Looking for AA Floody, NW, High CRI

iamlucky13

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
Messages
1,139
* EDIT 10/25/16 - I went with the Armytek Tiara A1 Pro V2 (Warm, 90 CRI) due to availability, price, and the high CRI *

Be patient with me as I've filled my head with a really specific notion of what seems like it would be the perfect compact headlamp for me, but I'm not sure this dream light exists.

I'm looking for a versatile headlamp I can run on alkalines in a pinch to replace my unregulated, plastic, multi-emitter type (Mammut TR1). AA / 14500 preferred, but I'm willing to consider CR123A / 16340 if it ticks all the boxes.

Uses range from hiking and camping, to working in the crawlspace or attic, to illuminating close up details in woodworking. Super-high output is not critical as I can carry a flashlight when I need serious throw. I'd like to stay below $60, but more is not out of the question for a really compelling light.

The ideal would be (in rough order of importance):
- 80-90 degree effective beam, preferably with a small amount of throw (not a true flood, not a dominant hotspot)
- Neutral White
- Medium output (most used): 40-80 lumens, 4+ hours runtime.
- 80+ CRI
- Minimal color artifacts
- Max output: 150+ lumens on NiMH.
- Moonlight mode
- 14500 compatibility preferred

The Zebralight floody sounds like close to an ideal beam profile, but I was disappointed to see they only make the high CRI lights in the full flood (120 degree) or heavier 18650 models - an H52Fc would be perfect if only it existed.

Armytek's Tiarra is available in a high CRI that is not a pure flood, but the specs indicate a much wider beam, and warm, rather than neutral. I'm not sure that's what I'm looking for. Runtime on medium is also shorter than ideal.

Are there other options I'm missing, or does it come down to deciding between a lower CRI Zebralight NW Floody or a yellower, wider beam in the Armytek?
 
Last edited:

Buck91

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
1,760
Location
USA
Sounds close to the th20 I picked up a few weeks back. I dint know what the cri rating is but with the neutral emiter I've found it extremely useable. Definitely more throw than my old zebra light, but plenty of flood for close up work.

Pretty blown away for $30.
 

iamlucky13

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
Messages
1,139
Thanks for the replies.

I actually have a Thrunite Archer 1A and am pretty happy with it, so the TH20 was one I considered initially. However, I do notice the difference in light quality between it and even my basic LED light bulbs (80 CRI), and I assume the TH20 has a similar emitter to the Archer. The DC-Fix trick seems like a viable option for turning a hotspot into a floody beam, but a gel isn't a real substitute for high CRI emitter.

It's got to be one of the best values in headlamps currently available - about the same price as the non-regulated, plastic, 3xAAA headlamps that dominate the lineup at REI. But I'm most likely looking for a headlamp a cut above the TH20.

Also, does the TH20 really weigh 96 grams without a battery like their website says? That seems a bit too heavy for a single strap headband. Zebralight lists their AA headlamps at right around 80g with an Eneloop and the headband. That's just a hair heavier than my current plastic headlamp, which to its credit is very comfortable.
 

gunga

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
8,080
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Yep. The xpl in my th20 is not great. If I can ever get it open I'll put a Nichia 219B in there. Do I risk damage opening it?
 

iamlucky13

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
Messages
1,139
I did a search and it sounds like the Zebralights are also extremely difficult to open up. I haven't found any threads yet where somebody has swapped an emitter in one, and I wouldn't feel much like experimenting given the price, even if I had the time.

Using my Archer again last night, although the color quality is perfectly fine for finding my way around safely, I'm more convinced that I'll appreciate better CRI when using a headlamp for detail work.

I dug into emitter specs (manufactures never fully identify the bins, but lower CRI, higher efficacy bins seem safe to assume), and it seems probable my 1A V2 Archer is 70 CRI "typical". The TH20 (and V3 Archers) might be a hair better at 70 CRI "minimum". The Zebralight H52Fw might be another hair better at 75 CRI "typical". I'm starting to think my best option is to gamble on "might" be "two hairs" better with the H52Fw...

I've told myself repeatedly to stay small enough to wear without a top-strap headband, so I'm never reluctant to bring it along when it might be needed, but I'm now also seriously thinking of jumping up to the Zebralight H600Fc III. This gets me the high CRI floody beam, and the really awesome runtimes that 18650 provides, in a moderately larger package. Weight grows by 50%, but interestingly, a Zebralight with an 18650 installed supposedly matches the weight of the TH20 with an Eneloop. Also cost shoots up to over $100 including the battery. I'm not sure I'll really use it enough to go that high.

Armytek is not really out of the running, but their decision to go with a warm, 90 CRI (even better than I'm looking for) emitter seems to really hurt their efficiency - only 3 hours at 50 lumens, and it sounds like that 50 lumens will be pretty diffuse with a 120 degree spill angle. I'm debating how much that will matter to me.

So it looks like I need to suck up and admit my dream light doesn't exist, but I've got a reasonable set of compromises to choose from. This would be a lot easier if a brick and mortar store sold them so I could try them out before buying.

Any further input is still welcome.
 

gunga

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
8,080
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Well. I found out the bezel on the Thrunite th20 is not glued. It's tight so my needle nose pliers scarred it up quite a bit.

:(

Oh well, I took some time to strip and sand the bezel, now it looks ok.

DC fix for good flood, 4000K Nichia 219B for sweet tint and colour rendering. No more green xpl!

ImageUploadedByCandlepowerforums1477122073.978237.jpg
 
Last edited:

eh4

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 18, 2011
Messages
1,999
Consider an L3 L10, or L3 L11, they're straight flashlight format but light and small enough to go on a side headband, or clipped to a ball cap.
Available for around 25$ in 3 or 4 mode, with 219B Nichia.
 

iamlucky13

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
Messages
1,139
Gunga, that looks like it cleaned up just fine. I didn't notice the indents on the bezel in other pictures. I wonder if they're sized for a standard pin spanner.

Did you buy your Nichia pre-mounted to a star? If so, which size?

eh4 - Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give that some thought. Even if I decide to go with a dedicated headlamp, it looks like a good option for AA EDC light that I wasn't previously aware of.
 

gunga

Flashaholic
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
8,080
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Thanks. I did some more fine sanding and am pretty happy with the results.

I had a 2 prong watch tool I should I have used. Whoops.

The light uses a custom (copper!) board so I just reflowed on a new bare LED.

I'm super happy with the results now. My favourite headlamp.
 

Tomchrome

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
9
[FONT=helvetica, arial, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]Hiall! It is my first activity at CPF (great forum, btw ). I'm not a skilled englishspeaker (not native), and rather "passive" (mostly readingand listening), so i'll try do my best and please be forgiving. [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]Ireally like the idea of making over TN TH20 Cree led to a Nichia 219B bulb. I have NW version of TH20 and, in fact, do not like itscreamy-yellowish tint. I think that it is relatively low CRI,lower than let say ZL SC53w. World looks somehow flat in itsglare.
[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]Anyway, i have some questions - isit still possible to use 14500 accus with Nichia 219B led? Is it safe for the bulb? Howmuch lower are general outputs then? Is it still possible to go up to 200lm(AA eneloop ) and even higher (with 3.7v)?
[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]Just for the record - i have ZL H600Fc III (4000K) 85 CRI and AT Wizard Pro Warm(3000K) V2 90 CRI , both "floody", so maybe i can be also helful to someextend ...

Also, Olight H1 Nova is comming. It is 16340/Cr123A light, NW/CW varaiety, probably with diffused "floody" TIR optics. Unfortunately no High CRI. It should be available for preorder any day now, in Olightstore. [/FONT]
[/FONT]


 

iamlucky13

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
Messages
1,139
Hi Tomchrome, I'm sure gunga can answer some of your questions about the TH20.

I am curious about your Wizard Pro Warm 90CRI. Do you like the tint? What level do you use the most, and what activities do you use it for? Do you ever use the Wizard or your Zebralight with the top strap removed, or are they too heavy for that?

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

iamlucky13

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
Messages
1,139
I suggest a look at Spark Light Headlamps, they make some nice neutral white headlamps.

Thanks. I did see these and found some positive comments on these boards. I was a bit frustrated by the limited information on the Spark website, but did eventually find more info on GoingGear and a few reviews.

The Spark SG5 looks very comparable to the Zebralight H502w, but I'm not looking for a full flood beam. The ST5's inclusion of a interchangeable diffuser is clever, but part of my reason for wanting a single AA headlamp is to have something that can be worn comfortably without a top-strap. Both are also out of stock at the moment.
 

iamlucky13

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
Messages
1,139
Upon reviewing my options one more time, I found the Zebralight H52Fw, H600Fc, and H600Fd are also all out of stock.

Since the Armytek Tiara A1 Pro Warm 90 CRI is not only in-stock, but on sale for $21 off (I wonder if they're closing out their XM-L2 models?), I decided that's a good tiebreaker. The Tiara is on-order.

I had more or less dismissed the Tiara due to its size and weight, uncertainty about its beam profile, and its abysmal specified run times (barely 2/5 the equivalent cumulative output (lumens x hours) as the H52Fw on the same battery). However, I never found any complaints in reviews about the Tiara's bulk, and I stumbled across a wealth of beamshots from hundreds of lights all under identical conditions in the German "Taschenlampen" forum. Comparing them, it looked to me like the Armytek multi-faceted TIR optic and the Zebralight frosted floody are actually fairly similar. I might even like the Armytek pattern more.

Armytek Tiara A1 Pro XM-L2 Beam
Zebralight H52Fw Beam

The low run time I should be able to deal with (carrying a spare AA or two is a minor hassle), or I will eventually give in and shell out for an 18650 light. In the meantime, I'm certain this light will be a huge improvement over what I'm currently using.
 
Last edited:

Tomchrome

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
9
Gunga - thank you for an answer.
Iamlucky13 - sory for the late respons, it is due to a time difference.

This is a quick, ugly and poor picture of a relative tint difference. ZL SC52w can maybe represent H600w MKII, and H52w, which i don't have...yet :naughty:
o1tGHWu.jpg


From the left : TN TH20nw, ZL SC52w, ZL H600Fc MKIII, AT Wizard Pro Warm 90 cri XM-l2

If it goes about Wizard - yest i like it a lot, along with a ZL H600Fc it is my most favorite headlamp. Tint is very warm. And i like this. It is almost like old bulb ... in my grandpa's house attic ... or something. It has it's old school charm.
But..
- it is heavier and bigger than Zebra, and has less stretchy and less solid strap,
- the same lumen level will appear less bright with Wizard's 3000K in comaparison to 4000K lights, or higher.
- i can not say much about lumen level. I bought it also on sale from AT, but i do not belive in their lumen estimation. They say 1000lm, but highest level is comparable to ZL H600FC which is 800lm (less spill, bit more throw with Wizard).
I like Med1 for walking (imo it's obout 40-50lm), highest "moolight" lewel is enough for navigating in a flat, Med2 is good for running/cycling (80-100lm?), M3 quicker bicycle rides (150lm?). I rarely use two High levels.
- it was never used without a top strap. I feel that it is a bit to heavy. It is possible to use Zebra without a strap, no problem here. ZL is a bit lighter its strap is a bit more solid, not thicker, but rubber feels like a better quality.
But if one wants a single strap for 18650 light, than the best is a Thrunite strap for TH20. It is strongest and most comfy out of three. In fact i used ZL with TH20 strap few times, and it is by far the best configuration for me. The rubber holes of a holder do not match perfectly with ZL ribs, but it is one firm grip overall. Also, holder sticks out, and is placing flashlight a bit more forward, out from your forehead, which is good for me - wide beam Zebra is not shining on the tip of my nose, and i can direct it more towards ground. Unfortunately Thrunite do not want to sell this strap separately, at least this is what they emailed me once.

SCWkx9V.jpg

Left: TH20NW, Lumintop IYP365 Nichia 219B 90+ CRI (4500K?), AT Wizard Warm High CRI

Here is a CPF thread with a good pictures of High CRI Armytek performance: http:
//www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?390412-Different-color-temperatures-based-on-Armytek-Wizard
 
Top