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Thread: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

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    Flashaholic* datiLED's Avatar
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    Evilgrin07 datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    My initial impressions of the Fenix T1 are quite positive. The lights is very solid, and has a quality feel that is lacking in a lot of lights. The weight and large head will make this light a bit difficult to slip into a pair of cargo pants unnoticed. The T1 arrived with the batteries installed, so a quick press of the tactical tail switch treated me to a blast of white light. Very impressive. The high/low switching is accomplished with a twist of the head (like the L1T or L2T). I love this simplicity. The low mode is adequate for 80% of what you would use a light for. The high is shockingly bright, and would easily blind someone for several seconds if they were caught unaware of the beam. When I showed the light to a coworker, he almost thought that it had a kick when it was switched on.

    I am really surprised at the beam quality. The pictures that I have seen do not do this light justice. There is no tint to the LED at all, and the beam is as close to flawless as you can get. For a CREE light, the beam quality is amazing. With the smooth, clean beam, I am surprised at the throw this light has. It appears that a lot of work was put into the design of this reflector, and it has paid off. I would really like to see this reflector make it's way into some smaller Fenix lights.

    The finish on the light is nice, but certainly not perfect. The head and tail are free of anodizing defects. The light engine/switching portion of the head (which I will refer to as the "neck") and the body have striations in the anodizing, and there is a chip at the clip contact point where the neck and head meet. There is also a little wear where the clip makes contact with the body when compressed. Most likely this occurred during shipping. The head, neck, body and tailcap are a close match for color, but there is enough difference that it can be seen. With that said, I would never be bothered by this slight anodize variance in a light that was under $100. I really like the new olive finish. This is a nice direction that Fenix is heading in.

    The matte finish of the steel bezel is a nice touch, and looks great in my opinion.







    Now onto the torture testing.

    The first test involved dropping the light onto industrial carpeting from hip level while stationary. The first five drops were with the light off (and tested each time). During one of the drops, the light flashed momentarily. The next five drops were with the light on. The light did not even flicker. There are not any outward signs of damage, and the light switches on and off, and functions in both high and low mode. There are not any signs of a rattle inside the light, and nothing external is loose.

    The next step in the testing involved drops onto concrete from hip level while stationary. The light was dropped five times while off (and tested each time), and then five times with the light on. The T1 was lightly scratched during this portion of the testing, as would be expected. The bezel even took a small divot out of the concrete on one occasion. The light switches on and off, and functions in both high and low mode. There are not any signs of a rattle inside the light, and nothing external is loose.

    The next step in the testing involved drops onto asphalt from hip level while stationary. The light was dropped five times while off (and tested each time), and then five times with the light on. The T1 was scratched a bit more during this portion of the testing. The lens is dusty from the bezel chunking up asphalt. It was pretty cool to see the debris kicked up by the light when it was dropped while on. The light switches on and off, and functions in both high and low mode. There are not any signs of a rattle inside the light, and nothing external is loose.

    Next came a series of drops onto concrete while walking at a fast pace. The light was dropped five times while off (and tested each time), and then five times with the light on. The light activated on the last of the five drops, turning itself on. The light also switched to low on one of the drops while it was on, as the body had rotated very slightly. The T1 was very heavily scratched during this portion of the testing. The bezel took a few divots out of the concrete on more than one occasion. The switch is acting up at this point. It does not turn on and off with each click of the button. It is taking a few extra clicks to move from one state to another. There are not any signs of a rattle inside the light, and nothing external is loose.

    Next came a series of drops onto asphalt while walking at a fast pace. The light was dropped five times while off (and tested each time), and then five times with the light on. The light activated on two of the five drops, turning itself on. The light also switched off a few times from the on position. Again, the T1 was very heavily scratched. The bezel took a few divots out of the asphalt when it hit. The switch is really acting up at this point. It does not turn on and off with each click of the button. It is taking a few extra clicks to move from one state to another. There are not any signs of a rattle inside the light, and nothing external is loose.

    Next came a series of drops onto concrete while running. This causes the light to skid for several feet, rolling and tumbling end over end. The light was dropped five times while off (and tested each time), and then five times with the light on. The light activated on three of the five drops, turning itself on. It was difficult to switch the light off on a few occasions. The light switched to low on one of the drops while it was on, and turned off twice. Again, it took several clicks to get the light back on. The T1 was scratched and beat up during this portion of the testing. Again, the bezel took divots out of the concrete. The tail is missing a portion of one of the teeth. The switch is really a problem to actuate now. It does not turn on and off with each click of the button. It is taking a several clicks to move from one state to another, and it is very random. There are not any signs of a rattle inside the light, and nothing external is loose.

    Next came a series of drops onto asphalt while running. This causes the light to skid for several feet, rolling and tumbling end over end. The light was dropped five times while off (and tested each time), and then five times with the light on. The light activated on one of the five drops, turning itself on. Again, it was difficult to switch the light off or on. The light turned off twice, and was very hard to get switched back on. The T1 is really showing signs of wear and tear. Again, the bezel took divots out of the asphalt. Despite all of this, there are not any signs of a rattle inside the light, and nothing external is loose.

    I am actually amazed that the light is still functioning. The sound of it hitting asphalt and concrete is something that I hope that I never hear on any of my own lights. If this wasn't a torture test, I would actually describe the sound as sickening. The weight of the T1 really adds to the force of the impacts, and seeing the light remain on after such a drop surprised me each time. When the light turned off during a drop, I assumed that it was dead. But a few clicks of the tail switch restored the light. The anode end of the battery closest to the head is actually a bit compressed from some of the drops.

    Appearance aside, the T1 is performing like a champ with the exception of the on/off switching. The switch from high to low is fully functional, and has not been affected. It appears that the only weak link of the T1 is the tactical switch. I do not own a single light that could handle the abuse that the T1 has been through so far. But, I am not finished yet...the T1 is still producing light.









    It is very evident that the T1 was made for extreme duty. So I am going to have to step up the level of brutality. Stay tuned, things could start to get ugly.
    Last edited by datiLED; 12-20-2007 at 09:54 AM. Reason: added pictures
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    Flashaholic* V8TOYTRUCK's Avatar
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Thanks for the review..I too am very impressed by the beam of the T1

    Just enough throw and just enough spill.

    Honestly. I would expect more reliability though. I've dropped incandescents before multiple times on concrete. I found a Streamlight Polystinger in an AC duct at my old job. Tossed it in the air about 20' and it survived. The lens was cracked. But it still lit up!

    I wonder how a Surefire would do under the same test...hmmmm

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    Flashaholic* datiLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by V8TOYTRUCK View Post
    Thanks for the review..I too am very impressed by the beam of the T1

    Just enough throw and just enough spill.

    Honestly. I would expect more reliability though. I've dropped incandescents before multiple times on concrete. I found a Streamlight Polystinger in an AC duct at my old job. Tossed it in the air about 20' and it survived. The lens was cracked. But it still lit up!

    I wonder how a Surefire would do under the same test...hmmmm
    You do understand that this has been dropped over 80 times, right? (I forgot to list some of the carpet drops. ) The T1 is damaging the concrete and asphalt on some of the drops.

    Personally, I am surprised that it is still working. I can say without reservation that I do not own a single light that could survive the tests so far.
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    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    The switches seem to be the weak point on most lights. There are stories posted here of Surefires falling, ONCE, landing on the tail switch, and the tail switch is shattered. The T1 may suffer the same fate if it falls on something that smashes into the tailcap.

    The next step is for some of these manufacturers to come up with a tougher switch design.

    The T1's switch looks identical to the switch in the Dereelighs. I have some extra Dereelight switches and I have opened on up before. It's full of very small parts and multiple small springs. I would think if the switch took a good shot any of these little parts could get smushed and then not work as reliably.

    The results so far are impressive. Keep beating on that light.
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by datiLED View Post
    You do understand that this has been dropped over 80 times, right? (I forgot to list some of the carpet drops. ) The T1 is damaging the concrete and asphalt on some of the drops.
    Gotta catch up, dati, I've logged over 400 drops by now!

    I'm on the second switch, BTW. It also started acting up after around 25 drops onto concrete.

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    Flashaholic* V8TOYTRUCK's Avatar
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Yup...I realize that you abused the crap out that light...thanks!

    Since the switch is the only moving part I could see how that could be a weak point. If it was a twisty or a body mounted switch things might have been different. Looks like the tailguard that people don't really like that much did a good job of protecting the switch for a while.

    also...what I noticed is the T1 is one of the slickest lights I've ever held. The knurling is worthless!

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    Flashaholic* Essexman's Avatar
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Nice job well done Dati.

    So what are you going to do next?

    I've got a T1 on it's way from David, testing will start in the new year........

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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    A more extreme torture test...

    The next phase of torture testing involved alternately dropping the light head first, and tail first onto industrial carpeting from a height of about 8 feet. (Standing flat on my feet, arm extended). I know that I had initially said that I would be doing the drops from hip level, but this light feels so solid, that I believe it is up for the challenge. The first ten drops were with the light off. During one of the drops (tail first), the light flashed momentarily. The next ten drops were with the light on. The light flickered twice (tail first). I believe that this was the battery losing contact momentarily. There are not any outward signs of damage other than listed in the previous torture testing. The switch is still a problem to actuate. It does not turn on and off with each click of the button, and takes several clicks to turn it either on, or off. There are not any signs of a rattle inside the light, and nothing external is loose.

    Now outside, on concrete, alternately dropping the light head first, and tail first onto concrete from a height of about 8 feet. The first ten drops were with the light off. During three of the five of the drops (tail first), the light flashed momentarily, and twice turned on. The next ten drops were with the light on. The light flickered once and shut off twice (tail first). I believe that this was the battery losing contact momentarily, and then another glitch in the switch that is hounding the light now. The light shut off once during the head first drops. More damage is becoming apparent. There is a very slight deformation to the bezel, and the tail is losing material and folding over a little. The switch is very glitchy now, but will stay on or off once the switching is actually accomplished. There are not any signs of a rattle inside the light, and nothing external is loose, though I did have to tighten the steel bezel about 1/4 turn. It is not held in with LocTite.

    The testing on the asphalt was very similar to the concrete. The steel bezel gouges the asphalt when it hits at the right angle, and the steel is holding up quite well considering the weight of the T1. I did have to tighten the bezel once during testing. The tail of the light is really showing signs of the impacts. The metal is chipping off the edges, and one of the teeth is curling in toward the button. The switch is becoming more glitchy as the testing progresses. I would have to say that the switch is the only weak point of this light. I can't believe that this light is even functioning at all at this point. Consider me impressed.

    BTW, one battery is now destroyed from the impact testing. The anode end has caved in to the point where it will not make contact with the driver board. I am going to dispose of it in the dumpster behind the office to avoid any potential issues.
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by datiLED View Post
    BTW, one battery is now destroyed from the impact testing. The anode end has caved in to the point where it will not make contact with the driver board. I am going to dispose of it in the dumpster behind the office to avoid any potential issues.
    You sure throw it into a fireplace isn't a better way to dispose lithium cells?

    I think you mean cathode?

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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by WadeF View Post
    The switches seem to be the weak point on most lights. There are stories posted here of Surefires falling, ONCE, landing on the tail switch, and the tail switch is shattered. The T1 may suffer the same fate if it falls on something that smashes into the tailcap.

    The next step is for some of these manufacturers to come up with a tougher switch design.

    The T1's switch looks identical to the switch in the Dereelighs. I have some extra Dereelight switches and I have opened on up before. It's full of very small parts and multiple small springs. I would think if the switch took a good shot any of these little parts could get smushed and then not work as reliably.

    The results so far are impressive. Keep beating on that light.
    DatiLED...Great information and tests. I like them because these are the things that I could realisticly happening to the light. (hopefully not that many times though )

    WadeF... I never thought about the scalops protecting the switch in a fall. I thought they were put in just to help the light tail stand, but they do protect the switch...the weakest part of any light. I am happy to modify my shooting technique just a little bit to accomidate the scalops now.

    What a great light....especially for $68. I would love to see someone with a G2L do the same test, and see how the G2L holds up. (maybe it would be totally fine....maybe the switch would fail etc on the 10th drop. It would be neat to find out though.

    Again DatiLED, thanks for your hard work and great ideas for a torture test.
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by woodrow View Post
    I am happy to modify my shooting technique just a little bit to accomidate the scalops now.
    Not me! I don't have the fine motor skills to operate the switch with gloved hands and numb fingers under "normal" circumstances. I wouldn't rely on working around the switch flares under stress...


    Yeah, those flares do protect the switch somewhat, but after a while they do get squished.

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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    After finding that the bezel did not have any LocTite on it, I decided to skip the submersion testing. It didn't seem fair, as I had compromised the threads by dropping the light many times without realizing that the bezel was a little loose.

    I did some more drop tests on hard surfaces, and the light suffered little additional damage, with the exception of the tail. It has now begun to "taco". The testing destroyed yet another battery due to the severity of the impacts. Yet, the light is still working (with the exception of the problematic switch). Amazing.

    I read that David 4sevens and greenLED had thrown their lights against a concrete wall, and that was something that I needed to try. I tossed the light several times against a concrete wall, and let the light fall to the concrete driveway below. On about the 5th or 6th toss, I could not get the light to turn on. No problem...it must be the switch. Another few tosses, and I managed to shatter the glass window. Ouch. I tested the light with fresh batteries, and jumpered the body to the battery. No light. The T1 is officially dead. Bummer, I was having fun with this.

    Reality check. This was forceful, purposeful destruction of a well made light. I can only think of one or two other lights that could possibly survive the abuse that I put this light through (and neither of them are a SureFire). I began these tests with an open mind, but was skeptical that a Fenix light was up to such demanding and cruel trials. I stand corrected, and am amazed at the punishment that the T1 withstood before giving up the ghost. The T1 deserves the name Tank.













    The next phase of testing will now be the autopsy. I would like to know why this light has stopped working. The LED does not appear to be damaged, so it is quite possible that a component has been dislodged from the board. The battery was slamming the driver board with such force that it flattened the nipple to where it became unusable. This happened with two sets of batteries. More information (and possibly pictures) coming at a later date.


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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing



    Amazing. Thanks for the great info!


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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Tank killer! You murdered it! Thanks for the fun review. Please don't do this to any lights I send you.
    Too many lights! Stop me!

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    Flashaholic* datiLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by da.gee View Post
    Tank killer! You murdered it! Thanks for the fun review. Please don't do this to any lights I send you.
    No worries! I have all of my aggression out at this point.

    I wish that there was a way to share with everyone the sound of this light hitting asphalt and concrete. It sounded like a solid chunk of metal hitting, instead of a flashlight. I mentioned it before, and it bears repeating. I would hate for any of my lights to hit concrete once in the manner that the T1 has dozens of times. I do not currently own a single light that could have lasted past round one. Most lights would have died on the industrial carpeting test. (Thin, cheap carpeting applied directly over concrete, without padding.)
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by da.gee View Post
    Tank killer! You murdered it!
    Yeah, what he said!! You should be



    Actually, I managed to kill my T1 a few minutes ago. I tried a new switch, different batteries, etc. - it's dead... at least until I figure out what's wrong and try to fix it.

    I haven't been able to break the window, though. Which means... the testing is not over!

    Interestingly enough, the bezel on my T1 was loctited, but this morning it came lose - must've been from all the impacts. I don't have my notes handy, but it's well over 400 drops on concrete...

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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    If it was an electrical component that broke off, then wouldn't potting the board make it much tougher?

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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Fantastic Dati and Green , you guys are having fun while I'm still waiting for my test unit to get here (Monday maybee). Inspired by your dedication to the job at hand I'm now thinking of playing beach cricket (a favourite Australian Xmas time sport) with "mine" if it survives the electronic torture.
    P.S. my wife vetoed the kitchen microwave test.

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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Gunner, I don't know what's broke in "my" T1. I've cleaned the threads, bypassed the switch, you know, the usual suspects. The battery tube was stuck to the head but I managed to get it off a few minutes ago. I'm thinking I might've compressed the (+) contact pad on the board (somehow, I'm not even sure how that would happen. So, what I'll do next is rig a couple of batteries together and bypass the entire battery tube and see if the thing lights up putting power directly to the (+) contact and the threads or the "high" ring on the board. If the light doesn't power up, then I'll know something else might've broken internally.

    Gunner, yes, potting the electronics help increase the impact resistance of a light. I have no clue if the T1's pill is encased in potting resin, though.

    1 what - sorry to hear about the microwave.

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    Flashaholic* MarNav1's Avatar
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    I'll donate an old G2 if somebody else will donate a P60L for testing and/or destruction. I don't have a P60L to donate.
    Reality is usually scoffed at and illusion is usually king. But in the battle for survival of western civilization it will be reality and not illusion or delusion that determines what the future will bring.

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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    anybody willing to do the same "test" to one of the SF line if they offer one



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    Flashaholic* datiLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by nanotech17 View Post
    anybody willing to do the same "test" to one of the SF line if they offer one
    Absolutely.

    But I doubt that there is a Surefire that would make it past the first round of hip level drop tests.
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Wow, that's some beating datiled! I'd love to see how other lights such as Dereelight CL1H and Lumapower M1 fair in identical tests. While what you're doing is extreme, the heft of the light may not have anything to do with its ability to withstand the punishment. Many light mfrs use the "drive the car over the light to show it won't crush" test, but in reality, a tubular metal body will not crush under the weight of a car (especially with the tires to take up some of the pressure) as a tubular shape is inherently strong.

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    Flashaholic* datiLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    After carefully removing the circuit board from the deceased Fenix T1, it was clear what caused the light to stop functioning. The inductor has detached from the circuit board on one side. It is clearly visible in this picture.



    With a quick dab of solder, I believe that the light can be brought back to life. For my own curiosity, I will be attempting this surgery soon after Christmas. I will post here if the light functions again with the inductor in place.

    With this finding, I believe that if Fenix would pot the boards in epoxy, the failure rate of the T1 could virtually be eliminated. I am still impressed with the light, and the abuse it was able to withstand before the inductor let loose. This light may be up for even more torture testing, soon.
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    I've tested two streamlights and they've survived multiple drops from 5+ stories of drop.

    In my opinion, the Streamlight 4AA Luxeon is just as tough, if not tougher.
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=117570

    The 3C, not so, but with more mass, it's inevitable. Since the point of impact does not get larger with increasing mass, the point of impact is going to suffer more damage, greater the mass.
    Last edited by Handlobraesing; 12-24-2007 at 12:21 PM.

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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Fenix wouldn't need to pot it. A decently thick layer of conformal coat would be enough to protect the electronics from that level of shock.

  27. #27

    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by datiLED View Post
    Absolutely.

    But I doubt that there is a Surefire that would make it past the first round of hip level drop tests.

    I love this sort of unsubstantiated talk - my 6PL fell off a 7 foot shelf the other night and took a chunk out of the concrete floor. It only took a scratch to the annodizing.

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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Also keep in mind SF uses 7075 as the aluminum base metal while virtually all other brands (with a few exceptions) use 6061. 7075 has a much higher tensile and yield strength and is tougher overall (harder to machine also). A good point PK made when he attended an LA meet is that the hardest anodizing won't do squat if the aluminum beneath it deforms. I'd still like to see Dereelight CL1H or Lumapower M1 go thru the same torture tests. I recall someone put a Fenix P3D thru some tests and it came out fine (albeit, not as tough as these tests). I searched thru the for sale pages to try to find a cheap used CL1H or M1 to purchase and send to datiLED for identical testing, but couldn't find any right now. Oh well...Merry Christmas all!

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    Flashaholic* datiLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Handlobraesing View Post
    I've tested two streamlights and they've survived multiple drops from 5+ stories of drop.

    In my opinion, the Streamlight 4AA Luxeon is just as tough, if not tougher.
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=117570

    The 3C, not so, but with more mass, it's inevitable. Since the point of impact does not get larger with increasing mass, the point of impact is going to suffer more damage, greater the mass.
    If they can survive about 80 drops from 8' on the head and tail, then we can talk. This is after countless drops from hip level while stationary, walking and running.

    Remember, the drops weren't what killed the light. The killing blow was three to five throws into a concrete wall, and the bounce onto the concrete below. Throws, not tosses.
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    Default Re: datiLED's Fenix T1 Abuse Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercaptan View Post
    I love this sort of unsubstantiated talk - my 6PL fell off a 7 foot shelf the other night and took a chunk out of the concrete floor. It only took a scratch to the annodizing.
    One drop is a good start. Keep it up, and let me know how it is doing when you get to 50 or 100.
    Until further notice, I am not accepting new mod requests.

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