Archon D10U 18650 aspheric diving flashlight, a non-diver review

Last time I did a review on a free sample from Banggood (an impressive three-barreled head/bikelight) I was pretty disappointed by it, it was a badly thought-out light, and I said so in the review. That did not discourage Banggood (to their credit, or their ignorance ;-) ) to ask me to do another review, and of a nice looking light :-) .

The Archon D10U has been around for almost 2 years, and although it is mentioned here and there, I had not seen a review on it, probably because it is quite expensive (40+ dollars). I am not a diver, so I can not judge the diving performance of this light (it should go up to 60 meters deep), but because it looks like a well build aspheric light, I will see how well it compares it to the BLFstandardaspheric: the Uniquefire UF-T20.

It comes in a pretty nice box, with two small jars of silicon lube, two extra o-rings for the tail-cap, a lanyard and two big diving lanyards.

The Archon looks very sturdy and has a perfect shiny anodised finish that looks thick and tough. It is a tail twisty and so the UI is kept simple, but still proved a bit confusing. The sequence is high, low, slow-strobe, with next mode memory . But it took me some time to find out that in order to go to the next mode you need a 2-seconds off, any shorter and it will stay in the current mode.

Some numbers: the tail current at high setting is 2.15A. Zoomed out, the output is 420 lumen, zoomed in the output is 235 lumen. The throw when zoomed in is 23 klux @ 1 meter.

So the D10U is moderately driven, the output is pretty avarage for a xml-zoomie, and the throw is nothing special, as you expect from an XM-L led. The beam on a white wall looks pretty clean, nice even flood and good led-projection when zoomed in, but zoomed-in there are some (nothing annoying) rings around the hotspot. On my test-tree (Populus canadensis ) at 25meter distance zoomed out and zoomed-in it looks like this:

On the picture it looks a bit more impressive than in reality, the light throws ok, but it is not for really long distances (which is probably no use underwater anyway).


Nothing special on the driver-led assembly, I'm no expert but it looks like a resistor-controlled (20mm) direct driver with PWM for low mode and strobe (pretty low PWM-frequency on low). The threads for screwing in the pill are on a free rotating separate ring around the pill, held in place by the screws that hold the led-board as well, a bit odd solution, but it is needed to keep the pill from turning and twisting the led wires, because the driver floats under the pill. The plus-battery spring is soldered through a hole in the board, it first goes through a thick plastic thingy that is there to spread out the impact of the battery to the side of the driver board when the light is accidently dropped. There is also a spring in the tail cap.

Concerning the physical build, it looks like it can handle some water pressure, the glass front lens is nice and thick (uncoated), the aluminium bezel-ring can screw the lens very tight onto the o-ring that sits on an edge. There is a brushed aluminium spacer between the glass lens and the aspheric, in flood modus it causes a dim and even spill around the flood beam which can be quite useful. The aluminium spacer presses the (plastic) aspheric lens onto a second o-ring:

The tail cap is very robust, many well lubed anodised threads inside the cap and on the body (after all it forms the switch) and two fat o-rings for water proofing. Under the sliding mechanism for zooming the the light, again two lubed o-rings and lubed threading.

Not sure how well it adds up to underwater performance, but as a layman I am impressed :-) .

Now comes the section where I am not impressed, a comparison to the Uniquefire UF-T20. The Archon is slightly larger, but the effective lens diameter is almost exactly the same (31mm vs 32mm):

The aspheric lens of the Archon has a considerably longer focal length, that does not make the Archon throw less but it does give less output by making the hotspot smaller, when zoomed in. The flood of the Archon is a bit wider than the Uniquefire. (left lens is from the Archon, right lens is from the Uniquefire):

I can not do a direct beam comparison between the two because though I have many pills for my UF-T20, there is not one left with an XM-L in it (who started the unsane trend putting XM-L's in aspherics anyway??). But because of the shorter focal length (glass) lens and the lack of an extra thick lens in front of it, I the UF-T20 will beat this Archon on every aspect (physics can't be defied).


The Archon D10U is a nice looking and very robust light with an output performance that is worse than the comparable and well-build Uniquefire UF-T20 that costs half of it. That leaves two reasons to buy it:

1) it looks really well build, if you want an ok performing 18650 zoomie for very rough (and wet) use, this might be the one (I'd mod it with a more suitable led and better driver though).

2) you are a diver.

To finish the review I am looking for a diver who wants to put the light to some underwater testing, preferably up to 60 meters :evil: , and report in this thread (with pictures please :-) ) . Please respond in this thread, the first serious responder who is willing to do the testing will receive the light. To limit my shipping costs, I will send the flashlight to anywhere in Europe for free (jay, one of those scarse giveaways not for US-members, though I love all of you americans all the same :love: ), and the tester can keep the flashlight afterwards. Perhaps before testing, all the seals have to be checked/lubed because I have disassembled the light fully for the review.

Thanks for reading :-)

Nice compact size diving light… but aspheric in diving light? well… ain’t no diver but if I’m in a total darkness under water I want as much light out of the front where I can see things clearly at least 50’ in front of me :smiley:

Thanks for the review djozz.

Sorry I cant dive.. Maybe tie some rocks to me.. J)

Glass and O ring are up to some pressure by the looks of them.

As I understand, divers do profit from tight beams without much spill, it helps seeing through blurry water, same as they work better when seeing through fog, or smoke.

I will send you the light straight away ;-) .

Please keep track of what is happening to the light on the way down, with depth numbers. You can send your notes to the surface tied to a small balloon.


Put it in a pressure cooker (snelkookpan) and pump it up (with an old CO2 fire extinguisher for example)
O, add a meter ! :stuck_out_tongue:

I miss your job sometimes, djozz… :wink:
But you could maybe simulate some depth by gas pressure.

Hmm, the hydrogen bottle at work is at 150 bar, I could hook it to some container filled with water and the flashlight, simulating 1500m depth :evil:. But I guess a soda bottle will not do as a suitable container ;-)

I am a diver, but this has to be the stupidest idea for a torch ever. Yes, a hotspot is very important, but equally as important is spill.

Thanks lionheart for your view on this light, perhaps this is why there is little information about it on the internet.

Still looking for someone who wants to check it out at some depth underwater :-)

We really do appreciate your reviews though mate, great job.

I totaly disagree actually, i think it is a good idea to focus lights for underwater use, if you want to i could test it down to 70mt or something…. But already before i have tested it i can mention some flaws…. it is to big to be a backuplight and to small to be a primary i think… (primary lights should have a long burn time) the design is also not that recognisable for divers… it needs a goodmanhandle of some sort (if it should be a primary). And i suspect it to be quite heavy in the front with the glass lens…. I would have solved it with a fresnell instead…

Hi esmi83, I'm happy to send the flashlight to you for testing underwater. You can keep it afterwards so if it is destroyed in the process that's fine. I do like a report of the test in this review-thread, with perhaps if you have the opportunity some underwaterpictures (video? :bigsmile: ) of the light in action/ the light failing . If you PM me your address I will send the light :-)

I’m not getting how the zoom works. What is stopping the zoomies from being pushed in at higher depths? I have some tight sk68 and they’re very hard to zoom in/out just by air pressure difference, at sea level.

Now this thing will go to 60m - so that’s 7bar vs 1bar air inside = 6bar difference. Again, I’m not seeing how the zoom withstand this pressure difference and not being forcefully pushed in by invisible Hulk.

P.S: There’s a report at CPF that this light failed and leaked at first dive. Look forward to see how this one performs. If possible, videos :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I’m with Pulsar13. Being a diver there is significant pressure buildup underwater. Since the inside HAS to be air, and the outside water there is going to be some serious pressure there.
I can offer to take it diving but shipping to the US is likely prohibitive.

Tight beam vs. spill - is very much dependent on local conditions and what the diver wants to do with the light. For murky water and signaling you want a powerful tight beam. For clear tropical waters, video, and night diving in those conditions a light with more spill is often what is desired. I find it interesting that some of my NW dive colleagues take their halogen lumen monsters on tropical vacations. I think this is like bringing a car headlight indoors to find something in a closet.

Forgot about this light…if you haven’t found someone to test this light I can, but it will only be to 35-40m (ex-HMAS Adelaide off Terrigal, NSW) and it won’t be until the water warms back up a bit (it’s currently 16 degrees, eek!!!)
Anyway, no great hurry, I won’t be diving before October.

Wuss - :slight_smile:
Here it’s 10*C and the peak of summer warmth. :party:
In a few months it’ll be 7*C.
Drysuits (almost) mandatory. If you don’t, you likely quit.

Nice review djozz, i really like the photo of the beam on the tree. Trying to take good photos of my thrower i know is very difficult to take a clean shot of a thrower, at least i am failing. What camera do you use ?
Thinking about the light i think they have make the life too much difficult trying to make an aspheric that have moving parts an underwater solution. If this light do not take water inside @60m than Archon must be a very high quality line of lights.

Drysuit? So you don’t feel the water temp at all?

Wuss :wink: