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August 4, 2015 Comments Off on Olight Rechargeables Gear & Equipment, Reviews

Olight Rechargeables

By David Simerly

Over the past couple months I’ve had the distinct pleasure of testing out the lineup of Olight’s offerings in rechargeable flashlights. The models I have been testing are as follows: S10R Baton, S15R Baton, S20R Baton, and S30R Baton, all generously provided by Going Gear. As might be expected, the lights are listed from smallest to largest model. During the testing process I used the lights in an EDC capacity, carried them in my cruiser and on my duty belt, kept them at home on my night stand, and used them for a number of other odd projects. I have had experience with many of the popular brands of LED lights on the market, but before this review I did not have experience with Olight or their products.

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Let’s take a look at the specifications for the lights.

 

S10R

  • “Cool white” Cree XM-L2 LED
  • 2 7/8 inches long by just under 1inch wide at the widest point
  • Weighs about 1 1/2 ounces without the battery installed
  • One RCR123A 650 MaH rechargeable battery included
  • Rated Lumens: 400/85/5/.5
  • Run Times: .8/3.5/56/168 hours
  • Beam Throw: 341 feet

S15R

  • “Cool white” Cree XM-L2 LED
  • 3 ½ inches long by just under 1inch wide at the widest point
  • Weighs about 1 3/4 ounces without the battery installed
  • One 14500 750 MaH rechargeable battery included
  • Rated Lumens: 280/70/7/.5
  • Run Times: .75/4/32/360 hours
  • Beam Throw: 276 feet

S20R

  • “Cool white” Cree XM-L2 LED
  • 4 ¼ inches long by just under 1inch wide at the widest point
  • Weighs about 1 8/10 ounces without the battery installed
  • One 18650 2600 MaH rechargeable battery included
  • Rated Lumens: 550/120/5/1
  • Run Times of 2/9/120/480 hours
  • Beam Throw: 387 feet

S30R

  • “Cool white” Cree XM-L2 LED
  • 4 ¾ inches long by 1inch wide at the widest point
  • Weighs about 2 1/2 ounces without the battery installed
  • One 18650 2600 MaH rechargeable battery included
  • Rated Lumens: 1000/600/100/20/1
  • Run Times: 1/2/10/26/720 hours
  • Beam Throw: 525 feet

 

In the packaging for all the lights, Olight has included the following: one charging dock, one 3 foot micro USB cable, one nylon lanyard, one reversible pocket clip, one rechargeable battery, and of course the flashlight itself. There is also a folded instruction booklet, which is necessary to check out, more on that later. The one item I was moderately surprised wasn’t included was a power adapter, either 120v or 12v. However, since the lights are charged with the dock, which is USB powered, it can be run off a computer, tablet, wall outlet, or any standard USB power adapter. The higher power models that output 2 amps are recommended, as your light will charge faster.

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All four lights are made from 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum with a type III hard anodized coating. The lenses are made from tempered glass with an anti-reflective coating. The lights all share a common side on/off button, which also doubles as the button to change the mode. The base of the lights where a “tactical” switch would normally be placed instead has a charging base. The best thing about the base is it’s also magnetic! It was an unexpected bonus.

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When I first got the big box of happiness containing all the lights, I had to get them out and play with them. The packaging was excellent, and I noticed immediately there were extra chargers included. I dug into why. Based on the information I could find, there are two generations of chargers, and Going Gear supplied me with updates. As of the reading of this article that should not be an issue when you purchase one. I loaded the flashlights with batteries, and figured I should get things charging. One of the really neat things about Olight’s chargers is they have a pass through feature. Each charger has both the micro USB input and a standard female USB output. Being the reasonable person I am, I immediately daisy chained all the chargers just to see if they would work! I had to find a USB power source that put out more than 1 amp to get all the chargers to power up, but once I found a 2.5 amp power adapter, I was in business. My wife was extremely amused at how happy I was I could charge four flashlights concurrently. I will say running all four off one USB power adapter does make the process much slower.

Moving on to the charging process. The best feature of the chargers lies in the fact any charger works with any of these four Olight rechargeables. They are universal. You charge the battery in the flashlight by dropping the base of the light onto the dock. It is held on magnetically, which helps to make a good connection. When the light is charging, the LED on the dock is red. If there is a charging error, the LED fast blinks red. When the light is charged, the LED turns solid green. If the dock is powered but not charging a light, the LED slow blinks red. Overall, a simple and effective method for indicating what the dock is currently doing. I found that from a completely dead battery, it takes between 2 hours for the S10R and 4 hours for the S20R/S30R to charge completely. A very handy feature is the ability to swap dead batteries into the lights to charge them if you cannot find your other chargers. I’ve done that quite a few times. When it comes to the strength of the magnets in the lights, they work just fine to Olights-3hold the light in place with minimal vibration, at an angle, or upside down. They will not hold solidly sideways. With that being said I have used one of the chargers in my cruiser, and with regular driving the lights will stay in place. When the lights come on or I have to perform quick maneuvers, the light comes right off the dock and goes flying across the car. This is definitely something to consider. If Olight made a heavy duty charging dock which would better support the lights for vehicular use, I would purchase one right away.

Let’s take a look at the operation of the lights. The operation, in both the location of the switches and how the user interface (UI)Olights-5 works is very functional, but creates the real issues I have with the lights. Basic operation using the button is as follows: One press takes it either to the low setting, or to the last setting it was on. This does not include strobe. Once the light is on, pressing the button and holding it cycles the power setting from low to high. From any power setting quick pressing the power button twice takes it into strobe mode. If the light is off, pressing the power button quickly four times will also take it into turbo mode. In the case of the S30R, which has a turbo mode, from the off setting pressing the power button twice rapidly places it into turbo mode. With any of the lights, as the light gets overheated it will automatically switch from turbo or high power into medium output. There is also a low power status LED in the center of the power switch, which will turn red as light hits low power mode.

Olights-6My biggest issues with the operation of the lights are the side button instead of the standard tactical rear switch (which is what I’m used to with flashlights), and the complicated UI. With as many different modes as there are and only one button I can understand the need for the modes to work as they do. I was also surprised the first time I took one of the lights off the chargers and it was reset to low power. It makes sense, as the charging operation must disconnect the power to whatever the lights use for memory. It is something to keep in mind. Something to remember is these are every day carry (EDC) type lights and not dedicated tactical lights. That being said, they are excellent.

With all the lights on high I had no issues identifying human sized objects at night to at least a football field’s length, which is around 300 feet. There are plenty of other lights which offer better throw, but these all have small heads. Considering the size of the reflectors, they throw very well. It does help they have smooth, high gloss reflectors. Many lights these days have some sort of “orange peel” type reflectors to spread the hot spot out a little more and make the beam more even. All four models I tested have a definite hot spot, nice and even, with a small dark spot in the center (but only up close), with good flood to the sides. I enjoy the low setting on the lights, as it allows enough illumination to function, but is low enough to not blow out your night vision. Of the lights, I have carried the S30R the most. I’m used to carrying a larger light, and as such it was most similar to the light I was already carrying. I also keep it as a backup in my cruiser. You can never have too many lights at night. Never. Regarding the battery life, it is good enough I had to specifically drain the batteries to test how long they lasted and how long it took to recharge. That being said, on high the lights all last longer than the rated burn time.

 

A view of approximately 110 feet and 400 lumens.

A view of approximately 110 feet and 400 lumens.

The lights are all IPX-7 rated and shock resistant. This means they are rated to last being dunked for up to 30 minutes at a time and resistant to being dropped. They are Olights-9not diving lights, and as such the buttons should not be pressed while they are immersed. Being as silly as I am, I had to take one of them and do just that. A little water got into the light, and for lack of a better term, it freaked out for a few seconds then shut off. I took the light apart and let it dry out, put it back together, and it works as well as new. As far as shock resistance, I’ve taken all four lights and thrown them into the air, dropped them on the ground, and tossed them against walls. None of the abuse seems to have damaged them.

The Olight rechargeables are excellent flashlights. They meet or exceed all the listed specifications. The price range is from about $50-$75 for the four lights. For an excellent EDC flashlight that will stand up to the rigors of every day use, I’d highly recommend any of the models. Check out http://goinggear.com/flashlights for purchase information.

Click below to see slideshow:

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