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Thread: Eagletac D25 Clicky Series Round-up Review (D25C, D25A2, D25LC2 - XM-L & XP-G)

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    Popcorn Eagletac D25 Clicky Series Round-up Review (D25C, D25A2, D25LC2 - XM-L & XP-G)

    Warning: a LOT more pic heavy than usual.



    The D25-series from Eagletac has recently been updated with all new "Clicky" models (i.e., lights use a tailcap clicky switch to control on/off and perform some mode changes).

    There are actually a large number of battery models, circuits and emitters available in this line, and I won't be covering all of them here. Instead, I have four models on hand for review: the D25C XM-L U2, the D25C XP-G S2, the D25A XP-G S2, and the D25LC2 XM-L U2, all in cool white. Not examined are the D25A, D25C2, the alternate circuit version of the D25LC2 (with XP-G emitter), or any of neutral-tint emitter options.

    Since this is a lot to make sense of, I will start out with a general overview of the line, with common build features described. I will then examine each specific model in detail – presenting size comparisons, beamshot comparisons, throw, output and runtime testing comparisons (all relative to others of their respective classes). Finally, some general comments at the end.

    Before I get started, here are the general Manufacturer specs on the D25 Clicky line, and specific specs on the models I am testing. Note that finding accurate specs on this series can be complicated, due to all the options (i.e. the common bundled manual only presents general ranges). Below are taken from the Eagletac website technical specs for each model reviewed here. Note also that outputs and runtime typically refer to output group 2 (Moonlight) where available, and not the default output group 1. I will explain all of this later in the review.

    Common D25C Clicky-Series Specs

    • All lights available with XM-L U2 or XP-G S2 LED emitters, in Cool White or Neutral White tints
    • Two groups (1 & 2) output, selected by twisting head/bezel
    • Three levels brightness and seven hidden modes (strobe, beacon, SOS, flash, etc) at group 1 (head loosen)
    • Turbo output and tactical strobe output at group 2 (head tighten)
    • Stainless steel bezel coated with durable titanium in dark grey
    • Syntax ultra-clear glass lens w/ harden and both-side AR coating
    • Type III finish / aerospace grade aluminum
    • Stainless steel pocket clip in highly polished finish (A and C)
    • Light orange peel (LOP) reflector for maximum output and a smooth beam
    • Gold and silver plated contacts (made with brass and copper)
    • Superior knurling for improved grip
    • IPX-8 waterproof
    • Reverse Clicky
    • Heavy Duty Holster with self-retention device
    • Mil-Spec Paracord Lanyard w/ quick attachment clip

    D25C Specs
    • OTF Lumens for Cree XM-L U2: 277/182/22/0.5 lumens
    • OTF Lumens for Cree XP-G S2: 219/149/22/0.5 lumens
    • Note: With moon-mode setting disabled, lowest output will increase by about 6 times, to 4 lumen, and the second lowest output will double, to around 65 lumen
    • Runtime: 0.9/1.6/10/150+ hrs
    • Powered by 1x CR123 battery
    • Voltage range: 1.8V-3.2V Li-ion
    • Dimensions: Head Diameter 0.78 inches (20 mm), Body Diameter 0.78 inches (20 mm), Length: 2.9 inches (75 mm), Weight: 1 ounce (29 grams)
    • Using a 3.7V RCR123A Li-ion Rechargeable battery direct drives the LED at maximum current level (up to 750 LED lumen from XM-L and about 550 LED lumen from XP-G). Limit each usage to less than five minutes (or less than one minute each with freshly charged Li-ion for the first couple times). Hold the light in your palm to help remove heat from the LED. If you find the flashlight too warm to hold, turn off the light to allow the light to cool down. Do not leave the light running unintended. When using a Li-ion cell, all brightness levels will become the highest output (except the lowest mode). Expected runtime is about 20-30 minutes.

    D25A2 Specs
    • ANSI FL-1 Lumens for Cree XP-G S2: 219/149/22/0.5 lumens
    • Note: With moon-mode setting disabled, lowest output will increase by about 6 times, to 4 lumen, and the second lowest output will double, to around 65 lumen
    • Runtime: 1.4/2.5/16/200+ hrs
    • Powered by 2xAA batteries
    • Voltage range: 1.8V-3.0V Li-ion
    • Dimensions: Head Diameter 0.85 inches (21 mm), Body Diameter 0.7 inches (18 mm), Length: 5.7 inches (146 mm), Weight: 1.9 ounce (54 grams)
    • With moon-mode setting disabled, lowest output will increase by about 6 times, to 4 lumen, and the second lowest output will double, to around 65 lumen

    D25LC2 Specs
    • ANSI FL-1 Lumens for Cree XM-L U2: 548/370/50/5 lumens
    • Runtime (2xCR123A): 1/1.8/15/100+ hrs
    • Runtime (1x18650): 1.5/2.4/25/150+ hrs
    • Powered by 2xCR123A, 2xRCR123A, or 1x18650 li-ion
    • Voltage range: 2.7V-9V Li-ion
    • Dimensions: Head Diameter 0.9 inches (22.5 mm), Body Diameter 0.85 inches (22 mm), Length: 4.5 inches (115 mm), Weight: 1.7 ounces (49 grams)
    • Note X-G S2 version uses a different circuit with longer runtimes



    All lights come in comparable packaging, including a belt holster with metal button clasp, wrist lanyard, extra o-rings, manual, and warranty card. A sturdy clip is attached to the light by either a pair of small hex screws (D25C), or under a removable ring cover (D25A2, D25LC2). A representative D25C sample is shown above.

    Build Overview:

    I'm going to quickly run through the bodies in sequence, highlighting differences between each model/version as I go.

    D25C:








    The D25C build is remarkably petite for a 1xCR123A clicky light (see detailed size pics and measurements later in the review).

    Anodizing is a glossy black (HA = type III). All labels are fairly small and very clear (sharp and bright against the black background).

    Knurling is present over most of the body, with an additional band on the head. This makes grip good, and the light is easy to twist single-handed.

    The head has a large and flat-ended stainless steel bezel (with a dark-finish). Reflector is a light orange-peel (LOP) textured reflector. I'll talk more about reflectors and emitters in the beamshot section of the review.

    Screw threading is fairly fine in the head, and not anodized (which is understandable, given the twisty features).

    There is no spring in the head, but a raised disc around the center contact is used to prevent reverse-polarity accidents (i.e. need to use batteries with a raised top).

    The stainless steel pocket clip is held in place by two hex screws near the base.

    Both my D25C samples could tailstand perfectly, as the low-profile reverse clicky is slightly recessed. Switch feel is about typical for a small reverse clicky.

    There is also a split-ring attachment point off to one side of the base, if you want to put it on a keychain.

    D25A2:








    The D25A2 is also quite small for its class (again, see detailed size pics and measurements later in the review).

    Anodizing, knurling, and labels are comparable to the D25C, all in excellent shape. The head and reflector look similar to the D25C, but are actually slightly larger (again, scroll down for measurements and more info).

    The black-coated stainless steel pocket clip is the standard clip-on style variety, but it is firmly held in place by a removable screw ring. Unscrew the ring to remove the clip.

    Screw threading is slightly larger than the D25C, and is of comparable number, size and width at both ends of the battery tube. This means that the head and tailcaps are reversible on the battery tube. This thus allows you change the clip orientation by simply exchanging the head and tail regions (i.e., clip-up or clip-down). It also means that there is no anodization for tail-cap lockout, as the head-twist mechanism has to be able to work at both ends.

    Unlike my D25Cs, my D25A2 sample was very wobbly when attempting to tailstand. You could probably adjust this slightly by loosening the switch retaining ring in the tailcap, but I doubt I could ever get this sample to tailstand securely.

    There is now a removable lanyard attach ring on the tailcap.

    D25LC2:











    The D25LC2 is generally similar to the D25A2 described above (scroll back to see a discussion).

    Again, this light is surprisingly small for a clicky-switch light that can run on protected 18650. To support the wider batteries, the overall diameter of the D25LC2 is also wider, across its entire length (scroll down for detailed measures and specs).

    My D25LC2 was slightly wobbly when tailstanding, but acceptable.

    The D25LC2 comes with a 2xCR123A plastic insert, to prevent rattle. Remove the insert for use with 18650 cells.

    Because of the raised contact ring around the positive contact in the head, only small-button top 18650 batteries will work in the light. No flat-top or wide button-top batteries will work.

    User Interface

    The UI is typically common across the models, although there are some small differences.

    Turn the lights on by pressing the tailcap reverse clicky (i.e., press and release for on).

    With the head tight, you get Turbo output. Soft-pressing the clicky switch will advance you to Strobe. Soft-press again to return to Turbo.

    With the head loosened, you get the programmable state (actually available in two groups, as I will explain in a moment). In head-loosened state, you change output modes by soft-pressing the clicky switch. The basic sequence is: Lo > Med > Hi > in a double-repeating loop. If you continue to cycle past two series of Lo/Med/Hi in the head-loosened state, the light enters into the "hidden" strobe modes. The full proper sequence is thus:

    Lo > Med > Hi > Lo > Med > Hi > Strobe I > Strobe II > Beacon I > Beacon II > SOS I > SOS II > Low-flash > etc.

    Note the manual incorrectly describes the SOS modes as preceding Beacon. All of these modes are described in the next section of this review (i.e., oscilloscope traces).

    Most of the lights have optional mode memory, which saves the last setting used of the head loosen state if you want. To toggle mode memory on or off, do three loosen-tighten head twists (starting from tight), while on. According to Eagletac, mode memory is not available on the D25A clicky model, but I don't have one to test. I can confirm that it wasn't available on my D25LC2 either. Both my D25C samples and my D25A2 had toggle-able memory modes, as expected.

    UPDATE June 6, 2012: Note that if you have mode memory turned on, the light always retains your location in the mode sequence (even when turned off/on). This means that if you advance through the constant output modes, you have to go through all the strobe modes to return to the constant output modes again (i.e., not really "hidden" any more, if memory is on). But if memory mode is off, BMX discovered there is a useful "shortcut" to jump you back to the first Lo mode, no matter where you are in the sequence. Just soft-press and hold the switch for more than one second, and the light reverts you back to the first output state (i.e., the first Lo mode). In essense, this works like turning the light off and on, but without the clicking required (i.e., with memory mode off, it always comes back on at the start of the sequence).

    But you aren't done yet! You also have the option of two possible groups of constant-output modes in the head-loosened state. You switch between alternate output groups by doing a tighten-loosen head switch three times in a row (starting from loosened, this time).

    The default group 1 is what I refer to in this review as Lo1/Med1/Hi1. The alternate group 2 is also referred to as "Moonlight" by Eagletac, and I refer to these as Lo2/Med2/Hi2 in the review to distinguish. This is where things get a bit confusing - basically, this second set has lower outputs at the Lo and Med level, compared to the default group 1. How much is variable though (e.g., the D25LC2 just has a slightly lower Lo, it doesn't really have a true moonlight mode like the D25C and D25A2 do). See my Lumen Summary tables at the end of the review for more info.

    Note that contrary to what the manual says, mode memory (if available and turned on) works for both groups of output modes (manual says it only works on group 1 modes). At least it worked on both groups for all the D25C and D25A2 models I tested, which were the only models have the mode memory option in the first place.

    Oh, and to add to the complexity, the Eagletac ANSI FL-1 output and runtime specs typically refer the lower output "Moonlight mode" group (group 2), not the default group (group 1) that the lights actually come set to. If you look up more detailed technical specs, they will generally tell you how to convert for the group 1 Lo/Med.

    I realize that may sound confusing, but it isn't so bad when you get used to it. Basically, you have access to the max mode (head tight) and three constant output modes (head loosened) at any given time. You just get to choose between two groups/sets of the lower output modes. I provide detailed tables giving you the estimated lumens at each mode output level in the "General Output/Runtime Comments" section later in the review.

    In the meantime, to help show all of this better, please see my video overview:



    Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the configuration settings icon and select the higher 480p to 720p options. You can also run full-screen.

    PWM/Strobe

    There is no sign of PWM that I can see, at any output level – I presume the lights are current-controlled.

    I did detect some high frequency noise as shown below:

    D25A2 Lo:



    D25A2 Med/Hi:


    Noise was in the range of ~1kHz or ~4kHz. None of this is visible to the eye, however. There was no sign of noise on the Turbo or Moonlight modes.

    The "hidden" modes are as follows (in sequence):

    Strobe modes:

    Strobe I:


    The first strobe mode is a standard tactical strobe, about 9.4 Hz. The head-tightened strobe mode is comparable to this mode.

    Strobe II:


    The second strobe mode is an alternating or "oscillating" strobe, switching between 6.5Hz and 16Hz roughly every 2 secs.

    I haven't bothered to show the SOS modes, but the two options simply vary in their frequency. Note that despite what the manuals say, SOS is actually present after the two Beacon modes, not before.

    Beacon modes:

    Beacon I:


    The first Beacon mode is 1.6Hz, with a roughly 50% on/off cycle of light.

    Beacon II:


    The second Beacon mode is of variable frequency and variable duration. Pattern seems completely random.

    The Low-Flash mode (i.e. low output, slow frequency):



    The Low-Flash mode was at reduced output, with a slow frequency of 0.37 Hz (i.e. one flash every ~2.7 secs or so). Basically, this is a third Beacon mode (just lower power and even less frequent).

    There is no stanby-drain on any of the lights, due to the physical clicky-switch and head-twist mechanism.

    Beam:

    All members of this D25 Clicky family has small, reasonably deep reflectors in a light orange peel (LOP) finish. Emitters were fairly well centered on all my samples. I will provide detailed beamshot comparisons for each specific model below, compare to their respective class/battery type.

    For all white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on battery described (I use AW protected Li-ions). 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.

    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 devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox 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. Effective March 2012, I have updated the Max Output ANSI FL-1 lumen estimates to represent peak output measured at 30 secs (my earlier gray tables were based on a later time point for Max output). Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables.

    And now, the comparative analysis of all the lights:

    -------------

    D25C:




    From left to right: CR123A; Eagletac D25C; Lumintop ED10; 4Sevens Mini 123; Zebralight SC30; Olight i1; Thrunite 1C; Jetbeam PC10; Eagletac D25C.

    All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:

    Eagletac D25C: Weight: 30g, Length: 76.0mm, Width (bezel): 20.0mm
    Sunwayman M11R: Weight 45.8g, Length: 76.4mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
    Sunwayman V11R: Weight 50.5g, Length: 84.3mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
    Rofis JR10: Weight 75.0g, Length (max): 110.6mm (angled): 92.9mm, Width (bezel): 24.8mm
    Jetbeam PC10: Weight: 50.5g, Length: 93.6mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm
    Jetbeam BC10: Weight: 46.6g, Length: 90.3mm, Width (bezel): 23.2mm
    Lumintop ED10: Weight: 21.5g, Length: 70.4mm, Width (bezel): 20.7mm
    Olight i1 Stainless Steel: Weight 48.1g, Length: 63.9mm, Width (bezel): 20.4mm
    Thrunite Neutron 1C: Weight: 45.2g, Length: 91.5mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm




    1x 3.7V RCR













    1x 3V 1xCR123A:






















    -------------

    D25A2:



    From left to right: Duracell AA NiMH; Eagletac D25A2, P20A2-II, P100A2; Fenix LD20; 4Sevens Quark AA-2; 4Sevens Quark Mini 2AA; JetBeam PA20.

    All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:

    Eagletac D25A2: Weight: 54.8g, Length 148.5mm, Width (bezel): 21.0mm
    4Sevens QAA-2 X (Tactical tailcap): Weight: 60.1g, Length: 149.1mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
    Jetbeam PA20: Weight: 82.52g, Length: 160mm, Width (bezel) 22.6mm
    Jetbeam BA20: Weight: 70.2g, Length: 156.4mm, Width (bezel) 23.2mm
    Thrunite Neutron 2A: Weight: 76.4g, Length: 250mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm


    2x NiMH (Eneloop)























    -------------

    D25LC2:



    From left to right: CR123A, Protected 18650, Eagletac D25LC2, 4Sevens Quark 123-2, Thrunite TN12, JetBeam PC20, Nitecore IFE2, Lumintop ED20, Zebralight SC600

    All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:

    Eagletac D25LC2: Weight: 50.0g, Length: 116.3mm, Width (bezel): 22.5mm
    4Sevens Quark Q123-2 X (Regular tailcap): Weight: 44.6g, Length: 112.7mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
    Jetbeam PC20: Weight: 60.0g, Length: 127.5mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm
    Lumintop ED20: Weight 84.4g, Length 121.6mm, Width (bezel) 25.2mm
    Spark SL6: Weight 77.8g, Length: 125.5mm, Width (bezel) 30.9mm
    Thrunite TN12: Weight: 64.0g, Length: 126.9mm, Width (bezel): 24.1mm
    Zebralight SC600: Weight 87.2g, Length: 107.8mm, Width (bezel) 29.7mm


























    General Output/Runtime Comments:

    Ok, that's a LOT of data up there. Let it me distill it down for you.

    The first general observation is that the D25 Clicky models were all excellent performers in terms of output/runtime efficiency. Clearly, there are very efficient current-controlled circuits in use in all models examined here, with very flat stabilization patterns. Note there is a time step-down on Turbo a little after 3 mins have passed. Note also that Hi is typically slightly lower than this stepped-down level.

    The second observation is that initial output (prior to step-down) is eye-poppingly bright on every model, for its respective output and battery class. These are some of the highest outputs I've seen for these classes of lights – and with sone of the smallest builds, to boot.

    Another observation is that each light's output levels are remarkably consistent across all battery types supported (i.e., the reported output specs are independent of battery type).

    All of the above comes at certain cost, however. The wider circuit range of the D25LC2 means you lose the true "moonlight" level (i.e., group 2 outputs are lower on Lo/Med than group 1, but not that much lower). And the restricted range of the D25C means RCR is not fully supported (i.e., you only keep the two group Lo modes, but lose all the Med/Hi/Turbo to direct-drive). This is the price you pay for outstanding efficiency and perfectly stabilization.

    All that being said, there seems to be something a little off in Eagletac ANSI FL-1 numbers. Runtimes specs seem fairly accurate at the Hi/Turbo levels, but seem overly optimistic looking by the Med levels (note that I don't test lower levels). The reason for this become apparent when you look at my estimated lumen output values – they typically all exceed Eagletac's published specs by a noticeable amount.

    Here are detailed tables comparing my lumen estimate to Eagletac published "OTF" or "ANSI FL-1" specs, for each light. Lo1/Med1/Hi1 refers to the default group 1, and Lo2/Med2/Hi2 refers to the alternate "Moonlight" group 2.

    D25C XP-G S2


    D25C XM-L U2


    D25A2 XP-G S2


    D25LC2 XM-L U2


    The Eagletac "Moonlight", or group 2 output levels, typically only differ from the default group 1 levels at the Lo and Med outputs. The degree of difference is variable (i.e., the D25LC2 doesn't really have a true "moonlight" level, just a somewhat lower Lo). And the reduction in the Med levels would be hard to see for most people (although I can pick it up in my lightbox). In any case, Hi and Turbo levels are always the same between the mode groups.

    At the Med levels, my numbers are definitely higher than any of Eagletac's published specs for these lights. I don't why the numbers are so off, but this explains the lower runtimes I observed on Med – my lights are all brighter than spec, and therefore don't run as long.

    At the end of the day, the fundamental point remains that the D25 Clicky offerings all have excellent output/runtime efficiency at all levels. It just seems that the absolute value of many of those levels is higher than the specs indicate.

    Potential Issues

    Flat-top cells won't work in the lights, due to the physical reverse-polarity protection. Only cells with small button-tops will work.

    Due to the customized (and potentially voltage-restricted) circuits in each model, not all battery types may be fully supported. The D25C-series lights on 1xRCR loose Med/Hi/Turbo to direct-drive (at extremely high output). The multi-power D25LC2 doesn't get a true "moonlight" mode (just a slightly lower Lo/Med) in the second group.

    Published ANSI FL-1 specs don't seem entirely accurate. Reported output level specs seem understated on Hi/Turbo levels (but runtimes are accurate). Med level output specs seem considerably understated (with runtime specs proportionately overstated). However, overall output/runtime efficiency remains excellent at all levels tested. See my runtime graphs (and comments above) for more information

    Screw threads are not anodized for lockout on the D25A2 or D25LC2. However, the battery tubes are reversible, allowing you to switch the direction of the clip.

    Mode memory (and the ability to toggle it off or on) was only available on my D25C and D25A2 models. It was not available on my D25LC2, and Eagletac reports it is not available on the D25A either.

    There was some noticeable tint shifting at the default group 1 Lo level on some lights, consistent with current-control.

    Preliminary Observations

    To summarize this rather long round-up, the D25 Clicky line is a diverse, innovative, and very efficient series of flashlights from Eagletac.

    I am impressed by the relatively small size of the lights in this family. The builds were of consistent good quality, with good attention to detail. I quite like the nice touches like tinted stainless steel bezels, decent knurling, thoughtful clip designs and ergonomics, etc.

    Performance is particularly impressive across the line, both for max output as well as overall efficiency at all levels, on all supported batteries. But there's a reason for that – each light model (and sometimes different emitter versions within a given model) has its own customized circuit. This is quite different from most "family" series of lights, where identical heads/circuits are used between models to keep manufacturing costs down (and maximize lego-ability).

    The high degree of customization here (along with a good base current-control circuit design to start with) is what allows Eagletac to squeeze out class-leading efficiencies in many categories. But it also means some limitations (e.g., each circuit is optimized for a limited voltage range specific to only those supported cells). Please see my "General Output/Runtime Comments" and "Potential Issues" sections above for more of a discussion.

    One thing that people may find confusing is to having to choose between output level groups - i.e., the Lo/Med/Hi set as default, or the optional Moonlight/Med/Hi (where Med is slightly less output than the default group Med). Personally, I would just like to have seen a consistent Moonlight/Lo/Med/Hi and be done with it.

    At the end of the day, this incredibly wide degree of body, emitter and circuit customization gives you a lot of choices, in all battery classes. I can't recall seeing another series with so many available options (e.g., right down to cool and neutral tints). But of course, that many options may be overwhelming for some (and may lead to shortages of specific models that are more popular than others). Finding proper specs and descriptions can also be an issue, so I recommend you check out the detailed sections of this review for more info on any particular model you are interested in.

    ----

    D25C, D25A2, D25LC2 were supplied by Eagletac for review.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 06-06-2012 at 05:41 AM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Spring 2018 Sale
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

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