The SPY005 field testers should be receiving their lights beginning tomorrow. I would ask that they please post their reviews in this thread.
The SPY005 field testers should be receiving their lights beginning tomorrow. I would ask that they please post their reviews in this thread.
Please see this SPY005 thread index for more information.
The first two lights were ready to go out early. I sent them to McGizmo and Wilkey. They should receive the lights tomorrow (10-21-05). They will have the lights for about a week and then they will be returned to me. As other prototype lights are completed I will be sending them out to more of the field testers.
Right now, all the lights being sent to the field testers are prototypes. They have some known issues, all of which are being addressed. I have chosen to go forward with the field-testing rather than wait for the issues to be resolved.
The known issues with the prototype lights are:
1) The light flashes a full power bleep between each of the power settings. We know about the non-shorting switch issue and a redesign is in the works.
2) Only primary cells can be used in the prototypes. Whether the final design will handle rechargeables or not is still being considered.
3) There is no lanyard yet.
4) There is no battery reverse polarity protection yet.
5) The knob, head and lens o-rings are still being tested and may yet change type and size.
6) The body is HA type III natural (not died). The shade of the end cap may not perfectly match the shade of the body. Hard anodizing is an art and may not be perfect even on the final shipped product (sound familiar).
7) The mechanism to keep the PCB in place is still being designed. If you turn the knob without batteries in the light, it will push the PCB forward about 1/16” and the switch will disengage.
Last edited by Data; 10-21-2005 at 12:31 AM.
thanks i got my test Spy005 today! lol
Oh dang, somebody knocked it off already!Originally Posted by nemul
be kind and send a kid a happy birthday present... :P
Sample received. I'll be back tonight with initial impressions.
Last edited by Ginseng; 10-21-2005 at 12:22 PM.
Some time ago, Dave contacted me to discuss his SPY005 concept. I provided what input and feedback I could toward his well-conceived project and let him know that I'd be pleased to help him field test the design. Well, that was some time ago and now I'm honored to have been asked to do just that.
Let me say up front that I have neither solicited nor been offered any inducement or compensation for this field testing. After I am done, this unit goes back to Dave. He was nice enough, however, to send me a small aluminum paperweight/paperclip cup. Retail value on that honorarium is probably on the order of $10-15.
Fit and Finish
One would never be able to tell that this unit was a pre-production prototype. The machining is top notch. The curves are organic and fluid. The carved grip pad areas on the sides of the light are well-executed. The joint between the chromed head and the HA-3 body is tight and even. The interior of the bezel has six accent notches cut into it, providing a nice bit of textural detail.
This is a 2x123 light with the cells arranged in an over-under side-by-side arrangement. This allows for a super compact design that fits the hand well and is easy to hold AND easy to use, simultaneously.
Popping the rear cap shows that the attention to design and tolerance is there. The cap retention method is innovative in that it is essentially zero-length and very positive. The main O-ring seal appears to be able to provide at least a splash-proof seal. The sealing around the cap-release pin is less clear.
Comment on cosmetics:
The grip pads on this pre-pro unit are cut so that the tops of the lands are flat and the valleys are gently radiused. This results in an inviting sort of "flow" when you hold the light in your hand and run the pad of your thumb along the grooves. Very nice. An alternative cut pattern might be one such as the diamond checkering pattern found on the grips or stocks of firearms. It would not be out of line to expect to see such a pattern on this unit. I'd have no trouble believing you if you told me this was made by Beretta or Sig to go along with a commemorative pistol offering. It's that nice.
The bezel is small enough and the body flat enough that it is an effortless carry in any pocket. In fact, it even fits in the coin pocket of my jeans. This is a small light whose dimensions completely belie its versatility and performance. Overall, it is a significant demonstration of good industrial product design. Here is a picture of it sandwiched between my Blazer MicroTorch lighter and Benchmade MiniRSK.
This is a multi-output level light. And as such, it has a level selector/switch. The unique aspect of this light's design is that it positions the rotary selector directly under (or over, depending on how you orient it) the head in an over-under configuration. Very slick, very intuitive and much more practical in use (especially one-handed) than almost any other variable output configuration I've seen or worked with including the vaunted SF U2.
The knob is a small chromed cylinder with 10 notches cut out of the front edge. The finish on the knob is high polish and bright plated. When I first heard that Dave was planning on this finish, I expressed concern that it might result in a slickness when gripping it. In the worst case, this could translate to imprecision of level selection, mis-selection or inability to turn the knob at all if one's hands were more than damp.
As it turns out, when the hands are normally moist (not as from perspiration, water or oil) there is no problem whatsoever activating the switch and selecting at will and with confidence. In this circumstance, the smooth surface is precisely what provides "lock up" with your finger pads. However, when the hands get dry, as mine tend to do, grip declines quite noticeably even when gripping with the thumb and forefinger in an opposed pincer arrangement. This brings us to...
Comment #1 on the selector knob/switch:
While I suspect that the knob finish will work well the majority of the time for the majority of users, I can envision a fair portion of conditions under which switch operation might be compromised. To address this concern, It might be worth considering an alternative finish. For example, an aggressive media blast followed by bright coating might serve to enhance grip yet still provide a reasonably elegant finish. I'd point to some of the work done by Endeavor as examples of a similar approach. Alternatively, a slip-on, replaceable rubber grip ring might serve while providing a more utilitarian appearance.
While I am testing this light, I've applied some self-gripping splice tape to the knob to increase the grip and operation of the knob is now sure and confidence inspiring.
This light has six output levels. The lowest of which corresponds roughly to the "low" setting of PALight Survival. Though not as dim as the "always on" level, it is still pretty dim and I suspect well suited to use for middle of the night excursions to the can or to check on the baby. The highest is bright. About on par, as I recall, with my Smooth Operator which runs a U-bin Lux-3 driven by a Wiz2 at 1000mA. In other words, bright. The spot is well-formed from about 6" on out and is uniform. Very nice.
Levels 1-5 seem well-spaced but level 6 is very close to level 5. That is to say, the two brightest levels are too close in my opinion. The selection action is very, very good though. The detents at each level are positive in action and accompanied by a clearly audible "click." There are some who might prefer a more silent action, but as it is now, the combination of tactile and audible feedback is right on. Perfect IMO. I used the light while wearing a pair of Mechanix gloves and operation was flawless.
To select the highest of the six levels requires 6 x 36 degrees (216 degrees total) of rotation of the selector knob. This corresponds to turning the knob from 12 noon to 7:12 on the clock face. If using the opposed thumb-forefinger grip, this necessitates turning it as far as your fingers will allow (before contacting the bezel and thus limiting rotation), lifting your fingers off the knob, bringing them back to the starting positions and then turning some more. That is, you can only reasonably access level 3 (possibly level 4) on the first twist and then on the second twist, you can reach level 6. These last two points brings us to...
Comment #2 on the selector knob/switch:
In my opinion, more than three levels is excessive for a general purpose use light that is expected to perform under varying conditions of background light and illumination demand. The eye adjusts rapidly enough to facilitate adaptation to three coarse, though well-spaced levels of output on targets. Additionally, the light is typically either scanned around, directed to follow a moving target, or is trained upon a region where movement of objects of non-uniform lightness is occurring. Under these conditions, the ability to select from a multiplicity of fine gradations in incident illumination is unlikely to provide any benefit to the task.
And so, this brings me to another recommendation. In my opinion, limiting the output to three levels achieves the following benefits:
1) The total range of rotation is cut in half from 216 degrees to 108 degrees. And following on this change...
2) The user can access all the levels from off to highest and back again without removing his fingers from the knob. This provides total and positive control of the lighting condition.
3) The three levels then become readily identified and the position of the selector can be mentally indexed so that the user knows with confidence what level he is at.
The lens in this unit is a gently domed glass window. In fact, it is so gently domed that I did not even notice it until Dave pointed it out to me. My recommendation is that unless there is a good reason to stick with it, to replace the unit with a flat lens. The gentle dome should not provide for any benefit in performance, design or cost as far as I can tell. The question of whether and what type of anti-reflection coating has not been settled as far as I know.
One final note on use that I have to make, sorry Dave, I'll disinfect the unit before I return it , is that the unit lends itself well to "mouthing." That is, it is light, small and with a near perfect profile for gripping between the teeth (or with lips over teeth) while both hands are employed in a task. In this respect, it is superior to my L4 in that 1) is does not have that extreme, flesh and enamel shredding knurling SF likes so much and 2) it is shorter, thus is less stressful to carry comfortably in this way.
Impression so far
This is an impressive light. In terms of the logicality and thoroughness of its design considerations it is a significant enough event. However, couple this with an amazing balance of performance and ergonomics, and it is the most significant "Small & Bright" class light I've encountered. Innovative, well-crafted and well-considered, it is a giant among the tiny.
I look forward to putting this gem through its paces in the coming week.
I was thinking about the carry options for this and it occurred to me that two options are worth thinking about. I've never been a lanyard person.
1) providing a "boss" of some sort to mount a button as is seen with some cell phones and the McLux-type lights for belt carry
2) belt-mounted beeper case
I forgot to mention that the lanyard attachment point that Don designed for the SPY includes a cell phone button attachment point. I will try to get a CAD picture of it posted soon.
I would bet a Zippo sized leather belt type case like this sort of thing would be way cool. If you went with this type then you could put the Spy logo on it too.
Originally Posted by Ginseng
Great impressions, Wilkey - very organized and logically presented (pics are super, too). Made me realize all sorts of things about this light that I never would have considered before (good writing tends to do that to a person).
Can't wait to see the other takes now.
saving for one..........
I got one of these little wonders to ponder and test as well. Where to start.
The engineering is superb, machine work imaginative and excellent; refreshing to be certain! The size and utility of this light is fantastic and only possible with the creative and sophisticated design that Dave has expertly brought to bear. Good job Dave but we all knew that already!
The light works as one can easily intuit and the less than obvious means of cell replacement can be learned and appreciated in no time. As is, this pre production prototype is a work of functional art and could easily be considered finished and ready for production. Objectively there are no short comings or weakness or flaws to my thinking; power level settings aside.
Subjectively and functionaly from my perspective, I would like to suggest consideration to a few points (motivation being that I plan to buy a back up as well as one for use so I would love to see the light more in line with what I want but I will defer to the artist )
1) The volume knob works well with the milled castellated corner but I would like to see these recesses continue down the side of the knob if there is material to support removal in the area. It seems that the switch has significant detents so that AD would be unlikely even with the improved side grip.
2) the milled lines in the side recesses look nice and interesting but I find they are incongruous with the rest of the light and in terms of grip, I think they would serve better if they were 90 degrees to the current orientation. I have fondled a piece that was without these lines and prefer the light sans these. If any grip detail were added for function at the cost of appearance or slick surfaces, I would like some parallel grooves in the radiused side of the light that the knob extends from, perpindicular to the battery axis. I find it comfortable and natural to hold the light in my right hand , as I would hold a narrow TV remote control; with my thumb and forefinger meeting at the knob. My thumb lays across the top wide side and middle and ring finger wrap around the knob side of the light with the pinky finger more curled and behind the light. The parallel grooves would then be under my fingers and impede the light sliding forward or backward. Such grip details would also aid in pulling the light out of a pocket or holster with the side detents giving grip on the wide sides. The light is just fine as is but I think I would prefer more control of the light with some enhanced griping edges.
3) As Wilkey commented, 6 levels is more than needed but this switch is already part of the program and a great switch it seems to be!! If the levels are there, use them! Given the current levels of efficacy, resulting thermal output, size of light and optic, I don't think this light benefits with a drive level above 750 mA. I think it could suffer as a result of being used for any extended length of time in higher drive levels, especially if it is left to keep cool without benefit of being hand held. More on the levels later.
4) This light is begging for a lanyard attachment and upon inspection of the light and using it some, I think I would like to propose and attachment point in addition to the two tapped holes on the side. It looks like there is plenty of material in the tail cap on the head side for a milled D ring groove that would follow the corner radius on the one side and the D's legs could go deep into blind holes in the tail cap. When snapped out of use, the D ring would sit flush in the tail cap and then it could pop up and lift to perpindicular to allow lanyard attachment and the light would hang bezel down. There could be a milled relief that would even allow for an attached lanyard cord loop to be present with the D ring dropped back in form with the tail cap. This would allow tail standing with lanyard attached.
5) Initially I had some reservations about the choice of both chrome and the HA-Nat finish. I have been using a chrome plated light for a while now and am very impressed with it durability. The contrast in finishes is real easy on the eye and I think Dave has followed through with his form and into the finishes with the same flair of excellence. I think even a chrome tail cap would look rather smart and might even improve on appearance after some wear.
Time for a picture!
Ironically, level 1 at .4 lumens is very useful in the dark and it could be considered more than necessary if you are dark adapted. It hardly shows up on the graph above! Level 6 is the most blatant waste of energy I have ever seen! Even with the light pointed at a distant target you can not see a difference between levels 5 and 6. The difference is greater than 10% in lumens and where this 7 lumen difference is a waste and at the requirement of what, 300 mA of additional current, if these 7 lumens were available by themselves, they represent more light than level 2 which is an extremely useful level! I am not being critical of Dave or the SPY005 here and Dave has stated numerous times that the existing current levels were strictly and simply a starting point from which to get some data points. I think a big challange for Dave and Wayne will be in selecting some target levels and then seeing how close to target they can get. You don't just type in a number and presto, get it.
I am sure I will have more peanuts to toss in here and it may seem that I have spent most of the discussion on changes or criticisims of what in closing I want to claim is one of the best and well thought out lights I have had the fortune of using and messing with! I think the photos and drawings give a rather impressive impression of this light. Handling and using it just add dimension to a favorable impression and it becomes a satisfying reality. Within it's scope and range of applications, I don't think there is a better light around. In so many ways this light is in its own class and there are no rivals.
This light is small in size and large in performance and broad in range. It is well designed and executed and easy to master. This is not by accident. There is a very clever fellow among us who has brought a vision of beauty, function and inspiration to reality.
Sounds pretty good so far.......
Congratulations on an excellent light!!!
If you don't mind a comment from the observation lounge...
In high ambient light conditions, you need high light levels. In low ambient light levels, or darkness, you don't need much light at all.
Since Wilkey has pointed out that for most of the time 3 levels are adequate (for him at least ), and the increase in brightness is not that much at the highest level, if you set level 6 to off, you would have high off and low off.
In daylight or high ambient conditions, you could carry the light in high off and have immediate access to high output. When darkness falls, switch to low off and you would have the ability to preserve your night adapted vision by using the lower output levels.
I am not sure how you would know if you were on high or low off, but perhaps some form of index marking could be used.
Just a thought.
Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...
Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...
An EXCELLENT thought, Tom !!!
And an excellent lightm, it seems!
Thanx for those excessive reviews, guys!
Now ... where's the list?
There is a type of perfection that transcends the quest for lumens. Buying a $250 1-cell light for "lum factor" is like buying a $250 single malt Scotch for the alcohol content.
It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black.
My shoes are too tight. But it doesn't matter, because I have forgotten how to dance.
Ok, so I'm not sure if this was directly stated anywhere, but it seems (from Silverfox's post) that the selector knob also turns the light on and off, like a volume knob on a stereo? While this is a logical way to do it, is there any way to have a seperate switch (like twisting the bezel, for example) to turn the light on and off (ala the U2). I ask this since I personally love it if I can turn a light on and off and it stays at the level I set it at when I was last using it.
This light looks awesome so far. My impressions of the impressions are that I'd agree with Wilkey that 3 levels (very low, general, high), or maybe 4 levels (very low, low general, high general, high) are enough for me. I also agree with Don that if the two "high" levels are virtually inperceptably different from each other, the more efficient (less battery costly) one should be the max the light could go. I for one don't really like useing primary cells on high very often in my small lights, since it tends to eat them way too fast- a tiny decrease in brightness becomes BIG runtime gains.
I'd also say that while I do like the look of the chrome, I'd be concerned about damaging the finish and prefer a grippier finish as well. If the selector knob were just more HA with some decent knurling, I'd be happy.
This light looks really cool and I'm amazed at how compact it is for a 2 cell light. Can't wait to see the production model.
ps. Well after this project is up and running, maybe you'd consider doing a 2AA cell light with the same side by side form factor and level selection knob. Considering luxeons can now be adequately driven from 1 AA cell, 2 would start to get into brighter territory (of course, no where near as bright as 2xCR123s but still pretty darn good). I'd love to see a 2AA light small enough to slip into a pocket and offer this type of level selection.
1. xpitxbullxOriginally Posted by Kiessling
Just kidding. Actually, I'll need 2 of them.
Time to upgrade the dinosaurs, one at a time.
Since the SPY005 is not a finished design yet, it will likely be even more subject to redesign by us in the gallery than a light that is already in production; nothing stops the shoulda, woulda, coulda's!
However, I suspect that this switch that Dave has found basically is what it is and it seems to be a single pole, 7 position switch so that is what Dave and Wayne have to work with. I like the idea of off at either end of the rotation but I don't know if that is viable. Remember at present, between the positions, you currently get full brightness. The levels may be an accumulation of all previous inputs and each level may not be independent of previous levels; if that makes any sence.
When you actually are using the light and adjusting these levels, you *expect* to see an obvious and even stepped ramp up or down in the light output. At this stage of the developement, I think this is the single most challenging aspect that is still open to modification. IMHO, 6 levels is likely twice the number that you really need but this does not mean you can't make them work for you in an obvious progression with useful results. If the LED's are reasonably consistant in terms of their plot of I-in VS lumens, it will be possible for Dave and Wayne to set up an output current set that will provide a consistant relative light output curve for each light. Given the light I have been given to evaluate as well as considerations of heat, useful output coupled with the optic and other aspects, I think I would like to see the light set in luminous output to the following set: .3, 1, 3, 9, 30, 60. With such a set, I would expect that I would use the .3, 3, and 30 levels most often but the 1, 9 and 60 levels could come in handy on occassion.
This light looked very very interesting at GhostMountain.
I was going to take a better look at it but Data was busy working with it when I thought about it.
It really is a nice looking light. The early renderings do not do it justice. I am starting to want one of these lights.
It is refreshing to see something so original, practical and aesthetically pleasing. Please count me in.Originally Posted by Kiessling
Last edited by brightnorm; 10-22-2005 at 03:35 PM.
All these great lights coming out around the same time......I need to get a 2nd on my house.....
Just kidding..sort of , This light was very impressive at GM.
Nice work Data and any who may have helped.
How is glow eyes doin ?
Quando Omni Flunkis Moritati
Ever since the SureFire X200 came out, I have been facinated at the small and utilitarian package that is available with 2 CR123's side by side in a well designed and tight package. Dave has/ had the ability and fortitude to step up and bring this to us. Regardless of its final form and chosen path through necessary compromises in design objectives, this light will be a bright and novel beacon providing illumination of new territory.
I suppose that I should disclose my position in this project. Aside from selling Dave some reflectors, I have no financial gain here, I am not being paid or compensated to hype or aid in marketing this light. If possible, I plan to purchase more than one of these wonders and expect to pay more than I really should yet less than I would be willing to.
If anything, the SPY005 is antagonistic to any of my vested interests and will pull funds away from sales or purchases of some of my lights. If I allowed my pocket book to dictate my comments, I would lie and state that the SPY005 is an overpriced POS and then I could sell more of my stuff and buy more SPY005's at a distressed price!
Did I mention that this light has a great beam?
I am also contemplating a mod that would be quite a challenge to pull off and probably not happen so I'll keep the details to myself.
Thats what is so great about CPF. Lots of the people saying how good this light is, have their own custom light that could posibly take sales away from their own!Originally Posted by McGizmo
Good job, I would love to get it, but it is out of my price range(I'm a poor college student)
I really liked the Spy005 when I had the chance to play with it at Ghost Mountain. The side-by-side 123A configuration is easily pocketable with the low-profile head.
There was more than enough polish on the protype body to go to production, although I agree with most of the improvements echoed by others - namely the minimal apparent change in output between levels 5 & 6, and flutes running the length of the switch.
Excellent job, Data. I wish I had the cash to buy one.
I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter
Hey Idle, after buying the gas for that trip, I understand!
So much for not being able to find my happy a** with both hands and a flashlight! (Do not look into Tank Searchlight with remaining eye!)
Many many great thoughts here, thank you everybody. . . processing.
Originally Posted by McGizmo
Oh please spill the beans!
I would like a right angle head that will rotate from contact with the switch on one side around until contacting the switch on the other side. We briefly discussed this at GM but the more I play with this light the more obvious this light becomes as host to a RA head.
BTW, in the dead area on the tail cap inside of the D-ring, I think there may be room for a blind tapped 1/4x20 thread?
Oh yeah, one final comment while I am spilling the beans. A point of clarification. Do you really think I will be sending this proto back to you?
Tom, thanks for your complements on the light and yours and everybody's suggestions. I contemplate them all.
I have been working on the design of this light for 10 months. It has consumed most of my waking thought for that time. The light will not have two off positions! It actually defeats the very goal it attempts to attain. Yes, I agree with you it works OK if you are playing with it real time and can remember what state it is in. But, you pick up the light a day later and you won't remember what end of the rotation you left it in. To make matters worse when you guess wrong you get even more confused because you also have to remember what direction of rotation is towards higher verses lower. Guess wrong and you get a high blast when you wanted a night light. This is a logical nightmare.
As the design is now you pick up the light and turn it on. Your first click will always be low power.
It took me a few days to stumble on how to do it but it is really easy to turn the light from off to full high with just a single flick of the finger. When you learn the technique, it visually looks like the light turns on high instantly. Conversely you can turn the light all the way off with a single flick of the thumb. It is very fun to play with and even addicting. Give it some time Wilkey, you will figure it out too. The best tip I can give is to try holding the light in different ways.
When I get some time I will post a video of the technique.
Last edited by Data; 10-23-2005 at 01:47 AM.