Saturday, October 12, 2013

Review: Sunwayman D40A Flashlight [4 X AA Battery]

There's a few contenders in the multi-AA "tin can" flashlight category. Lights with this design are compact,
powerful and take common AA batteries that everyone can get their hands on. Flashlights of this type also have some serious throw, and are ideal for large open spaces like camping at the lake. Because of all these benefits, I expect to see more flashlights like the D40A in this product space.

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Product Link
Sunwayman D40A Product Link
My review sample was purchased from a seller which was fulfilled by Amazon and offered Prime shipping. I paid $79 but I see that the same seller I bought it from dropped the price to $69--nice. There was a mix-up on my order and I didn't receive the free batteries, but the seller ended up taking care of me and actually gave me double the free batteries in the product description.

Product Description


This is a [4 x AA] flashlight that keeps the batteries inside a removable, cylindrical battery carrier. Flashlights with this 3x and 4x type of design are typically about the size and shape of an empty toilet paper roll. It can use common Alkaline batteries or rechargeable NiMH cells such as Sanyo Eneloops.

The D40A features a two switch design with the latest Cree XM-L2 emitter, a deep, textured reflector and a build quality and finish worthy of the Sunwayman name.

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Top View
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Bottom View
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Head
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Tail
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Body
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Taken Apart
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Sunwayman Logo
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Lanyard Hole
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Bezel
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Tail


Official Specs (From Sunwayman)


CREE XM-L2 LED, with a lifetime of up to 50,000 hours;
● Brand-new Dual-button Side Switch System, slightly depress the side switch buttons for output ranging from 30 to 980 lumens, Police Strobe, Aviation Signal, SOS, Strobe and Moon Mode:
  Turbo: 980 Lumens (To avoid overheating, the light will enter High mode automatically after 3mins continuous use)
  High: 550 Lumens (1.7hrs)
  Mid: 220 Lumens (  4hrs )
  Low: 30 Lumens (31hrs)
● Constant current circuit, constant output;
● Standby Current:   < 30μA
● Effective range of 315 meters;
● Intensity: 24800cd;
● Uses 4* AA (alkaline, NI-MH, nickel-cadmium) batteries;
● High quality reflector with soft beam pattern;
● Working voltage: 3~6V;
● Optimized deep metal reflector, great throw distance as well as perfect beam pattern;  
● Dimension: 120.6mm (length) x 40mm (head diameter) x 42mm (body diameter)
● Weight: 165.4g (battery excluded);
● High quality aerospace-grade aluminum alloy, Stainless steel head retaining ring;
● Military specification Type III- hard anodized body;
● Waterproof, in accordance with IPX-8 standard;
● Ultra-clear tempered glass lens resists scratches and impacts;
● Tail stand capable- can be used as a candle
● Accessories: Lanyard, O-ring, Holster



Comparison To Nitecore EA4


1. Much better build quality
2. Two different switches versus a single two-stage switch on the EA4
3. Textured reflector versus the smooth reflector on the EA4
4. Removable battery carrier versus the built in battery carrier on the EA4
5. A little higher output and efficiency with the latest Cree XM-L2 emitter
6. Moonlight mode
7. Better switch design
8. Functional anti-roll ring on the body
9. Beam has less artifacts and tighter hot spot than the EA4
10. Slightly wider reflector

Sunwayman D40A And Nitecore EA4 - Side By Side
Sunwayman D40A And Nitecore EA4 - Tail First
Sunwayman D40A And Nitecore EA4 - Bezel First
Sunwayman D40A And Nitecore EA4 - Emitters
Sunwayman D40A And Nitecore EA4 - In Sheaths

Build Quality


Sunwayman had a couple quality control missteps a year or so ago, so many people no longer take their superior quality as a given. This D40A is my 3rd high end Sunwayman light and it has the same superb build quality of the V11R and the M20C. Probably even a little better than the V11R. Holding it up next to the EA4 (which is still a good light) it's easy to see where that extra 30 bucks went.

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Interior Of Head
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Threads
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - With Head Off: Top View
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - With Head Off: Side View


Fit And Finish


Overall, superb. You'd expect SWM to deliver on the anodizing and they do. Personally, I wish they would go back to their old school natural finish anodizing, but their HAIII black anodizing is still great nonetheless. There wasn't a single nick or mark on the light, and where the stainless steel bezel meets the body is perfectly uniform. The machining on the threads is excellent. The fit and finish on the battery carrier is also superb, and the emitter is perfectly centered.

About the only thing I can find to nit pick about would be the switch cover screws. On my unit they look really cheap, and a couple of them even look a little bit stripped in the closeup photos. I'm not planning on taking the switch cover off, but I'd be worried about stripping the screws if I did.

Switch Design


Unlike the Nitecore EA4 which uses a single two stage switch, the D40A uses a separate switch for power and mode selection. The switch design is also much more robust than the EA4, which many folks have reported switch problems with. I actually like the switch on the EA4 a little better, but I can see that the D40A switch design is a better design.

The switches on the D40A are electronic switches like you would find on a microwave or dishwasher. I have lots of appliances with this type of switch and I've never seen one fail. In fact, I just bought a new LG washer and dryer with the same type of switches. These switches will probably outlive me.

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Buttons






NOTE: This type of switch requires a certain amount of standby current, which means it draws a little bit of power even when the light is turned off. It will probably take years to drain the batteries completely from the standby current, but it's worth mentioning.
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Cooling Fins

Circuitry


The D40A uses a high efficiency constant current circuit for all modes. I could detect no PWM or noise on any mode. My cell phone camera is good for sniffing out PWM and the D40A is clean. Not surprising as this is a high end flashlight.

Emitter


The Cree XM-L2 emitter is the latest and greatest. It's a little more efficient than its predecessor and has a little more output. The tint is definitely cool white, which I'm fine with and actually prefer outdoors. The D40A has a nice clean beam with no major artifacts, due in part to the textured reflector. I much prefer to lose a little throw to gain such a nice looking beam. But make no mistake: with the higher output of the XM-L2 and the tighter hot spot, it's still a thrower.

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Emitter 1
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Emitter 3
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Emitter 3
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Emitter In Moonlight Mode

User Interface


The D40A has a simple and effective user interface, with a few quirks and shortcuts. Pressing the power button turns the light on and off. Pressing the mode button cycles you through low, medium, high and turbo. The unit remembers the last mode when next powered on with the power switch.

Turbo Shortcut: With the unit turned off, double click the power switch.

Strobe Shortcut: With the unit in any mode, double click the mode button. This is a constant strobe at full power.

Moonlight mode: With the light turned off, press and hold the power switch for 2 seconds. The unit will retain moonlight mode with its memory as well, which I like.

Beacon Mode: With the unit turned off, press and hold the mode switch. The beacon is a full power flash about every second.

Lockout Mode: Press and hold both buttons for 2 seconds.

Police Strobe Mode: With light turned on, press and hold mode switch for 2 seconds. This version of the strobe is intermittent instead of a constant strobe.

SOS Mode: With the light turned on, press and hold the power switch.

Low Power Indicator


When the unit is running low on power, a small red LED between the two switches will flash. I don't like to run my cells that low, so I haven't tested it yet. I kind of wish it had the beacon mode on the switch LED like the EA4.

From reading the full product details on SWM's web site, I'm even more confused about what this red light is supposed to do. It looks like it's saying the unit will somehow detect NiMH batteries and turn on the red indicator light to show you a level of charge. So far I have not seen the red light come on no matter what kind of batteries I put in it, so my thought is that the red light will come on when the batteries are getting low.

Battery Carrier


Unlike the EA4 which has slots built into the body, the D40A uses a removable battery carrier. It appears to be very high quality. One feature I really like is that the battery carrier can be inserted either way. In fact, both sides of the carrier are identical. So there's literally no reason to even pay attention when you pop the battery carrier into the unit.

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Battery Carrier 1
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Battery Carrier 2
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Battery Carrier Circuit Board
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Battery Carrier Circuit Board 2
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Battery Carrier: Side View

Sheath


The D40A comes with a decent nylon sheath, which is very similar to the sheath that comes with the EA4, though it is a little slimmer. I'm not sure why SWM put a lanyard hole in the D40A, when the sheath is going to be the preferred method of carry for most people.

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Sheath 1
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Sheath 2
Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Sheath 3

Lanyard


In the middle of the body towards the head is a lanyard hole, which is an interesting design choice.  The included sheath has a nice, sturdy looking D ring. But the lanyard hole is there if you need it I guess.

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Closeup Of Lanyard Hole

Beam Shots


Sunwayman D40A On Turbo

Nitecore EA4 On Turbo
Nitecore EA4 On Turbo
Sunwayman D40A Outdoors On Turbo
Turbo
Sunwayman D40A Outdoors On High
High
Sunwayman D40A Outdoors On Medium
Medium
Sunwayman D40A Outdoors On Low
Low

Conclusions


I think Sunwayman really hits it out of the park with the D40A, and I don't seem to be the only one who thinks that. Other than a couple DOA units, I haven't seen much negative online about the D40A at all. If you are looking for something a little higher quality than the EA4, then the D40A will be a good choice. If you are looking for the basic functionality of a 4xAA flashlight, then I'd stick with the EA4.

Gallery


Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - New In Box

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - New In Box: Closeup

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - New In Box: Open Box

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - With All the Goodies In Package

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Battery Carrier: End

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Battery Carrier Out And Apart

From Top: Sunwayman V11R, Sunwayman M20C, Sunwayman D40A
From Top: Sunwayman V11R, Sunwayman M20C, Sunwayman D40A

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - On Scale

Sunwayman D40A [4xAA Flashlight] - Next To Ruler





2 comments:

  1. Thanks for these reviews. I have seen a new burst of promotions for the scam torches and decided to check out a few reviews and see what sort of a rip off they were. I can buy the same thing here in Australia at any '2 dollar shop' for under ten bucks. I'll definitely be looking at some of these torches you have reviewed though, especially the Sunwayman ones. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lanyard is useful when accidentally dropping the light is a seriously bad thing.

    Think "boating" or "on elevated catwalk".

    ReplyDelete