Review: TRG AURORA- Good light, mistaken claims (For pic. see Kogatana 10/24/01)

brightnorm

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TRG AURORA

SIZE: 4 3/16" x 7/8" (head) x ¾" (body)
WEIGHT: 2.9oz
LEDS: 4 (white)
POWER 2 x 123 Lithium
ON/OFF "Clickie" tail piece. No lock-out
CONSTRUCTION: Metal. One-Piece head/body, separate tailpiece.
WATERPROOF? "To 33 feet"
COLOR: Black
PRO: Bright, Smallest 2 x 123 flashlight of any type
CON: Very blue light, no tailpiece lockout, uncomfortably hot, black
finish easily scratched.
_____________________________________________
CLAIMS VS REALITY:

1) "3.5 inches long" -------- Actual length: 4 3/16
2) "24 hours FULL ON" -------- Approximately 1 hour "full on"
3) "85 Lumens" -------- A small fraction of this figure. (Don't have
accurate light meter)
_____________________________________________
Very small, bright and light, waterproof, with 4 LEDs permanently mounted in one-piece black metal head/ body. Initially somewhat brighter than Princeton Tec Attitude or LightWave 2000, but not as bright as Night Buster Ledda or Inova 5X. Red plastic button of clickie tailpiece is recessed, but tailpiece can not be locked out and accidental turn on is possible. Light gets very hot and black matte finish is easily scratched, therefore pocket carry is not advised.

RELATIVE BRIGHTNESS: TRG AURORA VS. PRINCETON TEC ATTITUDE

START: Aurora brighter than Attitude
1 Hour: Maintains lead
2 Hours: Maintains lead, but by smaller increment
3 ½ Hrs: Attitude slightly brighter that Aurora
4 ½ Hrs. Attitude significantly brighter than Aurora

CONCLUSION: Although this is a decent light, after approximately 3 hours it is outperformed by the Attitude which is nearly as small, is lighter, less scratch-prone, lockable on or off, and uses AAA alkaline batteries. (See my reviews of .the Attiitude and three other lights). My everyday carry is the Inova X5, which outperforms all the other "mini" LED lights. My second choice is the Attitude. When the LS comes out, it will by my first choice.

Brightnorm
 

Chris M.

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"85 Lumens"

I seriously wonder if they meant Beam Candelas. 85cd I would believe- a Photon Microlight or Arc-AAAcan put out 20-25 candelas initially, so for four overdriven LEDs 85cd is do-able. But 85 lumens- that just isn`t possible.

Let`s do the math- assume that each LED is pulling an unhealthy 80mA. I don`t know the actual figure but that`s a sort-of worst case figure. And assume 4.5 volts accross each one.

Power usage= 4.5 x 0.08 = 0.36 watts per LED. x4= 1.44 watts. For simplicity`s sake say this is 1.5 watts, absolute maximum peak draw off new cells.

Putting out 85 lumens, this would mean that the LEDs would have luminous efficiacy of 85 / 1.5 = nearly 57 lumens per watt. Probably the average HID is not that good. Typical white LEDs struggle to hit 12lm/W, driven at the rated current. So there`s no way that thing could claim 85 lumens, no matter how they measured it.


Someone ought to have a word....


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Free

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Can someone tell me where to get a good, inexpensive, light meter online? I could then test the actual lumens of this light.

I think it is a cool little light but have not run it long enough to verify brightnorm's observations. Definately a major exageration on the Lumen output though
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Chris M.

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I could then test the actual lumens of this light.


Unfortunately not, if only it were that easy- to measure Lumen output (total luminous flux leaving the light) you need an extroadinarily expensive and large bit of equipment known as an Integrating Sphere, occasionally going by other names too.

You can, however, measure peak beam candelas (the intensity of the brightest part of the beam) at home with a relatively inexpensive light meter. You need to find a (preferably) Digital meter that can read out in Foot-Candles. Place your light exactly 1 foot away in front of it, and adjust the beam slightly up/down/left/right until you get the highest reading. The resulting readout is your intensity in peak beam candelas. A Lux meter would work too, except you`d need the light 1 metre away, and usually the resolution/sensitivity isn`t as good- this is still probably OK for most uses.


Sorry, I can`t point you to a place to get one. I`m sure someone here can.


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Chris M.

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Erm....not sure. I think the two are different, but can probably be related to each other somehow- as far as I remember, Candlepower is a measure that relies on beam angle too, same as Candelas. But someone more knowledgeable will know.

I do know that early light bulbs, circa pre-1915-ish, were rated in Candlepower instead of watts- so perhaps CP relates to a spherical radiation whereas Candela relates to a projected beam.

Anyone know for sure? I`d like to know too!


BTW Peter "PeLu" Ludwig rightly corrected me on the beam candelas of an overdriven Nichia LED. An overdriven Nichia will have only about 6 lm/W efficiacy and give approximately 16cd. I think my over-tired, cold ridden head (it`s that time of year
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!) had got a little confused this morning when I posted that.
But I`m sure I saw somewhere that rated the peak output of a Photon Microlight as in the order of 20cd. Might be wrong...probably am! It may even have been from my own measurments, and it`s possible I didn`t have the meter set up correctly. anyway thanks PeLu, and don`t worry about disagreeing with me in public, I don`t bite
smile.gif
I appreciate being pulled up on my all-too-frequent mistakes and misunderstandings


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Brock

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Nope, Chris you are right. The Photon will put out just about 20cd or 20,000mcd with new batteries and a good LED. I have one that is 19cd and most are about 18cd. So I think you are correct in thinking they were thinking 80cd with 4 LED's overdriven.
 

Chris M.

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you are right. The Photon will put out just about 20cd or 20,000mcd with new batteries and a good LED


This leads me to believe that Photons, well some of them anyway, do use Rank-S white LEDs. Peter mentioned the 16cd output for 100mA through a rank R white- the ones with an official rating of 5.6cd @ 20mA. 100mA through a rank-S LED (with an oficial rating of about 9cd @ 20mA) may just yield that magical 20-25cd figure...


But we mustn`t forget one main point of this post- the fact that the TRG Aurora is marketed as having 85 lumen output, which it clearly does not and cannot, unless we skip forwqard 5 years where white 5mm LEDs can give 65+ lumens per watt each.


Anyone got contact info for TRG, and want to ask them about this? Be nice to have an official word on the matter- is it a sneaky attempt to decieve buyers*, or a simple mistake?


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<font size="1">(*disclaimer- I am not in any way alledging that TRG knowingly decieves its customers, far from it. This is merely a suggestion)</font>
 

brightnorm

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I'd like to put in a DISCLAIMER also:

I am not alleging that it is official TRG policy to deceive its customers about the TRG AURORA. I am stating, however, that SOMEONE made a decision to print inaccurate statements about the TRG AURORA as seen on the information sheet enclosed with the shipped product. There are three grossly inaccurate statements on that information sheet, as described in my original post. Perhaps TRG management is unaware of this. If so, it would be in the best interests of this company as well as the consumers of this product, to correct these errors.

Brightnorm.
 

PeLu

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Brock:
The Photon will put out just about 20cd or 20,000mcd with new batteries and a good LED. I have one that is 19cd and most are about 18cd.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Actually we all are arguing in a range which does not make any difference. Usual (means affordable for us) lux meters will not be more accurate than 20% (Bruck, do you have data from your's?). And the LEDs will have probably even higher tolerances.

Fact is, that there is no way that 4 5mm LEDs give 85lm. And that even 85cd (witout any additional lens or reflector) is very unlikely.
 

The_LED_Museum

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PeLu:
Usual (means affordable for us) lux meters will not be more accurate than 20% (Bruck, do you have data from your's<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'll have to dig up my manual... but both of mine should be accurate to somewhere in the range of 5%.

And the system I'm getting should be accurate to a percent or less when it's been calibrated and after it's scanned & mapped all of the defects in the test target.
shocked.gif


As for spot measurements, I've gotten more than 22,000mcd out of a brand spanking new Photon II with brand spanking new batteries.
This very quickly falls off to around 13,500-15,000mcd after a minute or so though.
 

PeLu

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Stingmon:
I'll have to dig up my manual... but both of mine should be accurate to somewhere in the range of 5%.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's already a good one (affordable) and should be enough for our purpose.

And Stingmon is, as usual, one step ahead.
 

Brock

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Mine is a $50 GE light meter. I wouldn't argue that my meter could be up to 20% off. Since I got 19cd when I first turn on my Photon, but as Craig noted within the first minute it does fall to the 15-16 range. Since Craig got similar results I am assuming my meter is in the ballpark.
 
D

**DONOTDELETE**

Guest
A response to BrightNorm's Fraud claims.

I'm John Woodmansee VP of TRG and the man responsible for releasing the Aurora specs. First a note of caution... it would be wise of you to contact the manufacturer first to discuss what you feel are fraudulent claims rather than posting your findings. You are setting yourself up and there are companies that will come after you. I won't. I appreciate the fact that there are guys out there with the publics interest at hand. I am a retired Cobra Pilot and my CEO,who is my father, is a retired Army 3 Star General. We formed TRG 4 years ago to provide some unique products and capabilities to Law Enforcement and our Military. We have spent over a half million dollars in R&D on all of our products except the lights. We have them made for us and we depended on the maufacturer to provide the specs. In entering an agreement with the manufacturer, we have had QC concerns due to changes not being made after requirements had been set and have also had concerns about "Official and Verifiiable" specs provided to us. All products are now sent to my shop for official inspections and we have gone to print with assurances that the specs we have been given, are correct.

I would like to respond to your comments about our Fraudulent Claims.

1. We have 3 end caps and switches for the Aurora. One is a remote pressure switch and it was used in the original measurement of the Aurora. Exact measurement is 3 5/8" long. You are correct about the unit you have with the longer "clickie Switch". We have a shorter "Clickie Switch" that gives the Aururao an overall length of 3 7/8"

2. 1 hour full on! Hmmm below your 1 hour statement you test it for 4.5 hours and it was not as bright as the other light, but it was still full on. I have personally tested quite a few of our Auroras and noted a few things.
a. After 24 hours it is still on, yet it was not nearly as bright, but still emitted enough light to get around my dark room.
b. after 48 hours, it was still on, but it was barely usable.
c. I have been carrying a unit around with me for 3 days and have been using it tactically. On for a 30 seconds and and off for a while, then back on for 30 seconds. I have used it for more than 24 hours now and it is still quite bright! It is probably how most of the public will use it and so I stand behind the specs, but I will endevor to make it better. That may mean dropping the Aurora and coming up witha design that is better. We only want to make the best products available.

My original design specs from the engineer was a 70 hour usage. A few more design changes made it much brighter yet took more power and significantly reduced usable times. Making it waterproof, made the heat build up and drain the batteries faster. I'm working on new heat sink design changes and reducing power which will give it a significant operating time.

3. No one seems to understand LED and Lumens. This information is forwarded to me from my engineer and an engineer from the Night-vision lab center in Washington DC.

"I understand the interest that the individuals have in following the LED phenominon. LED technology is still in it's infancy but growing. I have read the comments made about your Aurora and can help you get the Lumen question better understood. The argument here is a LED's can not put out lumens equal to that of a standard flashlight bulb. False They put out an equivalent Lumen, but project light differently. LED's generate light that is diffused when leaving the LED bulb and is not "focused" like standard bulbs. Lumen ratings can be determined by a formula that uses spherical candlepower. CandlePower and Candelas are determined by the following:

The candela rating and candle power are based on two similar method of of measurement, but the factors are different.

A Candela is a measurement of 1/2 of the total spherical light output produced by a single candle. A candle is lit and a black 1 meter square gridded target is placed -1 meter away. The area of the black target covered by light is equal to 1 Candela.

A Candle Power is a measurement of 1/2 of the total spherical light that is produced by a single candle . A candle is lit and a black gridded 1 foot square target is placed - 1 foot away. The area of the black target covered by light is equal to 1 Candle Power. 1 Candle Power is actually half of the total spherical candle output, because only half of the candle is exposed to the target.
Luminous Intensity
Lumens = [4( 3.14)] cd
or 4 X 3.14 X cd
Lumens = (Mean Spherical Candlepower)

TRG's LED's are advanced blue tuned nearly to white bulbs and have a larger cd rating of 14 than a standard LED. Standard LED's range from 1 to 10 cd's.
The LED's have the following Lumen rating:
4 X 3.14 = 12.56
12.56 x 14(cd rating) = 175.84 Lumens
Your Aurora Light has 4 LEDs. The overall Lumen rating is not achieved by adding up the total lights and their Lumen rating to get 703 Lumens. That would be pretty incredible. There is additional math that includes light wavelength and more that I can't put my fingers on now but basically the LED's light waves offset each other and only a true Lumen reading can be aquired by inserting the Flashilight into the Integrating Sphere. The Lumen output is actually measured from the edge of the bezel. Hope that helps"

If you are not happy with your Aurora or anything else TRG makes, you have 30 days and you can send it back. We stand behind our products and are always interested in any feedback we can get.
John Woodmansee
VP TRG
800 561 7612 www.TRGear.com
 

Free

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Hi John, Thanks for the informative post. I really do like my Aurora and was interested in your 8 led (I think it is called the nightfighter1?) I don't need the laser and pressure switch though. Any chance you guy's are going to come out with a version without the laser and with a similar tail switch as the Aurora?
 

brightnorm

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Hi John,

Thanks for your clarification, and for the friendly spirit of that clarification. As I mentioned in my disclaimer, I thought it was important for you to know about claims you might not have been aware of.

One issue of terminology or semantics:
To me (and others ) "full on" means the maintenance of original brightness.
If you have a chance, could you please clarify the meaning of that term? Also, please note that I do say some very positive things about your product.

One of the best things about Candlepower Forums is the opportunity it gives developers, manufacturers and sophisticated pre mass market consumer/testers to exchange ideas and opinions that almost always result in the evolution of an even better product. The very fact that you audit and interact with us in a genuinely involved way speaks very highly about your comittment to excellence and the maintenance of high standards.

Good luck with your products.

Best regards,
Brightnorm
 

Badbeams3

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I think what they mean is continuos on...For some reason I was thinking it meant high brightness burn time. Same thing Brightnorm thought. Hmmm...anyway since we don`t have a standard NULL point (non usefull light level) high brightness burn time (HBBT) really has no meaning. But as we all know a light will run for a longer time when cycled on/off than left on as the batts recover somewhat inbetween uses.

As pointed out, differances in terms and standards makes many numbers hard to use for comparison purposes.
frown.gif


I have to question the santity of any light that uses 123`s unless they are used on the job and paid for by tax payers (the batts).

The new XL everyone thinks they want so bad for example runs for about one hour and takes two 123`s which cost more than 12 bucks at wall-mart and may not be available everwhere. It cost $20 and comes with one set of batteries...at $12 a feeding total cost is $68 for 5 hours of light...I would rather spend that money on an Arc LS and have a cheap to operate, not quite as bright 2 AA or 1 123 light I could actually enjoy useing often...rather than counting each second of use.

$12~13 bucks per hour just does not compute with my wallet. I love lights...not battery manufacturers.
 

The_LED_Museum

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ken B:

$12~13 bucks per hour does not compute with my wallet. I love lights...not batteries.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Pricing on these batteries appears to have some substantial variation, possibly regional.
In some areas, they seem to be available for as little as $4 to $5 apiece, while in others, they're $13 to $14 apiece.

But figure the lights like this (those using two 123 cells with ~1 hour of bright lifetime) could possibly have an operational cost of $8 to $28 per hour, depending on where you live.
blush.gif

Too rich for my blood... although 123 cell lights would still see *some* use in my house (like "what the #@$*%& is that noise?" or "where did the rat hide this time?"), I just couldn't justify the expense of using it more than a few minutes a day.

Just my opinion on the matter... most people could afford to go through a set of 123s every few days or so, I'm just not one of them.
grin.gif
 

John N

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I agree these batteries are expensive, but don't pay $12 for a two pack of these!

I know it's a bit of a hassle to mail order, but check the numbers.

Zreiss has good prices on these (Sanyos). Their first price break is qty 12.

12 x 1.59 = 19.08
shipping = 7.89
=====
26.97

Total cost each = $2.25

Or, $27 for 6 hours or $4.50 an hour.

Qty. you could buy for that much $$ paying $12 for a 2 pak. ---> 4.

Or $12/hr.

Ouch. 12 batteries vs 4.

That's even with the relative high cost of shipping due to the small quantity. You can even get a better discount for higher quantity and the shipping cost is dilluted.

Even better, they just show up at your door. Maybe not a hassle after all.

Heck, if is cheaper for us and we use more batteries, perhaps the cost of the batteries might come down (ok, I know I'm pushing it here).

-john
http://www.zreiss.com/batteries/
 
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