Review: Archon D33 - diving with it @ Lochaline

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AlanK
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Review: Archon D33 - diving with it @ Lochaline

Hope this is the right place to post this but after a bit of research looking for a new dive light that didn’t cost more than the rest of my diving equipment combined I took a gamble with the D33 which so far has paid off.

I have been looking at more powerful lighting options for some time now having grown tired of my popular 230 lumen torch, but quickly found that the costs of more powerful systems were extremely prohibitive. Being a recreational diver (Padi AOW) I could not justify spending upwards of £5-800 on a light and many of the more realistic options available to me were not much brighter than what I already had, or came with very limited burn time making multiple dives per day difficult. That’s when the Archon range was suggested and the D33 in particular appeared to tick all the right boxes:

With an apparent spec off:
[*]Extremely reasonably priced (<£275 UK but <£150 if imported yourself)
[*]Very powerful (3000 lumen quoted)
[*]Tight spot beam (6 degrees) -flood lights are no use in murky water
[*]Waterproof to 100m
[*]Enough burn time even on high for 3-4 dives per day (4hrs on high, 9 hrs on Low apparently)

Available in several places, Wallbuy was the cheapest option at the time including delivery and even came with 4000mah batteries. From the day it was ordered it was less than 2 weeks to arrive at my door in the UK.

Now the important bit – what’s the torch like!

First off I have had a careful look over everything to make sure rubber seals were snug and lubricated (comes with 2 spares) and that there is no chaff in the threads etc. But to be honest I needn’t have bothered as it was clean and lubricated already. I also went as far as removing the front Perspex to make sure the reflector was not loose and the seals were tight against the Perspex as I have read this was a problem with another brand of Chinese dive light which would do strange things in the water, but again it seemed to be ok.

Turning the light on is done by simply tightening up the base. This gives high beam to start with and you can cycle though to dimed and strobe function (full beam) by turning it off and back on (pause for a second as too quick means it doesnt register the mode change)

I first tried it out in a dark lane next to my house where my usual torch would give reasonable side light wall to wall perhaps 20ft to see what was around you / where you were going, with the spot part giving a nice bright area in front of you with enough range to see what you were coming up to in more light.

Turn on the D33 and the old torch looks like a candle in comparison and is completely obliterated. Both side of the lane were brightly lit up for the entire length (approx 10 houses) with the spot itself turning the middle of the lane into something akin to daylight, much further than one could have use for but you could probably drive a car using this! Point it in the sky and you can see the narrow spot beam at the core of the light well defined and holding tight for a good distance.

I have nothing to measure light with so can’t say how close it actually is to 3000 lumen but even on low (quoted 900) it blows out my 230 considerably. One of the other users of this torch has mentioned he measured it @ 2500 but don’t know how reliable that is, ever way it’s as bright as a bright thing!! Smile

Anyway, the true test is under water and I took this with me to Lochaline in Scotland, as diving to 40m in the limited viz of UK waters was going to be the real test.

First things first, it’s not a small torch with most of the weight in the head meaning it will require a decent lanyard clip to keep it in place on your BCD and you need to be slightly more aware of it swinging about. I use a Lumb Bros detachable clip/coil as I suspect the retractable spool types will sag or let it bounce a bit much. That said it’s not excessively heavy and holding just behind the head means it is nicely balanced and easy to use in the water. Also easy to turn on/off under water with the only thing I noticed was that it turned itself on as you went down (although simply backing the end off slightly further than I had previously done soon stopped this happening).

Down to 39.2m on the first dive no problems. It throws out a nice spread of light with a very usable flood that lets you get a good awareness of your wider surroundings without having to point the light every which way, not to mention this alone was brighter than the spot of my old light but not so intense that you cant see anything for the reflected ligth (e.g. high beam in snow beam). Viz was not bad most of the dives but even on the Shuna when it silted up badly I had no problem, did try on low to see if it made much difference and whilst it helped reduce the glare I didnt find it was needed. The important thing though is to rememeber this is not the main beam I am talking about!!!… that comes out in a very tight and solid tube of solid white light which can be seen cutting through the murk like somewhat akin to a light sabre.

Hard to describe the light in words but it would literally light up the side of the wreck (or wall) with a good solid white light perfect for even murkiest of water with best of both worlds (flood and spot). Everyone was using LED lights but the D33 looked everything else look yellow and in most cases dull. Think the closest was a canister type torch with 3 LEDs also but even their light was knocked out the park by the D33 and I believe 3 times the price. Put it this way, my buddy ended up just turning their torch off and looked at what I was looking at as it completely obliterated everything else! Even used it like a laser pointer when Scalop bashing when she was closer to a scalop than I was so as to point it out several meters away on her side.

Some of the comments heard were references to Encounters of the Third Kind, being run over by a motorbike underwater, star wars light sabre fight, did anyone see that train, burned out retinas, etc. etc. 13 divers on the boat and everyone was very impressed by it in action and all interested in where and how much…

Used if for 3 dives per day, 30-40 minutes each time at 6 degrees. Always on full power with no problems and still going strong at the end of each day. I charged the cells over night each time just in case but think it had plenty life left as charging never took more than a few hours @ 1A so no question of it lasting a day’s diving and more likely multiple days, may test this more in future more locally but wasnt risking it on a dive trip to Lochaline when I didnt need to.

Think from the above you can imagin I am very pleased with my purchase, so long as it lasts of course. Cetainly no problems over 8 boat dives at the weekend so fingers crossed. Will try to update a few months down the line.

One thing worth pointing out is that protected cells don’t fit, at least not TrustFires 5000 which I bought at the same time. It looks like it might be King Kong unprotected cells that are shipped with the light and these are marked as 4000mah and have a good reputation so I probably shouldn’t have bothered getting extras. I use a hobby charger as I already had one and makes it easier to charge multiple cells in balance, but single cell 28650 chargers can be picked up for £6-7 each of ebay etc.

Some pis with my iphone against my rising 230lumen torch. Not best representation as hard to take pics of light sources but gives you some idea.

230 on hedge

D33 on hedge, note can’t compare brightness to above as exposure changed (see sky colour) but gives a idea of spread.

Side by side on hedge in same pic to better compare

On the floor side by side

Side by side on the floor, d33 so bright it blows out the exposure so can’t even see the spot of the 230 on bike shed

The Source. Green bit glows in the dark, Perspex can be removed to check seal which is the black line on inside of green.

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:34
jacktheclipper
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Cool

What I do

 

JohnnyMac
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That looks like a great performing light!  You need to add a link to where you got it so we don't have to search hard to see more pics of the light. Wink

AlanK
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I got mines from Wallbuys as mentioned, was one of the first places that came up when Googling and were fast and easy to deal with.

Don’t know what rules are for linking direct to a supplier although if mods are happy for me to add that I will do so.

AlanK
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Corrected pic on hedge.

sb56637
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Thanks a lot for the review! Sticky’d.

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

AlanK
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No problem, and just to update the torch has been with me for about 30 dives now between Lochaline and Scapa Flow without issue.

Down to just over 40m and all good. Bit scratched and scraped from draging about the place and being used to smash the occasional sea urchin to feed the fish but otherwise fine.

I can also add that it flashes a few times and goes to low power mod when the batteries are low (I hadnt bothered to charge before my trip) but low power is still brighter than the other torches Silly
haxquiz
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That seems to be a great light!
I have a greenforce Pro with a LED head in it, this would be a brilliant second light.

koyotee
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Is this the torch to be had for diving? I’m looking for one, for a friend. But there are so many diving lights like the Tr-df003, DIV10, and similar. It must have atleast 1500 OTF lumens, preferably runing 26650s, 2 or 3, but i think 2 would be enough, because the shorter the better. Budget is 250$.

Finaly, proud owner of a Powerex Maha mh c-9000 for my Eneloops:)

koyotee
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Sure looks like a beast but at 340$ + possibly 22% taxes, that aint cheap. I’ll try to get a better price if possible Smile thanks for the tip

Found it for 200€/250$ http://m.ebay.com/itm/171554215080?nav=SEARCH with xm-l2 leds. Made an offer for 170€, we c what happens Smile

Finaly, proud owner of a Powerex Maha mh c-9000 for my Eneloops:)

Rod911
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koyotee wrote:
Is this the torch to be had for diving? I’m looking for one, for a friend. But there are so many diving lights like the Tr-df003, DIV10, and similar. It must have atleast 1500 OTF lumens, preferably runing 26650s, 2 or 3, but i think 2 would be enough, because the shorter the better. Budget is 250$.

Maybe the SolarStorm Dx4 ? I got mine from FT as well, but it came with XM-L2 LEDs instead of XM-Ls as per their description. Compared to my other lights that I know that can do 1500 OTF lumens, it can do that. I have yet to dive with it though, so I don’t know how good it is. It is nice to know, though, that Brinyte (respectable, budget friendly dive light brand) has this light under the S166 moniker.
WarHawk-AVG
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I still wanna see diving lights actual underwater beam shots and stuff

still thanks for the review Smile