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Thread: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS+

  1. #1

    Popcorn Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype #1 Review: RUNTIME, BEAMSHOT+

    Warning: pic heavy, as usual.

    UPDATE FEBRUARY 11, 2014: This review has been superceded by a new review of a revised prototype, available here. Please go to the new review to continue discussion of this light.

    Reviewer's note: This is a preliminary review of a prototype. The manufacturer is soliciting feedback from members here for the final design.
    Welcome to the prototype review for the Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15.





    The MiniMax comes with two high-output MT-G2 emitters, and is powered by 4x18650. Given the design of the light, it is clearly intended as a flood light and not a throw light.

    Specs are pretty minimal at present, but here is what I know from Niwalker:

    Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
    (note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).

    • LED: 2x CREE MT-G2 Neutral White
    • Five brightness levels
    • Max output 5233 lumens
    • Uses 4x 18650 battery
    • MSRP: unknown

    Like I said, not a lot is known yet. So let's put this sample through its paces:




    From left to right: Eagletac Protected 18650 3400mAh; Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15; Nitecore TM11; Eagletac SX25L3; Sunwayman T60CS; Niwalker BK-FA02.

    All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed (unless indicated):

    MiniMax Nova MM15: Weight: 268.3g (452g with 4x18650), Length: 114.0mm, Weight (bezel): 58.0mm
    Eagletac SX25L3 3x18650: Weight: 315.9g, Length: 150.2mm, Weight (bezel): 47.0mm
    Crelant 7G10: Weight 643.4g (827g with 4x18650), Length: 198mm, Width (bezel): 79.0mm
    Fenix TK75: Weight: 516.0g (700g with 4x18650), Length: 184mm, Width (bezel): 87.5mm
    Nitecore TM11: Weight: 342.6g (476g with 8xCR123A), Length 135.3mm, Width (bezel): 59.5mm
    Nitecore TM15: Weight: 450.6g (634g with 4x18650). Length 158mm, Width (bezel): 59.5mm
    Niwalker BK-FA01 (shipping): Weight: 687.6g (870g with 4x18650), Length: 209mm, Width (bezel): 80.0mm, Width (tailcap): 50.3mm

    The MiniMax is the smallest 4x18650 light I've tested to date – compare it to Nitecore TM11 to get an idea.











    I'll say it again – this is a remarkably tiny light!

    I'll also remind everyone that this is an early engineering sample – the final shipping version could change significantly. In fact, that is the whole point of this preview – Niwalker is trying to gauge the market's response to this light.

    Exterior styling is fairly minimal at present. There is no real knurling to speak of, but there are sufficient grip elements to help with grip. I would still think the light could be a bit slippery when wet. Anodizing is a black matte finish (presume to be HA). There was no labeling on my sample.

    Thanks to the integrated battery carrier, there isn't much wasted space. That said, I do find the carrier to be a bit of tight fit for length – longer cells may require some force to get in. You would also want to be careful not to damage the exposed contact board. But again, final shipping design could be different.

    As an aside, despite the appearance, the four 18650 cells are actually in series, not parallel (i.e., 4s1p). This means that a standby drain (due to the electronic switch) only comes into effect once the fourth cell is inserted into the carrier. But since the carrier is integrated into the head, there is no physical option to lock out the light.

    Note that as a result of the current design, the body's aluminum handle is actually a bit superfluous - you can run the light without it. It does have square-cut thread on my pre-release sample, but the anodizing was worn on the threads. Of course, that doesn't matter, since there is no current passing through the body). There was no lanyard attachment point either. Again, I observed the same thing with the Niwalker BKFA-series lights (these things came later, on the final shipping version).

    Currently, there is an electronic switch in the head, with a "N" logo on it. Switch feel is about typical for an electronic switch. The N lights up green when in use. There seems to be a built-in circuit over-discharge protection feature on my sample, as the light shut-off and the N switched to red as the cells were nearing exhaustion. Scroll down for the user interface and performance results.




    There is also a tripod mount on the head, as well as small knob that didn't have any obvious function on my sample (all equi-distance with the electronic switch). I suspect this knob was used in assembly of the light. Again, pre-release engineering prototypes can be very different from final shipping versions – I wouldn't get too concerned about these sorts of items.





    The head is really distinctive here – with two MG-G2 emitters in relatively shallow reflector wells (heavily textured). As you would expect, this is very much a floody light. Scroll down for a beam pattern.

    See my earlier Niwalker BK-FA02 and Eagletac SX25L3 reviews for a discussion of the MT-G2 emitter more generally.

    User Interface

    Turn the light on/off by the electronic switch. There is no momentary mode – once you release the switch, the light comes on in constant output.

    The light always comes on in Hi mode first. Press and hold the switch to cycle through the lower modes (Moonlight > Lo > Med > Hi, in repeating sequence). Release the switch to select the desired level. Note that that you cannot restart the level ramp once you have selected a level this way – you would need to turn off and back on first.

    When on, double-click from any mode to access Turbo.

    There is a "hidden" strobe mode - to access, do a triple click from on

    And that's about it. I will make some general recommendations for interface later in this review.

    Video:

    For more information on the overall 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/Strobe

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

    I did detect high frequency noise with my oscilloscope on some modes (Lo, Med and Hi), but not others (Moonlight, Turbo)

    Hi/Med Noise:



    Lo Noise:
    ]

    The frequency was a consistent 14 kHz on Lo/Med/Hi, and it was absolutely not visible to the eye in actual use. The light is flicker-free in all modes.

    Standby Drain

    A standby current drain is inevitable on this light, due to the electronic. I have measured it on my prototype as 528uA initially, but it rapidly drops down over 30 secs or so to settle at 404uA. Given the serial cell arrangement (4s1p) would translate into a little over 10 and half months on 3100mAh 18650s.

    Unfortunately, there is no physical lock-out available on my sample – the standby current is in place as soon as the last cell is connected into the integrated carrier.

    Beamshots:

    And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on their standard battery, or AW protected 18650 2200mAh for the multi-18650 lights. Lights are about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall).

    Automatic white balance is used on most of my wall beamshots (to minimize tint differences), but in this case I went with a Daylight WB on my Canon for the MiniMax.













    Note: No matter what white balance I used, these comparisons will never be entirely accurate for tint. In real life, I find my MT-G2 lights all to be relatively neutral white.

    On Turbo, the MiniMax has an unbelievable amount of output. Hard to directly compare, but my ceiling bounce results tell me that it actually slightly exceeds my Olight X6 (which is rated at 5000 lumens).

    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).




    Given that this location was picked to illustrate relative throw (which the MiniMax is not designed for), it doesn't really capture the overall brightness of this light.

    But you can get a few hints of its relative brightness if you examine the far right end of the zoomed-out shots above (i.e., the tree line in the distance on the right). Depending on your monitor calibration, you may be able to faintly make the trees there (which are more than 100 yards away). You'll note how much hard it is to see these on the comparator SX25L3 or X6.

    To try and show this better, I've resorted to my interior basement shots. These will at least allow you to compare the throw and spill of the three lights. For your reference, the back of the couch is about 8 feet away (~2.4m) from the opening of the light, and the far wall is about 19 feet away (~6m). I am also showing a series of exposures, to allow you to better compare hotspot and spill.





    Subjectively, the MiniMax really does seem to be putting out at least as much light overall as the X6 – just with a completely different beam pattern (i.e., wide flood). As you can see in these indoor shots, the MiniMax has a much wider beam overall.

    In that sense, I know people always found it hard to believe how well the X6 throws, but I think the combined beamshots above really tell a compelling story. The MiniMax is really a true flood light - it actually reminds me a lot of diffuser-equipped light.

    Testing Method:

    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).



    Since my high-output lights don't fit in my lightbox, I am really relying on my ceiling bounce measures here. But the results match my subject experience – the MiniMax manages to squeeze out a few more lumens than my 5000-lumen rated Olight X6 (which was my previous output champ).

    Throw is definitely pretty minimal, given the overall output of the MiniMax. As always, the MT-G2 produces a very smooth beam profile.

    Let's see how the rest of the output levels compare:



    Again, take these with a bit grain salt, given my limited ability to measure output on these lights. But it gives you a general idea of spacing - which is a little peculiar, as there is nothing in-between 900 and 5200 lumens.

    Output/Runtime Graphs:

    Given that the MiniMax is actually the highest output light in my collection at the moment, let's start by comparing it to the big guns – on an estimated lumen output scale.



    As you will see, this helps explain how such a tiny light could produce these kind of eye-popping outputs – it steps down to the <900 estimated lumens Hi level within 3.5 mins on Turbo.

    Note that you could re-start the light on Turbo again if you wanted … but it does indeed get pretty warm quickly if you try.

    Given this step down, let's compare the Hi/Med levels to the most typical 3x/4x18650 competition (in my relative lightbox output scale):




    Output/runtime performance is pretty consistent with other MT-G2 lights in my collection. For comparable output, the MiniMax is showing a very similar "direct-drive" like pattern, with comparable runtime. Note of course that the MiniMax has two emitters instead of one, but that doesn't seem to be making a huge difference (again, these curves are based on total output over time).

    Potential Issues

    Given that this is a protoyype, I thought I would provide a more specific list of potential issues/features Niwalker may want to consider. Niwalker is soliciting feedback, so feel free to add your comments.

    The default Hi level is plenty of light for me, but it is about the same as a modern 1x18650 light. Since the Turbo mode steps down to this level, I suspect most people would like to see something brighter here (e.g., maybe something in 1500-2000 lumens range?).

    The user interface has some quirks. For one, the timings take some getting used to. Also, it's odd and that the output selection ramp always starts as the Moonlight level. Typically, it's better that the ramp start from whatever level you are in. And that's another quirk - you can't re-start the mode selection ramp after you have done it once - you need to turn the light off/on again first on my sample (and thus go back to Hi, then Moonlight through the ramp).

    I would think mode memory would be a good idea, rather than starting in Hi. That said, I know many here will want a way to start in Turbo directly from off. In that sense, always starting in Hi is likely to satisfy no one - better to have mode memory, or always start in Turbo.

    Some sort of lock-out mode is necessary, to prevent accidental activation. This is especially important since no physical lockout is possible in the current design (i.e., you need to remove a cell to break the standby current). The standby current is reasonable for this type of light, though.

    I am impressed with how small the light is (although the integrated carrier was very tight for getting longer cells into). That said, the switch is hard to find by touch alone (i.e., the tripod point and the other raised disc are more prominent by touch). I would think having the tripod mount directly opposite the switch would be good. A wrist lanyard attschment point would be nice.

    A standby/locator flash in the switch could be a good idea, since there is already an LED under there. But there would have to be a way to lock it out as well, for those who don't want to see it.

    Preliminary Observations

    Since this isn't a commercially available light yet, I think I will let the results and commentary above stand by themselves.

    One general point that I will make is that the output really is unbelievably bright on Turbo (at least initially). When I first activated it in my living room, the dog jumped off the couch and scampered off.

    It is remarkable to see about twice the max output, compared to other compact lights out there. And all that in a build that is the smallest 4x18650 I've ever seen. Of course, it can't keep that output up for long, and the present step-down level is about that of 1x18650 light on max.

    Also, keep in mind that this is a true flood light. Its beam reminds more of a diffused light than a typical reflectored one. That makes it hard to provide beamshot comparisons, but I've done the best I can above. In practice, I believe the >5000 lumen claim.

    As for the build and UI, I am sure these will change when we get to the final shipping versions. My experience with other prototypes that Niwalker has sent (for other models) strongly suggests this. I know they are looking for feedback, so fire away everyone!

    UPDATE FEBRUARY 11, 2014: This review has been superceded by a new review of a revised prototype, available here. Please go to the new review to continue discussion of this light.

    ----

    MiniMax prototype was provided by Niwalker for review.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 02-11-2014 at 09:31 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
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Great review! Wish they were coming out soon. Would be a great Christmas present to myself!

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Dear Niwalker, put some knurling on the curved planes of the body tube, and start shipping NOW, HURRY, GO..

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Ryp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Thanks for the review!

  5. #5
    Enlightened Knifefeak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Cool light, I do agree that mode memory would be great and all around better interface is needed

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* don.gwapo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Mode memory and knurling and its ready to go.

    Niwalker, make this light NOW, ASAP so that we can put it in our stocking stuffer. .

    Thanks for the review.
    Pick the pooch!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Awesome light to carry around everywhere!! Niwalker, can we have the LEDs directly bonded to small copper heatsink, even if it costs a little more? Also, how about an additional light: 4 x mtg2 version with 8x18650?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Sorry, apparently there is a strobe mode - accessed by a triple click from on.

    I am away right now, but will confirm when I am back home.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Great review; thanks.

    Amazing little light. Hopefully it will come with a holster.

    Lockout would also be great.

    By the way, it is a shame they didn't employ a series/parallel battery arrangement so that you could run just one LED on 2 batteries say in an emergency (similar to S6330 parallel setup which I love).
    Sent from a BlackBerry Classic.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    It looks as though the light is driven very (excruciatingly?) hard on turbo. Perhaps Niwalker engineers have already erred on the side of caution, but since laymen's feedback is called for, here is some of mine. 5000+ lumens is a lot of light, and may be a good sales argument, but so is 4000-4500 lumens and if it would mean less strain on the cells, emitters and other components, plus longer runtime and longer time before automatic step-down, I would consider the reduced output a small price to pay for increased stability and peace of mind.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    I think it definitely needs a 2000 lumen level. They should call the 4500 lumens Burst mode instead of turbo. At least with the word 'Burst' we infer that it does not last for a long time. Perhaps a 10 min stepdown if possible?

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* InfinitusEquitas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    As always, thank you for a great review.

    It seems Niwalker has certainly looked at the Zebralight S6330 before making this light. The dimensions, and overall design are extremely similar.

    In it's current form this is not a practical light. Not even close to it, but it's nice to see Niwalker asking for suggestions.

    1. Light starts on a ~900 lumen high. This is BAD. Why? Because if you're using a flashlight at night, and not just for fun, you may want to maintain your night vision.
    -It would be nice if the light started off with a ramp from low instead.

    2. Not enough modes. Going from 5000+ lumens to 900 is a huge drop.
    -Add 3000, and 1500 lumens modes.

    UI suggestion - Implement separate mode groups.

    Group 1. - Normal everyday use.

    -Press and hold button to start ramping from moonlight to low, to medium, to high.
    -Click once to go into high mode.
    -Holding the button once in any of the modes to start it ramping up, and cycling through moonlight, low, medium, high.

    Group 2. - Maximum Area Illumination.

    -Double click to go into the 5000 lumen turbo mode.
    -From turbo the light should drop in output based on temperature (NOT TIMED!) but to intermediate levels. (Personally I find the difference between 5000 lumens, 3000, and 1500 to be very easily visually apparent.)
    -While in turbo, press, and hold the button to cycle through the three modes.

    Group 3. - Emergency modes.

    -Triple click for strobe.
    -Press and hold to cycle through Strobe, Beacon, SOS, and low power beacon.

    It would be nice if there was mode memory as well, so every time you held the button, double clicked, or triple clicked it would go back to the mode you turned it off from, in that mode group.

    Design Suggestions;

    -Recess the main button. While it appears flush with the body of the light, it doesn't look like it would take much at all for accidental activation.

    -Increase the size of the light slightly. This is already suggested, but the light should absolutely be able to accommodate all of the batteries currently on the market, up to 70mm in length. Since we're likely to see a 3600mAh batteries soon, even a bit more space could be needed. In terms of length no one will be bothered by a light being 1, or even 1.5cm longer. They will be extremely bothered if they cannot use the batteries the already own, or the newest batteries on the market.

    -Increase the depth, and width of the reflectors. In it's current form the light is just too floody to be very practical. In effect a person using it say in the woods, would find themselves lighting up a very small area, but blinding themselves beyond ~100 meters completely. Again, 15mm more will not matter as much, as having just a bit more throw with the light. The beamshots illustrate this beautifully - the MM15 lights up the first row of trees wonderfully, but you can't even tell there are more trees beyond the first line, which is very visible with the marauder, and somewhat with the SX25L3. Which is also a flood light.

    -Some cooling fins on the head would be nice, both for aesthetics, and to help with heat buildup.

    -Offer a handle, AND a belt clip, where one part can be screwed into the light, and the other remains on the belt. This would put the often little used tripod mounting hole to good use.

    -Make sure the LEDs are perfectly centered. On the production sample one of them is not. Yes it's a small small deviation, but if I pay $200+ for a flashlight I expect it to be perfect, and you can bet it's going back if it's not.

    -Add a stainless steel bezel that can be twisted off, and replaced with color filters.

    -Design a tactical rear switch battery compartment for the light - same interface as the primary button, but from a tailcap.

    -Lower standby current.

    -Add some kind of way to show approximate battery capacity.

    Last, and biggest problem I have with this light is heat. I find even a single MTG2 driven to produce ~2500-3000 lumens makes a light too hot to hold within 3 minutes. (Speaking from personal experience with a modded SX25L3.) With two MTG2 emitters, you would probably need oven gloves after 2 minutes.

    Frankly I don't know how this can be well addressed well in such a small light. The heat can only be managed somewhat, and that means not skimping on any materials. These LEDs have to be on copper, and preferably on a large chunk of copper in direct contact with the body. The light must also step down to lower levels on it's own, to prevent it from frying itself. The step down must be based on temperature, and must be at least somewhat gradual (not 5000 to 900).

    I'm sure I'll have more suggestions once I get some sleep.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* sbbsga's Avatar
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Selfbuilt pretty much covered what I wanted to say, he even stated the locator flash.

    It is good to see the Turbo is not in the main sequence - easy double click activation on any mode. I hope this point stays this way on the shipping version. Maybe double click again to return to the last mode from Turbo.

    Also, thick matte anodization on the final version and larger carrier and body for larger cells.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    What's that, Swede? Flashaholics on CPF lobbying for fewer lumens in a light? Say it isn't so.

    Actually, I think your recommendation has a lot of merit. Unless it can be shown that the current 5000+ lumen turbo output isn't, in fact, putting a significant strain on the batteries, I think most of us could probably live with 4500 lumens on turbo.

    And I have to pause to quickly note for the record how wonderful the advance of LED flashlight technology has been these past few years. As Selfbuilt describes, the MiniMax is almost purely a flood light. None of us would waste even a second talking about how well it throws, am I right? Well consider for a second that the MiniMax has over twice the throw of the XP-G version of the Fenix TK-12 tactical 18650 that we were all so excited about not that long ago. It's just remarkable.

    Anyway, beyond that, I think Selfbuilt has once again done an outstanding job of touching on the biggest potential areas of improvement for this light.

    -- Mode spacing definitely needs to be addressed. While 7 lumens would rarely be considered a moonlight/firefly mode for most lights, I suspect the beam profile of the MiniMax makes 7 lumens feel very much like that. We could maybe bump this number down just a little, but I'll defer to Selfbuilt on that matter. Overall though, I'd prefer an output spacing more along the lines of 3-7(?)/150/550/2000/4500-5000.

    -- A locator beacon on the switch is an excellent idea, as is the thought of having the tripod attachment point directly opposite the switch. In this way you can keep the switch relatively flush to aid in protecting it and preventing accidental activations, yet still make it easy to find tactilely. The tripod attachment recess could have a small but robust raised knurled ring surrounding it. Turn the ring 90 degrees from off to provide a lockout mode for the switch on the opposite side and then rotate a further 90 degrees in the same direction for both lockout and to activate the locator beacon.

    -- UI is a bit awkward as Selfbuilt has pointed out. I'd prefer that we keep the UI extremely simple, however. How about something like:

    Single press from off to latch on to last level used
    Press and hold from off for momentary turbo
    From on, single presses to continuously cycle through the various brightness levels
    From on, double press from any level for turbo (not sure if this is really necessary)
    From on, triple press from any level for strobe
    From on, press and hold for off.

    It's intuitive, you don't have to memorize multiple output groupings and it provides just about all the functionality most folks would ever need.

    -- As a rule, I tend to hate battery carriers. And if I'm being honest, the preproduction version pictured in Selfbeam's photos above doesn't look particularly robust. If there's an economical way to avoid having one in this light that wouldn't add too much weight, I'd love to see it eliminated. If not, beef up the carrier just a bit and I can live with it. Just make sure whatever system is used can easily accommodate the latest generation of high capacity, but increasingly oversized 18650s.

    -- Maybe some strong neodymium magnets protected under the tail cap so that the light could easily stick to any ferrous surface?
    Last edited by Bronco; 11-09-2013 at 08:39 AM.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    I completely agree with xed888 - great with the 3.5 minute "blast/turbo" mode like most other manufacturers, but it needs to step down to the 2000 lumen range for as long as the regulation (both temperature/current) steps it down to 870 lumens. Keep the 870 lumens as the default "High mode" - amaing super long run-time!

    They should emulate the TM-15 or the Spark SP-6. Actually, the double step down would make the regulation better than the two mentioned above (as far as regulation goes). Even w/o knowing the price, a real 870 lumen "monster" torch with only 3.5 minutes of glory output is not very appealing.

    Awesome flooder, for those who like flood only torches.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    I suppose the UI question will be dictated by the projected use of the light. As a flooder, you NEED a lot more lumens to cover the larger area...so "normal" spacing is not going to work the same way it does on lights with "normal beam angles".

    IE: A dog walker might be perfectly happy with a 900 L flood, and the ability to blast out 5k L for a bit to see what was a bit further out, etc.

    A continuous output/control ring would probably be the best UI for this overall, as it would let everyone both preset the output before turning it on, and/or simply have it come on where it was last, etc...as well as adjusting the output on the fly.

    A long run time is of course needed for night hikes/long walks, and, typically, the lux on the trail is not required to be incredible, but, does need to be "enough" to avoid tripping on roots or snakes, etc. The floodier lights can be dimmer, as they provide more time to SEE that sort of thing on the trail, because there's little or no hot spot to glare out the details, and, no need to pan the light to and from to cover the areas of concern, etc.

    If you for example go for a longer time at say 2k L, you have more heat to dissipate, and, less run time....and the thermal issue the light has to handle probably dictated the output/run time compromises.

    It would be helpful from a feedback perspective to know what the limiting factors were, as otherwise, its easier to just throw out stuff like, hey, lets have 5k L for 2 hours, etc.


  17. #17

    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Teej- There will aways be 870 lumens on hi and 490 on medium for hours and hours of trail walking.

    If it can't do 2000 lumens for any lenght of time, give me a TM-11 or the new Eagletac (6 x XP-G) MX25L3c S2 which is also a super flooder.

    It is all about placing a product correctly in the marketpalce...

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    @Teej - The problem is it's ALL flood. Not even 20kcd on the highest setting. With a flood beam pattern, you'll be lucky to see well 20-30 meters ahead with it on high. Walking my dog, I like to light up the ground very clearly, but to be able to just raise the light and see a fair distance.

    This light will make the SX25L3 look like a thrower.

    @Selfbuilt - This probably won't go anywhere, but one other thought - something I would LOVE to see - factory, partially dedomed LEDs. Given my experience with other MTG2's, with a dedome this light would be ideal, sacrificing maybe 10-15% of the output but gaining about double the throw.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Quote Originally Posted by InfinitusEquitas View Post
    @Teej - The problem is it's ALL flood. Not even 20kcd on the highest setting. With a flood beam pattern, you'll be lucky to see well 20-30 meters ahead with it on high. Walking my dog, I like to light up the ground very clearly, but to be able to just raise the light and see a fair distance.
    I think you have it exactly backwards. Niwalker is well aware they are building a flood light. Hiking with a thrower is quite obnoxious, as the small hot spot bounces around with your body movement. Additionally, most of our visual information comes from our peripheral vision. Our sense of balance at night is aided by the peripheral awareness a flood light offers. Flood lights better serve most practical applications for lighting.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Quote Originally Posted by InfinitusEquitas View Post
    With a flood beam pattern, you'll be lucky to see well 20-30 meters ahead with it on high.
    From the owner of GoingGear, who has used this pre release version; "If you like floody lights, this guy is about as floody as lights get. Awful distance, but amazing area lighting for about 100 yards. I really like it." I think, InfinitusEquitas, you have clearly underestimated the lighting distance in an attempt to bolster your position.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* InfinitusEquitas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Quote Originally Posted by maxrep12 View Post
    From the owner of GoingGear, who has used this pre release version; "If you like floody lights, this guy is about as floody as lights get. Awful distance, but amazing area lighting for about 100 yards. I really like it." I think, InfinitusEquitas, you have clearly underestimated the lighting distance in an attempt to bolster your position.
    The bit you're missing, is the light only offers that range on the highest setting, for 3.5 minutes.

    Turn it down to the 900 lumen or lower setting, that you're likely to use on, for the sake of runtime, not killing your batteries, and heat, and you're cutting that range significantly.

    Don't get me wrong, I like floody lights. I love headlamps that have a wide beam angle for close up work, but they have no range, and neither will this light.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic A.O.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Nice review once again Selfbuilt... I always enjoy them.

    But... I just don't get it... a light with this much available power with such limited throw.. If lights have gone out inside a big empty warehouse or something, maybe..

    My opinion, obviously a reasonable newbie here, would be to add some throw to this thing.. I love my TK75, but its a good combination throw and spill.. with this lights incredible small size, it that were that balanced... I for one would be all over it!! But, that's just me maybe.

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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Quote Originally Posted by maxrep12 View Post
    I think you have it exactly backwards. Niwalker is well aware they are building a flood light. Hiking with a thrower is quite obnoxious, as the small hot spot bounces around with your body movement. Additionally, most of our visual information comes from our peripheral vision. Our sense of balance at night is aided by the peripheral awareness a flood light offers. Flood lights better serve most practical applications for lighting.
    Agreed.

    I would also say as a general matter - with all due respect to many of the suggestions here that would be excellent for another light - if we really want to have any input in shaping the final design of this light, we should probably be making recommendations that work somewhat closely within the existing physical parameters of the light. Infinitely variable output selector rings, user programmable drivers and larger, deeper reflector designs are all great things. But many of them may well require retooling costs that the manufacturer wouldn't be eager to incur this late in the game.
    --Semper Fi--
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  24. #24
    Flashaholic* InfinitusEquitas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Quote Originally Posted by A.O. View Post
    Nice review once again Selfbuilt... I always enjoy them.

    But... I just don't get it... a light with this much available power with such limited throw.. If lights have gone out inside a big empty warehouse or something, maybe..

    My opinion, obviously a reasonable newbie here, would be to add some throw to this thing.. I love my TK75, but its a good combination throw and spill.. with this lights incredible small size, it that were that balanced... I for one would be all over it!! But, that's just me maybe.
    +1

    The light is the most powerful, yet has the least reach of any on the list. I'll go to CPF hell for saying this, but it's too much light for close up work.

    Adding a bit of length to the light, increasing the depth of the reflectors would narrow the hotspot, give it just a tad more throw. It can also serve to permit space for more complicated/robust circuitry, and maybe even a somewhat larger heatsink.

    The TK75, is in another class of lights altogether though. It has spill, but it's fairly close to being a dedicated thrower.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Quote Originally Posted by InfinitusEquitas View Post
    +1

    The light is the most powerful, yet has the least reach of any on the list. I'll go to CPF hell for saying this, but it's too much light for close up work.

    The TK75, is in another class of lights altogether though. It has spill, but it's fairly close to being a dedicated thrower.
    This is true, but this light is also a 4x18650 light and should have at least some decent downrange effectiveness which it just doesn't seem to have... and yeah.. WAY to much light for close up work. Seems it would be blinding, that much light that close.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    I want one!

  27. #27

    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    From my previous two humble post, it is clear I'm in the same mindset as Infinitus...king kong flood for 3.5 minutes and then drops to a conventional 870 lumens (with the aforementioned short range Infinitus refers, which is correct).

    If you are advancing the flashlight technology and torch design, as I'm sure NiWalker is - to stay competitive - do it right to get the customer to choose your brand over the others. If this torch is priced over the $200 mark, you better have some very useful output, regulation, design advantages. That is why Nitecore threw the ball out of the park with the TM series.

    This NiWalker has a "100points" in my book as far as design and size - but if you want to make it the king of flood, it needs an intermediate output to make it useful in everyday (night) use. From a useage practicallity, Infinitus is right on the money (and thus so am I ) get a powerful 2000 lumen output as the high setting with tons of flood given the two small and shallow reflectors are stricktly designed for short range illumination.

    I rest my case - the market is "flooded" with competitive options...

  28. #28

    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Rather than address some statements made in this thread, I would like to point out an issue that does not surface often. Among companies that provide personal lighting equipment, for a variety of activities, there is little emphasis on throw. This is no more or less the result of the equipment serving a purpose rather than being the focus of novelty.
    Last edited by maxrep12; 11-10-2013 at 09:47 AM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Quote Originally Posted by maxrep12 View Post
    Rather than address some statements made in this thread, I would like to point out an issue that does not surface often. Among companies that provide personal lighting equipment, for a variety of activities, there is little emphasis on throw. This is no more or less the result of the equipment serving a purpose rather than being the focus of novelty.
    Hmmm, I generally see almost all of the emphasis on throw.

    The range in meters is a big selling point. I see a lot of lumen stuff of course, but, except for flashaholics, they don't know what that is. They generally know more is better, but, from what I see/hear, most think the range in meters advertised and the lumens are different ways of saying the same thing: "How bright it is", just like the wildly crazy Candle Power claims for the various spot lights arranged across the big box store's shelves; 15 Million Candle Power! (From a 55 watt halogen bulb, etc.)


    I think the points about the throw at the 870 L output being short are completely in line with the light's shortcoming to many though.

    All lights cannot do all things, there are simply too many design compromises.


    A screw driver may be great at screwing in screws.,,,but, there will be those who complain how it SUCKS at driving in nails.

    Why can't they make a screw driver that can drive in nails?

    Well, they do, but, it makes it less good at either function to be able to do both.


    The giant lumen out put is from giant honking LEDs...which also put out a lot of heat.


    A larger LED has a larger point of emission, and, therefore, less throw for a given reflector size, etc. That means the lower output, smaller LEDs can more easily out throw the larger higher out put LEDs.

    If they do it with less heat, great...and for those that want more throw, that's potentially a better overall solution.

    If you WANT a wide floody and powerful beam, the MTG2 is a good way to go, if the resultant range/heat management limitations work for you too.


    If you are ok with less flood to optimize range, you can take a smaller amount of light, and concentrate it into that smaller pattern, and get just as bright in the smaller area, but also project that beam farther.


    I have an aspherical (Zoomie) MTG2 light that runs on two IMR 16340....which is my way of hedging the bet. That way, I get the ~ 3k lumen mule-like flood if zoomed out, and, zoomed in, a giant Eggo Waffle I can project onto more distant targets. I can also zoom to a TIR-like beam spot for intermediate targets.


  30. #30
    Flashaholic* InfinitusEquitas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHO

    Quote Originally Posted by maxrep12 View Post
    Rather than address some statements made in this thread, I would like to point out an issue that does not surface often. Among companies that provide personal lighting equipment, for a variety of activities, there is little emphasis on throw. This is no more or less the result of the equipment serving a purpose rather than being the focus of novelty.
    No one is disputing the benefits of flood. No one expects this flashlight to be a thrower.

    The problem is it's probably a 90+ degree flood light, with a humongous hotspot. Making it very dim at lower settings.

    Look at those wonderful gifs Selfbuilt put up. On the maximum 5200 lumen mode which lasts 3.5 minutes, at even 100 yards, the light is already losing ground badly. Cut that back to 2000 lumens, or 900, and you won't see much of anything past 50 yards.

    At the same time, if your goal is to light up something 50 yards away, you can do it with literally a 5th the power or less, to the same effect, without blinding yourself, and do so with still very floody lights. Look at the SX25L3... it's a flood light, but it has just a bit more reach to it. With half the power.

    Ever wonder why the "personal lighting equipment" companies don't just sell large lightbars, with bare emitters? Why they bother with even having a dome on LED's? It's do DIRECT the light. That's all I'm suggesting... slightly improved throw so the light is more than just a mere novelty for blinding yourself.
    Last edited by InfinitusEquitas; 11-10-2013 at 11:58 AM.

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