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Thread: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

  1. #1

    Cool Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Reviewer's Note: The Olight M30 Triton was provided by MattK at batteryjunction.com and Olight.

    Warning: very pic heavy, as always

    The Olight M30 Triton is the latest Cree MC-E light to cross my review desk.



    Specs (from the manufacturer):
    • Cree MC-E LED
    • Max 700 lumens on Hi, 1.5 hours
    • Medium Mode 120 lumens, 7.5hours,
    • Low Mode 8 lumens, 90hours
    • Strobe 700 lumens, 1.5hours
    • Side switch on tail cap for direct access to strobe from power-off and changing modes from power-on
    • Front & Rear removable strike bezel
    • Full orange peel reflector
    • Rugged aluminum body with type III hard anodization
    • Water resistant to IP68
    • Shatter-resistant ultra clear lens, anti-scratching and anti-slip
    • Built-in stainless steel pocket clip
    • Battery Options in 3 Cell config: 3xCR123A/RCR123A batteries or 2x18500 li-Ion.
    • Battery Options in 4 Cell config w/included extender tube: 4xCR123A or 2x 18650 Li-ion
    • Dimension 43.5mm/1.71"(D) X 176.9mm/6.96"(L)
    • Dimension with extender tube 43.5mm/1.71"(D) X 210.9mm/8.3"(L)
    • Weight: 165.2g/5.83oz (excludes battery)






    Unlike most of the competition, the M30 Triton comes in a presentation-style case with a lot of extras. Inside the plastic carrying case, you will find cut-out foam that securely holds the light, battery extender tube, 3xCR123A battery holder, leather belt holster, and instruction manual. No extra o-rings or wrist-strap was included on my sample.





    With battery extender in place:



    The overall shape and design is similar to other Olight military-series lights. Rather than traditional knurling, the M30 has a raised checkered pattern to help with grip (not as raised as the Tiablo ACE-G). The M30 comes with black finish type-III hard anodizing. I typically find Olight lettering is bright and clear, and the M30 is no exception. Both the bezel opening and tailcap have raised scalloped edges – but unlike the earlier M20, this new M30 can also tailstand.

    Note the attached clip can be removed by unscrewing the retaining ring above it and pulling the clip off.

    Dimensions (no batteries installed):
    Height: 178mm (212mm with battery extender)
    Width: 33.0mm (tailcap), 25.1mm (body tube), 42.9mm (bezel)
    Weight: 164.0g (no extender), 180.8g (with battery extender)



    User interface of the M30 is different from other Olights (see below for a discussion). Main activation is controlled by a forward clicky tailcap switch that has a good feel. Even with the raised and flared tailcap edges, I find it easy to access. The innovation of the M30 is the secondary switch on the side of the tailcap (again, see below).



    Screw thread action is smooth on all sections, with each component fitting well (note the double o-rings everywhere). My sample seems to have little or no lube, so you may want to add some to increase water resistance. The tailcap switch contact spring has a brass cover over it, but it still retains its spring action.

    Unfortunately, the screw threads are not anodized, so there is no tailcap lockout possible.

    The included 3xCR123A/RCR battery holder is optional – you don’t need to use it in this configuration, but it does remove battery rattle if you choose to. The bore width of the body tube is wide enough to accommodate protected 18500/18650, so thinner CR123A cells are prone to some rattle. At the very least, it makes a good storage holder for an extra set of cells.



    Note the spring in the head, in addition to spring in the tailcap.




    The M30 has a surprisingly small head for a MC-E light, with a shallow reflector with heavy orange peel finish. The M30 is clearly designed to be more of flood-style light than a dedicated thrower, but that is common for MC-E/P7-based lights.




    So far, this is probably the most compact and lightest MC-E light I’ve come across. In the basic 3xCR123A configuration, this light isn’t that much larger than a number of dual-cell lights. But it still feels well made and substantial enough in the hand – I can see it being popular with those looking for a light cannon that doesn’t resemble an actual cannon.

    Here's how it compares to the competition (with and without battery extenders in place):


    (from left to right, AW 18650 protected battery, Olight M30 Triton, JetBeam M1X, Tiablo ACE-G, Lumapower MVP TurboForce P7).

    UPDATE: Here's a bezel shot to better allow you to compare the heads:




    User Interface:

    As mentioned above, the M30 features a revised user interface controlled by the primary and secondary tailcap buttons. Press the main tailcap switch for momentary mode, click for lock-on. To change the output mode, press and release the secondary switch (sequence is Lo – Med – Hi – 13Hz Tactical Strobe, in repeating sequence). Interestingly, the light can go directly to strobe from off by pressing and holding the secondary switch. Light has a memory mode to retain the last setting when switching off by the main tailcap switch.

    Although not immediately intuitive, this arrangement works well enough when you get used to it. But note that the secondary switch doesn’t have much tactile feedback, and doesn’t protrude very much from the curve of the tailcap, to prevent accidental activation (I found myself groping around for it on occasion). This will likely make it hard to use if wearing gloves, but at least you aren’t likely to accidentally strobe your loved ones in the middle of the night.

    Like the MC-E-based JetBeam M1X, the M30 uses a base configuration of 3xCR123A/RCR or 2x18500 Li-ion, with a battery extender to allow 4xCR123A or 2x18650 Li-ion (note 4xRCR is not supported). This is a sensible design in my mind, as 2xCR123A/RCR builds typically can’t offer full power or full runtime for long (and most don’t support 1x18650 – a notable exception being the Tiablo ACE-G).

    Aside from the lack of tailcap lockout, my main disappointment thus far with the M30 is the visible pulse-width modulation (PWM). Typically, Olight lights featured highly efficient current-controlled low levels. The M30 is a departure from this tradition, as it uses PWM - and at a very noticeable frequency of 104/103Hz on the Lo/Med modes.

    The PWM issue is actually a bit more complicated on this light - it uses PWM on the Hi mode as well. This is relatively rare, since most lights set the max output at full power. In this case, you are unlikely to notice it - it doesn’t produce a noticeable perceptual flicker because the ON state lasts for the vast majority of the cycle. I don’t want the technical details to distract from the main review, so I’ve posted a more through evaluation of the PWM issue in post #2.

    Strobe is indeed at a “tactical” (and highly annoying! ) 13 hz.

    Comparison Beamshots

    All lights are on Max on 2x18650 AW protected Li-ion. Distance is about 0.5 meters from a white wall.






    Here’s how it looks with the diffuser on:


    And a few side shots with and without diffuser:



    As you can see, the M30 has a fairly typical wide MC-E spillbeam profile (although triangulated somewhat by the removable scalloped bezel ring). Throw is respectable for this class (in comparison, the M1X is a dedicated thrower). Like most MC-E lights, the M30 does have a detectable “donut” hole in the centre beam at greater distances and the “crosshair” pattern up close, but it is not as bad as some. So far, only the Tiablo ACE-G seems to have virtually eliminated this pattern, but the M30 is not overly obtrusive.

    Here are some outdoor shots focused on a point ~30 feet from the lights.








    I'm particularly impressed by how well the diffuser spreads out the beam to true flood.

    And here are some lower exposures to better show you the hotspots:







    Overall output of the M30 is similar to the JetBeam M1X and revised Tiablo ACE-G (which are in turn brighter than the earlier Lumapower MVP offerings). Beam profile most closely matches the ACE-G, but without as much of a reduction in standard MC-E donut hole effect. The M30 also has the least throw of four lights shown above, but is still quite respectable.

    UPDATE: Some additional long-distance beamshots, to show you how the light compares to others in its class.

    Please see my recent 100-yard Outdoor Beamshot review for more details (and additional lights).








    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 5 meters from the lens, using a light meter, and then extrapolated back to estimate values for 1 meter. This will be my standard way to present throw on these types of lights from now on. The beams don't really have a chance to fully converge until typically several meters out

    Some of the MC-E-based lights take a couple of minutes to settle into their regulated output state (i.e. their initial output is higher, but not for long). As such, all my output and throw numbers are taken after 2 mins of continuous runtime (on 2x18650 AW Protected cells).

    Throw/Output Summary Chart:

    Note that Tiablo has issued a revised ACE-G circuit/pill with much greater output than the pre-production sample I originally reviewed. This shipping version brings the ACE-G in line with the M1X and M30 for overall output. Please see my updated ACE-G/A10-G review for more info.



    The ceiling bounce and lightbox tests confirm what the beamshots showed – that the Olight M30, JetBeam M1X, and recently revised Tiablo ACE-G all have roughly equivalent max output (although the M30 has technically a slight edge on my ceiling bounce). Consistent with the smaller and shallower reflector, throw on the M30 is lowest of the class – but still quite respectable.

    Output/Runtime Comparison

    I’ve identified the output levels for the Med/Lo on the runtime chart below. They are both a bit lower than typical for this class of light (although may suit your personal preference).



    I don’t generally do 4xCR123A tests, but results on the other battery sources match my expectations. Note my 3xRCR runtimes are likely on the low side – I suspect all the recent high drain runs on these cells have reduced their charge-storing capacity.

    UPDATE 06/08/09: I've just updated the graphs with 4xCR123A runtimes for all lights that support this configuration. Also included are some recent additions to the multi-emitter class that I have recently reviewed.





    The M30 puts out an impressive amount of light on Max – equivalent to the single-stage Tiablo ACE-G (with revised shipping circuit).

    On Med, the 2x18650 battery tests are consistent with Olight's published specs, although it is less than I would have expected for the output level (i.e. runtime is much less than some of the competition at this level).




    No real surprises here: on 3-cell configurations, Max performance is close to the M1X.



    The efficiency of the Med performance of the M30 (which is equivalent to the Lo of Lumapower lights) is definitely lower than the competition. As you can see above, the M30 runtime is much less than the M1X when matched for output, which is a bit disappointing given the defined output levels of the M30 (the M1X is continuously variable). I haven't done Lo mode runtimes on the MVP P7, but you can easily see here the benefit that current-control circuitry brings to runtime efficiency by looking at the MVP 3xCree. And note the Lumapower is only on 2xRCR compared the 3xRCR for the M1X and M30.

    As always, there is lot more than just output/runtime efficiency to consider when choosing a light. But typically, I think most users look for greater efficiency in defined-output level lights compared to continuously-variable ones.

    Potential Issues

    Detectable ~100Hz PWM on all output modes, very noticeable on Lo/Med levels.

    Light has the typical M-CE centre-beam "donut" effect, although not as bad as some of the earlier MC-E/P7 lights.

    User interface is unusual and may take some getting used to. You may have difficulty in finding/accessing the secondary switch to change modes when wearing gloves.

    Lo/Med modes are lower than typical for this class of light, and runtime efficiency is lower than the competition that offers matching output.

    Preliminary Observations

    The Olight M30 Triton has a very nice build and presentation package, IMO. With all the new M-CE “searchlights” coming out, I’ve been a bit disappointed to see the somewhat standard set of extras most manufacturers are bundling with them (i.e. standard shipping box, thin wrist lanyard, etc.) Given the size of most of these lights, you are going to want a better way to carry it around with you. The M30 carrying case is exactly the kind of thing I would like to see everyone provide.

    The extras are also particularly welcome – it nice to see the belt loop and well-fitting diffuser tip. Even the optional battery holder is useful for carrying around extra cells. I am happy to commend Olight on their foresight on this issue (although extra o-rings should probably be standard as well).

    In terms of build, I was (pleasantly) surprised by the relatively small size of the M30. In its base 3xCR123A/RCR build, it is not that much bigger than a number of standard dual-cell lights. Despite the smaller size, construction still feels solid and well-made – I have no doubt this will be another durable offering from Olight. Tailcap screw thread anodizing would be a nice feature, though.

    I haven’t quite made up my mind about the interface. I personally liked the dual twist/click design of the M20, even though it required two hands to switch modes. The M30’s secondary switch means you now can access all features one-handed, but I have found the lack of obvious tactile feel means that I often have to look down at the light to see where the button is (although the flat area on the ring below is actually helpful for guiding your finger to the right spot). The flip-side is don't have to worry about accidentally changing modes too easily. And the light has a memory feature, so it will retain the last setting use (i.e. you could set as a standard single output and not worry about it).

    My only real disappointment with this light is the visible PWM on the Lo/Med modes. I find ~100 Hz to be *very* distracting in actual use, especially at really low levels. It make me feel quite . Honestly, I can’t really see myself using either the Lo or Med mode for this reason, which is very disappointing. I strongly urge Olight to find a way to get that PWM up to a higher frequency that is not visible. (UPDATE: Given the Med mode runtime results, I would also like to see increased output/runtime efficiency for the M30).

    But to put things in perspective, the M30’s output/runtime performance on Hi (where is PWM is not generally noticeable) is very close to the single-stage-only Tiablo ACE-G. The M30 reflector is also very decent for a MC-E light, although still has a bit of the standard MC-E donut (the ACE-G is the best I’ve seen at minimizing this). As always, it comes down to what feature set and design elements you are looking for in a light (e.g. the M30 was primarily designed for tactical use). All lights have trade-offs, and I suggest you compare the features of the M30 to the other MC-E lights I have reviewed recently (I plan to do a round-up review eventually once a few more MC-E lights come in for testing ).

    In the meantime, I can say the M30 is the smallest and lightest of all the recent MC-E lights I have tested, with a quality build in a good package with excellent accessories. Although there are a few oversights (e.g. lack of extra o-rings and lube, no tailcap lock-out), there are also a lot of thoughtful little touches (e.g. the cover retaining ring over the attached clip, included quality diffuser, etc.), along with some unique design elements (e.g. secondary switch) and a range of outputs and an easily-accessed tactical strobe. It is also one of the more attractively priced MC-E offerings in the quality brand-name space, especially considering the bundled extras.

    If Olight could just ramp up the PWM to an undetectable frequency - and increase the output/runtime efficiency on Med - then I think this light could serve well as a jack-of-all-trades.

    UPDATE June 13, 2009: After playing with all my MC-E lights a little more, I have to say the M30 is growing on me. I quite like the smaller form factor in 2x18500/3xCR123A, as it is not that much bigger or bulkier than a standard 2xCR123A. Some of the other MC-E competition can be a bit difficult to carry. And the spacing of the levels is pretty good in actual use, even if their relative runtime performance is less than the competition. I also like the included diffuser. If the PWM on Lo/Med doesn't bother you (and I still personally think that is a big IF), then this is probably one of the better candidates for an everyday duty/carry light in the MC-E class.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 07-21-2010 at 11:10 AM. Reason: typos
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    To follow up on a point I made in the review above, the implementation of PWM is little unusual in the M30.

    To give you an idea visually of what the PWM looks like, here are some freeze-frame photos of the M30 in motion, taken at 1/10sec shutter time. Given the 99-104Hz PWM, you should thus be able to see 10-11 distinct after-images of the main beam:




    Normally in PWM-based lights, max output is run at constant-current (i.e. PWM is only used to reduce output in Lo/Med modes). But for some reason, the M30 still has detectable PWM on Hi – although it is not generally noticeable. Let me show you how it looks, again at 1/10sec exposure:



    At first, it appears that there is no PWM – you see a nice smooth “smear” of the main beam. But if you look closely, you can see the after-image of the outside edge of the light repeated at least ~10 times across the image (if may look like more to you, but that’s because of the overlapping effect of two sides of the bezel). According to my soundcard oscilloscope, PWM on Hi is 99Hz.

    Here are the oscilloscope traces to show you the PWM pattern. Each snapshot is taken at a time scale to show you ~2 pulses. The dashed blue cursor lines are positioned to show you the duration of a single pulse. Note that a negative deflection is an indication when the light is on, a positive deflection is when the light is off.

    Lo mode:


    Med mode:


    Hi mode:


    So why isn’t the PWM noticeable on Hi the way it is on Lo/Med?

    Simply put, it seems to be a perceptual issue with persistence of vision. Measuring the ON/OFF time of each cycle in the above tests, the Lo mode is only in the ON state ~1.5% of each pulse, and the Med modes is ON ~16.5% of the time. In contrast, the Hi mode is ON ~92% of the time. So despite the low PWM frequency, it seems the very high ON time makes it appear to be roughly constant output on Hi. In practical terms, it is thus very hard to notice the PWM on Hi – but it is detectably there.

    FYI, this is why all the videos you will see of the M30 in action have a noticeable “flickering” effect, even on Hi. You do not see this in real life, but the low frame-per-sec capture of video is very susceptible to such low frequency PWM. As I say, this is not an issue for actual use - it is really only a problem for shutterbugs (or reviewers )

    However, the PWM on Lo/Med is much more problematic, as it is very noticeable. Note as well that it means that still photos of the beam (especially on Lo) cannot be fully trusted to show overall output. Depending on camera settings (especially shutter speed), you may not be ale to completely integrate all the light.

    UPDATE: Scroll down to my post in #14 to see an update on the source of this issue.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 05-13-2009 at 01:09 PM.
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  3. #3
    Flashaholic Sharpy_swe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Excellent review as always!

    I've got more flashlights than I need, but still wants more...and then a few more

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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Great review, as always. This looks a neat, compact light, with good output. A pity about the PWM being so noticeable. Maybe (let's hope) they'll deal with that in later versions.

    Moving to the Reviews forum.
    Resistance is futile...

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* MattK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Awesome job as always!

    I'd love to see 4 x CR123A runtime plots if you can find the time.
    Last edited by MattK; 05-13-2009 at 07:53 AM.

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* easilyled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Excellent review.

    Why on earth was it contrived to have "92% ON" PWM on high, instead of
    just reducing the current to the led by 8% and having no PWM at all on high?
    In layman's terms, "theory" means an idea. However "scientific theory" is fact because it requires proof.

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    Flashaholic* MattK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    I suspect it's because of the vast swing between min and max outputs. Constant current regulators are not capable of such wide input voltage and current output variance.

  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* easilyled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by MattK View Post
    I suspect it's because of the vast swing between min and max outputs. Constant current regulators are not capable of such wide input voltage and current output variance.
    Matt, I'm only referring to the PWM on the high setting. Seems strange to have PWM with a 92% ON cycle here.

    This implies that the full current supplied to the led has been dampened down by 8% using PWM on this level.

    Why not just supply 8% less current on high instead and have no PWM for this level?

    There could still be the PWM on low and medium modes.

    selfbuilt remarked that in lights using PWM, it was very unusual to see it on the highest level.
    Last edited by easilyled; 05-13-2009 at 08:10 AM.
    In layman's terms, "theory" means an idea. However "scientific theory" is fact because it requires proof.

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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Great review! Thanks Selfbuilt!

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    Flashaholic* SCEMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    As usual Selfbuilt, another definitive review - kudos!

    I came close to buying the M30 but the raised crenallated tailcap, and inclusion of the strobe in the tailswitch mode sequence were dealbreakers for me. And now the PWM makes me glad I waited...

    If subsequent versions offer alternatives (less intrusive tailcap, side-switch-only strobe, reduced PWM) - I'll buy as I love this form factor.
    Last edited by SCEMan; 05-13-2009 at 10:37 AM.

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    HKJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by easilyled View Post
    Why on earth was it contrived to have "92% ON" PWM on high, instead of
    just reducing the current to the led by 8% and having no PWM at all on high?
    There is a very good reason for the PWM being present in all output modes. OLight has the output regulations circuit* in the tail of the light (That was necessary to make the two buttons work), this circuit need some power to work, this power is supplied to the circuit when the PWM is in its off phase.
    This type of design was last seen in the Tiablo A10 light, with the mulitlevel tailcap.

    *This is not the same as the current regulation circuit, that is at the regular place in the head.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Selfbuilt:

    Great review! I especially appreciate the runtime graphs. Thank you!

    Will you also be doing a review of the Eagletac M2/M2X lights?
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    After reading the reports of the PWM issue, I played with my M30 a bit at home. For the life of me, I couldn't notice any flickering at all. I tried everything I could think of, except using a fan as I don't have one. I also couldn't detect any buzzing on any of the levels like I can on my Fenix LD01.

    Are some people just less sensitive to PWM?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    There is a very good reason for the PWM being present in all output modes. OLight has the output regulations circuit* in the tail of the light (That was necessary to make the two buttons work), this circuit need some power to work, this power is supplied to the circuit when the PWM is in its off phase.
    This type of design was last seen in the Tiablo A10 light, with the mulitlevel tailcap.
    Thanks HKJ - as always, you are fount of knowledge when it comes to these circuits!

    Yes, the A10-G was the only other light where I noticed PWM on Max (on the continuously-variable switch). In that case, max output was significantly reduced compared to the single-stage switch. I have gone back to compare, and have measured the ON-cycle as only 78% on the A10-G (explaining it's lower output). PWM is ~123Hz on the A10-G.

    I wasn't sure if the output regulator was in the tailcap of the M30, but what you say makes perfect sense. FYI, like the A10-G's tailcap, you will see a brief flash of light when you first make tailcap contact (immediately in the case of the M30, or after fully tightening past the lock-out on the A10-G). That should have been my tip-off that the regulator is in the tailcap.

    In any case, I don't see the lower output modes having much value for me personally at a PWM of ~100Hz. I really hope they can improve that.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCEMan View Post
    I came close to buying the M30 but the raised crenallated tailcap, and inclusion of the strobe in the tailswitch mode sequence were dealbreakers for me. And now the PWM makes me glad I waited...
    I have to admit I thought the flared tailcap looked a little wonky myself, but I haven't found it a problem in actual use. Part of the issue is the visual proportion compared to the rest of the light - in terms of its actual external dimensions and shape, it is is remarkably similar to the ACE-G tailcap.

    As for UI, my preference would also be to not have strobe as part of the sequence, but I guess that was too difficult to arrange with the tailcap circuit design.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1dash1 View Post
    Great review! I especially appreciate the runtime graphs. Thank you!
    Will you also be doing a review of the Eagletac M2/M2X lights?
    More runtimes to come, currently doing Med mode RCR.

    And yes, Eagletac will be sending me the M2/M2X lights to review. No ETA as yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by fugleebeast View Post
    After reading the reports of the PWM issue, I played with my M30 a bit at home. For the life of me, I couldn't notice any flickering at all. I tried everything I could think of, except using a fan as I don't have one. I also couldn't detect any buzzing on any of the levels like I can on my Fenix LD01. Are some people just less sensitive to PWM?
    Buzzing is typically inductor whine, and can affect all lights (not just PWM). I'm surprised you don't see the PWM effect, as I notice it immediately upon activation. Try waving your hand in front of the beam, with your fingers open.

    When shinning at a fixed point, you aren't likely to notice it much - unless what you are looking at is moving (i.e. an animal, the wind on grass and trees, etc), or you yourself are swinging the beam. I'm curious as to how you find it if you take it for a walk outdoors at night. My cat walked into the beam while testing, and I have to say his white whiskers against black fur looked pretty funny! Think digitized in the Matrix ...

    I had a few non-flashaholics over on the weekend, and they all immediately noticed it when I turned the light on low (one commented on the strobing effect before I could even say anything).
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 05-13-2009 at 01:12 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Well done selfbuilt!How about waterproofness other than the non-lubed o-rings?

  16. #16
    HKJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Thanks HKJ - as always, you are fount of knowledge when it comes to these circuits!
    It is fun to figure out, how these circuits works.


    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    In any case, I don't see the lower output modes having much value for me personally at a PWM of ~100Hz. I really hope they can improve that.
    Do not count on any big change, this kind of design needs a low PWM frequency, the current regulator need time to start.

    BUT by increasing the output in low mode, it might be possible to increase the PWM to a higher frequency, but this might also reduce the high output, because they might have to reduce the 92.3% high.
    It would probably be possible to double the low and the PWM frequency, without decreasing the high (This is just a guess, I have not measured/analyzed with that in mind).

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    As for UI, my preference would also be to not have strobe as part of the sequence, but I guess that was too difficult to arrange with the tailcap circuit design.
    Both buttons is probably just sending a signal to the microprocessor in the tailcap, i.e. any kind of UI could be programmed in that processor.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Thank you for your Superb Review selfbuild.
    Perfect as always.

    after reading your comment and the detailed specification about Olight M30 and JetBeam M1X.

    I came to a conclusion that M30 is not as good as it said, the PWM is also bothersome. and M30 is not a thrower dedicated. But the size is very compact compare to the JB M1X etc.

    I like M30 because the compact size of it. But after I read your review I got confuse which one should I chose.

    Since my seller only have Olight, Jetbeam, Fenix
    can you help me pick which is the best for me between this M30, TK40 or M1X.

    My criteria is:
    1. HI Lumen
    2. Compact
    3. Thrower Type

    If you have other opinion about other torch in mind please tell me so.
    Thanks again for such a superb review.
    Regard's
    Roy.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Hi, selfbuild.
    Sorry, but can you post the reflectors comparison between 4 of them.
    since I cannot compare them directly by measurement.

    Thanks again.

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* easilyled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    There is a very good reason for the PWM being present in all output modes. OLight has the output regulations circuit* in the tail of the light (That was necessary to make the two buttons work), this circuit need some power to work, this power is supplied to the circuit when the PWM is in its off phase.
    This type of design was last seen in the Tiablo A10 light, with the mulitlevel tailcap.

    *This is not the same as the current regulation circuit, that is at the regular place in the head.
    Thanks for explaining this.

    I'm pleased that there is a good reason for this as it shows that quite a lot of thought went into designing this.

    So the low frequency PWM seems to be a sort of trade-off for the way the circuits were designed
    in order to achieve the unique UI in addition to achieving the intended output levels.

    I do notice the PWM, although it doesn't bother me much just for walking around the house (on low or medium)

    Maybe for trekking or camping outdoors, it would be different.

    I have to say that I like the UI. What I like most about it is the simplicity of setting the level with the side button
    and then the fact that this level can be triggered with positive momentary in complete safety with the tailcap.
    ie. its impossible to change the levels with the tailcap no matter how many times or how fast its pushed.
    In layman's terms, "theory" means an idea. However "scientific theory" is fact because it requires proof.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* 1dash1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    HKJ:

    Thanks for your thoughts about the PWM issue.

    So... it boiled down to a choice of either providing a sub-10 lumen low (with potential flickering issues, degree of consumer acceptability unknown) or providing a slightly higher low mode (still with potential flickering problems, albeit greatly diminished).

    Tough call.
    Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka 'Aina I Ka Pono.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* MattK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by zioparr View Post
    Thank you for your Superb Review selfbuild.
    Perfect as always.

    after reading your comment and the detailed specification about Olight M30 and JetBeam M1X.

    I came to a conclusion that M30 is not as good as it said, the PWM is also bothersome. and M30 is not a thrower dedicated. But the size is very compact compare to the JB M1X etc.
    Hi Roy and

    Buyers that have bought/received the M30 have been almost universally delighted. Remember, CPF is the kind of place where sometimes folks look for 'faults' to pick over and analyze. As you can see we have many technical minded folks who delight in analyzing these things and discussing them. It's the nature of CPF - no light has ever been made that was found faultless here

    If you read the reviews and comments discussing the PWM most have said that it's STILL a fantastic light and they love it but hope that this area can be improved.

    Quotes from the primary M30 thread onthe LED forum:

    Quote Originally Posted by 1dash1 View Post
    I hope I haven't come off as being too harsh on the M30.

    It's an outstanding flashlight! Perfect size. Handsome. 3-flats feel so good in the hand. Weight evenly balanced. Well built. Innovative UI. Extraordinarily flexible battery options. Excellent runtimes. Fully regulated output. Great high mode! Comes with a nice case and a full complement of accessories. And backed up by great vendors and a great company.
    Quote Originally Posted by yert43 View Post
    While I'm an admitted newb to highend flashlights, I would never have noticed the slow PWM if I hadn't read it here. There have been a lot of little complaints, but I think this is a fantastic light. Unless you are really finicky with these things, as I'm sure many of you are, I wouldn't worry about it. I'm very happy with this light, and I definitely recommend it. I just got it today, and I cannot wait to see it in the night.
    Quote Originally Posted by MattInTheCouv View Post
    personally i could only notice the PWM issue if i tried to notice it (waving it around like a crazy person and seeing the trail of "dots" on the wall). i cannot foresee a situation in which this could be anything more than a very minor nuisance, if any at all (with my eyes and my light...yours may differ).

    as far as the lost spill from the crenelated bezel goes, i really don't think it will be possible to make one that does NOT interfere at least slightly with the spill. if you remove it, turn the light on in the dark and look at the threads to which the bezel screws into, even they catch a wee little bit of light, so naturally anything you attach to those threads will too. life's full of tough choices... losing a couple percent of the very outer part of your spill or losing your ability to make someone need [as many] stitches after you hammer-blow them with the thing... the call is yours to make.

    also it seems as though the strobe although totally overwhelming, doesn't have quite the same "i'm drunk" effect as my "first light tomahawk" or my gladius. i think this may be due to a faster strobe rate. i would be mucho curious for someone else to sacrifice their corneas as i have in a comparison with other known good tactical strobers.
    ...
    my only other negative is also one that has not been brought up as of yet, and it is probably nit-picky. the finish on the light should be matte. preferably the same sort of rough and battle-proven coating that is applied to firearms and knife blades and a lot of other "tactical" flashlights. it kind of has a semi-gloss thing going on and i'm not a fan of it.

    with that being said, it's a solid 9 out of 10.
    Quote Originally Posted by veleno View Post
    IMO the PWM frequency is barely noticible, not a real issue for me.
    Read selfbuilt's conclusions again; I think it's clear he really liked the product and this was the only 'flaw' that he found. That's like a getting an A- around here.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* MattK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Thanks HKJ - as always, you are fount of knowledge when it comes to these circuits!


    Yes - and the clear explanations (no doubt in his 2nd or 3rd language) are particularly 'illuminating'.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    Do not count on any big change, this kind of design needs a low PWM frequency, the current regulator need time to start.
    BUT by increasing the output in low mode, it might be possible to increase the PWM to a higher frequency, but this might also reduce the high output, because they might have to reduce the 92.3% high.
    It would probably be possible to double the low and the PWM frequency, without decreasing the high (This is just a guess, I have not measured/analyzed with that in mind).
    Interesting. It stands to reason there was an explanation behind this low PWM frequency (and by extrapolation, the A10-G's slightly higher PWM freq but lower max output). Thanks again for the insight - very helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by ergotelis View Post
    Well done selfbuilt!How about waterproofness other than the non-lubed o-rings?
    Sorry, but I don't test for waterproofness. In my opinion, unless a light is rated as a dive light, I would only consider it "water-resistant". So, as long as it looks like the light would survive a bit of rain, or a splash in a puddle, I'm satisfied (and it looks to me like the M30 would do fine). I don't plan to start water immersion tests, since it is hard to know what variables to control for, and how to interpret any failure (or lack thereof) given a n=1 sample size.

    Quote Originally Posted by zioparr View Post
    I came to a conclusion that M30 is not as good as it said, the PWM is also bothersome. and M30 is not a thrower dedicated. But the size is very compact compare to the JB M1X etc.
    I wouldn't say that exactly. And I try to avoid making a direct judgement about what is best for someone else . Certainly the M1X is the best throwing MC-E ... but the throw of the M30 and the other multi-emitter lights are all quite decent (and the M1X has a pronounced centre-beam donut hole). At the other end of the spectrum, the ACE-G has the least amount of centre-beam donut, but is larger and heavier than the M30, and single-stage only. Everything has trade-offs, so it all comes down to which of these things matter the most for you.

    In that same vein. I personally find low PWM very annoying (and I like to emphasisze the "personally" part in my reviews, since your experience could be different). This is an issue for me, it may be less so for others.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1dash1 View Post
    HKJ: Thanks for your thoughts about the PWM issue. So... it boiled down to a choice of either providing a sub-10 lumen low (with potential flickering issues, degree of consumer acceptability unknown) or providing a slightly higher low mode (still with potential flickering problems, albeit greatly diminished).
    Tough call.
    Yes, I think that sums it up well. All designs require trade-offs, and the different choices manufacturers make just increase the options for consumers. That's why I like to cover everything in detail, so people can choose for themselves what matters most and vote with their $.

    Personally, I would be willing to sacrifice some compromises in UI if it meant getting the PWM to undetectable levels. But I can appreciate how others would make a different choice (for example, if a given "tactical" interface was their key criteria). Life or death doesn't generally hang in the balance for me should it take a little longer to get to my desired output (whereas accidentally strobing Mrs. Selfbuilt could be quite dangerous indeed ).

    Quote Originally Posted by easilyled View Post
    I have to say that I like the UI. What I like most about it is the simplicity of setting the level with the side button
    and then the fact that this level can be triggered with positive momentary in complete safety with the tailcap.
    ie. its impossible to change the levels with the tailcap no matter how many times or how fast its pushed.
    Yes, that is a good point. It is not immediately intuitive to set the level that way, by the side switch. But once you do, it's nice to know the memory feature will keep it locked there no matter what you do to the main switch (i.e. don't have to worry about accidentally getting stuck in some strange programming mode). This does have a comfort and simplicity advantage.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattK View Post
    Read selfbuilt's conclusions again; I think it's clear he really liked the product and this was the only 'flaw' that he found. That's like a getting an A- around here.
    LOL, that's probably a pretty good assessment of my feelings for this light. It is also why I put the PWM analysis into a second post, so that it doesn't cloud the main conclusions in the review.

    I try to stay away from a rating system for lights that I review, because any scale is just too subjective. Overall I find the M30 to be a quality product, even if I am personally disappointed by the PWM frequency (and potentially the efficiency - we'll see as I complete the Med mode runtimes). But again, that comment should be taken within the context of the typically outstanding Olight current-controlled efficiency goodness. Runtime efficiency is just one variable to consider - as long as it lasts long enough for what you need at a given level, the exact comparison from one light to the next may not matter as much as UI, build, battery configuration, throw vs flood, etc.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 05-13-2009 at 08:18 PM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* 1dash1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Sorry, but I don't test for waterproofness. In my opinion, unless a light is rated as a dive light, I would only consider it "water-resistant". So, as long as it looks like the light would survive a bit of rain, or a splash in a puddle, I'm satisfied (and it looks to me like the M30 would do fine). I don't plan to start water immersion tests, since it is hard to know what variables to control for, and how to interpret any failure (or lack thereof) given a n=1 sample size.
    Come on now, Selfbuilt, 'fess up. You don't want to get involved with waterproof tests because - given your proclivity - that would mean constructing a 100meter tank in your backyard.
    Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka 'Aina I Ka Pono.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Hi Matt, Thank you for your welcomes.

    The first time I see this M30 make me fell in love with it.
    The size is very beautiful and proportional between the head and the body,
    not like other light with big head and small body. This it self is a plus for the M30.

    and I heard from my supplier which I did not know if it's true or not that in the future Olight will make a compatible or replacement body of M30 that can use AA battery instead of CR123A. This is a very very big PLUS.

    Loose some and gain a lot then ^^

    hopefully they will make smooth reflectors for this M30 like M20 did.

    Thanks selfbuild and MattK for your replay.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by ergotelis View Post
    Well done selfbuilt!How about waterproofness other than the non-lubed o-rings?
    I was hoping someone might perform this.
    light your lite . ...

  27. #27

    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Very nice review, selfbuilt !!!

    I heard from a M20 & M30 owner that the switch of M30 works fine on M20 in the same manner, when using 2x123 (not 18650).



    Now, I have a question, here.

    Does this mean that the PWM flickering will disappear when you have the switch of the M20 on the M30???

    I guess you have both M20 & M30.
    light your lite . ...

  28. #28
    HKJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by octaf View Post
    Very nice review, selfbuilt !!!

    I heard from a M20 & M30 owner that the switch of M30 works fine on M20 in the same manner, when using 2x123 (not 18650).

    Now, I have a question, here.

    Does this mean that the PWM flickering will disappear when you have the switch of the M20 on the M30???

    I guess you have both M20 & M30.
    The PWM is from the switch, i.e. moving it to the M20 will move the PWM to the M20. But the electronic on the M20 might have some problems handling the PWM. I do not believe that the M30 will have any problems with the M20 switch.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    The PWM is from the switch, i.e. moving it to the M20 will move the PWM to the M20. But the electronic on the M20 might have some problems handling the PWM. I do not believe that the M30 will have any problems with the M20 switch.
    Thanks, HKJ!

    What kind of problem would you expect?
    light your lite . ...

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by octaf View Post
    Thanks, HKJ!

    What kind of problem would you expect?
    The circuit in M20 is not made to be turned and off 100 times each second, how does regulator and the microprocessor handle that?
    The regulator might not have time enough to stabilize the current, i.e. it might be running in a startup condition all the time, that the circuit was only designed to handle for a short time.
    The microprocessor might store some settings in a eeprom each time the power is turned off and a eeprom lifetime of 1 million writes can be used up rather fast with 100 writes each second.
    Usual equipment need some time off, before it is turned on again, to secure a clean startup, this time can some seconds (like on a PC), but can also be much shorter, but is the M20 designed for a off time of 0.001 second?

    I do not say it has these problems, only it might.

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