Suggestions on how to improve Armytek Flashlights:

mdocod

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Hello Armytek and fellow CPF members.

I own some new Armytek lights (couple wizard V2 Pro's, a Viking V3 Pro, and Partner C2), and while they are great, I think there is room for improvement. I'd like to share some rants/complaints, and then present some "concepts" on how I think Armytek lights could be made more appealing to a much wider customer base.

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Complaints:

  • Strobe modes, beacon modes, disco modes, and hot running inefficient maximum modes are not professional. I don't believe they have any business being included on "pro" series flashlights.
  • Manuals and specifications pages contain lots of misprints, or untested lumen/runtime figures.
  • Lack of discipline in conservative design decisions has resulted in trying to "compete" on terms set by a market filled with over-achieving mediocrity and big-stat and feature/mode list chasing silliness.
  • Optimistic output claims, lack of conservatism in output ratings gives impression of unprofessionalism.
  • UI on latest gen handheld "tactical" lights has some "abnormalities" I would not expect in what I would expect to be a relatively "mature" product. (several generations old).

--------------

So, not everyone has the same vision of what makes a great flashlight. I appreciate that there is demand for simplicity, demand for professionalism, but there is ALSO demand for that "gimmicky" sort of "fun" stuff, like the LONG feature lists, lots of modes, sophisticated UIs etc. With that in mind, I'd like to present a proposed "G2" series of hand-held flashlights and headlamps, based on current technology. A professional series, that's actually a professional product designed for simple operation, and a non-pro series designed for enthusiasts, stat-chasers, mode-mongers, and generally "annoying" people like me who often mistakenly think that the world actually cares. Note that I'm actually advising a reversal of the current philosophy in product classifications. The "Pro" version should in fact be the less sophisticated version with only purpose-built functionality.

So here are my ideas applied to Armytek's 1x18650 series of flashlights and headlamps. The same premise could be extended to other series... (output and runtime are approximate but realistic OTF on a good high capacity 18650).

Viking G2 Pro/Dobermann G2 Pro/Partner C2 G2 Pro:
  • 2 mode via head twist. Tight for High, loosen for low. Forward tailcap clicky for activation.
  • ~120 tested, true torch lumen "dusk-till-dawn" low mode. 10+ hour regulated runtime + additional diminishing output.
  • ~700 tested, true torch lumen "tactical" high mode for ~80 minute regulated runtime
  • Boost/buck circuitry with continuously variable temperature monitoring feedback loop for constant output on high mode up to 42C body temperature regardless of battery state. Output smoothly and slowly adjusts as low as necessary to maintain safe surface temperatures.
  • Accidental activation in a closed, insulated space will not over-heat and damage the flashlight or battery or threaten surroundings.
  • Dusk-Till-Dawn mode buck-regulated-only to provide constant output, followed by emergency, diminishing output (direct drive on very low battery)
  • Automatic switch to low mode on low battery
  • 1 X 18650 recommended. 2 X CR123 optional/backup. 2XRCR123/16340/18350 not officially supported.
  • ~2.7V over-discharge protection, always on. (helps prevent reverse charge of mismatched CR123, and over-discharge of 18650's)
  • Electronic reverse polarity protection
  • Flat-top cell support, button top cell support. ~63-71mm cell length support.
  • XP-L High Density emitter, available in ~4000K or ~5500K option.
  • Potted, shock isolated electronics and battery (spring on both ends), double o-ring sealed, usual Armytek toughness principals.
  • Lean, light-weight body design principals carried over from partner V2 and viking V3 lights.
  • No Strobe modes
  • No beacon modes
  • No FireFly modes
  • No program-ability
  • No mode-groups
  • Viking G2 Pro = mini-turbo reflector head tight focus beam: ~$110
  • Dobermann G2 Pro = standard reflector head, medium focused beam: ~$95
  • Partner C2 G2 Pro = 20 degree TIR optic: ~$85
  • Partner C2 G2 Pro high CRI edition: $90


Viking G2/Dobermann G2/Partner C2 G2:
  • 12+1 mode via side-switch + head twist + forward clicky tailcap UI system.
  • 4 mode groups, each with 3 modes, + battery voltage mode.
  • Side-Switch UI with head-loose and tailcap switch ON:
    • 1 click always goes to memorized mode of FireFly mode group: ~0.2, ~2, ~15 lumen, for ~6 month, ~1 month, ~5 days.
    • 2 click always goes to memorized mode of Main mode group: ~60, ~180, ~360 lumen, for ~1 day, ~10 hour, ~4 hour
    • 3 click always goes to memorized mode of Strobe/Beacon/SOS mode group.
    • 4 click always goes to voltage indication mode.
    • Press and hold cycles through available modes within a group.
  • Side-Switch UI with head-tight and tailcap switch ON:
    • Head-tight activates the "Zenith mode group."
    • 1 click 500 lumen ~120 minutes
    • 2 click 700 lumen ~80 minutes
    • 3 click 900 lumen ~45 minutes
    • Press and hold cycles through modes.
  • Mode memory is held for both head-tight and head-loose conditions separately.
  • A press of the side-switch with the tail-switch off will "erase" mode-memory. The light will now start up in FF1 with head-loose, or Z3 with head-tight.
  • Multi-color battery state and thermal indication beacon in side-switch. Can be disabled/enabled for FF/OFF
  • Boost/buck circuitry with temperature monitoring feedback loop for constant output on high and max mode groups up to 45C body temperature regardless of battery state. Output steps down to lower modes, mode-by-mode as necessary to maintain safe operating temp.
  • Accidental activation in a closed, insulated space will not over-heat and damage the flashlight or battery or threaten surroundings.
  • Automatic switch to MM1 on low battery, followed by automatic step-down to FF3, FF2, and eventually FF1 as battery state diminishes further.
  • 1 X 18650 recommended. 2 X CR123 optional/backup. 2XRCR123/16340/18350 not officially supported.
  • ~2.7V over-discharge protection, always on. (helps prevent reverse charge of mismatched CR123, and over-discharge of 18650's)
  • Electronic reverse polarity protection
  • Flat-top cell support, button top cell support. ~63-71mm cell length support.
  • XP-L High Density emitter, available in ~4000K or ~5500K options.
  • Potted, shock isolated electronics and battery (spring on both ends), double o-ring sealed, usual armytek toughness principals.
  • Lean, light-weight body design principals carried over from partner V2 and viking V3 lights.
  • Viking G2 = mini-turbo reflector head tight focus beam: $130
  • Dobermann G2 = standard reflector head, medium focused beam: ~$115
  • Partner C2 G2 = 20 degree TIR optic: ~$95
  • Partner C2 G2 Pro high CRI edition: ~$100

Predator G2 Pro:

  • 3 mode via tail-cap switch + head twist. Tight for High, loosen for low/medium.
  • Forward tailcap clicky for activation and low/medium mode switch. Quick off-on cycle with head loose switches between low and medium.
  • ~20 lumen "task" low mode. ~3 days+
  • ~120 lumen "dusk-till-dawn" medium mode. ~12 hours
  • ~500 lumen "zenith" high mode. ~2 hours
  • Boost/buck circuitry with continuously variable temperature monitoring feedback loop for constant output on high/medium mode up to 42C body temperature regardless of battery state. Output smoothly and slowly adjusts as low as necessary to maintain safe surface temperatures.
  • Accidental activation in a closed, insulated space will not over-heat and damage the flashlight or battery or threaten surroundings.
  • Task mode buck-regulated-only to provide constant output, followed by emergency, diminishing output (direct drive on very low battery)
  • Automatic switch to low "task" mode on low battery
  • 1 X 18650 recommended. 2 X CR123 optional/backup. 2XRCR123/16340/18350 not officially supported.
  • ~2.7V over-discharge protection, always on. (helps prevent reverse charge of mismatched CR123, and over-discharge of 18650's)
  • Electronic reverse polarity protection
  • Flat-top cell support, button top cell support. ~63-71mm cell length support.
  • XP-L High Intensity (no dome), ~4000K or ~5000K option.
  • Potted, shock isolated electronics and battery (spring on both ends), double o-ring sealed, usual Armytek toughness principals.
  • Lean, light-weight body design principals carried over from partner V2 and viking V3 lights.
  • No Strobe modes
  • No beacon modes
  • No FireFly modes
  • No program-ability
  • Mini-Turbo very tight focus beam.
  • $110

Predator G2:

  • 12+1 mode via side-switch + head twist +forward clicky tailcap UI system.
  • 4 mode groups, each with 3 modes, + battery voltage mode.
  • Side-Switch UI with head-loose and tailcap switch ON:
    • 1 click always goes to memorized mode of FireFly mode group: ~0.2, ~2, ~15 lumen, for ~6 month, ~1 month, ~5 days.
    • 2 click always goes to memorized mode of Main mode group: ~60, ~180, ~360 lumen, for ~1 day, ~10 hour, ~4 hour
    • 3 click always goes to memorized mode of Strobe/Beacon/SOS mode group.
    • 4 click always goes to voltage indication mode.
    • Press and hold cycles through available modes within a group.
  • Side-Switch UI with head-tight and tailcap switch ON:
    • Head-tight activates the "Zenith mode group."
    • 1 click 500 lumen ~120 minutes
    • 2 click 700 lumen ~80 minutes
    • 3 click 900 lumen ~45 minutes
    • Press and hold cycles through modes.
  • Mode memory is held for both head-tight and head-loose conditions separately.
  • A press of the side-switch with the tail-switch off will "erase" mode-memory. The light will now start up in FF1 with head-loose, or Z3 with head-tight.
  • Multi-color battery state and thermal indication beacon in side-switch. Can be disabled/enabled for FF/OFF
  • Boost/buck circuitry with temperature monitoring feedback loop for constant output on high and max mode groups up to 45C body temperature regardless of battery state. Output steps down to lower modes, mode-by-mode as necessary to maintain safe operating temp.
  • Accidental activation in a closed, insulated space will not over-heat and damage the flashlight or battery or threaten surroundings.
  • Automatic switch to MM1 on low battery, followed by automatic step-down to FF3, FF2, and eventually FF1 as battery state diminishes further.
  • 1 X 18650 recommended. 2 X CR123 optional/backup. 2XRCR123/16340/18350 not officially supported.
  • ~2.7V over-discharge protection, always on. (helps prevent reverse charge of mismatched CR123, and over-discharge of 18650's)
  • Electronic reverse polarity protection
  • Flat-top cell support, button top cell support. ~63-71mm cell length support.
  • XP-L High Intensity (no dome), ~4000K or ~5000K option.
  • Potted, shock isolated electronics and battery (spring on both ends), double o-ring sealed, usual armytek toughness principals.
  • Lean, light-weight body design principals carried over from partner V2 and viking V3 lights.
  • Mini-Turbo very tight focus beam.
  • $130

Wizard G2 Pro/Prime C2 G2 Pro:

  • 7 mode via single mode-group side-switch UI.
    • Inserting battery and tightening tail-cap activates mode 1. loosen tailcap to turn off completely, or keep tight as a beacon/locator/nightlight.
    • 1 click from mode 1 recalls remembered mode. 1 click from any other mode returns to mode 1.
    • Press and hold switch to cycle through modes at any time the tailcap is tight. Release to select a mode.
    • 2 clicks for optional shortcut to mode 4.
    • 3 clicks for optional shortcut to mode 6.
  • Modes 1-7 [lumens (runtime)]: ~0.2 (~6 months), ~2 (~1 month), ~15 (~5 days), ~50 (~30 hours), ~150 (~12 hours), ~300 (~5 hours), ~600 (~2 hours).
  • Boost/buck circuitry with temperature monitoring feedback loop for constant output up to 42C body temperature (50C for Wizard) regardless of battery state. Output drops mode by mode as necessary to maintain safe surface temperatures.
  • Accidental activation in a closed, insulated space will not over-heat and damage the flashlight or battery or threaten surroundings.
  • Multi-color battery state and thermal indication beacon in side-switch. Only active when in mode 4-7.
  • Automatic mode step-down on low battery. Mode-by-mode as battery diminishes.
  • 1 X 18650 recommended. 2 X CR123 optional/backup. 2XRCR123/16340/18350 not officially supported.
  • ~2.7V over-discharge protection, always on. (helps prevent reverse charge of mismatched CR123, and over-discharge of 18650's)
  • Electronic reverse polarity protection
  • Flat-top cell support, button top cell support. ~63-71mm cell length support.
  • XP-L High Density emitter, available in high CRI (+$5) or ~4000K or ~5500K option.
  • Potted electronics, double o-ring sealed, usual Armytek toughness principals. (non-recoil ready, but still tough).
  • Lean, light-weight body design principals carried over from late generation wizard V2/prime.
  • Magnet chamber in tailcap
  • No Strobe modes
  • No beacon modes
  • No mode groups
  • Wizard G2 Pro = 70 degree TIR: $95
  • Prime C2 G2 Pro = 20 degree TIR: $85

Wizard G2/Prime C2 G2:

  • 12 mode via side-switch UI system.
  • 4 mode groups, each with 3 modes
  • Side-Switch UI
    • Press and hold from off to begin cycling from the lowest mode of the firefly group; release to select desired mode. : ~0.2, ~2, ~15 lumen, for ~6 month, ~1 month, ~5 days.
    • 1 click from off recalls memorized mode. 1 click from on turns off.
    • 2 click goes to memorized mode of Main mode group from off or on, or returns to memorized FF mode from MM: ~60, ~180, ~360 lumen, for ~1 day, ~10 hour, ~4 hour
    • 3 click always goes to memorized mode of Zenith mode group: ~500, 700, 900, for ~2 hour, ~80 minutes, ~45 minutes.
    • 4 click always goes to memorized mode of BatteryVoltage/Beacon/SOS mode group.
    • Press and hold cycles through available modes from within a group. Release to select.
    • Mode memory in all modes except group 4.
  • Multi-color battery state and thermal indication beacon in side-switch. Can be disabled/enabled for FF/OFF.
  • Boost/buck circuitry with temperature monitoring feedback loop for constant output on high and max mode groups up to 45C body temperature (55C for wizard) regardless of battery state. Output steps down to lower modes, mode-by-mode as necessary to maintain safe operating temp.
  • Accidental activation in a closed, insulated space will not over-heat and damage the flashlight or battery or threaten surroundings.
  • Automatic switch to MM1 on low battery, followed by automatic step-down to FF3, FF2, and eventually FF1 as battery state diminishes.
  • 1 X 18650 recommended. 2 X CR123 optional/backup. 2XRCR123/16340/18350 not officially supported.
  • ~2.7V over-discharge protection, always on. (helps prevent reverse charge of mismatched CR123, and over-discharge of 18650's)
  • Electronic reverse polarity protection
  • Flat-top cell support, button top cell support. ~63-71mm cell length support.
  • XP-L High Density emitter, available in high CRI (+$5) or ~4000K or ~5500K option.
  • Potted electronics, double o-ring sealed, usual Armytek toughness principals. (non-recoil ready, but still tough).
  • Lean, light-weight body design principals carried over from late generation wizard V2/prime.
  • No Strobe Mode
  • Wizard G2 = 70 degree TIR: $105
  • Prime C2 G2 = 20 degree TIR: $95
 

scs

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Wow! I appreciate and applaud your effort.
I agree with you on many points.
I was really interested in several AT lights at the beginning of the year, but as their specs surfaced, I found reasons left and right not to buy.
It all comes down to the lack of a solid high mode with solid run time as you've mentioned, and the mode spacings.
One other thing I like to see is AT distinguishing the partner line a bit more from the prime line by offering TIR optics with narrower beams in the partner line, for more throw.
Wouldn't it also be great if AT lights had the efficiency of ZL lights?
 

scs

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I think the efficiency may actually be pretty comparable. What information are you going on to suggest otherwise?

Just eyeing comparable output levels and corresponding runtimes between AT and ZL lights literature, specifically the Tiara A1 vs ZL H5 series, Wizard Pro vs ZL 6 series.
 

scs

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For example:

Tiara: A1 70lm/3h 10lm/25h
ZL H52Fw: 102lm/3h 11lm/27h

Wizard Pro: 70lm/18h
ZLH600Fw: 61lm/30h

I'm obviously cherry-picking of course. Don't know what to estimate to do the math in order to compare the other output and corresponding runtimes.
 

mdocod

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Yea after having actually done electrical measurements on my armytek lights, you can throw the literature out the window for that sort of comparison. It's not accurate enough to the actual product to make any sort of judgement. The literature should be treated as a rough approximation at best. Like I said in my original post here, one of my complaints is that the specifications given are not very precise, or in some cases, seem to be misprints, etc.

The Wizard V2 Pro 's "70" lumen mode operates at about 0.4W. The actual runtime in this mode on an NCR18650B is over 30 hours. The actual output is probably closer to 60 lumen (~55 lumen for the "warm" version).

The 0.2 lumen mode claims 100 days runtime on the Wizard Pro. My measurements suggest it should run for more like 200 days. I double checked my measurements with a high end true RMS fluke multi-meter borrowed from a friend.

Most of the modes of the wizard pro V2 run longer than specified in literature, but some are also likely slightly less bright than claimed by literature (the output claims are not possible with the power draw and emitter efficiency once we factor in anticipated losses from the driver and the). until I see a late gen armytek and a zebralight both tested for output and runtime by the same person using the same equipment I have no evidence to support that armytek lights are any less efficient than zebralight at this time.
 

ArmyTek

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mdocod, thank you for creating this thread and your suggestions posted here!


Thanks all of you for your ideas and feedback.
 

Woods Walker

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I think the number one priority should be to ensure things like switches and UI systems/electronics work as intended. Something can be gorilla proof but if these things fail it doesn't matter.
 

scs

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If doubts about the long-term reliability of clicky and especially electronic switches are not unfounded, then perhaps the redesigned Pro series should feature a twisty switch, similar to the Surefire one.

I also hope that when and if AT decides to switch over to domeless or dedomed emitters, that AT preserves as much as possible the beam patterns of the Viking v2.5, Viking v3, and Barracuda v1. I, too, like mdocod expressed in another thread, prefer AT's tighter and brighter spill beam and ample corona that compliment well a decent size hotspot.
 

Woods Walker

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If doubts about the long-term reliability of clicky and especially electronic switches are not unfounded, then perhaps the redesigned Pro series should feature a twisty switch, similar to the Surefire one.

Never mind longer term. The clicky on my Viking failed out of the box. The Predator is doing fine so far.
 

Lou Minescence

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To improve the Prime Pro C2 model, enlarge the lanyard attachment ring hole so that a piece of paracord could be passed through it. Then the secondary key ring can be eliminated.
 

Lumencrazy

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To improve the Prime Pro C2 model, enlarge the lanyard attachment ring hole so that a piece of paracord could be passed through it. Then the secondary key ring can be eliminated.


A lanyard attachment should always have a low breaking strength. Paracord has a tensile strength of around 550lb. Better to run a small (low strength) split ring through the existing hole, and then attach the paracord to the ring. This way you mitigate the risk of breaking or possibly loosing your arm if your light gets caught unexpectedly.
 

ven

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Wow awesome list there!!!

I simply want instructions that are easily accessible for programming and written in a way to understand. Basically not giving up hours to work out!!! Takes the edge off using the pro version(2.5). Not sure on newer models as I won't buy one yet!
 

Woods Walker

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Another thing which would help. Maybe put the AR coating or whatever only on the inside of the lens. I have never seen a glass lens so easily scratched as the one on my Predator. Even my G2 plastic lens is much more scratch resistant. A few finger print removals with two different lens pens produced a bunch of scratches. The same pens produced no scratches on my camera, action cam, shooting scopes and other flashlights. Never seen anything like it. Though little scratches don't seem to harm the beam it doesn't inspire confidence and it probably will get worse as any contact with the window produces scratches. On a side note the sheath works great attached to my pack's webbing.:)
 
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Woods Walker

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Is this the predator v3 mr walker? or the older 2.5?

Cheers

2.5. I even washed the window off under the sink today just to make sure there wasn't any grit and it still produced scratches with a lens pen. Immediately tested the same pen on other flashlights and had zero issues. It's gotta be the coating as there is no way the actual glass could be so easily scratched. Impossible. But on the positive side it's the only LED flashlight I own which has a comparable tint to my TK20 and own a number of neutral lights all of which I like. I find the output and mode spacing to be perfect for my needs but do question the ratings a bit not that it really matters. Had a pro Viking but the switch failed as stated earlier. I actually prefer the UI of the standard version though was able to learn how to program the Viking pro. Just dang. The lens is like transparent clay. LOL!
 
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ven

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Thanks for the feedback mr walker,i have the viking pro and not had time yet to get fully to grips programing. I had changed a couple of modes and gave up,reset to factory. Being honest the original modes are fine for me,i have moonlight saved on mode 2,med mode on mode 1 head tight. Love the light,ano is superb,removing/fitting clip does not leave any mark at all to my surprise and experience of other brands what i won't mention..................nitecore whoops :laughing:

Its a bit too cool for me,outside its not too bad and a keeper,just would have prefered maybe 500-1000k less. No experience of the 4000k from AT but other lights i have that tint i find too warm(fussy git i am) :laughing: I like a mix,some neutral,some cool,maybe 5000-5700k is my ideal temp. That way i can have a choice for occasion so to speak when i use the lights..........

Shame about the lens,does seem off,should not scratch like that,presume a QC overlook. I thought it may have been a v3 as have read owners scratching the ano easier for example on the new versions with clips etc.

Speaking of clips,not keen on the AT on the viking pro 2.5,just does not feel natural or maybe at home for a better word. Makes the grip uncomfortable for me,kind of gets in the way a bit.........so its off with the clip!!!

My frustrations are with the site,trying for instructions,then trying to get to grips..............like i have hours to give up messing with a flashlight:shakehead;)
Just not user friendly and do feel a little chinglish instructions at times with what is a premium product in many ways........well imo anyway(excluding the lens)

Any new purchases could well be the NONE pro version!! for me in time,not too sure about delving in for a v3 yet with potential niggles out there.............

Nice beam from the viking pro 2.5 though,not bad colour rendition in the distance too,just seems a bit too cool .


I keep checking the predator out,its probably the longest "on the list " light i have :laughing: and not own,just a little put off with the limited spill as that is most useful for me. Still dont know on a predator v2.5 or v3 if/when that time comes!

Cheers ven
 

Woods Walker

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Nice pic. I didn't mind the tint on the Viking Pro as it was cool so it is what it is. Before I discovered the switch was unstable on the first day I took it out for a test run. The light saved me a tick infested bushwhacking adventure as got a bit turned around in the dark going off trail to check out the pitch black hill tops.



Looking for the tail marker.





Alright! :)



But it was acting flaky on the trial and didn't make it 48 hours before I worked out the problem. Now I am down to one which is getting about 40 hard miles a week attached to that pack's belt and will be used tonight. I will take pics for this thread. The easily scratched lens is the second problem and I only owned two Armytek lights. Not a good track record for me though other experiences might differ. As the light does what I expected aka spot lighting markers and things that goes bump in the night unlike the switch this issue for now is cosmetic. Still I had more durable windows on 10 dollar lights. These types of issues aka buggy UIs, switches etc etc are far more important to improving the brand than debating UI preferences or tint. Especially a brand which now that programming has been taken away their primary claim over the competition is reliability and durability (not necessarily the same thing). I do agree with the OP and the instructions should be proof read before printed and at least included but that's almost so obvious it shouldn't even be stated yet it needs to be. It cheapens the brand IMHO.
 
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ven

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Fantastic pics,would love to do some proper rough camping/walking on my own. I do have confidence in the viking although i have not tested it to extremes. Just that feel and not skipped a beat so far. Been in the garden pond (which is very cold),been camping so far that's it other than round the house stuff.

I would contact AT if not already for a new switch presuming all is tight inside and threads cleaned etc etc(the norm stuff).

Have you had the switch apart? instructions they do have :laughing:
 

ven

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Oh and i definitely want to see less of this white lettering lark,maybe just me but it looks awful on the nice mat black ano.............(again could be just me) but its one of the reasons holding me back on a v3.
 

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