Lumintop HL01 Headlight (XM-L2 U2 Neutral White, 1x18650 or 2xCR123A) Review

candle lamp

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Jun 16, 2010
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Lumintop have released their first headlight "HL01" runs on 1x18650 (or 2xCR123A). This is my first review of the 1x18650 headlight. The LED source is Cree XM-L2 U2, and my review sample is neutral white.

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Inside the cardboard packaging box with cut-out foam insert, you will find the light with a hard plastic holder for the light (assembled), headband with top-strap, spare o-rings, and user manual.
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Manufacturer Specifications from Lumintop website & manual :
• Utilizes a premium XM-L2 U2 LED that emits 610 lumens max output with up to 50,000hours life time span
• All aluminum “unibody” construction for excellent cooling performance
• Purposed design for hiking, climbing, camping and other outdoor activities
• Powered by 1*18650 lithium-ion battery or 2*CR123 lithium which is equivalent to 4*AA battery’s power but much more light weight
• High efficiency circuit provides up to 30 days super long runtime for on lower mode
• Light housing provides 90 degree of vertical movement to eliminate illumination dead-zone
• Dual button tail switch convenient for one hand operating
• Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
• Aerospace aluminum body. Rugged HAIII military grade Hard anodized finish
• Slip-resistant body design
• Tail stand capability
• Compact and lightweight, Only 90g (with headband/ without battery)
• Reverse polarity protection

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The HL01 is a headlight and holder structure. The battery tube perpendicularly goes through another smaller tube (i.e., head) with housing the circuits, reflector, and emitter. The aluminum light body has a matte black anodizing (type III). The rear of the light is the holder (hard plastic) which has two headband fixing points and one top-strap fixing point. There is an angled gaps in each fixing point. You will see the protecting piece of soft pad on the back of the holder. There are only model and manufacturer label on the body, but clearly legible against the background.
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The head protrudes forward, and has some ridges look like cooling fins on its surface. There is knurling on the end pieces (i.e., tailcap and switch).
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The light has a toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating, and the purple hue is reflected on it. The aluminum reflector has a shallow light OP (orange peel) pattern, suggesting the light will not be a excellent thrower. Surface finish on the reflector seems perfect from visual inspection. The XM-L2 U2 LED was off-center somewhat at the bottom of the reflector cup on my sample. But, this is not enough to significantly affect the beam pattern, but it does suggest that peak beam intensity throw could likely be improved upon from my sample, in my opinion. Note that there are two LED choices when choosing the HL01 – cool white and neutral white.
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You are able to adjust the angle quite freely. The headlight angle mechanism is firm, with well-defined detents as you adjust the headlight relative to its holder. I guess there are a series of grooves and tabs in the connection part of the tube and its holder. The total angle adjustment is 180 degree, and it isn't moved at any point during use.
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The distinctive part of the headlight is the dual-switch control on the opposite side of the tailcap. There is aggressive knurling band on both ends which helps you adjust the angle with good grip or allows you to insert the batteries with ease.
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The front body of the light is much thicker than the rear one, because it need more space to house the circuits and heatsinks in between the battery and the emitter.
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There are two buttons. The main On-Off button is the recessed one and the protruding one is a mode-changing button. Both are electronic switches that are slightly firmer feel than most electronic switches, definite click on activation. Scroll down for a discussion of the user interface. Both can be accessed by one finger of the right hand as the switches are on your right (i.e., It would be uncomfortable for left-handed users). The rubberized switches are good size to press with gloves on, but you need to press the central part of each switch so as to activate the headlight on the first try.
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One of the ends opens up to allow access to the battery compartment. There is a protrusion for reverse polarity protection in the head, so flat-top 18650 cells will not work in the headlight. Only small button-top 18650's will activate in the headlight.

Lumintop informed me the working voltage of the light is 2.8~8.4V. I measured the current with 1x18650 at tailcap on High output as around 1.73A. So using 2xRCR123A's on high output seems to be unreasonable, due to the high discharge ratio of the low capacity 16340 li-ion cells.
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Threads are well machined with being anodized which allow the headlight to be locked-out when the tailcap is slightly loosened. Threads on the body mate well with the tailcap with no issues of cross-threading or grinding. The screws threads are good quality trapezoidal-cut.
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The tailcap is simple design, and the female screws are well anodized as well.
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Overall, the headband including top-strap is good quality. The top-strap is not removable. There is a stopper on the left-headband and the top-strap. But I wish they would make one more stopper on the right-headband as well, as it may not fit to users with a big head or wearing a helmet. The connection point of the top-strap to the headband looks simple, but seems to be a bit weak for long-term use. I think another connection type (or reinforcement) would be better, in my view.
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The above shows fully assembled HL01. The headband with top-strap worked well in my testing. The headband goes around the head and the top-strap keeps it securely in place. The HL01 is fairly compact and lightweight for 1x18650 configuration light, and the overall weight balance of the headlight seems good.
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User Interface

There are four general modes and three flashing modes.
Click the recessed electronic On-Off switch for on-off.
Change modes by clicking the protruding electronic mode-changing switch when on. Mode sequence is Hi –> Med –> Low, in a repeating loop. The HL01 has memory mode, and remembers the last output level used when reactivating the headlight (even after a battery change).

Note that Ultra Low (Lower Low) can be activated from Off by a sustained press and hold of the On-Off switch for 0.5sec. There is no memory mode for Lower Low.

To access the flashing modes, from On, press and hold of the mode-changing switch for 0.5 sec. This will give you a SOS. A click of the mode-changing switch from SOS advances you to Strobe -> Slow Flash -> SOS, in repeating sequence. A press-hold of the mode-changing switch for 0.5 sec from any flashing modes will advance you to Low mode always.
There is no memory mode for flashing modes.

Interesting that a press-hold the mode-changing switch from Off advances you to the memorized general mode in momentary. This means that a standby current must be present when the tailcap is fully tightened with batteries installed in the headlight.
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Standby Current Drain

A standby current drain is inevitable on the HL01, due to the electronic switches on the headlight. I measured this current as 378μA with 1x18650. For 1x18650 (2600mAh) cell, that would translate into around 9 months before it would be fully drained. These are a bit high current drain, but not much of a concern. You can store the light locked-out when not in use for a long time.
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From left to right, VicLite protected 18650 (2600mAh), Lumintop HL01, Olight S20 Baton, Xeno S3A v1, Eagletac D25LC2, Rofis PR21 (for size comparison).
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Counterclockwise from above to right are Lumintop HL01, Eagletac D25LC2, Rofis PR21, Olight S20 Baton (for beamshot comparison).
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The HL01 is compact "T" shaped headlight. The overall build quality is high.
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Measured Dimensions & Weight

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PWM
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The headlight shows no sign of PWM at any output levels. The HL01 seems constant current controlled. I notice there is no buzzing sound at any levels.
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Runtime
1. High
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The runtime to fall to 10% of its initial output from 30 seconds after the point the light is first turned on (i.e., based on ANSI FL-1) for High output is as follows :
1) 1xVicLite 18650 protected (2600mAh) : 107 min. (1hr 47min)
2) 2xPanasonic CR123A : 86 min. (1hr 26min)

Regulation is maintained nicely on High on both 1x18650 and 2xCR123A without a step-down. HL01 seems more efficient on 1x18650 battery source than 2xCR123A.
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2. Comparison with 1x18650 lights
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Performance is very good, and HL01 is a fairly efficient light.
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Beamshot
1. White door beamshot (about 50cm from the white door on Max. output on 1x18650)
- ISO100, F/3.2, 1/400sec, Auto white balance
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- ISO100, F/3.2, 1/800sec, Auto white balance
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- ISO100, F/2.8, 1/1250sec, Auto white balance
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As above, the HL01's side spill is much wider than other lights. The hot spot is well focused and the size is smaller than other lights. The overall beam profile is good, and tint is yellowish.
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2. Indoor beamshot (about 7.0m from the target on Max. output on 1x18650)
- ISO100, F/2.8, 1/4sec, Auto white balance
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The HL01 gives you a very floody beam with a reasonable throw distance as well.
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The light has a good Lower Low mode.
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Lumintop HL01 was supplied by Lumintop for review.
 
Last edited:

yizhiren

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jun 17, 2010
Messages
10
It looks the LED is not in the center. The driver performance is very good. HL01 is a fairly efficient light.
 

candle lamp

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
1,572
Location
South Korea
It looks the LED is not in the center. The driver performance is very good. HL01 is a fairly efficient light.

Yes, the led is a bit off-center on my sample, but it does not much affect the overall beam profile in a very short distance (~1m). Other than that, the light gives you a nice flood beam with some reasonable spot beam. No doubt the headlight output-runtime efficiency is quite consistent with a nice circuit. :thumbsup:
 
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