WARNING: This not a review, but more a kind of “report”.
Today I received a “long awaited” * Convoy S2+ Mini * (16340/18350 version), from Simon. (Shipped on 22 October)
I asked him to equip it with:
- SMO reflector
- XPL-HI U6-4C (Neutral to Warm White)
- Biscotti 3*7135 Chips
- Forward switch
- White rubber tailcap
My aim when I ordered this flashlight was to have a short flashlight, with a really low moonlight mode, and which I could use with a 16340 or a 18350 battery.
Also, I wanted a flashlight that I could use “silently”, without having to make a full click to switch it ON (hence, the forward switch).
I asked it with a XPL-HI U6-4C & SMO reflector as I wanted it to have a narrow hotspot (as the one from the Convoy S2+ Desert Tan), and I preferred a warmer tint, compared with the XPL-HI U6-3A from the DT version.
So, this is what I wanted or what I idealized. I received the light in pristine conditions and as good as ever, from Simon, and with all the specs I asked for!
I must say that I like the Desert Tan colour very much, but the mix from blue & grey from the S2+ Mini is something delicious!
I really love its colour and smooth anodization. It is smoother than the black and the Desert Tan versions, maybe it is a bit slippery, but the smooth touch conquered me! I just can compare it with the Emisar D4 (grey version) that is also that smooth!
Well, but now I’ll make a comparison between what I idealized and my feeling after receiving it and using it for a while, my “clash with reality”.
1 – Driver: This is one of the “old” Biscotti versions, once it has a strobe with single frequency and it is faster than the #2 version of this driver.
PROBABLE ACTION: Due to what I will say next, I’ll probably stack some 7135 chips on it, to make it a 8*7135 driver, eventually…or more than that Or maybe I’ll replace it!
2 – Forward Switch: I wanted to have momentary ON feature. But after using it for a while with and without memory configured, I perceived that the forward switch does not interact so well with this driver as I thought it would…
Maybe due to the driver version (it reacts too fast when clicking, or sometimes it seems to get stuck…), maybe due to the memory, I don’t know, but what was happening was that the modes jumped a lot, entering the configuration settings.
ACTION: I decided to replace the forward switch and put a reverse switch on it, in order to make it work well. I’m still getting some difficulties, so maybe the switch was just part of the problem, and the rest is on the driver…
3 – LED + SMO reflector: As I said, I chose this combination so that I could get a narrow beam that would be more useful for me, because it would concentrate the light in one spot, that I prefer for night vision at home when all is dark and people are sleeping.
I rapidly noticed that on the very centre of the hotspot, there is a yellow dot. The reflection from the SMO + the tint of the LED originated that dot. The corona also has more marked yellowish shade, while the rest of the beam (spill and even hotspot) are “whiteish”. It is hard to describe and it was difficult to get a picture that captured this.
ACTION: First I swapped the reflector and used an OP reflector, and the hotspot got less defined and more floody (not as much as a XML2 would make it, though). Then I decided to use a pebbled TIR lens (with holder) and that is the actual configuration of the light. The original lens is a clear lens, not AR coated.
4 - Output level: Well, I thought that getting a 3*7135 driver would make the low modes (0,1%) go lower… But it didn’t! The output level on the lowest mode – I would risk saying – is evenly the same from as from a 8*7135 driver. Sometimes it seems even brighter (if compared with the DT version, both with SMO reflector), but I believe that it has to do with the tint, as the warmer seems to be more prominent.
On the other outputs, some differences emerge, mainly on the 2 highest (Mode 2 configured: 0,1 – 1 – 10 – 35 – 100%), and on the thermal aspects, as this 3*7135 version doesn’t get hot.
Comparison between Convoys: L to = XPL-HI U6-3A > XML2 T6-4C > XML2 U2-1A > XPL-HI U6-4C (mini)
As you may notice, by this time, almost all of my ideas have failed about this configuration.
What I mention as good/positive from this experience:
1 – this Convoy S2+ Mini host is really cute and beautiful;
2 – the tint from the XPL-HI U6-4C is quite nice, not as warm as a XML2 T6-4C, and if used with a pebbled TIR lens will produce a very nice Neutral White beam. I don’t recommend using it with a SMO reflector, as it may cause that yellow dot in the centre of the hotspot;
3 – the drivers with few 7135 chips are really nice for home flashlights, and if installed in a 18650 host they will probably provide lots of hours of illumination without getting hot.
4 – Convoy quality is always good, and Simon is an excellent guy that made the things I asked in a very professional way! As ever!
What to do next?
Well, I’ll probably use this host + driver + OP reflector + forward switch (or lighted switch) to make a nice “hot” light with Lexel’s driver with Bistro HD OTSM, or maybe I’ll turn it into a triple.
Anyway: for those I had to answer – sorry, can’t remember who or where – this is my experience with the 3*7135 Biscotti driver and XPL-HI U6-4C LED!
Feel free to ask questions or make any comments.