ArmyTek Barracuda (XM-L2 U3, 2x18650/4xCR123A) Thrower Review: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES+

selfbuilt

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Re: Barracuda 50m water resistant? Diving?

I guess the switch becomes inoperable with pressure which would be a good reason not to advertise it as a dive light.
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Many divers only use their lights in this way in any case.
Thanks for confirming with Armytek. Good to know that they say it can work at depths of up to 50m (so long as you don't try to change modes or the activation state). :)
 

cland72

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Re: Barracuda 50m water resistant? Diving?

I've had the XML2 cool version for about two weeks now, and I'm happy with it so far. It has seen limited usage so far, but I'll try to report back in a few months and give my long term thoughts.

No issues at all, at this point, with regards to operation or build quality. If it doesn't give me any issues over the next 12 months or so, you can consider me a happy camper. The beam of light this thing puts out is ridiculous.
 

kuna

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I'm looking at this light and the best deal I can find is $132 with panasonic batteries included, but it's a T6 bin, not a U2. Should I get it or is the difference in brightness(up to 7%) noticeable?

Edit: "Like the Olight M3X, the Barracuda is heavily driven on Max, with no automatic step-down feature. As such, I recommend you do not run the light on Max for extended periods of time on primary CR123As."

What exactly does this mean? Are you saying that if I have the light on max with 2x 18650s I can potentially damage the light? I hope not because that's not a sign of good quality.
 
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cland72

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Based on some posts I've seen, there is not a visual difference in brightness between the T6 and U2, assuming they are both XML2. I'd say go for it.

As for the comment regarding batteries, it is saying it's probably not good for CR123 primaries to run them on max mode for a long duration. However, 2x18650 will handle max mode all day long like a champ.
 

selfbuilt

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What exactly does this mean? Are you saying that if I have the light on max with 2x 18650s I can potentially damage the light? I hope not because that's not a sign of good quality.
As for the comment regarding batteries, it is saying it's probably not good for CR123 primaries to run them on max mode for a long duration. However, 2x18650 will handle max mode all day long like a champ.
That is correct. Due to resistance difference, 4xCR123A will get much hotter than 2x18650 when heavily driven. You run the risk of triggering the PTC safety feature of primary CR123As if you run them at the max level in the lights mentioned (for extended periods on max, that is).
 

kuna

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Thanks guys. That is what I kinda figured, and it shouldn't be a problem because I plan to use two Panasonic 18650s. What is the current draw of the Barracuda at max power and can two standard 18650s safely supply 3.5A continuous or should I go for the IMRs?
 

selfbuilt

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Thanks guys. That is what I kinda figured, and it shouldn't be a problem because I plan to use two Panasonic 18650s. What is the current draw of the Barracuda at max power and can two standard 18650s safely supply 3.5A continuous or should I go for the IMRs?
Based on the runtimes, you are fine to stick with standard protected ICR cells. IMR are not required.
 

kuna

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Based on some posts I've seen, there is not a visual difference in brightness between the T6 and U2, assuming they are both XML2. I'd say go for it.

Would you say this light is bright or should I go for the HID? How solid is the beam?

Based on the runtimes, you are fine to stick with standard protected ICR cells. IMR are not required.

How big of a difference in brightness would you think there would be with a T6 vs U3? Would you recommend this over the 85W Chinese HIDs? Not sure if you have experience with them, because I didn't see one in your impressive list of reviews :p
 

selfbuilt

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How big of a difference in brightness would you think there would be with a T6 vs U3? Would you recommend this over the 85W Chinese HIDs? Not sure if you have experience with them, because I didn't see one in your impressive list of reviews :p
Personally, I wouldn't worry about a 1-2 output bin difference - practically, you could never see the difference. Overall build, user interface and beam profile are what really matter when selecting a light.

Can't comment on those HIDs ... my expertise is definitely within LED lights. A general comment I would make is that the beam profile of HIDs are rarely as clean (for artifacts and especially for tint variation), and you are typically limited to max only. Not to mention heavier, etc. But for max throw, they may have advantages - I would see if you could get reliable beam distance measures from an independent source.
 

cland72

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Would you say this light is bright or should I go for the HID? How solid is the beam?

They are different animals. The HID will certainly throw better, but will be more fragile, take time to warm up from turn on, and will likely have shorter runtimes.

How big of a difference in brightness would you think there would be with a T6 vs U3? Would you recommend this over the 85W Chinese HIDs? Not sure if you have experience with them, because I didn't see one in your impressive list of reviews :p

There may be a 7% difference between the bins, but it will be trivial since it isn't detectable by the human eye.
If you need a thrower, I would opt for a LED rather than a chinese made HID. If you wanted a Surefire Hellfighter, hell yes, but the quality of a Chinese HID light will probably leave you wanting more.
 

kuna

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I think I'll order a T6 barracuda this weekend. When it arrives I'll let you guys know how it is
 

kuna

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Well the light arrived today, and after charging each battery for about 3 hours, the voltages were about 3.66 and 3.7 volts respectively for the test. My first impression was that the beam wasn't as bright as I wanted, but I know that's because I ordered the T6 version and not the U2. The color tint was warmer than I expected; it was almost like an incandescent. Still not really a bad thing in itself as the light is definitely bright.(I wish I would have gotten the U2 cool light version, the beam would have been amazing I'm sure)

I tested the lux @ 3 meters and 1 meter on high/turbo mode, and at 3 meters it was about 9000 lux, which is about 81,000 cd. On medium power 730 lumens it was 6000 lux. I tested the lux @ 1 meter and the most I could get was 50k lux. Overall a good light. I'll have to do a little more testing outside.
 

cland72

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kuna, don't get down on the light before you get outside and use it after dark. Don't get too caught up on tint, brightness, and lux. The light really needs to be used to be appreciated. Let us know your thoughts after fielding it!
 

richardcpf

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after charging each battery for about 3 hours, the voltages were about 3.66 and 3.7 volts respectively for the test.

What charger and batteries are you using? 3.7V after 3 hours charge doesn't seem quite right. And there is not that much increased output T6 vs U2, at least not easily noticeable. I think you should try with fully charged batteries.
 

kuna

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kuna, don't get down on the light before you get outside and use it after dark. Don't get too caught up on tint, brightness, and lux. The light really needs to be used to be appreciated. Let us know your thoughts after fielding it!

Yes I should have used it outside a bit more. I went outside for a short time and shined it at a few trees ranging from 60-100 meters away, and even on the medium/high mode it lights them up pretty good. It was only a very quick test and I know I haven't seen the light's full potential yet. I'll probably bring it somewhere else this weekend that's a little bit better for testing.

What charger and batteries are you using? 3.7V after 3 hours charge doesn't seem quite right. And there is not that much increased output T6 vs U2, at least not easily noticeable. I think you should try with fully charged batteries.

The charger is a cheap, single-cell li-ion charger that is rated at 450mA. The batteries came charged at about 3.55 volts and after about 3.5 hours of charging each one separately(~6 hours in total) they were at around 3.7 volts. I tested the light indoors for probably about 20 minutes total using the different modes and the voltage of the batteries was around 3.6 volts after testing. I put one battery in the charger last night and after about 8 1/2 hours of charging, the battery only made it to 4.1 volts from 3.6 lol. I'm currently charging the second battery. I think I'm definitely gonna need a better charger than this, but my only other charger is a double-cell 18340 charger.
 

selfbuilt

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I tested the lux @ 3 meters and 1 meter on high/turbo mode, and at 3 meters it was about 9000 lux, which is about 81,000 cd. ... I tested the lux @ 1 meter and the most I could get was 50k lux.
Yes - that just goes to show why you can't actually measure beam intensity at those short distances. Basically, you have to take it out to distances where you get consistent cd results. So if you try 5m and get higher than 3m, that means 3m wasn't good enough (just like your results above show 1m isn't good enough for an accurate reading). As for absolute values, that's also assuming your lightmeter is accurate (and I've seen a lot of variability on budget ones - up to ~40%!).

Something is definitely wrong with your charger - time to invest in a new one!

And I agree with cland72 - you really need to take it outside at night to see how it compares to your other lights in practice (once your get fully charged cells). Good luck!
 
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kuna

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Yes - that just goes to show why you can't actually measure beam intensity at those short distances. Basically, you have to take it out to distances where you get consistent cd results. So if you try 5m and get higher than 3m, that means 3m wasn't good enough (just like your results above show 1m isn't good enough for an accurate reading). As for absolute values, that's also assuming your lightmeter is accurate (and I've seen a lot of variability on budget ones - up to ~40%!).

Something is definitely wrong with your charger - time to invest in a new one!

And I agree with cland72 - you really need to take it outside at night to see how it compares to your other lights in practice (once your get fully charged cells). Good luck!

Yeah 1 meter is not a good distance to test such a light. Three meters is my standard testing distance and the result is pretty much the same as what is stated by Armytek themselves. They have these lights conservatively rated @ about 500 meters throw for the T6 and 520 meters for the U2 on the datasheet they provided, but others show it's a little bit more. I have no idea what's up with the charger, as I use it to charge a 14500 battery for another light, and it charges it fully in about 1.5-2 hours.(1000 mAh) It seems like it would take about 15 hours for it to charge one of these 3 Ah 18650s though :/
 

LeftThumb

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Total NOOB here. First post. I just wanted to comment today I took out a Barracuda white to compare it against my Predator 2.5 pro in throw and I honestly could see no difference. These are both mounted as weapon's lights. I'm wondering did I somehow put in the wrong kind of battery? Am I going blind? LOL. I am definitely on the highest output. I fully expected the Barracuda to kick butt and now I'm just wondering. I took some time to compare the beams on targets from 25 to 300 yards and I couldn't tell any difference between the Barracuda and Predator. If anything the Predator was brighter. I tested under live fire with the same results. Farthest shots attainable were the same with both (about 100 yards, non magnified optic) . I'll be calling Armytek tomorrow to ask if I'm doing something wrong. I did switch out the batteries several times and tested them in other lights. I'm very non-technical when it comes to lights so forgive my total seat of the pants commenting.
 

selfbuilt

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I just wanted to comment today I took out a Barracuda white to compare it against my Predator 2.5 pro in throw and I honestly could see no difference.
Sounds like something is wrong. A typical Predator produces ~35,000cd (~374m beam distance to 0.25 lux), while a typical Barracuda should be at least close to ~100,000cd (~632m beam distance). This means that the distance the Barracuda throws a spot of any given center intensity should be ~1.7 times the Predator (i.e., ~70% further). A good way to test this would be to set a target up at, say 25 yards for the Predator, and 42 yards for the Barracuda. The relative light intensity on the respective targets should be the same.

It's important to realize that even when using two targets at the same distance, the Barracuda will NOT be perceived as anywhere three times brighter than the Predator (or even ~70% for that matter). This is because our relative perception of light is non-linear. In fact, a cube root correction is the best match for non-point sources of lights (which is even less noticeable than the square root correction for how light decays due to distance). So, even though the Barracuda has ~185% more peak intensity than the Predator, when matched side by side shining on something at the same distance, the Barracuda may very well only "seem" somewhere between ~45% (cube root) to ~70% (square root) brighter to your eye.

But any way you slice it, you should still be able to notice the difference visually. If you can't, something is wrong.

And :welcome:
 

kuna

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Total NOOB here. First post. I just wanted to comment today I took out a Barracuda white to compare it against my Predator 2.5 pro in throw and I honestly could see no difference. These are both mounted as weapon's lights. I'm wondering did I somehow put in the wrong kind of battery? Am I going blind? LOL. I am definitely on the highest output. I fully expected the Barracuda to kick butt and now I'm just wondering. I took some time to compare the beams on targets from 25 to 300 yards and I couldn't tell any difference between the Barracuda and Predator. If anything the Predator was brighter. I tested under live fire with the same results. Farthest shots attainable were the same with both (about 100 yards, non magnified optic) . I'll be calling Armytek tomorrow to ask if I'm doing something wrong. I did switch out the batteries several times and tested them in other lights. I'm very non-technical when it comes to lights so forgive my total seat of the pants commenting.

Did you check the voltages of the batteries before you put them into the light? When I first tested my light the batteries were about 3.6 volts, but the constant brightness feature of the barracuda means that it should be able to run full power on that voltage just fine.(for a little while anyway) It's hard to believe that your barracuda is defective based on the quality that these lights are supposed to be manufactured to, but it's possible. I guess it's worth asking, did you make sure the bezel was completely tightened so the light was in turbo mode? If the bezel was not completely tightened, the light will switch between three modes and the highest mode is about 750 lumens. When the bezel is tightened it will go into turbo mode at about 1050 lumens.
 
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