Review: AKOray K109A 3-mode programmable

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BlueBeam
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Review: AKOray K109A 3-mode programmable

AKOray K109A

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★

Features / Value: ★★★★

Design / Build Quality: ★★★☆☆

Battery Life: ★★★★★

 

 

Summary:

Battery: CR123 or RCR123
Switch: Reverse Clicky
Modes: 3-Mode Programmable with mode memory
LED Type: Cree XR-E Q5
Lens: Glass
Tailstands: Yes
Price Paid: $19.20 USD
From:http://www.kaidomain.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductId=6975
Date Ordered:March 24th 2011

 

Pros:

  • This is my first programmable torch of any kind and I must say it is nice to have that ability.
  • This torch is 3 mode and all 3 modes are fully programmable with mode memory which is very nice, although it takes the torch a full 10 seconds of being off to memorize the last mode.
  • The anodizing is very nice on my sample although there is a small nick in the head befor it was anodized.
  • I also find the clip to be very sturdy although some have reported it to be flimsy on the K106.
  • The light can also tailstand and has a very nice action to the clicky.
  • The threads are also square and very smooth and the threads at the head are also anodized so if you would like the torch can be locked out by loosening the head.
  • There are very good quality "O" Rings everywhere it needs them and I am confident this torch is water tight.
  • No visible PWM on this torch either, it is very high frequency like my NiteCore EX10SP.

Cons:

  • The LED tint on my sample is way to cool for my liking, it is very very blue which makes the torch appear dimmer to my eye and even makes things look blury to me. I don't care for the tint at all!
  • I also feel that the switch retaining mechanism is cheaply done and not well thought out although it might not fail i'm just not happy with it. I have cheaper torches with much better switch retaining methods.
  • My sample also came with the reflector and lens loose and rattling even though the pill was fully tightened. I had to grind around the pill on the LED end to get it to screw deep enough into the head to tighten against the reflector.

Features / Value: ★★★★

Well it is great that the lights three modes are fully programmable and this is unheard of in any budget brand light especially under the 20 USD mark. It takes a little getting used to the programming UI but it isn't that bad. I probably would have rated this at 5 star if not for the fact that the battery protection allows the cell voltage to drop way to low. I checked this by clipping in a 1.2V NiMh and the light would still turn on. The protection never worked. I will assume the reason for this is because the driver is also used in the K106 and the protection is set for NiMh which makes no sense to me since a NiMh isn't that critical to over discharge like the 3.7V Li-on cells.

Here is a link to the programming of this torch. It is the same as the K106 http://www.jayki.com/flashlight_review_board/1032

 

Design / Build Quality: ★★★☆☆

This is a pretty well designed torch and offers something for nearly everyone. The anodizing is very nice, it can tail stand, there is ample knurling, three useful and fully programable modes with last mode memory(although it takes ten full seconds being off to remember last mode) and it has a very sturdy clip which is removable if someone would chose to do so although it would be nice if it were reversible but you can't have it all in just one torch Wink Where's the fun in just one do it all torch anyway??? Cool Since the threads for the head are also anodized the torch can be locked out by simply loosening the head slightly. I also must point out that the threads are butter smooth and absolutely flawless on my sample as well! I am also pretty confident that this torch is completely water proof.

The biggest things that I can fault about build quality on my sample is the fact that the pill would not screw into the head deep enough to seat the reflector firmly on the lens to keep things from rattling which would have also impacted water resistance. I had to actually grind on the pill to get it to seat properly which from my point of view is unacceptable. Had it only needed to be tightened then I could live with that but to actually grind on things for a proper fit is unacceptable quality! There is also a small ding on the head of my sample prior to anodizing also which is worthy to note. Also one other detail that was forgotten on my sample was to cut the slices in the pill so that it could be screwed into and out of the head. I had to cut the notches on my pill myself.

Now from a design point of view the switch retaining mechanism is very cheesy. It is just a simple press in plastic ring that is held by friction. I don't see it failing me tomorrow but I don't like it! I also think it would have been very easy for AKOray to have implemented a simple mechanical method of reverse polarity protection as well. Something as simple as a slightly recessed positive terminal would have done the trick. 

Had not been for the fact that I had to grind on this thing to make it right I would have rated it at 4 stars but since my torch required so much work I am only rating it at 3 stars.  

 

Battery Life: ★★★★★

I didn't actually do a run time test on my torch since I don't have time so I just took some current measurements instead. On a fresh charged cell at 4.2 volts on the highest mode the current at the tail cap was 765mA and on the lowest I could program I was getting 30mA which should give excellent run times for a single cell CR123 torch!

 

Light Output: ★★★☆☆

The light output to me isn't that stunning. My SkyRay S-A1 is much brighter. The tint is very cold on my sample as well which I really am not fond of at all. The beam profile is typical of the XR-E LED as well. It has a pretty tight hot spot with a fuzzy corona then the dark "cree ring" followed by the spill. The ring is a bit worse on this torch than on some I own with the XR-E.

 

Summary: ★★★

I have to say this torch really does have alot going for it despite the criticism I have given it. I feel it is worth the money and offers a good feature set. It is a very useful host design and the programmable modes are great to have. My biggest issue was the fact that I had to repair it and the tint is way to cold. It was no problem for me to fix but not everyone who buys one will want to fix their new torch so keep this under consideration when purchasing.

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:00
BlueBeam
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This is my first attempt at a review. I hope everyone finds it useful! Please tell me what you think and how I can improve any future reviews. It was a fun to do!

Tas62
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I appreciated the comments on build quality. Maybe a run-through on UI programming would be useful, but that's a minor quibble.

Good work!

BlueBeam
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Tas62 wrote:

I appreciated the comments on build quality. Maybe a run-through on UI programming would be useful, but that's a minor quibble.

Good work!

I didn't do a run down on the programming because it is exactly the same as the K106. I guess it would be helpful to post a link to the programming instructions.

Thanks for letting me know!

fishinfool
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Awesome review BlueBeam! 

 

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

sb56637
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Ooops! This review slipped past me. Thanks a lot BlueBeam for a very nice first review! Frontpage'd and Sticky'd. Thanks a lot for setting the image width to a relative % width, that saves me some work.

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

BlueBeam
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sb56637 wrote:

Ooops! This review slipped past me. Thanks a lot BlueBeam for a very nice first review! Frontpage'd and Sticky'd. Thanks a lot for setting the image width to a relative % width, that saves me some work.

Thanks!!

I worked very hard on figuring out how to get everything presented nicely and to cover all areas of this torch. It was alot of fun!

brted
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I'm just now noticing this review since I don't usually look at CR123A lights. Good review of a classic light. The clips on the AKOray lights *seem* flimsy, but actually they work very well. I can easily clip mine to the pocket of my shorts. I have a Ultrafire 502B, but the clip is so stiff on that one that it is hard to clip it to anything. Once it is clipped I know it will stay there though.

For battery protection, it is an option. There are instruction on the Wiki about how to turn battery protection on or off. I don't know how well it would work for a CR123A primary.

http://flashlight-wiki.com/AKOray

LightQuest
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The AKOray is so so .... but that Icom 746 amateur radio in the background is fantastic!

BlueBeam
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Thank you Sir!

I'm glad to have met a few ppl on here that do know a little about Amateur Radio.

I do like the 746 but my old Kenwood TS-850 is my main rig.

LightQuest
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Operated a buddys 746 many times, loved that it went down to 2M ... think its the only HF rig that did.  Totally understand why you use your 850 as your main .... very sweet!  Use to have its itty bitty baby brother, the kenwood 450,  loved it.  Sadly let my license expire years back when my rigs were stolen ... but just thinking about it gives me the itch again! 

Apologies 4 hijacking this thread.  Now back to normal programing.