Pocket lamps (torches/flashlights) for travelling, and use at home



Overview of my use of pocket lamps (torches/flashlights), and my preferences for a travel light

I showed and described the superiority of neutral white light and of high CRI neutral white light over cool white light on my LED experiments page.

This would I suppose be more on-topic for my travel pages, but I will give here an overview of wishes and uses of pocket lamps for my purposes, which are for travel, while making bike trips at night for say repairs or fixing flat tyres, and at home.

It is interesting to note that contrary to bicycle lighting, manufacturers are making a lot of neutral white and high CRI neutral white lights! Some still stick with mostly cool white, and these are especially big brands such as Fenix and I suppose you can count Olight as a big brand as well. They just make a few exceptions with neutral or warm emitters. I've been using neutral white lights since my first tests in 2010, the other pocket lamps I have used are only for testing in case there is no choice.

For travelling I want: 4000-4500K high CRI, for 18650, less than 60 g (without battery), smooth ramping or 2 modes. I have not found such a light yet. I estimate that the following 18650 lights could be almost good enough:

Pocket lamp and battery holder

I made the battery holder for 18650s using a drill press and a 18 mm dril bit drilling holes into a 18mm piece of plywood, then slightly enlarging the holes with a Proxxon mini tool + sanding tube (not sure what they are called, sandpaper on a tube that are fixed with a rubber that expands when tightening a screw). Below it a 12 mm piece of plywood.

The pocket lamp mount is more intricate. It is meant for 18650 lamps with 24-26 mm diameter battery tube. I took 3 pieces of plywood: 18 mm (top layer), 18 mm (middle layer) and 12 mm (bottom) layer) thick. In the first piece I drilled 26 mm holes, in the second 24 mm holes, in the 3rd piece (bottom layer) I drilled 22 mm holes. This makes it possible to use neckstraps with lights that have a slightly recessed hole and the cord will just drop past the next level, so that I can have the status light to the front and the cord can go anywhere with the lamp staying perfectly upright. For the S2+ and E2L the cord should go to the front as they don't have a recessed hole for the cord and would be at a slight angle, but as they don't have a status light at the side there is no need for the cord to be anywhere else. The D4V2 fits in the first layer, the SC31pro, FC11, S2+ etc. in the 2nd layer. The cutout at the front is for the neck straps, and if I were to use clips they will fit there too.

You can also see a single holder in the picture. It is actually my 2nd prototype, with just 26 mm diameter holes for both D4V2 and FC11 etc. The big holder is not quite perfect so I consider it prototype 3. The first version was from a single block of wood trying out various options. At first I tried to put the pocket lamps head down but that is not so useful due to the heads usually not being round... In that holder I also made a place for the IF25A (which is bigger, it uses a 21700, the only 21700 pocket lamp I have).

Reviews of some pocket lamps that I used

Ferei mini 800 modified with Cree XP-G 5B1 LED

A friend gave me this many years ago (2010?) and I used this until ca. 2020. After my early tests of LED light colours I put the XP-G 5B1 into it, as it originally came with a cool white XR-E. It weighs ca. 56 g which is perfect for travelling. A tail switch is also good for travelling in that it is safer from accidentally switching on while in a travel bag or backpack, better than most lights with side switches (which stick out a bit) that you need to lock out so as to prevent it from inadvertently being switched on by something pressing against the bag [ with Anduril 4 clicks; another option is to unscrew the tail cap a bit ]. This can be an issue for high power lights which can burn your bag or its contents... It has low, high and flashing. The flashing mode is annoying, you always pass it to switch between medium and high.

I've not yet been able to unscrew the retaining ring in the tube to remove the driver... Not sure why it won't come out. Otherwise I would put in a new driver and use it with an SST-20 or Nichi 519A plus TIR optic.

Convoy S2+ (3/5 modes) (old version from 2016)

I bought 2 in 2016. One with a XML 4C with standard switch with rubber cap, another with a metal switch and XML LED supposedly 5B but in reality it was far warmer and not useful to me so I barely used that one. I later used it a bit more for testing various LEDs, but reliability was always an issue with this one, a bad contact somewhere.

- Version with rubber cap over the switch: ca. 117.2 mm long, 24.0 mm diameter, 74g
- Version with metal switch: ca. 119.2 mm long (the tail cap is longer), 24.0 mm diameter, 79 g.

The large weight is mostly caused by the brass pill which contains the driver on one side and the MCPCB with LED on the other side. You can solder to brass, which is presumably why this was used, as the LED driver is soldered to the pill. Another disadvantage of brass is the low thermal conductivity, so the heat can't be removed from the LED very well. It would be much better if that pill was made from aluminium but then the driver would need to be fixated in another manner. A ring such as used to the switch on the tailcap is such a way. Jaxman's design of the E2L is much better in this regard (the middle tube and tail section are nearly identical to the S2+).

I have 2, one of which should have a 4C LED but it appears to be warmer, ca. 4000K, another that should be 5B but is far warmer (perhaps ca. 3500K or even warmer). I hate the stupid switching of the setting from 3 to 5 mode with disco modes, I get into that too often. Knurling/grip is reasonable. The one with the 4000K LED was one of my most used lights, but it was time to replace it with a light with a better (as in: less annoying) driver and that is lighter and so I went to look for better ones as I describe on this page.

The S2+ is about 74 g/79 g and I can really feel the difference with the Ferei. With battery that means ca. 119 g/125 g and that is too much esp. when putting in your mouth when you need an extra hand but hanging it on a cord around my neck I also feel it far more than a light that weighs ca. 60 or even 65g. It is past the point where it passes my 'doesn't bother me' limit. This could be different for you, the S2+ is a good light to try out an 18650 light and possibly to experiment with modifications for little money. Note that as this doesn't have internal charging you need to remove the cell to charge it and you need an external charger. I use a Lii-500S for this. Needing to open it so much to replace batteries (I have multiple extra cells, so I replace the battery, then charge the empty cell), is possibly a reason why this lamp gives me far more contact issues (light not giving full power, flickering, not switching modes reliably etc. due to needing to clean the contacts/threads more as they get exposed more, but which I don't really do much :) The main problem for me in the ones I have, besides the weight, is the annoying 3/5 mode driver. I bought these long ago and since then a 12 mode driver (biscotti) became available. I would order a light with that driver but it doesn't particularly appeal to me. For a daily used light I would prefer an anduril type interface or a simple 2 or 3 mode light.

Convoy S2+ (biscotti 12 mode driver, version from 2023)

The S2+ has changed a bit since I first bought 2 in 2016 (one with a XML 4C, another with XML supposedly 5B but in reality it was far warmer and not useful to me). These newer ones I bought are black with rubber cap over the switch and they are different in various details such as:

The weight is still high at ca. 76 g which is why it will never be a pocket lamp that I use daily. I use these as reference lights: one with a Nichia 519A 5700K which in reality is more 5100-5200K, to see what ca. 5100K (should be smilar to overcast) is like in a high CRI LED lamp, the second is with a 519A 3500K. I have a 519A 4000K in an FC11 and 4500K in a 3/5 mode S2+.
I put lit tailcaps in these lamps, which are somewhat of a gimmick but I like it :) Despite what Convoy writes in his aliexpress listing, these lit tailcaps do work with biscotti versions of the S2+...

I would recommend these as cheap lamps that are good quality and that you can easily modify, so they are excellent for testing. You will need an external charger for 18650 batteries...

Sofirn IF25A (neutral white SST-20 LED at 4000K CRI 95)

See the specifications HERE.

This light can be used with an 18650 or a 21700 LiIon cell. Internal charging via USB-C input.

The light colour is very good, just a bit better than the XM-L at 4000K and the XP-G also at ca. 4000K. Some sharp edges which could be better, and the housing is not very grippy, standard knurling would be better. The effect of the light colour shows in being better in everything showing with more vibrant, instead of flat, dull, more washed out colours. For a bicycle lamp this wouldn't be very important, but for indoor use it is much more pleasant to use this light compared to all my other lights.

To improve the grip and not feel the sharpish edges on the main part where you hold it, I cut a piece of bicycle inner tube (for tyres of ca. 37 mm) to length exactly as the main tube between head and tailcap, and pulled it across the main tube. This feels much better! It adds a little bit of weight but as this light is heavy already, it doesn't really matter.

It has an always lit-up side button (can be switched off) which I found to be very useful to find it in the dark, but also to find where the button is. The latter is not an issue with lights with tail buttons but in case of lights with side buttons you need to turn it correctly and for that the light helps a lot.

2022-4-23: Recently I modified the light, changing the colour of the anodisation of part of the housing. I had read about baking lights in ovens on budgetlightforum and I tried this not long ago on the Ferei, then on the IF25A. I will show the result soon.

2022-5-7: The wide quad optic + MCPCB from the Convoy store, as used in their S21D, arrived (get it here; Aliexpress: Convoy store: triple/quad optics+ MCPCBs) along with some SST-20s in 4000K and 60 degree single LED optics that I want to use in the FC11 and SC31 pro. First test during the day: This gives a really nice wide even ca. 60 degree beam. More to come after some night testing.

2022-5-8: Night time tests similar to the daytime, a useful wide beam, esp. for the purpose for what I use this lamp, such as to light up a work space.

Installing the optic: Take out the battery, unscrew the bezel, take out the optic (requires some levering with a small screwdriver or knife for example from the sides), push in the new optic. The feet need to be pushed into the holes of the MCPCB, then screw on the bezel again. Put the battery back into the lamp.

Conclusion: I like the SST20 4000K's light output, I don't experience it to be green as some people mention (depends on the source of the LEDs, which each batch they sell), nor did I find that a problem with the separate SST20s I bought from Convoy. The lamp is too heavy to let it hang around my neck for normal daily use and travelling. It is for me only useful as a work light using the wide optic.

Sofirn SC31pro (cool white, SST40 LED at ca. 6500K)

See the specifications HERE.

Tested from 2021-3-27.

This light can be used with an 18650 LiIon cell. Internal charging via USB-C input.

The light colour is not optimal but I want to try it out and only the 6500K version was available on amazon, so far. 5000K would not be optimal either, so in that sense it doesn't matter, I was thinking of modifying it with a different LED but decided to give it to a family member and perhaps I will buy the 5000K version later.

In the garden of a relative: approximate middle brightness and turbo:

This is a good all-round light. I've given this to a relative for testing. I briefly played with it and the knurling is much grippier than that of the Wurkkos FC11. It's also brighter and the side button is always lit-up (which can be switched off) which as I experienced with the IF25A is very useful to find it in the dark, but also to find where the button is.

There is a slightly non-round section at the head, similar to the Wurkkos FC11, which is a useful anti-roll measure.

Weight: I measured it at about 58 g without the clip which is good for travelling. It is a weight such that with the battery, I barely feel it. A relative felt that it was slightly heavy for her, but still fine. I let her play with it trying the ramping up/down, turbo, that the Anduril interface gives, and she found it easy to use.

This light comes with a button top 18650 with 3Ah, which weighs ca. 46 g.

Wurkkos FC11 (neutral white, LH351D LED, 4000K CRI 90)

See the specifications HERE.

Tested from 2021-3-27.

This light can be used with an 18650 LiIon cell. Internal charging via USB-C input.

This looks very nice, 65g is just a bit more than the 60g limit I set for a travel light, but perhaps it will be below 60 g if I can remove the magnet in the tailcap and when removing the clip (I will use a neck strap). I bought the new version with 4000K Samsung LH351D LED.

Before buying it I thought this could be an excellent all-round light. Trying it out confirmed that:

In the garden of a relative: middle brightness (2 out of 4) and turbo:

There is a slightly non-round section at the head, similar to the SC31 pro, which is a useful anti-roll measure.

I removed the clip, which made the light 61g, then I took out the spring from the end-cap with a needle nose pliers (grip it as close as possible to the magnet, then twist and turn and it should get out easily), heated up the cap with a paint strip gun on low (a hair dryer will likely work too), and as the glue used is a hard type of glue (possibly cyano-acrylate, i.e. seconds glue), the different expansion of the aluminium and the magnet meant that the glue's bond was broken very quickly as shown by that I could see the magnet moving. It was just stuck a bit mechanically, but tapping the end-cap on cardboard with the magnet facing down made it drop out immediately. Result: Weight is now 56 g, perfect for travelling!

The light colour is very good, far better than the neutral white XP-G and XM-L for indoor use in my other pocket lamps [ but there was an issue I ran into later, see further ], but the IF25A renders colours more vibrantly, such as the yellow Stanley Fatmax spirit level that I had laying in the room, so the SST-20 4000K at 95CRI is clearly better than the Samsung LH351D at 90CRI. Addition 2022-3-18: The colours are generally rendered better than the lower CRI XP-G and XM-L but there is weird feeling of something being off. I think this is because of the lower R9, i.e. reds are not emphasized enough. Strangely I never get such as feeling with the XP-G and XM-L pocket lamps. Addition 2022-5-10: I get this feeling especially with a lot of wood around me as with the sidewalls I made upstairs from plywood. It may be that the light is too green, which for some reason then shows up with light plywood. I have done some comparisons with other LEDs and will test the LH351D, that I removed from the FC11, soon when I put it into another pocket lamp.

The side button lights up briefly when switching on, to show the battery level: Green = from full to still a reasonable charge, red = getting empty, flashing red = close to switch-off. It would be nice to have the side button illuminated at all times, as that is very useful as I found with the IF25A (to find the light in the dark, and to find the button in the dark when holding it). When charging the side button is flashing red until the battery is full, then it lights up green.

To prevent the light switching on in a pocket or bag, click 4 times (same as with Anduril lights). This is a bit of a downside with side-clickies compared to tail-switches: A tail switch (real on-off) light won't switch on from a press on the outside.

For general use in the house the hotspot is a bit too narrow and pronounced for me, it could have been a bit wider and with a more smooth transition to lower intensities at farther angles, which would be better for indoor use, such as searching something in an unlit room or shed. But it is good enough that I replaced my previous go-to light (the Ferei that I modified with an XP-G 5B1 LED) with it for indoor use and to take in my backpack, and I will use it for travelling too.

Similar to the IF25A, I experimented by pulling a piece of bicycle inner tube (smaller size than for the IF25A, diameter such that the tube is slightly stretched over the FC11's battery tube and thus stays in place) over the middle section which gives really nice grip. This makes it about 60 g, still acceptable. The included 18650 is a button top cell of 3Ah (which I checked with my charger) which weighs ca. 48 g. For travelling I would put in the flat top 18650Bs that I normally use as they have a larger capacity and are slightly lighter.

Conclusion: This has become my daily use lamp. The user interface is similar to a simplified Anduril, without some of the configurability but also without the useless functions (such as most of the disco modes). It could be improved a bit with better (slower) ramping at low intensity, side light always on, a slightly wider beam with less pronounced hotspot would be excellent for daily use, and I'd prefer a SST-20 4000K 95CRI.

Update 2022-3-18: I have ordered some 90 degree TIR optics to experiment with wider angle beams, and I will order some SST-20s and Nichia 519As soon too, and will put one of those in the FC11.

Update 2022-4-18: I ordered a few SST-20s and some 60 degree TIRs for the FC-11 and perhaps other single LED pocket lamps, and a 60 degree TIR optic from Convoy that fits the IF25A.

2022-5-7: The Convoy SST-20s on 16mm MCPCBs and 60 degree single LED optics arrived. The 90 degree optics from another store still haven't arrived but no problem as the 60 degree optics are likely the widest I will use. This optic installed in the FC11 (works fine, just need to shave off 0.5mm or so at the LED side so that the bezel closes perfectly) gives a really nice wide even beam. More to come after some night testing.

Actually just removing the 'gasket' around the LED that is needed for the reflector (which is of aluminium and would short-circuit the LED) is enough so that it fits. I still try it with the O-ring at the front, which I left out for testing, and see how well it fits then. Also I need to make a small indent in the plastic to go around the tiny solder blobs at the ends of the LED. Such indents are present in the gasket that I took out of the FC11...

Optics I used: Aliexpress: Convoy store: 10/15/20/25/30/38/45/60/85 degree 20MM TIR lens ,bead surface, for 3535 LED (xp,sst20,LH351D,etc)

To replace the reflector with these optics which are ca. 12 mm high, 20mm wide:

For my purposes these wide optics are more useful than the rather narrow beam from the reflector (I had measured that to be ca. 25 degrees), but perhaps it's slightly too wide (i.e. the beam gives a rather low intensity unless in the highest 2 modes of the stepped mode, and the reach is possibly slightly too limited) so next I will order 45 degree TIRs to try out.

Next I installed an SST-20 4000K 95CRI LED that I also bought from the Convoy store (see luminus SST20 2700K 4000K 5000K 6500K on 16mm / 20mm DTP copper board). The specifications according to Convoy's page for the 4000K version: Flux: J5, Colour: FB4, Voltage: VH, CRI: 95

I wanted to put the LHD351D LED from the FC11 into a S2+ that I don't use, to do some colour comparisons later, but it turns out the MCPCB used in the FC11 is 17mm so needs grinding down to 16 mm to fit in the S2+ pill. [ did it but for some reason it is now a 1 mode light, running at ca. 2.3 A from a measurement with my multimeter, perhaps there is short and the minus side of the LED is switched by the driver which is now passed by? But it does not appear to be running directly on the battery as then the current should be far higher, unless there is a bad contact. ].

2022-5-9: On turbo with the SST-20 LEDs the lamp gets quite hot, fairly fast, it is far more noticeable than with the LH351D LED. I don't use turbo much but the heat is a good reminder that you are running on turbo. With the wider angle optic I felt that the lamp is far more useful indoors. In cases where I used turbo to light up more of the periphery before, after the modification with wider lens level 4 is enough as the light is more spread out.

2022-5-9: Reach with the SST-20 and 60 degree optic is ca. 35 m which is slightly limited, it will be interesting to try out the 45 degree optics which should improve the reach and give a slight increase in brightness.

2022-5-8: The 90 degree optics finally arrived and they are shorter than the Convoy 20mm optics, and they give a slight hotspot within a similarly wide area as with the 60 degree optics from Convoy. This should give a slightly better reach (to be tested). This hotspot may be caused by the LED being in not quite the optical centre, and may happen with the convoy optics too if shortened (also to be tested). I put in the nylon protection against short circuiting around the LED (used for the metal reflector; here I use it as something slippery that the optic can rotate on as the O-ring will mean the optic is likely to rotate when tightening the bezel), and the O-ring at the front and it all fits so the FC11 is water proof again :)

Skilhunt H04 RC (LH351D LED, 5000K CRI 90, wide diffuse beam, right angle lamp for headstrap mount)

Used from ca. 10 April 2022.

LED: LH351D 5000K 90+ CRI.

Weight in various configurations:

The beam is smooth using a TIR, and about 45 degrees wide.

Reach: I got to ca. 45m on high (see the comparison further on this page) which is pretty good.

The light colour of 5000K is about the same as the neutral white Saferide 80, which is better than much cooler light, but still nowhere near optimal as comparisons show (see also the lightbeam colour comparison further on this page). So perhaps I will change the LED, but I could also leave the lamp as is, especially as I'm probably not going to be using it a lot. The reasons for this are:

Issue 1: Using an angled pocket lamp as a normal pocket lamp

Issue 2: Use as headlamp

  • for use as a headlamp with the included headstrap/mount: on my head I found the lamp, despite being a very light weight 18650 lamp, still a bit heavy, more so than a Silva (Swedish brand) Speed trail elite, head mounted lamp with dual emitters (wide and narrow optics, though I found that they are too similar) that I used while doing house renovations. The Speed trail elite has a very light head + cable to dual 18650 battery that you can put in your pocket or attach to your belt. This just felt lighter than the H04 RC.
  • Issue 3: Use with the clip, mounted on a shirt pocket, coat, etc.

    Here I found that the lamp is too heavy, it hangs at an angle downwards and/or to the side, it really needs a different clip (wider such that it stays in the initial position).

    Issue 4: The magnet in the tail cap and in the charge point

    I may open it up and see if I can replace the internal magnet with a steel washer which should be enough to keep the cable on the charge port.

    Issue 5: User interface:

    There are 2 modes, A and B.

    In mode A you have 4 levels and each level has 2 choices, 1 and 2:
    The levels are 1) L2 < L1 < 2) M2 < M1 < 3) H2 < H1 < 4) T1 (and T2 which is double T1 but not always? This is not clear yet). When you are in a level, double click to switch to the other level so for example if you are in L2 you then go to L1 and if you are in L1 you then go to L2 and so on. This change is remembered so the one you choose gets to be the one you go to the next time to go to this level. You click to switch to the next higher level, wrapping around to the lowest level when you are at the 4th level. So the range can be L2, M1, H1, T1, or L1, M2,H1, T1, etc.
    To switch off keep the button pressed for about 0.5s. This interface works fairly well though it seems rather overcomplicated for no real advantage over a good selection of 4 fixed output levels.

    In mode B you can program any of the 7 output levels (turbo 1 and 2 seem to be the same, so not sure when they are mentioned to be different) that are available to be in the range of levels. So you can select levels 1-7, and the number of levels you can select is 1-7. By selecting each light level it will get into the range that you can use. You change light levels by keeping the button pressed. Single click switches off. I don't like keeping the button pressed to switch modes. That is just annoying. It is psychologically a poor choice because of discrete levels that you can easily directly select without time limits with single clicks as you need to use timing in your head where discrete selection with a button is the natural choice... I see 'hold' only useful for ramping as there it makes sense. This is also why I don't like the discrete (stepped) ramping in anduril. The issue for some people with using single click button presses to swtich modes is of course that you need to use a different way than a single click to switch off the lamp... Why not a double click? This is part of the interface I'm designing that I will put on the D4V2 to try out.

    So, I won't be using mode B.


    1. I decided that the user interface is stupid. You could use a good spread of modes, being able to choose between 2 modes that are a bit different of which 1 is very close to the next level mode, is stupid. The other selectable user interface of keeping the button pressed to go to the next level I don't like at all either. I don't use this in Anduril lights either (which to me are only useful for the (almost) stepless dimming.

    2. I don't like using such an angled lamp as a standard pocket lamp, and I find it too heavy for use as a headlamp. It may be useful with a sort of breast strap, if such things exists. After having briefly used it I didn't see myself seriously using it. I thought that I could try it as a headlamp again, to perhaps get used to the weight and how it moves with moving my head, but another issue with headlamps is that when doing this outside they attract bugs that fly into your face. I really prefer a light in my hand, or mounted say on a tripod to light up some area.

    And so I'm probably not going to use this any more, also because of the magnet in the lamp's head attracting small metal pieces.

    Jaxman E2L (3x Nichia 219C 4000K, with smoothing optic)

    Used from: 2022-5-7:

    I bought this as I wanted a good useful light with tail switch. As an example of the issues with side buttons: While cycling with the FC11 (on a neck strap) when I want to light up something like the road (for testing) or the bike computer, then I am always searching too long for the on/off button, whereas with a light with tail button you just know where it is, no need to search. This if of course not just an issue with cycling, it is always an issue when you want to put it on while you are in pitch dark, then you need to feel for the button and that is not easy. With cycling it's worse due to needing to pay attention to the road and needing to keep 1 hand on the handlebar.

    You can order this lamp at the Jaxman store on Aliexpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32843620943.html

    This lamp is available with various LED choices, various housing colours, and 2 optics. Not all combinations are available, I wanted the matte wide optic and black was the only option with the Nichia 219C 4000K LEDs.

    Review in progress.

    Weight: ca. 65-66g. This is the upper limit for me for travel lights.
    Length: 114.0 mm
    Diameter: 24.0 mm

    The surface is matte, which looks and feels fantastic. Did they make this by first sandblasting the aluminium, then anodising it? It gives extra grip and the ridges at the head which provide more surface area for heat dissipation also give extra grip. The feel in your hand from the extra grip is far better than the S2+. It has 3 modes, and no mode memory, it always starts in low mode which is quite low, perfect to just have a light to see what is going. When fast clicking I found that it has a hidden strobe mode, which is a pity. Other than that it is near perfect. The Nichia 219C 4000K give a similar feel to the SST-20 4000K (more on this to come, this is just my initial impression during the day) i.e. very nice rendition of colours. The optic with matte surface gives a nice wide beam (ca. 60 degrees) with no obvious hotspot.

    At the end of first day of using the lamp: The matte surface seems to get damaged more easily than on standard anodised lights, I noticed a few small marks already. Not very important as long as the grip stays the same, I will see in due course.

    Beam width: About 50-60 degrees with the matte optic, which is quite useful.

    Reach is good enough for me, ca. 40m.

    Emisar D4V2 (4x Nichia 219B 4500K, with additional floody optic and boost driver)

    You can order this lamp at the manufacturer's website: https://intl-outdoor.com/led-flashlights/emisar-d4v2-high-power-led-flashlight.html. If you want a lit side switch, email the manufacturer about that (after ordering is fine), there are many colours possible, see for example this page: https://ivanthinking.net/thoughts/emisar-d4v2-switch-back-light-tint/. I ordered it with boost driver (more efficient), black body, additional floody optic, amber lit side switch.

    Used from: 2022-5-27.

    I ordered it with a raised ring around the button which should prevent accidental switch on. I find that this ring works very well to help find the button in the dark by feel, even though I ordered it with an amber lit up side switch, it makes it easier.
    Weight is 67 g, with aluminium bezel, standard tailcap (no magnet) and no clip.
    Diameter: ca. 28x30 mm at the head.
    Length: 96 mm.
    The D4V2 is quite short compared to my other pocket lamps and I like how it fits my hand because of the short length.

    The light colour is 4500k and it seems sw45k. This means a bit cooler than 4000K and a bit on the purple side. I did some comparisons and will make some night shots of them but already here is my impression: Slightly too cool, in that you don't see the ground with browns and yellows as clearly pronounced compared to the green grass as well as with the SST-20 4000K and 219B 4000K. I will do more tests but from these results I think I will skip the 519A 5000K and just try the 519A in 4000K, 4500K and 5700K, the last one for use in say a shed in the day time (as a fill-in light).

    More comparisons: The LH351D 5000K in the H04RC looks greenish compared to the D4V2 219B 4500K... The SST20 looks good in comparison, just more creamy coloured.

    The S2+ with XML 4C also looks fine in comparison with the D4V2 219B sw45k (219BT-V1 4500K).

    So the LH351Ds of 4000K and 5000K both look crappy in comparison with the D4V2 219B sw45k. however the SST-20 4000K, XML 4C and 219C 4000K all look fine in comparison to that same LED light.

    There are 4 side LEDs beneath the button, and the covering over the actual button is white when you ask for a lit side switch, instead of black. I'd prefer it if it were transparant, as white stands out too much.

    The switch LEDs are not always on as I thought they might be, but controlled as the front auxiliary LEDs. In low mode for the aux LEDs (use 7C and 7H to set the mode, intensity, colour of the aux LEDs) they are barely visible except when it's really dark, which is perfect. Also in that case the side LEDs light up brighter when there is a higher level output of the white (main) LEDs. The raised ring around the button works well to feel where the button is without looking, it keeps your thumb in the right place too. When riding with my bike with the FC11 hanging on a neck cord I need to search for the button but there is no such issue with the D4V2. The FC11 could do with a similar raised ring around the button...

    I've done various comparison tests in the garden but I'm not yet sure on how to judge the 4500K 219BT-V1 vs. the 4000K SST-20 (tint FB4) and 4000K 219C.

    I am thinking about buying a spectrometer to test the spectrum of bicycle taillamps and bicycle headlamps + of pocket lamps the LEDs with TIRs/reflectors/lens, i.e. in actual use not just the bare LED, to better be able to judge what are the exact problems in some LEDs and with taillamps, what frequencies look to be really red, and what frequencies appear too much orange (as I mentioned on my bicycle lighting review pages), and to determine what LEDs manufacturers use in their lamps.

    Comparisons: 1. reach, 2. light colour

    1. Reach comparison: FC11 (modified), E2L, IF25A (modified), H04 RC

    2022-5-9: A reach comparison with the FC11 with 60 degree optic + SST-20, IF25A with wide Convoy optic, and Skilhunt H04RC with LH251D 5000K 90CRI gave on high (not turbo):

    I determined the reach by checking to what distance I could make out the ground surface well enough to determine it's grass, notice rocks, poles, etc. on a field:
    - FC11 (SST-20 4000K, 60 degree optic): ca. 35m,
    - Jaxman E2L (3x Nichia 219C 4000K, wide matte optic): ca. 40m,
    - IF25A (4xSST-20 4000K, ca. 50-60 degree optic): ca. 40m,
    - Skilhunt H04 RC head mounted lamp (LH351D 5000K CRI 90, pebbled optic as standard with this lamp, I estimate ca. 45 degrees): ca. 45m.

    I will use the IF25A mostly indoors as portable illumination so the wide angle optic is fine here. The Jaxman looks just right for travelling. The FC11 with SST-20 and 60 degree optic is perhaps slightly limited in reach even for travelling (confirmed on my trip in Ukraine/Poland where I preferred the D4V2 despite its poorer light colour of the 219B sw45k) and looks slightly dim except on highest mode (4th level of the 4 fixed levels in stepped mode), so it will be interesting to see how the 45 degree optic will perform for such a purpose. The H04 RC does very well, wide enough and still pretty good reach.

    In use outdoors I found on my trip in Poland and then Ukraine in Aug-Oct 2022, that the FC11 was too limited because of the wide angle beam and not high enough intensity of light. This was particularly important in Ukraine due to street lighting being turned off (Kharkov) and in the rain this meant it was difficult to see the road properly, I almost stumbled and fell on a steep road down to the area with the train station where my room was, because of the insuffient light colour of the D4V2's sw45k. Next trip to Poland/Ukraine (April or May 2023?) I will take a SC31pro with me with a 519A LED of ca. 4000K (possibly a 4500K shaved for lower colour temperature and lower DUV).

    Using flat top and button top 18650s

    Flat top 18650s will get a dented flat top section after a while if you use your pocket lamps seriously, i.e. if you drop them from time to time :)
    You can use button top cells but they are a bit longer, ca. 2mm, with a section that is point welded onto the flat top and its sides. I tried them in various pocket lamps to see which pocket lamps accept such cells, i.e. in which the end cap and the body make electrical contact with such a slightly longer cell.
    Alternatively put a solder blob on the positive side of the 18650 which will prevent it from getting dented.

    Fixing flat top cells after their ends have been dented in

    Can be done with some solder on top.

    2. Light colour comparison: FC11 (modified), E2L, IF25A (modified), H04 RC (at night + use as a fill-in light during the day)

    2022-5-10: I mentioned that the colours with the stock FC11 using a LH351D LED are generally rendered better than the lower CRI XP-G and XM-L but that there is also a weird feeling of something being off. This may be caused by a lower R9, i.e. reds are not emphasized enough, or perhaps by the light being too green. I get this feeling especially with a lot of wood around me as with the sidewalls I made upstairs from pine plywood. In the garden and with flowers there are slight differences with the SST-20 which is higher CRI and especially much higher R9, but nothing feels off in that case with LH351D. It looks to be a subtle effect that is caused with big surfaces. It could thus be similar to people liking the Nichia 219B which is fairly rosy, but not liking the quite rosy version sw45k under certain circumstances such as when it snows, as then the rosy glow is too apparent. I have not yet put the LH351D back into another lamp due to the 17mm diameter MCPCB not fitting in other lamps I have, but I have done some comparisons already with the other LEDs.

    The SST-20 4000K from Convoy in the FC11 with TIR optic, SST-20 4000K in the IF25A with TIR optic, 219C 4000K in the E2L with TIR optic: All very similar in the garden and looking at large plates of pine plywood (which is where the LH351D feels off). In comparing the E2L (Nichie 219C LEDs) and the IF25A (Luminus SST-20 LEDs) on that plywood, the IF25A feels slightly off, slightly greenish perhaps. This is almost unnoticeable except when comparing directly. I did not get that feeling of 'slightly greenish' with the SST-20 from Convoy in the FC11 at level 3, running at the power to get about the same illumination as the IF25A, so in the FC11 the SST-20 is driven harder because in the IF25A shares the load between 4 LEDs. The SST-20 is known to be slightly greenish at low currents, so likely this drive current is the main difference that causes this. I would not consider this greenish cast at lower intensities a problem at all as the SST-20 as driven at fairly low currents in the IF25A feels nearly perfect to me under all circumstances, and I only noticed it with this direct comparison.

    The 5000K LH351D in the Skilhunt H04 RC doesn't show obvious problems such as a green cast, it feels neutral but it doesn't properly show colours in the garden, i.e. all browns and yellows are underexposed. It may be that 4500K is the upper limit for proper showing of colours in the dark, but I will do some more tests.

    Note that what you see is changed by the brain to account for the white balance that seems appropriate to give the feeling of 'same colour' of an object under all circumstances, all types of lighting. This is why colour comparisons in pictures of e.g. the garden, are not useful without comments of what may feel off. Your white balance negator acts related to what you see as a whole, so a larger picture, but also watching a picture on a monitor in a not fully dark room will influence how you see the colours. I would like to see the Nichia 519A in 5700K high CRI and see how it performs during the night but also during the day as a fill-in light for dark corners in a shed for example. I suspect 5700K high CRI could be better than a lower temperature in that case. When the 519As are available I will buy them in 4000K, 4500K, 5700K. Perhaps also 5000K just to make sure.

    Test with S2+ with the LH351D from the FC11, compared to the FC11 in which I installed a SST-20 4000K LED: The cause of the issues I had with the LH351D may be a green cast, where especially when shining on pine plywood I get (as tested again in the S2+) the 'something is off' feeling: Perhaps this is caused by a slightly greenish output, I'm not sure yet. I didn't take the H04 RC which would have been useful to compare to the others in that situation, I will do that next.

    2022-5-13: I compared the LH351D-4000K in the S2+ that is now for some reason a 1 mode light, to the SST-20 4000K in the IF25A and the LH351D-5000K in the H04 RC. The H04 RC with 5000K LH351D doesn't give a 'something is off' feeling on pine plywood, but the colours are washed out. I will likely replace the LED if I keep this lamp.

    2022-6-10: Light colour comparison in daylight using the pocket lamp to fill in light in a shed that is partially dark: Overcast: 219C 4000K (4000K): a bit yellow, and thus a clear contrast with the light from outside, but fine in use.
    219B sw45k (4500K): excellent, the colour rendition is very similar to that of the light outside. This is mostly because of the colour temperature, not that it's below the black body line (BBL), i.e. a bit pinkish.
    LH351D in the H04 RC (5000K): ugh, the greenish colour is obvious in comparison with the daylight, but disregarding that issue, the cooler colour temperature seems to offer nothing better than the 219B sw45k (4500K)

    For general use at night 4000-4500K is optimal in offering a pleasant and not harsh light that is still good enough to use as a work light. 3000K is not optimal to use as a work light as everything looks yellow with it, but it is easier on the eyes which is why these lower temperatures are good for reading lights at night. For a fill-in light in a shed the sw45k is pretty good, higher colour temperatures likely won't offer anything better.

    To do: Test in sunny light lighting up the same shed that is partially dark.Done (Summer 2022 and Spring 2023): 5000K lights such as the H04RC and a S2+ with 5700K (which are more like 5100K-5300K when measured), are similar in light colour to overcast daylight, hoiwever, you need so much light to fill in dark spots that this aspect of having similar light is barely important for pocket lamps, only for more powerful mains powered lighting... 4000K lamps look a bit yellow in comparison but work fine so for a generally useful pocket lamp, I would go for ca. 4000K.

    Summary of which pocket lamps I use (i.e. my favourites)

    The following are my favourites, they are the reference for light colour and usability, in order of decreasing preference, updated 2023-4-9:

    1. Sofirn SC31pro, modified with Convoy 25 degree pebbled TIR and Nichia 519A LEDs.
    2. Emisar D4V2 with 219B sw45k. Good grip, lit side switch. I'm currently using it with the standard narrow optic.
    3. Wurkkos FC11, modified (60 degree TIR, SST-20 4000K FB4, later changed to 519A 4000K for testing), excellent grip with my bicycle inner tube wrapping.
    4. Jaxman E2L (ca. 60 degree TIR, 3x 219C 4000K), excellent grip.

    I'm thinking on what to do for testing other LEDs such as the Nichia 519A, possibly buy a few more FC11s...

    The following I don't like for daily use, because they are too big/heavy but can be useful:

    Of the following I don't know yet whether to keep it as it is, to modify or to give away:

    The rest that I mentioned on this page are defective or only used for testing.

    Modifications of pocket lamps

    To modify pocket lamps I have bought parts from various places, Aliexpress, Banggood, Fasttech (now defunct). you can buy optics, LEDs on MCPCBs, tiny resistors, and you need a soldering station or simple soldering iron with tiny tip but still decent power.

    I only use 18650 lamps that I modify as ones with 21700 are too heavy and those with smaller battery have a too short runtime.
    Many of those lamps such as the FC11, SC31pro, S2+ need 20mm optics that you can find in many places (also from european and american electronics sellers).
    Regarding 20mm TIRs I recommend the pebbled optics from Convoy on his aliexpress store. With frosted optics you lose quite some light as you can see from the light going backwards towards you, and with the pebbled optics from 2021 optics store I also saw a strong rearward beam, that light will mostly get wasted within the pocket lamp, absorbed by the housing:
    light gong backwards from the TIR optic

    I also bought a few more S2+ lamps for use as references with a few 519As of various colour temperatures, and installed orange lit tail switches into them. These lit tail switches come standard with 330 Ohm resistors giving a current at ca. 4.0V of 2.8mA.

    That means with a 3Ah cell a runtime of 1071h = 44.6 days (in practice more as current drops when the voltage from the cell drops). That is not long enough! The tail switches light up far more brightly than needed too.

    Here is the PCB of the Convoy lit tail switch, showing the tiny resistors + LEDs:

    I had also ordered a pack of 0603 resistors as I knew about this problem of the tail switches draining batteries from budgetlightforum. I should have started experimenting with normal resistors to get at the optimal value, but the first one I tried was right: 5.1k Ohm. Those resistors are tiny! I used a knife tip on my T12 station and various tiny tipped tweezers and a needle to put the resistors into place. I also used some flux but the resistor floating into place as I’ve seen with laptop repair videos didn’t work for me. No solder on the tip of the soldering iron then you can touch the resistor otherwise it gets sucked onto the tip. So just enough solder on the pads nothing on the tip of the iron, then press down on the resistor to solder it in place. With this modification the tail switch draws 0.250 mA which means 12000h = 500 days (but more likely 600 days due to current lowering when voltage from the cell drops). It’s bright enough to find in the dark so I will modify no. 2 as well with these resistors.

    Lit tail switches from Convoy the last 2 on the right, the modified one left, the original one on the right:

    Note the D4V2 on the left has 4 lit up orange LEDs at a far lower brightness. You can often barely make them out in the daytime, but at night they are clearly visible.

    What I may buy next for testing and for actual use

    I couldn't find a Lumapower LM36 which should be perfect for my purposes in travelling and in daily use (weight 52 g and a simple 3 mode driver) but the manufacturer quit (email bounces) and I haven't been able to find one for sale. So I bought a few other pocket lamps since 2021 as I described on this page to see what else would be good for travelling. [ if anyone has a LM36 for sale please send me a message, I'm still interested ].

    I'm still looking at options but what I also would like:

    To email me go to the email page