Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: Thrunite Ti [AAA flashlight]

Introduction


Thrunite is a Chinese niche manufacturer of LED flashlights using Cree emitters. They have been around for about a couple years now, and are starting to make a name for themselves with innovative designs and attention to detail. Some of their products, like the Ti, have been big hits in the "flashaholic" community. The reason I'm a big fan of Thrunite is because in my opinion they seem to be the only company that really gets the moonlight mode lights.

Most people that are into flashlights have the same mentality as people who are into cars. More power. That pretty much sums it up. Don't get me wrong, power is great, and I love me some lumens. But the ultimate goal of a flashlight is simply to see in the dark. I don't always need that raw power. For example, when I'm camping, I might get up in the middle of the night to, uh, relieve myself. Do I want or need enough lumens for a UFO encounter just to find my way behind some bushes, then back to the tent? No, I just need to see far enough in front of me to not trip over something. So ... I'm a big fan of these firefly type of lights.


Thrunite Ti


This keychain flashlight comes in two models:  The .04/60 "Firefly" and the 3/60 lumen version.
Batteries: 1.2v NiMh Rechargeable or 1.5v Alkaline AAA
Retail: $16

Official Specs


From the Ti product page:

Ti specifications:(Firefly version)

- Uses Cree XP-E R4 LED with a lifespan of 50000 hours
- Uses one 0.9-1.5V AAA (Ni-MH, Alkaline) battery
- 7.2cm (Length) x 1.4cm (Diameter)
- 20-gram weight (excluding batteries)
- OP reflector
- Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation
- Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
- Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
- Waterproof to IPX-8 Standard
- Reliable twist switch. Tighten for Firefly (0.04) tightens further for max Output (60 lumens)

Operation:
Slightly twist the head tighten to firefly(0.04 lumens), tighten further for max output (60Lumens)

Ti specifications:(3-60 lumens version)
- Uses Cree XP-E R4 LED with a lifespan of 50000 hours
- Uses one 0.9-1.5V AAA (Ni-MH, Alkaline) battery
- 7.2cm (Length) x 1.4cm (Diameter)
- 20-gram weight (excluding batteries)
- OP reflector
- Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation
- Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
- Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
- Waterproof to IPX-8 Standard
- Reliable twist switch. Tighten for Firefly (3lumens) tighten further for max Output (60 lumens)

Operation:
Slightly twist the head tighten to firefly(3 lumens), tighten further for max output (60Lumens)

Review Samples


I have a black Ti Firefly which I purchased from Illumination Supply, and I have gold and blue 3 lumen models, which the wife and I recently picked up for $5 during the Thrunite Store grand opening. It's also available now on Amazon.com.

Firefly vs. 3 Lumen


For most people, the 3/60 version will give them the most utility. The firefly version (.04 lumen) is only useful with dark adjusted eyes, and only at short distances. I use the firefly version to check on the family when they are sick. I can check on the wife without blinding her.

When looking for your keys in the dark, or walking the dog, 3 lumens is more useful. Both versions give you extended runtimes in an emergency situation.

Fit and finish


One of the things I've always liked about Thrunite is their aggressive knurling. Even on their cheaper models like this one. It has a great feel to it, even with wet or dirty hands. The machining is good, and the twist action has a great feel to it.

Novel Twist


The Ti uses a novel design in that it's a "two stage" twist. Because of this, there is a foam insert in the front instead of the usual spring in the tail. I wasn't sure I liked this design, but it's held up well over time.


Usability


Both versions have a respectable 60 lumen high mode, and a decently neutral color tint using the Cree XP-E R4 emitter. It's nice to see the classy R4 on a low end light like this. The reflector is textured, giving the Ti a nice, smooth beam. It's a great combination of throw and flood - very usable.

Circuitry


The Ti appears to be current regulated. I could detect no signs of PWM, which I tested by pointing the beam at a running fan. I am personally very sensitive to PWM, especially for low frequency PWM lights. It's nice to see Thrunite step up.

Runtimes


From what I can piece together from reviews and estimates:

High (60) 1-1.5 hours

Low (3) My test got 28 hours exactly on a brand new and freshly charged Eneloop 1500 battery.

Firefly (.04) 125-150 hours real world (Craig @ Illumination Supply) on an Eneloop, and 150-175 on an alkaline estimated.

Conclusions


I've had the firefly version for about 8 months, and in that time it's lived my nightstand. It's the perfect light to wake up in the middle of the night with. With dark adjusted eyes, the moonlight mode is plenty bright. The twist action has a great feel, but the head gets a bit wobbly over time. I've seen where others put on thicker grease than what the light came with, but I put some teflon tape on mine instead. 

Some have reported problems with the metal tab in the head making the light get stuck on high mode. Prying up on the tab just a tiny bit should fix that. I've done that once and haven't had any problems since. There are also a few mods floating around that involve putting a piece of tape or plastic between the tabs, making the light low mode only. This light is also referred to by some as a "battery crusher" because there is no spring in the tail. I have found it not to be that big of a deal as long as I don't tighten it too hard on high. 

I have my new gold 3 lumen version n my EDC bag (below) with an Eneloop in it. The 3 lumen version makes a much better EDC, while the firefly version makes a much better night stand light. I also keep the firefly version in the little pocket of my sleeping bag when I'm camping. The 60 lumen high is great when I need the extra light, and the firefly mode lets me get up in the middle of the night without waking up the whole camp site.

The wife loves her blue one. I was hoping she would give it to me, but she won't part with it.

Other Notes


  • The light will tail stand, even on a key chain. 
  • It has survived several torture tests on the Internet.
  • It comes with a couple extra o-rings.
  • The newer ones seem to have better knurling than the one I bought last year.

Gallery
















































































































Below are a couple pictures using a blue Blistex cap as a diffuser, which has a really neat effect.



















2 comments:

  1. Good review. :) I just received a 'gold'(looks a nice orange to me) 3/60 lumen Ti model and I like it so far.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Stormdrane! Seems like more people got the Gold 3/60 than any other color/model. Which is fine by me because that's the one I wanted :)

    ReplyDelete