Thrunite Neutron 2A (1xAA/14500 2xAA) and 2C (1xRCR/18650 2xCR123A/RCR) 2014 Review

selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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Warning: far more pic heavy than usual. :sweat:

Thrunite has sent me final engineering samples of their newly revised for 2014 Neutron series. I had previously reviewed the original 2011 Neutrons here. As you will see, a lot has changed for these new models – including a new user interface. The new 2A and 2C models are tested here – but as you will see, these effectively double as 1A/1C models thanks to the removable body extension tubes.

2A
2A-2014001.jpg


2C
2C-2014002.jpg


As usual, I will start with a description and overview of the common build, user interface and circuit functions. I will then provide detailed testing and comparison of each model relative to its respective peer groups.

Buckle up, this is going to be a long ride … :whistle:

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

Common Neutron 2014 Series Specs
  • LED: CREE XM-L2 U2 (Cool White and Neutral White to be available)
  • There are five brightness levels: low, middle and high.
  • These levels can be memorized when the light turned off; two special modes: Firefly and Turbo mode will be activated by below:
  • Under off status, single click will turn on the light, quick double clicking can get turbo mode, while long time press enable Firefly mode.
  • Under on status, long time press enable low, middle and high mode.
  • Side switch button
  • Timer controlled step down from Turbo.
  • Package includes: Flashlight with extension tube, User manual , Holster, pocket clip, Spare O-ring
2A Specs
  • Working Voltage: 0.9 - 5V
  • Output/Runtime on 1x AA (NIMH 2400MAH): Turbo : 480 lumens /80 minutes - High: 230 lumens / 90 minutes - Mid: 70 lumens / 3 hrs - Low: 11 lumens / 72 hrs - Moonlight:0.04 lumens/33 days
  • Output/Runtime on 2x AA(NIMH 2400MAH): Turbo: : 800 lumens / 200 minuts - High: 230 lumens / 215 minutes - Mid: 70 lumens / 7 hrs - Low: 11 lumens / 7 days - Moonlight:0.04 lumens/68 days
  • Peak Beam Intensity: 8540cd
  • Max beam distance: 185m
  • Dimensions: Length: 146.5mm - Diameter: 25.4 mm - Weight: 73g (excluding battery)
  • Please Note: 2 x 14500 Batteries Can Not Be Used in Neutron2A v2.
  • MSRP: $55.95
2C Specs (reviewer's note: I am still waiting on confirmation of specs from Thrunite)
  • Battery: 1x18650/16340/18350, 2xCR123A/16340/18350
  • Voltage Range: 2.7V ~ 8.4V
  • Max Output: 1000 lumens (2x18350/16340)
Details are still limited at the moment. I don't have an official spec sheet from Thrunite for the 2C - I have presented above what I was given from David, and what I have found online with Thrunite. For those of you familiar with AA lights, the output specs above look a little hard to believe. But scroll down to see my actual testing results … :whistle:

I don't know what packaging will look like, but it will probably be similar to other Thrunite offerings.

I will provide separately below size comparisons photos and testing measures for each of the four possible configurations (i.e., 1x and 2x, for each model). But first, I will start off with a discussion of the common physical build and user interface/circuit functions.

Common Build

Neutron 2A:
2A-2014001.jpg

2A-2014003.jpg

2A-2014002.jpg

2A-2014007.jpg

2A-2014006.jpg

2A-2014009.jpg

2A-2014008.jpg

2A-2014010.jpg

2A-2014004.jpg

2A-2014005.jpg

2A-2014017.jpg


Neutron 2C:
2C-2014002.jpg

2C-2014003.jpg

2C-2014001.jpg

2C-2014106.jpg

2C-2014102.jpg

2C-2014006.jpg

2C-2014007.jpg

2C-2014008.jpg

2C-2014005.jpg

2C-2014004.jpg

2C-2014013.jpg


Physically, the new Neutron lights are very similar to one another – indeed, the heads look almost identical. But they are completely different from the original 2011 Neutron series, which had a "classic" tailcap clicky-switch build, with very aggressive knurling and crenelated stainless steel bezels. The 2C 2011 model had a narrow body width though, preventing 18650 cells from being used.

The new Neutrons for 2014 have a larger common-sized head, but with only a small side-mounted electronic switch (i.e., no physical clicky). Knurling is mild in comparison to before. The lights also have a fairly "plain" look to them (e.g., flat aluminum bezels, fair smooth, no aggressive styling, etc.). Body tubes have a generous internal diameter though, allowing all modern high capacity cells to be used. Basically, this is a completely different design.

Hand feel is ok, but I would prefer some additional elements to help with grip and anti-roll (e.g., I believe clips will be included, but I haven't seen them yet). The 2A is a bit better in this regard, as the battery tube segments are fluted in segments (i.e. it uses thinner AA-category cells).

The side-mounted electronic switch has a typical feel for a small button switch. But I would prefer a more prominent switch that is easier to access by touch alone (i.e., raised and enlarged). :shrug: Switch function was ok for all mode-changing features (see User Interface discussion below).

The only difference on the heads of these units is that the 2A has the classic reverse-polarity feature that is common on the circuit boards of many AA-based lights (i.e., only small button top can be used). The 2C lacks this feature, and so will take flat-top cells just fine. :)

Screw threads are anodized, allowing head lock-out on either model. Both models come with a removable section for the second AA or CR123A cell (i.e., remove the middle body tube piece, and the 2A becomes a 1A, and the 2C is a 1C). I personally like this design, as it gives you the flexibility to switch between 1x cells for ease of carry and 2x cells for maximum output and runtime. :thumbsup: Note that the 2C does not fully support 1xCR123A however (more on this later).

The lights can tailstand, and there is a split-ring/lanyard attachment hole on the side of the tail.

At the base of the battery tube there is flat contact plate on top the spring (which will save your batteriess from any potential scratching). A nice touch. :)

The new Neutrons use a flat bezel design. Reflectors are smooth finish, and of about typical dimensions for this class. Centering of the emitters was good on my two samples. There seemed to be a bit of damage at the base of my 2A reflector (this didn't affect the beam, though).

Scroll down for specific beamshot comparisons for each model/battery config.

Common User Interface

Turn the lights on by a single click of the electronic switch (i.e., rapid press release). Turn the lights off the same way.

There are three main output levels controlled by a press-and-hold of the electronic switch. Mode sequence is Lo > Med > Hi > Med > Lo, in a repeating loop (i.e., ramps up, then down). Personally, I would prefer a more consistent Lo > Med > Hi repeating sequence. :shrug: Let go of the switch at any time to select the mode your want. The light has mode memory, and retains the last level set when you turn it off/on.

Double-click the switch to jump to Turbo. You can return to the main sequence modes by a press-hold of the switch (or click for off). There is no memory for Turbo.

Press-and-hold the switch from off to access Firefly. Again, you can return to the main sequence modes by a press-hold of the switch (or click for off). There is no memory for Firefly.

You can lock out the lights by a turn of the head.

There are no flashing strobe modes on the new Neutron series lights.

Video:

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



As with 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.

PWM/Strobe

The new Neutron 2014 series lights are both current-controlled – there no indication of pulse width modulation on any mode. :thumbsup:

I was able to detect a very faint noise signal on the Med and Hi levels of the 2C:

2C-2014-MedHiNoise.gif


It is quite common to see circuit noise on current-controlled lights – it does not affect the visible perception of the beam in any way. Rest assured, the new Neutron series lights are flicker free in use. :) This is significant upgrade for the 2C, which had quite visible low-frequency PWM on its initial 2011 release.

There are no strobe modes on the new Neutron lights.

Standby Drain

As the switches are electronic in a nature, a standby current drain is always present when a battery is installed and the head fully connected. These currents were negligible on the new Neutron series lights. For the 2A, I measured this as 56uA on 2xNiMH. For the 2C, I measured 5.3uA on 1x18650. For typical capacity cells, that would translate into over 4 years on the 2A (for 2000mAh NiMH) and 66 years for the 2C (on 3100mAh 18650) before cells would be drained. :rolleyes:

Note that you can always lock out the lights by a quick turn of the head, relative to the body. This will also prevent accidental activation.

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 Charts:

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).

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Individual Comparisons

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Neutron 2A – 1xAA size

2A-2014024.jpg

2A-2014020.jpg

2A-2014014.jpg

From left to right: Panasonic Eneloop Pro NiMH AA; Thrunite Neutron 2A 2014, Olight S15; Zebralight SC51; Sklihunt DS15; Fenix LD12; Thrunite T10.

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

Neutron 2A (1xAA form): Weight: 57.6g, Length: 95.6mm, Width (bezel): 25.6mm
Olight S15 1xAA: Weight: 46.4g, Length: 87.0mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
Nitecore MT1A: Weight: 54.6g, Length: 104.6mm, Width (bezel): 22.7mm
Nitecore SENS AA: Weight: 26.1g, Length: 82.7mm, Width (bezel): 19.8mm
Lumintop ED15: Weight: 59.7g, Length: 100.2, Width (bezel): 21.9mm
Rofis ER12: Wright: 35.5g, Length: 96.2mm, Width (bezel): 18.6mm
Skilhunt DS15: Weight: 52.0g, Length: 92.1mm, Width (bezel): 24.0mm
Xeno E03:: Weight: 48.1g, Length 96.7mm, Width (bezel): 21.5mm
Zebralight SC52: Weight 39.5g, Length 79.0mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm, Width (max) 25.4mm

For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on an NiMH or 14500 AA-sized batteries. 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.

1xAA Sanyo Eneloop NiMH

2A-1xAA-Beam2.jpg
S15-AA-Beam001.jpg

SC52-Ene-Beam001.jpg
V11R-AA-Beam001.jpg


2A-1xAA-Beam3.jpg
S15-AA-Beam002.jpg

SC52-Ene-Beam002.jpg
V11R-AA-Beam002.jpg


2A-1xAA-Beam4.jpg
S15-AA-Beam003.jpg

SC52-Ene-Beam003.jpg
V11R-AA-Beam003.jpg


2A-1xAA-Beam1.jpg
S15-AA-Beam004.jpg

SC52-Ene-Beam004.jpg
V11R-AA-Beam004.jpg


1x14500 (AW Protected 14500) Li-ion

2A-1x14500-Beam2.jpg
S15-14500-Beam001.jpg

SC52-14500-Beam001.jpg
V11R-14500-Beam001.jpg


2A-1x14500-Beam3.jpg
S15-14500-Beam002.jpg

SC52-14500-Beam002.jpg
V11R-14500-Beam002.jpg


2A-1x14500-Beam4.jpg
S15-14500-Beam003.jpg

SC52-14500-Beam003.jpg
V11R-14500-Beam003.jpg


2A-1x14500-Beam1.jpg
S15-14500-Beam004.jpg

SC52-14500-Beam004.jpg
V11R-14500-Beam004.jpg


1A-FL1-Summary1.gif


1A-FL1-Summary2.gif


2A-2C-Lumens1.gif


1A-HiEnePro.gif


1A-HiEne.gif


1A-HiAlka.gif

1A-MedAlka.gif


1A-HiL91.gif


1A-Hi14500.gif


UPDATE August 19, 2014: Here is what repeated restarts on Turbo looks like. I manually restated the Turbo after ~4 mins of the step-down Hi, repeatedly.

1A-Turbo-restart.gif


Impressively, the light is able to maintain a fairly well regulated Turbo mode - up until the point where the battery is nearly exhausted.

And here is a shorter time comparison of the effect of fan cooling (my standard process) and uncooled runs, on Turbo on 1xAA alkaline and Eneloop Pro:

1AA-cool.gif


As you can see, cooling has (surprisingly) relatively little effect on output over the timescales shown.

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Neutron 2A – 2xAA size

2A-2014029.jpg

2A-2014040.jpg

2A-2014013.jpg

From left to right: Panasonic Eneloop Pro NiMH AA; Thrunite Neutron 2A 2014; Olight S15 with extender, ST25; Eagletac D25A2; Nitecore MT2A, EA2.

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

Neutron 2A (2xAA form): Weight: 73.46g, Length: 146.2mm, Width (bezel): 25.5mm
Eagletac D25A2: Weight: 54.8g, Length 148.5mm, Width (bezel): 21.0mm
Foursevens QAA-2 X (Tactical tailcap): Weight: 60.1g, Length: 149.1mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
Olight S15 2xAA: Weight: 59.2g, Length: 137.9mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
Jetbeam BA20: Weight: 70.2g, Length: 156.4mm, Width (bezel) 23.2mm
Nitecore MT2A: Weight: 66.9g, Length: 154.3mm, Width (bezel):22.7mm
Nitecore EA2: Weight: 68.9g, Length: 134.4, Width (bezel): 26.1mm
Sunwayman D20A: Weight 118.4g, Length: 102.6mm, Width (head) 20.9mm, Height (head) 35.1mm

For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on 2xNiM AA (Sanyo Eneloop). 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.

2A-Beam2.jpg
MT2A-Beam001.jpg

E2A-Beam001.jpg
D25A2-Ene-Beam001.jpg


2A-Beam3.jpg
MT2A-Beam002.jpg

E2A-Beam002.jpg
D25A2-Ene-Beam002.jpg


2A-Beam4.jpg
MT2A-Beam003.jpg

E2A-Beam003.jpg
D25A2-Ene-Beam003.jpg


2A-Beam1.jpg
MT2A-Beam004.jpg

E2A-Beam004.jpg
D25A2-Ene-Beam004.jpg


2A-FL1-Summary1.gif


2A-2C-Lumens1.gif


2A-HiEnePro.gif


2A-HiEne.gif

2A-MedEne.gif


2A-HiAlka.gif

Note: the 2A shut down around ~45 secs on the Turbo Alkaline mode run - so the light was restarted on Hi.

2A-MedAlka.gif


2A-HiL91.gif

Note: the 2A shut down after ~2 secs on the Turbo L91 mode run - so the light was restarted on Hi.

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Neutron 2C – 1xCR123A/RCR size

2C-2014111.jpg

2C-2014014.jpg

2C-2014117.jpg

From left to right: Rayovac CR123A; Thrunite Neutron 2C; Olight S10 2013; Sunwayman C10R; Skilhunt DS10; Armytek C1; Eagletac D25C.

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

Neutron 2C (1xCR123A/RCR form): Weight: 63.0g, Length: 87.7mm, Width (bezel): 25.5mm
ArmyTek C1 XM-L: Weight: 43.0g, Length: 80.2mm , With (bezel): 23.1mm
Eagletac D25C Clicky: Weight: 30g, Length: 76.0mm, Width (bezel): 20.0mm
Foursevens QTLC: Weight 36.4g, Length 84.1mm, Width (bezel) 22.1mm
Jetbeam PC10: Weight: 50.5g, Length: 93.6mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm
Lumintop ED11: Weight: 44.1g, Length: 83.7, Width (bezel): 21.8mm
Olight S10 (2013, XM-L2): Weight: 40.5g, Length: 70.8mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
Skilhunt DS10: Weight: 47.0g, Length: 76.1mm, Width (bezel): 24.0mm
Sunwayman C10R: Weight: 57.3g, Length: 76.2mm (no lanyard plug), 82.3mm (with plug), Width (bezel): 25.6mm, Width (head at widest part): 28.6mm

For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on an AW protected 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.

1xRCR/18350

2C-18650-Beam2.jpg
S10-2013-RCR-Beam001.jpg

D25CXML-RCR-Beam001.jpg
C1-XML-RCR-Beam001.jpg


2C-18650-Beam3.jpg
S10-2013-RCR-Beam002.jpg

D25CXML-RCR-Beam002.jpg
C1-XML-RCR-Beam002.jpg


2C-18650-Beam4.jpg
S10-2013-RCR-Beam003.jpg

D25CXML-RCR-Beam003.jpg
C1-XML-RCR-Beam003.jpg


2C-18650-Beam1.jpg
S10-2013-RCR-Beam004.jpg

D25CXML-RCR-Beam004.jpg
C1-XML-RCR-Beam004.jpg


1C-FL1-Summary1.gif


1C-FL1-Summary2.gif


2A-2C-Lumens2.gif


1C-MaxCR123A.gif


1C-MaxRCR.gif

1C-HiRCR-1.gif



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Neutron 2C – 2xCR123A/RCR 1x18650 size

2C-2014017.jpg

2C-2014023.jpg

2C-2014011.jpg

From left to right: Keeppower Protected 18650 3100mAh; Thrunite Neutron 2C 2014, 2C 2011; Olight S20 (2013), Zebralight SC600-II, Skilhunt DS20; Eagletac D25LC2.

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

Neutron 2C (2xCR123A/RCR form): Weight: 71.2g, Length: 117.7mm, Width (bezel): 25.5mm
Skilhunt DS20: Weight: 53.8g, Length: 110.0mm, Width (bezel): 24.0mm
Olight S20 (2013, XM-L2): Weight: 52.4g, Length: 106.5mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
Eagletac D25LC2: Weight: 50.0g, Length: 116.3mm, Width (bezel): 22.5mm
Foursevens Quark Q123-2 X (Regular tailcap): Weight: 44.6g, Length: 112.7mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
Jetbeam PC20: Weight: 60.0g, Length: 127.5mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm
Skilhunt K11: Weight: 120.5g, Length: 129.6mm , Width (bezel): 34.1mm
Sunwayman C20C: Weight 57.6g, Length: 104.8mm. Width (bezel): 25.6mm
Thrunite TN10: Weight: 154.7g, Length: 145.5mm, Width (bezel): 35.1mm
Zebralight SC600: Weight 87.2g, Length: 107.8mm, Width (bezel) 29.7mm

For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on an AW protected 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.

2C-18650-Beam2.jpg
2C-2x18350-Beam2.jpg

S20-2013-Beam001.jpg
D25LC2-18650-Beam001.jpg


2C-18650-Beam3.jpg
2C-2x18350-Beam3.jpg

S20-2013-Beam002.jpg
D25LC2-18650-Beam002.jpg


2C-18650-Beam4.jpg
2C-2x18350-Beam4.jpg

S20-2013-Beam003.jpg
D25LC2-18650-Beam003.jpg


2C-18650-Beam1.jpg
2C-2x18350-Beam1.jpg

S20-2013-Beam004.jpg
D25LC2-18650-Beam004.jpg


2C-FL1-Summary1.gif


2C-FL1-Summary2.gif


2C-FL1-Summary3.gif


2A-2C-Lumens2.gif


2A-2C-Lumens3.gif


Let's start with a comparison of my standard AW protected 2200mAh to protected NCR18650A 3100mAh:

2C-18650.gif


And now on my standard cells:

2C-Hi18650.gif

2C-MedHi18650.gif

2C-Med18650.gif


2C-HiRCR.gif


2C-HiCR123A.gif


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Potential Issues

The new Neutron series for 2014 use an electronic switch, and therefore require a small stand-by current when fully connected. However, the standby drain was completely negligible on both models, on all batteries – with multi-year (or decades) before batteries would be drained.

Accidental activation is always a potential concern with electronic switches. However, you can physically lock out the lights by a twist of the head.

The switch button is small, and may be hard to locate by touch alone.

On the 2C, 1xCR123A is not fully supported (i.e., no Hi or Turbo, and Med is a lower direct-drive-like mode).

On the 2C, 1x16340 is not recommend on Turbo, unless you are using IMR chemistry. The Turbo discharge rate on a single cell is too high for standard ICR chemistry.

On the 2AA in 2xAA form, only 2xNiMH would provide the full 4 mins of Turbo mode before step-down. Alkaline cells lasted less than 1 min on Turbo (before shut-down), while fresh L91 cells wouldn't last more than a few seconds before shut-down (may be a voltage issue with new cells).

On the 2AA in 2xAA form, the light abruptly terminates without warning when the cells are nearly drained (i.e., no gradual drop-off in output). This applies to all batteries, including primary alkaline and L91.

On 2AA in 1xAA form, the light shows a gradual drop-off in output as the cells are nearly depleted – but with intermittent low voltage warning flashes beginning as soon as the light falls out of regulation.

Preliminary Observations

Ok, that's a LOT of data. :sweat: Given the complexity of this review (and the range of battery options per model), I am going to break my comments down into an analysis of the lights separately, and then come back to some general build comments.

Neutron 2A

Max overall output is generally very consistent with the Thrunite specs – almost unbelievably so, in the case of the 2A. :eek:oo:

I am reproducing some of the key summary tables below, where there are interesting findings (again, scroll back for the complete set of tables):

1A-FL1-Summary1.gif

2A-FL1-Summary1.gif

2A-2C-Lumens1.gif


The main point above is that the 2A is MUCH brighter on Turbo than any other light I've tested in the 1xAA/14500 or 2xAA classes.

As always, I don't insist on the absolute value of the lumen estimates in my lightbox (although I encourage you to review my methodology – including the number of sources used for generating the calibrations). But the relative comparisons are entirely consistent across reviews. EDIT: see post #19 for a further discussion.

So, for example, whatever you think the Zebralight SC52 produces in terms of max ANSI FL-1 output, my Neutron 2AA 2014 (on 1xAA) exceeds my SC52 sample by nearly an additional ~60%! Similarly, my Neutron 2A 2014 (on 2xAA) exceeds my Foursevens Quark AA-2 by ~70%. These are unheard increases in output for the AA class. :eek:oo:

Of course, due to the heat produced and the drain on the cells, it 2A won't stay at those turbo-charged levels for long. The light automatically steps down from Turbo after 4 mins runtime, but you can always manually re-activate. While the 2A performed consistently in the 1xAA form testing, the higher output of the 2xAA form was an issue for alkaline and L91 cells (i.e., only NiMH would reliably produce the 4 mins of Turbo before step-down). I understand there is a circuit feature to prevent over-heating, which may be at play on the 2xAlkaline runs (e.g., I noticed the light flashed briefly twice before shutting off, in less than 1 min).

To learn more about how the 2AA performs, you will need to scroll back up to the actual runtimes. In general terms, output/runtime performance is excellent for the 2A. With the exception of Turbo, you get very flat stabilization at all levels. And overall efficiency is outstanding – the 2A is typically a top performer among the current-controlled class! :thumbsup:

Neutron 2C

Like the 2A, the 2C can be run on 1xCR123A/RCR form – but a single CR123A is not fully supported. Again, from the summary tables earlier in this review:

2A-2C-Lumens2.gif


2A-2C-Lumens3.gif


The 2C is a good performer for the 1x18650, 2xCR123/RCR class. Max output is in keeping with other lights in this class. And as you will see in the runtimes above, the 2C shows flat stabilization and excellent output/runtime efficiency. :)

When it comes to running the 2C in 1xCR123A/RCR form, you need to be aware of a few limitations. Due to the incredibly high output on Turbo, I strongly recommend you do not run the 2C on standard 1x16340 (aka RCR), as this will exceed discharge specs for ICR. Instead, you will need to use IMR chemistry 16340 or 18650 cells for Turbo (note that these cells are unprotected, so you would need to take care not to over-discharge). Also, 1xCR123A is not really supported – you lose Hi and Turbo, and Med is a lower output direct-drive-like mode. :shrug:

General Build

The new Neutron lights for 2014 have a serviceable build – if a bit "plain vanilla" in styling. ;)

The one thing I would like to see is a more pronounced switch that is easier to find by touch alone. I would also prefer a more consistent (and typical) Lo > Med > Hi sequence. Otherwise, I am fine with the user interface as it is – I personally do not use high frequency strobes in my everyday life.

I don't know what extras will come with the lights, but I presume the standard Thrunite accessories will be available. Similarly, I don't know final price – but I expect Thrunite will keep these very competitive, just as they did for the revised TN12.

I generally like the range of output levels - especially the inclusion of a true "moonlight" mode. Note that there is some variability in output levels depending on the battery configuration, so please refer back to the lumen summary tables in this review.

End of the day, the new Neutron models have a significant upgrade in max output – unbelievably so for the 2A. :eek:oo: Yes, the lights step down to Hi after 4 mins on Turbo – but you can always restart at the highest level (with a few exceptions - scroll back up for a discussion of the 2A). Thrunite has also managed top-in-class efficiency levels across the board - on both models, on all supported batteries.

The 2A is a real standout for me - I still can't believe how much brighter it is on 1xAA compared to other lights (including when run on plain old alkalines). Circuit-wise, this is definitely an impressive accomplishment in the AA battery class. :wave:

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Neutron 2A and 2C 2014 were provided by Thrunite for review.
 
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cyclesport

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460L with 1X NiMH, and 810L with a single 14500 Li-ion...along with cutting edge effiency, wow...pretty impressive design! And...just when I thought production XM-L2/1 X AA lights were reaching thier practical limits in output and efficiency...the bar is raised dramatically!
 
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Wolf359

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would it be possable to configure as 3X AA if you had an extra extention tube ? higher output and extended runtimes ?
I would preffer the TN12 config side switch and forward clicky, option to buy an extention with a clicky maybe ?

Once again thanks for another great review.
 
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18650

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Excellent and thorough review of what looks to be an impressive AA light.
 
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Mr. Tone

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Wow, that is hard to believe the output on 1xAA, that is fantastic. It is good to know that circuits exist that can drive an LED from 1xAA and produce these kind of results. Thanks for another great review, especially since Thrunite's lumen claims on these were being doubted on the forum. Until now, nobody has gotten this kind of output from a single AA to my knowledge.
 
Swede74

Swede74

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Thanks for the review. The maximum output in both AA configurations is indeed impressive. A small light from Thrunite, but a giant leap...no, I won't go there.

If they do listen to feedback and change the sequence to low - med - high I think these lights will become popular among Zebralight fans. One particularly eagle-eyed fan, by the way, happened to notice that the Zebralight in the side-by-side picture of single AA-lights looks like a SC50 or SC51 but is referred to in the caption as SC52.
 
selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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460L with 1X NiMH, and 810L with a single 14500 Li-ion...!
Yes ... although I wouldn't recommend extended Turbo on standard 1x14500. That would be hard for ICR chemistry (i.e., likely to exceed max discharge rates)

would it be possable to configure as 3X AA if you had an extra extention tube ? higher output and extended runtimes ?
That's an interesting idea. It may be possible, but it depends on what the absolute max voltage range of the 2A circuit is. I would have to check with Thrunite.

I would preffer the TN12 config side switch and forward clicky,
Yes, I suspect you are not alone there. :whistle:

Thanks for another great review, especially since Thrunite's lumen claims on these were being doubted on the forum. Until now, nobody has gotten this kind of output from a single AA to my knowledge.
Yes, I have to say I was quite surprised myself when I started compiling the data (especially on 1xAA). It is certainly a jump from other lights I've tested. :thinking:

If they do listen to feedback and change the sequence to low - med - high I think these lights will become popular among Zebralight fans.
Agreed, that really is important to me as well. I would also like to see a more prominent button.

One particularly eagle-eyed fan, by the way, happened to notice that the Zebralight in the side-by-side picture of single AA-lights looks like a SC50 or SC51 but is referred to in the caption as SC52.
Good catch, I just fixed the legend - you guys are fast. ;)
 
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Mr Floppy

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Wow, so to get 750 lumen from an XM-L2, it is around 2.6A to the LED, and the boost from 2.4V to 3.3V, must be pulling over 3A from the batteries. I don't suppose you could zoom in on your Eneloop Pro and regular Eneloop 2xAA max graphs around the first drop down could you?

Just think about what the 1xAA would need. So to get 450 lumen, it needs to be around 1.3A to the LED. Boost to 3V from 1.2V, must be looking at close to 4A from a single battery!
 
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Trevtrain

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Thanks for another fantastic review Selfbuilt!

Would there be any chance of tailcap current readings (especially for the AA models?) I know we can probably estimate from the runtime graphs but it would be nice to know.

Also, another slight correction....
In your photo lineup of CR123 lights, the Olight model is the S10 I think and not S15 as captioned?

Great to finally see someone taking advantage of the performance capabilities of good NiMH cells rather than keeping output artificially low for those who insist on running alkaleaks! I hope Thrunite spell this out in their marketing and specs to avoid a potential backlash from those who know no better.

I've always had a high regard for Thrunite lights and the 2AA looks like being added to my wish list.
 
joshjp

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Thanks for the review, i want this light but i gotta say its an ugly light, i wish the switch was black then it would look better.
 
Javora

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IMHO these lights needs a forward clicky and all the modes need memory. The output is fantastic though.
 
amaretto

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Thank you selfbuilt for your great review (as always). May i add some informations based on my review in TLF?

This is the output with 1x NiMH (Eneloop XX) with restarts. Output on turbo remains on the same level even the voltage drops.
3vwrkieh.jpg


Final version comes as follows:
03wdkhm.jpg



The Neutron 2C comes with additional 18350!
y4vslpna.jpg


Pricing for us-customers will be ~ $49,95 for both versions.
For eu-customers 49,95€, group-buy 39,95€

One thing i have to criticize in your reviews: in my opionion your lumen readings are to high. I don't know any other reviewer with comparable high lumen readings.
You measure even higher lumens than manufacturer ratings. ;-)

Here are some info about current:
ce3v4pzl.jpg


Both (Neutron 2A + 2C) are available in cool and neutral white.

I am with you when you say, the switch should be more prominent. This is the only weakness i see so far.
 
BWX

BWX

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Nice review, and pretty nice lights.


So I guess I can't EDC it because it will constantly be switching on in my pocket(s)?


That's one thing the SC600 does well, not turn itself on.
 
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TEEJ

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SB - Now THAT'S a review!

That must have taken freekin FOREVER to compile it all, REALLY thorough job!

:thumbsup:

I also noticed your 18350 data, and the impact on the turbo mode out put....the combination of the 18350 IMR's ability to supply the amps and voltages seemed to be the winner in turbo. :D

As deduced a few posts up, the light could be drawing 3-4 amps in turbo, and the ICR and 16340 etc, are hard pressed to keep up. It was also interesting that the L91 could not support turbo as long as the Alkaleaks, albeit neither could support it long....but you think the new L91 cells were the issue? New L91 have not reached full ability until allowed to run longer? Am I understanding you correctly? I am not familiar with this yet...please school accordingly. :D



Ironically, my old SC600 used to do the hot pocket routine a lot, but the new design with a more recessed button only activates in-pocket once in a while....mostly from other crap in there finding the button, etc. A twist of the tail cap to lock lights out is the way to go when in doubt.

Pants with thick pocket fabric help too. (Duluth Firehose Pants are excellent in that regard...)


:D

It does sound like a teeny light with a teeny side switch COULD benefit from a morphology that leads the finger to the button....perhaps a depression/finger pocket in the body with the button nestled where the finger would naturally come to rest/glow in the dark/illuminated button?

Or just add the tail switch? (Would add length though, so, I get the logic of the side application)
 
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Wolf359

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http://www.thrunite.com/neutron-2a-v2/

First line of the specs states Working Voltage: 0.9 - 5V so 3X AA Alkline or 4X AA Nimh :whistle:is possable it appears, assuming you have the extra tube and 2/3 extentions fit together, now all that is needed is a forward clicky :wave:.

BTW selfbuilt i got an email from Thrunite pointing me to this review, dude you are famous :oops:
 
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selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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I don't suppose you could zoom in on your Eneloop Pro and regular Eneloop 2xAA max graphs around the first drop down could you?
Sure, except I only take measurements at 30 sec intervals, so there is not much more to see. To make this interesting, I decided to add non-cooled runtimes to my 1xAA Eneloop Pro and alkaline runs (in 1xAA form only so far):

1AA-cool.gif


Personally, I'm actually a bit surprised that heat doesn't play more of a role in the first 4 mins on 1xAA. Since I always use a cooling fan in my runtimes, it's hard to know what non-cooled performance would look like (unless I specifically test for it).

TWould there be any chance of tailcap current readings (especially for the AA models?) I know we can probably estimate from the runtime graphs but it would be nice to know.
I don't do tailcap readings since I know that my consumer-grade DMM (or cabling) introduces too much resistant at higher current draws.

The problem is that people often assume this factor to be negligible (without actually measuring it), because it appears negligible at lower draws. While that may be true with a Fluke and excellent leads, I know my Uni-T (and other similarly-priced DMMs <$60 meters that I've tried) are not accurate once we get into the higher lumen outputs (i.e. typically above a couple of hundred lumens). I know this because I can do concurrent output measures while taking the tailcap current readings. If I do, output drops (sometimes by up to 50%). That means that the current draw readings are inaccurate.

Frankly, unless someone specifies the DMM they are using, and has concurrent output measures while doing the tailcap draws, I wouldn't put a lot of faith in the numbers at high outputs. I certainly don't have the setup to do with any guarantee of accuracy.

In contrast, low current draws are typically quite consistent, even with inexpensive meters.

Also, another slight correction....In your photo lineup of CR123 lights, the Olight model is the S10 I think and not S15 as captioned?
Good catch, fixed

Great to finally see someone taking advantage of the performance capabilities of good NiMH cells rather than keeping output artificially low for those who insist on running alkaleaks!
The flip side to that is it's important to warn people not try and use alkalines on Turbo! :shakehead Certainly in the case of the 2xAA form, the high output causes an abnormal termination within about 1 min (i.e., I get a double-flash, and the light shuts off).

While it is nice to have a circuit feature to shut-down the light when excessive heat is detected, I would never want to rely on that in actual use. So I would hope to see a warning that alkalines are at a minimum "not recommend" on Turbo mode (or better yet "banned", to use one maker's language). Alkalines seem fine on Hi modes on down, of course.

-------

Lot's more questions from last night to get back to, but I need to take a break. Back in a few mins ... :whistle:
 
markr6

markr6

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Rediculous output on this 2A!!! Tempted to try, but I don't see the neutral white for sale...yet. Quite a bit larger/heavier than the SC52, but still interested.

I'll be patient :)
 
selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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Thank you selfbuilt for your great review (as always). May i add some informations based on my review in TLF?
Nice review. Trusting google translate, ;) it looks we have come to generally similar conclusions (i.e., the stand-out nature of the 2A specifically, the limitations of the small button). You also seem to have gotten more official specs from Thrunite - and actual shipping packaging. I will try to confirm the official specs with them, as there seems to be a few differences with what I was told (which was more limited in comparison).

I was glad to see you did repeated restarts on Turbo ... I've been meaning to do the same, and will try to get to it today.

One thing i have to criticize in your reviews: in my opionion your lumen readings are to high. I don't know any other reviewer with comparable high lumen readings.You measure even higher lumens than manufacturer ratings. ;-)
That's pretty funny from where I sit, given that in the last 3 months I have had two manufacturers - and a group of users about a third manufacturer - complain to me that my readings were too low for their lights. :laughing:

More seriously though, I tend to agree that the my middle-lumen estimates (i.e., ~300-800 range) seem to be a bit higher than current norms suggest. The problem, as always, is what is everyone basing their lumen estimates on? As I explained in the methodology section, my lightbox calibration is based on ~150 samples across ~40 lights in what was considered 3 reputable sources at the time (plus three sets of manufacturer data - again considered reputable at the time, and consistent in my own testing). I don't know what everyone else is using, since many don't go into details (although I have seen a couple of people over the years report hyper-precise lumen estimates based on home-made setups and lights from manufacturers that I know to be a lot more inconsistent in relative specs).

In my ongoing testing, I can tell you the calibration standard still holds up quite well against Fenix published specs for more recent lights I've tested (and they claim to use a proper flashlight-calibrated ANSI FL-1 integrating sphere). It certainly still does well for <300 lumen measures - although I am noticing a somewhat consistently elevated result for my calibration in the ~300-800 lumen range, by about ~10% or so (which is similar to the difference I note in my readings from your setup on your samples). Of course, even if the numbers are off by that much, that could still fall within expect variation between samples. :shrug: Again, I am only getting a single light from the manufacturers normally (and cannot be sure they are not "cherry-picking" higher output ones).

But as I always emphasize, the value to my consistent calibration is that it allows readers to make relative comparisons across all lights tested in my reviews. This is where the true value lies at present. There is no point in revising the calibration until I can ensure it is truly accurate. And the ONLY way to resolve that is for me to test the actual samples that I have on hand in a proper flashlight-calibrated ANSI FL-1 rated integrating sphere (which typically cost ~$25K or so). I have as yet not been able to source one locally for testing. There is also the issue of costs, as these places typically charge a pretty penny (i.e., I've seen ~$100 a measure quoted at one distant site with such a setup).

As you can tell from the above, I am working on these possibilities - and hope to be able to produce a newer (and more demonstrably accurate by direct testing) set of measures in the future. In the meantime, I suggest people focus on the relative comparisons within any given reviewer's data (unless they actually have direct access to a properly calibrated integrating sphere rated for flashlight ANSI FL-1 testing).

So I guess I can't EDC it because it will constantly be switching on in my pocket(s)?
I would be worried about accidental activation as well if carried that way - you would need to lock it out by a head twist.

SB - Now THAT'S a review! That must have taken freekin FOREVER to compile it all, REALLY thorough job!:thumbsup:
Indeed, I don't want to try and count up the hours do all the runtime testing and graphing. :sweat: It was much worse that I anticipated, because I didn't know until I received the lights that they supported smaller 1x forms (i.e., this was like testing four lights, in every conceivable battery format).

I also noticed your 18350 data, and the impact on the turbo mode out put....the combination of the 18350 IMR's ability to supply the amps and voltages seemed to be the winner in turbo. :D
Yes, you will see that I didn't report runtimes for standard ICR 16340 (RCR) on Turbo. The reason for that is the light tries to produce >900 estimated lumens at the start, and rapidly drops off. So I aborted the test after 30 secs (by which time is was already down to ~750 estimated liumens). That was clearly way too hard on the cells. I recommend everyone stck to IMR 16340 or 18350 is they want to try Turbo on that size.

It was also interesting that the L91 could not support turbo as long as the Alkaleaks, albeit neither could support it long....but you think the new L91 cells were the issue? New L91 have not reached full ability until allowed to run longer? Am I understanding you correctly? I am not familiar with this yet...please school accordingly. :D
Ah no, I expect something else is going on there - likely due to how the circuit interprets the higher voltage of L91. I have seen a number of multi-power 2xAA lights that don't want want to run on Turbo initially on fresh L91s. Often, letting the cells drain a little bit at a lower setting does the trick, and the light will then keep a sustained Turbo. But in this case, I tried jumping back up to Turbo repeatedly over the first ~2 mins or so on Hi, and the light kept shutting off. :shrug: It could be that it just needs longer to lower the cell voltage, but I haven't tested that.

http://www.thrunite.com/neutron-2a-v2/
First line of the specs states Working Voltage: 0.9 - 5V so 3X AA Alkline or 4X AA Nimh :whistle:is possable it appears, assuming you have the extra tube and 2/3 extentions fit together, now all that is needed is a forward clicky :wave:.
Ah, those specs are new - I haven't seen them before (and they differ a little from what I was told by Thrunite). Thanks for the link, I will update the official spec portion of the review.

And yes, it therefore seems that 3xAA would be fine (assuming an extra battery tube is available, and fits appropriately).
 
wjv

wjv

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Dang you Selfbuilt. . . . . You're going to cost me $50 plus shipping :)
 
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