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Gear review thread: Part II

1817 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Deputydave
Here is the link for the gear thread I started back in 2013. The transition to the new board took out some of the pics and links, but the information is still usable for a variety of gear.

http://www.glocktalk.com/threads/product-review-thread.1486106/

Thought it was a good idea to revive the thread for the new board. Please feel free to post your gear reviews here and provide as much information as you can. I'd like to start off with one of my favorite flashlights; The Convoy S2+.

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/pro...135-3-2-Group-3-5-Mode/330416_1614328969.html



The S2+ is an 18650 flashlight. It operates with a CREE XML2 LED which is an excellent LED. It can be customized upon ordering for your preference in tint:

XML2 U2-1A 6500-7000K
XML2 T6-3B 5000-5200K
XML2 T6-4C 4300-4500K
XML2 T5-5B 4000-4200K
XML2 T4-7A 3000-3200K

The driver (which is the circuit board between the battery and the LED) as listed is a 7135*3. What this means is that it has three 7135 chips on the driver, each chip carries 350mA. So the listed light is just over 1 amp of draw. This dictates the amount of lumens the light will produce and the run time. As an example, the listed light has high, medium, low, strobe and SOS modes. The high should be around 500 lumen, medium 200 lumen and low 25 lumen. On paper the run times would be:


High 1050mA = 2 hours 47 minutes

Medium 420mA = 6 hours 2 minutes

Low 52.5mA = 49.5 hours

That's on paper and in a perfect world, actual use will be slightly less because efficiency is always lost to some extent. This light can be further customized to have 4 to 8 chips. The 7135*8 version will be quite bright albeit with less run time overall.

The seller on Aliexpress I listed above is the person that actually makes this light, his name is Simon and he has a good reputation on the BLF forum. I've been so impressed with the one I bought (7135*3) that I've purchased two more (7135*4 and 7135*8). For a $15 flashlight you'll be hard pressed to find one that is better quality and more reliable. It has a solid copper pill, thermal paste under the star, quality driver and an LED that is rated at 100,000 hours run time. Too be honest I'm not sure why it's so inexpensive. But I'm okay with that.

This shows the various torture tests:


Assembling an S3 (very similar to the S2+):

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Anker® 14W Dual-Port Solar Charger with PowerIQ™ Technology

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E3OL5U8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1



Purchased this last year. This was part of my preps for charging devices off-grid or during a situation where the power was out for any extended period of time. I've been extremely impressed with the performance delivered. I put it in the backyard facing south. The sky had some cloud coverage, but it was the high, wispy variety so the sunlight was generally very strong and uninterrupted. I took readings from time to time to note the progress (time is in military time).


Here are the results:

Samsung Galaxy S3

Start at 39% - 0850
65% - 0935
81% - 1005
92% - 1026
100% - 1056


Ipad Mini

Start at 7% - 1100
28% - 1132
35% - 1145
76% - 1256
95% - 1337
100% - 1402

I'm very impressed with this product and the performance so far. These devices charged quickly in my opinion, quicker than I had expected. Now the amount of sunlight will differ on any given day of course due to many factors, but it's nice to have a device that will allow charging whether out camping or during a power outage. I've paired this with the Nitecore UM20 which is a smart charger that can work off a USB cord. Thus I can recharge my mobile devices as well as batteries for flashlights, radios etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nitecore UM20 High Definition LCD Displays Charger

http://www.amazon.com/Bundle-Defini...1618674&sr=8-1&keywords=nitecore+um20+charger



I purchased this to mate with the Anker 14W solar panels above, but it can be also be used with the wall plug or car port. This has worked amazingly well with the solar panels. As you can see in the pic above, the display is digital so you can see the % of the charge. Of note, it is Li-ion and IMR only. It will go from as small as a 10440 (same size as the AAA) up to 18650 cells. Fortunately 26650 flashlights can also use the 18650 with a plastic sleeve. This is a smart charger so it won't screw up your batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Have I seen that panel with you in the woods Dave?

How portable/durable would you rate it?
That's the one I was testing the last time we were at the #3 remote site at Starkey. It is designed to be highly portable and I should have mentioned that, in addition to folding up to about the size of a notebook, it also has grommets spaced out along the edge when it's open. It's designed to hang, even from your pack while hiking. It has a Velcro pocket where the USB ports are (2 of them) so you could plug your phone in and secure it in the pocket so that it's charging while your on the go. So portable I'd have to give it very high marks. Durability, well, anything can be broke but this feels about as sturdy as you can make something like this. The shell is heavy duty material and the panels aren't flimsy at all.

If you remember, I hung it from the same tree as one end of my hammock. The sun was on the way down but it still caught a decent charge from that angle of sun light. This was one area of my preps I was really wanting to cover and I think this does the job very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I bought the flashlight. Thanks again for posting it!
You bet :)

Just received my 7135*8 Convoy S2+ (the red one). The tint is more on the yellow side as compared to the 7135*3/4 but that is because the LED itself is slightly different. Not bad, just different. And it is noticeably brighter. I'll have to figure the runtimes...

Assuming an 18650 with 2600mAh capacity:

High = 2.8 amps = 1 hour 7 minutes

Medium = 1.12 amps = 2 hours 32 minutes

Low = 140mA = 18 hours 57 minutes

This is substantially less than the 7135*3/4 of course, and the 7135*3/4 imo makes a better EDC light from a prepping perspective. But the 7135*8 is for on-duty carry so it's fitting into a different role where brighter light is a bonus. For extended use the low setting is more than sufficient for most tasks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What kind of battery does that Convoy S2 take? I thought it was AA or AAA. Kind of useless for me now.
Convoy S2 and S2+ take 18650 3.7V lithium ion batteries. They're quite a bit more powerful than AA batteries. You'll need a good li-ion smart charger like the Nitecore I2. But those are only like $15 on Amazon/Ebay. 18650's have between 2600mAh and 3200mAh capacity. At 3.7V it delivers quite a bit more lumens.
 
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