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Thread: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNTIME+

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    Wink2 ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNTIME+

    Warning: pic heavy, as usual.






    In early 2011, I reviewed the inaugural light from ArmyTek – the Predator (v1.0, XP-G R5). Today, I follow up with a dual review of the latest iterations of this light – now known as the regular Predator and Predator Pro (both in version 2.5, with XP-G2 R5 emitters). Please see my concurrent companion review of the Viking and Viking Pro (v2.5 with XM-L2 emitters), published separately.

    Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
    Note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results. Specs have been highly condensed from ArmyTek website and manuals (and where inconsistencies arise, I have presented what is included in the printed manuals).

    Common Specs:
    • LED: XP-G2 R5 Cool White
    • Light output 670 LED lumen
    • Beam distance up to 400 meters
    • Constant brightness for whole operation time
    • Powered by one 18650 Li-Ion or two CR123A/R123 batteries
    • Ultra-transparent and tempered glass with anti-reflective and lens coating, normally used in photo equipment only.
    • Angle of the light spot: 5 degrees, angle of the light spill: 40 degrees.
    • Removable stainless steel clip, functional and easy to use.
    • The ability to use batteries with a flat contact.
    • Tailcap lockout.
    • Impact-resistant bezels - steel bezels are covered by titanium compounds with a hardness of 2000-3000HV.
    • Body cover: matte, anodized. Hardness: 350-400HV. Resistant to scratches and impacts.
    • Body material: aviation-grade aluminum T6061-T6.
    • Water resistance standard: IPX-8 (the highest)
    • Dimensions: Length: 6.1 in, Body diameter: 1 in, Head diameter: 1.56 in, Weight (without batteries): 5.82 oz

    Predator v2.5
    • Output levels and runtimes: 670 lm (2h 50min), 200 lm (7h), 70 lm (20h), 6 lm (155h)
    • Easy manipulation of modes
    • New-generation electronic driver with STEP runtime technology.
    • MSRP: ~$86

    Predator Pro v2.5
    • Output levels and runtimes: 670 lm (1h 20min), 200 lm (7h), 70 lm (20h), 6 lm (155h)
    • Fully programmable settings
    • Current stabilization types are entirely changeable through the user menu: full stabilization (FULL), simple semi-stabilization (SEMI), stepped stabilization (STEP).
    • Electronic driver is placed in a special aluminum capsule and has been completely covered with a durable compound. This actually protects it from both the environment and from mechanical damage.
    • Lowest Firefly mode of 0.1 lumens, working for 130 days with ONE 18650 Li-Ion battery.
    • S-Tek™ driver constantly monitors the temperature of LED and the electronic circuit and will prevent the LED overheating in extreme environments.
    • Supports batteries without protection board (PCB), for example: LiFePO4 or Li-Ion.
    • The automemorization of the last used mode can be turned on or off.
    • Has the ability to save the user's individual settings in the Custom preset.
    • Has the ability to reset of all settings of the flashlight to those built-in by the manufacturer (Military or Outdoor presets) or to the user's saved preset (Custom).
    • MSRP: ~$105





    Packaging is common for both versions - a typical carboard box, with ArmyTek logos and graphic design on it. Inside, the light comes packaged between two pieces of packing plastic-styrofoam, with a good quality holster with closing flap, wrist lanyard, spare o-rings, tail switch boot replacement cover, manual and product insert/warranty card.





    From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Armytek Predator Pro v2.5, Predator v2.5, Viking Pro v2.5, Viking v2.5, CR123A.


    From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Armytek Predator Pro v2.5, Predator v2.5, Predator v1.0; Nitecore MT25; Foursevens G5.

    All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:

    ArmyTek Predator V2.5: Weight: 161.8g, Length 155mm, Width (bezel): 39.5mm
    ArmyTek Predator Pro v2.5: Weight: 161.0g, Length 155mm, Width (bezel): 39.5mm
    ArmyTek Viking V2.5: Weight: 159.8g, Length 153mm, Width (bezel): 39.5mm
    ArmyTek Viking Pro V2.5: Weight: 161.9g, Length 152mm, Width (bezel): 39.5mm
    ArmyTek Predator V1.0: Weight: 134.6g, Length 153.9mm, Width (bezel): 36.7mm
    Foursevens G5: Weight: 145.5g, Length 156mm, Width (bezel): 38.9mm
    Nitecore SRT7: Weight: 172.4g, Length: 158mm, Width (bezel): 40.0m
    Eagletac G25C2-II (stock): Weight 141.0g, Length: 150.6mm, Width: 39.6mm
    Olight M22: Weight: 148.4g, Length: 144.8mm, Width: 41.2mm (bezel)

    Overall dimensions are similar to the original Predator, but the new ArmyTek lights are heavier now, with a more typical bezel diameter. Overall dimensions are consistent for this class.







    As always, ArmyTek build quality is very high, and the lights have a very robust feel. Physically, the models are distinguished primarily by their emitters (XP-G2 on the Predators, XM-L2 on the Vikings) and corresponding reflectors. The Pro versions differ from the regular versions in terms of circuit features and interface. All lights come with a choice of bezel/tail ring colors and crenelation styles.

    The ArmyTek finish is fairly unique in my testing - the bodies of their lights have a very thick matte finish anodizing that feels almost molded (i.e., it is very "grippy"). According to ArmyTek, this coating is much thicker than most lights (i.e., harder anodizing). Although the light lacks knurling, grip is actually quite decent thanks to this unique finish. And there are some ridge detail elements to help further with grip.

    Note the grippier finish may show dirt, hand oil, etc, more easily than traditional glossy knurling. There are also few anti-roll features, aside from some cut-outs in the bundled rubber grip ring.

    Lettering is very bright and clear, and exceptionally legible. In additional to model information on the body tube and bezel, the voltage range and supported cells are printed right on the light.

    Screw threads are thick square-cut (trapezoidal), and anodized at the tail region of the battery tube and in the tailcap (for lock-out).

    The tailcap switch is a forward clicky in all lights, with good feel. The spring is thicker and longer than typical on these sorts of lights, with a flat connector piece (so as not to scratch your batteries). The lights cannot tailstand.

    There is a small raised contact point in the head, so high capacity flat-top batteries can be used. All my 18650 cells fit in the lights – there is in fact quite a generous amount of cell length space.





    The Predator reflector is optimized for max throw, with a 5 degree spot angle for its XP-G2 emitter. In contrast, the more general purpose Viking has a 10 degree spot angle for its XM-L emitter (both series have a 40 degree spill angle). As you see in the pics below, even though the Predators put out less light overall, they can deliver more light on target at a distance.

    Both my samples in this series came with smooth reflectors, so some artifacts are possible. Emitters were all well centered on my samples. There is an anti-glare coating on the lens, which gives the signature ArmyTek green tint. ArmyTek claims this is a higher quality anti-glare coating normally found on photographic equipment.

    ArmyTek doesn't supply diffusers, but the Olight M22 diffuser fits fine on all bezel styles (as should most ~40mm diffuser covers).

    User Interface (UI)

    The bundled manuals are sufficient to explain the basic functioning of the lights. However, the current v2.5 Pro manual lacks a description of the programming interface. You will need this if you are going to take advantage of the full feature set.

    Fortunately, you can still download a copy of the old Predator Pro v2.3 instructions. According to ArmyTek, the main difference is in the specified output levels (i.e., refer to your v2.5 manual for the correct ones). Also, the default battery is now the LiFePO4 18650, and FULL stabilization is turned on by default on both lines, for both Military and Outdoor (these terms are all explained below).

    I will give some highlights of what to expect below, but you will need to download those earlier instructions to actually configure everything. Note that the Pro light is reasonably straight-forward to use once programmed, but has a sophisticated programming interface (somewhat akin to the HDS/Ra and older Novatac/LiteFlux lights).

    In simple terms, either light is turned on/off by the forward tailcap clicky switch (press for momentary on, click for lock on).

    Regular version

    For the regular version, turning the light on with the head tight against the body gives you Max output.

    With the head loosened, you get the choice of three modes accessed in sequence by soft pressing or clicking the tail switch off/on: Middle > Lo > Lower Lo, in a repeating loop. Note that you need to pause ~1 sec between presses or clicks to advance the modes.

    The light does have mode memory for the head-loosened state, and returns to the last mode you had it in (if you leave it off for a few seconds, or click off-on rapidly).

    And that's it – no blinky modes on the regular version.

    Pro version

    For the Pro version, output modes are arranged in what ArmyTek calls two "lines" (i.e. head tight for "First line", and head loosened for "Second line"). Within each of these head states/lines, there are multiple modes that you can switch between. Switching is controlled by twist cycles of the head relative to the body (i.e. loosen/tighten or tighten/loosen to advance modes within each "line").

    How many modes per line, and what they are, are fully user-programmable. The light comes with two factory pre-set set states, called "Military" and "Outdoor", and you can also set your own saved custom one. Military comes set by default, but you can switch between them in the programming menus.

    Military is set with Full regulation, with the First line (head tightened) having three modes, accessed in sequence: “670 lumens” > "6 lumens" > "200 lumens". Second line (head loosened) has two modes: Strobe 15 Hz, and Firefly “1.5 lumens”. Again, you switch between modes by tighten/loosen (second line) or loosen/tighten (first line) head twists in under 1 sec.

    I don't have specific lumen settings for the Outdoor mode pre-set, as these aren't detailed in the simple manual that accompanies the light. Also, see my actual testing results later in this review to see how these lumen estimates actually measure up.

    Features of the Pro Model

    To start, you can change any of those pre-set output modes to one of three Firefly modes, or anywhere along a 1-100% continuously-variable ramp (with flashes at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% output over a 40 sec timeframe). In addition to constant output modes, you can select SOS, Beacon or Strobe mode. Within Strobe, you can set the frequency from 1 Hz to 50 Hz (see below for my actual analysis).

    You can change the number of pre-set modes in First line from anywhere from 1 to 10 modes, and Second line from 1 to 5 modes (default is 2-3, depending on whether Outdoor or Military defaults are chosen).

    You can set the auto mode-memorization feature for each line independently (i.e. remember last mode for both lines, neither, or only one or the other).

    You can specify the battery voltage being used (2xCR123A 3V batteries, 1x18650 3.7V Li-ion, 2xRCR 3.7V Li-ion, 1x18650 LifeP04 3.2V). Unprotected batteries can also be used.

    But what is truly innovative is the ability to set three different regulation patterns for the light. FULL regulation is as you’d expect – perfectly flat regulation for as long as the battery can handle it, then an immediate drop to off (although in this case to an ultra-low output state, rather than off). SEMI regulation is what you typically find on a number of multi-power lights – the light maintains flat regulation for a while, then drops into direct-drive as the battery power dwindles. STEP regulation has is a similar overall efficiency to SEMI, but shows a step-down pattern of lowering outputs rather than a smooth drop-off. All of these patterns are shown in my runtimes graphs later in this review.

    How to Program the Pro Model Settings

    Again, you are going to have to download the old Predator Pro v2.3 instructions for the time being, if you want to be able to program the light. The manual explains what each of program selection options are.

    But I can at least explain the general process. To select a variable output level in the first line, start from head tight and loosen the head for at least 1 sec and wait for the light to switch lines. Once it does, then immediate tighten, and wait again for the line to switch back. When it does, immediately turn off-on at the clicky. All the above has to be done in under 3 secs total, so timing is very tight (i.e. don’t delay on the head twist any longer than necessary to switch lines). It is highly unlikely that you would ever enter the programming state by accident.

    Here is what the light will do, as plotted in estimated lumens (note: this is not my relative output scale, but actual computed lumens):



    I show a blow-up insert of the first ~11 secs or, as the Firefly modes are too dim to compare to the continuously variable ramp.

    As you can tell above, you get three Firefly modes in sequence, for about ~3 sec each with a ~1 sec off pause between them. This is followed by continuously-variable ramp from Lo to Max, which takes about 40 secs in total (with flashes at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% output). Once Max output is reached, the light restarts at lowest Firefly and cycles through again. Make your selection by a loosen-tighten head switch.

    The continuously-variable ramp is relatively visually-linear to the eye (at least up to the 75% mark), and the quarter percent flashes are helpful to calibrate your relative setting. Beyond the 75% mark though, light output seems pretty constant. I am not quite sure why this is, but note that my Viking Pro v2.5 continues to risk in output over the whole ramp.

    But you will have to be quick to select any of the truly low outputs. Note that the lowest non-Firefly level that I was able to capture off the contrinuous ramp was ~25 estimated lumens.

    To enter the general programming menus, you start in the second line modes. Do the same as the first line output selection above, only starting with the head loosened (i.e. tighten, wait 1 sec, loosen, wait 1 sec, click off-on – all under 3 secs in total). Once inside the programming state, you double-click the tailcap to advance through menu levels, and tighten/loosen the head to select the menu entry you want. Menu levels and sub-levels are presented as a series of bright flashes. Please refer to the manual for a description of what each of the menus represent.

    Again, the point here is that you will need the full instruction sheet to be able to re-program the light. You really can't do it without the proper manual in front of you. But once programmed the way you want, the light is straight-forward to use (as described at the top of this section).

    Video:

    For information on both the Predator and Viking series lights, 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 or clarifications before publicly releasing the video.

    PWM

    Light has no evidence of PWM on any mode, leading me to believe it is current-controlled.

    UPDATE JULY 13, 2013: Actually, there is a reoccurring signal on the second Firefly mode (but not the first or third) of both the Viking Pro and Predator Pro. Unfortunately, the light intensity is too low for my oscilloscope sensor to detect, but I can measure the frequency by freeze-frame photography: it is 180 Hz on both lights. Without an oscilloscope trace to examine, I am unable to ascertain whether or not this is actual PWM. But regardless, this frequency of "flicker" is detectable by eye.


    Strobe/Beacon

    There is no strobe mode on the regular series model – it is only the Pro version that supports blinking modes.

    The default strobe on the Pro is rated as 15 Hz:



    Which, as you can see, seems pretty accurate according to my oscilloscope.

    According to the full manual, you can set the strobe frequency anywhere from 1 to 50 Hz. Here's what I managed to set as the lowest and highest strobes:




    And again, pretty good concordance with my oscilloscope.

    Note that the original Predator claimed this same 1-50 Hz range as well – but the strobe frequency changed so quickly (i.e., at an accelerating rate) it was next to impossible to select the really high modes. I am happy to report the new Pro models provide a slower acceleration rate. You now have ~28 secs to select your strobe frequency, although you have less than ~8 secs to choose anything in the 20-50 Hz range. Still, this is much better than the original Predator, when you had ~1 sec to select anything in this range.

    Here are some additional strobe modes that I captured, after ~6 secs and ~23 secs:




    A minor point for you techno-geeks: as with the original Predator, the strobe pulse duration (duty cycle) does not stay entirely consistent across the full range of frequencies. A typical strobe mode has a 50:50 on/off cycle. But starting at the >30Hz frequencies on the Pro version, the on-pulse duration gradually increases to ~60% by the max 54 Hz (i.e., 60:40 cycle). That is more consistent than the original predator though, which was already at ~65% by 30Hz. None of this matters in terms of how disorienting the strobe is, but I thought I'd point it out.

    As an aside, I don't find 54 Hz strobe very "disorienting" … it's almost like a really bad PWM rate at that level.

    Beacon mode:

    Beacon mode was 1 flash every 7.5 secs in my testing.

    Beamshots:

    For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on an AW protected 18650 battery. 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 (but there may still be some variation).

    Let's start with a comparison of the Predator and Predator Pro against the Viking and Viking Pro.













    To show how you the Predator Pro compares against the competition, here are some comparisons to XP-G lights in my collection. In the pics below, "Predator" refers to the original V1.0 model, "G5" is the Foursevens Maelstrom G5 (now MMS) and the "TD-15" is the original Lumintop TD15.













    The new Predator v2.5 XP-G2 models are clearly higher output – with greater peak throw – than these earlier XP-G lights.

    Outdoor Beamshots

    For outdoor beamshots, these are 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. Also, ignore any tint differences below – they are mainly due to the automatic white balance setting on the camera.

    Again, let's start with a comparison of the Predator and Viking classes. For outdoor shots, I am only showing the Pro versions of the Predator and Viking.




    ArmyTek intends for the Predator and Viking models to be used by different groups. As you can tell from the beamshots above, the beam patterns at a distance are clearly very different.

    Now, let's see how the Predator Pro compares to some relatively throwy recent XM-L2 lights in my collection.



    While lower overall output, the Predator certainly does throw a more focused beam than your typical well-focused XM-L2 light.

    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. 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 expected, The Predator models have less output – but more throw – than the Viking models.

    The two Predator versions are rated to the same max output level ("670 LED lumens"), although my regular Predator seemed surprisingly bright at an ~560 estimated ANSI FL-1 lumens. Note that "LED lumens" typically refer to theoretical max output of the emitter for a given drive level, and do not take into account actual losses due to the circuit, heat build-up in the emitter, reflector and lens effects, etc. All told, these can easily cut ~25-30% off the theoretical output levels. Note that ANSI FL-1 testing standard requires actual measurement of output "out the front", between 30-120 secs after activation.

    My direct beam measures show an impressive result for the XP-G2-based Predators.

    How do my lumen estimates compare across the various levels?



    As you can see, my results are fairly consistent across the board (taking into account my ANSI FL-1 estimated lumens vs ArmyTek's published "LED lumens").

    Output/Runtime Graphs:

    Note: Unless otherwise stated, all my runtimes below are based on AW 2200mAh 18650 cells.

    Ok, let's start with the base Regular model, on different types of cells.



    The Regular model uses a "STEP" regulation method, where the light steps down in output by discrete levels, depending on the amount of battery power remaining. This is typically quite efficient (scroll down for comparison runtimes). What you can see above is that on Max, 2xRCR hits an abrupt termination (due to the protection circuits being triggered). But the 2xCR123A and 1x18650 show a very clear step-down pattern.

    Let's compare that to the default "FULL" regulation method on the Pro version:



    In FULL regulation, the light should abruptly shut-off on all Li-ion sources, without prior step-down. You can see that above quite clearly for the 1x18650 and 2xRCR runtimes. Interestingly, 2xCR123A continues to have a step-down pattern, even when FULL regulation is selected. One general comment here – you can expect a significantly shorter runtime on 1x18650 when FULL regulation is selected.

    To demonstrate that, let's compare the various regulation patterns on the Pro model (STEP, SEMI and FULL – see UI section earlier in this review for an explanation of the terms):



    As you can see above, SEMI and STEP have generally equivalent runtime – it just comes down to whether or not you like to see discrete steps. I am a bit surprised as how much lower the Max runtime was on FULL, but that may reflect the lower capacity 2200mAh cells used here (i.e., it's possible higher capacity cells may have handled the high drive level better). Personally, I recommend you program the Pro version to STEP or SEMI for maximum runtime (and clearer indication of battery life remaining).

    Alright, let's see how the Regular and Pro versions do compared to the competition. To make the runtimes easier to distinguish, the Max modes on the Pro version were done in FULL and SEMI regulation (in contrast the typical STEP of the Regular versions).








    As expected, the XP-G2-based Predator models don't have the same max output as the XM-L2 Vikings (or other XM-L/XM-L2 lights, for that matter). Note that XM-L2 will produce more light than XP-G2 for the same current. But at lower drive currents, there typically isn't much of an efficiency difference between these emitters. You can see that in the results above – at lower levels, the Predator (XP-G2) perform similarly to the XM-L/XM-L2 lights.

    Note also that I left the Pro version on FULL stabilization for the Med mode runtime. Based on my previous experience, there typically isn't much of a runtime difference between stabilization methods at the sub-maximal drive levels.

    In terms of overall efficiency, the Predators seem to hold their own quite well, at all levels tested.

    Potential Issues

    Both Regular and Pro versions are easy to use in their default state. However (and as with all lights with complex programming modes), you will need to refer to the manual if you want to re-program any of the features or output levels of the Pro version.

    The programming modes can be a bit tricky to navigate (i.e. requires multiple twists and clicks). You will need to make sure you keep the head threads clean.

    The heavy thickness anodizing is interesting, and provides for reasonably good grip (i.e., I found these lights at least as good as most models with light-to-medium aggressiveness knurling). However, this finish shows up dust, dirt and fingerprint oils more easily than most lights.

    The Predator models are intentionally focused for max center-beam throw. Those looking for less distinction between spot and spill should check out my concurrent Viking review.

    Note that the spillbeam width is narrower on these lights than most of the competition. That said, most ~40mm size diffuser covers should fit and work on these lights (e.g., the Olight M22 diffuser works fine).

    Preliminary Observations

    ArmyTek made quite a splash here with the launch of their inaugural light – the Predator – over two years ago. It is nice to see some of the refinements that have been introduced to the Predator over that time, while keeping the same general build and interface.

    As always, I find the ArmyTek build to be very robust – these are solid lights to handle. The trademark thick matte anodizing finish is very distinctive, and gives the lights surprisingly decent grip. The lens has a high-quality anti-glare coating, and the rubber grip rings and titanium-coated steel bezel rings and clip help to round out the package.

    Of course, what has really distinguished ArmyTek lights are their sophisticated programming interfaces. In this latest iteration of the Predator series, they have opted for two steams – a Regular version (with a simplified clicky-controlled interface), and the Pro version (with the traditional programmable interface). Note that you don't need to actually program the Pro version to use it – it comes with a set of defaults (using a head-twist interface) that works easily, right out of the box.

    But if you like to have a full range of control over the light, the Pro version's sophisticated interface lets you set as many pre-set levels as you like (anywhere from 2-15), with an extremely wide range of constant outputs and special modes available (e.g., three Firefly modes, strobe frequencies from 1 to 50+Hz, etc.). Probably the most unique feature of ArmyTek is the choice of three stabilization (regulation) patterns. Check out the UI and Runtimes section of the review for more information here.

    As before, I am glad to see that output/runtime performance is right on par with other decent current-controlled lights of this class.

    In terms of beam pattern, the Predator models maintain the traditional focus of this series on max centre-beam throw. The XP-G2 emitters used here are well suited to this task. For those looking for a less "throwy" option, check out my concurrent Viking series review. But in any case, many of the ~40mm diffuser covers should work with the Predator, giving you option of diffuse light if you want it.

    ArmyTek is really trying to give you a clear choice between throw and a broad hotspot (i.e. Predators vs Vikings), and simple or sophisticated interface (i.e., Regular vs Pro versions). With the continual improvement updates to the Predator/Viking lines, there is little to criticize here – I like the subtle build and interface improvements that have been introduced since my original V1.0 review.

    I know this has been a rather long review, and there is common text to my companion Viking series review. Hopefully all this will help you decide if an ArmyTek light is right for you, and which model you should choose in that case.

    ----

    Predator and Viking models provided by ArmyTek for review.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 07-13-2013 at 09:44 AM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  2. #2

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Hi selfbuilt, thank you for your hard work, of course.


    You said "Light has no evidence of PWM on any mode, leading me to believe it is current-controlled."


    Can you checking the second lowest mode? This mode has pwm(?) flickering. I checked my lights (Viking Pro 2.5 and Predator Pro 2.5) What do you think?

  3. #3

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Over 30K lux sems pretty impresive for a light of this size. I think I'm sold. Is there any other light of this build with XP-G2?




    BTW thx for this fantastic review

  4. #4

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    That's an amazing amount of throw from that size of a light.

  5. #5

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Quote Originally Posted by gopajti View Post
    Can you checking the second lowest mode? This mode has pwm(?) flickering. I checked my lights (Viking Pro 2.5 and Predator Pro 2.5) What do you think?
    Do you mean the second lowest Firefly mode, or one of the default regular modes? I didn't notice any flicker during testing, but didn't leave them in the Firefly modes for long. I will double-check, but I am unlikely to be able to get a reading from the lower two ... generally, <1 lumen is typically below the detection threshold from my oscilloscope sensor.

    In my experience, flicker is not uncommon on moonlight/firefly modes. It seems to be hard for current-controlled makers to stably run lights at such low currents. But I will double-check tomorrow and report back what I am able to see and measure.

    Quote Originally Posted by blackFFM View Post
    Over 30K lux sems pretty impresive for a light of this size. I think I'm sold. Is there any other light of this build with XP-G2?
    Quote Originally Posted by whatswrongwithmee View Post
    That's an amazing amount of throw from that size of a light.
    Yes, it is interesting how the XM-L/XM-L2 has virtually completely replaced the XP-G/XP-G2 - even though the latter is far better suited for throw applications. I can only imagine that people chase the highest possible lumen output, and manufacturers respond to that.

    But I think the outdoor beamshots tell an interesting story - all those extra lumens of the XM-L2 get dissipated in the spill (unless you have a much larger reflector to focus them). If you want to put a good amount of light on a target in the mid-to-far distance (with a reasonably compact flashlight build), XP-G2 is a better way to go.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Do you mean the second lowest Firefly mode, or one of the default regular modes?
    The second lowest firefly mode.

  7. #7

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    great review!
    I'm in need a new pocket size thrower and am struggling which to choose. One handed operation and simplicity are key for me. Can you twist the bezel with one hand? I'm looking at the basic model so I wouldn't be doing this move a lot. Just going from low to turbo and back occasionally.

  8. #8

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Quote Originally Posted by gopajti View Post
    The second lowest firefly mode.
    Yes, there is a reoccurring signal on the second Firefly mode (but not the first or third) of both the Viking Pro and Predator Pro. Unfortunately, the light intensity is too low for my oscilloscope sensor to detect, which is why I missed it before (i.e., no signal above background).

    But I can measure the frequency by freeze-frame photography: it is 180 Hz on both lights, as shown below.



    Without an oscilloscope trace to examine further, I am unable to ascertain whether or not this is actual PWM. But regardless, this frequency of "flicker" is detectable by eye. Thanks for the heads up gopajti.

    Quote Originally Posted by tubed View Post
    I'm in need a new pocket size thrower and am struggling which to choose. One handed operation and simplicity are key for me. Can you twist the bezel with one hand? I'm looking at the basic model so I wouldn't be doing this move a lot. Just going from low to turbo and back occasionally.
    Unless your hand grip strength is a lot higher than mine, I would have to say no. The Pro lights really need two hands to do a head twist. I suppose the right lube, grip (and strong hands) could do it, but I wouldn't want to rely on that.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Thanks selfbuilt

  10. #10

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    In a light that size a xp-g2 makes more sense to me imho. Most xm-l2 competitors can't hold their 900l over the entire runtime due to heat generation. If I want some flood I can always use a diffuser on the predator. For a compact thrower this would be my favourite choice.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Quote Originally Posted by gopajti View Post
    The second lowest firefly mode.
    Just to chime in on what you guys have already confirmed, I think high frequency PWM was necessary to get that lumen level ever since V 1.2.

  12. #12

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Quote Originally Posted by dajabec View Post
    Just to chime in on what you guys have already confirmed, I think high frequency PWM was necessary to get that lumen level ever since V 1.2.
    That's certainly possible for the other two Firefly modes - although the frequency would need to be extremely high for it not to be visible when shining on a fan. Since my oscilloscope sensor can't detect levels that low, I can't verify the PWM on these levels. But it is odd that only the middle Firefly level (on both Pro models) needs to have such a low frequency visible PWM.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    selfbuilt,
    On more of a personal preference note, how do you find the narrow spill of the Armyteks compared to their competition in terms of beam usefulness?

  14. #14

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiggle View Post
    On more of a personal preference note, how do you find the narrow spill of the Armyteks compared to their competition in terms of beam usefulness?
    Well, I typically use a diffuser on most lights outdoor, so native reflector spill angle doesn't matter much to me. When I want throw, I just remove the diffuser - at which point, hotspot intensity is what really matters to me. The Predators are certainly impressive throwers for this size.
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    Default

    Thanks for the input. Speaking of diffusers, you mentioned the M22 diffuser fits, would this also fit the M20 diffuser?

  16. #16

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiggle View Post
    Thanks for the input. Speaking of diffusers, you mentioned the M22 diffuser fits, would this also fit the M20 diffuser?
    No, the M20 has a smaller diameter opening. Only the larger M22 diffuser will fit.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Thanks, I will look for the larger M22 diffuser.

  18. #18
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    Default

    My Predator should be in tomorrow. I am anxious to see how the runtimes are on a 3400mAh cell.

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    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Got mine in finally! (After Fedex managed to lose my first one). Very nice little light. I knew the dimensions and saw it next to some P60 lights but for some reason I was still surprised at how small it was. The beam it throws out is nice and throwey. It outthrows my 2A XP-E2 P60 light and puts up a fight with my Solarforce MPP-1 at closer ranges. The programming is not so bad at all once you just dive in and try it. Only issue that I'm seeing is the lanyard, it attaches through the rubber grip and I'm a little nervous that I would accidentally tear the soft rubber of the grip if the lanyard snagged something.

    Also should mention that the narrow spill angle doesn't seem to be an issue at all, for me anyway.
    Last edited by Wiggle; 07-23-2013 at 03:00 PM.

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    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Purchased this light today through GoingGear to replace my Eagletac T20C2 as my nightstand light. Thanks for the review selfbuilt.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Did a quick runtime test last night on a Fasttech 3400 mAH protected 18650. Seemed a bit short, got 55 mins on full regulation. However, after I ran it down in max mode I was able to get another 45 mins regulated in 200 lumen mode so it seems to not be draining the cell completely. This cell was at about 4.05V I believe before starting, I'll re-do it with a totally topped off cell just to see if there is a noticeable difference. It should be noted that the light gives you plenty of warning before dropping to firefly, it seems to blink 3 times once per minute roughly for the last 20% or so of the battery life.

    I will likely be using the stepped or semi mode in regular use rather than the full regulation.

    I had the light out on a trail in the city here last night. Even without complete darkness and drizzle in the air the light seriously impressed. One thing I noticed, this light is just about perfect as a mid to mid-far range light. 20-100 yards is handled beautifully by this beam. I had some reservations about the narrow spill and tight beam but it also works in a pinch as a walking light, though I'd probably prefer a floodier light or a diffuser for a longer hike, especially on uncertain terrain.

    I passed a group of people walking on the trail (they were using no lights most of the time and a phone light when needed it looked like) with the light on 5 lumens just to see where I was going and not to aggravate them with a bright light. After passing them by a good 20-30 yards I decided to switch to max mode and see what it could do. Instantly the entire trail was clearly lit up in front of me with the beam reaching easily 80+ meters out to the back of the trail leading into a turn. I heard someone behind me say "oh my god what is that". I have no doubts that in a more open area, without light pollution and rain you could comfortably hit 250m with this light.

    Compared to my favorite thrower in my collection, Solarforce MPP-1 /w UCL (XR-E R2, large smooth reflector, likely around 50-55 kcd) the Predator compares quite favorably. The intensity is only slightly outdone by the MPP-1 but you get a hot spot about 4 times bigger, and a narrower but noticeably brighter spill. Not to mention the head diameter is much smaller than the MPP-1.
    Last edited by Wiggle; 07-25-2013 at 05:58 AM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Thanks for the field report.
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Did a proper runtime test. Still came up a bit short to Armytek's spec but got a good bit closer. Cell was charged this morning, measured at 4.19V before commencing test:

    3400 mAh Fasttech on Max output, full regulation

    Low battery indication - 53 minutes
    Runtime til moonlight - 66 minutes
    Additional runtime on 200 lumen mode -31 minutes
    Last edited by Wiggle; 07-25-2013 at 01:29 PM.

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    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Well, I typically use a diffuser on most lights outdoor, so native reflector spill angle doesn't matter much to me. When I want throw, I just remove the diffuser - at which point, hotspot intensity is what really matters to me. The Predators are certainly impressive throwers for this size.
    Selfbuil, thanks very much for your impressive analyses! Would you have an estimate of or comments about how a beamshot of the Predator Pro with M22 diffuser would compare with the beamshots of the Predator Pro (without diffuser), the SRT-7, and the M22 in your last photo sequence in this thread? Thanks much! Brighteye11

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    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator 2.5 (XP-G2 R5 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Regular and Pro Review: RUNT

    Well my 2.5 Pro arrived today. I haven't bought a new flashlight since 2009, so this is a massive jump for me. The options this light has is simply astounding! I have some new 18650s charging and can hardly wait to take this beast out tonight to compare to my ancient T20C2. (Circa 2009) This is my first Armytek light, and the first thing that stands out about it is the fit and finish. Simply second to none! However, why they don't include an instruction manual detailing how to customize the light is beyond me. Thank you selfbuilt for the link to the 2.3 version.

  26. #26

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator Pro 2.5

    Mine arrived today too. I just fired up the first nighttime beam a few minutes ago.

    All I can say is wow. This is one hell of a light. Lighting up a parking garage 125 yards away like it's nobodys business. In the rain too. I thought my T20CS threw, and it does, but the Predator outdoes it by far.

    Build quality seems top notch. And no flickering issues on it, yet anyway. This is a keeper.

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  27. #27

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator Pro 2.5

    Quote Originally Posted by brighteye11 View Post
    Selfbuil, thanks very much for your impressive analyses! Would you have an estimate of or comments about how a beamshot of the Predator Pro with M22 diffuser would compare with the beamshots of the Predator Pro (without diffuser), the SRT-7, and the M22 in your last photo sequence in this thread? Thanks much! Brighteye11
    Well, with the diffuser, it doesn't really light up 100 yards very much, so there is not much to compare! You will definitely get a wider spill, and much more even beam. Personally, I find a diffuser very useful for checking out things within maybe a ~10m radius without a glaring hotspot ... beyond that, and you are going to want to switch back to throw fairy soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by MBentz View Post
    Simply second to none! However, why they don't include an instruction manual detailing how to customize the light is beyond me. Thank you selfbuilt for the link to the 2.3 version.
    Yes, it is a mystery to me why they dropped the manual. I gather they want to re-write it, as apparently they have received feedback that the previous manual was "too complicated". Honestly, I think the issue is that the interface is complex, and so it is hard to describe in words. Like many here, I think a flow-chart diagram would be a useful resource (I've seen a few around over the years here, you could probably find them in a search). But hopefully they will start including a revised manual soon.
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  28. #28

    Default Re: Armytek Predator Pro

    I have to get the M22 diffuser. I toolk the Predator out on a walk tonight, the beam is so tight and so hot.....great distance spotter, but for general use it needs some help. I was glad I had my SF C2 M61 on me, and also that SWM T20CS is kind of a nice compromise between a long throw and short range spill. I was especially pleased by the SWM during the comparo tonight.

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    Last edited by lightcycle1; 07-29-2013 at 03:46 AM.
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Armytek Predator Pro

    I think I'll get the diffuser as well. I had it out the other night alternating between the Predator and my Blaze. The blaze is a great close to medium range light but lacks the punch of the Predator. If I get the diffuser I can carry just one light Does anyone know where to buy the M22 diffuser?

  30. #30

    Default Re: ArmyTek Predator

    Can you post or PM source if you find one? Thanks.

    Also, for the Predator owners I bought a XENO holster from EDC+.
    It is the HD42. Fits the Predator PERFECTLY, better than the holster included with the Pred and its a much.much higher quality and substantial holster. If you own and carry a Predator this is a must have accessory. EXCELLENT holster.

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    Last edited by lightcycle1; 07-29-2013 at 05:13 AM.
    Been around for a year now. A bunch of them, and a handful of ghetto dollar-store LED pocket lights.

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