Skilhunt E3A (AAA twisty) - First Look

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Cemoi
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Thanks gchart for these very interesting runtime graphs.

I wonder how a primary lithium would behave: if any of the "super-reviewers" has one at hand, I'd like to see it too on a graph.

I have bought a couple of E3A as gifts (and will buy more when I find a super deal), and plan to include a primary lithium in the gift, for people who don't have rechargeables and a charger.

OTOH, here are the result of a few attempts to improve the beam, since I didn't like the beam irregularities from the stock pebbled optic (though only visible in "white-wall hunting"). I've tried the following lenses from Yajiamei Store:

Smooth lenses:

  • 20°: strong color shift
  • 45°: OK but strange beam shape, slightly squared
  • 90°: very visible central dark spot

Frosted lenses (they call them "Shamian"):

  • 20°, 30° and 60°: all OK, no color shift, very smooth transition between central area and spill. I'll probably stick to 20 or 30 degrees, not much difference between both anyway.
  • 90°: central area is darker and more purple.

In conclusion, if you like smooth beams without significant color shift, do your E3A a favor by replacing its pebbled lens with a 20-30° Shamian one, or 60° if you like a more "wall of light" beam.

Unfortunately I was not able to take nice beamshots like some of you do, my attempts did not do justice to the beam improvement, but my eyes do see the difference.

Ultrafire C3 2AA / Akoray K-106 / Nitecore LR10 / Manker E03H / Fenix HL10 / Zebralight H501R + H51W + H53c / DQG Hobi / Astrolux M01 / CooYoo Quantum Ti (lost) / BlackWater Kite Al / Emisar D4v2 (Nichia E21A) / Sofirn C01S / Skilhunt E3A

JaredM
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Cemoi, thanks for the write up. Useful information for sure.

Personally, I find the stock beam nearly flawless and very pleasing. May I ask you what issues you saw?

Cemoi
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JaredM wrote:
I find the stock beam nearly flawless and very pleasing. May I ask you what issues you saw?

See this post in another thread, and posts #55 thru 58.

But as said earlier it is only visible at short range (1' from a white wall), by picky flashaholics like me undecided

Ultrafire C3 2AA / Akoray K-106 / Nitecore LR10 / Manker E03H / Fenix HL10 / Zebralight H501R + H51W + H53c / DQG Hobi / Astrolux M01 / CooYoo Quantum Ti (lost) / BlackWater Kite Al / Emisar D4v2 (Nichia E21A) / Sofirn C01S / Skilhunt E3A

funwok
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drewski wrote:
Runtime on these is impressive! I’m flummoxed that the new Skilhunt E2A AA can’t keep up despite more capacity and larger host. Zeroair’s review shows the E2A is stabilized at only about 65 lumens.

Different LEDs I guess.

E3A is using the Samsung, E2A the SST20.

iamlucky13
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funwok wrote:
drewski wrote:
Runtime on these is impressive! I’m flummoxed that the new Skilhunt E2A AA can’t keep up despite more capacity and larger host. Zeroair’s review shows the E2A is stabilized at only about 65 lumens.

Different LEDs I guess.

E3A is using the Samsung, E2A the SST20.

Emitter efficiency is probably part of it. The E3A he tested was neutral white, but not high CRI. The E2A is 95 CRI. That should cost it around 30% efficiency.

It’s more than that, though. Zeroair’s graph for the E2A shows about 50 lumens/W on medium and 63 lumens/W on high.

His E3A graph works out to around 120 lumens/W.

Even considering the SST-20’s are not the most efficient emitter around, I would have expected them to be able to achieve over 80 lumens per W on high with a comparable driver. And a stepdown should not be needed at all on the E2A when running on AA batteries. It seems to use the same logic as with 14500 batteries.

I have an E2A and am happy with it – the size and hand feel are great, and the optic they use makes a superb beam profile in my opinion. It’s not the light to get if you need maximum output or runtime, though. It’s a good light that would be great if they improve the driver.

JagerLion
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What color temps are the various versions available on Skilhunt’s Amazon page? They don’t even say if netural or cool white. I ordered the high-CRI version as I’m sure that won’t annoy me. But if there’s a significant color or lumens difference I might need a second one! Right?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08B86BNYL

I shoot magic into the darkness!

JaredM
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Lightbringer
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Noice!

Wonder if HA2 or HA3…

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

raccoon city
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Superb colors!

I especially like the dark green and dark blue, but having all of those choices is best for everyone.  :BEER:

gchart
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Ohhh no. Maybe we can get a special price on a pack with all colors included? Ughh

JaredM
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Slate and black are HA3 I think, but don’t quote me. Everything else is level 2

SammysHP
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I’ve ordered an orange one. It should arrive today or tomorrow. I’ll report how the color appears in reality.

Unheard
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JaredM wrote:
Slate and black are HA3 I think, but don’t quote me. Everything else is level 2

According to the product page, only Slate Blue is HA3.

How do you see this?

Smile, you cannot kill them all.

JaredM
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Unheard wrote:
JaredM wrote:
Slate and black are HA3 I think, but don’t quote me. Everything else is level 2

According to the product page, only Slate Blue is HA3.

How do you see this?

LOL Big Smile I said don’t quote me!

I stand corrected.

Unheard
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Party

But you were mostly right. Still puzzled how to identify them.

Smile, you cannot kill them all.

Cemoi
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According to the product description on Skilhunt's website, only the slate blue version is HAIII. This is why I always chose this color when ordering the ones I have.

Too bad they don't offer the new colors with the same anodization quality.

Ultrafire C3 2AA / Akoray K-106 / Nitecore LR10 / Manker E03H / Fenix HL10 / Zebralight H501R + H51W + H53c / DQG Hobi / Astrolux M01 / CooYoo Quantum Ti (lost) / BlackWater Kite Al / Emisar D4v2 (Nichia E21A) / Sofirn C01S / Skilhunt E3A

jon_slider
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Similar light:
Thrunite Ti2 AAA single mode, on sale

SammysHP
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Just received an orange E3A. What should I say… Everything is the same as my old slate blue one. Same tint, same beam, same quality. The orange is great. Minimal brighter than the Sofirn orange, but otherwise very similar.

SammysHP
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Here’s a quick comparison between the Sofirn C01 and the Skilhunt E3A, both in orange:

gchart
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Very nice, thanks for the pic

Forsythe P. Jones
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Good thread everyone, and particularly thanks to gchart for the resistor change and the runtimes. Is there any chance of a runtime with the 1 ohm resistor (43 lm) and an alkaline? I think that is worth testing since part of the point of an AAA light is to run on alkalines if you have to. I wouldn’t go past 2 ohms (20-25 lm) since it doesn’t seem worth the hassle compared to using a $4 Sofirn C01 at that point.

I do like that the pill is easy to get out of the E3A and to reprogram (change 1 resistor). Does anyone think the non-potted pill will affect ruggedness and reliability? The Sofirn is potted, which seems like a plus for shock resistance but a minus for moddability.

To the person who asked why the converter isn’t more efficient: in principle it could be made that way, but it would have to either run at lower current, or use bigger parts. It wouldn’t surprise me if it does better at 100mA output than 200mA.

iamlucky13
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FYI, the original single-mode Sofirn C01 was potted. Some of the current production batch of the C01 are potted, although Sofirn had previously stated they were not going to pot the current batch due to the difficulty of doing so in a light with such a low price target.

As far as I know, none of the multiple mode C01s are potted.

I previously posted a comparison chart here to help people understand the different versions of the C01 family:
https://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1752556#comment-1752556

Forsythe P. Jones
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Thanks iamlucky13. I think I remember seeing that chart before. SammysHP’s photo of how much smaller the E3A is than the C01 has sort of made me lose interest in the C01, at least the white-led model. This is sort of unfortunate because I have 5 total C01’s on order (2x red, 2x white, 1x C01S) but at least they are cheap. I will order some E3A’s pretty soon, I expect.

I didn’t realize potting was difficult: is it not a matter of glopping some epoxy onto the circuit? I might try doing it.

I have a few other old 1AAA lights such as a nice brass Peak prototype with an absolutely awful 5mm led that sticks out past the front. I wonder if I can transplant the circuit from either an E3A or C01 into it.

gchart
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Forsyth P. Jones wrote:
Thanks iamlucky13. I think I remember seeing that chart before. SammysHP’s photo of how much smaller the E3A is than the C01 has sort of made me lose interest in the C01, at least the white-led model. This is sort of unfortunate because I have 5 total C01’s on order (2x red, 2x white, 1x C01S) but at least they are cheap. I will order some E3A’s pretty soon, I expect.

I didn’t realize potting was difficult: is it not a matter of glopping some epoxy onto the circuit? I might try doing it.

I have a few other old 1AAA lights such as a nice brass Peak prototype with an absolutely awful 5mm led that sticks out past the front. I wonder if I can transplant the circuit from either an E3A or C01 into it.


If you’re up for just swapping the LED in a few lights, check out this thread and grab a pack in your favorite CCT

Potting… I mean, it’s not rocket science. But the C01’s potting was injected into a hole on the battery side of the driver after the light was assembled. I’m sure that’s a bit manual and tedious. And I think I remember hearing stories of people receiving lights with uncured potting leaking out of the driver cavity (got the mix ratio wrong for that batch?). I’m sure many C01 (potted or unpotted) can take a beating. I have a few and have only had problems with one – one of my kids must have hit it just right and the inductor snapped in half. That has to be a rare occurrence, but probably the most susceptible component. In a Mouser order with some other stuff, I picked up another inductor (of the chip variety this time) for $0.20 and had it functional again in a matter of minutes. No biggie if you have the tools to do so.

drewski
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Somehow the e3a and older i3e have great runtimes-flat, and longer than other aaa lights with nimh. Im not sure about the high cri runtime though. But that size paired with longer runtime at ~90 lumens for (close to 60 minutes if I remember correctly?) makes it stand out beyond the competition. However, I don’t own one only because it’s single mode. If it had a mode driver it would be king of single aaa lights in my opinion.

SammysHP
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drewski wrote:
Im not sure about the high cri runtime though. But that size paired with longer runtime at ~90 lumens for (close to 60 minutes if I remember correctly?)
The runtime most likely will stay the same. Same current, less efficient, thus slightly darker. Maybe 90 instead of 100 lm, but still 60+ minutes runtime.
Forsythe P. Jones
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There are certainly other similar lights with multi modes. Single mode is one of the attractions of this light, it seems to me. I just wish they’d offer an E3AL versioin where the drive current is set a little lower, by changing that resistor. I really like that driver chip, which I didn’t know about before. Single cell lights and commodity batteries have always been my favorite. I’ve always kind of wanted one of these, though not enough to pay $50 for it:

https://countycomm.com/collections/c-d-cell-flashlights/products/1d-flas...

Now though, maybe I can transplant the E3A driver board onto a D cell holder of some sort.

Hey SKILHUNT are you here? Do you think you can sell us some bare driver boards? I’d buy several, to upgrade other old lights with, among other things.

Gchart, yeah I know about that LED thread, but shipping charges from AU make it painful.

SammysHP
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There’s not much magic involved building a simple boost circuit, especially if you have enough space.

Forsythe P. Jones
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SammysHP wrote:
There’s not much magic involved building a simple boost circuit, especially if you have enough space.

True for the D light, but 1AAA is rather tiny. There is also the hassle of getting components. If I need some code than does X, I can either download it or write it myself. But if I need a 1 cent SMT resistor I have to order it from someplace and pay $6.50 shipping because the electronics stores have all shut down.

I was somewhat into electronics as a kid, but I think it’s a lot harder now because of this issue. It’s hard to make anything without having a good inventory of parts on hand, because even if you try to order everything for your build ahead of time, you keep finding that there is someother little thing you need.

gchart
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Yup, it’s the PAM2803 or a clone. Been around for ages and in many common lights (pretty sure even the Lumintop AAA lights use it). There are even BLF designs going back years ago that used this chip. Multi-mode versions with this basically swap out the current sense resistor using small FETs driven from a SOT23-6 MCU (link)

Single-mode layout is super simple too:

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