Olight M30 Triton Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

HKJ

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Thanks for the explanation. I have a question, if I may. Do you know the reason for this design? Why can't the tailcap circuit simply "borrow" some current when the LED is on? I would think that the current needed for the circuit is so small that it wouldn't be noticeable for LED driver...

The problem with that is voltage, usual you want 0 volt across the tailcab, when the light is on, with the pwm design they have 0 (nearly) some of the time and then full voltage (nearly) the rest of the time. This makes it very easy to capture some power and store some power, only a diode and a capacitor is needed for that.
If you want to extract power, without doing pwm, you ned to put in something with a voltage drop, you would want a low voltage drop and then you would need a boost converter to get enough voltage for the micro controller, and the minimum voltage for a boost convert will give a considerable lower overall power efficiency for the light.

It is possible to do someting in the head to get rid of the pwm, but it would complicate the circuit.
It would also be possible to add a dedicated signal wire, like LiteFlux and NovaTac and some other does, but to send information from two buttons would mean two signal wires or some coding of the signal, alle of these solutions would make the light more complicated to produce.
 

selfbuilt

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Main post updated with an additional pic:

M30-16.jpg


You can clearly see how much smaller the head of the M30 is compared to the competition. :thumbsup:

And the Med 3xRCR runtimes:

M30-LoRCR.gif


As you can see, the efficiency of the M30 on Med (which output-wise is equivalent to the Lo of Lumapower lights) is definitely lower than the competition. The M30 runtime is much less than the M1X when matched for output, which is a bit disappointing given the defined output levels of the M30 (the M1X is continuously variable). I haven't done Lo mode runtimes on the MVP P7, but you can easily see here the benefit that current-control circuitry brings to runtime efficiency by looking at the MVP 3xCree. And note the Lumapower is only on 2xRCR compared the 3xRCR for the M1X and M30. :eek:oo:

As always, there is lot more than just output/runtime efficiency to consider when choosing a light. But typically, I think most users look for greater efficiency in defined-output level lights compared to continuously-variable ones.
 

selfbuilt

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Come on now, Selfbuilt, 'fess up. You don't want to get involved with waterproof tests because - given your proclivity - that would mean constructing a 100meter tank in your backyard. :devil:
LOL, yeah that's part of it - if I can't do it thoroughly and in a consistent and valid manner, I'm not going to do it all. Should the light be on? off? switched on/off while under water? how much water? how warm? how long? etc. The list is endless, and may not tell you much if I happen to have a sample with a pinched o-ring (replace the ring first? add lube? don't add lube? etc.). I'm getting dizzy :sick2: ... and all this in lights that are not rated to be waterproof to begin with (i.e IPX standards are static standards, not the dynamic values people often expect).

Even doing runtimes where output is compared across lights is not a trivial matter. This is why I spent a lot of time developing my testing method, and continue to validate it (i.e. dedicated lightbox sensor and specific permanent placement to reduce variability and increase accuracy, calibrating the sensor, continuously verifying discharge capacity of Li-ion battery cells and discarding outliers to insure consistent comparisons, charging Li-ions to a consistent voltage, testing primary cell brands compare capacity and discharge characteristics, and verifying each new lot consistent with previous, etc.). I can tell you I have had to discard a lot of Li-ion and NiMH batteries over the last year or two, to keep everything on track. This all goes on "behind-the-scenes" to make sure the results stay are consistent and comparable between reviews over time. :sweat:

The size is very beautiful and proportional between the head and the body,
not like other light with big head and small body. This it self is a plus for the M30.
Just added a head shot of the bezels to better allow you to compare. :) See post above.

I heard from a M20 & M30 owner that the switch of M30 works fine on M20 in the same manner, when using 2x123 (not 18650).
so in other word that if you want flicker free m30 then used m20 tail cap(but how to change the low-med-high?).
and for the m20 itself you better bought a new tail cap or get the pressure tail cap. well not a bad idea at all.
Actually, it may be a bad idea. I had the same thought as HKJ - the M20 switch may work on the M30 (as single-stage only, much like the single-stage switch on the A10-G). But I wouldn't want to try the M30 switch (with its output regulator) in combination with the M20 head (which has its own circuitry that is not expecting it). We wouldn't a :poof: now.

In any case, my M20 tailcap does NOT screw on to the M30 body. There seems to be a slight mis-match in thread thickness. Oddly, the M30 tailcap seems to screw on to the M20 body, but I would never test that with a battery in there.

The problem with that is voltage, usual you want 0 volt across the tailcab, when the light is on, with the pwm design they have 0 (nearly) some of the time and then full voltage (nearly) the rest of the time. This makes it very easy to capture some power and store some power, only a diode and a capacitor is needed for that.
If you want to extract power, without doing pwm, you ned to put in something with a voltage drop, you would want a low voltage drop and then you would need a boost converter to get enough voltage for the micro controller, and the minimum voltage for a boost convert will give a considerable lower overall power efficiency for the light.
It is possible to do someting in the head to get rid of the pwm, but it would complicate the circuit. It would also be possible to add a dedicated signal wire, like LiteFlux and NovaTac and some other does, but to send information from two buttons would mean two signal wires or some coding of the signal, alle of these solutions would make the light more complicated to produce.
Thanks HKJ, I always learn a lot from you on the intricacies of these circuit issues. :thumbsup: I've no doubt the Olight engineers wrestled with the issue themselves.
 
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MattK

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Thanks HKJ, I always learn a lot from you on the intricacies of these circuit issues. :thumbsup: I've no doubt the Olight engineers wrestled with the issue themselves.

They did - I have an email explaining things and it's basically as HKJ explained. I need to 'translate' it a bit and will do so/post when I get a chance.
 

SCEMan

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Wow. It's amazing that Olight was able maximize the output of such a small reflector relative to the others. And the 2x18500 capability allows capacity and pocketability.

This is what I was hoping Dereelight would do with the DBS MCE but they've been sitting on their hands for quite a while now with nothing significant to show.
 

wapkil

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As you can see, the efficiency of the M30 on Med (which output-wise is equivalent to the Lo of Lumapower lights) is definitely lower than the competition. The M30 runtime is much less than the M1X when matched for output, which is a bit disappointing given the defined output levels of the M30 (the M1X is continuously variable). I haven't done Lo mode runtimes on the MVP P7, but you can easily see here the benefit that current-control circuitry brings to runtime efficiency by looking at the MVP 3xCree. And note the Lumapower is only on 2xRCR compared the 3xRCR for the M1X and M30. :eek:oo:

Is this lower efficiency on Med present also for 18650 batteries? I couldn't find data for the medium mode for M1X@20% and MVP@Lo but maybe there is some similarity to what happens in the high mode? With 18650 batteries M30@Hi runs almost the same time as M1X and longer than MVP (1h 29min, 1h 34min and 1h 7min respectively). With RCRs M30 on Hi runs much shorter than competition: 19 min vs. 32 min and 31 min. Maybe the M30 requires more current delivered from 18650 to perform better?
 

wapkil

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The problem with that is voltage, usual you want 0 volt across the tailcab, when the light is on, with the pwm design they have 0 (nearly) some of the time and then full voltage (nearly) the rest of the time. This makes it very easy to capture some power and store some power, only a diode and a capacitor is needed for that.
If you want to extract power, without doing pwm, you ned to put in something with a voltage drop, you would want a low voltage drop and then you would need a boost converter to get enough voltage for the micro controller, and the minimum voltage for a boost convert will give a considerable lower overall power efficiency for the light.

I though that with the minimum voltage input of 5.6V (2x 2.8V, from discharged batteries) the tailcap circuit can safely take, say, 1.8V. I didn't know that it may be too low for the micro controller. For some reason I also though that the MC-E dies are driven in parallel but I don't if that's true. Thank you once again.
 

selfbuilt

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Is this lower efficiency on Med present also for 18650 batteries? ... Maybe the M30 requires more current delivered from 18650 to perform better?
I don't think so. On Med, the M30 on 2x18650 only lasts for ~9 hours. In contrast, the M1X on 50% and the MVPs on Med last for ~5-6 hours at ~3X the brightness. Considering that emitter efficiency increases as your lower the drive current (and output), I would expect that the M1X on ~20% or the MVPs on Lo would last for at least 20-25 hours on 2x18650, perhaps more. This is why I haven't done those runtimes - it ties up the box for a long time.

Judging from all the Med/Lo results to date, I would expect the relative efficiency relationship to persist on 18650.
 

HKJ

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I though that with the minimum voltage input of 5.6V (2x 2.8V, from discharged batteries) the tailcap circuit can safely take, say, 1.8V. I didn't know that it may be too low for the micro controller. For some reason I also though that the MC-E dies are driven in parallel but I don't if that's true. Thank you once again.

Lets do some math:
Batteries: 5.6 volt
Tailcap: 1.8 volt
led: 3.8 volt
We want 3 ampere current in the led, this gives
Battery delivers: 16.8 watt
Tailcap uses: 5.4 watt
led uses: 11.4 watt

We would get a very hot tailcap, a low efficiency and would be missing a regulation circuit.
 

wapkil

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Lets do some math:
Batteries: 5.6 volt
Tailcap: 1.8 volt
led: 3.8 volt
We want 3 ampere current in the led, this gives
Battery delivers: 16.8 watt
Tailcap uses: 5.4 watt
led uses: 11.4 watt

We would get a very hot tailcap, a low efficiency and would be missing a regulation circuit.

Heh, with that much power you could drive a full blown single board computer. Hopefully the algorithm to analyze which button is pressed doesn't require that :)

I was also thinking along the lines of placing this chipset in parallel to the main current path and with some capacitor to power it but I know nothing about circuits design. Probably, as you wrote, that would simply make the light more complicated and costly to manufacture.
 

HKJ

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Heh, with that much power you could drive a full blown single board computer. Hopefully the algorithm to analyze which button is pressed doesn't require that :)

I was also thinking along the lines of placing this chipset in parallel to the main current path and with some capacitor to power it but I know nothing about circuits design. Probably, as you wrote, that would simply make the light more complicated and costly to manufacture.

Yes, it is a lot of wasted power for that small computer chip.

Doing this kind of design (Two buttons in the tail), it not easy. OLight has decided to put some intelligence in the tailcap, this gives two challenges:
1: How to power the microprocessor, 2: How to communicate the setting to the driver in the head of the light.
In the M30 both are done with the PWM

1 could also have been solved by an extra connection to the tailcap or a small coin cell in the tailcap.
2 could be solved with the extra connection or by sending some code in the normal current draw.

The pwm solves all these problems in a simple way, but with Olights implementation you also have pwm in the light output, with a more advanced circuit in the head it would be possible to use this solution without pwm in the light
 

wapkil

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I don't think so. On Med, the M30 on 2x18650 only lasts for ~9 hours. In contrast, the M1X on 50% and the MVPs on Med last for ~5-6 hours at ~3X the brightness. Considering that emitter efficiency increases as your lower the drive current (and output), I would expect that the M1X on ~20% or the MVPs on Lo would last for at least 20-25 hours on 2x18650, perhaps more. This is why I haven't done those runtimes - it ties up the box for a long time.

Judging from all the Med/Lo results to date, I would expect the relative efficiency relationship to persist on 18650.

Do you think it means that on Hi the driver in M30 is much less efficient with RCRs than in those two other lights?

LEDs driven with a higher current are less efficient but shouldn't it be around 20-30% loss? In your tests with RCRs the M30 runtime was approximately 60% shorter on Med and 30% shorter on Hi. If the efficiency loss would be 30% on the driver that would add up correctly - 30% from the driver on Hi, when all the LEDs are driven with the same current and 30% from driver plus additional 30% from PWM efficiency loss on Med.

I still don't understand though why the M30 driven with 18650s on Hi runs as long as the M1X. If there would be an efficiency loss on the driver, it should also be on 18650s, not only with RCRs. Maybe the driver works differently, with different efficiency, for 18650s and RCRs. The M30 output on Hi with 18650s is not fully regulated but with RCRs it is. Can this be the cause of the differences between runtimes with 18650s and RCRs? :shrug:

Well, before coming to CPF I would never thought that a question how long a particular light runs can be so complicated :)
 

selfbuilt

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Do you think it means that on Hi the driver in M30 is much less efficient with RCRs than in those two other lights? ... If there would be an efficiency loss on the driver, it should also be on 18650s, not only with RCRs.
I think the problem here is pretty clearly with the limited storage capacity of RCRs, producing spurious results.

19 mins runtime means a >3C dicharge rate. I know from experience that anything that produces a 2C discharge rate or higher (i.e. 30 mins is 2C) on Li-ion is going to produce inconsistent results. A slightly higher current, and bam - you are suddenly at 3C, 4C or higher discharge rates. This is not good for the cells, as it lowers their long-term storage capacity. Simply put, you cannot trust any data on runtimes that exceed 2C.

At lower currents, the limited capacity of the RCRs is not a problem. But these high-drain M-CE lights should not be run on max on RCR, IMO, as you are drawing power faster than they can really handle it. I would completely discount that Hi RCR runtime data, if I were you (I only include it to show that it is not wise to run them that way).
 

mmajunkie

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As to the PWM.

I see no strobing on low or med. Thinking I was defective, I asked the wife and she didn't see any either.

Is this something not all people can see? Or by a very slim chance did I receive one that doesn't have this problem.
 
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fugleebeast

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My wife and I couldn't notice it either, until we waved our hands in front of the beam on Low and Medium (not High) like Selfbuilt suggested. It was very noticeable doing that.

Using it normally though, we can't see it. I imagine that the PWM will be more present doing certain things but we don't appear to be too sensitive to it so I'm not worried.

I've used it for awhile and definitely haven't felt any of the nausea that some people are reporting. I was worried about it after reading all the reports but it seems to be less of an issue than I first thought. In my experience, anyways.
 

1dash1

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I think the problem here is pretty clearly with the limited storage capacity of RCRs, producing spurious results.

19 mins runtime means a >3C dicharge rate. I know from experience that anything that produces a 2C discharge rate or higher (i.e. 30 mins is 2C) on Li-ion is going to produce inconsistent results. A slightly higher current, and bam - you are suddenly at 3C, 4C or higher discharge rates. This is not good for the cells, as it lowers their long-term storage capacity. Simply put, you cannot trust any data on runtimes that exceed 2C.

At lower currents, the limited capacity of the RCRs is not a problem. But these high-drain M-CE lights should not be run on max on RCR, IMO, as you are drawing power faster than they can really handle it. I would completely discount that Hi RCR runtime data, if I were you (I only include it to show that it is not wise to run them that way).

Selfbuilt:

Do you think the IMR16340's might outperform the regular LiCo RCR's, as far as high output runtimes are concerned?
 

jirik_cz

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Selfbuilt:

Do you think the IMR16340's might outperform the regular LiCo RCR's, as far as high output runtimes are concerned?

Why use 3xRCR123 when 2x18500 perform much better in the same size?:thinking:
 

Justin Case

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Both buttons is probably just sending a signal to the microprocessor in the tailcap, i.e. any kind of UI could be programmed in that processor.

Any idea what uP is used in the tailcap for PWM multimode control?

In a similar multifunction tailcap with a main tailcap button and a side button, the AMTEL Tiny13V was used. Interestingly, this particular tailcap didn't seem to be compatible with all LED modules. It didn't like two DX drop-ins (SKU6090 and SKU11836), for example, but it did like a different module that used an ST1S03 step-down current mode PWM DC-DC converter.
 

jhc37013

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As to the PWM.

I see no strobing on low or med. Thinking I was defective, I asked the wife and she didn't see any either.

Is this something not all people can see? Or by a very slim chance did I receive one that doesn't have this problem.


Like I said also I sure can't see it and I've looked really hard. Also my bubby got an M30 from a different vendor than me and we compared his and we could see no flickering in his either. I am curious as why some report seeing it and others not.
 

selfbuilt

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Do you think the IMR16340's might outperform the regular LiCo RCR's, as far as high output runtimes are concerned?
Why use 3xRCR123 when 2x18500 perform much better in the same size?:thinking:
It's possible IMR16340s may do better, but I agree with jirik_cz - 2x18650 gives better performance in the base size. And besides, 2x cell configurations are bound to be safer than 3x cell configurations.

Using it normally though, we can't see it. I imagine that the PWM will be more present doing certain things but we don't appear to be too sensitive to it so I'm not worried.
I've no doubt there is some degree of variability in people's ability to detect it (or more to the point, to be bothered by it).

In the old days of CRT monitors, I used to be amazed at how many people left theirs at 60Hz refresh rates. Walking down a hallway, I could spot them all out of the corner of my eye. I couldn't stand to work on them that way, the "flicker" made me feel just as :green: as 100Hz PWM. Even a slight bump to 72hz made a huge difference with CRTs (none of this is an issue for LCDs, different technology). For PWM, I find I can tolerate it >130 Hz or so (but I still notice it until much higher).

In fact, that's probably the best way to describe PWM or CRT refresh flicker - a sense in the corner of your eye (i.e. in your peripheral vision) that something just isn't "right". May or may not be distracting for you. :)
 
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