Warning: even more pic heavy than usual.
UPDATE AUGUST 6, 2013: I have done some comparison pics to the new Neutral White version of the D40A. See post #62 in this thread for more info.
The D40A is the latest 4xAA light from Sunwayman. The D40A has a distinctive interface for SWM, and the light itself packs a powerful punch despite its diminutive size. Let's see how it does against the recent competition in this space.
Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).
- CREE XM-L2 T6 LED
- Brand-new Dual-button Side Switch System, slightly depress the side switch buttons for output ranging from 30 to 980 lumens
- Runs on: 4x AA (Batteries not included)
- Turbo: 980 lumens / .05h
- High: 550 lumens / 1.7h
- Mid: 220 lumens / 4h
- Low: 30 lumens / 31h
- Peak Beam Intensity: 24800 cd
- Constant current circuit, constant output
- High quality reflector with soft beam pattern
- Optimized Deep Reflector, great throw distance as well as perfect beam pattern
- High quality aerospace-grade aluminum alloy, Stainless steel head retaining ring
- Military specification Type III- hard anodized body
- Waterproof, in accordance with IPX-8 standard
- Ultra-clear tempered glass lens resists scratches and impacts
- Tail stand capable- can be used as a candle
- Included Accessories: Lanyard, O-ring, Holster
- Dimensions: Length: 4.74" (120.6mm), Head Diameter: 1.57" (40mm), Body Diameter: 1.65" (42 mm)
- Weight (W/o Batteries): 5.83 .oz (165.4g)
- MSRP: ~$80
The D40A comes in the standard Sunwayman hard cardboard box packaging. The light and extras are well secured in hard packing material. Inside you will find the light, good quality lanyard with clip, extra o-ring, holster, manual, product insert and warranty card.
From left to right: Duracell NiMH; Eagletac GX25A3; Nitecore EA4; Sunwayman D40Al Olight S35; Eagletac SX25A6.
All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed (unless indicated):
Sunwayman D40A 4xAA: Weight: 167.9g, Length: 120.4mm, Weight (bezel): 40.0mm
Sunwayman M40A 4xAA: Weight: 247.0g , Length: 145mm, Width 57.0mm (bezel)
Eagletac GX25A3 3xAA: Weight: 151.4g, Length: 109.2mm, Weight (bezel): 38.6mm
Eagletac SX25A6 6xAA: Weight: 279.8g, Length: 183mm, Weight (bezel): 47.0mm
Fenix TK45 8xAA: Weight: 307.3g, Length: 202mm, Width (bezel) 50.6mm, Width (tailcap) 44.0
ITP A6 6xAA: Weight: 209.9g, Length: 174mm, Width (bezel) 48.0mm, Width (tailcap) 37.8mm
JetBeam PA40 4xAA: Weight: 184.0g, Length: 183mm, Width: 40.8mm (bezel), 42.1mm (max width)
Lumintop PK30 6xAA: Weight: 454.0g, Length: 218mm, Width (bezel): 62.0mm
Nitecore EA4 4xAA: Weight: 161.6g , Length: 117.9mm, Width (bezel): 40.2mm
Nitecore EA8 8xAA: Weight: 301.9g , Length: 182mm, Width (bezel): 60.1mm
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
The D40A is quite petite for the class – just a hair or two longer than the Nitecore EA4, but otherwise similar in stature.
The overall build of the D40A is excellent. I'm very impressed with the quality and hand feel – especially for such a small build. The light is comfortable to hold and use. Grip is good, thanks to the relatively aggressive knurling on the body (and the ridge detail in the head helps too).
Anodizing is flat matte black, hard anodized (i.e., type III), with no obvious chips or damage on my sample. Sunwayman has always had top-notch anodizing (although I personally miss the natural finish look). Labels are bright and exceptionally clear (i.e., sharp white against the black background).
Screw threading is square cut (i.e., trapezoid), and is anodized for lock-out. Threading feels is good, and seems of high quality. It's nice to see the physical lock out, as many carrier-based lights lack this feature.
The D40A can tailstand easily, thanks to the flat base. There is a lanyard attachment point in the head, so there is no interference with tailstanding.
There is a dual-switch interface in the head to control the light. While the design and interface reminds of the small AA/CR123A Nitecore Explorer EA/EC-series lights, switch feel is better on the D40A (i.e., more definite tactile feedback). The four screws holding down the plate cover should also alleviate any waterproofing concern. There is even a small LED indicator between the buttons (used as a low-voltage warning in this case). See User Interface below for more information.
Surprisingly for such a small build, the D40A actually uses a battery carrier.
I am again impressed by the carrier – despite its small size, it feels very solid (e.g., note the metal end pieces and struts). Also note the careful attention to detail – like the recessed hex-head screws, recessed center contact, etc. The carrier is even reversible (i.e., fits and works in either orientation). Sunwayman has definitely got this right.
The D40A reflector is lightly textured and surprisingly deep – this should translate into very good throw for the size. Overall reflector dimensions remind me of the Nitecore EA4. The XM-L2 emitter was well centered on my sample
The light has a flat stainless steel bezel.
Again, the overall impression of handling the light is one of a quality feel.
The interface is a novel departure for Sunwayman, with the dual electronic switches in the head. Overall use is thus closer to the smaller Nitecore Explorer series lights (i.e., EA1, EA2, EC1, EC2), but with some differences (e.g., no locator beacon).
With the head connected to the body/carrier, main operation is controlled by the lower Power switch – press and release (i.e., click) to turn the light on at the previously memorized constant output level. While on, click the upper Mode switch repeatedly to cycle between the four main output levels in the following repeating sequence: Turbo > Hi > Med > Lo. I personally would have preferred the other way round. Note thethe light seems to remember your last choice (even after turning off/on) and advances you down to the next level on subsequent Mode press.
Turn the light off by clicking the Power switch again. As mentioned above, the light has mode memory, and will return to the last level used when turned back on from off. Note that if you set the light to a lower level, you can jump to Turbo mode directly by doing a quick double-click of the Power switch from Off.
There are also a number of "hidden" modes. You can access a regular tactical strobe by double-clicking the Mode switch (press any switch to exit). Note that this works when the light is On or Off - a double-click of the Mode switch gives you Strobe. You can access a signaling strobe (called "Police Strobe") by pressing and holding the Mode switch for more than 1 sec when on. Similarly, you can access the SOS mode by pressing and holding the Power switch for more than 1 sec when on.
From Off, there are two more modes available to you (in addition to Turbo and Strobe, described above). You can access Moonlight by pressing and holding the Power switch for more than two seconds from off. A nice feature here is that the light remembers this mode choice, and comes back to Moonlight when you next activate the light normally. It is not part of the mode sequence cycle however. Press and hold the Mode switch for more than 2 secs from Off to get a beacon mode (called "Aviation mode").
Please see my detailed oscilloscope traces below for more information on all the blinky modes.
The red light LED between the switches comes on and flashes as the batteries are running low. You will not see it in normal operation.
Finally, press and hold both buttons for more than 2 secs to electronically lock-out the light. The same sequence is required to unlock the light (but see my standby drain comments later in this review). Note that you can always physically lock out the light by as simple head twist.
For more information on the light, including the build and user interface, 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.
As with all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information.
There is no sign of PWM that I can see, at any output level – I believe the light is current-controlled.
The main strobe is standard high frequency strobe, measured at 13.3 Hz on my D40A.
"Police strobe" is really a signaling strobe. You get three rapid pulses (at 12.4Hz frequency), followed by a pause – repeating every 1.6 secs or so. This would be used to help direct traffic, identify location, etc.
Standard SOS signal (dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot) in about 6- secs.
Aviation mode is a beacon mode, and is a full output flash once every 2.6 secs or so.
A standby current drain is inevitable on this light, due to the electronic switch in the head (and/or tailcap). However, the D40A is fairly unique in my testing. When first connecting the head to the carrier, I measured a drain of 1.71mA for about ~3-4 secs. It then drops down to an ultra-low 11.4uA until a button is pressed. At that rate, it would take about 20 years to drain 2000mAh Sanyo Eneloops.
If you are concerned about this miniscule drain, you can easily lock-out the D40A by a quick twist of the head. There is also an electronic lock-out of the switch (described earlier). I don't know if this lock-out mode lowers the drain further, but it would hardly seem necessary.
UPDATE: I have just measured the drain on lock-out mode, and it is a little peculiar. When you engage lock-out by holding both buttons for 2 secs, the current jumps to 2mA for ~2 secs, and then drops down to 311uA. This is higher than the regular standby mode, and would drain 2000mAh NiMH Eneloops in just under 9 months. Odd that the lock-out current is higher, but this still really isn't much of an issue in practice. If worried, I suggest you lock out the light physically by a head-twist.
And now the white-wall beamshots. All lights are on Sanyo Eneloop NiMH, at the maximum supported number for the given models (4x, 6x or 8x). 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 (i.e., my SX25A6 sample is a neutral white tint, but you won't be able to tell that below).
Simply put, the D40A is fairly similar to the beam of the Nitecore EA4 and Eagletac GX25A3, with maybe a little more corona around the hotspot. This is what you would expect for a comparably sized and shaped reflector with light texturing.
For outdoor beamshots, these are all 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).
FYI, any "streaks" you see across the images are bug-trails. Flying insects are often attracted to the bright lights, and their flight trails get captured as swirly streaks due to the long exposure time.
I'm afraid this outdoor beamshot didn't come out very well – there really isn't much of a difference in throw between the D40A and the GX25A3. It must be my variable hotspot placement that makes the D40A look less throwy than it is. I'll see if I can re-do it next time I head out.
UPDATE AUGUST 6, 2013: I have done some comparison pics to the new Neutral White version of the D40A. See post #62 in this thread for more info.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 5, 2013: In case you were wondering, here is how the Sunwayman T45C compares to the Cool White version of the D40A. As you will see, there really isn't much of a beam pattern difference between these lights - as you would expect, based on their physical characteristics and my output/throw measures.
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. 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. Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).
As you can see, despite its small size, the D40A has excellent output and throw. Although not quite in the same throw category as the 6xAA/8X lights, the D40A's output matches some of those larger lights. At the moment, the D40A appears to be have brightest turbo modes among all my 3x/4x AA lights.
In terms of throw, my D40A seems to slightly exceed the Sunwayman specs (note that my measures are done according to ANSI FL-1 standards, with a NIST-calibrated light meter). This makes the D40A at the top of my 3x/4x class lights.
Let's see how my output estimates compare to the official Sunwayman ANSI-FL1 specs for this light:
Again, very close. Note that the step-down feature (after 3 mins) actually steps you down directly to the Hi level. See runtimes below for more info.
As you can tell from above, Sunwayman is using a good current-controlled circuit in the light. Performance is particularly good on alkalines, where both regulation and runtime are very impressive.
The red LED begins to flash as batteries drain down. I haven't carefully monitored it, but it seems to be a reasonably good sensor. The one exception is on fresh L91 lithums – here, the red LED starts flashing immediately, and the light steps down from Turbo to Hi, and then Med, within ~10 secs from activation. I suspect the reason for this is that the voltage sensor detects fresh L91s (which can be ~1.7V) as outside the acceptable range for the light. Once you run down the L91s for a few minutes, enough capacity drains off so that you can at least run the Hi level stably.
For the above trace, I had to keep restarting the Turbo/Hi modes over the first 7 mins or so, before the light would stably run in Hi (this is why you all the jumping between Turbo/Hi/Med over this time period). While messy, this should at least allow you to approximate the Turbo/Hi runtime. I don't have much in the way of comparator data to other 3x/4xAA lights on L91 lithiums to date, but performance certainly seems decent.
Due to the electronic switch, there is a standby drain when not in use – but it is one of the smallest I've seen and is not a concern (i.e., would take in theory 20 years to drain NiMH batteries, which is far longer than their natural self-discharge rate). It is higher in the electronic lock-out mode though (i.e., would drain the cells in just under 9 months), so you may want to lock out the light by a head-twist for extended storage.
The light won't stay in Hi or Turbo on fresh L91 lithiums without rapidly stepping down. This appears to be an over-voltage issue, and resolves after several minutes of runtime (to drain off full capacity) – at least for the Hi level. You may have difficulty with maintaining Turbo on L91s.
The light can roll fairly easily, although there are flat areas of the center ring that provide some stability. Use of the lanyard attached definitely helps.
The D40A is the highest output/thrower 3x/4xAA light in my collection at the moment (although the Eagletac GX25A3 is almost indistinguishable). More than that, I happy to say the D40A appears to have excellent build quality and performance.
Size-wise, the D40A is certainly closely in keeping with the Nitecore EA4 – which is impressive, considering the use of a battery carrier here. Construction and hand feel are top-notch for the D40A. The careful attention to detail through the design of the light is a credit to Sunwayman.
User interface is a departure for Sunwayman, and I like the new dual-switch design. It is reminiscent of the 1x/2x versions of the AA/CR123A Nitecore Explorer series, but with better switch feel (and likely higher build quality) on the D40A. I find it relatively intuitive for most of the modes. Note that despite the use of only two buttons, you get five constant output modes (including moonlight), and four blinky modes. And I like that the blinky modes are "hidden" off the main interface.
Regulation and output/runtime performance at all levels tested are excellent. I'm particularly impressed by the alkaline runtime and regulation. The one peculiar aspect is L91 lithiums, where you have to drain off a bit of capacity at first (in order to run in Med or Hi).
The standby current on the D40A is ridiculously low – you would be looking at 20 years before it would drain your NiMH cells (which would already be long-dead from their own self-discharge characteristics). It's true the standby drain is higher in the lock-out mode, but it still quite reasonable (and you can always physically lock-out the light by a head twist).
Beam pattern is very good as well – very throwy, with excellent max output. You may want to consider use of a diffuser for more floody light (any of the common 40mm diffusers will fit - like the Nitecore NFD40, Olight M22X or Butler Creek Scope #5). I also personally like the range of output levels, including a <1 lumen "moonlight" mode. A good range of outputs is sometimes hard to find in this class.
The D40A is the kind of light you could hand to anyone - with little instruction - and have them easily understand how to access the main constant output modes. Coupled with an excellent build – and top-of-class output, throw and runtime performance – you are unlikely to go wrong with the D40A. Definitely a top contender in the multi-AA class.
D40A was provided by Sunwayman for review.