[review] Sofirn SP32A v2

Courtesy of Tracy at Sofirn, I got a belated b’day gift, the v2 issue of the venerable SP32A. :smiley:

All I can say is “Holy Cats!”. This is a nice one!

Right out of the box, it’s just like its v1 brethren, except the side-switch now has an LED behind it, acting as a battery indicator. Green means plenty of juice, yellow not so much, red means you’re running on fumes and need to recharge it asap. I’ve gotten to really appreciate even basic “fuel gauge” indicators, from the Thorfire TK4A and Sofirn SF11, to the Nitefox UT20, and now the SP32A.v2 as well. No more guessing how much charge the cell has, within reason of course, green will generally mean you got a decent amount of juice unless you’re running it wide-open.

Working the light is simple, and if you have a Q8 or similar, you’ll be able to jump right in and work it like it’s an old friend. A quick click turns it on (vs a longpress), and a longpress turns it off. Once on, a click switches modes. Out of the tin, it comes set in stepped-modes, everything from moonlight through high, and a doubleclick gets you to turbo.

In fact, even from off, a doubleclick gets you to turbo (just like the SP10B), and a singleclick reverts back to its previous mode from whence it was called, whether some regular mode if on, else back to off. Wunderbar!

And then there’s ramping. Press’n’hold it when on, and it’ll blink a few times to let you know you’re now in ramping mode. Press’n’hold the button to start it ramping upward ’til it peaks and quick-blinks at you. If ramping upward, a quick release’n’press starts you downward, ’til it quick-blinks at minimum. If you want to go back to stepped modes, a similar press’n’hold after it blinks at max/min will do so, just hold the button ’til it again blinks a few times.

Ramping speed is faster than the TK18 and the v1. The TK18 was a rather painful 8sec or so, the v1 almost as slow and had the “pause” around the middle of the brightness range. The v2 is a bit quicker, that I counted “5 chimpanzee” when it went from one extreme to the other. So… 5sec or so, give or take?

Stepped modes are pretty evenly spaced, and the light just seems to get brighter and brighter with each press. :smiley: Then doubleclick to turbo and it’s even brighter. :smiley:

Personally, though I like ramping, I’m perfectly okay with stepped, and in fact prefer it. Ymmv.

The widest part of the light is the collar, where the switch is mounted. 5 flats, with the switch on one of them. The logo is perfectly centered below the switch, but on mine (for the OCD among us), the little triangle advertising hot bacon strips is just a liiiiiittle off-center. (Hey, I gotta find some fault with the light. :smiley: )

The tail is nice and flat and tailstands great. Those who like magnetic bases can stoopit-gloo a Nd magnet to the base, as the center nub is a bit recessed from the rim, and you won’t even block the lanyard-hole.

Speaking of which, accoutrements include the usual lanyard, extra O-rings, pocket clip, etc. As I’ve bemoaned plenty of times before, I generally dislike the usual silver-colored clips that leave the head of whatever light sticking out waaay too far from a pants pocket, and really like the deep-carry clip Fasttech carries for the S2+. The notch is way wider than the thickness of the ‘C’ part of the clip, but it otherwise fits perfectly and can let the light ride low and stealthy, and minimise the chance of it squishing out of your pocket when you sit down. For about a buk, get 1 or 10. You’ll thank me later.

The beam itself is a bit fried-eggy if you go white-wall hunting, but perfectly usable in Real Life™. And it’s hella bright. Neutral hotspot, yellowish corona, bluish spill… I’d love to see what a narrow-angle TIR lens could do for this puppy! Beam perfection, I’d say.

I wanted to take some comparison shots of the v1 and v2, including beamshots, but I keep getting horrible colors in the final pix. Phones do what they think you want, it seems. So, I’ll hold off for now, and see if I can’t get some decent shots from a Real Camera™ instead.

So… a great light, hella bright, great UI, choice of ramping and stepped modes, battery indicator, wow! It just ticks all the boxes.

And of course, I got a coupla pale-gold ones on the way. Black is nice, but these will be killer! I’ll be envied by men and pursued by women!

My thoughts exactly on this one. It’s an excellent light. My only real complaint is the XP-L2 fried egg beam… it’s like about any other reflector light with an XP-L2 or XP-G3. IRL, not so bad and can always be addressed with a simple emitter swap if desired later on.

Pale gold looks nice…

Mine has the ugly tint shift too. But not too bad when outside. Good news is, nothing is glued and an emitter swap will be 10 minute job.

Thanks for the review Lightbringer!

Did you happen to get any tailcap current measurements?

Nature of the beast, I suspect. Wonder how a ’351D would look in it, or do the TIR thing.

Arrrgh, more color funkiness. Top looks quite dark, bottom lighter, pix on AX look really light as to be almost indistinguishable from silver. Seems I can’t take beamshots to save my life, either, as colors get all mangled.

Unless it’s a hideous internal-organ pink, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna like it, though!

Gaaah! I didn’t even think of undoing the front! All my recent lights have been glued shut.

I’m looking at the reflector and wondering just how much a difference in depth between it and a TIR. :love:

I have 3, 2 gold and 1 silver. TIR lens would be awesome but an orange peel reflector would be a great option concidering the typical 1” tube lights are not great at throwing. I would think it would smooth out the beam quite a bit. Just a thought.

No worries.

And naw, all my meters always underread the current on the unfused “10A” circuit. Now, if I had a clamp-meter…

It’d blend the beam somewhat, but only in that part that’s reflected (more yellow). What just shoots straight out the front (more blue) would be unaffected.

At least a TIR seems to blend the whole beam a bit more thoroughly. I’m just curious about the heat rating of PMMA vs running the LED full-tilt.

And figure milled’n’polished Al reflectors have to co$t more than cheap PMMA TIRs. Glass, of course, if you wanna go whole hog, but even PMMA should be doable… unless the heat would be too much. But then again, the centering ring, etc., would be in the same situation, and that’s pressed right atop the mcpcb.

That’s why I wonder why everyone and his grandmother opts for reflectors in new lights.

Oh, and here’s an idea… SP10 with a lit sideswitch!! Killer!

I have a clamp meter. I can try to get readings in a few minutes. This thing is really well regulated and my lumen measurements line up closely to specs

It is quite dramatic what a TIR does compared to the OP reflector. I have one each of the Skilhunt H03 and H03R and the H03 is a lot better at dispersing the light evenly. I don’t even use the H03R anymore.

Amp measurements, taken with a Sanyo GA at 4.13V:

  • Standby: 0.01 mA
  • Low: 0.008 A (8 mA)
  • Med1: 0.083 A (83 mA)
  • Med2: 0.242 A
  • High: 0.920 A
  • Turbo: 2.86 A

Not bad, tnx!

Using my “shine light thru small portable fan blade” method, I do not detect PWM on the SP32A v2.0 (using this method, the SP32A v1 shows PWM on any mode other than Turbo). So no detectable PWM whether in the groups mode or the ramping mode. I wished the lowest brightness would be around 1 (or 2) lumens. As for now, 5 lumens seems a bit bright to qualify as “Moon”. The SP32A v1, in ramping mode, has probably 1-2 lumens in lowest brightness.

Ramping speed: compared to v1 (new batch), it seems the SP32A (newer batch “v1.1”) ramps slightly faster from low to high (about 3.5-4 seconds). The SP32A v2.0 ramp speed seems to be about 4.5-5.0seconds from low-to-high, at least on the unit I got.

Got my lights yesterday…. champagne and silver colour.

my champagne colour had a mark }P

havent play around much but if the ramping is more than 4 seconds then it’s slow for my taste. Im so use to ramping 3 seconds Narsil firmware.

It’s a nice light and i love it for the price.

Does the v1.1 have the pause in the middle?

Yeah, I counted to “5 chimpanzee” for the v2, so that sounds about right.

Yes the v1 old & new batch have the very short pause in the middle.

I made videos before showing the ramping behavior, though I don’t think my camera was able to capture the very short pause in the middle.

SP32A v1 old batch


SP32A v1 new batch


One more nicety, it’s rated up to 6V, not just 4.2V. So the pair of CR123As I got with a NexTorch? It’d take forever to burn ’em off in my Jet-II, which is my “emergency/backup light” in my bag, so I just fed them to my v2, and it works beautifully. Tres kewl! (That’s French…)

This is one nice puppy!