Tiablo E3A 1xAAA (XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
6,936
Location
Canada
UPDATE NOV 13, 2010: A replacement E3A from a second batch has been added to the review. As you will see, this revised version fixes the deficiencies I observed in the two samples from the first batch.

Warning: pic heavy, as usual. :whistle:

E3A013.jpg

E3A012.jpg


Specifications:
  • LED : CREE XP-G R5 LED
  • Circuit: High efficiency constant current circuit, and constant brightness.
  • Working Voltage:0.8V----4.2V
  • Function: High----Low----Strobe
  • Two Stage Output:
  • Using 10440 battery : 600mA at High output 200 Lumens(45minutes)----Low output 30 Lumens(3.5hours)----Strobe 200 Lumens(50minutes)
  • Using AAA battery : 300mA at High output 100 Lumens(60minutes)----Low output 30 Lumens(5 hours)----Strobe 100 Lumens(65minutes)
  • Support battery:4.2V 10440/AA/1.2V NI-MH battery
  • Reflector: High efficient orange reflector,
  • Type-b hard anodize.Aircraft aluminum T7075.
  • Color:Black
  • Stainless steel head
  • Lens: Toughened ultra clear glass with AR coating
  • Switch: Tactical reverse clicky switch and knobbing head switch. (reviewer note: switch is a reverse clicky, but you can change modes by twisting the head)
  • Waterproof:IPX-8 standard
  • Size: Length 86mm, Diameter 14.2mm
  • Weight:18g excluding battery
  • Accessories: Lanyard and Spare O-Rings, Plastic cap.
  • Estimated MSRP ~$42
The E3A is the first in a new series of flashlights from Tiablo, termed the “Exquisite” series – using the latest XP-G R5 emitter.

E3A010.jpg


The light comes in fairly typical packaging. Inside the thin cardboard case with plastic insert is the light, spare o-rings, spare boot cover, small split-ring, manual and warranty card.

E3A008.jpg


Revo002.jpg

From left to right: Duracell alkaline AAA, ITP H01, Tiablo E3A, 4GREER WS1, 4Sevens ReVo, Preon 1, Titanium Innovations LuminaTi, Lumapower Avenger GX, Eagletac PN20α, LiteFlux LF2XT, Maratac AAA.

4GREER WS1: Weight: 25.2g , Length 79.3mm x Width 16.2mm (bezel)
4Sevens Preon 1: Weight 15.3g (with keychain clip), Length 75.6mm x Width 14.0mm (bezel)
4Sevens Preon ReVo:: Weight: 11.3g , Length 72.7mm (battery installed) x Width 12.9mm
ITP EOS A3 Upgraded: Weight: 11.6g (no clip), Length: 69.7 x Width 14.1mm (bezel)
ITP H01: Weight: 22.7g, Length 53.7mm x Width 37.2 (max body) or 15.4mm (bezel)
EagleTac PN20α: Weight 22.9g (with pocket clip), Length 80.1mm x Width 16.0mm (bezel), 18.6mm (max, around base)
LiteFlux LF2XT: Weight: 21.2g (with pocket clip). Length 81.2mm x Width 14.9mm (bezel widest portion)
Lumapower Avenger GX: Weight: 22.9g (with Clicky switch), 22.0g (with twisty switch), Length 93.8mm (with clicky switch) or 86.7mm (with twisty switch) x Width 15.2mm (bezel widest portion)
Maratac 1xAAA: Weight: 10.9g , Length: 67.5mm x Width: 14.1mm (bezel)
Tiablo E3A: Weight: 18.3g, Length 87.5mm x Width 14.8mm (bezel)
Titanium Innovations IlluminaTi: Weight 23.5g (with keychain clip), Length 68.8mm x Width 14.0mm (bezel)
VersaTi: Weight: 23.2g (no clip), Length: 67.1mm, Width: 14.6mm

The E3A is longer than most 1xAAA lights, but it does come with clicky switch and removable head and tail regions (which adds to length).

E3A016.jpg

E3A014.jpg


Screw threads are anodized at both ends of the E3A, allowing for lock-out. It also allows for mode switching – you can change modes by clicking repeatedly on the switch, or twisting either the tail or head regions (scroll down for a UI discussion).

Switch is a traditional reverse clicky, with the typical feel for a 1xAAA size light (i.e. not a very deep traverse).

Light cannot tailstand.

Lettering is very clear in bright white against the black matte finish (type III hard anodizing). No chips or flaws on my sample. There is some mild knurling on the body and tailcap to help with grip.

E3A015.jpg
E3A002.jpg


As you can see, the light uses the newer XP-G emitters (R5 output bin), in a fairly deep OP reflector.

And now for the requisite white wall hunting ;). All lights are on Hi on AW unprotected 10440, about ~0.5 meters from a white wall.

Note: The camera is set to automatic white balance, to try and even out the tint differences. Rest assured, the cool-white emitter lights don’t look that blue in real life!

Sorry for the quality of the white wall beamshots – I’ve recently moved, and haven’t had a chance to set up a proper beamshot closet yet. What you are looking at below is recently primed drywall.

AAA001.jpg

AAA002.jpg

AAA003.jpg

AAA004.jpg


The E3A has a relatively narrow spillbeam, consistent with the deep and narrow reflector. Note there were some faint artefacts in the periphery of the spillbeam – but you can’t really see them in the photos. I suspect these were caused by the “dimples” of the stainless steel bezel ring.

User Interface

Click and release to turn the light on in Hi. Click and release again to turn off. If you click back on again within ~2 secs, the light will cycle to Lo. Click off and back on again to cycle to Strobe.

The light will memorize the last mode you left it in – but you need to wait at least 2 secs before re-illuminating, or you will advance to the next output level.

Note that my original E3A samples from the first batch were deficient in this regard - the memory mode lag was 20secs. This has been fixed on currently shipping samples

Because the head and tailcap regions have anodized screw threads, you can alternately cycle on-off or change modes by a head or tail twist (with the clicky switch in the On position).

PWM and Strobe

The light uses PWM on the Lo mode

E3A3-PWM.gif

E3A-10440Lo.gif


PWM measured at 486 Hz on Sanyo Eneloop (top trace) or a 10440 Li-ion (lower trace).

E3A-Strobe.gif


Strobe freq measured at 9.9 Hz.

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 the extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1 meter from the lens, using a light meter.

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

E3A-Summary-1.gif


Note that my original E3A samples from the first batch had lower max output. This has been fixed on the currently shipping samples.

1AAA-Summary2.gif


Output/Runtime Comparison:

E3A3-HiL92.gif

E3A3-HiEne.gif

E3A-MedEne-1.gif


E3A3-HiAlka.gif

E3A3-MedAlka.gif


Again, my original E3A samples from the first batch had lower max output (dotted line above). As you can see, performance is back up to what I would expect for a XP-G R5 light (solid line).

1AAA-Hi10440-1.gif

1AAA-Med10440.gif


Potential Issues

Both of my original samples from the first batch of E3As had abnormally low output/runtime efficiency on standard batteries, and both failed on this battery source (i.e. would eventually only run 10440). The replacement E3A from the second batch appears to have resolved these issues.

While output levels are regulated on 10440, there does not seem to be an over-discharge protection (ODP) feature. If using unprotected cells, you must be careful to recharge frequently and not allow the cells to run down.

Light uses visible PWM on Lo, but at a frequency that is not distracting (i.e. nearly 500 Hz).

Lo output level closer to most other lights Med mode.

Preliminary Observations

UPDATE NOV 13, 2010: A replacement E3A from a second batch has been added to the review. As you will see above, this revised version fixes the deficiencies I observed in the two samples from the first batch.

I'm glad to see the replacement E3A has brought performance back to what I would expect for a XP-G R5 light on standard batteries. :thumbsup: Performance is now quite reasonable on these cells.

The E3A supports 10440 Li-ion – output is controlled at both Lo and Hi, and runtimes are reasonably good. However, the light seems to lack an over-discharge protection (ODP) feature, so you need to be careful not to run down your unprotected cells (which are unfortunately the norm for 10440).

I'm glad the odd interface quirk has also been corrected (i.e. mode-changing took up to 20 secs on my first batch samples). The more typical 1-2 sec mode-switching time window on this new batch makes a lot more sense.

As mentioned in some of my other recent reviews, I personally don't get the need for a “tactical” high-freq strobe on a 1xAAA light. A slow signaling strobe makes a lot more sense to me for this class of light, if you are going to include one at all. I also prefer to see it hidden away, and not on the main sequence (as it unfortunately is here).

The build is probably the best aspect the light for me – the E3A has a quality feel from end-to-end. I personally like the stainless steel bezel ring - a nice touch. I also like the option to use it as a head or tail twisty light (i.e. clicky switches on 1xAAA lights always feel less robust that larger lights). The finish and grip is excellent, with no problem for one-handed mode switching (unlike a lot of other lights in this class). :thumbsup: Of course, the flip-side to that is the light is longer than typical for the class.

The beam is nice and smooth, with a gradual transition from hotspot to spill. There's no sign of the dreaded XP-G dark center "donut" on my sample, and throw is quite good considering it uses a XP-G emitter. Note that the spillbeam is relatively narrow - this light is likely best suited for outdoor use, rather than in close, cramped quarters.

At the end of the day, the light has a nice build with a quality feel. I am glad Tiablo has managed to fix the efficiency issues on standard batteries.

----

E3A was supplied by Kit-Tronics.com on behalf of Tiablo.
 
Last edited:

EZO

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Messages
1,433
Location
Vermont, USA
Selfbuilt - Thank you for another one of your fine reviews. I always find them to be extraordinarily helpful. I was all excited about this light when I first heard about it but now that a few reports are filtering in it seems to be somewhat disappointing on several fronts. What could they have been thinking when they designed a 20 second wait to save modes and no true "low", etc.? And it seems like a fairly big light for a AAA that doesn't offer much in return for the size. Oh well, perhaps the next iteration may be better. In the meantime I think I'll stick with my ITP A3 EOS.
 
Last edited:

HIDblue

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 24, 2010
Messages
872
Location
California
Great review selfbuilt :thumbsup:! What is that? 4 reviews in 1 day? Thanks for all the hard work on the reviews.
 

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
6,936
Location
Canada
Thanks for support everyone. :grouphug:

What could they have been thinking when they designed a 20 second wait to save modes and no true "low", etc.?
Yeah, the 20 sec wait time is odd ... I wonder if it's my sample? Anyone else have one to compare? FYI, I measured it with a stopwatch - 19 secs off and the mode advances, 20 secs off and the mode is memorized.

Great review selfbuilt :thumbsup:! What is that? 4 reviews in 1 day? Thanks for all the hard work on the reviews.
I think that's a record for me ... and one I don't plan to repeat! :laughing:
 

Kilovolt

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 1, 2007
Messages
2,399
Location
Lake Como, Italy
I received today a production specimen of E3A from a European dealer. I clocked a 'memory time' of 5 seconds i.e. 4 secs off and the mode advances, 5 secs off and the mode remains the last one.

I agree that the low level is actually a medium level but the build and the quality of the beam are excellent. This is a light to be used outdoors and not for cruising the house during the night.
 

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
6,936
Location
Canada
I received today a production specimen of E3A from a European dealer. I clocked a 'memory time' of 5 seconds i.e. 4 secs off and the mode advances, 5 secs off and the mode remains the last one.
Thanks for sharing - hopefully that is the norm (certainly a lot better than 20 secs).

I agree that the low level is actually a medium level but the build and the quality of the beam are excellent. This is a light to be used outdoors and not for cruising the house during the night.
Yes, a good assessment - this light is definitely intended for longer distance use. I like the build quality too.

Just realized I hadn't commented on the beam in the discussion section of my review- just updated. I agree, the beam is nice and smooth, with a gradual transition from hotspot to spill. There's no sign of the dreaded XP-G dark center "donut" on my sample, and throw is quite good for a XP-G light this size.
 
Last edited:

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
6,936
Location
Canada
FYI, I have just heard from Tiablo that the E3A does indeed have a 5 sec mode setting/memorization delay.

The issue with my sample seems to stem from some variation in the initial batch sent to the Canadian distributor. The distributor has suspended shipping of all those lights, and is waiting for a new confirmed 5sec batch to arrive. They will send me a new sample from that batch for revised testing.

:wave:
 

antonioandroide

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
1
hello:wave:, i've bought the tiablo e3a en the same place like you (Kit-tronics) 3 days ago and i'm interesting in the mode memory, you say that the last models have the 5 sec of memory. right? I hope that my models to be the 5 secs (i dont like the 20 seconds, is too time:thumbsdow). other thing your review from this flashlight is awesome, you seem very professional :thumbsup: jejejeje. thank you very much and greetings from SPAIN. thank you
 

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
6,936
Location
Canada
hello:wave:, i've bought the tiablo e3a en the same place like you (Kit-tronics) 3 days ago and i'm interesting in the mode memory, you say that the last models have the 5 sec of memory. right? I hope that my models to be the 5 secs (i dont like the 20 seconds, is too time:thumbsdow).
You should be ok. Kit-tronics informs me that they can't reproduce the 20 sec issue in the remaining lights they have on hand, so presumably only a limited number of the first batch had the issue. In any case, they have halted new shipments until the replacement batch arrives (from which they will send me a replacement to test). If you happen to get one of the 20 sec ones, just check with them for a replacement.

And glad you like the reviews! :)
 

Kilovolt

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 1, 2007
Messages
2,399
Location
Lake Como, Italy
Last night during a very short period of use my E3A suffered a strong output reduction and I thought that the circuit was gone. I switched it off and after a while on again and apparently everything was back to normal.
Today I notice that the light will no longer work with a normal battery (alkaline, NiMH, lithium primary) but only with a li-ion. :shakehead

I just contacted the dealer for a replacement. :rolleyes:
 

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
6,936
Location
Canada
Last night during a very short period of use my E3A suffered a strong output reduction and I thought that the circuit was gone. I switched it off and after a while on again and apparently everything was back to normal.
Today I notice that the light will no longer work with a normal battery (alkaline, NiMH, lithium primary) but only with a li-ion. :shakehead
Were you running on 10440 Li-ion or standard batteries when it happened?

As I mentioned in the review, my first E3A sample failed while testing on 10440 Li-ion. Well, that's exactly what happened to it - the light dimmed, and when I shut it off and back on, it would only work on Li-ion and not standard batteries any more.

Very worrisome to hear the exact same sort of failure occurred with yours. :shakehead
 

Kilovolt

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 1, 2007
Messages
2,399
Location
Lake Como, Italy
Well, once I receive a replacement I will only use NiMH's in it to be on the safe side. :(

It would be interesting to learn what Tiablo has to say on the subject though. :poke:
 

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
6,936
Location
Canada
Written by Kilovolt on 11-05-2010 06:50 AM GMT

At last I got my replacement. Coming from the same dealer the light is most likely belonging to the original batch: from now on it is just NiMH's for this Tiablo ... ;)

Written by selfbuilt on 11-06-2010 09:49 PM GMT

Kilovolt said:
At last I got my replacement. Coming from the same dealer the light is most likely belonging to the original batch: from now on it is just NiMH's for this Tiablo ... ;)
Well, that depends - I know the dealer who supplied me recently suspended all sales from the first batch while they waited for a replacement version from Tiablo. Well, that depends - I know the dealer who supplied me recently suspended all sales from the first batch while they waited for a replacement version from Tiablo.

FYI, the second sample (from the first batch) that was used to complete this review has also subsequently failed. :sigh: Same issue - doesn't accept NiMH any more. This seems then to be a common problem with the first batch when subjected to 10440 use.

I have just received a replacement from a new batch with a supposedly revised circuit. I'll update this review with all the new test results soon.

Stay tuned ...


Written by Kilovolt on 11-07-2010 12:08 AM GMT

Well, that depends - I know the dealer who supplied me recently suspended all sales from the first batch while they waited for a replacement version from Tiablo.

I have the s/n of both lights, original and replacement. I may ask Tiablo directly, have you got a good contact there?

Written by selfbuilt on 11-07-2010 07:49 AM GMT

Kilovolt said:
I have the s/n of both lights, original and replacement. I may ask Tiablo directly, have you got a good contact there?
No, I've been dealing with a dealer, not Tiablo directly. No, I've been dealing with a dealer, not Tiablo directly.

But one way to tell may be to do a runtime on Lo on an eneloop. I've just tested my replacement sample, and I get nearly 3 hours (instead of 2) for time to 50%. Output is comparable, so it seems like they've increased the efficiency.

FYI, on Hi, runtime is the same, but output has increased. I'll finish the testing and post the results soon.


Written by selfbuilt on 11-13-2010 01:42 PM GMT

I'm happy to report the second batch of E3A lights has corrected all the problems that I previously noted in this review. :thumbsup:

First off, the memory mode is engaged after ~1-2 secs (unlike the 20 secs I detected previously for mode switching). This make it a lot easier to use.

More importantly, output and/or runtime have improved on all modes, on standard batteries. The result is that the E3A now performs in line with what I would expect for a XP-G R5. :twothumbs

Here are the new runtimes:

E3A3-HiL92.gif


E3A3-HiEne.gif


E3A-MedEne-1.gif


E3A3-HiAlka.gif


E3A3-MedAlka.gif


And here's the updated summary table:

E3A-Summary-1.gif


PWM is unchanged at 496 Hz:

E3A3-PWM.gif


I'm glad to see these changes.


Written by GarageBoy on 11-13-2010 08:43 PM GMT

As much as I like the design- shame it doesn't hold a candle to the regulation on theRevo
 

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
6,936
Location
Canada
The main review post has been updated with the final review text.

The thread discussions for the last few months have been fully restored from the search engine cache data (thank you tandem!).

Please carry on! :)
 

Lightman2

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
363
Dear Selfbuilt....thought it time I also added my appreciation to all that hard work you do to help us. Many like me make a light choice based on the results and reviews you do as we do not have the tech gear or nohow to do the same. Keep up the good work, great stuff indeed.
 

Nicrod

Flashaholic
Joined
Mar 27, 2011
Messages
6,011
Location
So Cal
Dear Selfbuilt....thought it time I also added my appreciation to all that hard work you do to help us. Many like me make a light choice based on the results and reviews you do as we do not have the tech gear or nohow to do the same. Keep up the good work, great stuff indeed.

+1 agreed. I too also rely heavily on the reviews to help me make my decisions. Because when I'm getting ready to buy a new light, I always have at least two lights I'm trying to decide on so these reviews always help in choosing the light I buy first. Thanks for another detailed review.
 

Latest posts

Top