either your DMM  needs a calibration or you are using China-Lumens.  Wink

fran82
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Yes, somehow I am using china lumens. I dont know the exact amount of lumens, I only can confirm that is about 30% brighter than all the other lights I have (F20, AA-S1 etc)

My multimeter is working perfectly, I have checked and rechecked it measuring other currents I know and no difference. Also I changed the battery and the measurements are the same

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Don measured the Uniquefire AA-S1 to about 100 Lumens here, if that helps.

fran82
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So, If my AA-S1 produces the same light than Don´s AA-S1 (100 lumens), then my Skyray will be 130 lumens.

Yes, as you can see all my lumens estimations are "chinese based". That´s because I always use a chinese light for reference.

 

However, it continues being my brightest AA light with NiMh

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Dons UniqueFire AA-S1 needed 2195mA to reach that 100 Lumens on NiMH and your Skyray is 30 % brighter at only 1.5 A ? Something still is weird. I had very similar effects when I used the inferior leads on my Voltcraft 91 DMM (cheapo 10-15$) and when I used a 100+ Euros Metex  3630d I had up to 0.5-0.7 A higher current readings. What DMM are you using? Do you have the possibility to cross check your DMM against another one?

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