Odepro KL52 Plus - White, red, green and IR in one light

1 post / 0 new
fangle
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 4 weeks ago
Joined: 04/13/2016 - 00:04
Posts: 10
Odepro KL52 Plus - White, red, green and IR in one light

This review covers the Odepro KL52 Plus. This light has a few tricks up its sleeve. While it is similar to the classic C8 in size, it offers interchangeable emitter modules. This feature allows one light to give white, red, green or infrared (IR) light. It also allows each emitter module to have a different style driver and features. Add the zoom feature and this light can provide a wide range of beam profiles and colors. You can see it on Odepro’s page here.

Thank you to Odepro for allowing me to review this light and battery set. I ordered my kit from Amazon to receive a typical production sample. Shipping and delivery had the usual Amazon efficiency and speed. The light was well packaged and arrived with no damage to the light or packaging.

The beam distance values are for spot mode, not flood.

Odepro notes the light is IPX8 weatherproof and type 3 hard anodized. IPX8 formal standards indicate submersion of more than 1 meter. The exact depth and duration are to be stated by the manufacturer and the impact can be no water intrusion or no water intrusion that causes damage.

What’s in the Box?
Most of the time I receive a flashlight in a cardboard box. Sometimes the box is made to look like retail packaging, while other times it is not much more than a plain brown wrapper. The KL52 Plus goes far beyond that and provides a complete kit in a plastic latching equipment case with a foam liner to keep all the components safely in position. I found this to be extremely useful when changing emitter modules in the field.


Flashlight
Green LED module and case
White LED module and case
IR LED module and case
Red LED module
Two protected 18650 batteries
Pressure switch with adhesive to position on a firearm
Three firearm mounting components including Picatinny rail mount
Spare O-rings
Manuals and warranty info
Lanyard
Two cell battery charger

There is no pocket clip. This light is a bit too large for pocket carry with a clip. While designed to be mounted to a weapon, it does just fine in a backpack or large pocket.





Odepro provides two button top, protected 18650 batteries in a storage case. This kit also includes a charger. I added small “1” and “2” numbers to the batteries to keep track of them in testing.


Documentation
There are two documents in the box. One is a small warranty card with QR codes to contact the manufacturer. The other is a two-sided fold-out instruction sheet. The instructions are all in English. The documentation covers specifications, operation (with diagram), how to change modules and batteries, as well as troubleshooting.


The Light
This images shows the maximum length of the light when extended for spot mode.


The light is made of four sub-assemblies. First is the lens. There is no reflector in this style light. The lens is aspheric and made of plastic. I do not see any of the slight colored tint of an AR coating. The lens is held into the head with a screw in ring and is backed by an O-ring in a machined groove. The threads are snug and engage smoothly.

Next is the tail. It unscrews, and contains the switch to control the light as well as a spring-loaded post for the negative battery contact. The post is a substantial piece of brass with a relatively stiff spring behind it. The tail switch allows momentary contact with a partial press, or latching action with a full press. A full press is required to unlatch the switch. The pressure switch tail cap is constructed the same way but uses a long coiled cord with a series of small switches in a heatshrink sealed assembly in place of the pushbutton on the light. The pressure switch is momentary contact only.

The third part is the body of the light. This tube holds the battery and also contains the focusing assembly. The focusing mechanism uses fine, angled threads with a good coating of what looks like silicone grease. These fine threads and the grease make a very smooth movement that does not change focus accidentally as the light is used. There is no rattle or wobble at any adjustment. This light is different from most in that the tail of the flashlight extends outward as the focus changes. The makes the light easier to hold, as well as making sure the front of the light does not change position when weapon mounted.

All connections on the light are gasketed with O-rings. All joints connect and disconnect smoothly. I didn’t see any evidence of O-rings dislocating or tearing. Of course, no O-rings last forever and spares are included in the kit.



Note that the threads are not anodized. This means the light can’t be mechanically locked out by slightly unscrewing the head or tail.

Finally, we have the light and the brains of the flashlight. The individual LED modules are the heatsink for the LED and contain the driver circuit board. This lets the light change features with the colors. You probably only want on-off for a red light while night hunting, but might want different brightness modes and strobe options with white light. I believe these modules are available individually from Odepro. End user ability to make custom modules should make this an interesting light for modders.

I measured the LED star at 16mm, although emitter boards up to 19mm will fit. The emitter is held in place with a rubbery adhesive. The 17mm driver board is a press fit into the module. This will make modding a little harder, but can be overcome.

It appears that the LEDs are:

White = XM-L2 Red = XP-E2 Green = XP-E2 IR = Oslon Black Series

I have not received confirmation of this identification from Odepro. I went by photos from the OEMs and other info found online. The silver substrate color on the XP-E2 LEDs appears to be an important identifying characteristic.


No bars, just dots, on the emitter should indicate the XM-L2.


IR emitter.


Red LED.


Green LED.

Changing the LED Module

  • Remove the battery from the flashlight. (The instructions stress this safety precaution.)
  • Grasp the body of the light and remove the lens assembly.
  • Adjust the focus until the module is entirely outside the body tube.
  • Unscrew the LED module.
  • Screw in the new LED assembly.
  • Attach the head of the light.
  • Install the battery.
    The process is easy and quick.

Operation
The operation changes depending on the LED module installed. For red, green, and IR LEDs the flashlight has only on-off control. There are no modes to worry about. I did not see low voltage protection in the red or green driver when tested with a variable power supply.

For the white LED module, the mode sequence is

Low -> Medium -> High -> Strobe -> SOS and then repeat. Starting on low is great. Forcing the user to go through strobe and SOS may not be the best choice. The driver does have memory. Keep the light on a level more than 3 seconds and that level will be used when it is next turned on. These functions are all explained in text and with a diagram in the printed instructions. I did not see it mentioned in the instructions, but when I tested the white LED module with a variable power supply the LED began blinking off in a regular pattern (about 80/20 on/off) when voltage dropped below 3 volts. This behavior remained until the light was turned off and the voltage was brought above 3V. This will let you know that the battery is getting low on the first sag below 3V. I did not see low voltage cutoff (shutdown) in the driver during my testing.

Current Draw
To measure current draw, I used my DMM for current on the low setting for the white LED, and my DC clamp meter for all other measurements. Using the clamp meter with a short section of heavy wire avoided the current limiting of the long, thin meter leads on the DMM.

Testing the supplied Odepro batteries and a Samsung 30Q showed no real difference. This flashlight is not driven hard enough to use the extra power of the unprotected cells. The graph of each color uses the maximum output setting for each color. The graph of the white LED current shows low, medium, and high settings in two tests. The first is with the Odepro battery and then again with the 30Q battery. The second test shows the difference between the DMM and the clamp meter both using the same Odepro battery to demonstrate the limitation of the long DMM leads. The clamp meter is designed for higher current measurements, placing the lowest readings at the edge of its measurement range. Keeping an instrument closer to the center of its measurement range generally provides the best results. That’s why I use the DMM for the lowest measurements, and then the clamp beyond that point. We get the better accuracy of the DMM when needed, but avoid the losses in the small meter leads.



Brightness
Using the Ceilingbounce app in my Samsung S9 phone, I tested the output of the light inside a white test chamber. This testing provides relative lumen levels along with runtime. The first test shows the different levels for the KL52 Plus using the provided 18650 at both zoom and flood settings. The official values are 36/240/800 lumens.

To check the lumen ratings, I compared the KL52 Plus to an Astrolux S1, a light that has been around for a long time and is well documented. This light is rated as 1200 to 1400 lumens on turbo, and 800 lumens at the next step down. Taking the S1 on turbo as 100%, the KL52Pro shows low as 5%, medium as 28%, and high as 89%. We can safely say the KL52 Plus meets or exceeds its lumen ratings for the white LED based on these tests.

Runtime
I used the same setup for runtime testing. With the while LED on high mode from a fully charged battery I recorded 74 minutes before the dim blink of the low battery alarm began. Odepro states 1.6 hours (96 minutes) on the case. I ran the test twice and had the same result both times.

Thermal Management
My initial testing using the thermal imager covered heating with the head of the light removed as I wanted to see how well heat was transferred from the LED module to the body of the light. The light was resting flat on a desk on green paper at room temperature (70F). The LED module is the warmest location, but we can see the heat does transfer to the body of the light. I was pleased to see this, as it indicates that modifications to higher power emitters might work well without localizing heat in the module. Later, I used a surface probe to measure the temperature of the body of the light while performing the runtime test. The highest temperature I saw during the test was 105F. (Note that the IR imager auto-adjusts the color scale as the temperature changes.) Emissivity is set for the black anodized aluminum. This causes the desktop to read off the actual temperature.






The next set of tests immediately after the first set used the IR LED module, again with the head removed. The images are at start, 2 minutes, and 5 minutes.



After the IR test, I put the white LED back and ran the light for 5 minutes and then measured the light in spot (body extended) and flood (body retracted) configurations.


Batteries
This section is nearly a repeat of the battery discussion in my NT21 review. Yes, batteries not battery. Odepro includes two 18650 batteries with this kit. They are protected cells, rated at 3000mAh. They are button top and measure a bit longer and larger in diameter than my unprotected cells. My charger does a capacity test by discharging down to 2.8V, and then recharging the batteries. This is conservative, and the batteries can go slightly lower. This conservative testing gave values very close to the rated 3000 mAh. I used the two batteries from this review along with the two from the NT21 to fill all four slots in my charger for this test.

Charging
The included two cell charger is relatively simple. It charges at around an amp as stated on the charger.
Each battery slot has an LED showing red while charging or green when not charging (no battery or battery charged). I discharged the two batteries to 2.8V in my test charger overnight. I then charged them together in the supplied charger. Charging took 4:16 and 4:46 for the two batteries. The charge time and some current measurements I made during charging indicate the actual charge rate is somewhat less than 1A each. Having the rate taper off as the cell charges would not be unusual. The included charter is simple, charges at a safe rate, and it doesn’t get hot during operation. For many users this will meet their needs just fine. For the rest of us we’re using adjustable quick chargers instead anyway.

But Does It Light Up?
Let me explain something right away. I like zooming flashlights. Well, I like GOOD zooming flashlights. This doesn’t include the cheap, loose, dim lights that take three AAA batteries and have some fake blue-tinted LED. We’ve all seen those. Ugh. I carry and use regular fixed focus flashlights all the time at home and at work. I have some with reflectors and some with more complex optics. Fixed focus style is fine and meets most needs. But there are times I do like a zooming light.

One is working on items up close. The zooming light in flood mode allows a large, even lighted area without a hotspot in the middle where it may be too bright up close. (Try using a 1200 lumen light with tight focus in an electrical panel where you are only a few feet away from the equipment.) This wide, even flood also works well when searching for things at night. As a geocacher, I don’t want to be confined to a smaller hotspot when searching.

The other reason I like zooming lights is I can have my smooth up-close illumination without losing the ability to see far away, like all the way to the end of the ductwork or to find out what animal is on the other side of the field. A good zooming light will give you the best of both worlds. The KL52 Plus does not disappoint.

IR light at 850nm wavelength is best for night photos as digital cameras are generally more sensitive to this wavelength. The drawback is that the emitter does have some visible red glow since the wavelength is so close to the range of human vision. You won’t see the bean, but the emitter will be visible. This is fine unless you are hiding from other humans looking for a dull red glow. (If you need completely invisible IR then 940nm is often used.) Taking beam photos and testing the range of light I could not see was an interesting challenge. I tried a toy night vision device, but there was no way to capture photos for this review. I finally realized that I could go to a location with security cameras and use their night vision to see what the light was doing. Remember that the security cameras have 850nm IR illuminators in them. I’m using my cell phone to view the camera in real-time.

First, I tried flood mode. The following photos are with the flashlight off and then turned on.


The illumination power of the IR flashlight is obvious. I tried again at a different location. As before, the security cameras have their own 850nm illumination. Photo order is flashlight off, flashlight on flood, and finally flashlight on beam. Note that the beam is brightly lighting a house across the street of the next block, not across the street from where I am standing. I added a red box to show the location of the beam from the KL52 Plus. Now I wish I had a real night vision setup!



For the red, white, and green lights I used the same parking lot and field as my last test. The night was clear but humid, and at the end of my testing some dew was starting to form on my equipment. The GPS coordinates for my long throw test location were recorded using an averaging program intended for accurate geocaching locations. The pavilion used for short distance testing is too new to be on the satellite view.

I did my first testing with a pavilion 35 feet away from the KL52 Plus. I tested with all three colors in flood mode and used fixed camera settings to reproduce what I saw by eye. Here are images of the white LED at low, medium, and then high settings. The lighting is even and smooth cool white but not the blue tint of cheap LEDs. I walked around with the light, and depending on how high I held it (arms down or arms up holding the light at head level) I could comfortably search for something in a 30-to-50-foot diameter area. With the low setting I could work on things at close range without destroying my night vision completely. The following images are low/medium/high.



Next are the read and green photos. Remember these colors only have one level.


I tried one test of the light at the halfway point between spot and flood, looking at some trees about 200 feet away. The light is using the white LED on the high setting. The round flood gradually pulls in until the spot pattern is reached. I didn’t see any strange artifacts in the beam between spot and flood.

The final round of testing was with the light on full spot focus, targeting trees nearly 900 feet away. All three emitters worked fine at this distance. The white LED used the high setting. The moisture in the air lets us see the beam of light from the flashlight.



Weapon Mounting
When you can’t do it yourself, find an expert. I loaned the light to a competition shooter for his feedback on weapon mounting the light. He (H.B.) found all the mounting attachments work well, but he would add some kind of soft pad before clamping to a weapon with a polished barrel. In the AR15 photo you can see the pressure switch is held with tape. This was for temporary testing. If he were to permanently mount to his rifle, he would add a rail cover to give a flat surface and stick the switch pad in place.







Conclusion
The Odepro KL52 Plus is well put together without becoming so large or heavy that it becomes a problem to carry or use. It provides useful spot, flood, or in-between light patterns in multiple colors. It isn’t as small as some 18650 lights, but its features could take the place of two or three different smaller and larger lights. The weapon mounts cover many different options. The kit gives you everything needed to get started without needing to find batteries, a charger, or other accessories. If you are looking for a zooming light, especially one with colors for hunting, this is a good choice.

PRO

  • Well built
  • Meets or exceeds lumen specs
  • Batteries meet specs
  • Simple user interface
  • Useful flood
  • Useful throw
  • Color choices
  • Protected batteries
  • White driver has low voltage warning
  • White driver has last mode memory
  • Many possibilities for modders to change LEDs and drivers
  • Has everything needed in one kit

CON

  • White LED driver has strobe and SOS in the normal rotation, not as a hidden mode
  • White LED is not driven as hard as some other lights. It doesn’t use the higher current of unprotected batteries
  • No low voltage shutdown in the driver – but has low voltage warning and the batteries are protected
  • Charger is not fast
  • White runtime did not reach the stated time

Test Equipment Used

  • Protek 506 DMM
  • Ideal 61-768 clamp meter
  • Fluke Ti32 thermal imager (E=0.85)
  • Pentax K50 camera
  • Opus BT-C3400 charger
  • Tekpower TP-3003D-3 power supply
  • Samsung S9 phone

Edited by: fangle on 08/22/2022 - 11:04