I am looking for a powerful pocket-sized thrower, but so far I haven’t settled on anything. Rather than look at more models, I thought I would try to summarise my understanding of the various design options, and ask others to see if it makes sense.
AFAICS, there are several approaches to designing a thrower:
Huge, deep head-to-emitter-area ratio. The emitter is buried deep in the head, and the sheer size of the head in relation to the emitter gives a reasonably good focus. (e.g. Fenix TK70, Jacob A60)
Shallower head relative to the emitter (or emitters), with huge output. The head is deeper than average, but not deep enough to prevent significant spill. A high throw is achieved by the muscle of multiple emitters and multiple batteries. (e.g. BTU Shocker, Fenix TK75)
Recoil thrower. The emitter faces backwards into a parabolic reflector, producing a perfect pencil beam, albeit with some artefacts due to the presence of the emitter in the light path. Output is limited by the lack of a cooling path, so the optical efficiency is severely compromised by low power. (e.g. Ultrafire WF-008)
Collimator head, usually implemented in flashlights by an aspheric lens. The depth of the reflector is not critical, because the lens focuses the light into a narrow beam. (e.g. Crelant 7G5 Collimator)
Are there other options? Have I summarised the approaches with some degree of accuracy?
If the above is a decent summary of the options, then a small but powerful thrower is limited to 2 approaches. Option 2 (muscle) doesn’t work in a pocket light, because a single 18650 is about as big a light as fits reasonably in a coat pocket. Option 3 (recoil thrower) can’t take much power, so will always be a rather weak choice.
The remaining two options are #1 and #3. Option 1, with the deep head-to-emitter-area ratio is hard to achieve in a pocket torch. Even with a small emitter (such as the Jacob A60 with its XP-G or XR-E), the head still ends up larger than is convenient in a pocket torch.
So option 4 (the aspheric lens) looks like the best solution for a pocket thrower. It is efficient and compact, and appears to work with a bigger (and more powerful) emitter such as an XM-L. Yet aspheric-lensed torches are as rare as hen’s teeth.
Why? Have I misunderstood the technologies, or are they just very expensive to produce? Or do they have some huge downside which outweighs the advantages?
I guess you also need to ask or state how physically big you’d accept. Run time ability and what sort of beam you actually want.
As in what do you want to use it for. And if you are after max lux, beam distance or just the profile of a thrower.
I have several aspheric torches. From the SK68’s to an 18650 and even a 3D Maglite. In order to get the throw you need to use a small led. XM-L ones while they still work, they don’t throw like an XR-E one. But the trouble I have with them is the beam is very narrow which makes it of less use. And the square shape of the led and visible wires are to my unliking also.
For a zoomable torch I much prefer TIR optics. You generally get a round beam not square. No wires and a wider beam and larger illuminated area.
I want this light to use while checking a few vulnerable points in my farm for stray livestock. This is the job I had in mind in my first post on BLF, back in May … but since then I have realised that a small torch is more usable than a big one. If I do find something amiss, I need to be able to put the torch in my pocket, and I can’t do that with a monster like a TK75 or BTU Shocker.
That means something about the size of my Convoy C8 (and preferably as small as my M1), running on an 18650 (like most of my other torches).
Run time is not critical, but I would hope that it could manage at least 40 minutes on high.
To do this job, I need a throw of more than 400metres, preferably 500m. I don’t need much spill; a fairly narrow beam pattern is fine, and with only a single emitter, the beam probably needs to be very narrow to get that sort of throw. That seems to me to pint towards an aspheric.
I am aware that this may be a rather specialist use, but I’m sure I am not the only person with a similar set of requirements.
What about buying and modding some cheap lights to find out what fills your need?
The edi t p14 is a 18650 zoomer is on promotion for 3.99$ On wallbuys, I have ordered one and put a dedomed xpg2 in it, this throws very well and its small…only negative part is the non standard switch…
I also have some XML aspherics, but they don’t throw so good like chicken said.
I also have some tube style 18650 lights without bigger head(so nothing what we would call thrower) which also “throw” because of their narrow LED beam(xre xpe xpg)
Even a trustfire mini “throws” with a dedomed xpg in it…
The XML in a c8 can also be dedomed to make the beam narrower…or swapped to a xpg2.
The problem I see is that using a better emmitter for throw means to use a emitter with less total light output, so I would say try some different things to find out what fits your need in real life. When I started this hobby I was all over XML but now I use more and more Xpgs…
I never had a zooming tir but I read somewhere here that poplite(ledlenser clones) are nice.
A throw of 500 meters corresponds to ~60 klux at 1 meter, . My guess is that a dedomed 2.8A C8 will not get 60klux, a bit less, but it helps if it has a smooth reflector.
I made a 110klux Uniquefire T20 with a dedomed XP-G2 at 3.0A. This is a pocketable aspheric. I used it in the woods, and between the trees even at full flood mode (400lumen) it appeared very unpractical because the beam has a very sharp cut-off at an angle where you really want some spill leftover. So for most practical uses I want a reflector light, with a wider spill gradually dimming to the side.
I need to wait for it to get dark, but I’ve just finished a Qlite Rev A driven XP-G2 in a Convoy C8. It does have an OP reflector and I haven’t de-domed it. The C8 isn’t a bad jacket pocket torch.
I’ve also put an identical setup into a Solarforce L2M, although it has a SMO reflector. The p60 format is small enough to fit in your jeans pocket while a C8 isn’t. I’ll try and get some beam shots tonight if I can and compare to my Jacobs A60.
I bought a UniqueFire UF-T20 because I wanted to have a light with lots of throw but no spill (and the option to have an even flood). I can always use another (small) light for spill, I don’t need to light up big areas, just want to be able to see where I walk and be able to light up stuff far away. I sometimes just clip a small light to the outside of a pocket so I can see where I’m walking.
The narrowest beam with the XM-L2 is still pretty wide though in my opinion. It seems to pull around 1.5A standard and it can project a nice square that almost completely covers a large part of a pretty big tree about 100 meters away. But I’m planning to mod it similar to what djozz did.
If you don’t want to mod yourself, the SmallSun ZY-C10-S should have more throw in stock configuration. OSTS sells a modded version , and someone else might be able to mod a light for you, if the stock ones are not what you want.
The TIR lenses sound interesting as well, but I don’t remember finding a cheap powerful thrower that’s zoomable. I don’t really mind the square beam, and with an XP-G2, there are only 2 wires and no “strips” in the projected image of the LED.
I’m not worried about it fitting in my jeans pocket. I don’t put anything other than tissues in there, and always find it a bit odd that boys use their trouser pockets as cupboards :bigsmile:
I’m really looking forward to the shots of the C8 with XP-G2. That sounds to me like a potentially good cheap solution, apart from the OP reflector. I have a smooth reflector in another C8, so I could swap it over.
I like it a bit too much to let it go for now, even though a real hunter will find better use for it :-) .
As for the lux reading: I checked my lux-meter with several flashlights and I do not have the experience that it is much off. The lux-numbers of the Thrunite Archer and the Sunwayman D40A are published and my measurements are within a few percent. I checked the lux-numbers of the Uniquefire T20 build at 1, 2 and 6 meters, and with different batteries, the numbers were close: 125 klux direct at start-up, dropping within a few seconds to 108, and steady from there on. And it was not even a cool white emitter before the dedome, but a 3C..
The current measured at the tail is 2.95 amps, did you check your current? Or else you had some bad luck with the emitter?
I have TES 1335 light meter and it is pretty expensive. Measures very correct. Some of my friends ordered Fandyfires and zoomies(long time ago) from OSTS shop and my meter had similar readings as Saablusters so I can assume my readings are real.
Nanjg 105C single mode 3A(yes multimeter shows similar tail readings - sometimes even more than 3A), noctigon XP-G2(cool white- de domed)
I saw that you re-flowed whole star on pill while I used artic alumina. But I really doubt there should be any difference with this methods.
There are several factors that could influance on that:
- Maybe better selected emitters also has some affect and you got better one? (Vinz has hand selected emitters, and he claims that there is visible difference on light output from emitter to emitter but I really don’t know how to pick right one if his theory is correct? If it is correct I would not want to throw the one with poor performance either)
- The way emitter is re-flowed on noctigon star? Maybe in-outdors guys owerflowed it on my noctigon?