Reviewer's note: the Regalight EDC was purchased through Regalight's manufacturer's thread on CPFMP.
UPDATE 03/23/09: It is unclear if Regal is still in business or not, but the EDC has begun to appear on the discount deal sites. I have purchased one of these from DX, and have added to the results below. Be advised that specifications and actual products on the deal sites can vary considerably from batch to batch, so no claim for consistency or authenticity can be verified. For a quick summary of all the results, scroll down to post #13.
Manufacturer's claimed specs:
- High-efficiency Infinitely Variable Digitally-controlled Brightness System;
- CREE Q5 WC high efficiency LED, high output at 200 lumens;
- Extra long runtime for 100 hours;
- Tactical forward clicky switch;
- Metal reflector;
- Low battery power signal:
- Impact-resistant optical lens with TT-Coating technique;
- Military grade aluminum alloy, very strong;
- Durable Type III hard anodized finish;
- Total length:10.6cm; Bezel Diameter: 3.1cm; Body Diameter: 2cm;
- Meets American MIL-STD-810F resist compression test;
- IPX-8 waterproof standard;
- Optional Accessory (sold separately): Hawk snipe lamp bezel - can provide distant tactical lighting which exceeds 200 meters.
The EDC marks Regalight's return to the flashlight stage, following the successful launch of their 2-stage multi-power WT-1 "wrestler" over a year ago (see my WT-1 review for more info).
The EDC is a continuously-variable 1xAA light with two exchangeable heads - one with fairly decent throw, and one large enough to potentially rival the throwiest lights out there. Whether it can (or should) be driven at levels to reach that ambitious goal is something I will discuss later in the review.
First thing's first - here's what you get in the package:
The light comes in a good quality hard case with magnetic closing clasp. The light with standard bezel comes well packaged in cut-out foam, with manual, good quality belt pouch (fits standard bezel, room for an extra battery), extra o-rings and (originally) an extra tailcap switch. Also shown above is the original pill that came with my light (more on that later ...).
The light also comes with a removable tail-pointing clip, attached by two Torx screws. The Hawk Snipe bezel is an optional heavy-thrower head, included in the original Regalight offer here on CPF. Here is with the standard and Hawk Snipe bezels attached:
Note that the original tailcap switch was shown to be insufficient to handle the current required by the circuit, and would rapidly burn-out on max on Li-ion. A higher quality replacement switch is now shipping on all lights, and was provided free of charge to all original purchasers (new switch shown installed in the pic below, with the original switch is in the bag). The replacement switch looks to be of high quality, and I haven't had any issues with mine.
The other item that needed replacement was the emitter/pill. Fortunately, these can be easily unscrewed and replaced by the user. Again, Regal is now shipping all lights with the revised pill, and a free replacement was sent to all original purchasers (although I understand there have been some issues with getting it to screw down all the way for some - no problems here).
As you can see from the pics above, the light appears to be well-made. All components fit together well on mine, although I find the tailcap screw threads to be a little thin looking. In fact, I would say the body-tube overall feels a little thinner than I would have expected.
The light is very modular, and was clearly designed for easy mod-ability and upgradeability. The standard bezel (OP reflector) and Hawk Snipe (SMO reflector) can be easily exchanged on the head. The light comes with a premium white Cree Q5 emitter. A comparison of the two heads (to matching scale) is shown below:
The anodizing is an even black, although there was a small chip on the base of the bezel of my Hawk Snipe head. Lettering is clear and sharp, although I find the 3D-effect of the EDC label a little peculiar.
The revised tailcap is a forward clicky, and the light cannot tailstand. All features of the light are accessed through the clicky.
UPDATE 03/23/09: The sample obtained from DX appears to be identical in build to original EDC in every way, except for the SP logo below the bezel. The components are all interchangeable between the two units (e.g. I was able to mount the Hawk Bezel on the DX Regal EDC). In the pics below, the original/revised EDC is on the left and the DX Regal EDC is on the right.
Unfortunately, the UI is a little wonky, and poorly described in the manual, so I will explain it in some detail here.
Although the light can function in tactical momentary-on mode (thanks to the forward clicky), you have to be careful how long you leave it off before re-activating the light. Basically, if you flash or click the light off and back on within 2 secs, you will switch into high-frequency "tactical" strobe. To switch back to regular output, turn off and back on again within 2 secs.
If you turn off and click back on again between 2 and 4 secs, the light will enter into its ramping sequence - going from min to max with flashes at 50% and 100% - in an endless loop. To select the output you want, click the the light off and then click back on again.
The light has a memory mode, so it will retain this output setting until you activate another ramping sequence.
There is also a stand-by mode that flashes once every 5 secs (ostensibly to help you find the light in the dark). To access, enter the strobe mode by only soft-pressing on the clicky (i.e. soft-press on, release, soft-press on again within 2 secs and hold). Release to turn off the light while in strobe, and then click-on again after a 2 sec wait. To exit stand-by, simple click-off. Next time to click again, the light will come back on in your set output state.
Basically, what you have is a single selectable output level light, with the option of rapid access to a strobe mode - or more cumbersome access to a ramp or stand-by modes.
Personally, I find this limiting in actual usage and not at all intuitive. A couple of set-able output modes (and a couple of quick shortcuts to min/max) would have been better. It is also a bit cumbersome, since after turning your light off, you have to wait ~5 secs or so before trying to turn it back on again, or you will find yourself in strobe (under 2 sec wait), or at the start of the ramp (2-4 sec wait).
Note that the manual erroneously makes it sound like you will always wind up in the ramp for any off-time longer than 2 secs. Ironically, this was an issue with original defective pill, which would indeed occasionally forget how long it was off and started ramping upon first use after a long off period. I'm happy to report the revised pill does not suffer from this intermittent fault.
UPDATE 03/23/09: The DX unit has exactly the same interface as the original/revised EDC.
Here's how the EDC compares to some of the other 1xAA competition
Regal EDC with standard bezel: weight 63.6g, length 105mm, width (bezel) 31mm, width (tailcap) 20mm.
Regal EDC with Hawk Snipe bezel: weight 127.2g, length 138mm, width (bezel) 50mm, width (tailcap) 20mm.
For beamshots, below is a comparison of the Regal EDC to well-known 1AA lights. "Regal EDC" refers to the standard bezel. All lights on Eneloops on max, ~0.5 m from a white wall.
As you can see above, even the standard bezel produces a very wide spill beam. In fact, it's spill beam is wider than the Hawk Snipe, which is more focussed for throw. I would say the standard bezel beam pattern is still somewhat ringy, but generally quite good.
Testing Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan. Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1 meter from the lens, using a light meter.
Note: For the sake of the runtime and output comparisons, I've left the original defective circuit results ("Regal EDC Orig") so that you can compare to the revised circuit that is now shipping with the light ("Regal EDC Rev").
Throw/Output Summary Chart:
As you can see, max output of the revised EDC circuit is about half that of the original "defective" circuit on 14500. Max NiMH output levels have also been reduced, although to a much lesser extent.
UPDATE: To clarify a point I originally made, the Hawk Snipe head appears to be able to match my Dereelight DBS or Raidfire Spear when driven to the same output level - but I don't know for certain since I can't measure the actual current draw of the defective EDC pill. I'm just basing that observation on the comparable throw values I obtained for of the 3 lights when run at what appear to be roughly comparable output levels as measured in my lightbox or by ceiling bounce. But I don't believe it's appropriate to run a 1x14500 light as the same level as 1x18650 light. In any case, a highly-driven EDC pill is no longer available - you can only get the revised circuit (see later in this review for some additional beamshots and discussion).
UPDATE 03/23/09: The DX version appears to have increased output on both NiMH and 14500. Please see the runtimes for more info. I have included results with the original Hawk Snipe bezel on the new DX Regal EDC body - but I do not know if the Hawk Snipe bezel is still available for sale anywhere.
For the ramp, I haven't bothered testing the original "defective" circuit, since it is no longer available. I usually only do 14500-based ramps for my comparisons, but I've added the NiMH ramp for your info.
As you can see, the ramps are fairly linear, and longer than most of the competition. The EDC flashes at 50% and 100% before restarting the ramp sequence.
I have only done a limited number of runtimes, but they should give you the general idea of circuit performance
As you can see, the original "defective" circuit was capable or producing incredibly high output on 14500 - approximately 100 on my relative output scale. However, it suffered from a number of problems, including a circuit short that rapidly drained the battery within a few minutes (not to mention blowing out the original switch, often within seconds). As such, runtimes were not performed at this level.
At ~50% output on the original circuit, runtime was acceptable - but the low voltage warning flash was inappropriately triggered soon into the run. Clearly, the original circuit was defective for Li-ion performance.
The replacement revised circuit, in contrast, is limited to about half the max output of the original "defective" circuit. That makes it one of the lowest max levels for a Q5 light on 14500 in my collection. That being said, it exhibits excellent runtime at this lower max level, with no signs of the low-voltage flash problem.
UPDATE 03/23/09: The DX sample appears to have an improved version of the revised circuit, with greater output on max on 14500. Max output is now consistent with other highly-driven 1AA lights on 14500, including the Fenix L1D, LiteFlux LF5XT and JetBeam Jet-I PRO IBS. Low voltage warning sensor works as expected.
On 50% output, the revised Regal EDC circuit is very impressive. When matched to identical output to my Nitecore Defender Infinity, the EDC runs for over an hour longer.
As you can also see, the malfunctioning low voltage warning has been corrected with the revised circuit - it appropriately only came on for the last 10 mins of the runtime, before the battery protection circuit kicked in.
On NiMH on max, the original circuit was as bright as any other Q5 1AA light in my collection. The revised circuit's max is less, but still respectable (and with respectable runtime).
UPDATE 03/23/09:The DX sample appears to also have greater output on max NiMH, similar to the original circuit. This makes it one of the brightest lights on 1xNiMH in my collection - on par with the NiteCore Defender Infinity.
Now that's impressive - like on 14500, the revised EDC pill has extraordinarily good runtime on ~50% output on NiMH. And not only is runtime at this level better than any of my other continuously-variable lights, it nearly matches the current-controlled Fenix L1D!
Note also that the 50% flash level now accurately represents ~50% output on both 14500 and NiMH. The original circuit's 50% flash appeared to be based on the much brighter original 14500 performance only.
Here are some outdoor shots comparing the DBS V2 with DI-R2 pill to the revised Regal EDC circuit on 14500:
What you are looking at is the corner of my yard, about 25-30 feet from the lights at the center beam. With the revised EDC circuit, max output is about half that of the DBS. But the spillbeam of the EDC is a good two feet wider than the DBS at these distances (might be hard for you to see, depending on your monitor settings).
The original shipping version had a number of issues, including a defective circuit with a short causing rapid draining of 14500 on max, premature low voltage flash, malfunctioning memory mode that repeatedly triggered a ramp, and a tailcap switch that couldn't handle the current levels.
These problems were resolved with the free replacement emitter/pill and tailcap switch - although max output of the revised pill is less than expected.
Unfortunately, the UI has not been improved from the original circuit, and is cumbersome and non intuitive, IMO.
Not really an issue per se, but max output of the revised Regal EDC is among the lowest of the 1xAA/1x14500 lights in my collection.
Let's get right down to the source of the issue for many: the revised EDC circuit has greatly reduced max output on 14500, and no longer appears to meet the specs promised by Regal (i.e. >1A current draw).
On 14500, the original circuit produced a dangerously high max output. In contrast, the revised circuit is about half as bright. That means the revised Regal EDC has one of lowest max outputs on 14500 of any light in my collection (although it is not that much less than the NDI, for example).
Mind you, I think the original projections for this light were unrealistic. A >1A current draw is not a good idea on a single low-capacity protected RCR/14500. That could easily give rise to a >3C discharge rate (i.e. depletes the battery in under 20 mins), which is NOT recommended for Li-ion.
Interesting, I note that JetBeam's original IBS-based 1xAA light - the Jet-I MK IBS - was screamingly bright on 14500, but at the cost of short runtime and high heat. With the advent of the V2 IBS circuit (i.e. Jet-I PRO IBS), JetBeam reduced the max output on Li-ion to safer levels. A sensible precaution, IMO. The problem in this case is that Regal seems to have gone a bit too far, and reduced the output to the point of producing the lowest max output of any 14500-enabled light in my collection.
On the positive side, runtime efficiency appears to be remarkably good on this new circuit - on both 14500 and NiMH. I have only done low runtimes for ~50% output so far, but the Regal EDC is the best performing continuously-variable 1xAA/14500 light at this output level. In fact, on NiMH it is actually pretty close to the current-controlled output/runtime efficiency king, the Fenix L1D!
I realize it's hard to get past the fact that the new light is not driven as hard on max as originally promised. But if you are more of a runtime efficiency freak, then there's a lot to like about this new circuit's performance.
I just wish they would replace the UI with something more versatile. The UI of just about any of the other continuously-variable lights would be good . Oh, and an optional 2xAA battery tube would be nice too.
Bottom line, this light has a lot of potential. With a revised UI and a tweak to the circuit to increase max output 14500 a little further, I think Regal would have a winner on its hands.
UPDATE 03/23/09: The DX sample of this light appears to have an improved version of the revised EDC circuit, with higher max output on both 14500 and NiMH. Frankly, I believe this is much closer to the circuit Regal originally promised. I haven't done lower mode runtimes, but based on these results so far, it looks like overall efficiency remains excellent. User interface is unfortunately not changed. Note that I have no way to ascertain any claims as to authenticity or consistency of the samples offered by the deal sites, and remind everyone that caveat emptor applies.