Object/Subject Review: Sunwayman R01A
Currently (10/26/11), the R01A is Sunwayman's only AAA powered light, and it's only available as a "free gift" packaged with the V20C. Find my V20C review here.
I’ll be reviewing the R01A in two sections: first, I’ll discuss the light objectively (the facts about the light itself), then I’ll discuss the light subjectively (my impressions about the lights performance when used for specific applications. In my opinion, this light could work as a *true* EDC, being small enough to always be with you.
Here are the manufacturer's specs on the R01A:
- Output: 10 lumens
- Battery: 1 x AAA
- Anti-roll design
- Waterproof to IPX-8 Standard
- Type III hard anodized body
- Working Voltage: 0.9-4.2V
- Dimensions: 70mm (length) x 14mm (diameter)
- Weight: 13 g (battery excluded)
- Included Accessories: o-ring, key ring
When first introducing this light, somebody asked Sunwayman if they were trying to make it similar to the Fenix E01, and they responded that they more were trying to reproduce something as well-loved as the Arc AAA.
This is a single mode, twisty-style light. Tight=on, loose=off. Great for fans of a simple user interface I've found that the way the threads are made, the head twists fairly easily as you first screw the head on, but then you hit a point where the resistance increases for the last turn and a half before the light comes on. I'm not sure if this was intentional, or if it's true of all samples of this light (someone can confirm or deny this if you have the light yourself), but I find it helps the head stay more secure when loosened, because you can leave the head in that range of off but still with firm resistance to twisting.
The first major difference you'll notice if you have an Arc AAA is the hex grip on the head of the light. This provides the "anti-roll" feature, and even more importantly, adds great grip to the otherwise slick head of this twisty-style AAA light. As you can see, Sunwayman's name and logo are printed in clear white on the body of the light. The body has diamond shaped knurling, with the grooves small and deep enough that dirt and grit tend to get stuck in it fairly easily (I had to clean it up for the pictures). Between the knurling and the hex, turning the light on and off isn't difficult, even with wet hands. Also, you can see that the HAIII has a few dings already from a few days on my keychain.
The tail of the R01A has this trapezoid shape with a hole to attach a small split ring (included). While some may say, "too bad, that light can't tailstand", I say...
...that it can tailstand, but it's really not worth the effort. On a very flat surface, it can tailstand on the flat part of the trapezoid tail, but it's extremely unstable.
The light has a 5mm LED, what appears to be a polished metal reflector, and no lens. The lack of lens means you rely on the recession of the LED and reflector to keep it from getting too scratched up (where a lens would presumably get scratched up quicker). I've had similar lights with no lens, and the metal reflector does get scratched up over time, but it doesn't seem to lead to any drastic loss in output. Just think of it as applying you own "light orange peel".
The threads are thick, square, and anodized. These should hold up pretty well.
As you can see, the threads aren't used to make electrical contact at all, but rather this thin bit of metal around the outside of the circuit board connects to an un-anodized ridge when the light is fully tightened. A spring keeps the positive battery terminal in contact with the circuit board at all times. This setup prevents it from being a "battery crusher," because the pressure from twisting the head is against the body of the light and not the battery. It also prevents you from using QTC easily, so don't get any ideas.
As you can see here, the light has an extra ring around the main beam of the light. Because of the design of the 5mm LED, a lot of light comes from the tip of the LED and goes out the side of the head without hitting the reflector.
Sunwayman's specs also list that this light can handle up to 4.2V. So, what happens when we shove in a 10440 sized lithium-ion battery? Well, about the same thing that happens with an alkaline. To my eyes, there is no significant change in brightness. My multimeter is current occupied (a runtime test for the V20C), but when it's available I'll do some quantitative measurements to know for sure. I will say now that I don't plan to run this on lions regularly. My protected 10440's are a little longer and slightly fatter than a normal AAA, so the lion tends to get a little jammed, requiring some force to get it out. I wouldn't want to try an unprotected 10440, Sunwayman makes no mention of the light having over-discharge protection built in.
(note: vertical axis is a relative brightness measurement using a photoresistor)
Time regulated: 7 hours 4 minutes
Time to 50%: 7 hours 7 minutes
Total runtime (not included blinking): 7 hours 30 minutes
After 7 1/2 hours, when the battery is almost exhausted, the light starts blinking dimly at a rate slightly faster than 1 blink per second. This continues for several hours (but didn't put out enough light to be picked up by my photocell).
Overall, this is a solid choice for a low-output AAA light, but unfortunately, you can't choose it unless you also want to choose the V20C. The anodizing seems like it might not hold up too long, but we'll see. The hex grip is great on the head of this light! One of my big gripes with other tiny twisties is that the head is hard to turn if your hands are wet or oily. No such trouble here. Also, the spring in the tail preventing pressure between the battery and the circuit board is great. Several of my old Arc AAA's no longer work, probably because of the repeated pressure on the circuit board from the battery.
A 7 hour regulated runtime is pretty great, but I would prefer to see a "Sun" and "Moon" setup like the old Arc AAA's, where they would drop into a dimmer mode when the battery was almost exhausted. The blinking for a low battery warning is nice if you lose your light while it's on, because the blinking will last longer than a moon mode would and gives you a better chance of finding it. However, I prefer a moon mode as a low battery warning because I get the point that I need to replace the battery, but I still have enough light to finish whatever task I was in the middle of. I think with this light, with approximately 20 minutes of ramping down from full brightness to nothing, that shouldn't be too much of an issue (that's a long enough warning time to finish what you're doing and find a new battery) but it's not quite my ideal.
I've been EDC'ing this light for several days now. Like I mentioned, I have noticed that my keys have begun to wear on the anodizing. If you want to keep the light looking nice, the keychain is not the way to go. I imagine most of you have at least spent some time with a light on the keychain, so you know how useful that is. However, this is not your iTP A03. This light only has one mode, and it's fairly dim. The light will work in a pinch, but for a flashaholic, this won't be the only light you'll carry.
As you can see, the light looks pretty good on a keychain. Even if the keys wear down the knurling (like what happened to my old Arc AAA after 5 years of keychain carry), I trust the hex grip on the head will still make this light easy to turn on and off.
I tried carrying this light in my pocket. Because it's so small, it tends to get lost in there with whatever else is in my pocket. I won't be carrying this in my pocket (that's where my V10R will be), but for some people, pocket carry will be just fine.
I have yet to try this out on a neck lanyard. I'm not much for carrying a light on my neck, but I know some of you are, so I'll try it out and see how it goes.
Long Term Impressions
I'll fill this part in after carrying the light for a while. If nothing get's added here, either I find nothing else worth noting about the light, or I end up not using it often.
Last edited by Bigmac_79; 11-16-2011 at 09:10 AM.
Re: Object/Subject Review: Sunwayman R01A
Beamshots and subjective review up! Just waiting on time with my multimeter to add runtime charts and current draw info!
Re: Object/Subject Review: Sunwayman R01A
Finally had enough time with the multimeter to make the output graph! I've posted the graph for running the R01A on an eneloop, and it looks pretty good.
With that, this review is complete. Could I request for a mod to move this to the reviews sub-forum? Thanks!