Your coolest / best / favorite flashlight of 2023?

The S11 is cheap and very handy. I modded them with SST20 4000K and 7135 driver. It is a bit dimmer but offers full regulation for a longer and more stable output. It lives on my keychain.

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Without a doubt, wurrkos HD15 Headlamp. Amazed me that anything that big and heavy can be a comfortable Headlamp that “disappears”, wherevyou cant feel it!

Also my first Headlamp that will run a decent output non stop for 6 or 8 hours, not dim and not run dead.

My only complaint is that the low setting is half or a third of what it should be to be useful, or even evenly spaced… but I tend to eed medium or high most often anyway.

Honerable mentions are the Wurrkos TS11,

such long distance out of a pocket light amazes me, and I got to learn a ton about C code and programming with finding and helping chase an anduril2 bug in its setup.

And the Wurrkos TS25, where I finally consciously learned what form factor of lights I prefer… it would have been much too big in Dia and weightvto carry, I found that I dont sislike the large dia, but the length… That and my Sofirn SP10 the fall before, when I found it was too short to use comfortably, but with a handle extension it still wasn’t right… fiubf then I needed the Dia bigger, jusg didn’t know I could go to 21700 class and bigger, as ling as it stayed in the AA class for length!

Put the 20350 tube on the TS25 and it is damn near perfect to hold.

It’s good that you like the HD15. However it has an unregulated FET driver and the output keeps getting lower with depleting battery.

The only buck driven head lamp from Sofirn/Wurkkos at the moment is the HS40. I looked at every model and reviews and decided to settle for a HS40 and I will swap the emitter and possibly the optic to make the beam better.

If it gets dimmer I can’t see it, and thus it doesn’t matter. I’m always working if I’m wearing it, not concentrating on exact lumens and just seeing what I’m doing. My perception of its brightness never changes, so it cant be much actual change.

As opposed to my other Sofirn/Wurrkos lights, all Anduril lights I might add, where the drop off is Extremely visible.

Might be different because I am usually using it in below freezing and below 0 conditions, where any thermal regulation, if it has any, is probably never engaging…

Nothing changed in past 5yrs. So the best overall handheld lights are Skilhunt, Emisar and Convoy. The best headlamps are Skilhunt and generic D10.

This got me curious so I looked up some runtime graphs. Here’s what I found:

Zeroair did some nice measurements

It appears to have an unregulated DD FET driver with no “+1” regulator for low modes, so even the low modes have sag as the battery drains. It also has one of the most unstable thermal regulation patterns I’ve ever seen.

This got me curious too, so I looked up graphs for one of those lights too. The first one I found was a Wurkkos FC13, also by Zeroair. Due to its similar size and similar FET-style driver for high modes, it can sustain a similar brightness level when limited by temperature:

This light uses a FET+1 driver so it also doesn’t have great performance, but at least the low modes (under ~130 lm or so) are regulated for flat output… and that’s what you’d be using if you want it to run for 8 hours. The “+1” chip (amc7135) keeps output almost completely flat. Those modes weren’t runtime-tested though, since the test would take a long time and the performance is already pretty well understood from testing other lights with the same chip.

The FC13 thermal regulation isn’t the most stable, since it’s constantly fighting against FET sag and measurement noise, but it at least stays within about 10% of the optimal level, instead of swinging wildly back and forth. For reference, 7% is the threshold Cree uses for its binning process, since people can’t generally perceive a 7% difference in brightness… so the regulation here is mostly invisible after it reaches the desired temperature.

But a FET+1 driver isn’t great. It’s simple and cheap so it gets used a lot, but one could do a lot better.

For example, when using a FET in linear mode, output can be much more stable. This method still burns off extra power instead of converting it to more lumens, but at least it keeps the output steady:

The increases toward the end of the turbo+fan run are because this type of driver gets more efficient when the battery is low, generating less heat… so it turns up the brightness to compensate.

… and then there’s boost / buck drivers. The graphs for those look the same as the linear driver, except they can maintain higher output at the same temperature, and they get longer runtimes at the same brightness.

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I beg to differ.

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Yeah I know. Not that I completely understand half of what you posted, but "I know ".

I looked at all of that before I bought it. I over research everything before buying. Then sometimes I take a chance anyway. I Remember kniwing the graphs were “off” but I wanted to try the novelty of duel output enough to just do it anyway.

I love zeroair reviews because of the actual output measurements and run time graphs, its the most thorough place to compare lights. (And its actually written out where I can “see” it unlike all the fools that can only make videos that are hard to follow and can’t be side by side compared)

I do the graphs and run time comparisons because most of this linear/non, fet or +1, or, direct or regulated stuff is mostly over my head… I’ve learned a lot from you in the last few days on that topic, it makes more sense now!

all yoh posted to me says that what im seeing with thr HD15 js impossible. Maybe it us, but all I know is it works for me. I really cant see it drop off at all!

Maybe after a longer work day, but even then its not much, really have to think to force remembering seeing any drop.

don’t particularly care if it should, just happy it does work so well for me. :slight_smile:

Should say, I’m not running 100% constantly for 8h. For me for all intents it is, since I get a full work day out of it.

But its actually in contantly on bursts of probably about half hour to 45 min, maybe 15 to 20 min off, and back on again… on medium or high, on the flood channel 99% of the time. Never on low, never on turbo. so I’m probably getting say 2.5 hours run time @ either of the claimed 120 or 400 (call it 250 average lumens) in that 8+h day, without any visible
drop in output, at least that I can see.

dropping the cell from 4.1v to usually 3.6v when I put it on to charge at the end of the project/day, for whatever that is worth.

I love the info on this forum, and the differences, and debates, etc, but its like gear heads debating overhead vs block cams, turbo vs super charger, vs naturally aspirated… I’m the guy that cares to research and compare, and even moddify what I have, but at the same time is going 160mph blowing doors off of everything else and doesn’t care how. If it works, it works and I’m loving it. :wink:

(Yes I am a gear head, and actually 90% of my time wearing the HD15 in the last 4 months has been while laying under my daily driver, or under it’s hood at the least. We dont have much daylight this time of year and my vision sucks anyway, I have a Headlamp on for all work, its the only way I can focus on things, even in “daylight”)

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There’s a reason why FET+1 drivers get used so much. In addition to being simple and cheap and capable of going from sub-lumen to hotrod turbo, they’re also solidly in the category of “good enough” for most practical purposes.

The efficiency isn’t great, and the output isn’t incredibly stable… but it generally runs long enough, and the output variation is hard for humans to perceive during actual use. It’s a pretty solid and compact way to make a decent light for cheap without an advanced degree in electrical engineering.

OTOH, after getting a D4K-boost, and some lights with thefreeman’s regulated HDR drivers, I feel a bit spoiled. The thermally sustainable output is quite a bit higher compared to a FET+1 light of the same size, and the runtime is quite a bit longer, and output is so steady that even a lux meter can’t tell when the battery is low. The graph is just a flat line until LVP steps it down to protect the battery.

So I’m looking forward to seeing more of those in the future.

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[quote=“ToyKeeper, post:50, topic:221766”]
It appears to have an unregulated DD FET driver with no “+1” regulator for low modes, so even the low modes have sag as the battery drains. It also has one of the most unstable thermal regulation patterns I’ve ever seen.
[/quote] This is regarding the Wurkkos HD15.
It’s not really relevant in the real world. I thought most of us understood that turbo isn’t something you can use for more than a minute or five.
Are people really putting things on turbo and expecting to use it that way? No. So that’s not really a good way to test things because that’s not how people use them. The HD15 in my opinion is the best “budget” headlight out there. Get it in 4000k with the high cri and use the flood mode and it is a really good light. Type C at about 2 amps charging rate. A simple UI. Under $30 if you can wait from China

Emisar D2, Acebeam Terminator M1, and Noctigon M44.

I agree to a point. While technology hasn’t changed, prices have come down a lot, and packaging/ form factors have also evolved (wuben X1, Lumintop mach) and we have new batteries (46950, 26890, High output, 60 A and 5500 mah 21700). We’ve also needn invaded by Chinese LEDs getting better and better. I’m hoping to see better advances in efficiency, output, andc regulation in the future.

Wurkkos CuTI TS10 V2.

They do make great gifts. While a separate charger is workable, for a certain percentage of your circle the charger will likely disappear into the ether within 48 hours of opening it. Pair it with a USB C rechargeable 14500 like the Acebeam 920 mAh ARC14500 for more capacity and convenience than the stock battery.

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Acebeam E75. (Noting I haven’t tested the Skilhunt MiX-7 yet)

Wurkkos TS10. Well, it’s the only flashlight that I bought this year :joy:

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My favorite flashlight of 2023 is my Black FW3A that I swapped the CREE XPL-HI 6500K for Samsung LH351D 5000K and replaced the stock Magenta AR Coated Lens for a Convoy S21A Green AR Coated Lens.

I was shocked when I realized that I had 20+ flashlights pass through my hands in 2023.

Edit: I forgot to mention I replaced the Bunny button with a Ringed button as well:

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I like my TS10s, mostly the 3000K copper and 4000K brass, but they are too small and not bright enough for any job other than illuminating a dark room in the house, at night. Mostly used outsides are my Olight Marauder Minis. And I have two real favourite lights - a copper FW3A with Rev812 Andúril, which I modified to 3x 519A 4500K DD - and a new KR4 TiCu , also on Rev812, with 4x 519A 4500K DD and boost driver.

buy once cry once

else you’ll come looking at HDS every now and then

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Impressive list

How is the cutoff for this counted?

I just ordered a light 2 days ago. No way it comes before new years, but if it turns out I love, it technically I bought it in 2023. :smiley: lol