"(PRE)VIEW" – Lumintop FW1AA (Sample)

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Firelight2
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From the photo, the stock star doesn’t look very deep.

Another option might be to use an ordinary 16mm star and just have it sitting on the aluminum rim above the cavity for the stock star.

  • In the empty cavity for the stock star, place either the stock star with nothing on it, or some copper sheet cut into disks. All liberally covered with thermal grease to fill any gaps.
  • If needed, drill fresh holes or file the existing holes wider for the driver wires.
  • If this method is used, the bezel won’t screw down all the way. Insert an o-ring or other spacer into the gap.
JaredM
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Here’s some more photos from the flashlight.

I took the MCPCB out, checked the dimensions, tried a 10mm MCPCB from kaidomain, tried different TIR optics, and also compared it with “my” FW1AA (described before).

Took out the red glue and the kapton tape. There was some thermal paste below the MCPCB, not as abundant as I initially thought, because it was more concentrated on the sides of the MCPCB.
No, those circles are not holes, just parts slightly deep than the rest of the shelf.

These are the dimensions of the MCPCB. The total height of the shelf (from the below up to the top, or what thefreeman mentioned as B in is drawing) is 3mm.

This is the Kaidomain MCBPC, that can fit IF you file it on the “corners”. It is not a straight fit. The original MCBPC needs to be put into that hole vertically, and will not fit diagonally or in other positions. There is virtually “no space” between it and the inner walls of the shelf, only enough space for it to “slide” down or up.


See the below of the shelf and the thickness.

And the driver…in case it is needed.

As for the optics, first, here’s a comparison with “my” FW1AA (LH351D, in a copper MCPCB from the EagleEyE X3R, a 3535 gasket from Simon (trimmed) and TIR from the S1R Baton I), on the right.
My modified flashlight has a gap between the bezel and the lower part of the threads, due to the height of the TIR and the MCPCB.

Also, with an FWAA:

Here’s a comparison of beam profiles.
VS “my” FW1AA (right)

VS “my” FW1AA & FWAA

And now, some experiences with different TIR Optics.

First, the one of S1R Baton I.

The glass lens was NOT used, the black gasket was not used. If the gasket was used, the TIR wouldn’t sit correctly, and if the lens was used (with or without gasket), there would be a gap between the bezel and threads.

However, since those 2 elements were not used, there was a slight gap between the bezel and the TIR, which makes the flashlight not waterproof.

The beam generated has artifacts, light circles around that intense and typical hotspot that the SIR Baton has. There was some spill.
The beam, compared to “my” FW1AA, has a stronger hotspot, a slight tint shift in the corona, and less spill but it still exists.

This one is with a 15mm Yajimei TIR optic that I had laying around.
This one is a clear lens, narrower beam, less large than the optic above and than the original reflector.
Since it has a small hole for the LED, the black gasket was not used, but since it is less larger than the bezel, the glass lens was used. Given the height of the optic, there was a small gap between the bezel and the threads.

The beam generated is not good, due to the bad centering (no gasket) and the clear surface of the optic. The center has a “hole” and is yellowish/greenish, and the overall beam is “yellowish”. Not good at all.

I could have tried a similar optic – 60º pebbled – , but since this is a “thrower”, it wouldn’t be worthy trying a completely floody optic, in my opinion.

————

@ JaredM

Given these experiences, and given that the 17mm Yajimei optics is taller than the 15mm optic, I would say that…. maybe it can be used without the glass lens and eventually without gasket, but without certainties about generating a gap in the bezel/threads.

———-

MascaratumB
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Firelight2 wrote:
From the photo, the stock star doesn’t look very deep.

Another option might be to use an ordinary 16mm star […]

The original is 1.8mm tall, and the suitable diameter – to do what you mentioned – would be 15.5mm, more or less. I tried to use a 16mm PCB before and it didn’t fit (at least without being filed/trimmed).

JaredM
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Is there a source for that Baton optic? I like that it has a frosted center. I find clear, smooth TIRs with this center cavity frosted make smooth but intense beams. Clear centers often create ‘ghost images’ of the emitter in the corona and can be pretty distracting in use.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/727344383.html

I have a few of these. Best beam I’ve gotten from a small TIR, even with 1mm² emitters

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MascaratumB
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JaredM wrote:
Is there a source for that Baton optic? I like that it has a frosted center. I find clear, smooth TIRs with this center cavity frosted make smooth but intense beams. Clear centers often create ‘ghost images’ of the emitter in the corona and can be pretty distracting in use.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/727344383.html

I have a few of these. Best beam I’ve gotten from a small TIR, even with 1mm² emitters


I am not sure if the Baton TIRs are available out there. I’ve seen people modding Olights but with other optics, so I am not sure if they can be found out there.

I don’t actually like clear optics, I normally go with frosted or pebbled ones because they make the beam floodier, which I prefer.

I need to go back to my searches in AliExpress to see if any of them is compatible with this flashlight! If I find one, I let you know Wink

JaredM
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I actually just wasted a solid hour combing through AE for better options.. no dice.

The way I see it, the FWAA is the perfect little flooder. Compact, triple, and the tail e-switch is actually convenient such that I can operate the light with my tongue while holding it in my mouth.

To compliment it, I’d try to get as tight of a beam as possible with an SST20 or 219b, while minimizing artifacts. But the more I think about it, the pairing I have right now with my FW1A TIR SST20 4000k and FWAA sw45k is as close to perfect for EDC as I may get without designing my own light from scratch. And until there is an appropriate clip for these it’ll never be my primary anyway.

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mattlward
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The original FW1A clip is pretty darn good. The double sided clips really are no good.

EDC rotation:
KR4, SST-20 FA3 4000k (favorite!)
FW3A, Nichia 4000k sw40 r9080 (second favorite)
FW1A, LH351D 3500k (third favorite)
FW1A, XP-L Hi 3A
FW3A, LH351D 3500k
FW3A, SST20 FD2 4000k
FW3A, Cree XP-L Hi 5A3
Emisar D4V2, SST20 4000k
Emisar D4V2, brass E21A 3500k (night light of choice)

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mattlward wrote:
Jon, do you think there would be room between the wires and the emitter for a 3535 footprint and some kind of centering ring?

Yes, I think a 10mm mcpcb will work with a 3535 LED and the stock centering ring

optimistic I am Wink

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mattlward wrote:
The original FW1A clip is pretty darn good. The double sided clips really are no good.

Agreed.

FW1A / FW3A clip is excellent.

Unfortunately, the latest fad among flashlight manufacturers seems to be 2-way clips. And all the 2-way clips are garbage. The FWAA’s clip is no exception.

  • It’s too small to feel secure in a pocket,
  • The reverse clip gets caught on things making it awkward to use
  • The clip sticks out fairly far from the light making a slim light thicker than it needs to be.

Having a 2-way clip is ONLY useful for carrying the light on a ball cap. If you’re like me and never do that a traditional 1-way clip is always better … preferably with deep-carry.

I’m hoping the 2-way clip fad passes soon so we can get useful clips with our lights again.

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JaredM wrote:
I actually just wasted a solid hour combing through AE for better options.. no dice.

The way I see it, the FWAA is the perfect little flooder. Compact, triple, and the tail e-switch is actually convenient such that I can operate the light with my tongue while holding it in my mouth.

To compliment it, I’d try to get as tight of a beam as possible with an SST20 or 219b, while minimizing artifacts. But the more I think about it, the pairing I have right now with my FW1A TIR SST20 4000k and FWAA sw45k is as close to perfect for EDC as I may get without designing my own light from scratch. And until there is an appropriate clip for these it’ll never be my primary anyway.

Yeah, I thought so Oops Optics like the one from the S1R are difficult to find.
I tried another one, from the Amutorch S3 but the beam is also far from good and it is taller than needed to avoid any gap.

I guess those boards from Kaidomain, if filed a littel bit in the “corners”, can be put in place to use SST20 or Nichias and eventually LH351D LEDs. The thermal path will probably suffer because it is not a straight fit and it will not make a good contact as the original MCPCB. Still worths a try.

About the clip, yeah, I’d prefer something like the 2way clip from the FW3A/FW1A that is sold by Neal. That is probably the best option allowing deep carry and also the possibility to use it in a cap. The current version from the FWAA/FW1AA is not the most favourable one, but…it works.

BTW, the FW1AA is as tall as the FW3A with the 18500 tube. I will try to get a “family” photo meanwhile and put them side-by-side.

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The FWxx family comparison:

FW1A > FW3A (18650) > FW1AA > my FW1AA > FWAA

FW1A > FW3A (18500) > FW1AA > my FW1AA > FWAA

FW1A > FW1AA > my FW1AA > FWAA > FW3A (18350)

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The large difference in throw is the key thing that separates this from an fwaa. Without that large difference what’s the point. The problems for me are the cool white and low-cri. If those two problems can be overcome then I could possibly put down my fw1a with the original reflector. With a narrow beam you can put light on specific objects without cranking things up to Max or turbo and chewing through a whole lot of battery. I carry a separate light for when I need flood and run time.

You can't compare the big flashlight in the sky to the little flashlight in your hand.

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MascaratumB wrote:
Here’s some more photos from the flashlight.

Thanks for all these additional details and measurements Thumbs Up

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Oli wrote:
The large difference in throw is the key thing that separates this from an fwaa. Without that large difference what’s the point. The problems for me are the cool white and low-cri. If those two problems can be overcome then I could possibly put down my fw1a with the original reflector. With a narrow beam you can put light on specific objects without cranking things up to Max or turbo and chewing through a whole lot of battery. I carry a separate light for when I need flood and run time.

I guess the throw is really the point on this bet for the LED/SMO reflector.
I still have to take it outdoor and get some beamshots and rough measurements on the range
As I pointed out above, the small MCPCB from Kaidomain can be used (with some adjustments) to make it work with 3535 LEDs, but that’s up to each one. I haven’t done it yet so that I can show the original beam but after that I will try this mod. I am not sure how the reflector will act, but that will be adjusted later on!

thefreeman wrote:

Thanks for all these additional details and measurements Thumbs Up

Thanks and I hope it helps in some way Wink
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Oli wrote:
The large difference in throw is the key thing that separates this from an fwaa. Without that large difference what’s the point. The problems for me are the cool white and low-cri. If those two problems can be overcome then I could possibly put down my fw1a with the original reflector. With a narrow beam you can put light on specific objects without cranking things up to Max or turbo and chewing through a whole lot of battery. I carry a separate light for when I need flood and run time.

A light like this is ideally sized for an EDC.

In an EDC, it may be nice to have a generalist light with some throw, good CRI, good color temperature, good output, and decent flood. Basically something good for close and medium range.

  • The problem with the FWAA is that it is ALL flood. It’s almost a mule and is pretty much only good for close-range use. Many of us find it too floody.
  • Using an Oslon White 1 emitter creates a problem in the other direction – the beam would have a very thin low-CRI, cool-white, low-lumen beam. It wouldn’t be floody enough or bright enough for close-in use. And frankly it wouldn’t be that good for long-range use either as the reflector is too small.
  • Most small EDC lights with this size reflector use XPG-sized emitters such as XPL, XPG, XPL HI, SST-20, and LH351D. There are dozens of lights like this one with similar size and similar reflectors. Examples: Sofirn SP10B, Sofirn SC21, Skilhunt M150, Eagletac D25A and D3A, Lumintop Tool AA, Zebralight SC53w, etc.
  • Until this FW1AA, I can’t think of a single manufacturer who has chosen to use Oslon White 1 as their emitter in this type of light. And that’s likely because White 1 simply is not the optimum choice. Almost every light using White 1 tends to be a dedicated thrower with a large reflector, which this light definitely lacks.
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And still no usb-c charging? Not for the new lep “antman” either so it seems. For me, that’s a no-buy.

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Lumen9000 wrote:
And still no usb-c charging? Not for the new lep “antman” either so it seems. For me, that’s a no-buy.

Would pretty much have to redesign the entire light to make that happen and it would not be able to retain the basic characteristics that were the original hallmark of the FW design. They could do it, sure, with some added length to the host, but it’d be an entire new project. And actually I wonder if the width of the port + pocket to contain it and a rubber cover would be too much for such a small outside diameter…might need to fatten it up a bit to make it fit correctly.

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Correllux wrote:
Lumen9000 wrote:
And still no usb-c charging? Not for the new lep “antman” either so it seems. For me, that’s a no-buy.

Would pretty much have to redesign the entire light to make that happen and it would not be able to retain the basic characteristics that were the original hallmark of the FW design. They could do it, sure, with some added length to the host, but it’d be an entire new project. And actually I wonder if the width of the port + pocket to contain it and a rubber cover would be too much for such a small outside diameter…might need to fatten it up a bit to make it fit correctly.

Agreed.

Whole point of the FWAA series lights is to make them as small as possible. Adding a charging port would probably negate all the advantages of this light.

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Firelight2 wrote:

Agreed.

Whole point of the FWAA series lights is to make them as small as possible. Adding a charging port would probably negate all the advantages of this light.

Small, pure, powerhouse, outstanding in its class. The fw1a was the farthest throwing light in its class. It redefined a class. Don’t dumb down the fw1aa and make it an also ran. It needs more throw than anything else in it’s size. You can have your usable spill when they make the pro model. Edit, let’s not forget that part of what made those first models popular was the choice of multiple LEDs.

You can't compare the big flashlight in the sky to the little flashlight in your hand.

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Oli wrote:
Don’t dumb down the fw1aa and make it an also ran.

Is this a figure of speech? I don’t understand it…?

  

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pinkpanda3310 wrote:
Oli wrote:
Don’t dumb down the fw1aa and make it an also ran.
Is this a figure of speech? I don’t understand it…?

Yes…“also ran” as in a second-place finisher or contenders far down the list of top placers, etc. Here are the top ten finishers in a marathon race, and then here’s the long list of “also ran” participants.

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Thanks. I understand the term now.

I don’t agree with the way Oli used it though. I don’t think Firelight2 dumbed it down to “also ran”. It’s just Oli’s perception of the light.

  

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pinkpanda3310 wrote:
Thanks. I understand the term now.

I don’t agree with the way Oli used it though. I don’t think Firelight2 dumbed it down to “also ran”. It’s just Oli’s perception of the light.

This.

We all use our lights in different ways and have different preferences.

Regarding the FW1A and Oslon White 1 emitters
I don’t have strong opinions on the FW1A as I never purchased one (though I did try one out at Illumn’s store). All my comments in this thread have been about the FW1AA prototype, not the larger FW1A. However, I have tried Oslon White 1 emitters in various different lights and do have opinions about that emitter.

  • My conclusion of the White 1 emitter: It is really only good for one thing: Throw.
  • Tint, CRI and lumens are absolutely horrible compared to the other choices.
  • Throw is great if your only use of the light is for seeing stuff in the distance. But not good if you want a generalist light that is also good for seeing stuff up close.

Personally, I only EDC one light at a time and I primarily look at stuff at close or medium range.

  • Color and tint are important to me. I would never carry a light with a White 1 emitter as my sole EDC, because the beam it produces does not fit my preference.
  • If I feel I might need to see farther I will carry an extra thrower light in addition to my EDC. The FW1AA with Olson White 1 is unsuitable for this because its tiny reflector won’t throw well at all even with a White 1 emitter in it. Something with a bigger reflector is needed to fulfill that need.
  • I find the FWAA to be too floody for my tastes. It’s not good at medium range even with smaller emitters and a polished optic.

Charging Ports
Charging Ports are also a matter of personal opinion and preference. If you actually use them, they can be great to have. But if you’re like me and always use an external charger, then it’s just dead weight.

  • In smaller lights, a charging port makes the light longer and/or thicker.
  • It’s extra weight
  • The port covers tend to break or fall out of position and are annoying.
  • Most USB-C charging ports in flashlights are poorly implemented and are configured for USB-A to USB-C. Most do not work with ipad or phone charger cord.
  • Charging a light via a charging port is like charging an electric car… you have to leave it at the pump (possibly for hours) while it charges, during which you can’t use it away from the charger. Charging an extra battery with an external charger and then swapping it with the one in the light is like refilling a gasoline car: You go from empty to full instantly with no wait.

Practicality:

  • I’m not opposed to having Oslon White 1 emitter as an option the purchaser can choose for the FW1AA. However, if they are only going to sell it with one emitter, I think it should be something a bit more generalist: an SST-20 or LH351D.
  • I do not think a charger would work in the FW1AA. The entire head would need to be redesigned and likely made much thicker in order to accommodate both the charger board and the port cover. The light would look and feel substantially different than any existing FW series light.
  • Some of the less obtrusive ways to do chargers will not work easily in the FW3A. For example, adding the charger board to the top of the body tube rather than the head won’t work because the inner tube for the switch is in the way.

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Yesterday I took some beamshots with the FW1AA outdoor!
In terms of profile, the beam is not much different from the GT Nano. However, the FW1AA has a larger spill area.
It reached 400m, easily, as you’ll see in the photos below.

Some indiviual beam profiles:
FW1AA

FWAA

My FWAA

GT Nano

EagleEye X3T (w/ Osram W1 emitter)

Acebeam TK16 (w/ 3 x Osram W1 emitters)

Now the comparison beamshots:

FW1AA Vs FWAA

FW1AA Vs My FW1AA

FW1AA Vs GT Nano

FW1AA Vs EaglEye

FW1AA Vs Acebeam TK16

And some distance beamshots:

Tree @ 16m

House @ 160m

House @ 190m

Building @ 290m

Building @400m

And that’s all folks!

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Lumen9000 wrote:
And still no usb-c charging? Not for the new lep “antman” either so it seems. For me, that’s a no-buy.

USB charging has tradeoffs. It costs size, complexity (cost and failure points), and frequently impacts waterproofing. I don’t think those are worth sacrificing on this particular light.
Lumen9000
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Scallywag wrote:
Lumen9000 wrote:
And still no usb-c charging? Not for the new lep “antman” either so it seems. For me, that’s a no-buy.
USB charging has tradeoffs. It costs size, complexity (cost and failure points), and frequently impacts waterproofing. I don’t think those are worth sacrificing on this particular light.

Doesn’t have to be harder than this:https://www.sofirnlight.com/products/d25l-headlamp-lh351d-90-high-cri-40...

And then you don’t have to buy proprietary chargeable batteries with lower capacity either.

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Lumen9000 wrote:

Doesn’t have to be harder than this:https://www.sofirnlight.com/products/d25l-headlamp-lh351d-90-high-cri-40...

And then you don’t have to buy proprietary chargeable batteries with lower capacity either.


Or you can use a separate charger and always have a spare fully-charged battery ready to swap in. No need to set the light aside and not use it for hours while a battery is recharging inside the light.

The method of covering the USB slot in that headlamp is a good one. It avoids the breakable rubber cover most rechargeable lights have. Unfortunately, that design is not so easy to implement in an FW series light. The separate inner tube used as the switch contact gets in the way.

It is possible implement such a system, but doing so would require a major redesign. You’d end up with a completely different and substantially larger light that probably looks nothing like the existing prototype FW1AA.

Personally, I’m happy the FW1AA does not have charging in it. I consider built-in chargers a negative and never use them.

  • I can’t use a light with internal charging while it is plugged in. I prefer to swap in spare batteries so I can continue to use the light while charging externally. And for anyone who says, “the light will still work while plugged in”, that doesn’t cut it for me. When I’m using my light I want to be able to take it more than a meter from my wall outlet.
  • Most USB-C lights only have USB-A to USB-C charging. They mostly lack true USB-C, meaning I can’t just plug in my Samsung phone or ipad charger cable. In order to use the charger I have to carry a separate cord and wall wart for them. I have several lights with USB-C chargers in them, but only one of them is actually true USB-C (Sofirn SC21).
  • Chargers add more complexity. It’s something else to break. And depending on how the port is handled it frequently allows for water ingress. A rubber charging port cover can also sometimes be confused with a rubber button making finding the right thing to press a little harder.
  • Chargers require space inside the light and on the surface. The length isn’t a big deal for big lights, but is quite noticeable in small lights. A small light with a charger is usually larger or thicker than the same light could be made without the charger.
  • The presence of a charger may drive up the price. Why pay extra for what I consider a useless function. It’s like paying extra for a bidirectional clip I do not need, never use, and that functions worse than a normal clip.

That’s my perspective based on my preferences and how I use my lights. Each of us has our own perspective. Some really love onboard chargers.

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Lumen9000 wrote:
Scallywag wrote:
Lumen9000 wrote:
And still no usb-c charging? Not for the new lep “antman” either so it seems. For me, that’s a no-buy.
USB charging has tradeoffs. It costs size, complexity (cost and failure points), and frequently impacts waterproofing. I don’t think those are worth sacrificing on this particular light.

Doesn’t have to be harder than this:https://www.sofirnlight.com/products/d25l-headlamp-lh351d-90-high-cri-40...

And then you don’t have to buy proprietary chargeable batteries with lower capacity either.

Comparing an 18650 headlamp to the fwaa is apples and oranges, might as well talk about supbeam k50 in-light charging…. Sick

  

Lumen9000
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Location: Sweden
pinkpanda3310 wrote:
Lumen9000 wrote:
Scallywag wrote:
Lumen9000 wrote:
And still no usb-c charging? Not for the new lep “antman” either so it seems. For me, that’s a no-buy.
USB charging has tradeoffs. It costs size, complexity (cost and failure points), and frequently impacts waterproofing. I don’t think those are worth sacrificing on this particular light.

Doesn’t have to be harder than this:https://www.sofirnlight.com/products/d25l-headlamp-lh351d-90-high-cri-40...

And then you don’t have to buy proprietary chargeable batteries with lower capacity either.

Comparing an 18650 headlamp to the fwaa is apples and oranges, might as well talk about supbeam k50 in-light charging…. Sick


They build in charging in 14500 batteries… Size is not an issue.

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