Thrunite TN12 Review (XM-L U2 - 1x18650, 2xCR123A): RUNTIMES, VIDEO, BEAMSHOTS +

selfbuilt

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Warning: pic heavy, as usual. :whistle:

REVIEWER'S NOTE: This model has been updated for 2014 with a new emitter, higher max output, and new dual-switch interface. The old model reviewed here has been discontinued. Please see my review of the currently shipping TN12-2014 model.

TN12002.jpg
TN12003.jpg


The TN12 is a compact EDC-style 1x18650/2xCR123A light from Thrunite. Let's see how it compares to other lights in this class … :whistle:

Common Manufacturer Specifications:
  • LED: Cree XM-L U2
  • Uses two 3V CR123A batteries (Lithium) or one 18650 rechargeable battery (Li-ion)
  • 126mm (Length) x 25.4mm (Diameter)
  • 66gram weight (excluding batteries)
  • Digitally regulated output - maintains constant brightness
  • Cooper base plate for more efficient heatsinking
  • Max output: 705 lumens with more than 1 hours for 2 Cr123A
  • Max runtime:695 Hours
  • Firefly: 0.09lumens. 695 hours. low: 30 lumens:65 hours.mid: 95 lumens: 9 hours. max output: 705 lumens. 72 minutes. strobe: 705 lumens. 140 minutes
  • Max beam distance: 205m
  • Peak beam intensity: 19536cd
  • Impact resistance: 1.2m
  • Waterproof to IPX-8 standard
  • Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation
  • Temperature control current to avoid the over heat on the surface and protect the driver from being damaged
  • Slip-resistant body design
  • Removable Stainless steel clips
  • Tactical tail switch with momentary-on function
  • Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
  • Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
  • MSRP: ~$75
TN12001.jpg


Packaging includes a good number of extras in both cases – along with the light, you get a decent quality holster and wrist lanyard, extra o-rings and spare tailcap switch, GITD switch boot cover, stainless steel pocket clip, 2xCR123A battery plastic tube (to prevent rattle), and manual.

TN12019.jpg

TN10-TN11025.jpg

From left to right: Redilast protected 18650; Thrunite Scorpion V2 Turbo, TN11, TN10, TN12; NiteCore IFE2; Lumintop ED20; 4Sevens Quark 123-2 X.

All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:

TN12: Weight: 64.0g, Length: 126.9mm, Width (bezel): 24.1mm
4Sevens Quark Q123-2 X (Regular tailcap): Weight: 44.6g, Length: 112.7mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
Lumintop ED20: Weight 84.4g, Length 121.6mm, Width (bezel) 25.2mm
Zebralight SC600: Weight 87.2g, Length: 107.8mm, Width (bezel) 29.7mm
Spark SL6: Weight 77.8g, Length: 125.5mm, Width (bezel): 30.9mm

The TN12 is certainly well in keeping with the overall dimensions and weights of other lights in this class. It is actually the lightest light I've seen that is wide enough to take 18650 cells. :eek:oo:

TN12009.jpg

TN12010.jpg

TN12004.jpg


Overall build and dimensions are fairly compact for this class light. Light uses knurling of reasonable aggressiveness on the body and tailcap, providing excellent grip. Anodizing is matte black. Labels are bright white against the black background.

The light can tailstand, but is a bit wobbly if not clicked on. The light has a slightly beveled bezel opening.

Light uses standard-cut screw threads, anodized for lock-out.

User Interface

The lights use a forward clicky switch for on/off, and head twists for mode control. Press and hold the clicky for momentary, press and release for constant on (i.e. click on).

Mode switching is controlled by a loosen-tighten twist of the head. With the head tight against the body, you get the memorized output mode. Do a rapid loosen-tighten switch to advance to the next output mode. Sequence is Firefly – Lo – Med – Hi –Strobe, in repeating sequence. Light has memory, and retains the last setting used after turning off and back on.

For a more detailed examination of the build and user interface, please see my video overview: :wave:



Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the 360p icon in the lower right-hand corner, and select the higher 480p to 720p options, or even run full-screen.

PWM/Strobe

Like the other members of Thrunite family, there is no sign of PWM that I can see, at any output level. I believe the light is current-controlled as claimed.

TN12-Strobe.gif


Strobe was measured at a fairly typical fast 9.6 Hz.

Beamshots:

TN12007.jpg

TN12011.jpg


The TN12 uses a fairly deep (but narrow) reflector for a light this size. Reflector is textured with a light OP (orange peel) finish. Cool white XM-L emitter was well centered on my sample.

And now, what you have all been waiting for. ;) All lights are on 1x18650, 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.

TN12-18650-Beam001.jpg
Q123-2X-Beam001.jpg

SC600-Beam001.jpg
ED20CW-Beam001.jpg


TN12-18650-Beam002.jpg
Q123-2X-Beam002.jpg

SC600-Beam002.jpg
ED20CW-Beam002.jpg


TN12-18650-Beam003.jpg
Q123-2X-Beam003.jpg

SC600-Beam003.jpg
ED20CW-Beam003.jpg


TN12-18650-Beam004.jpg
Q123-2X-Beam004.jpg

SC600-Beam004.jpg
ED20CW-Beam004.jpg


Spillbeam is not as wide as some of the other lights (which typically have shallower reflectors). However, throw is better than typical.

Testing Method:

All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. 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 recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.sliderule.ca/FL1.htm for a description of the terms used in these tables.

TN-FL1-Summary1.gif


TN-FL1-Summary2.gif


TN-FL1-Summary3.gif


The TN12 is remarkably bright for a light this size, on all battery sources. It is actually fairly comparable on Max to the Thrunite Scorpion V2 and TN11. :eek:oo: Firefly mode is as low as other Thrunite Firefly modes as well.

Throw is consistent for a light this size, driven to these levels.

Output/Runtime Comparison:

First, a direct comparison of all Thrunite models on 1x18650

TN-Runtimes.gif


On 1x18650, my TN12 actually measures slightly higher than my Scorpion V2 and TN10, but is otherwise identical.

TN-Hi18650.gif

TN-Med18650.gif


TN-HiRCR.gif


TN-Hi2x18650.gif


TN-HiCR123A.gif


On 2x sources, the TN12 is driven about the same on Hi/Max as the Scorpion V2, TN10 and TN11.

:caution: This is likely to be a problem on 2xCR123A. On the Thrunite Scorpion V2, most primary CR123A cells tripped their built-in PTC resistors during sustained runs at comparable drive levels, even with external cooling applied (see a detailed discussion here). That light didn't have a circuit step-down feature, so the most likely explanation was that the CR123A battery built-in safety PTC resistors were engaging (to limit the current, and thus lower the output and heat). Note that different brands of CR123As have different chemistries/sensitivities, as discussed in that battery thread.

Thrunite informs me that the TN12 has a thermal protection feature designed to protect the circuit from excessive temperature (i.e. greater than 80 degress Celsius at the PCB). However, given that the CR123A runtimes in HKJ's TN12 testing look a lot like what we observed for the Scorpion V2, it seems likely that something similar could be going on here. The reason you don't see this in my runtimes above is that all my tests are done under a cooling fan, and I know from previous experience that the Titanium Innovations cells I use are slower to heat up and trip their PTCs than Duracell or Panasonic cells. That said, when I opened the light after the above Hi 2xCR123A test, both my Titanium Innovations cells had their labels completely ripped apart at the seams (!). :shakehead

Given the similar pattern being observed on extended 2xCR123A Hi runs here, it seems entirely possible that you could trip your CR123A's PTC resistors before the TN12 circuit thermal throttling engages. As such, I recommend you don't run the TN12 on Hi on 2xCR123A for longer than ~5 mins or so.

Potential Issues

The light is driven to extremely high levels on Max, which is a concern for 2xCR123A. Although the light has a built-in temperature sensor to throttle down and protect the circuit from excessive heat, it is possible that you may still trip the PTC safety circuits of your primary CR123A cells before that happens (see commentary above). I recommend you do NOT run the TN12 on Hi on 2xCR123A for longer than ~5 mins continuously.

Strobe mode is on the main sequence (i.e. need to cycle past it to get back to Firefly mode).

Preliminary Observations

The TN12 is a very strong offering in the compact 1x18650 space.

The build is small enough that you can easily store it in pocket or carry it on your belt, making it a good EDC or "backup" light. And the body is wide enough to accommodate protected 18650 cells (including newer higher-capacity flat-top cells, which work in the light). :thumbsup:

The slim-lined build has good ergonomics – including decent knurling for grip. Light can tailstanding (barely, better when clicked on). Tailstanding ridges may obstruct your thumb somewhat, but I still found it easy enough to activate.

Max output is extremely high on the light – output on 1x or 2x battery sources typically rivals the most heavily-driven lights in my collection. :eek:oo: Overall efficiency is excellent at all levels, with a good balance of output levels (I like the inclusion of Firefly). Unfortunately, strobe is also in the main sequence.

My main concern is with sustained runtime of 2xCR123A on the Max level, given the much lower mass of this light (i.e. reduced heatsinking). While the TN12 does have a thermal sensor to protect the circuit, it is possible that you may trip your CR123A's PTC circuits before that happens (see discussion above, after the runtime graphs). I would prefer an automatic (i.e. timed) current step-down feature in the circuit, as Thrunite has introduced in the TN10/TN11. :candle:

Beam pattern is smooth and reasonable for a general purpose light (i.e. acceptable throw for a light this size, although less spill than is common). Overall use and handling impressions are positive. As long as you are thoughtful about how long you leave it running on Max, the TN12 has a lot going for it.

REVIEWER'S NOTE: This model has been updated for 2014 with a new emitter, higher max output, and new dual-switch interface. The old model reviewed here has been discontinued. Please see my review of the currently shipping TN12-2014 model.

----

TN12 supplied by Thrunite for review.
 
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selfbuilt

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Main post updated with some additional information on the Hi mode 2xCR123A issue.

Thrunite confirms that the TN12 has a thermal protection feature designed to protect the circuit from excessive temperature (i.e. greater than 80 degress Celsius at the PCB). However, the state of my Titanium Innovations cells after the run above - and the TN12 runtimes in HKJ's excellent review - looks a lot like what we observed with the Scorpion V2 (discussed in detailed in this battery thread).

That light didn't have a circuit step-down feature, so the most likely explanation there was that the CR123A battery built-in safety PTC resistors were engaging (to limit the current, and thus lower the output and heat). Note that different brands of CR123As have different chemistries/sensitivities, as discussed in detail in that battery thread.

Given the same pattern being observed on extended 2xCR123A Hi runs here, it seems entirely possible that you could trip your CR123A's PTC resistors before the TN12 circuit thermal throttling engages. As such, I recommend you don't run the TN12 on Hi on 2xCR123A for longer than ~5 mins or so.
 

surprise!

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Jun 19, 2010
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Thanks for the - as always - very detailed review!:wave:

I was on the edge for this one - after reading the other reviews i couldn't decide if i like the non-regulated output for 18650. But the high efficiency and the not-so-bad sag from 100% to about 80% after an hour is ok with me. :twothumbs
I prefer this to the nowadays common 3-5 min step-down, which is IMHO more of a "trick" to get a high lumen number in FL1 ratings combined with better runtimes on high (AFAIK lumen readings are taken after 3 minutes, just before the step-down).
So we have a very bright, efficient, small and lightweight light here - very nice, and exactly what I was searching for to EDC in winter! :takeit:
PS: I decided against an SC600(w) because I wanted momentary-on, and one Zebralight before Christmas is enough (H600w)... :whistle:
 
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HIDblue

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Wow! Not sure how I missed this review when it came out. Another great review selfbuilt! :thumbsup:

I've been shopping around for a compact 1x18650 light for a little while now and while the ZL SC600 is at the top of my list...I would still prefer a light with a traditional forward clicky. The TN12 looks like a great candidate...it's thin for an 18650 light, great output without the automatic step-down of a lot of lights these days, takes multiple battery configurations, and puts out a nice floody beam (albeit narrow spill).

I'm a little concerned about the use of CR123 batts in the TN12, but I would most likely only use those in emergencies...
 

herosemblem

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So far, 3 sets of CR123 primaries through my TN12 and no issues yet (fingers crossed).
Thanks for the review, SelfBuilt.
 

selfbuilt

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I'm a little concerned about the use of CR123 batts in the TN12, but I would most likely only use those in emergencies...
So far, 3 sets of CR123 primaries through my TN12 and no issues yet (fingers crossed).
Thanks for the review, SelfBuilt.
To be clear, 2xCR123A is fully supported by Thrunite in the TN12. It is just my experience with other lights driven at this level that you may see PTC engagement on sustained operation. The TN12 circuit is rated to take the heat (with a throttling feature to protect the circuit if necessary). But you clearly would want to avoid pushing the cells to the point that their PTC's engage (i.e. the PTC should be seen as a last ditch stop-gap against catastrophic battery failure).

This is obviously highly variable (e.g., I didn't see it on my Titanium Innovations CR123A run, but HKJ did on his Panasonic run in the TN12). I have seen PTC engagement occur on a number of lights now, and it does seem to occur earlier on the made-in-the-USA cells (but this is probably a good thing - shows a more conservative approach to battery safety).

As a result, I am now recommending you limit sustained operation on highly driven 2xCR123A XM-L lights (like the TN12 or Scorpion V2) on max to 5-10 mins. Similarly, I recommend limiting highly-driven 4xCR123A lights to 10-20mins (for SST50-based lights) and 20-30mins for XM-L-based lights. Those recommendations are based on the earliest time points I've seen PTCs engage. As always, you should use your best judgement as to what is reasonable in your hands.
 

HIDblue

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To be clear, 2xCR123A is fully supported by Thrunite in the TN12. It is just my experience with other lights driven at this level that you may see PTC engagement on sustained operation. The TN12 circuit is rated to take the heat (with a throttling feature to protect the circuit if necessary). But you clearly would want to avoid pushing the cells to the point that their PTC's engage (i.e. the PTC should be seen as a last ditch stop-gap against catastrophic battery failure).

This is obviously highly variable (e.g., I didn't see it on my Titanium Innovations CR123A run, but HKJ did on his Panasonic run in the TN12). I have seen PTC engagement occur on a number of lights now, and it does seem to occur earlier on the made-in-the-USA cells (but this is probably a good thing - shows a more conservative approach to battery safety).

As a result, I am now recommending you limit sustained operation on highly driven 2xCR123A XM-L lights (like the TN12 or Scorpion V2) on max to 5-10 mins. Similarly, I recommend limiting highly-driven 4xCR123A lights to 10-20mins (for SST50-based lights) and 20-30mins for XM-L-based lights. Those recommendations are based on the earliest time points I've seen PTCs engage. As always, you should use your best judgement as to what is reasonable in your hands.

Thanks for the clarification selfbuilt.
 

HIDblue

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Just got a TN12...it worked for a few minutes...suffered from the above noted mode skipping...and unfortunately, it just stopped working all together. I cleaned the threads, contacts, checked the tightness of the clicky, tried different AW 18650's (both button top and flat) and even some new CR123A batteries and...nothing.

I'm trying to return it right now to exchange it with the CPF dealer I bought it from for another one that actually works.

I like the size, output and feel of the forward clicky...but I'm a little surprised that I got a defective one. I have several Thrunite lights and this is my first experience with a defective one out of the box.

EDIT/UPDATE: Received a replacement TN12 from the dealer. The first one definitely must've been defective since the replacement TN12 actually appears to be brighter than the first TN12 I received and the tint is much better. The first TN12 I received had a much warmer hue although it was a cool white LED while the replacement appears to have a brighter and more neutral white appearance...well, at least to my untrained eyes.

Overall, a great 1x18650 light that is surprisingly bright.
 
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ZRXBILL

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To me it looks like it could use another output level between med. at 95 lumes and max. at 705, something in the 300-350 range.
 

DAN92

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You can change the clip's original steel TN12. I replaced it with a belt clip for flashlight Fenix ​​LD20.

My Thrunite.

clip_f11.jpg


from left to right, clip Thrunite TN12, Fenix ​​LD20, Fenix ​​LD21.

clip_f10.jpg
 
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rayman

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Nice review as always :thumbsup:

Just bought this light as a bike and camping light. Wanted a small light for my bike and this looks like it could fit quite well. The mode switching might need some getting-used-to but that would be a problem. I also want to us as a camping light with the Fenix AOD-S diffuser. Hanging in the tent or outside this seems to be quite a nice flood light in the long medium mode.

I bought the Thrunite Archer A1 some time ago and really got to like the UI (same as the Thrunite TN12). The only negative part is the strobe mode which could have been hidden for example like in some twisty lights that you get the hidden modes after cycling twice through all modes. But for me thats a minus I can get used too.

rayman
 

Capolini

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To me it looks like it could use another output level between med. at 95 lumes and max. at 705, something in the 300-350 range.

I agree!! Not sure what they were thinking with that huge gap.

I did not get it yet, just ordered it. I certainly can not complain about the price. I got it for $29.95!!!
 

Capolini

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Something is NOT adding up!

The Manufacturers specs. in the beginning of this review and on all the dealers websites that are selling this light are as follows:

Beam distance = 205m 19536 cd

Your measurments

Beam distance= 152m 5800 cd ??

I think I read your measurements right! Who is right?

Thanks.
 

zs&tas

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Has anyone been able to get inside the head of this light ?
is it easy ?
 

Mr. Nobody

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You can change the clip's original steel TN12. I replaced it with a belt clip for flashlight Fenix ​​LD20.

My Thrunite.



from left to right, clip Thrunite TN12, Fenix ​​LD20, Fenix ​​LD21.

clip_f10.jpg

can these clips be purchased from somewhere?
 
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