Tiablo A7 Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, DETAILED PICS and more!

rookiedaddy

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selfbuilt, which AW 18650 cell you use in your runtime test? the new 2600mAh or the older 2200mAh? according to Tiablo, they are using 3000mAh cells... i hope they are not referring to Ultrafire 3000mAh... :confused:
 

selfbuilt

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selfbuilt, which AW 18650 cell you use in your runtime test? the new 2600mAh or the older 2200mAh? according to Tiablo, they are using 3000mAh cells... i hope they are not referring to Ultrafire 3000mAh... :confused:
Sorry, I usually label that right in the graphs - all my runtimes are done on 2200mAh. I would expect proportionally greater runtime from the 2600mAh variety, but I have no direct experience of any 3000mAh cells.
 

rookiedaddy

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thank you selfbuilt... now, that 4-hour is starting to make sense.
Since A7 has internal protection circuitry, I guess it's safe to use unprotected 3000mAh 18650 cells (if I can get my hands on some :ohgeez:)
 

phantom23

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selfbuilt, which AW 18650 cell you use in your runtime test? the new 2600mAh or the older 2200mAh? according to Tiablo, they are using 3000mAh cells... i hope they are not referring to Ultrafire 3000mAh... :confused:
They use Panasonic 2900mAh unprotected cells.
 

selfbuilt

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There's a discrepancy between the manufacturer's weight specs and the weight specs reported. It'd seem more like 130g including batteries and close to 115 without.
I just retested the light, and I get the same reading - 113.4g with no batteries installed. With a pair of surefire CR123As in there, I get 146.3g.
 

funkychateau

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Tiablo A7 Over-Discharge Protection?

The manufacturer's literature claims this light to have an undervoltage warning, which would make it safe for use with unprotected cells. Does your sample have this fuctionality, and if so, at what approximate voltage does the cut-off occur?

I'm interested in this light as a host for the unprotected flat-top 18650s I've been collecting from scrapped laptop batteries.

thanks!
 

selfbuilt

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Re: Tiablo A7 Over-Discharge Protection?

The manufacturer's literature claims this light to have an undervoltage warning, which would make it safe for use with unprotected cells. Does your sample have this fuctionality, and if so, at what approximate voltage does the cut-off occur?
Good question - but you will have to check with Tiablo directly for an answer. As is common on multi-power lights, the protection circuits on my 18650 cells were not triggered on either output mode. Can't say I recall seeing any signs of the low voltage warning flash on either of those runs, and I ran them past the point where you would notice visible light dimming. The only place when I did notice the warning flash was when I put in a couple of partially depleted primary CR123A cells.
 

funkychateau

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Re: Tiablo A7 Over-Discharge Protection?

Good question - but you will have to check with Tiablo directly for an answer. As is common on multi-power lights, the protection circuits on my 18650 cells were not triggered on either output mode. Can't say I recall seeing any signs of the low voltage warning flash on either of those runs, and I ran them past the point where you would notice visible light dimming. The only place when I did notice the warning flash was when I put in a couple of partially depleted primary CR123A cells.

If your cell-protection circuits were not triggered, then I suppose it's reasonable to assume that the batteries were never drained to 2.4 volts or below, even with "noticeable dimming".

Do you think, since the cell-protection circuits were never triggered, that they would be unnecessary by virtue of the dimming alerting you to change cells?

I'm looking for a good 18650 light that doesn't need protected cells.

thanks!
 

selfbuilt

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Re: Tiablo A7 Over-Discharge Protection?

If your cell-protection circuits were not triggered, then I suppose it's reasonable to assume that the batteries were never drained to 2.4 volts or below, even with "noticeable dimming".

Do you think, since the cell-protection circuits were never triggered, that they would be unnecessary by virtue of the dimming alerting you to change cells?
No, I'm fairly sure that the cells will be drained well below 2.4V if you let light go. Although rarely discussed here, it seems the low-voltage cut-off circuit of protected cells often won't get triggered when run on multi-power circuits that default to direct-drive. This means you have to manually stop the run before significant dimming occurs (by that point, you are usually well below 3V and dropping fast). Simply put, you blow right past the voltage point when the circuit is normally triggered, and then continue to deplete the cell to dangerous levels (something I'm afraid I have done to my cells in my earlier days of testing).

I am not sure of the reason why this occurs - hopefully someone with a better understanding of the battery electronics can clarify. The A7 is certainly not unique in this regard - my runtime traces show that it is a common feature in most lights with this sort of circuit.

Unfortunately, it is rare to find a light with a well-functioning low-voltage warning circuit. Again, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me, these circuits tend to be prone to malfunctioning with early warning false positives (i.e. starts flashing early into the run of a light). I saw that in my Regal EDC, and I have seen it reported for just about every light that has one. That's why it is often removed - the Olight M20 being a good case in point (my sample was an early specimen that had it - it was soon removed from the later production runs).

Long story, but the short version is that I don't know of a 18650 light that is a consistently good choice to run safely on unprotected cells. I suspect you are likely to do best with a 18650-only light that has a dedicated low voltage circuit.
 

funkychateau

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Re: Tiablo A7 Over-Discharge Protection?

No, I'm fairly sure that the cells will be drained well below 2.4V if you let light go. Although rarely discussed here, it seems the low-voltage cut-off circuit of protected cells often won't get triggered when run on multi-power circuits that default to direct-drive. This means you have to manually stop the run before significant dimming occurs (by that point, you are usually well below 3V and dropping fast). Simply put, you blow right past the voltage point when the circuit is normally triggered, and then continue to deplete the cell to dangerous levels (something I'm afraid I have done to my cells in my earlier days of testing).

I am not sure of the reason why this occurs - hopefully someone with a better understanding of the battery electronics can clarify. The A7 is certainly not unique in this regard - my runtime traces show that it is a common feature in most lights with this sort of circuit.

Unfortunately, it is rare to find a light with a well-functioning low-voltage warning circuit. Again, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me, these circuits tend to be prone to malfunctioning with early warning false positives (i.e. starts flashing early into the run of a light). I saw that in my Regal EDC, and I have seen it reported for just about every light that has one. That's why it is often removed - the Olight M20 being a good case in point (my sample was an early specimen that had it - it was soon removed from the later production runs).

Long story, but the short version is that I don't know of a 18650 light that is a consistently good choice to run safely on unprotected cells. I suspect you are likely to do best with a 18650-only light that has a dedicated low voltage circuit.

Do you still have this sample light? I was wondering if you could power it from a lab supply, and gradually turn down the voltage to see if the advertised warning strobe really occurs, and at what voltage. If it works, I want the light, and the current sale is only good for a week or so.

I too have seen the early triggering of warning circuits - for example, my Akoray K-106 does this occasionally. It seems most prone to do it after sitting unused for a while, and clears up if I slap the case on my leg a few times. My theory is that it is contact resistance, either at the cell-spring or cell-pcb interface, that causes the pill to see lower voltage than the battery is actually supplying. A little jostling scrubs the contact area, and the problem is gone for a while.
 

selfbuilt

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Re: Tiablo A7 Over-Discharge Protection?

Do you still have this sample light? I was wondering if you could power it from a lab supply, and gradually turn down the voltage to see if the advertised warning strobe really occurs, and at what voltage. If it works, I want the light, and the current sale is only good for a week or so.
I still have the light, but don't have a lab power supply. I will experiment with one of my older 18650 cells to see if I can trigger the warning, and then try to figure out at what resting voltage/storage level it starts. I'll keep you posted.
 

Patriot

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Excellent review as usual Selfbuilt. :thumbsup:


I do wish that it did a bit better in the throw department. The style of the light is fine other than the criss-cross pattern on the head.

I'm still soaking in the run-time chart data.....



Thanks for the work in your review. :)
 

selfbuilt

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Re: Tiablo A7 Over-Discharge Protection?

Do you still have this sample light? I was wondering if you could power it from a lab supply, and gradually turn down the voltage to see if the advertised warning strobe really occurs, and at what voltage. If it works, I want the light, and the current sale is only good for a week or so.
Just finished testing:

The low-voltage warning flash was triggered at just under ~25% max output. The 18650 cell read 2.92V at rest immediately afterwards.

Note the warning is just 3X 1sec of strobing (with 5 secs of normal output in-between). It will not keep strobing as the run continues.

Out of curiousity, I decided to see what at-rest voltages were reported at different outputs: (i.e. I stopped the runs at these points and measured at-rest battery voltage, then re-started the runs)
50% of Max = 3.21V
25% of Max = 2.95V
15% of Max = 2.82V

That's as far as I let it go this time - but I know from previous experience that it will continue to drop much lower, without the protection circuit being tripped, on lights that run in direct-drive.

But on the plus side, the time from 50% to 15% max output was a good 15-20 mins, so you are unlikely to drain your battery to dangerous levels unknowingly. The warning flash here at ~25% is just a bonus. ;)

So, this warning goes for any direct-drive light: once you notice the output has dropped, it is time to recharge the cell. If you keep running the light below 15% max output, you risk damaging the cell. You can't count on the built-in protected circuit being tripped when run in direct-drive.
 

funkychateau

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Re: Tiablo A7 Over-Discharge Protection?

Just finished testing:

The low-voltage warning flash was triggered at just under ~25% max output. The 18650 cell read 2.92V at rest immediately afterwards.

Note the warning is just 3X 1sec of strobing (with 5 secs of normal output in-between). It will not keep strobing as the run continues.

Out of curiousity, I decided to see what at-rest voltages were reported at different outputs: (i.e. I stopped the runs at these points and measured at-rest battery voltage, then re-started the runs)
50% of Max = 3.21V
25% of Max = 2.95V
15% of Max = 2.82V

Thank you, very much! That's what I needed to know. It looks as if the protection (actually, warning) circuit works pretty much as advertised. Since I wouldn't be doing unattended testing, ie the light would be in my hand during use, I'd have to be blind to miss the warning strobe.

I really like this light, as it appears to have the best regulation of any single-18650 light on the market and will work fine with my surplus/unprotected cells. I can learn to love the strange UI, or just keep it in mode A.
 

selfbuilt

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Following up on a thread in Tiablo's corner of CPFMP, I can confirm that the A7 threading diameter is the same as the Tiablo A10-G and ACE-G.

Although it looks a little funny due to the different colour and styling, this means that the ACE-G extension battery tube will also thread on the A7 (potentially allowing 2x18650 operation).
 

tadbik

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Tactical Police use

I have been disappointed by the A7 when used as a police flashlight. Even though changing modes sounds a simple matter I haven't been able to reliably change modes every time.

For any flashlight to be used in a police/tactical situation, the operator has to be able to reliably change modes without turning on the light (and possibly give away position) to check that the mode is correct. Also the user has to remember what mode the flashlight was last used in as there is no visual indication of the current setting.

Maybe it is possible to design the on/off switch with a four position rotary switch with visual marking.

After managing to change back to mode A, I'm just going to leave it there. At least I'll know what I'm going to get when I turn it on.

Apart from that, it's well made, good lanyard, although a bit difficult to re-holster with one hand.
 
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CDP930

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I was wondering if anyone knows if the A7 will fit the Blackhawk Mod U LOk holster designed for the Gladius? I would prefer this holster for patrol but cant really tell by pics if it will fit. Thanks
 
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