Surefire A2 Aviator bi-pin adaptors/Tad's customs

ma tumba

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I have: 3712, 3718, strion/fivemega, lumensfactory, stock bulbs. Having tried all of them I use now only the 3718. Why? While my a2 is my go to light, I have found that 99% of the time I use the low beam, so I just like the brightest possible option for the high one just in those rare cases when I need that reach
 

teak

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I have been going back and forth with my Y/G. I have an onion ring with many leds. I have a tads as well and here is what I tend to use the most. Factory Y/G ring and the tads 4812 bulb. I have found that the Y/G leds are a great low output navigating and reading leds. Then the low output 4812 is great for general use and long runtime on primaries.

Just my opinion on it since I feel the A2 isnt a burner anyway if you want some sort of runtime.
 

bykfixer

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I have: 3712, 3718, strion/fivemega, lumensfactory, stock bulbs. Having tried all of them I use now only the 3718. Why? While my a2 is my go to light, I have found that 99% of the time I use the low beam, so I just like the brightest possible option for the high one just in those rare cases when I need that reach

Yeah, I like the option of switching to high beam if needed. Like my automobiles, I rarely use it but like having that option. I figure the 3712 ought to do the trick, but will probably end up with some 18's sooner or later.

Why? Because flashaholic....
 

night.hoodie

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I have discovered, personally and not scientifically, that 12-15 incan lumens is the right amount to see what you need to most of the time without killing dark-adapted vision, and though I am stunned at how bright Tad's lamps are with IMR-3.6v, this chemistry and lamp pairing obliterates dark-adapted vision instantly by bouncing off of anything at any distance less than about 15ft. Bright light, but after blinding, then see nothin for some time. My A2 is too bright even with the underdriven 4812. I use the IMR 3.6v during the day in e1e and early evening before eyes adjust, but afterwards, I've started using 3v (CR123A & 2xAA) and ~12lm exclusively, except for rarer occasion with a single 1.2v AA (Malkoff) for almost a lumen with 3712.
 
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bykfixer

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Welp,

My 3712's finally arrived. Note self, don't order stuff from Hong Kong at Christmas. Delivery time was not unusual in that it took about 3 weeks. But Tads stuff usually arrives in less than 2 weeks when ordered in non holiday season(s).
My previous Tad's was for Maglite use and that's an apples to oranges thing. This is my first SureFire setup. And we all know that PK built some mighty fine, hard to duplicate light bulb modules. But Tad has done well here.

These are my first A2 bulbs and fastener. Nothing was surprising about how well made the fastener is. Typical Tad's job well done there. But the bulbs are impressive to say the least. And replaceable at a small cost is a boon for certain. Pins are cut to just the right length, are rigid enough to goof a little while you learn how to cinch them into the module and the beam was amazingly clean.
Yeah I could be picky there vs a SureFire oem, but they're 2 bux each. Any defects have to be sought out and frankly don't affect anything that matters when lighting up the world I live in. Side by side with a factory bulb was a charm. The 3712 is a bit brighter in the tighter spot yet not so much that one would tell the difference except in throw. But even that is subjective imo. The SureFire wins the throw but barely.

I'm impressed with the 3712's. Makes my A2 more fun to use as the thought of a $35 light bulb popping is now replaced by a relaxed thought of "pffft, I got 10 more for $20". Plus the light still appears to be stock in both form and feature. Yay!! Since I use my A2 for low light mainly, the 3712 may outlive me.

Definitely going to scarf up some Tad's E size modules next. I really like the Lumens Factory bulbs, but again at $2 each it's just more relaxing to use an old incan knowing if the bulb blows it costs less than a pair of primaries to get it going again.

IMG_20171227_202810.jpg
 
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DayofReckoning

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Has anyone confirmed, or can take a guess, at what the runtime would be on the A4812 lamp compared to the factory MA02 lamp when running CR123 primaries? Tads website only says "Underdrive with A2 approx 50 lumens"
 

konifans

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Has anyone confirmed, or can take a guess, at what the runtime would be on the A4812 lamp compared to the factory MA02 lamp when running CR123 primaries? Tads website only says "Underdrive with A2 approx 50 lumens"
The A4812 is a 1.2A bulb but when it is under drive at 4V in the Surefire A2 I think it is 1.0A? And the CR123A is about 1600mah? So it is more than 90 minutes.
 

DayofReckoning

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Got a response back from Tad Customs. Looks like the A4812 will run around 1.5 hours on primaries, just like Konifans said. I like long runtimes over sheer output so I'm going to give the A4812 a try.
 

novice

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Has anyone who has both a Tad's bi-pin adapter, and a Fivemega bi-pin adapter, compared the Tad's 3712 with a Streamlight stinger bulb, for both brightness and battery runtime? Most people with the FM adapter probably use the strion bulb, but I have read that the stinger bulb is underdriven, and has a longer service life overall, than the strion. I'm wondering how the stinger might compare in these particulars to the 3712.
 

soldonsurefire

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I've read all pages of this thread and I can't state that I understand all of what was written.I do believe I've understood the gist of what was posted.

I have an old 4 flats Aviator with white led's and it has worked well.When I had an opportunity to buy a NIB A2 led Aviator I took advantage of it.

I never thought about modifying a light for better performance.I solve any deficiencies by buying a newer and better light.LOL
 

DayofReckoning

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I've read all pages of this thread and I can't state that I understand all of what was written.I do believe I've understood the gist of what was posted.

I have an old 4 flats Aviator with white led's and it has worked well.When I had an opportunity to buy a NIB A2 led Aviator I took advantage of it.

I never thought about modifying a light for better performance.I solve any deficiencies by buying a newer and better light.LOL

The A2 LED Aviator is hardly a worthy successor to the original A2 Aviator. On the contrary, I personally consider it to be an inferior flashlight to the A2 Incandescent.

The A2 Incandescent has a useful combination of throw and flood, whereas the A2 LED Aviator has a combination of flood/flood. The design of the A2 LED Aviator makes no sense, and I don't know why Surefire choose that route.

Furthermore, the
SSC P4 in the LED Aviator usually puts out a nasty blue tint, whereas the tint from the A2 Incandescent is a beautiful 3300K 100 CRI. Absolutely no comparison.

The truth is the A2 LED Aviator was a mediocre light the day it was released, and has faded to near non-existence in the history books as far as us true flashaholics are concerned.

The A2 Aviator on the other hand, is a masterpiece of technological innovation, it's legacy is legendary and unsurpassed, and in a world of countless different models of flashlights, it remains unique and special compared to everything else.

The Tads customs bi-pin adapter is not really about solving any deficiencies, but more about having replacement lamps available, as the factory MA02 LA's are long discontinued. The plus side is it makes this wonderful flashlight even better.
 

rrego

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Another A2 incan fan here. I have two A2s running Tad drop-ins, an E2 and a M3 running Tad drop-ins.

Got six A2s, four Four Flats and two Round body models (two yellow/greens, three whites, one green LEDs).

I have all three versions of the bulbs, but lately running the 4812 bulbs for the longer runtime (I'm assuming due to power consumption).

On the same 4812 bulb, my round body A2 appears brighter than the four flats and I think it's due to the AR lens. I believe all my four flats are non-AR lenses while the rounds are AR lenses.

I run AW 16340s in mine without problem, other than low capacity.

I did kill my first 3712 bulb I ran, but that was due to running it as long as the batteries would run for. Now with the 4812 bulbs, I'm doing more short burst than as long as the batteries will go for.

I have basically transitioned my general lighting to incans and only use my LEDs when I need runtime. I LOVE the satisfaction of my incan lights running primaries or Li-Ion :^)
 

rrego

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I just rechecked my four Four Flats and three of them look like uncoated glass to me and only one appears to have some slight AR coating, but it might just be the angle that I'm looking at it or the rooms surroundings influencing what I see on the lens.

Were any Four Flats versions ever AR coated?
 

DayofReckoning

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Glad to hear from another A2 fan.

I'm not sure when Surefire started using AR coatings on the A2's glass. I know my round body A2 (SN86xxx) has it, but my old four flats (SN3xxx) doesn't. It should be easy to tell if the glass is AR coated, as any bit of color tinge should be noticeable when holding the light at the right angle.

There have been times where I almost thought my newer A2 was brighter than my old four-flats. I never really did any real extensive testing as my old four flats is a shelf queen that I rarely use. I seriously doubt the AR coating makes enough of a difference to make one appear brighter than the other. I'm not too sure either way.

When the A2 drops out of regulation and goes into it's "dim incandescent" mode, it best not to fire up the lamp again at that point, as it is severely underdriven and very hard on the lamp. That's likely why yours burnt out.

I agree there is a nice satisfaction you get when running a good incandescent. Something that you don't get with LED's IMO.
 

rrego

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I noticed that my Four Flats that is not as bright as the round, both running Tad drop-ins 4812 bulbs, makes a buzzing sound when the incan bulb is on. This is the only one of my six A2s that buzzes when the incan is on. I wonder if the regulator might not be performing at its optimum, but again that is in the body, not the head.

Another test I've done is to swap heads between the two and the Round head is still brighter than the Four Flats head. I wonder if the Four Flat head has maybe more resistance somewhere than the Round head(?). I might have to clean with Deoxit and check if that helps it.
 

DayofReckoning

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Both my A2's have the buzzing sound when activating the high beam. It's coming from the tailcap, so I don't think it's an issue with the regulator. In fact, almost all Surefires I have owned with the two stage tailcap have made the buzzing to some degree.

It's possible that there were improvements in the A2 when the body style changed, though Ive never seen this confirmed.
 

night.hoodie

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When the A2 drops out of regulation and goes into it's "dim incandescent" mode, it best not to fire up the lamp again at that point, as it is severely underdriven and very hard on the lamp. That's likely why yours burnt out.

Usually when I have a post talking about underdriving a lamp, a dutiful cpf member comes along and reminds me that underdriven lamps are not efficient and produce light that is very yellow. I'll reply that I don't mind the inefficiency, as long as I am getting a longer runtime (though with less total amount of light) on the same cell(s) and a lower light level, and the yellowing is actually nicer to what I'll call "morning eyes," the eyes you wake up with in the dark that hate bright light.

This is the first I have seen it claimed that underdriving a lamp is hard on the lamp. Are you referring to the A2 stock MA02, specifically with the incan A2 regulator (does this regulator have something to do with that), or all lamps, everywhere, always?

I have been using the same Tad Custom's A4812 with his E-socket in an Elite head in a single-cell setup with a 3.2V LFE18500 every night for at least a year with at least one extra cell swap a night. I'd peg the amount of light close to an E1e, about 12-15lm, but more yellow. I get about an hour out of these 18500 Duracell Solar cells with the A4812. That is at least 365 hours on this particular lamp, probably closer to 450 hours. What I have always thought was (no telling why), though not as energy efficient as when driven by proper voltage, and color temperature drops considerably, an underdriven lamp will outlast a properly driven lamp, and far far outlast a more efficient overdriven lamp, and my anacdotal experience supports this. But I'm only using Tad Custom's Xenon lamps.

Where did you get the idea underdriving lamps is hard on the lamp? Or are you, again, only referring to A2 and MA02?

I will add, if running incan A2 with secondary cells, as soon as the lamp drops out of regulation, the cells are empty, close to 2.5V, so do not use either the LED or the lamp at that point, but swap in fresh cells.
 
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DayofReckoning

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When the A2 drop's out of regulation, the lamp is SEVERELY underdriven. I don't know how many lumens the lamp is putting out at this point, but it's very, very dim.

I believe there is a big difference between underdriven and severely underdriven.

I won't pretend to have technical knowledge to the inner working of incandescent lamps, but my understanding is when a lamp is under driven to a certain extent, it cannot complete whatever "cycle" is going on with the gasses inside the lamp, resulting in black deposits on the envelope, thus being "hard on the lamp".

Hopefully someone with more knowledge will come along and explain better.
 

bykfixer

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Correct. It darkens faster.

Think about it this way:
When you start a fire and it smolders there is lots of smoke. Once it's burning at full potential the smoke is a lot less. Add lighter fluid and it burns hotter with even less smoke but the wood "cooks" a lot faster.

Similar type of thing happens inside the globe of a light bulb.
 

night.hoodie

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I see. In theory, more tungsten deposit on the globe interior (darkening) means not only less light escaping, but less tungsten on the filament, leading to frail filament and higher probability of filament failure. I see this as a concern with Surefire stock lamp or Lumens Factory lamps due to their rarity and/or expense. I play fast and loose with Tad Custom's lamps, looking for hidden "battery modes," sometimes driving the A3712 with a single 1.2V NiMH (more often with 2xNiMH), or the newer A6010 with a single primary or single 3.2V LiFePO4.

Sometimes with Tad Custom's lamps, especially after a physical shock of some sort, I notice the hotspot changes shape, is no longer a perfect fuzzy circle, but some other shape, sometimes an hourglass-shape is projected. Wiping the lamp with alcohol more often than not restores the perfect hotspot. But there have been rarer insances when alcohol has no effect, hotspot remains distorted, especially if the lamp has darkening. I cannot understand how wiping the exterior of the lamp with alcohol seems to have an effect on what is on the interior of the lamp globe, which I assumed causes an anomolous mishapen hotspot.
 
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