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Thread: Review: Olight S30 Baton (1x18650, 2xCR123)

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Review: Olight S30 Baton (1x18650, 2xCR123)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
    The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

    All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I’ve previously reviewed the SxxR rechargeable batons from Olight. This is the simpler non-rechargeable S30.




    Taking a more detailed look:

    Like the other batons, the S30 comes in a plastic box.




    Included are an instruction leaflet, spare O-rings and a spare insulator.




    Already fitted is a steel pocket clip.




    The S30 next to the original S30R (not the S30R II).




    For scale, the S30 is next to an 18650 cell.




    Also supplied with the S30 is a 2x CR123 holder to reduce cell rattle when using these smaller cells.




    Inside the tail-cap the negative terminal is a spring. The same spring is used to hold the tail-cap magnet in place.




    The threads are square cut.




    Inside the battery tube you can see the positive terminal spring.




    The side switch has illumination to indicate low power or that the light is locked.




    A closer view of the switch.




    The tail-cap is sleek and simple.




    The S30 uses a XM-L2 LED.





    The beam

    Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.
    The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball "Off-White", and the walls are a light sandy colour called 'String' again by Farrow & Ball. I don't actually have a 'white wall' in the house to use for this, and the wife won't have one!



    Starting indoors, the S30 has a broad hotspot and wide spill.




    In close to medium ranges the S30 gives you a nice spread of light.





    Modes and User Interface:

    The S30 has a set of modes and operation like the other Baton lights. Turbo, High, Medium, Low, Moon and Strobe.

    From OFF – Press and hold the switch to get direct access to Moonlight
    From OFF – Click the switch once to get the last used constant output level (including Moonlight)
    From OFF – Double click to get direct access to Turbo
    From OFF – Triple click to get direct access to Strobe


    From ON - Triple click to get Strobe
    From ON - Double click to get Turbo
    From ON – Press and hold the switch to cycle through Low, Medium, High, Turbo, Low etc (moonlight is not included in these modes)

    To Lock the S30 From OFF – press and hold the switch for 2s During this time it will come on in Moonlight and then go off again at which point it is locked out.

    The S30 lights up the button illumination to indicate it has locked-out. If you press the button while the S30 is locked-out the switch will light up red to let you know it is locked.

    To Unlock press and hold the switch for 1s, this will enter Moonlight

    The button illumination starts to flash as the cell's charge becomes low.



    Batteries and output:

    The S30 runs on 1x 18650 or 2x CR123.

    To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

    Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    Olight S30 using 18650 (unless otherwise stated) I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
    ___________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
    Turbo using CR123 938 0
    Turbo 918 0
    High 510 0
    Medium 128 0
    Low 17 0
    Moon Below threshold 0
    Strobe 248 9.8

    * Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.

    Peak Beam intensity measured 9400lx @1m giving a beam range of 194m.

    There is parasitic drain at 15uA which would take 23.58 years to drain a 3100mAh cell.

    Performance on 18650 or CR123 is very similar except that runtime is longer on 18650. After an initial Turbo phase, the output drops to High for the majority of the run, and is well regulated at this output level.





    Troubleshooting

    This is a new section I am adding to mention any minor niggles I came across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

    No issues were encountered during testing.

    As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar 'issue' that might be fixed in the same way.



    The S30 in use

    There may be rechargeable versions, but sometimes I just like a simple non-rechargeable light. Keeping things simple and being in control of the cells and their charge.

    The Olight Baton lights are a joy to use. Direct access to the moonlight mode is a winning feature. There is no danger of getting a blast of high output, in fact if you get it wrong and hold the button for too long, you just get lock-out. Unlocking these lights brings them on in moonlight.

    The memory works well as it will also remember moonlight, as well as any other constant mode you last used. The only downside here is that for a moon mode capable light, the switch click is quite loud, so a middle of the night walkabout starts with a ‘CLICK’ and soft moonlight beam.

    With the S30 you have three weapons against accidental activation. First it the fixed ring around the switch. This gives enough protection to the switch that it is very unlikely to be pressed by mistake, but is also low-profile enough to be barely noticeable when pressing the switch. Second is the lock-out mode, and third, you can always unscrew the tail-cap slightly.

    The magnetic tail-cap can be a blessing and hindrance, as often I’ve ended up fishing things out of my bag I didn’t want to. If you are going to use it regularly you will scuff up the tail-cap nicely as there is no buffer, but more importantly you might scuff up the surface you put it on, so be careful.

    Of the Baton range, the S30, though not as compact as others, but is a really comfortably size to hold, with the added benefit of near 1000lm output and the runtime an 18650 can provide.

    For EDC carry, I would have liked a holster, as I’m not a fan of pocket clips but this is really the only criticism I have.

    The S30 is a great every-day-light with a great interface. For me direct access to Moon and Turbo are key features of this light.



    Review Summary

    _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
    Things I like What doesn't work so well for me
    _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________
    Direct access to Turbo and Moon modes No holster
    Near 1000lm output Relatively loud switch click
    Side switch and great interface
    Low parasitic drain





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  2. #2
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Olight S30 Baton (1x18650, 2xCR123)

    reserved for updates...

    Please feel free to ask questions, give feedback or comments.
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    Flashaholic* KeepingItLight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Olight S30 Baton (1x18650, 2xCR123)

    Thanks for a great review!

    I am a fan of neutral-white emitters for most flashlights, so Olight has been low on my radar. Nevertheless, from reviews likes yours, and anecdotal posts on CPF, I have come to appreciate some of the Olight designs. Olight has carved out a nice niche with its throwers.

    Of late, I have become interested in how a flashlight behaves when faced with over-discharge. See my thread Over-discharge of Li-ion – A Request for Flashlight Reviewers.

    Do you know if the Olight SR30 has a low-voltage cutoff? If so, what is its cutoff voltage? Does the SR30 blink when its battery gets low? Does it step down to lower modes when the battery gets low?

    Another issue that has gotten my attention recently is current draw from CR123A batteries. I am still learning about this. Most CR123A batteries are rated for a maximum continuous current discharges of 1.5A. When the SR30 is running on 2xCR123A, do you know whether it pulls more than that on its turbo and high modes?

    On your runtime charts, I see that turbo mode (938 lumens) steps down to high (510 lumens) in about 3 minutes. Is this a timed step-down? Perhaps a high current draw for only a few minutes does not constitute a “continuous discharge.” I don’t know.

    Thanks again for sharing all your hard work!
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  4. #4
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Olight S30 Baton (1x18650, 2xCR123)

    Quote Originally Posted by KeepingItLight View Post
    Do you know if the Olight SR30 has a low-voltage cutoff? If so, what is its cutoff voltage? Does the SR30 blink when its battery gets low? Does it step down to lower modes when the battery gets low?

    Another issue that has gotten my attention recently is current draw from CR123A batteries. I am still learning about this. Most CR123A batteries are rated for a maximum continuous current discharges of 1.5A. When the SR30 is running on 2xCR123A, do you know whether it pulls more than that on its turbo and high modes?

    On your runtime charts, I see that turbo mode (938 lumens) steps down to high (510 lumens) in about 3 minutes. Is this a timed step-down? Perhaps a high current draw for only a few minutes does not constitute a “continuous discharge.” I don’t know.
    Hi KeepingItLight.

    Similar to my reply on this subject in the EC4 review thread, as the S30 also runs on 2xCR123, its lowest operating voltage is going to be pretty low (probably 2V), but I have not measured this. If the S30 was designed for 18650 only, it would be better able to work with li-ion's particular requirements.

    What I have done is check my runtime logs, as in the graph I use the ANSI cut-off as the end of the trace. Sometimes a light cuts out (with the protection kicking in) and sometimes it fades away. In the case of the S30 it fades away. So the S30's output drops significantly BEFORE the cell protection might operate (it did not in any of my runs), and at the same time the switch illumination is flashing to warn of low power.

    Do you count this as li-ion over-discharge protection?

    I haven't run the S30 at full output with an ammeter in the circuit. As I have to hand hold the connection I don't tend to do this measurement, so can't answer the question of current draw using 2xCR123 and Turbo.

    The turbo step down to high is a timed step down. I wouldn't consider a few minutes to be continuous. I would consider continuous to be 5-10 minutes and over, as at this point the device is reaching thermal equilibrium so the cells are not being cooled as well.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Review: Olight S30 Baton (1x18650, 2xCR123)

    Thanks for sharing this review Subwoofer! As always, its a very helpful review for all.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* WarRaven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Olight S30 Baton (1x18650, 2xCR123)

    Yes, kudos for a great review!
    +1
    The Baton are a nice slim elegant type of light.
    Good beams, decent lighting levels, tints are doable.
    The R versions can be looked at same way, just don't use built in charger just for the record, I am split between in and out of light charging on mine. Enough off topic sorry.

    Good all rounder pocket light, usable beam not too tight or all flood, good mixture of both with clear separation of nicely defined corona on hot spot itself.
    The S30 is going fit very good prices now that the R versions are out and IMO, a great bang for the buck.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* KeepingItLight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Olight S30 Baton (1x18650, 2xCR123)

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    So the S30's output drops significantly BEFORE the cell protection might operate (it did not in any of my runs), and at the same time the switch illumination is flashing to warn of low power.

    Do you count this as li-ion over-discharge protection?
    “Protection,” yes. “Low-voltage cutoff,” no.

    I have a post entitled Over-discharge of Li-ion – A Request for Flashlight Reviewers that explains my concerns about low voltage. I am not arguing that a flashlight should or should not have a low-voltage cutoff. I am only asking that a flashlight review detail how a flashlight behaves when driven to over-discharge. That way, prospective buyers will know what they have to do to prevent an accidental over-discharge.

    One of the things I would like to see in every review of a Li-ion flashlight is a simple yes-or-no statement saying whether a flashlight has a low-voltage cutoff. We usually get a direct yes-or-no for things like tail-standing. Let’s put one in for low-voltage cutoff.

    The other thing I would like to see is a detailed explanation of what happens when a flashlight is driven to over-discharge.

    For some flashlights, the answer will be “nothing!” Those flashlights keep chugging along until their batteries are unable to power the emitter. If that is how a flashlight works, I would like to see an explicit statement of that in a review.

    Other times, a flashlight gives some sort of a signal. That could mean an LED flashes somewhere on a flashlight, or perhaps the main beam blinks. When voltage gets low on the Olight S30 Baton, a blue LED in the switch begins to flash. Your review explains that perfectly.

    Some flashlights, such as the Zebralight SC62w and the BLF A6 Special Edition, force step-downs to lower levels when battery voltage gets low.

    All of these things are part of how a flashlight responds to a low-voltage condition. All of them should be explained together, in a systematic way. They should appear in the same place, and in the same form, in every review of a Li-ion flashlight. At least, I think they should.


    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    I haven’t run the S30 at full output with an ammeter in the circuit. As I have to hand hold the connection I don't tend to do this measurement, so can't answer the question of current draw using 2xCR123 and Turbo.

    The turbo step down to high is a timed step down. I wouldn’t consider a few minutes to be continuous. I would consider continuous to be 5-10 minutes and over, as at this point the device is reaching thermal equilibrium so the cells are not being cooled as well.
    Thanks for this explanation. I have only recently become aware that most manufacturers of CR123A batteries rate them for maximum continuous discharges of 1.5A. My guess is that most 1000-lumen flashlights running on 2xCR123A pull significantly more than that.

    If we can classify 3-minutes of turbo as a “pulse” discharge, then perhaps we can say that the S30 keeps current draw within the tolerances published by most manufacturers of CR123A batteries. A typical CR123A is rated for a maximum pulse discharge of 3.5A. According to the Sanyo datasheet I found, 15 seconds at 3.5A causes the battery to sag to 1.0 volts! I am not sure what 3 minutes will do.

    My guess—and it is only a guess—is that 1000 lumens will pull a bit less than 3 amps in most 2xCR123A flashlights that have an XM-L2 emitter. For all I know, however, it could be less. I have never measured. Whatever it is, I believe it to be higher than 1.5A.

    When I posed these same questions to Selfbuilt, he expressed concern over the behavior of CR123A batteries he has seen in some of his runtime tests. In his runtime tests of the Nitecore MH20, he found that current draw was enough to activate the PTC protection in his CR123A batteries.

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Yes, I find it a source of concern to see PTC features kick-in on CR123A cells. I have certainly see a lot of this over the years in testing (especially common on 4xCR123A lights). Examining the cells, you can sometimes see clear evidence of damage in the wrappers around the PTC. Invariably, the worse-affected cell is the one closest to the head (where most of the heat is concentrated).

    It's fundamentally a problem of how heavily-driven lights are now on max, in general (i.e., not specific to Nitecore - or Olight, or Thunite, etc, etc.). Multi-cell CR123A setups often don't seem suitable for sustained runtimes at max levels - even in lights with thermal regulation (which is designed to protect the circuit, not the battery). But of course, that's based again on made-in-the-USA CR123A calibration levels for PTCs. With made-in-China cells, you would probably almost never see that runtime pattern.

    [Emphasis added.]
    My exchange with Selfbuilt begins with my post here.

    When a reviewer reports that PTC is kicking in and that battery wrappers are being damaged, I get interested to know what the current levels are. I am suspicious that they are higher than the batteries are spec’ed for. That’s why I think it would be useful to publish current measurements for these CR123A batteries in a review. If a flashlight is designed to pull more current from a battery than the battery is rated to supply, I would like to see that explained in a review.

    As you can tell, I am still struggling to learn how to best use CR123A batteries. Thank you for taking the time to give such a detailed response.
    Last edited by KeepingItLight; 10-07-2015 at 03:35 AM.
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  8. #8
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Olight S30 Baton (1x18650, 2xCR123)

    Quote Originally Posted by KeepingItLight View Post
    As you can tell, I am still struggling to learn how to best use CR123A batteries. Thank you for taking the time to give such a detailed response.
    I'm glad to see such a thoughtful approach.

    The bottom line is that CR123s are not suitable for the current crop of small, high output lights. In my opinion, the maximum output you can run continuously on 2xCR123 is around 700lm. Beyond that you are asking too much of primary cells and need to move to more specialised cells designed to deliver high current.

    I too have experienced CR123s on the edge and had lights where the main source of heat was the body not the head (due to the cells getting very hot). For this reason my preferred testing pattern is to use li-ion for extended runtimes and CR123s only where specifically required to show certain traits. In fact for certain high power lights that can run on CR123, I simply won't use CR123 for my own safety.

    For me, CR123's place is in high reliability and standby situations where extreme output is not required.
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  9. #9
    Flashaholic* KeepingItLight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Olight S30 Baton (1x18650, 2xCR123)

    Thanks, subwoofer. Based on your experiences, I was right to be suspicious. Your 700-lumen ballpark for 2xCR123A seems good.

    I think flashlight manufacturers need to do a better job spelling out the facts. Reviewers can help by mentioning the issue every time they are writing about CR123A. Best of all would be for a "smart" flashlight to somehow detect CR123A batteries, and reduce output appropriately.

    I have been reading reviews assiduously since last May, and only became aware of the high current draws associated with CR123A batteries in the past two weeks. That tells me that reviewers need to highlight the issue more often.

    1xCR123A may be just as problematic as applications using multiple batteries. Although CPF member recDNA has been asking for months, he still has not had a satisfactory explanation why the 2.5A current draw measured in the 1xCR123A Zebralight SC32w is within spec for CR123A. As a precaution, he has stopped using the H1 mode on his SC32w.

    I understand that not every reviewer will be able to measure current. Sometimes a reviewer does not have the equipment to make a reliable measurement. Simply inserting a meter in series with the batteries can change the current flow.

    For those, however, who can get an accurate result, I think it would be revealing and important to measure and report on those flashlights that drive CR123A batteries beyond their maximum continuous discharge rates.
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