[Review] Airpro DC7

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Tom E
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Definitely not Sofirn. These guys cloned the Q8 and driver design - no need for Sofirn to do that. Looks like firmware was ported.

RobertB
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Tom E wrote:

Definitely not Sofirn. These guys cloned the Q8 and driver design – no need for Sofirn to do that. Looks like firmware was ported.

I sent Barry the Amazon link and asked him before this review came out. The battery tube knurling is similar to Thorfire’s design which Sofirn does make, and all the other similarities, which made me think it was possibly Sofirn. He said exact that, “looks like a clone”

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fluke wrote:
How about a Q8 driver board install?

Would it be as easy as that ?

You’d lose onboard charging, no? Kinda defeats the purpose…

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fluke
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Still waiting on mine from the US.

Just wondering if breathing light is PWM my Astrolux FT02 has it, drives me crazy at night.

Lightbringer
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Aamof, I think it is. Don’t recall specifix as to how (waving the light around when it was “breathing”, etc.), but I did notice a rather slow pwm.

 

Another reason why I turned it off…

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CLB
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After receiving my Airpro DC7, I would like to clarify a couple of peculiarities of the UI that might interest prospective buyers. (At least, these are true on my specimen. Please comment if yours works differently.)

First, in stepless ramping mode, the Airpro operates similar to Narsil, but with a notable exception. A press and hold from off turns the light on to moonlight, as you would expect. But if you continue to hold, nothing changes: the light does not ramp up. If you release the button, and then press and hold again, the light also does not ramp up: it simply turns off. A single click from off turns on the light at the level of the last turn off (excluding any turn off from the direct access moonlight level). So, let’s say you turn the light off on high, and go to bed. Later you get up to check on something, and you need a little more than moonlight, but don’t want to ruin your night vision. If you press and hold, you get moonlight, with no means to ramp up from there. If you single click, you get high (the last setting), and then must press and hold again (possibly twice) to ramp down. This is a problem that has long since been overcome, not just by programmable firmware, but by Zebralight, Olight, et al.

Second, in the stepped ramping mode, clicking the button once will take you to the last level used. If you click again, within more than one second but less than two, the light will ramp up (always and only up) one level. Repeat, and it goes up one more level, etc. But if you click too quickly in succession the UI responds as if it was a multi-click (which changes modes, goes to strobe, locks out, etc., depending on the number of clicks), and if you click too slowly, the light simply turns off. So let’s say you settle on medium (for more than two seconds), but then would like to increase the level to high. Being familiar with Narsil and Anduril, you press and hold the button, but that does not work. The light goes down (always and only down) one level, and stops there, even if you continue holding the button down. If you release the button and then press and hold again, the light goes down one more level. But there is no way to go up a level, once the light is on, without turning the light off, and then back on, followed within 1-2 seconds by a second click.

To say that the Airpro is an imperfect port of Narsil seems an understatement, and I cannot for the life of me understand how this is considered to be a simplified or more intuitive UI. But, if you can live with these quirks, I agree with the other favorable comments regarding build quality, built-in charging, etc.

Chuck

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Thanks Chuck for the clear description. That would spoil the UI for me totally, I want to be able to operate my lights at low levels without going through high first. We are past that for years now.

And welcome to BLF! Smile

Tom E
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Yes, agree there - thanx Chuck! As the author of Narsil, it was high priority not to not get blasted with a high setting - the lowest level ramping access from OFF with the ability to ramp up was a "must".

Sofirn's own implementation of ramping works similar as this DC7 - seems to be a terrible trend in manufacturers.

Also as equally important - a dbl click should be very limited to not interfere with multiple single clicks - this was also a "must" in the Narsil UI.

I feel like we are talk'n airplanes, not flashlights - hhmmm... smile

flightless22
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Is flashing to Narsil or Anduril a viable option?

Tom E
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flightless22 wrote:
Is flashing to Narsil or Anduril a viable option?

Think I answered this at least twice here -- nope, different MCU is used. For me if I bought this light, I might go for removing the stock MCU, custom wiring in a ATtiny85, but that's simply to save money over a driver replacement, and also not to lose USB charging.

Sofirn sells the Q8 driver separately, so driver replacement is an option to get NarsilM or Anduril, but you will lose the USB charging. Since I don't have this light, I can't say for certain it's an exact match with mounting a Q8 driver, so not sure it will work out easy, hard, or not possible.

My "guess" would be it would fit/work because they cloned the light well.

lawallac
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The knurling on this reminds me of a TN Catapult light. Looks like it was pretty well made. It probably would much better received if they gave credit where it was due that’s all.

Tom E
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I definitely have issues with this light and this reviewer. I know this guy as a forum lead on facebook and apparently he gets these free lights, and only uses BLF to post a review, that's about it, all he does on BLF. He does his initial first day replies and disappears, goin back to fb land.

On Amazon, the manufacturer answered my question and admitted they copied the Q8, have not acknowledged this anywhere though in the ad if the light though. The good thing as Chuck pointed out, they screwed up copying the UI, so guess that's a good thing for the Q8, bad thing for the buyers of this light.

I do like the improvements though they made:

  • styling of the batt tube
  • including the loop fitting for a lanyard
  • USB-C charging

Though I don't like they reduced the finning from 7 to 4 - the redesign they did seemed to result in less finning for cooling, though it looks pretty good.

I would still buy one if it came with LED's I prefer like V2 5D's instead of the 6500K's - bad decision there for us. For Amazon US, the price is quite good - $53 compared to the Sofirn Q8 at $60, and considering you get more.

Not sure this is the Q8 upgrade path I'd choose though - really prefer the more compact, lighter SP36, but with XPL HI in NW, a tripod mount, and SS bezel, it would be wayyy better all around.

Still debating on buying one, just not enough there to upgrade from the Q8, specially when modded for more power and better LED's.

 

CLB
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Tom E wrote:

On Amazon, the manufacturer answered my question and admitted they copied the Q8


By the way, the hardware dimensions are so identical that the two lights are lego-able. Either head will work with either battery tube. Airpro should acknowledge their debt to BLF, but, Tom, I’m not sure you want to be associated in any way with the firmware Wink .
Tom E
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Yeah, for sure... Also, gotta wonder bout this one:

"Newly designed based on USA customers"

Where does this come from? BLF is bout as International as you can get, and the team was bout as International as you can get. Or are they talk'n bout the DC7 compared to the Q8?

I don't get it...

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Tom E wrote:
Still debating on buying one, just not enough there to upgrade from the Q8, specially when modded for more power and better LED’s.

I still like lots better the Q8 tint and beam. I prefer floodier and warmer (neutraler?) vs the CW and throwierness(!?) of the Sofirn Q8 or the Airpro DC7.

Charging in this case is a plus, because it’s tedious to have to lug out a 4-bay charger, gut the light, charge the cells, reload, and then finally you’re done, vs just plugging it in overnight and going to sleep.

The DC7’s UI is a chore, admittedly, but I usually dial down all lights with memory anyway, so a quick click-on gives me moonlight anyway as well, and I can still ramp up as needed. In fact, given the weeks I had the lights, it was only 2 nights ago that I discovered the only exit from shortcuts is off. Sick

So, my Q8s are still my Q8s, period. I don’t have any Sofirns because they’re CW/throwier vs the Q8, and the Airpros, same dealy, and I only really got ‘em because of the tedious charging (and yeah, I like the pineapple knurling).

Still, for the 43/50bux I got ‘em for, I ain’t complaining too loudly.

Lanyard and screw-in thingy, definite plus, though. The Little Things…

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Lightbringer
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CLB wrote:
By the way, the hardware dimensions are so identical that the two lights are lego-able. Either head will work with either battery tube.

Hmm, not when I tried it. One combo worked, t’other didn’t. Forgot which was which.

Probably a slight sub-mm difference in length where the tube didn’t screw in enough to make contact (ie, unwanted TCLO).

So it might work, but I wouldn’t count on it.

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Lightbringer
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Tom E wrote:

Yeah, for sure… Also, gotta wonder bout this one:


“Newly designed based on USA customers”


Where does this come from? BLF is bout as International as you can get, and the team was bout as International as you can get. Or are they talk’n bout the DC7 compared to the Q8?


I don’t get it…

“Haha, stoopit Americans can’t handle complex UI. We dumb-down for them!” LOL

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Tom E
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Yeah - I think it's myth that most muggles prefer CW over NW. I don't think they really care, so if you had a light in only NW, you get the muggles (noobies) and the vets. Of course it's great when you can go NW and not lose even one lumen, like we did with the XPL V6 3D's at the time. If you can get a top binned 3D, you got the best deal. Though I prefer 5D tints, you mostly lose some output, like in the current XPL-HI V2 5D's.

smile, yep, DAA's - Dumb ....

CLB
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Yes, I think they are referring to their so-called simplified UI, compared to that of the Q8. In answer to my query, the Amazon seller, Seasor, says “As the expectation for this DC7 flashlight, we would like to simpilified the UI which is more acceptable to common users on daily life. If we are aiming for flashlightholics, programe will not be like this.” So I guess “USA Customers” = “common users.” And apparently Airpro thinks the Q8 UI (i.e., click once to turn on/off; from off, press and hold to ramp from low to high) is too complicated. And that it is simpler if sometimes press and hold means ramp (i.e., if the light is already on), but sometimes it means go directly to moonlight and stay there (i.e., if the light is off), and sometimes it means turn off (i.e., when the light is on moonlight). Got it, now, Tom?

Tom E
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I reckon so, but wut-do-i-no smile

oops, typos:

I wreck'n so, butt wutduino

wink

CLB
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Well, I sent a rather detailed explanation of several of the shortcomings in the DC7 user interface to the Amazon seller, who I think is the owner of the Airpro brand. I particularly emphasized the lack of direct access to low (ramp-able low) from off, and the inconsistencies in press and hold in different modes. And Seasor/Airpro were actually very responsive. Here is the relevant part of their reply:

“Your points are clear. We will try to find a way to upgrade this problem for the products in amazon warehouse, but it is a hard way to go through because we need to test the programe for times before marketing. But we will try. And for new shipment, we stopped and will correct this problem, engineers are ready for that. Keep you informed.”

This message does not specify which problem(s) they plan to address, but I will update this post if I learn anything more. And there is one other line from their email which I will pass on here:

“. . . it is produced by Sofirn, same quality. . .”

This seems inconsistent with what Barry at Sofirn has said (see post #60), but there you have it, FWIW.

Chuck

Tom E
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Things get tricky over there - may be made by the same sub-contractor, least the body parts but not the electronics.There's a lot of possibilities. Maybe Sofirn agreed to manu the body/parts and Barry doesn't know.

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