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Thread: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

  1. #1

    Cool ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Reviewer's Note: The ITP A6 Polestar was provided for review by GoingGear.com. Please see their website for more info.

    Warning: very pic heavy, as always

    Manufacturer Specifications: (taken from GoingGear's website)
    • Cree MC-E LED, life span up to 50000 hours
    • Function Three Brightness Levels(Low-Medium-High) and Strobe Mode
    • Output and Runtime:
    • High Mode 700 Lumens/1.5 Hours,
    • Medium Mode 160 Lumens/8 Hours,
    • Low Mode 12 Lumens/50 Hours
    • Strobe 10HZ/10Hours
    • Finish: HA Type
    • Reflector: Aluminum alloy Orange Peel Reflector with Perfect Beam
    • Lens:Anti-shattering ultra clear lens, anti-scratching and anti-slip
    • Water and Dust Resistant: IP68
    • Switch: Side Switch
    • Mil-spec: MIL-STD-810F
    • MSRP price: $80

    The ITP A6 Polestar is basically a “budget” version of a high-output light using the Cree MC-E emitter – in this case on standard AA batteries. Has ITP recreated their success in the 1xAAA market with low-priced EOS? Scroll down to find out.




    The external styling and appearance of the A6 is fairly basic, in keeping with its budget status. But note the presence of the control switch near the head of the light instead of the tailcap. This makes sense if you want to appeal to the mainstream market, which is more familiar with this front head button format.



    Packaging is fairly basic, but the light does come encased in foam inside a hard cardboard box, with a good quality wrist lanyard, basic belt pouch with closing flap, extra o-rings and manual.

    Here is how it looks in my hands, and compared to a couple lights of its class:


    From left to right: Duracell AA battery, AW 18650 protected battery, ITP A6, ThruNite Catapult, Olight M30, JetBeam M1X, EagleTac M2XC4, JetBeam M1X (all in base configuration, no extenders)

    A6 Weight (no battery): 209.9g
    A6 Dimensions: Length 174mm, Width (bezel) 48.0mm, Width (tailcap) 37.8mm

    The A6 is fairly compact in size and relatively low weight, consistent with its relatively thin-walled construction.




    The A6 uses a plain flat tailcap that allows tailstanding, but also has a wrist strap/lanyard attachment point. The tailcap design is pretty basic, consistent with its budget status, but at least screw threads are anodized for tailcap lockout.



    Given the use of six AA-cell batteries, a battery carrier was required.

    Note that the A6 was originally launched with a cheaper quality black battery carrier that necessitated a recall (as a result of defective contacts on many of the carriers). The new revised battery carrier (in clear plastic) is what I would consider as minimally acceptable. It is better quality than a number of cheapo ones I have seen on budget lights from the discount sites, but it certainly still nothing to write home about.

    Note that you must take care when loading cells into the carrier to insure the correct orientation. The light’s instruction manual simply says to place the positive battery terminals toward the head – not very helpful or clear. You have to pay attention to the current path, and put all six cells in the correct serial sequence. Basically, the negative battery terminal goes facing the springs in the carrier. This is common for almost all carriers.



    If you look down the battery tube in the pic above, you will see the contact disk in the head is a simple piece of metal bent down and tacked in place. This does not inspire confidence for long-term stability, but has worked reliably with the carrier in my testing so far.



    The ITP A6 Polestar comes with a very familiar looking reflector – it is in fact identical to the Olight M30. This should result in a similar well-rounded beam profile, with relatively low throw but also relatively little sign of hatching or other artifacts.

    Here are some comparison beamshots to the Olight M30, both lights taken on Max on 2x18650 AW protected Li-ion (M30) or 6x Sanyo Eneloop (A6). Distance is about 0.5 meters from a white wall.





    The A6 actually has a slight advantage in spillbeam width, due to the lower profile opening at the head of the light (the M30 features a crenelated stainless steel bezel – this narrows the overall beam somewhat). Otherwise, the beams are indistinguishable – you get a nice smooth transition from hotspot to spill, with no sign of the infamous “donut” hole with MC-E/P7 lights.

    I haven’t tested the A6 outdoors, but here are some outdoor shots that include the Olight M30. For all intents and purposes, it will look the same as the M30 at the given range and focal length (centre point is ~10m feet from the lights).





    To give you another idea of what to expect from the hotspot at a medium range distance, I’ve taken a few indoor beamshots of a target “gremlin” at 10m (1/5sec exposure, f2.7), this time including the A6. Click on the images to bring high resolution photos.






    Note that the A6 is not that much dimmer than the other lights – it is just that its hospot is more diffuse and its spillbeam brighter. So at a distance (zoomed in with the camera above), you will see less light on the target. The A6 – like the M30 – is best suited to light up a broad area in the near-mid range (i.e. it is not a thrower).

    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).






    User Interface

    The ITP A6 Polestar has a slightly different interface from most lights in this class, due to the single front-ended switch. The switch acts as a reverse clicky, so the light comes on after the switch is clicked and released.

    To advance modes, simply press-and-hold the switch down (while on). The light will then advance through all output modes in the following sequence: Lo > Med > Hi > Strobe, spending about 1 sec on each mode before continuing. To select the one you want, simply let go of the switch. The light has mode memory, so it will come back on at whatever mode you left it.

    Output modes are slightly revised from the Olight M30, with the Med mode being a little brighter. The strobe has also been reduced to ~9.5 Hz.



    But for all intents and purposes, the output levels and sequence are very familiar to the M30.

    No PWM

    Unlike the M30, which has a fairly noticeable PWM of 104Hz on its Lo and Med modes, I am unable to detect any signs of PWM on the ITP A6 by eye or instrument. That suggests the light is current-controlled, or that the PWM frequency is quite high (in the multiple thousands of cycles per second at least).

    Testing Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlight reviews 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 other 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:



    Consistent with what you saw in the beamshots, the A6 is basically the same as the Olight M30, with just slightly less max output. Overall output is still well within the range of other MC-E/P7 class lights (if toward the low end), while throw is definitely at the lowest end of the class.

    Output/Runtime Comparison



    UPDATE 12/15/09: As expected, alkalines were not able to provide sufficient power on Hi to keep the light at a regulated output level. I doubt it's a good idea to run alkaline cells on max for any period of time, but at least they work in a pinch. Excellent regulation with alkalines on Med.

    UPDATE 12/19/09:
    Low mode runtime on alkaline lasted at least 3 days before depleting the cells. Didn't do a continuous lightbox test, so no runtime trace to add above, but light appeared to be very regulated over this time.

    Overall, no surprises here - runtimes as expected based on ITP stats.

    Note: Although the ITP A6 Polestar runs on 6xAA, I have decided to compare it to the 2x18650 for all the other members of this MC-E/P7 class.

    All 18650 runtimes were done on AW protected cells (2200mAh). The A6 was run on 6xEneloop (2000mAh).




    Potential Issues

    The light uses a plastic battery carrier to hold the cells. Long-term stability is unknown, and the original (black) shipping carrier had to be recalled and replaced with this (clear) version. As with all carriers, you need to pay particular attention to how you orient the cells (i.e. negative battery terminal toward the springs).

    Build quality seems lower than most lights of the MC-E/P7 class – in keeping with its budget status. Of particular note are the simple metal contact in the head and the thin-wall construction.

    The light is not particularly "grippy" (i.e. ridge detail is minimal)

    Preliminary Observations

    For what it is – a budget MC-E light that runs on common AA cells – I think the ITP A6 Polestar fulfills its mandate rather well.

    The light has a lot of nice features – most notably the excellent floody reflector (identical to the Olight M30) which minimizes the infamous MC-E/P7 “donut hole”. Of course, there is a trade-off here: peak centre-beam throw is among the lowest I’ve seen for this class of light.

    Ergonomically, the front-ended switch will feel more familiar to general flashlight users. A bit unusual to hold the switch down to switch modes, but it is pretty straight-forward when you get used to it.

    The choice of output levels and sequence (Lo – Med – Hi – Strobe) is similar to the M30, but with a more traditional mid-level Med and slightly slower strobe (although still quite “tactical” at 9.5 Hz ). More importantly, PWM is undetectable on my A6 sample - so either the light is current-controlled, or the frequency is too high to detect. In contrast, the M30 suffers from a very noticeable ~104 Hz PWM due to its dual-switch design and tailcap processor.

    Coupled with the A6's memory feature (light remembers last mode used), I think this is a good mix of output levels and basic user interface that should suit the general user quite well.

    No complains about the overall output/runtime efficiency, although I don’t really have much to compare to here (e.g. I don’t own the Fenix TK40). The runtimes and relative output estimates appear to match ITP’s numbers. The Lo/Med runtimes on standard alkalines were very impressive (i.e. fully regulated, and relatively long-lasting).

    So what’s not to like here? In a word, the rather basic construction (ok, that’s a couple of words ). Clearly, ITP is doing everything it can to keep the costs down, but I wish they had sprung for a more robust way to connect the batteries to the light (i.e. I don’t like the simple connector interfaces from the carrier to the light). I also find the aluminum body wall construction to be rather thin – I would have preferred something a little more traditional in thickness (like the Olight M30 or Lumapower Mentor, etc.). And it would be good if the body had a bit more knurling or ridge detail – I find it a little smooth in handling as is.

    Bottom line, it's a fun little light - but it doesn’t have the same quality feel as the more substantial Li-ion based options in this space. However, I certainly can’t argue with the price – at $80 list, it is probably the most affordable brand-name MC-E light out there.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 07-21-2010 at 11:07 AM.
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  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Hitthespot's Avatar
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    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Unfortunately I wanted this light but have been less than thrilled with what I've read so far, and the beam shots haven't exactly floated my boat either. If they could have brought this light in at below $80.00 and kept the quality up I would have been all over it. As it stands my lights get used in the field and I have to depend on them. I just wouldn't feel comfortable with this light. One of the things I did really like about this light was the 160 lumen medium mode. So many manufacturers are making their middle modes around 40-60 lumens. That is a big turn off for me.

    I'm afraid if I felt the need for a MC-E light I would go with the TK-40. It's no secret I'm a big fan of AA lights for the field since everything I take with me is AA. I keep hoping Surefire will make one of their optic lights in AA but I know it just isn't going to happen.

    Of coarse maybe with an ITP light I wouldn't have to wait weeks for a replacement lens like I am with the Jetbeam III M.

    As always thanks Eric. I ALWAYS look forward to your reviews.

    Bill
    Last edited by Hitthespot; 12-11-2009 at 10:00 PM.
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    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Great review! I have one of these and agree with your observations.

    I am glad to see the nice alkaline performance (at least on medium). Although that'll be a last resort, of course.

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    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    PWM

    Unlike the M30, which has a fairly noticeable PWM of 104Hz on its Lo and Med modes, I am unable to detect any signs of PWM on the ITP A6 by eye or instrument. That suggests the PWM frequency is quite high, in the multiple thousands of cycles per second at least.
    It could also suggest that the light is current controlled (I did not measure any pwm either and I can easily measure 30+ kHz).
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  5. #5

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Great review Selfbuilt! I agree that the battery carrier could be higher quality. I received mine in the mail yesterday (replacement for the first one that made a high pitched noise) and like everything else about it.

    The thing that I hate about lights that use battery carriers is that you are left with a useless flashlight whenever it breaks.

  6. #6

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Thanks for the thorough review, pity the quality isn't better. I really like how it is like the fenix tk40, but 6 cells instead of 8. Seems a bit more manageable.

  7. #7

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    It could also suggest that the light is current controlled (I did not measure any pwm either and I can easily measure 30+ kHz).
    Good point HKJ - I shouldn't be so quick to assume PWM. Given you can't detect it with your more sophisticated setup, current-controlled does indeed seem more likely. I will revise my comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by madmook View Post
    I am glad to see the nice alkaline performance (at least on medium). Although that'll be a last resort, of course.
    Yeah, that's how I look at it too. But of course, the general user community out there tends to use alkalines, so it's important to compare. I may try a Hi mode soon, just to see ....

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitthespot View Post
    Unfortunately I wanted this light but have been less than thrilled with what I've read so far, and the beam shots haven't exactly floated my boat either. If they could have brought this light in at below $80.00 and kept the quality up I would have been all over it. As it stands my lights get used in the field and I have to depend on them. I just wouldn't feel comfortable with this light. One of the things I did really like about this light was the 160 lumen medium mode. So many manufacturers are making their middle modes around 40-60 lumens. That is a big turn off for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by adirondackdestroyer View Post
    I agree that the battery carrier could be higher quality. ... The thing that I hate about lights that use battery carriers is that you are left with a useless flashlight whenever it breaks.
    Quote Originally Posted by sol-leks View Post
    Thanks for the thorough review, pity the quality isn't better.
    I think this is the main message here for ITP - there is clearly a lot of demand for this sort of light, but you need to be very careful in what you skimp on. I too worry about how well the battery carrier will hold up - but I can at least say it has survived my testing so far without problems. And that's more than I can say for some cheapo lights with carriers I've played with in the past ...
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  8. #8
    Flashaholic* berry580's Avatar
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    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    thank you for the good review =)
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  9. #9

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Selfbuilt,

    Are you planning on doing a runtime graph for the low setting? I know it may seem insane, but I was hoping you would (if you have the time).
    I'm pretty impressed that it runs for over 9 hours in the medium setting, considering I tested it to be well over 100 out the front lumens in my lightbox. Not bad!

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    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Very good and thorough review. That battery holder may cause problems, but the simple UI and front-end switch may make it a popular general-purpose light.

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

  11. #11

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    I have just updated the runtime graph with the Hi mode on alkalines: (hit your browser re-load if you don't see the new trace)



    As expected, alkalines can't handle the drain in a regulated fashion for long. Plus I don't imagine it's too great for the cells to try, but at least it does work in a pinch.

    Quote Originally Posted by adirondackdestroyer View Post
    Are you planning on doing a runtime graph for the low setting? I know it may seem insane, but I was hoping you would (if you have the time). I'm pretty impressed that it runs for over 9 hours in the medium setting, considering I tested it to be well over 100 out the front lumens in my lightbox. Not bad!
    Hmm, ok, but it will have to be an alkaline-only run and done outside my lightbox (too many other lights to work on ). I'll start it up and let you know when it goes off ...
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  12. #12

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Hmm, ok, but it will have to be an alkaline-only run and done outside my lightbox (too many other lights to work on ). I'll start it up and let you know when it goes off ...

    Awesome! Works for me!

  13. #13

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by adirondackdestroyer View Post
    Awesome! Works for me!
    Well, the light shut-off sometime during the night, so that means somewhere around 3.5 days on low on alkaline. Last time I checked it was yesterday afternoon, which was just over 3 days.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 12-20-2009 at 07:52 AM.
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    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Well, the light shut-off sometime during the night, so that means somewhere around 3.5 days on low on alkaline. Last time I checked it was yesterday afternoon, which was just over 3 hours.

    Don't you mean 3 days.

  15. #15

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Well, the light shut-off sometime during the night, so that means somewhere around 3.5 days on low on alkaline. Last time I checked it was yesterday afternoon, which was just over 3 hours.

    Sweet! I had to be so damn picky, but do you remember if the output stayed flat for most of the time (like the medium mode does)?

  16. #16

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by ZRXBILL View Post
    Don't you mean 3 days.
    oops,fixed

    Quote Originally Posted by adirondackdestroyer View Post
    Sweet! I had to be so damn picky, but do you remember if the output stayed flat for most of the time (like the medium mode does)?
    Yes, it was regulated over the run. I popped it into the lightbox a couple of times, and the output was rock solid.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Yes, it was regulated over the run. I popped it into the lightbox a couple of times, and the output was rock solid.
    Great! I figured it was, considering how good the regulation was on medium, but I wanted to make sure. 72+ hours is pretty damn good considering how useful that level of output is.
    Thanks!

  18. #18

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Does the ITP A6 have enough throw to light up a person for identification from 100 yards?

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Thanks for great review selfbuilt

    I bought an A6 Polestar a few weeks ago. It was my first 'real' LED flashlight. I like the fact that it uses AA batteries, which are available everywhere.

    I consider the A6 to be a great all-purpose flashlight. The 4 modes are very intuitive and easy to adjust. This light puts all of my old C & D Maglites to shame, it's very bright and lights up my neighbors houses really good.

    -

  20. #20
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    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    I wish Fenix would make one like this with 6AA and side switch. Or a lower power 3AA. Like the UI too.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevy-SS View Post
    This light puts all of my old C & D Maglites to shame, it's very bright and lights up my neighbors houses really good.
    I just bought the A6 Polestar to replace my MagLED 4D, but I will miss the insane runtime of the Mag:



    Of course the ITP is brighter, but the Mag really gives enough light for many uses... during more than 43 hours (with alkaline batteries).

    Considering that the Mag is very solid and so cheap, I don't think we can't say that the A6 puts the Mag to shame, far from it.

    What I'd like is a flashlight that has the same output and runtime as the MagLED 4D, but is smaller. But it seems that it doesn't exists. If I want 43 hours of light with my A6, then I have to carry 30 AA cells... which is much heavier than 4 D cells. So the Mag is still a good flashlight, cheap and solid, with an incredible runtime.

    Regards,

    raco

  22. #22

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by raco View Post
    What I'd like is a flashlight that has the same output and runtime as the MagLED 4D, but is smaller. But it seems that it doesn't exists.
    It's really a question of output levels and battery sources. I presume you want to stick to standard cells?

    I don't have a MagLED 4D to test, but I know that my lightbox gives reasonably good concordance with Doug's (from flashlightreviews.com). Based on his numbers, it would seem like the MagLED 4D 'sregulated level only gives ~20-25 on my relative output scale (initially, it would be ~45, but drops rapidly to the regulated level).

    So, the ITP Polestar on Med is ~3X brighter for ~9 hours on 6xAA. The Fenix TK45 on Med is ~2X brighter for ~23 hours on 8xAA. On their lo modes, they would last much longer - but not be as bright as your MagLED 4D.

    Part of the problem here is the battery sources - 6x or 8xAAs just can't quite match 4xD cells, despite the much greater efficiency of the newer LEDs. Also, most high output lights don't offer too wide a range of output levels.

    There is also the issue of throw - most people run their mags as max focus for best throw. The Lumapower Mentor (Cree XR-E R2) runs on 2xC cells, and can give you ~8 hours on Med on alkalines. It has a bit more output and similar throw your MagLED 4D, thanks to the single-die emitter (and with the TurboForce head installed, it actually throws much further!).

    But otherwise, you really need to look at 2x18650 options and lights with an appropriate Lo level. The Eagletac M2C4 or M2XC4 on Lo would both give you almost the same runtime for equivalent output as your MagLED (although throw would be less). Throw would still be better than your A6, though.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 06-18-2010 at 09:09 AM.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    I presume you want to stick to standard cells?
    Yes, because I think they're less likely to vent. Which means, in an airtight flashlight, to explode. I wonder why manufacturers don't realize that an airtight design makes the venting valve of the cells useless. This is a major flaw of this flashlight, in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    So, the ITP Polestar on Med is ~3X brighter for ~9 hours on 6xAA. The Fenix TK45 on Med is ~2X brighter for ~23 hours on 8xAA. On their lo modes, they would last much longer - but not be as bright as your MagLED 4D.
    I found the low mode of the A6, which lasts 50 hours, to be really useable. The problem is when you want more light temporarily: you have to cycle through all the modes, which is annoying.

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    The Eagletac M2C4 or M2XC4 on Lo would both give you almost the same runtime for equivalent output as your MagLED
    That's quite impressive, but unfortunately I want to stick to alkaline cells. Thanks for your insight, anyway.

  24. #24

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by raco View Post
    Yes, because I think they're less likely to vent. Which means, in an airtight flashlight, to explode. I wonder why manufacturers don't realize that an airtight design makes the venting valve of the cells useless. This is a major flaw of this flashlight, in my opinion.
    I agree with you on the issue of venting in an airtight space. But I suspect 6xNiMH cells would in fact be more likely to vent than 2xLi-ion - it is just that the result would be far less catastrophic when they do!

    There's lots of reports here of users of 2xAA Fenix lights having "bulging" tailcaps - invariably due to mismatched NiMH cells venting. Seems to be a common problem, but not really dangerous with AA cells. The risk of alkaline cells leaking and destroying the light are probably the greater concern.

    I found the low mode of the A6, which lasts 50 hours, to be really useable. The problem is when you want more light temporarily: you have to cycle through all the modes, which is annoying.
    Yes, the UI of the A6 is not ideal. The new Fenix TK45 will probably be to more people's liking, since you can set the mode and it remembers.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  25. #25

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    There's lots of reports here of users of 2xAA Fenix lights having "bulging" tailcaps - invariably due to mismatched NiMH cells venting.
    It happened to me with my Fenix L2P. The explosion was not dangerous but powerful enough to provoke ringing in my ears for a few seconds. So I don't want to try 6xMiMH in the A6. I'll stick with alkalines, even though they're not totally safe either : http://data.energizer.com/design_hin...eneration.html.

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Yes, the UI of the A6 is not ideal. The new Fenix TK45 will probably be to more people's liking, since you can set the mode and it remembers.
    I don't like the UI of the TK45 (if I understood your review correctly) because you still can't switch between two modes with a single click. Why not have one button like on the A6, and the other button allows to switch between the current mode and next mode ? That would be convenient. In a real-life situation, you need either low and medium mode or medium and high. You don't need low and strobe, you don't need low and high.

    Plus, I guess that the TK45 have the same dangerous design as the A6 (you say in your review that one can unscrew the tailcap to avoid the parasitic drain, but I'd rather unscrew it to avoid an explosion). And I really hate this triple-mount head, it makes it look like a toy, in my opinion ;-). Fenix probably wanted their light to "look cool", which is the opposite of "professional".

  26. #26
    harro's Avatar
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    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Hello,
    One problem i've had with my A6 was the thin brass contact at the head end dislodging from the carrier. One of the tabs had come open. However, easy enough to bend back into position and refit to carrier, otherwise, no problems and a nice light.
    Cheers Harro.

  27. #27

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by raco View Post
    I don't like the UI of the TK45 (if I understood your review correctly) because you still can't switch between two modes with a single click. Why not have one button like on the A6, and the other button allows to switch between the current mode and next mode ? That would be convenient. In a real-life situation, you need either low and medium mode or medium and high. You don't need low and strobe, you don't need low and high.
    That's pretty much how the TK45 works - the left switch controls on/off, the right switch advances between modes when on (and only does Lo-Med-Hi-Turbo in regular mode, no strobe). The TK45 has mode memory, so retains the last level when you turn off/on. To access the hidden strobe modes, you need to do a double-click of the right button when on. See my full review of the TK45 for more info.

    All in all, a good interface on the TK45.

    Quote Originally Posted by harro View Post
    One problem i've had with my A6 was the thin brass contact at the head end dislodging from the carrier. One of the tabs had come open. However, easy enough to bend back into position and refit to carrier, otherwise, no problems and a nice light.
    Thanks for the report - I suspected that those tabs could be a potential problem. Glad to hear you were able to bend it back in position without incident.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 07-06-2010 at 08:02 AM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  28. #28
    Unenlightened
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    Buttrock Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    I am new to CPF and would like to thank you Selfbuilt for very thorough and informative reviews on many products. I have been reading them and have found it to be very helpful in making my first purchase. I just purchased the ITP A6 Polestar and am so far pleased with it. Your review was very accurate and I liked the fact that it runs on 6 AA Eneloops. Once again thank you for all of your hard work and devoted time. Also thank Mrs. Selfbuilt for her understanding as you continue to deliver these helpful reviews.

    Kendall

  29. #29

    Default Re: ITP A6 Polestar Review (6xAA MC-E): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigger101 View Post
    I just purchased the ITP A6 Polestar and am so far pleased with it. Your review was very accurate and I liked the fact that it runs on 6 AA Eneloops. Once again thank you for all of your hard work and devoted time. Also thank Mrs. Selfbuilt for her understanding as you continue to deliver these helpful reviews.
    Glad you found the review helpful. And I will pass along your comments to Mrs Selfbuilt.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

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