Titanium Innovations Illuminati Aluminum (1xAAA XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS+

selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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Warning: Pic heavy, as usual.

IlluminatiAl004.jpg

IlluminatiAl003.jpg


Titanium Innovations has recently come out with a less expensive aluminum version of their 1xAAA keychain light, the Illuminati. How does this new model compare to the original titanium version? Let us see …. :whistle:

Specifications:
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy- Hard Anodized Black
  • LED: Cree XP-G R5 (1B)
  • Battery: 1 x AAA (lithium, NiMh, or alkaline) (We do not recommend or warrant using lithium ion rechargeable batteries)
  • Reflector: Textured Aluminum Alloy
  • Operating Voltage: 0.9-3V
  • 3 Output Levels
  • Low: 3 Lumens (30+ hours)
  • Medium: 30 Lumens (4+ hours)
  • High: 115 Lumens (90+ minutes)
  • Length: 2.66" (67.6mm)
  • Diameter: 0.54" (13.7mm)
  • Weight: 0.49oz (14g)
  • Package Contents: 1 x Illuminati CA1-AL LED Flashlight, 1 x Keychain, 1 x Pocket Clip (Pocket clip is reversible for user preference), 1 x User Manual, 1 x Energizer L92 AAA battery (recommended for optimum performance), 1 x Instruction Sheet
  • MSRP: ~$30
IlluminatiAl002.jpg


Packaging is unchanged from the titanium version. The presentation-style case (very similar to the early Fenix cases) includes the light with attached keychain ring, reversible pocket clip, spare o-rings, Energizer L92 battery, and manual.

IlluminatiAl013.jpg

IlluminatiAl010.jpg

From left to right: Titanium Innovations Illuminati Aluminum, Illuminati Titanium, Sunwayman R01A, Maratac 1xAAA, Lumintop Worm Aluminum Black, Klarus Mi X6, 4Sevens Preon1.

All weights without battery

Illuminati Aluminum: Weight 13.9g (with keychain clip), Length 68.8mm, Width 14.0mm (bezel)
Illuminati Titanium: Weight 23.5g (with keychain clip), Length 68.8mm, Width 14.0mm (bezel)
Klarus Mi X6: Weight 16.2g, Length 72.9mm (battery installed), Width 12.8mm
4Sevens Preon 1: Weight 15.3g (with keychain clip), Length 75.6mm, Width 14.0mm (bezel)
ITP EOS A3 Upgraded: Weight: 11.6g (no clip), Length: 69.7, Width 14.1mm (bezel)

The aluminum version has the same overall build as the titanium version, only lighter due to the aluminum construction

IlluminatiAl007.jpg

IlluminatiAl006.jpg

IlluminatiAl008.jpg


The black body has a fairly matte finish, with bright white lettering (sharp and clear). While there is still no knurling to speak of, the patterned squares over the surface of the light do help with grip. I found the light can be easily operated one-handed, but a little extra grip on the head would be nice.

Tailstanding is possible on both models. As before the keychain attachment point seems fairly thin – I wasn’t too concerned on the titanium version, but this aluminum version should be carefully inspected to make sure all is secure.

The Illuminati uses a spring in the tailcap, like many lights in this class.

Video Overview

NEW: Normally at this point in the review, I like to show the emitter/reflector and beamshots. But I’m trying something new - video reviews showing both the basic build and user interface. Check it out below. Beamshots will follow after the user interface and circuit discussion.

[video=youtube;WXdPARTB4Z4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXdPARTB4Z4[/video]

Video was recorded in 720p HD, 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 and 720p options if you like. :)

User Interface

Turn on by fully tightening the head/bezel against the body. The light is off when the bezel is loosened slightly.

Light comes on in Lo output to start. To select a different level, twist the head off and then back on again within 1 second. This will advance to the next level in the following repeating sequence: Lo > Med > > Hi.

There is no memory mode.

PWM/Strobe

IlluminaTi-Al-LoPWM.gif


The Illuminati Aluminum uses 1kHz PWM on its Lo/Med mode, which is not readily apparent visually. This is a slight bump up from my original Titanium version, which was ~1kHz on Lo, but ~885 Hz on Med.

There is no strobe feature.

Beamshots:

And now the part you’ve all been waiting for. ;)

IlluminatiAl005.jpg

IlluminatiAl014.jpg

The Illumati Aluminum comes with a lightly textured reflector (OP) and uses a XP-E emitter. Centering of the emitters wasn’t already perfect, but acceptable on all my samples.

Which brings me to the white-wall beamshots. ;) All lights are on 1xAAA Sanyo Eneloop NiMH, 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. All beamshots taken immediately upon activation.

Note the original titanium version is just list as "XP-G R5" below.

IlluminaTi-Al-Beam001.jpg
IlluminaTi-Beam001.jpg

X6-Beam001.jpg
EOSA3-XPG-Beam001.jpg


IlluminaTi-Al-Beam002.jpg
IlluminaTi-Beam002.jpg

X6-Beam002.jpg
EOSA3-XPG-Beam002.jpg


IlluminaTi-Al-Beam003.jpg
IlluminaTi-Beam003.jpg

X6-Beam003.jpg
EOSA3-XPG-Beam003.jpg


I find most 1xAAA lights to have fairly diffused beams, with broad hotspots. The aluminum version is not appreciably different from the titanium one.

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:

Effective November 2010, I have revised my summary tables to match with the current 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.

Worm-FL1-Summary-1.gif


Output is somewhat increased on standard cells - although I expect this is common to the latest version of the circuit, and would be true of the currenty-shipping titanium version as well. Max output and throw is reasonable for the class.

Output/Runtime Comparison:

Worm-HiEne-1.gif

Worm-MedEne.gif


Worm-HiL92.gif


Worm-HiAlka.gif

Worm-MedAlka.gif

Worm-LoAlka.gif


There has been a definite improvement in the Max output on alkaline, and a smaller increase on NiMH (although again, this probably now common for all versions that share this circuit). On all other modes and other batteries, there is no apparent difference between the Illuminati versions.

Overall performance remains typical for the PWM-based class of 1xAAAXP-G R5 lights.

Potential Issues

Light uses PWM for its Lo/Med mode, but at a not distracting 1 kHz frequency.

Light can be used single-handed, but extra grip on the head would be advantageous.

Preliminary Observations

The original titanium Illuminati was a solid light 1xAAA light. I EDCed it for several months when it first came out, and it worked reliably during that time. I like seeing this new lower cost aluminum version – it provides another option for those looking for a simple, straight-forward, keychain light. :)

Aside from the choice of material, all other aspects of this light seem unchanged – including the emitter, circuit, and form factor and build. One minor upgrade is the increased PWM from ~850 Hz to 1 kHz on the Med mode – but I imagine that’s a standard improvement made to the common circuit. Same goes for the increased max output on alkaline and NiMH. :thumbsup:

Although titanium has a much stiffer build, aluminum lights are easier to use in one sense – the thread action is smooth on my aluminum Illuminati, whereas the titanium version suffers from the common galling effect (i.e. stiffer, gritty-feeling threads).

Circuit performance is unchanged, and the Illuminati is still quite respectable for this class. There hasn’t been a great deal of innovation in 1xAAA lights this past year, except for a couple of models that current-controlled (offering flatter regulation and better runtimes on Lo/Med). One change I would like to see here is an even higher PWM frequency – while 1 kHz is quite decent, something >2 kHz would be completely undetectable.

If you are looking for a basic model 1xAAA keychain light, the Illuminati aluminum is certainly worthy model to consider. :wave:

----

Illuminati aluminum provided by Battery Junction for review.
 
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Haesslich

Haesslich

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Definitely cheaper at $30, but not lacking in accessories. How do you think it'll survive in a pocket with keys? Bound to get scratched up, but does it feel as robust?
 
selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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Definitely cheaper at $30, but not lacking in accessories. How do you think it'll survive in a pocket with keys? Bound to get scratched up, but does it feel as robust?
Feels about the same as other anodized aluminum lights. I imagine the black will wear quickly on a keychain.
 
Haesslich

Haesslich

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Feels about the same as other anodized aluminum lights. I imagine the black will wear quickly on a keychain.

Just thinking of the "my Quark Mini AA has died" posts or the Preons. Less expensive than a Sapphire, but as reliable as the old Arcs?
 
nzbazza

nzbazza

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The chart showing the runtimes for Hi mode on eneloops has a surprise... does the Illuminati Al really have a runtime of 17 mins to 50% cf. about 1hr for most of the other lights shown including the Illuminati Ti? Is the circuit performance really unchanged or is this a case of dodgy battery/data?
 
Gianna

Gianna

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How does everyone like to way you turn on and advance the light/lumens by rotation as opposed to a switch or button?
 
selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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The chart showing the runtimes for Hi mode on eneloops has a surprise... does the Illuminati Al really have a runtime of 17 mins to 50% cf. about 1hr for most of the other lights shown including the Illuminati Ti? Is the circuit performance really unchanged or is this a case of dodgy battery/data?
Ooops, my bad. That was an earlier runtime I did on a partially-charged battery. I re-did the run, but somehow the old runtime was left on the chart. I've uploaded the correct chart - it should display properly now. As you will see, there is a bump in max output, and runtime is good.

How does everyone like to way you turn on and advance the light/lumens by rotation as opposed to a switch or button?
I think many would prefer a switch, but that is uncommon on 1xAAA lights (due to the extra length). There are a number of models around that offer it, though.
 
J

Jep

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another great review... this light is next on my list, i never realized how powerfull a single aaa light could be.
 
jcalvert

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Although titanium has a much stiffer build, aluminum lights are easier to use in one sense – the thread action is smooth on my aluminum Illuminati, whereas the titanium version suffers from the common galling effect (i.e. stiffer, gritty-feeling threads).

I have the Ti version, and even though I cleaned the threads with alcohol and then applied Nyogel immediately after receiving the light, and then again a few days later with SuperLube instead, the galling is still horrible. Considering beyond possibly having received a poorly threaded light, do you have any suggestions to improve the thread action, or is this just the nature of tight pitched, small diameter titanium threads? Thanks!

-John
 
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selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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I have the Ti version, and even though I cleaned the threads with alcohol and then applied Nyogel immediately after receiving the light, and then again a few days later with SuperLube instead, the galling is still horrible. Considering beyond possibly having received a poorly threaded light, do you have any suggestions to improve the thread action, or is this just the nature of tight pitched, small diameter titanium threads?
Sounds like you have tried what you can - that's much the same sequence as I use for titanium lights. :shrug:
 
candle lamp

candle lamp

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Thanks for your nice review including video. Selfbuilt! :)
 
K

Kletsou

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Thank you for the as usual good review! I am still a bit partial to playing with EDCs AAAx1, AAx1 and 123x1.

The technology applied and the light outputs we get with these provide us with good EDCs. The next big thing will be if can get the anodized aluminium lights have better aesthetics and not to look so bad for wear after a couple of months in the pockets with keys and change! :)
 
G

Gregozedobe

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I have the Ti version, and even though I cleaned the threads with alcohol and then applied Nyogel immediately after receiving the light, and then again a few days later with SuperLube instead, the galling is still horrible. Considering beyond possibly having received a poorly threaded light, do you have any suggestions to improve the thread action, or is this just the nature of tight pitched, small diameter titanium threads? Thanks!

You could also try polishing the threads with a mild abrasive such as a metal polish, car (paint) polish (not wax) or even just common toothpaste - just make sure you thoroughly clean the threads afterwards, then lubricate with Nyogel. This improved the feel of the threads on my Illuminati Ti, but they were still gritty.
 
Calina

Calina

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I think many would prefer a switch, but that is uncommon on 1xAAA lights (due to the extra length). There are a number of models around that offer it, though.

The Illuminati is short enough that, in a new version, it could easily accomodate a switch and still be of an acceptable length.
 
J

jagpad

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Excellent review, thank you
 
N

nutcracker

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Another question:
On Med Mode with Eneloops.
The iTP A3 Eos has higher output and shorter runtime. But they state on med it has 22 lumens.
And the Titanium Innovations AL has more runtime and less output compared to the iTP. But they state it has 30 lumens

How can this be?
 
selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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The iTP A3 Eos has higher output and shorter runtime. But they state on med it has 22 lumens.
And the Titanium Innovations AL has more runtime and less output compared to the iTP. But they state it has 30 lumens
How can this be?
Because their lumen estimates aren't accurate. :)

As you can tell from my chart, the newer ITP A3 (XP-G R5) has higher output than the TI AL. I would estimate the TI AL is actually in the low 20 lumens range, and the ITP A3 XP-G is in the high 20 lumens range. It is hard to provide accurate measures, but the relative comparisons are what count here.
 
N

nutcracker

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OK then, I rather take the illuminati with the longer lasting med mode. Because if I want more output I switch to high mode. (on which both lights have the same lumens/time data)

Any thoughts on the color temperature of the 1B illuminati AL vs. all other AAA XP-g lights?
As I said, the beamshot of the 1B looks more yellow to me.

I took the beamshots from there http://www.lygte-info.dk/review/Beamshot AAA lights 2011-09 UK.html

Titanium innovations Ti http://www.lygte-info.dk/pic/Beamshot20110907 AAA/beamshot/DSC_9249.jpg
Titanium innovations Aluminum with 1B http://www.lygte-info.dk/pic/Beamshot20110907 AAA/beamshot/DSC_9252.jpg
olight i3 http://www.lygte-info.dk/pic/Beamshot20110907 AAA/beamshot/DSC_9242.jpg
 
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selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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Any thoughts on the color temperature of the 1B illuminati AL vs. all other AAA XP-g lights?
As I said, the beamshot of the 1B looks more yellow to me.
Hmmm, those beamshots do make it look a little yellower than the others. You would need to check with HKJ to see what his perspective is, since he took the beamshots. I haven't done detailed comparisons, but 1B seems quite believable for my TI Al sample.
 
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