Review: DQG AA (world's smallest AA light)

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2100
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Review: DQG AA (world's smallest AA light)

 Copy of DQG AA provided courtesy of www.cnqualitygoods.com

asd 

Specs:

  • Emitter:  CREE XP-E R4 4B CW /   R2 4C NW 
  • Color Temperature:   CW---6000K ;  NW---4500K
  • Material: High Quality Stainless Steel
  • Mode: Lo>Hi  without memory ; Twisty on/off
  • Battery: 1x AA primary or 1x 14500 Lion ; No battery rattle
  • Runtime: about 60 minutes on 600mAh 14500
  • Current Regulation
  • 0.5A on HI with 14500 lion; 0.3A on Hi at AA
  • Size:16.5mm*17.5mm*72mm
  • Weight: 32g

 

Well, actually the specs tells it all.  I'll provide some more measurements.

The driver has no memory and always starts on low. Twist it off and on again and you get into high.

On a reflected ceiling bounce, i am getting about 140 lumens OTF on 14500.  Surprisingly on a fresh Alkaline I am getting about 125 lumens OTF.  The SA1 does 190 lumens from the ceiling bounce.

14500 - High current is 0.6A, low current is 0.026A.

Alkaline - High current starts off at 2.2A, cut slowly dwindles due to sag.  Low is 0.032A.  The low output on Alkaline is about 34% lower than on 14500, as measured on the lux meter.

It also nets me 0.032A with NiMH.  Hence we can calculate that it gets approx 84hrs of runtime in low on a NiMH.

Absolutely no PWM is detectable, driver is current regulated.

 

Front of the light there is a GITD strip behind the TIR lens.  Nice effect.

asd

 

GITD for the back. 

asd

 

Driver is protected by a compressible rubber disc. Absolutely no battery shake or rattle in all directions.

asd

 

Light can work with Trustfire Flames 14500 protected, no issue with the longer length.  Also works with regular Alkalines.  However flat top like the Bestinone.net 14500 IMR does not work.  You need the cell nipple.  It's not advisable to remove the rubber disc

 ads

 

Left is iTP A1 EOS @ 1.8 lm low mode.  Right is DQG in low mode with a 14500.  That's low!!! And it gets 35% lower with an Alkaline. BTW, mine is NW copy.

asd

 

Beam quality is very nice.  It's actually better than a XP-G or XM-L in OP.  This is due to the TIR lens.  No rings or artifacts.

ads

I have both the CW and NW tint versions.   NW is needless to say for the NW fans, it is not a 3 series tint and colour temperature is probably in the 4200k range.   The biggest surprise is the CW, it is very pleasant to look at, no hint of blue.  It's like creamy soft cold white.  In low there is definitely not a single hint of green tint and the tint still looks great.  This is very important. 

Stuff like Sunwayman V10A goes low, but in the low-end the tint is absolutely horribly green.  Shine it on a person's face and it's so ghastly. You don't notice this until you do a comparison. 

Left is DQG cool white, right is Sunwayman V10A cool white with green tint. (it looks worse than that in real life) 

asd

 

I put in an exhausted zinc carbon AA and it still works dimly, so this is able to dig and use up all the energy in your AA cells until moonlight mode.

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:06
2100
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How small is this thing?  Take your Xtar 2600mAh 18650, it's slightly thinner than that and length is slightly longer.

DrJones
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Hm, the color tint data "R4 4B CW / R2 4C NW" doesn't make sense, is it 2B for cool white and 4C for neutral? 

okwchin
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good to see the cool white isn't a blue white, but a very usable 2 tint.

Sunwaymans have notoriously green emitters, and combine that with a true current controlled driver and you have a very nasty tint. A sunwayman on a neutral tint is another story Wink

 

Great review to help bring these products to our attention!

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

2100
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4C for NW probably looks correct. 

For CW, it definitely is not 1 series.  It could be 2 series.

kreisler
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nice review, thanks!

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
CheapThrills
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Nice pics, much appreciated for the review!

 

 

From your rubber ring picture, I must say it is a needed upgrade. Small but necessary.

I have AAA and there is a couple of "chips" missing from one of the circuit boards components. Probably because of battery rattle.

 

I was hoping maybe a bit lower output on High for the runtimes but I think I an deal with it. 126lm sounds not bad at all.

2100
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Do you think that i should do a drop torture test for the AA version?  Seems like it would survive due to TIR, solid pill inside.

I am thinking of doing a 2-3m drop test.  How many times should i drop?

kreisler
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2100 wrote:
I am thinking of doing a 2-3m drop test.

i like your seeking attitude. Looking forward..

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
raw
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us 2100. How's the beam like compared to a reflector equipped XP-G R4?

2100
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raw wrote:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us 2100. How's the beam like compared to a reflector equipped XP-G R4?

It'd be somewhat better.  Something like a very very nice OP.  I only have 2 OP XP-Gs, namely the Romisen RC-R2 (something like that) which is a P60 sized light and also the Sunwayman V10A which i guess is the closest for comparison.  The DQG has a better beam than the Sunwayman V10A.  I guess for such a mini EDC, flood qualities is more important and useful than throw.

I have already posted a photo of the V10A vs the DQG above.

What you can clearly see is that there is spill, and then smooth hotspot.  For most lights incld OP reflectors, you get spill, corona, hotspot.  It is usually not an issue for semi-throwers or bigger lights because they would be used for > 5m anyway so the corona usually won't show up, but for EDCs this is impt.  This is why a TIR lens work.

raw
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2100 wrote:

It'd be somewhat better.  Something like a very very nice OP.  I only have 2 OP XP-Gs, namely the Romisen RC-R2 (something like that) which is a P60 sized light and also the Sunwayman V10A which i guess is the closest for comparison.  The DQG has a better beam than the Sunwayman V10A.  I guess for such a mini EDC, flood qualities is more important and useful than throw.

I have already posted a photo of the V10A vs the DQG above.

Cheers 2100, from what I see from your beam shots, it seemed the DQG has more spill. Since the DQG uses a TIR coupled with a XP-E, I would have thought that the spot would be a lil tighter & narrower, hence my curiosity.

The beam is indeed beautiful Smile

I see that you have just added more clarifications, thanks a bunch.

sb56637
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Ooh, that sounds like a very nice runtime on low. Very interesting.

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

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

kreisler
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not stick it in 1x AA forum section? Laughing

 

anyway. good it's stickied. i had trouble finding it.

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
sb56637
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kreisler wrote:

not stick it in 1x AA forum section? Laughing

 

anyway. good it's stickied. i had trouble finding it.

Oops, thanks for the heads up. It's moved to AA now.

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

r1derbike
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2100 wrote:

I am thinking of doing a 2-3m drop test.  How many times should i drop?

Until it dies, Mr. Bond!
CheapThrills
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r1derbike wrote:

2100 wrote:

I am thinking of doing a 2-3m drop test.  How many times should i drop?

Until it dies, Mr. Bond!

:bigsmile:

revolver
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Any chance we could get a side-by-side comparison shot of the two tints on high?  I'm partial to NW tints but if this CW tint is pure white similar to the EZ AA R2 tint I think I could go for that as well.

 

Thanks for the excellent review!

jacktheclipper
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Love that smooth beam .

mrbios
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Runtime on Hi with eneloop AA? Please (I ordered one and want to know). Do You measure it?

bozma88
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Hi!

Thank you for your detailed review.

I'd want to know if there's a low voltage cutoff built into the driver (for 14500).

Is the driver a buck-boost, right? I hope it's not a cheap boost driver that direct-drives the led when Vin > Vf.

Is it able to squeeze every mah out of a 14500 without lumens drop, triggering the LVC inside the (protected) cell? Or it goes in a sort of "low battery moon mode" at around 3V?

 

Thank you very much.

 

 

EDIT: see my review in the following post.

bozma88
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received mine.

 

driver is very good, it starts blinking 3 times each 5 seconds from 3.0v to warn you of low battery. obviously no blinking at 1.5v.

no LVC.

same brightness down to 3.0v, then it starts decreasing a little, and remains stable down to 1.1v.

buck-boost driver, startup voltage must be greater than 0.9v, then it stays acceptably lit down to 0.5v.

memory resets after a 4 seconds shutdown. perfect timing.

beam quality is not as good as said by the OP, emitter is not perfectly centered (mine is NW), and in the side beam you can see the shadows of the 2 gold connection wires inside the emitter projected (2 triangles projected).

the pros are that the light is quite floody and thet there's not color shift in the side spill (in lights with with reflectors it always tends to be of a cooler and nastier color).

light came not lubed. I use motorcycle chain lube: not silicone based, does not damage orings-plastics, and it's very greasy, smooth and persistent.

the small hook at the bottom of the light seems flimsy: it moves in and out for about 2mm (but it does not come out).

operation with aw protected 14500 is problematic: nipple is short and you have to twist hard to compress the rubber disk and light on the flashlight.

if you manage to increase nipple lenght of about 0.3mm by pinching it with a claw, operation becomes silky smooth.

one last note: mine came with the oring misplaced: it was installed in the outer slot (too big in diameter, oring damage will occur if left there).

I moved it in the inner slot (slightly smaller) and now the twist is smooth.

 

CONCLUSION:

with a better emitter centering, it is WELL worth the 35-36 usd.

ultimate edc AA+14500, full stop.

2100
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Hmm...my beam is good though.  Even better than my Sunwayman V10A  (it's good by XP-G standards, just a wee bit of donut, but corona-hotspot area is a bit ugly)

bozma88
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I suppose my beam is not very good because of misalignement of the emitter (it is 0.5mm off the center).

 

I don't know what to do.

 

Ric, can you tell me something? I love this flashlight, I was one of the first to pay for it (even paid 2 dollars more, because I bought it before the price drop)..

 

what a pity for this little problem.

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bozma88 wrote:

nipple is short and you have to twist hard

Never thought we'd be giving purple nurples to a torch Surprised
bozma88
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JohnnyMac wrote:

Never thought we'd be giving purple nurples to a torch Surprised

lol

mitro
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I got mine today and I definitely won't put this in the same category as the AAA.  I lubed it immediately after I opened the package and within 5 minutes of trying it out the o-ring broke. Hey... guess what? No spares were included either! Yay! (EDIT: I think the o-ring on mine was in the wrong place too.)

The beam isn't as good. The optic on mine have molding nubs or something (EDIT: I think what I'm seeing is just the little square contacts on two corners of the emitter) that makes artifacts on the outer part of the beam (it almost looks like bonding wires when using an aspheric). The optic also looks much more cloudy than the one on the AAA. The emitter looks centered, but I don't like the tint as much as the neutral in the AAA.

Other than the rubber donut inside and the reasonable output on 14500, there's not much I like about it.

Further EDIT: OK, it's not that bad. the beam isn't perfect, but the tint is pretty good, I just prefer the tint of my AAA. The o-ring thing pisses me off, but I substituted one from a Quark mini AA and it seems to be working (we'll see how it holds up).

I just don't see it replacing my SC51w in my pocket.

bozma88
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I think the same about the neutral tint of this light.

 

Edit:

 

here is a picture that shows the artifacts in the side spill (on the top), generated by the gold die bonding wires inside the emitter.

The picture also clearly shows that the emitter is not centered.

 

 

Sorry for color balance.. iphone's camera sucks.

 

Anyway, I'd want to know from someone else if mine are isolated problems, or if these are common issues with this light.

If artifacts are generated by the die's misalignement, I hope Ric will find a solution for me.

The flagship of this light was beam smoothness.. but I find tint and beam shape/smoothness to be WAY better on other lights, first of all the cnqualitygoods' N-LIGHT ST50 (and we all know how difficult is to have a good beam with XML on small and short smooth reflectors).

Sorry for the complaints but at USD 38 I paid for it, and after all this waiting, I'm not fully satisfied. 38 usd is not cheap. Paid 35 usd for Nlight ST50 that is a quality monster. I always rely on cnqualitygoods for quality parts and fast shipment. Maybe the long waiting raised my expectations too much.

Even with these issues, being this the smallest AA light compatible with 14500 and with a buck-boost non-invasive no-memory no-lvc lv-warning driver (all of these are VERY rare features, especially when found together!), I think this will be my favourite EDC light for long times. What a pity that the emitter is not easily swappable. I am a big fan of Hi-Cri Cree leds (I just lit my entire kitchen bench with 10X XPGs 90CRI and light quality is now awesome).

PS: Nlight ST50 is a MUST HAVE. BUY IT! NOW! perfect driver current regulation and UI, super ultra mega perfect machining and engineering, square threads and superb neutral tint (T4 5B I suppose). MUST BUY FOR THAT PRICE.

how2
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bozma88 post some pic of the off center led.

bozma88
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Woooahh.. Very hard to do with iphone's camera.

 

Here is the best shot I managed to take.

http://is.uoyo.org/i/s/waSJUSEs

Anyway, i am getting used to this beam, but I hope mine is an isolated issue Smile

 

Bye.

 

bozma88
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ok.. I am starting to disassemble it to make a XP-G Q2 90CRI 3000k (ae7) modding.

 

Be careful if you want to disassemble it. It is very tiny.

 

Inside there is a solid brass pill and the driver seems well made, with quality solderings. you can unscrew the pill using pliers that fit in two hidden side slots behind the protective black rubber.

 

driver board is just framed in the pill.. no screws, no glue.

 

It mounts an AMC7136.. so maximum drive current may be 400mA, not 500 as stated. (I am not sure). (amc7136 is an high efficiency 10-400ma led driver).

 

My modding will proceed a bit slowly due to a little problem: the led board (16mm 14mm round Corrected - thank you mitro - ) is glued to the pill.

 

argh.

 

trying the freezer trick. any suggestion?

 

thank you.

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