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Thread: Olight Baton S35 & S65 (XM-L, 3xAA and 6xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEOS, BEAMSHOTS +

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  1. #1

    Cool Olight Baton S35 & S65 (XM-L, 3xAA and 6xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEOS, BEAMSHOTS +

    Warning: pic heavy, as usual.



    The "Baton" lights are a new series from Olight, featuring a streamlined body design and support for multiple AA-based configurations. How do they compare to other multiple-AA lights? Let us see …

    Common Manufacturer Specifications:
    • CREE XM-L LED
    • Three adjustable brightness levels with a strobe
    • Rugged aluminum body with anti-scratching type-III Hard=Anodizing
    • Orange peel reflector
    • Mil-spec: MIL-STD-810F
    • Water resistant to IPX-8 standards
    • Impact Resistance: 3.9 ft (1.2 m)
    • Includes: batteries, holster, key ring, and diffuser

    S35 Specs:
    • More than 590" (180 m) throw
    • Uses 3 x AA batteries (Included)
    • Peak Beam Intensity: 8100
    • Weight (excluding batteries): 6.1 oz (173 g)
    • Size (L x D): 5" x 1.41" (128 x 36 mm)
    • Output (Lumens): Lo: 20, Med: 120, Hi: 380
    • Run Time (Hours): Lo: 240, Med: 3.5, Hi: 1.5, Strobe: 3
    • MSRP: ~$85

    S65 Specs:
    • More than 820" (250 m) throw
    • Uses 6 x AA batteries (Included)
    • Peak Beam Intensity: 15600
    • Weight (excluding batteries): 7.7 oz (219 g)
    • Size (L x D): 7" x 1.41" (180 x 36 mm)
    • Output (Lumens): Lo: 20, Med: 200, Hi: 700
    • Run Time (Hours): Lo: 360, Med: 5.3, Hi: 1.3, Strobe: 3
    • MSRP: ~$110

    Packaging and extras are unknown, as I received only the bare lights for review.




    From left to right: Duracell AA, Olight S35, Sunwayman M40A, Jetbeam PA40, Olight S65, ITP A6 Polestar, Fenix TK45.

    All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:
    Olight S35 3xAA: Weight 177.3g, Length: 127.7mm, Width (bezel): 38.7mm
    Olight S65 6xAA: Weight 215.4g, Length: 180mm, Width (bezel): 38.7mm
    JetBeam PA40 4xAA: Weight: 184.0g, Length: 183mm, Width: 40.8mm (bezel), 42.1mm (max width)
    ITP A6 6xAA: Weight: 209.9g, Length: 174mm, Width (bezel) 48.0mm, Width (tailcap) 37.8mm
    Sunwayman M40A 4xAA: Weight: 247.0g , Length: 145mm, Width 57.0mm (bezel)
    Fenix TK45 8xAA: Weight: 307.3g, Length: 202mm, Width (bezel) 50.6mm, Width (tailcap) 44.0

    As you can see, the Baton lights are quite petite for their battery configurations. They are smaller than I expected.






    Build is distinctive, with an overall cylindrical shape. Anodizing is glossy black, and there were a few chips on the screw threads on my samples (which are anodized for tail lock-out). Labels are bright white against the black background.

    There is no real knurling as such, but Olight uses a series of fine ridges along the bodies of both lights (similar to the Fenix TK45). Lights may be slippery when wet.

    Lights can tailstand, and there is a recessed lanyard attach hole on the tail. Lights have a flat stainless steel bezel ring

    Lights use an electronic switch, located near the head. The switch appears white, but actually has a red LED underneath that lights up as a low battery warning indicator.



    Lights use square-cut screw threads, anodized for lock-out. Threads feel somewhat "gritty" on both models, and there are noticeable nicks in the anodizing on both lights. There was also a minor defect on my S65 - a narrowing of the distance between the last two threads - resulting in increased stiffness when screwing down the tailcap/battery carrier.



    You can see this in the photo above – to the right of the arrow, the thread distance is consistent. But to the left of the arrow, the bottom-most thread runs in closer to the one above it. With extra lube, I found this wasn't too much of a problem (but it was quite stiff upon arrival).

    Note also that I don't see o-rings anywhere on the body tube. I presume these are integrated into the tailcap/battery carrier.







    The carriers are mainly plastic, composed of multiple segments screwed together. I presume this design was to facilitate manufacture, as it allows similar parts to be manufactured for both carriers. However, it results in a less sturdy-looking 6xAA carrier (i.e. you can see above how the segments don't line up perfectly on my S65 sample). But it should hold together fine given the screws built-in to each seam.

    User Interface

    The lights use an electronic switch for on/off and mode control. Press and release for constant on.

    Mode switching is controlled by holding down the electronic switch. The lights will cycle between Lo – Med - Hi, in repeating sequence. Simply release the switch to select your desired mode. The light has mode memory – if you turn it off/on, the lights return to your previous level.

    There is a "hidden" strobe mode, accessed by double-clicking the switch when on. Double-click again to return to constant on.

    Lights use the typical Olight "soft lock-out" - if you hold the switch down from On, after three cycles of output modes, the light turns itself off. It can not be turned back on until you rapidly press the switch three times. This is a soft lock to prevent accidental activation. However, I always recommend you store lights fully locked out at the tailcap when not in use (see Standy current below).

    For a more detailed examination of the build and user interface, please see my video overview:



    Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the 360p icon in the lower right-hand corner, and select the higher 480p to 720p options, or even run full-screen. Sorry for the somewhat choppy video – these were filmed in lower light conditions.

    PWM/Strobe

    There is no sign of PWM that I can see, at any output level. Either they are using a frequency that is too high for me to detect, or the light is actually current-controlled as claimed.



    Strobe was measured at 9.7 hz on both the S35 and S65. As revealed by the oscilloscope traces, the strobe pattern shows a rapid oscillation at the beginning of the On signal, shown in more detail below.



    Standby drain

    Since the switch is an electronic switch, there needs to be a standby current when the battery carrier is fully connected. Measuring this current is not simple, however, given the negative contact point is buried deep in the tailcap below the carrier. When connecting all contact points as best I am able, my DMM gives me an initial current draw in the high tens of uA (i.e. <100 uA), that quickly drops down over a few seconds and settles at 6.3uA on the S35 and 5.8uA on the S65. Since both lights appear to place the cells in series, that would translate into 36 and 39 years respectively, on a 2000mAh NiMH cell.

    Note I don't have my usual degree of confidence in those numbers, given the the more complicated wiring setup needed. Also, I'm not sure what the outside metal ring on the top of the carrier is doing, if anything. There is a plastic ring in the head of the light that blocks access of this metal ring to anything that I can see (although it is possible that contact might still occur with a protruding solder point on the contact plate in the head). I have tried to connect the outside carrier ring to that solder point with no apparent effect - you need to establish negative contact between the terminal at the base of the tailcap and the body of the light for a current to flow.

    Although most Olight models (including these lights) come with a "soft lock-out" of the switch (to prevent accidental actiation), you need to lock out the light at the tailcap to actually break the current.

    Low Battery warning

    The low-battery warning flash is integrated under the on/off button, as shown below:




    Typically, I only noticed the indicator flashing once the output started to dim (i.e. fell out of regulation).

    Beamshots:




    The S35 and S65 seem to use an identical head. Below the stainless steel bezel ring is a red o-ring, holding the lens in place. The reflectors have a medium orange peel (textured) finish. Both lights use a Cool White XM-L emitter, well centered on my samples. I would expect a fairly smooth, well-balanced beam.

    And now, what you have all been waiting for. I have only done the S35 beamshots below, since the patterns are comparable – only overall output changes.

    All lights are on Sanyo Eneloop NiMH, at the maximum supported number for the given models (3x or 4x). Lights are about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.













    And now for the outdoor shots. In this case, I have used the S65, since greater output is needed at a distance.



    (sorry, the PA40 above should say 4xAA, not 8xAA). These beamshots were done in the style of my earlier 100-yard round-up review. Please see that thread for a discussion of the topography (i.e. the road dips in the distance, to better show you the corona in the mid-ground).

    As you can see, the S65 is significantly brighter than the MC-E-based ITP A6 or the JetBeam PA40. Scroll down to my Summary table for some comparison output and throw numbers for all the lights.

    EDIT: if you are curious about those red lights in the background, see my post #6 below
    .

    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 any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

    I have recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

    Throw/Output Summary Chart:

    My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.sliderule.ca/FL1.htm for a description of the terms used in these tables.



    The 3xAA S35 is close in output to the XM-L-based 4xAA lights, and the 6xAA S65 is similar in output to the 3xXP-G-based Fenix TK45 (8xAA). The older ITP A6 (MC-E, 6xAA) is closer in max output to the 4xAA lights.

    Throw is relatively good for the Baton lights, in keeping with their relative size and XM-L emitter.

    Output/Runtime Comparison:



    The S65 is well suited for either NiMH or Alkalines, at all levels. I was impressed to see the regulation pattern be maintained for so long on Hi on 6x alkaline. Note that there is an intial drop-off in max output over the first few minutes, followed by a long regulated period.

    The S35 is able to maintain regulation a lot long on Hi on NiMH compared to alkaline. But overall performance is still reasonable. At Med output levels, you can see NiMH and alkaline typically perform similarly on the S35.

    I am happy to report that manufacturer ANSI FL-1 lumen estimates seem quite accurate for both lights. Reported runtimes are actually quite conservative – especially on Med mode, where I got much longer runtime than the specs show.





    Baton-series runtimes are definitely very good for their respective battery and emitter classes. The 3xAA S35 typically performs as well as many 4xAA lights.

    Potential Issues

    Overall build of the lights is fairly smooth, and grip is relatively low. Lights also roll easily.

    I have no idea of final packaging, but I doubt a clip would be included (no obvious attachment point).

    Lights use a plastic battery carrier, integrated into the tailcap. Design seems flexible enough, but long-term stability is unknown.

    Lights use an electronic switch, and therefore require a stand-by current when fully connected. Current seems low enough to not be a concern (i.e. apparently several decades before the cells would be drained), but I generally recommend you store the light locked-out when not in use.

    There were inconsistencies in thread distance on my S65 sample, leading to increased resistance. Threads felt "gritty" on both samples, with obvious nicks in the anodizing.

    Preliminary Observations

    It is nice to see the expansion of the multiple-AA-class of high output lights – a frequently under-served flashlight constituency.

    3xAA and 6xAA are unusual battery multiples, but the performance here suggests you get a lot of bang-for-your-buck on the Olight Baton models. Runtimes handily exceeded manufacturer's specs on both lights, with accurate lumen estimates.

    Spacing of output modes is good, with three standard output levels and a "hidden" strobe mode. Given the excellent output/runtime efficiency, Olight is clearly using a good-quality constant-current circuit. Regulation is impressive on all battery sources and levels, even on alkalines.

    Build design is distinctive – I don't think I've ever seen such consistently cylindrical bodies (i.e., the Batons are well named ). Despite the name, I wouldn't suggest using these as personal defense weapons - they are much smaller than I expected, and relatively thin-walled. Personally, I would have preferred a few more grip elements, as they are somewhat minimalist in external styling. But I am glad to see tailstanding has been maintained, with a lanyard attachment point.

    The location of the control switch near the head will be good for traditional consumers (i.e. standard under-hand grip). The low battery indicator built into the switch is a clever idea, although I typically found it activated fairly late in the lifespan of the cells (i.e. output had already dropped out of regulation). Still, I'm always glad to see warning indicators included as secondary features (i.e. much better than flashing in the main beam).

    Despite some thread issues on my samples, the overall builds seem ok – certainly a step up from the earlier ITP A6. However, the lights do use plastic battery carriers, and the bodies feel a lot less substantial than the typical Olight higher-end lines (e.g. M-series lights).

    That said, performance, beam profile and user interface are all well-designed and well-executed. I could see these lights being popular with traditional consumers (i.e. non-flashaholics, who use only standard alkaline cells ).

    ----

    Olight S35 and S65 supplied by 4Sevens for review.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 11-05-2011 at 08:56 AM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Outdoor 100-yard Beamshots 2011. Latest: Olight M18 Striker.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  2. #2
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Olight Baton S35 & S65 (XM-L, 3xAA and 6xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEOS, BEAMSHOTS

    I was wondering if you were going to review these lights. A little spendy but they'd still make great gift lights.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic whiteoakjoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight Baton S35 & S65 (XM-L, 3xAA and 6xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEOS, BEAMSHOTS

    Thanks Selfbuilt, great review as always. I was really wanting one of the S65's but purchased a Neutral PA40 while wating for reviews. I think I made the right choice but the side switch would be nice.
    I have been wanting to ask, What are the red lights or reflections in the tree in the beam shot photos?

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* candle lamp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Olight Baton S35 & S65 (XM-L, 3xAA and 6xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEOS, BEAMSHOTS

    Thanks for excellent reveiw. Selfbuilt!

    What whiteoakjoe ask about seems like trimmings on a Christmas tree to me.
    Latest Review : Jil Lite PenENT Review

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Olight Baton S35 & S65 (XM-L, 3xAA and 6xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEOS, BEAMSHOTS

    Excellent review Selfbuilt

    Pity these don't take 14500 Li-ion batteries as the S35 would be an ideal EDC with mega power

  6. #6

    Default Re: Olight Baton S35 & S65 (XM-L, 3xAA and 6xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEOS, BEAMSHOTS

    I've just updated the review my attempts to measure the standby current. It appears to be in the low uA range, giving you several decades on standard 2000mAh NiMH.

    However, the wiring setup is complicated with the integrated carrier, so I'm not as confident in those measurements as usual. As always, I recommend you store the lights locked out when not in use.

    Quote Originally Posted by whiteoakjoe View Post
    I have been wanting to ask, What are the red lights or reflections in the tree in the beam shot photos?
    Quote Originally Posted by candle lamp View Post
    What whiteoakjoe ask about seems like trimmings on a Christmas tree to me.
    Yes, I get a lot questions about those (some find them to look "spooky" - more Halloween-ish. ).

    They are actually red aerial warning lights mounted on a series of non-directional radio beacons in the distance. NDBs are used as markers for aviation or marine nagivation (I believe the former in this case, as the Coast Guard runs a series of NDBs a few kms east of this location). In this case, there are seven towers located about 650m away in a clearing.

    As you can tell by the images in the wiki link above, these types of simple beacon towers are typically too thin to see with the naked eye at those distance during the day. Here is my control shot taken in July, when I was scouting the location, where there is no sign of them:



    The problem is at night - the top-most red warning lights of the nearest towers extend just over the top of the trees, and so always show up in the photos. But the problem gets a LOT worse at this time of year, when most of the leaves have fallen. Now, almost all of the warning lights along the length of towers shine through.

    Incidentally, you might have noticed another artifact in these pictures. These three shots were actually taken in sequence, about 1 min apart (in order: S65, A6, PA40). Notice that small white dot in the upper left-hand corner, that seems to be slowly moving down and to the right?



    According to the Google SkyMap app on my Android phone, that's the star Arcturus - the fourth brightest star in the night sky, and brightest star in the northern hemisphere. Good thing I took these photos in the right sequence, or the star would have been zig-zaging the night sky. FYI, these shots were taken pointed almost due North.

    The joys of nighttime photography!
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Outdoor 100-yard Beamshots 2011. Latest: Olight M18 Striker.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

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    Default

    What would be the advantages of choosing the s35 over a zebra light s51? From what i've read, twice lumens is not twice as bright and a zl will put out 200 lumens vs 380 lumens for s35 and runtimes both nearly the same on high?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Olight Baton S35 & S65 (XM-L, 3xAA and 6xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEOS, BEAMSHOTS

    The S35 has a bigger reflector and so has far more throw that the Zebralight SC51 (which is a great light anyway). Where the S35 in my opinion excels is as a room lighting tool in an emergency. That 20lumen low lasts for 240h and with ceiling bounce provides adequate lighting.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic Kokopelli's Avatar
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    Default Olight Baton S35 & S65 (XM-L, 3xAA and 6xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEOS, BEAMS...

    I like its size and feel too. The beam is very nice and useful. Only thing is it isn't as bright as today's U2 type newcomers, like EA4 and other lithium battery lights. The tint on mine is a bit green on the lower settings but still nice on the eye. Nowhere green like my Quark 123.

    Btw, I see 360h max runtime clearly stated on my hard box packaging. I don't know if Olight changed the packaging or not.


    ---
    Kokopelli, Istanbul, Turkey

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