Olight S30R (XM-L2, 1x18650/2xCR123A) Rechargeable Dock Review: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES+

selfbuilt

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Messages
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Olight has recently updated their popular Baton series of lights with new rechargeable versions (known by the "R" addition to the model name). They all come with an Olight-branded 3.7V Li-ion battery, and desktop USB-charging dock.

They have recently released a new higher-output 1x18650 model, the S30R – which I now have on hand for review. It will be good to keep the S20R in mind as I go through this review, and explore the difference between the models.

Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).

  • LED: CREE XM-L2 Cool White
  • 1 x 3400mAh 3.7v 18650 rechargeable lithium battery
  • Output (ANSI)/Runtime: Turbo 1000 Lumens/ 1 Hour, High: 600 Lumens/ 2 Hours, Medium: 100 Lumens/ 10 Hours, Low: 20 Lumens/ 26 Hours, Moonlight: 1 Lumen/ 720 Hours
  • Peak beam intensity: 6,400 cd
  • Max beam distance: 160 m
  • NEW Low-profile side switch featuring a battery power indicator, which glows red when battery runs low
  • NEW Includes patent-pending Micro-USB charging dock and a 3400mAh 18650 rechargeable battery
  • NEW Thermal management safety program provides overheating protection by dropping high output by 60% after 5 minutes of constant on.
  • NEW Glow-in-the-dark o-ring in bezel to help locate flashlight from accidentally dropping it
  • 99% light transmittance rate through tempered glass, with two-sided anti-reflective coating
  • Multi-function side switch with five brightness levels, plus a strobe mode
  • Automatically return to your last brightness level with the built in memory function
  • Removable pocket clip
  • Flat tailcap with strong magnet, giving you the ability to use the light as a hands-free worklight
  • Flat tailcap with strong magnet, giving you the ability to use the light as a hands-free worklight
  • Highly reliable 6061-T6 aluminum alloy structure with ant-scratch, Type-III hard anodizing
  • Enhanced shockproofing in battery contact springs to support both flat and tabular 18650 batteries
  • Can be powered by two non-rechargeable CR123A lithium batteries as a last resort in an emergency.
  • Low standby current below 15uA
  • Olight’s five-year warranty.
  • Flashlight: 4.69 in/119mm x 0.98 in/25mm
  • Charging Dock: 2.17 x 1.97 x 0.63 in / 55 x 50 x 16mm
  • Weight: 122g/4.3 oz (flashlight with battery), 24g/0.85 oz(charging dock)
  • Included Accessories: 3400mAh 3.6V 18650, Charging dock, 1/2 Meter MICRO-USB cable, O-ring x 2, User Manual
  • MSRP: ~$80
Main obvious differences to the S20R are the addition of a new Turbo mode now, and a higher capacity 3400mAh 18650 cell. :whistle:

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The packaging is similar to the S20R. Inside the clear plastic container is the S30R (with Olight 18650 3400mAh battery installed in this case), extra o-rings, split ring, product insert, manual, charging dock base, micro-USB cable for dock, adhesive gel-pad for dock, gel-pad installation manual. As before, there is also an overview of specs on the bottom and back of the packaging.

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From left to right: Keeppower protected 3100mAh 18650; Olight S30, S20R; Zebralight SC62; Skilhunt DS20; Thrunite Neutron 2C 2014; Eagletac TX25C2.

All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:

Olight S30R: Weight: 74.4g (121.8g with Olight 18650 3400mAh), Length: 118.4mm, Width (bezel): 25.0mm
Olight S20R: Weight: 52.2g (98.5g with Olight 18650 2600mAh), Length: 108.5mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm

Eagletac D25LC2: Weight: 50.0g, Length: 116.3mm, Width (bezel): 22.5mm
Fenix PD35: Weight: 82.7g, Length: 138.1mm, Width (bezel): 25.4mm
Foursevens Quark Q123-2 X (Regular tailcap): Weight: 44.6g, Length: 112.7mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
Nitecore EC20: Weight: 77.1g, Length: 129.2mm, Width (bezel): 25.4mm
Nitecore P10: Weight 82.0g, Length: 135.1mm, Width (bezel): 25.5mm
Nitecore P12: Weight: 89.7g, Length: 139.4mm, Width (bezel): 25.4mm
Skilhunt DS20: Weight: 53.8g, Length: 110.0mm, Width (bezel): 24.0mm
Sunwayman C20C: Weight 57.6g, Length: 104.8mm. Width (bezel): 25.6mm
Thrunite TN12-2014: Weight: 80.0g, Length: 140.5mm, Width (bezel): 25.4mm
Zebralight SC62: Weight: 42.3g, Length: 96.5mm, Width (bezel): 23.2mm, Width (max) 26.1mm
Zebralight SC600: Weight 87.2g, Length: 107.8mm, Width (bezel) 29.7mm

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While still quite compact for the class, the S30R is definitely more substantial than the S20R. The tailcap and head regions seem particularly reinforced.

As with the other members of the "R" series lights, the S30R comes with black anodizing (matte finish) and bright white labels. Although still without typical knurling, the raised checkered patterns on the body helps with grip. With the pocket clip attached, I'd say grip is good.

The pocket clip has changed from the S20R, and is no longer reversible. It seems to hold onto the light fairly securely, as do the clips on the other lights.

In the head, the S30R has a spring on the positive contact, just like the S20R (so flat-top 18650 should also work just fine).

The R-series tailcaps have been designed to support a charging dock – and the S30R tailcap seems a bit more substantial (likely to support the higher current, see below). The S30R uses square-cut screw threads – but there are more of them (and they are deeper) than the S20R. Threads are still anodized for tail lock-out. Light can tailstand as before – but there is no longer a split-ring/lanyard attachment hole on the side of the tail cap.

As always, the tailcap still has a strong magnet, to allow the light to stand horizontally off any vertical metal surface. That said, I don't find the magnet on these R-series lights as powerful as the regular Baton light. This means you may not be able to get the S30R to hold as stably off a vertical piece of metal (i.e., you will need a pretty flat and solid metal surface).

As before on the earlier models, there two exposed metal areas – an outside ring, and a recessed inner circular contact. These connect magnetically to the charging dock. I am happy to report that there is no open voltage at the tailcap, so there is no risk of accidentally shorting the 18650 battery inside the light. Scroll down for discussions of the dock and charging process.

As with the other models, the S30R uses an electronic switch in the head for on/off and mode changing. The button design is the same as the S20R – but it is larger on the S30R. As with other R-series lights, the hard plastic switch is slightly recessed behind a raised metal surround. This means that the risk of accidental activation is reduced.

As with the S20R, there is still a low voltage warning sensor under the switch (visible through the clear pinhole opening in the middle). The red LED below the switch will light up and flash as the battery nears exhaustion.

The head of the S30R shows some heatsinking fins, with an integrated flat bezel (i.e., the screw-in stainless bezel is gone). The now standard GITD blue o-ring is present, along with a smooth reflector.

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The S30R uses the same XM-L2 Cool White emitter as the previous S20R. The emitter was well centered on my sample. Please scroll down for beamshots.

Olight Battery

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All the new R-version models come with an appropriately-sized Olight-branded battery (3.7V Li-ion). Rated capacity of the 18650 included with the S30R is 3400mAh (up from the 2600mAh one on the S20R) . Scroll down for actual testing results.

Charging Dock

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The charging dock for the S30R is similar to the other R-series – except it uses a higher charging current of 750mA (according to the printed specs). This should be useful for the higher capacity cell provided by Olight on the S30R. See a charging analysis later in this review.

As before, the desktop dock connects by a supplied micro-USB 2.0 cable for a standard USB port (no AC adapter supplied, but you can easily find an after-market one). The is an adhesive gel pad supplied with the dock, in case you want to semi-permanently mount the dock on your desk.

Charging contact is made through those two metal areas on the base of the light's tailcap. Thanks to the magnetic attraction, this firmly holds the light in place, and allows charging to commence.

A LED on the dock illuminates constant red during charging (slowly flashing red when no light is present, or if an error is detected). The dock terminates the charge and goes green once the battery is fully charged (~4.2V). Note that I had previously observed that the initial batch of R-series lights wouldn't fully charge (i.e., a resting voltage of ~4.14V on my S20R when it went green). I understood that Olight was planning to fix this on subsequent batches – and they appear to have, judging from my S30R. My S30R charges to a resting voltage of ~4.23V (which is definitely as high as you would want a standard charger to go).

The "Extended" USB port on the dock is a secondary output port. Basically, with the dock plugged into a power source, this provides a pass-through to charge other USB-based devices (e.g., cell phone, tablet, etc.), up to a reported 2A charging current. Of course, for that kind of charging, you are better off using an AC adapter for the input source, with good quality cables (i.e., I wouldn't want to to push a standard USB port too hard).

Scroll down for an overview of specifics of the charging process, along with other performance characteristics of the light.

User Interface

The R-series interface is basically unchanged from the S20R, except for the addition of the Turbo mode.

As before, a quick press and release (i.e., click) of the electronic switch turns the light on or off.

Regular mode switching is controlled by holding down the electronic switch, as before. The light will cycle between Lo – Med – Hi, in repeating sequence. As before, simply release the switch to select your desired mode.

To access Turbo mode on the S30R, double-click the switch (from on or from off). Previously, on the S20R, double-click was a shortcut to jump to Hi (from off only).

The light has mode memory – if you turn it off/on, the light returns to your previous level (including Turbo).

The S30R continues to features the ultra-low "Moonlight" level. You access this mode directly from off by a sustained (>1 sec) press-and-hold of the switch from off. This is a nice feature, as it means you can always turn the light on in the lowest possible mode if you want (i.e., no matter where you memorized it before). Mode cycling and memory works as before, once on.

You can physically lock out the light by a twist of the tailcap, as before. The "soft lock-out" is similarly unchanged - hold the switch down from off for >2 secs, the light shuts itself off (i.e., after one second of the Moonlight mode). You will not be able to use the light until you unlock it (by pressing-and-holding the switch for >2secs again). Note that this means that if you want Moonlight, you must release the switch before the lock-out takes effect (hold the switch between 1 and 2 secs). To unlock, simply press and hold the switch for more than 1 sec now.

There is still a "hidden" strobe mode, only now you need to triple-click the switch (from on or off). Double click or press-and-hold the switch to return to constant on (or turn off and on).

Video:

For information on the light, including the build, user interface and dock charging, please see my video overview:



For all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information or clarifications before publicly releasing the video.

As an aside, if you want to get an instant notification for every new review that I post, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. The vids go public at the same time as the reviews here on CPF. :whistle:

PWM/Strobe

As always, there is no sign of PWM at any output level – the S30R appears to be current-controlled, just like its predecessors. :)

Strobe
S30R-Strobe.gif


The S30R strobe is a fairly typical fast "tactical" strobe, of 9.8Hz frequency (same as the S20R).

Standby Drain

As the switch is an electronic one, a standby current drain is always present when a battery is installed.

I measured this standby drain at 15.0uA on my S30R (previously 22.6uA on my S20R). For the supplied 3400mAh 18650, that would translate into almost 26 years before a battery would be fully drained. :rolleyes: Hardly a concern – although I do recommend you lock out the switch at the tailcap (or soft-lock out electronically) to prevent accidental activation.

In-Light Charging

Because the AC charger uses a USB connector to the charging cable, I was able to take direct measures of the charging parameters using my Xtar VI01 "USB Detector" (basically a specialized USB current/voltage meter). There are many of these on the market now, and this early model was favorably reviewed by HKJ here.

For charging tests, I started with a discharged Olight 18650 battery. The USB detector was left in place in place for all readings. Note that the voltage reading on this device refers to the input voltage (i.e., from the USB port).

Initial charging current and input voltage:

S30R-Charge001.jpg

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It's a little hard to see due to fluctuating reading, but charging started at ~0.61A with a typical USB ~5.1V input voltage ("U" is meant to represent Volts on the top display above). This is fully consistent with the USB 2.0 specs.

After 30 mins, the charging was up to ~0.65A.

S30R-Charge005.jpg


After 1 hr, charging was up to ~0.67A.

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After 2 hrs, charging was up to ~70A.

S30R-Charge009.jpg


After 3 hrs, charging was up to ~0.71A.

S30R-Charge011.jpg


Peak charging current was ~0.73A (5.19V) at 3hr 45 mins into the charge.

By 4 hrs, charging had begun to drop to ~0.68A.

S30R-Charge014.jpg


After 5 hours, charging had dropped to ~0.32A.

S30R-Charge015.jpg


By 6 hours, the indicator had gone green:

S30R-Charge018.jpg

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Oddly, there was still a small current being drawn when the dock indicator light was green (0.02A above). If I removed the light, this dropped to zero on the detector – and stayed there, even when the light was re-docked. I therefore recommend you remove the light once the dock goes green.

Note that the resting voltage of the 18650 battery was ~4.23V at this point – indicating a very full charge.

As before, all the Olight R-series lights seem to be using a good CC/CV algorithm. This pattern and time is quite reasonable for a 0.75A max charger. :thumbsup:

Beamshots:

For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on an 3.7V Li-ion (18650) battery. Lights are about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.

S30R-Beam001.jpg
S20R-Beam001.jpg

EC20-Beam001.jpg
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Beam pattern is generally similar to the other members of the R-series lights – although the S30R does have some differences.

Thanks to the larger (and deeper) reflector, spillbeam width is narrower on the S30R, compared to the S20R. The hotspot is also smaller – although with a greater corona. And of course, max output of the S30R is quite a bit higher than the S20R. Scroll down for detailed beam output and throw measures.

Testing Method:

All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).

S30R-FL1-Summary1.gif


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As shown in the beamshots, the S30R on max definitely has more overall output and throw than the S20R.

Here is a detailed output comparison between the lights.

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As usual, I get very good concordance between Olight's specs and my output measures. Note that the S30R moonlight mode was about twice as bright as the S20R (although still quite low).

Output/Runtime Graphs:

Let's compare the S30R's stock 3400mAh Olight battery against my current test bed of 3100mAh 18650s.

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First thing you will notice is that the Turbo mode rapidly drops down to the Hi level. Although hard to see above, the S30R maintains Turbo for a little over ~2 mins, and the drops down over the next ~1 min or so.

The included 3400mAh cell provides a marginal benefit over my stock 3100mAh cells.

Let's see how it compares to other lights in this class (all 18650 runtimes shown on 3100mAh cells below)

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The S30R is very competitive for this compact 1x18650 class, with overall efficiency at least good as the Zebralight SC62 and Thrunite Neutron 2C 2014. :wave:

Potential Issues

All Baton lights use an electronic switch, and therefore require a small stand-by current when fully connected. However, the standby drain on S30R is negligible at 15uA, which would theoretically translate into decades before the supplied 18650 would be drained. Accidental activation is always a potential concern with electronic switches though, so I recommend you "soft" lock out the switch electronically, or physically lock out the light at the tailcap when not in use.

The S30R steps down fairly rapidly on Turbo, dropping to the Hi level within ~3-3.5 mins after activation.

There is no wrist lanyard supplied with the S30R, nor an obvious attachment point for one.

Preliminary Observations

The S30R model completes the new rechargeable Baton line from Olight, filling the niche of a high Turbo output light in the 1x18650 class. Overall functionality remains very similar to the other R-series lights, although the S30R uses a custom dock with higher charging rate (and higher capacity 18650) compared to the previously released S20R.

Physically, the S30R is a little bit larger than the S20R – with a more robust looking head, tail and switch. As with other models, the actual switch is recessed within a protecting ring, and there is a red LED indicator to tell you when the battery is running low. The typical bi-directional pocket clip of the other R-series lights has been replaced with a more traditional single direction clip. As before, there is no open voltage at the tailcap (i.e., the magnetic connection is required for initiating charging).

The main difference is the new Turbo mode on the S30R, which brings you into the ~1000 lumen range of other high-output compact lights (i.e., like the Zebralight SC600-II/SC62, Thrunite Neutron 2C 2014, etc.). Note that the S30R is not able to sustain this level for long however, and has a timed drop-down to the Hi level after several minutes. But like those other lights, the S30R shows excellent overall efficiency, regulation and runtime for this class, at all levels. :)

Beam pattern has been updated somewhat from the S20R, thanks to the slightly larger head. Expect a more focused beam (with smaller hotspot), and a narrower but brighter spill on the S30R.

As with the other R-series lights, the in-light charging feature uses a good CC/CV algorithm, and will safely charge your 18650 batteries inside the light. The higher 0.75A max charging rate makes sense here - it will take under 6 hours to fully charge the supplied 340mAh 18650 battery (to ~4.23V resting).

Simply put, for an extra ~$10 or so, you can get the S20R on steroids – the S30R offers greater output (with its extra Turbo mode), further throw, and a higher capacity 3400mAh battery with faster charger. That said, the S20R is a little smaller, so that may appeal to some. But either way, these two lights offer very good feature sets for their class. :wave:

----

S30R was supplied by GoingGear.com for review, on behalf of Olight.
 
Last edited:

nfetterly

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I have one of these massaged by Vinh with a 4000K XM-L2 in it. VERY nice. So nice I ordered a second one from his Valentine sale. I liked the beefier head versus the S20R from a perspective of more metal to act heatsink.

I also like that it's a standard 18650 - one of the "in-light" 18650 charging lights (MMR-X Regen) I have has a proprietary battery - I tolerate that because it's a damn nice light - and it can use standard 18650s, just not charge them.
 

selfbuilt

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I also like that it's a standard 18650 - one of the "in-light" 18650 charging lights (MMR-X Regen) I have has a proprietary battery - I tolerate that because it's a damn nice light - and it can use standard 18650s, just not charge them.
Yes, that is a good point - one of the advantages of the R-series design from Olight is that any 18650 can be charged inside the light, at any time. The desktop mount with magnetic contact makes a lot of sense as well.
 

selfbuilt

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Thanks for the review. Did you experience any trouble with charging? There is a thread with reports of trouble charging in the LED Z FLASHLIGHT section
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?396387-olight-s30r-trouble
From that thread, it sounds like the problem most users are experiencing is due to contact issues inside the light. There are always additional contact paths in lights that can be charged in situ. If anything increases the resistance between contact surfaces (i.e., as some lubricants will do), then the light can behave like a cell is nearly fully drained when it isn't. I usually find a thorough cleaning of all contact surfaces often resolves these sorts of problems. Remains to be seen if there is anything else more serious going on.

I haven't experienced any problems with any of my R-series lights to date, and they have all gone through a reasonable amount of testing for the review (i.e., at least half a dozen battery changes and multiple charge cycles each).
 

KelDG

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
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Am I right when I look at the graphs that the s30r will hold the high 600lm setting and stay at that level without dropping for about 2 hours solid?
 

selfbuilt

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Location
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Am I right when I look at the graphs that the s30r will hold the high 600lm setting and stay at that level without dropping for about 2 hours solid?
Yes, that's right, for any battery with at least a 3100mAh (true) rated capacity.
 

ozzie_c_cobblepot

Enlightened
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
Messages
207
I think the UI could be improved by having double-click-and-hold be momentary turbo, and triple-click-and-hold be momentary strobe, both from off and on.
 

Mountain

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Dec 18, 2014
Messages
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Location
Here and there
Great review as always selfbuilt, I was seriously looking at this light till I came across the R40 seeker and went with it because of the USB charger. I believe it's about the same light although the R40 claims 1100 lumens and the battery is a 26650.
 

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