Tag Archives: flashlight

4Sevens Preon Li-Ion Beamshots – 200 lumens?

I had heard that using a Li-Ion 10440 cell in a Preon 1 could get close to 200 lumens of output, but I was skeptical. I had to try it for myself. While I have no way to accurately measure lumens, I can say that the claim is absolutely believable and I offer you some beamshots as exhibits. (All photos were taken with a Canon T3i set at 1/320, f/4.0, ISO 400)

Each of the following animated gifs shows 2 side-by-side beams from 2 different 4Sevens Preons on low/med/high and the caption below indicates which beam is which:

1-AAA NiMH/2-AAA  NiMH

This is to be expected. The 4Sevens website states that the Preon 2 more than doubles the lumen counts of the Preon 1(70 lumens to 160).

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 1-AAA NiMH/1-10440 Li-Ion

Again, this is to be expected. We are comparing a 3.7v battery to a 1.5v battery.

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 1-10440 Li-Ion/2-AAA  NiMH

This is where I got excited. Not really surprised, but excited that a single cell could so obviously outperform the 2 AAA batteries.

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In Conclusion:

My completely unscientific comparisons found the Preon 1 with the single 10440 Li-Ion battery to be brighter than even the Preon 2 with two AAA NiMH batteries. How much brighter should be measured with a scientific instrument, but I would definitely believe that the Li-Ion Preon 1 is 40+ lumens(25%) brighter than the NiMH Preon 2. It is pretty cool to have access to so many lumens in such a small package.

The batteries used in this comparison were AAA Samsung Eneloops and ICR 10440 350mAh batteries.

The 10440 batteries can be purchased from Super T Manufacturing.

The Samsung Eneloops were purchased from Amazon.com.

Purchase the Preon 1 from Amazon.com for $35

This is not an endorsement for Li-Ion in the Preon and this is not recommended for an EDC setup. The Preon head heats up very quickly and could cause damage to the circuits. Your light will no longer be under warranty. 

Feather-Weight EDC

How light can you make you EDC?

This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately.

I have been trying to carry smaller and lighter knives and lights. I have been trying to trim the gear that doesn’t get used as often. As much as I love scary looking knives and blinding flashlights, I haven’t really found myself wishing for a bigger blade or more lumens. I know it sounds like heresy, but I’m enjoying the freedom of minimalist, ultralight EDC.

The lighter and more comfortable you make your EDC gear, the more likely you are to have it on you when you need it. Hardcore EDC types don’t need the extra comfort, but they will definitely benefit from the freedom. You don’t have to worry about sitting properly so you don’t poke yourself. You don’t have to worry about printing your monster knife. I realize that part of it is just mental, but it’s still liberating.

I know that an ultralight EDC loadout isn’t really for everyday and it isn’t for everyone, but it sure feels nice!

Here’s what I’m carrying today:

  • Spyderco Dragonfly (Tom Krein Regrind)
  • Innova Microlight
  • iPod Nano
  • Minimal Keychain

 

High Color Rendition Lights and Diapers

I just read a light review from Tony over at EverydayCommentary.com where he mentioned the importance of good color rendition in his light:

It is awfully helpful at night, allowing me to distinguish between diapers while changing my son (he needs special, “extra pee” nighttime diapers and they are a different color scheme, both of which use variations of red).

This is the perfect example of how everyone’s use cases and needs in EDC gear are different. You don’t need the latest, coolest gear. You need the gear that fits your needs.

Surefire Motion Activated Light

Marshall Hoots of GoingGear talks to Ron from Surefire about a new technology that allows users to activate a light using programmable motion like a unique flick or shake of the wrist.  It uses a combination accelerometer/gyroscope to pick up on the movements for programming and activation.  This sounds like a seriously awesome idea!

Creative Flashlight Charging Stand

Jason of Dark Sucks/ Promethius Lights posted photos back in October of the second light that he made.  The light is interesting enough on it’s own, but what caught my eye was the custom charging station he built to go along with it.  Although I assume it is still possible, he didn’t feel like removing the batteries for charging.  He came up with this contraption to do the trick:

The black sleeve is Delrin and the base is 304 Stainless.  Inside the base, there are 2 neodymium magnets that float up to make contact for charging or drop down flush in the base otherwise.  There are 2 fixed matching magnets in the light itself that mate with the 2 floating magnets during charging.  The center post is negative and the outside post is positive. This is to make sure that you cannot accidentally reverse the polarity.  You can just stick it in the stand and rotate till the outside magnet rises and clicks into place.  According to Jason, “It’s audible and tactile.”  In my opinion, it’s ingenious.

Check out more of his work at: http://darksucks.blogspot.com/ or http://darksucks.com/store%20homeT.html

Here is the original CPF Thread

4Sevens Preon 1 Vs. Streamlight Microstream

Before the push button/ clicky tailcap modification that Zodiac Engineering did on my 4Sevens Preon 1, I was searching for a better clicky tailcap mechanism for a AAA light.  I was frustrated by the OEM clicky tailcap on the 4Sevens Preon 1, but I read on some forums that it was possible to remove the glued-on Streamlight Microstream head and use it’s body with the 4Sevens Preon head(with a much better interface).  I received my Streamlight Microstream about a week ago and immediately started carrying it to get a feel for the push button.  I have to say that I’m not impressed.  My biggest complaint is how difficult the button is to depress.  On my light, it starts out with the same required pressure as the 4Sevens Preon, but as you reach the bottom where the switch will click, it requires more and more pressure.

Yes, the extra pressure makes it less likely to be turned on in your pocket, but when you are frequently using the light, it makes life miserable for the user.  I’ll continue carrying it for a little longer to see if it grows on me, but as of right now, I’m ready to head back to the 4Sevens Preon 1 with the push button/ clicky tailcap modified by Zodiac Engineering.

Here are some photos comparing the 2 lights:

 

 

 

What is a Crenelated Bezel?

Let’s look at definitions of the two words:

Crenelation: A crenelation (from Latin crena, “notch”) is a series of indentations or loopholes around the top of a castle, battlement, or wall—with each indentation being a crenelle (or crenel).

Here are a few crude examples of different types of crenelation:

BezelA bezel is a retaining outer rim

Here is a crenelated watch bezel:

 

When we combine the two terms and apply them to lights or flashlights, we come up with some pretty cool crenelated bezels:

These are often referred to as strike bezels for obvious reasons.  Later, we’ll address the uses for and practicality of crenelated bezels.

For now, just marvel at the aesthetically pleasing engineering work!

Best Flashlight Safety Warning Ever!

I saw this awesome warning recently few days ago:

This flashlight poses a risk of personal injury and property damage if not handled and operated with great caution. This light is not a toy and should not be used by or entrusted to anyone other than a knowledgeable and cautious individual. Heat: The very high current from the battery and to the LED generates a great deal of heat very quickly, and the relatively low mass in this very small flashlight prevents heat dissipation at a rate that would permit extended operation of the light at a high output level. When driven to its output capacity, heat reaches a level making the light too hot to hold within minutes or less. Either the light should be turned off or Peak™s proprietary QTC system should be used to reduce the output before this happens. If left unattended, build-up of heat could reach the point of ignition of nearby flammable objects. This light should never be operated at high output unless in the hand of an alert operator prepared to quickly reduce current and output. Batteries: All batteries are affected by heat and current draw, and if either becomes too great, a battery can be damaged. At a minimum, battery life can be significantly reduced. At worst, failure could be explosive. BATTERY FAILURE CAN OCCUR DURING USE, OR DURING ANY SUBSEQUENT RECHARGING OR USE. A protected battery is no guarantee against this. Regularly check batteries after use for signs of excessive heat. Always closely monitor the recharging process and follow safe practice procedures: use a quality charger; charge in a safe location, check status frequently; terminate the charge timely; inspect and test the battery after charging. IMR (LiMn) batteries are believed to safely handle currents much greater than any other battery chemistry and are therefore the preferred battery for this light. Other Li-Ion 10440 batteries are not designed for high current applications and when used in this light can be driven to the very limits of their design. Only new batteries of good quality should be used in this light. Battery voltage should also be checked regularly. At the first sing of reduced capacity or other problem the battery should be retired. Under no circumstances should this light be operated before the user has studied the important materials readily available on the subject. We suggest that users follow the advice and instruction posted throughout the CPF Forum and in the CPF Marketplace by respected dealers.

 

To some people, this warning makes the light in question even more attractive!  The light can be used as a fire-starter in a survival situation and keep you cold in winter.

I understand that these warnings are to limit liability and are a byproduct of our litigious society, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them!

Here’s where it came from…

4Sevens Preon Clicky Tailcap Modification by Zodiac Engineering

I saw a photo of a modified Titanium tailcap on the Zodiac Engineering website back in November and e-mailed Ken about doing the modification for me.  I shipped him a Ti clicky tailcap directly from 4Sevens and 7 days from his receipt, it was out the door and on the way to me.  He was also kind enough to take some Work-in-progress photos for us all to drool over.  The white background photos are his.

I’ve been using it for several days now and I love it so far. The switch is completely recessed and it’s nice not having to worry about accidentally activating the light when I sit down.

The modification does widen the contact/resting surface and shorten the flashlight a little.  Both characteristics make the light more stable during tailstanding.

The pictures may make it look a little bulky, but the clicky tailcap actually only adds ~10% extra length(Preon 1).

  • Regular static tailcap – 76mm
  • With modified clicky tailcap – 83.5mm

The tailcap width is the exact same as the head(no extra width) and the extra weight is negligible(it’s Ti).

Obviously, every flashlight is a personal decision, but for me, the clicky tailcap is worth the small increase in size.

I can honestly say that I can’t notice a difference when carrying it, even when I’m trying.

In my opinion, it was totally worth the $16+shipping.  It made my favorite little light even better.

So what do you think?

Click on any of the images for a better view:

Sunwayman Idea V10R Ti² Collector’s Edition With CREE XM-L

Just found out that Going Gear will have these beautiful collector’s edition lights available on their website at 6PM Eastern Time on Thursday, December 15th

According to the owner of “Going Gear”:

Due to the extremely limited nature and high demand, we will be limiting sales to one light per person/household, meaning you can buy either black or gold. Orders for more than one will be canceled and refunded and you will not have the opportunity to buy another one, so please keep this in mind. Discounts are disabled for both models, but free shipping will still work.

To avoid any issues, these will only be available online. We will not be accepting orders over the phone. Local customers, please order online if you want one and we will hold it in the store for you.

They will be priced a $198 each.

Here are the specs:

  • CREE XM-L U2 LED, with a lifetime of up to 50,000 hours;
  • Digital Sensor Magnetic Control system, Infinite Variable Output Switch- slightly twist the Rotator Ring from left to right for Min to Max output.
  • Turbo Mode: 500 Lumens (uses one 16340 battery to drive; Do not run the light continuously at turbo mode for more than 10 minutes.)
  • Max: 210 Lumens (1.5hrs)
  • Min: 1 Lumen (35hrs)
  • Constant current circuit, constant output
  • Effective range of 130 meters
  • Uses one single CR123A (RCR123A/16340) battery
  • Working voltage: 0.9~4.2V
  • High quality reflector maintains great throw distance and spread with an ideal beam pattern
  • Dimensions: 82.8mm (length) x 23.2mm (head diameter)
  • Weight: 46g(battery excluded)
  • High-grade Titanium alloy, high-end jewelry level Titanium anodized body
  • Waterproof, in accordance with IPX-8 standard
  • Ultra-clear tempered glass lens resists scratches and impacts
  • Tactical forward click switch with momentary on
  • Tail stand capable- can be used as a candle
  • Accessories: Clip, O-ring, rubber cap, lanyard, holster

Here is the product page:

http://www.sunwayman.com/html/products/201111/68.html

These purchase links won’t be active until 6pm 12-15-2011:

Link for black model

Link for gold model

Here are a few more photos:

Modified 4Sevens Titanium Preon Tailcap

Yesterday, I posted about a 4Sevens Preon clicky tailcap modification from Zodiac Engineering.

Here’s what I wrote:

I saw your photo of the modified preon tailcap.  Is that a service you currently offer? At what cost?  Can you tell me any more about the modification?

I received the following response today from Ken at Zodiac Engineering:

Modification consisted of removing the titanium cover and turning down the remaining cap flush with the rubber boot then adding a large chamfer on the ID to allow your thumb to still activate the button.

Modification runs $16 plus return shipping.

So they are removing the metal cap and pressing the rubber boot itself to actuate the switch.  Hmm…

I’m willing to try it out if they do the mod on the regular(non-titanium) tailcaps.

I also wonder how the rubber holds up to heavy use?

 

 

Modified 4Sevens Preon Titanium Push-button Tailcap

According to the Zodiac Engineering website:

Modified @4Sevens Titanium Preon 2 tailcap. Titanium cover removed, retaining ring faced flush with the rubber cover and countersunk deep at 45 degrees to allow access to the switch. This allows the user to stand the light on end as a candle and still retain the guard around the switch to not accidentally turn it on when pushing down into your pocket.

I like the concept of an improved 4Sevens Preon clicky tailcap and I’d love to see how this turned out.

No price is given, but the information was posted two months ago.  I emailed for more information…

4Sevens Preon Modification

Those of you that read my review of the 4Sevens Preon 1 saw that I had a problem with the 4Sevens Preon clicky tailcaps.  It seemed that they collected every piece of dirt or grime within a 20 mile radius.  I had numerous issues with the clicker sticking in one position or the other.  I had heard better things about the tailcap mechanism from the Streamlight Microstream, but I wasn’t too impressed with the light itself.

But what if you could combine the emitter and the guts of the 4Sevens Preon with the body and clicky tailcap(push button) of the Streamlight Microstream?  I hear that you can.  Bear in mind that I have not verified or done this myself yet, but I have read this on three different occasions from three different sources.

I understand that it’s not a quick and easy removal, but it is possible.

Most recommended placing the Microstream body in a vise and using a heatgun(or hair dryer):

 Slowly heat the threads and after every couple of seconds you need to try to twist the head off.  It’s all about slowly heating and twisting the head every couple of seconds. That way you’re not melting the body and head together.

This is not the only way. Someone else had this advice:

Ziploc baggie, boiling water, and a (very) small strapwrench does the trick every time.

Basically, with a little patience you can combine the two lights.

When I get my Microstream, I’ll get some photos while I do the work and let you all know how it goes.

Have any of you already done this?  I’d love to see some pics…

4Sevens Preon 1(1xAAA) Review (photos)

Next to Benchmade Mini GriptilianAfter spending a year with this light, I figure it’s due for a review.  When the 4Sevens Preon 1 was purchased, I was carrying a 4Sevens Quark Mini AA2 as my primary carry light. The Quark Mini AA2 is by no means a large flashlight, but it dwarfed the Preon 1.  By moving to the Preon 1, my EDC light became 2 inches shorter, 21% thinner, and more than 50% lighter.  This translated to a major real world difference and I loved it.

The 4Sevens Preon 1 is a miniscule single AAA light.  According to 4Sevens, it weights .6 ounces.  When I place a AAA battery in one hand and the IMG_1199empty Preon 1 in the other, I can’t decide which is lighter.  In real life, when I clip it in my pocket, I don’t feel it or think about it.  A high compliment for an EDC light.

But what did I lose in performance?  The Quark Mini AA2 puts out 180 lumens maximum vs. the Preon 1’s 70 lumens maximum.  I can honestly say that I have never missed those lumens.  This light isn’t a weapon light, a camping light, or a high-performance light.  This is a small and light always-with-you EDC light.  The Preon 1 lumen settings(Low-1.8, Med-2.5, High-70) are very useful for:

  • Looking for a dropped screw in the dark.
  • Reading in the dark without waking the wife
  • Searching for something under the bed.
  • Examining something more closely in a dark corner.
  • Lighting a dark street while walking.
  • Strobing while crossing a busy road.
  • Spotlighting wandering cows from the roof of our 3 story home.

IMG_1182The 4Sevens Preon 1 is not a tactical light and is not intended for stunning with sudden, blinding light.  The light is activated by twisting/tightening the head.  It’s difficult to do this with one hand and not recommended for a “tactical” situation.  Also, to get to the highest output, you have to cycle through the two lower settings first.  In other words, you cannot quickly and easily turn on the highest light output.  I purchased the clicky tailcap for the Preon 1, but had a number of issues with it sticking or not working.  I really tried to work with it, but I eventually gave up and went back to the regular Preon twist only.

The twist interface is very simple. Twisting and untwisting the head cycles you through the following levels: Low -> Medium -> High -> Low -> Medium -> High -> Special Outputs  You can continue to cycle through the special outputs in the following sequence: Strobe -> S.O.S. -> Beacon (high) -> Beacon (low)IMG_1203

The battery is a snug fit without being tight.  When I shake the light next to my ear, I can’t feel or hear any battery movement inside the body.  The endcap has a traditional conductor spring for tension.

The clip is extremely sturdy.  The clip attaches via loop through which the end cap screws into the main body(see photo below).

IMG_1214

There is no danger of of the pocket clip slipping off.  It came a bit tight for my liking, but it was easily adjusted with a little pulling and I haven’t had to mess with it since.  The end of the clip is extremely close to the base of the light and allows a very deep pocket carry position.  Even if I momentarily stand on my head or jump, the resistance of the deep pocket carry helps hold it in.IMG_1189

The tail of the flashlight is flat and tailstands easily.  I have not been able to find a great diffuser for lantern use, but I hear that the white crazy glue sticks work well.  After they are emptied 😉IMG_1183

The spot portion with the most light is about 2.5” wide when the light is 6” away while the flood area is ~10” wide.  I’m no expert, so I will refer you to this page where you will find beam shot photo comparisons: Candlepowerforums.com 4Sevens Preon 1 Beamshots

IMG_1211

Battery life – Obviously, the battery life will vary with different batteries, but 4Sevens claims don’t seem far fetched when compared to my usage:

  • Low: 1.8 OTF Lumens, 23 hours
  • Medium: 8.5 OTF Lumens, 6 hours
  • High: 70 OTF Lumens, 0.8 hours
  • Strobe 1.6 hours
  • SOS 2.4 hours
  • Beacon (Hi) 8 hours
  • Beacon (Lo) 40 hours

I did not do my own runtime tests, but if you are into that stuff, check out this review: 4Sevens Preon Runtime Tests  The charts and graphs can get pretty nerdy, but it’s good information.IMG_1197

The 4Sevens Preon line is very customizable.  You can buy individual parts in various colors, finishes, and even materials:

IMG_1210

  • Heads
  • Bodies
  • Tailcaps
  • Clicky tailcaps
  • Pocket clips

Aside from customization, this means that spare parts(which I have not needed) are readily available.

After more than a year of use, I can honestly say that this is a rugged light!  This flashlight has handled some hard use.  You can see in the photos that this light has not been babied.  Our home has marble floors that have caressed the Preon 1 on numerous occasions.  Once it fell on stone patio tiles from the second story balcony when my son decided to toss it over the edge.  I have carried and used it on numerous occasions during our monsoon season in heavy rain that completely soaked completely through all my clothes.  My son has also tested it by submerging it in water on occasion.  The 4Sevens Preon 1 light just keeps on working!

Because of where I live, my EDC light probably sees more use than most.  We have scheduled and unscheduled extended power outages for most of the year and the winter dry season leaves us with only ~4 hours of power per day.  This means that when stores, restaurants, and other public establishments lose power, I need a reliable, always-with-me light to find my fork, keep from tripping down the dark stairs, or even just keep my 1 year old son from getting scared.  I don’t leave home without my 4Sevens Preon.

It’s close, but not quite a perfect light.  Here are a few small changes I hope for in a future iteration:

  • Knurling – It can be turned with wet hands, but it would be much easier with just a little bit of texturing on the head.  The protruding clip is enough to keep the body secure during the twisting motion.
  • Clicky Tailcap – I understand that there may be engineering issues, but I would love to see a high-quality clicky tailcap for the Preon 1.  Preferably something that doesn’t protrude(and turn on when you sit down) and allows for tailstanding.
  • More Lumens – The light from this flashlight is more than adequate, but with new light technology and emitters, I hope we will see a few more lumens in future editions. Even if I have to change my batteries a little more often.
Other 4Sevens Preon Reviews: