Collected Novatac History posts

jon_slider

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Mar 31, 2015
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Caution: Novatac is a gateway drug to HDS Rotary

lets start with a little bling
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http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...verse&p=5011684&highlight=novatac#post5011684

I met Henry at Novatac. I was a firearms instructor and a flashaholic. I had some of the older HDS lights, and when I figured out Novatac was in Tucson, I called and asked to stop by Mecca. So... I stopped by... then I went out for 2 weeks of firearms training and used the HDS. Came up with a technique that worked real well with the little light, and stopped by again to show the Novatac folks.

Ended up getting hired as the production supervisor (it was a very small crew) and I worked nights after my day job. Was at SHOT with Novatac in January 2008 where there was a hug poster with my ugly mug and another firearms trainer who was with Tucson PD demonstrating the new flashlight technique (that Surefire renamed and unveiled a year later as their own) This was the end of 2007. I was still at Novatac after Henry left, and got to witness the... fun, up until they moved to CA.


http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...HDS-universe&p=5013429&viewfull=1#post5013429

I think it was at shot show 2009, don't know where Novatac HQ was at that time.
California. Mid 2008 is when they left Tucson.

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...HDS-universe&p=5011993&viewfull=1#post5011993

NT was hurting. Remember, the only engineer that knew the light, was gone, and so any improvements on the light was not going to happen. They hired another engineer in CA, but since no improvements were made, I highly doubt that he understood the complexities of the light. I had only met that engineer once, and my views may be a bit biased, but I felt he would rather be surfing than attempting to fix issues.

We had 4 calibrators and machines to program the light. 2 of these went down with no one to fix them. You can imagine what that did to production. Had trays of lights that had failed final inspection on the integrating sphere, and I would swap LEDs on these then they would need to go through the calibration and sphere testing again. Several had heat sink issues which we were trying to resolve to save the fallout. Did I mention I was anal? If the light didn't perform to satisfaction in any way, it went in the ever larger growing pile of fallout.

IMHO, the light went to market too quickly. I understand from a business aspect that one can not run a company on vaperware while the light is being engineered, but also there were problems that needed to be sorted out. My best guess is we had about 25% fallout, which just doesn't work from a business aspect.

I can't speak with what happened after they moved to CA, but I doubt things got much better. The company was run with investor capital, most from Joe, but there were other investors as well.

Behind the scenes, NT was struggling.
Henry went on to make Ra lights until he got use of his name, HDS, back. This is were we saw the twisty's come into play.

Then lawsuits entailed where no one except the attorneys came out ahead. These were not initiated by Henry.
Truth be told, I see both of sides of this all too well. Companies need a good product to deliver, and time is money. You can have it fast, good, and cheap... pick any two. Henry's philosophy is to make the best light possible, and as we all know from some of the wait times endured in waiting for the lights, they don't come fast. This doesn't work well in a business model that includes investors, employees, building rent, etc. etc. where the company is bleeding on a daily basis. NT went to market too quickly, and suffered as a result.

Henry is also the most brilliant engineer I have ever met, and completely anal retentive. As an example, I was picking up a High CRI the other day for myself. It was MY light. For me. Not to be resold but to have a place on my belt. Henry knew this and insisted on putting it in a package and making sure the packaging had High Cri written on it even when I told him not to bother. LOL! From a business aspect, it's great for the consumer, but as a business model, speed of getting to market must play into it.

If we look at another famous flashlight company, they have vaporware at every SHOT Show. Lights that never make it into production, but they can rely on their name, advertising, and a line of lights already on the market so cash flow is not an issue, though it annoys several consumers wanting a light that is said to be coming out, that never does.

Another thing other manufacturers tend to do is come out with new lights all time so that folks will "upgrade" to the new model. This works. Flashaholics are quick to look at lumen levels or a new design and purchase the new lights, when the real benefit is pretty minor. While this makes for a good business plan, it just isn't how HDS operates.


http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...HDS-universe&p=5013344&viewfull=1#post5013344

First time for me to see this one. Had to have been produced after NT went to CA. There were long throw HDS prototype heads made, but I haven't seen one for some time.
While it has been discussed about making long range HDS lights, it really has never been a big priority. There are other priorities at HDS that keep more in line with the original designs of the light and philosophy of HDS.

I know people often get into the "more lumens" and "more throw" mindset, and I have been guilty of that myself, but I have other lights that fit that role.

Being heavily involved in firearms and training for a good deal of my life, I tend to relate lights to firearms. HDS is a rock solid reliable pistol that can change from a .22 with snake shot up to a .45 ACP. Easy to carry and have on you when you need it.

If I need a real thrower, or some massive amount of lumens, it is generally something I know in advance, i.e. shooting at night in the desert, hiking, camping, etc. and I'll bring along another light that fits that role, in the same way I'll take a long gun with me if I have an inkling it may be needed (or desired). The larger heads of the original HDS "thrower" and even the picture of the one above, do not, in my humble opinion, lend themselves well for EDC.

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...HDS-universe&p=5008303&viewfull=1#post5008303

The U.S. Novatac lights were all 120 lumens. There was the 120P, 120E, and 120T. The first run was serial number 1XXXX and were a light HAIII anodized and suffered from mismatched anodizing color. The second U.S. run were black HAIII and the serial numbers started with 2XXXX.

Before leaving Tucson and moving production to CA, then ultimately to China, 5 gold plated Novatac's were given to the staff at the Tucson facility. They had some of the best LED's in them. I know. I put the LEDs in them. I know every light that left Tucson was put on an integrating sphere and calibrated and tested for output and color. Color was not an issue... unless you were some anal retentive deceased bovine dermis playing production manager who was hell bent on color rendition. Often times, the lights that performed well in brightness or run time, did not have the best color rendition. The gold plated lights, got the best cri index leds. I still know where one of these lights is.

HDS has never been about brightness, but tank-like toughness. Henry goes into caves for a week at a time. Your light dies... so do you. I prefer staying above ground.

Side note: The Novatac 120T lights shipped with an insert for a new (at the time) flashlight/firearm technique. It was unveiled at SHOT Show 2008, then taken by Surefire and renamed in 2009. Surefire had a habit of this behavior as even some of their patents were taken directly from Henry (filed with Henry's own drawings). It is why of all the companies that were sued by Surefire, Arc, Novatac, Ra, and HDS never were. Speaking with some on the SF team, they would sit around on the Monday morning meetings and try to figure out a way to sue HDS, but never could. Nor could they develop a light as robust or programmable. Enough negativity already.

I'll try to stop by Henry's again and see if I can fill in some more info here. He's told me a lot of the history before, and I have gotten to play with the Action Lights, but due to getting my brains rattled around pretty good a few years ago... well, my CPU just isn't running as fast as it used to and doesn't seem to have much RAM.

Awesome, thanks for ringing in Hogo! Lots of good info, I had no idea you were right on the front line of the start of Novatac production. Were you already friends with Henry, and that is what brought you there, or is that how you guys met? Really interested in the Action Light info, like if the V3 shipped, and if it was retained under the HDS brand. Looks like all of the Ultimate circuit development happened on that light. I may learn more than I could contribute here before we are done, thanks guys!

And curses to you for making me spend big at you site, had to have the 11,XXX series 120P, it will be my lowest number.

Congrats to whoever got the B42. If you want to change it, it's worth the 250 clicks (each time).

Hogo, I was thinking I should modify the original story as to the early U.S. models having lower (85) output models. But in a more directed search, I am finding reference to 11,XXX series 85P models. I will leave it for now, and if you can bring that up over pizza and beer with Henry, let me know, but if it is just RAM failure, I totally get it, sometimes I think I am on the border of full system crash!

Another 120P thing I was thinking about was the positive spring change. Two of mine, one 22,XXX and one 32,XXX, are the old style with the brass plate with three little buttons in a triangle (that carried in from the Basic and Ultimate design), instead of a spring - both natural ano. My third (black) is a 30,XXX, and has the positive spring in the head. So I always figured that was a running change in the 3X,XXX series, and numbers within a series were not used in sequence.

No doubt my incoming 11,XXX model has the three dimples, which I think is cool, despite the potential for turn offs when smacked on the tail, although I get that anyway with the two-spring model on the 18650 tube (*cough* - locator flash - *cough* - backup light - *cough*). I presume it is a lot harder to prevent with the much heavier battery, even with springs at both ends. And I am probably causing it by using a flat top, unprotected battery that has very little pre-load on the springs, a longer cell would be hard to knock out of contact at one end.

Family photos:


IMG_1161_zpsjzqa0hot.jpg~original



IMG_1160_zpstxnoi4mz.jpg~original


I recently purchased Novatac 120P #10188. It has the three dimples instead of the springs.
I believe the version with dimples are the ones made in USA

Im wondering if the arrival of the spring in the Novatac head was about 2009, and wonder if the spring head models were outsorced?

And another congrats to the new owner of the gold plated 120P!

Can anybody put some dates on the timeline? Or is there any way to date an older HDS/Novatac light, maybe based on serial number?

From memory and very roughly : Arc => 2003-2004, HDS => 2004-2006, maybe 2007, Novatac 2006-2010...maybe later? Legacy from 2009 to 2011, and actual generation/rotary from 2011, with several evolutions.
 
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Hondo

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I believe the version with dimples are the ones made in USA

Im wondering if the arrival of the spring in the Novatac head was about 2009, and wonder if the spring head models were outsorced?

My later model with the positive spring in the head is clearly marked "Made in USA". So I would say all dimpled positive contact lights are made in the U.S., but not all spring contact lights are made overseas.

Great compilation, jon, thanks!
 

sandalian

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Jun 2, 2012
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Location
ICAO:WARJ
Can you give us some details on the build?

My build is nothing fancy, just a quick hack because I don't have access to lathe to create "pill".

Basically I just made a circle figure (brown color below) made from copper sheet and put it under the Noctigon MPCB (red color) with triple Nichias. I applied enough amount of thermal paste (green color) for better heat transfer (hopefully).

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Last step, I put a carclo optic on top of MPCB and fasten the bezel.

2m4q9tz.jpg


I love your
Tripple Nova!

I think you should show it to Clemence

your background is beautiful too!:)


Thank you, actually it's just a dirt & quick mod as explained above.
 
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jon_slider

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Mar 31, 2015
Messages
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thanks very much for sharing your build, and the link to the triple mounted N219c 5000k 90CRI!!!

that is similar CCT to the HDS High Noon, but as a triple.. wow!

it looked at first as if you also added a cool looking green glow ring, though since you mention green thermal paste, maybe thats what is glinting a green color in a couple of your earlier photos.

beautiful Triple Nova!
 
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INFRNL

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Feb 7, 2012
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slight correction, would be same/similar to the 3 o'clock 5000k 219c...close enough to the high noon 5700k in terms of tint
 

sandalian

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Jun 2, 2012
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Location
ICAO:WARJ
it looked at first as if you also added a cool looking green glow ring, though since you mention green thermal paste, maybe thats what is glinting a green color in a couple of your earlier photos.

The greenish thing on my previous novatac was a green GITD switch rubber that I cut and wrap around the optic to help it stay centered.
 

jon_slider

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Mar 31, 2015
Messages
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A bit more Novatac history
a fortunate friend just bought a serial 1xxxx Novatac, here are a couple pics

the top one belongs to selfbuilt, just 3 serial digits apart:
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and some past discussion from a very informative thread, and a very knowledgeable person, that used to work for Novatac, and now works with HDS, our very own Hogo!

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...-new-circuit&p=2668148&viewfull=1#post2668148
First big change I see if the addition of a positive contact spring instead of the brass nipple.

From the serial number, this is the third run of Novatac lights, so vendors may have, and most likely did, change. I doubt that the soldering was done by a different vendor, but it is possible. I would need to look at the light first hand to say any more than this.

The addition of a positive contact spring was something that was always desired as it helps keep the battery terminal from losing the connection during recoil.

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...-new-circuit&p=2668562&viewfull=1#post2668562
I've been waiting to see how the third gen would turn out. Glad I have first and second.

I must say though, that when NT first came out, there was quite a stir on the forum regarding things that people thought were there to cut costs, but in actuality, increased costs. One example is the polycarb lens. Optical grad polycarb was used and cost a heck of a lot more than UCL. It was done so the lens would not break... ever. Even when thrown as hard as one could at a cement wall. (Did that!)
 

jon_slider

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Messages
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Does anyone have any info about these Novatacs?

They appear to be brass and copper plated, and do not have flats milled into the side of the head.
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I dont remember if this has been discussed somewhere else, links or info invited

Did Novatac make Copper and Brass plated lights, how many, where can I get one?:)

seems to come from the era of the 5 Gold Plated Novatacs..:
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...HDS-universe&p=5008303&viewfull=1#post5008303

Hogokansatsukan said:
5 gold plated Novatac's were given to the staff at the Tucson facility. ... I still know where one of these lights is.


I'm not so think as you drunk I am.:nana:
 
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