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Thread: Ray S20 Review (XP-G R5, single-stage 1xAAA): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

  1. #1

    Sssh Ray S20 Review (XP-G R5, single-stage 1xAAA): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Reviewer's Note: The S20 was provided for review by Ray Tactical. Please see their website or CPFMP thread for more info.

    Warning: pic heavy, as usual.

    Manufacturer Specifications:
    • LED:CREE XP-G (R5 bin)
    • Max output:210 Lumens
    • Reflector :delicate metal reflector
    • Lens: Switzerland shock resistance coating mineral glass
    • Material:303 stainless steel
    • Body treatment :sandblast
    • Batteries: one AAA battery or any other battery with same size
    • Drive circuit :high efficiency wide voltage full tune-up circuit
    • Switch :Twist head switch
    • Voltage:0.7-4.2V
    • Waterproof : IPX 8 waterproof standards
    • Safely locked function
    • Tail stand upside down function
    • Size:diameter:14mm Total length:76mm
    • Weight : 26g (without battery installed)
    • Output & Runtime: Using one AAA battery: 86 Lumens for 80 minutes
    • Using one rechargeable Li battery: 210 Lumens for 50 minutes
    • MSRP: $44

    Following up on their D1 pocket thrower (with a complex interface), Ray has recently gone the other way and come out with a distinctive looking single-stage 1xAAA light – the S20.





    The lights comes a presentation-style metal-framed box with clear plastic window. Inside, in cut-out foam is the light with a manual, split ring, and replacement o-ring.



    From left to right: Duracell alkaline AAA, Ray S20, 4Sevens Preon 1, Eagletac PN20α, VersaTi, LiteFlux LF2XT.

    S20: Weight 25.5g, Length 76.1mm x Width 14.1mm
    PN20α: Weight 22.9g (with pocket clip), Length 80.1mm x Width 16.0mm (bezel), 18.6mm (max, around base)
    Preon 1: Weight 15.3g (with keychain clip), Length 75.6mm x Width 14.0mm (bezel)

    Consistent with the stainless steel construction, the S20 is heavier than your typical 1xAAA light. You don’t see many stainless steel pocket lights, although the material is well suited for withstanding keychain carry (i.e. steel is structurally stable, and scratches won’t matter much). Note that steel doesn’t transfer heat as well as aluminum, though.

    Personally, I quite like the sandblasted finish – very stylish. There are no chips or scratches on my sample. Despite the lack of knurling, I actually found it reasonably “grippy” – at least as grippy as the Preon series.

    No clip or wrist-strap is included (other than the split ring).

    Identification labels are a dark grey against the background, which can be a bit hard to read.




    Although anodization (as such) is not possible on steel, Ray has managed to prevent activation through the screw threads (as choombak suggested, it looks like the negative contact ring in the head is isolated from the steel body, so only makes contact when fully tightened).




    The S20 uses the newer XP-G emitters (R5 output bin), coupled with an OP reflector.

    I’ve recently moved, and haven’t had a chance to set up a proper beamshot closet yet, but here’s a quick comparison to the recently reviewed Eagletac PN20a (both on Hi on Sanyo Eneloop AAA, about ~1 meter from a white wall).





    Note: Overall spillbeam width is narrow on both the lights, compared to a typical 1xAAA light. Sorry, I hope to add more beamshots when I get properly set up here.

    User Interface

    Tighten the head to turn on the light, loosen to turn off.

    Can’t get much simpler than that.

    Obviously no strobe, PWM, etc – single-stage only here.

    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, except for the extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

    Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1 meter from the lens, using a light meter.

    Throw/Output Summary Chart:



    Output is pretty maximally driven on all battery types. Throw is about typical for a 1xAAA light.

    Output/Runtime Comparison:



    Regulation patterns looks reasonably good – about what I’d expect for a single-stage light. On regular <1.5V sources, the light tries to maintain regulation as long as it can, then drops to direct-drive. On 3.7V Li-ion, the light runs direct-drive until the regulated level kicks in (which is close to exhaustion of the battery).

    Note there is no over-discharge protection (ODP) on 10440, so you need to make sure you recharge your cells BEFORE they drop out of regulation. By the time you see the final dip in output, you’ve already drained the cell to dangerous levels.

    As always, I don’t typically recommend you run 1xAAA lights on 10440 (unless they are regulated to lower outputs, like the LiteFlux LF2XT). Hi output direct-drive puts out a lot of heat, and risks damaging the emitter over time.

    So how does it stack up to the competition?









    The S20 performs well on NiMH – as you would expect for a single-stage light (i.e. no complex microprocessor needed). Obviously, a maximally-driven 1xAAA light is not well suited for alkaline. Note also that L92 lithium runtime was relatively low.

    Potential Issues

    Single-stage only.

    Stainless steel construction. While structurally stable, steel is heavier and less efficient for heat transfer than aluminum.

    Maximally-driven on 1xAAA, so not well suited for primary alkaline (or L92 lithium).

    Although rated to take 3.7V Li-ion 10440 cells, there is no over-discharge protection (ODP) feature. Be very careful of over-discharging your 10440 cells – you risk damaging them and rendering them unsafe for re-charging if you do.

    Preliminary Observations

    Not much to say here - I find it to be a stylish looking little light, that performs as expected for a maximally-driven single-stage 1xAAA.

    The choice of material is obviously a matter of personal preference. While I'm not typically a fan of stainless steel, I can see it holding up well for keychain use. The sandblasted finish is particularly distinctive - I haven't seen it before, and I quite like it. Grip is also better than I expected, and I found the light easy to use single-handed.

    Output/runtime performance is good for a maximally-driven single-stage light - except on primary alkaline or L92 lithium. But personally, I would prefer at least a two-stage light with a reasonable low level.

    As mentioned above, I would be wary of running this light regularly on unprotected 10440 Li-ion. Since there is no ODP, be sure you top up your cells frequently. I'm also concerned about how well the emitter will last with regular use at these drive levels (i.e. 10440 generates a lot of heat, which the small thermal mass and lower transfer efficiency of a 1xAAA stainless steel light will have trouble dissipating).

    If you are looking for the absolutely brightest 1xAAA light currently on the market, and don't care for Lo modes, the S20 may fit your needs. Just realize that runtimes will be short, and there's no option for lower output.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 08-04-2010 at 07:28 AM.
    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: Ray S20 Review (XP-G R5, single-stage 1xAAA): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    FYI, HKJ has also posted a review of this light:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=284066

    I always find his in-depth circuit analyzes very illuminating. I suspect there is something similar going on here as was observed for the Eagletac PN20a on Hi. Both circuits seem to be optimized for NiMH over alkaline/L92 (i.e. seems the circuit increases battery current draw - to maintain regulation - as the voltage drops). 10440 is of course direct-drive, until the regulated level is reached.

    I'm hoping HKJ can weigh in with further insights ...
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  3. #3
    HKJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ray S20 Review (XP-G R5, single-stage 1xAAA): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    I'm hoping HKJ can weigh in with further insights ...
    I do not believe it is as much optimized for a specific battery, but more the stabilized or not.
    On single AAA light (and probably any 1.5 volt light) the stabilization has a disadvantage, not only does it increase current to keep a stable light output, but because the efficiency goes dramatically down at these low voltage, the increase is out of proportion to the light output.

    Most AAA light uses around 1 watt, but both PN20a and S20 hits around 2 watt at 1.1/1.2 volt. If the battery had been at 1.5/1.6 volt it would only be 1 watt for the same light output.

    A unstabilized light (Like Preon) might also have lower efficiency, but it does not show up in the current draw, only in reduced brightness. This works much better with alkaline batteries.

    Note: Some of the links are for Danish reviews, use google translate to read them. The all contains curves with brightness/current/voltage. To get watt multiply current and voltage.

    Edit:
    Thinking about the voltage, it would be very interesting to do a runtime with NiZn batteries when they are released in AAA. With their higher output voltage the light will not go down into the bad efficiency part.
    Last edited by HKJ; 08-03-2010 at 03:26 PM.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Ray S20 Review (XP-G R5, single-stage 1xAAA): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    The table has a typo - Ray S20 uses R5 bin, and not R2.

    Excellent review, and good close up shots. I like my S20, but would love to see it having two modes. And yes, the sandblasted finish is superb and grippy, and the light is hefty. The recessed glass window also helps prevent scratches - mine has seen a lot of pocket time, but not a single scratch yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt
    Although anodization (as such) is not possible on steel, Ray have somehow managed to prevent activation through the screw threads (i.e. the light only comes on when the head is fully tightened against the body).
    The golden ring inside the head makes contact with the rim of the body only when fully-screwed, which is when the circuit completes, I think.
    Last edited by choombak; 08-04-2010 at 04:19 AM. Reason: added info

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ray S20 Review (XP-G R5, single-stage 1xAAA): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    Most AAA light uses around 1 watt, but both PN20a and S20 hits around 2 watt at 1.1/1.2 volt. If the battery had been at 1.5/1.6 volt it would only be 1 watt for the same light output.
    Yes, that would explain the runtime performance. Your bench-top power supply tests are very useful in isolating the circuit characteristics.

    Note: Some of the links are for Danish reviews, use google translate to read them. The all contains curves with brightness/current/voltage. To get watt multiply current and voltage.
    Yes, the google translate feature does a reasonably good job - your text is very clear (although the graphs do speak for themselves!).

    Thinking about the voltage, it would be very interesting to do a runtime with NiZn batteries when they are released in AAA. With their higher output voltage the light will not go down into the bad efficiency part.
    Yes, that would be interesting ... should behave more like NiMH. I gather these are being made, but not very common yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by choombak View Post
    The table has a typo - Ray S20 uses R5 bin, and not R2. ...
    The golden ring inside the head makes contact with the rim of the body only when fully-screwed, which is when the circuit completes, I think.
    Yes, thanks - fixed the typo. Also added your point about the contact - it looks like the negative contact ring in the head is isolated from the steel body, so only makes contact when fully tightened.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  6. #6
    HKJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ray S20 Review (XP-G R5, single-stage 1xAAA): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Aboth NiZn:
    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Yes, that would be interesting ... should behave more like NiMH. I gather these are being made, but not very common yet.
    The interesting thing is much longer runtime, maybe more than 50% extra compared to NiMH, but that depends on the actual operating voltage of the NiZn AAA at the load current the light uses.

    I only believe that AA are made at the current time.
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  7. #7
    Flashaholic MojaveMoon07's Avatar
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    Question Re: Ray S20 Review (XP-G R5, single-stage 1xAAA): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    I just found your thorough reviews for the Ray S20 and the 4GREER WS1 (link to review); thank you! They both sound appealing to me.

    But I guess there was just a limited one-time opportunity to acquire this light ? Ray's website (link) is out of order. And nothing of rayn60's exists on the marketplace except for his profile (link). And a google search yielded nothing.

    Almost ditto for the 4GREER WS1. The manufacturer (link) says that its light MUST be purchased from an authorized dealer, and in the U.S. the sole authorized dealer website is this, uhm, unique website (link) for sellcom.com

    Are there any other single stage AAA flashlights aside from the these two and the itp a3 eos 80 lm ?
    Last edited by MojaveMoon07; 10-26-2012 at 02:48 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Ray S20 Review (XP-G R5, single-stage 1xAAA): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by MojaveMoon07 View Post
    But I guess there was just a limited one-time opportunity to acquire this light ?
    I haven't heard anything from this maker in awhile, so I don't know if they are still around. In general, there is a limited time to get any model from any maker.

    The 4GREER WS1 is still available from the dealer cited in that review.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  9. #9
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ray S20 Review (XP-G R5, single-stage 1xAAA): RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by MojaveMoon07 View Post
    Are there any other single stage AAA flashlights aside from the these two and the itp a3 eos 80 lm ?


    Solarforce X3
    Norm

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