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Thread: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* xevious's Avatar
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    Default SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    I just received my SPA Defense SPL-120. Not seeing the "P" suffix in the model number imprinted on the side got me worried that I didn't get a programmable. But it is. DEFINITELY.

    I don't know how many companies rebrand the Novatac EDC lights; SPA Defense is the first I've seen do it. The label is all that is different--everything else is pure Novatac. Also, the Novatac website is imprinted on the tail cap. I have to believe Novatac does the imprinting as it looks like the same paint and imprint quality with the regular Novatac brand. It's just a tiny bit uneven--a little paint missing in some of the lettering, but all rather small (you need a loupe to make it out). Overall, it looks clean from the naked eye.

    The EDC-120 is very well made (proudly in the USA). The anodized finish is excellent and the knurling really works--good grip without feeling abrasive. The switch on mine is the flat version (not raised like on the tactical model). It has a very good tactile feel and exudes good quality, one of the best I've seen. It feels like you could click it 24 hours a day for weeks on end and it would keep working like it did fresh out of the box. I also like the shape of the light. It naturally curves just where your fingers would want it to. A+ on this design started by HDS. It's a little too thick for a pocketable EDC, though. The clip is meant to secure it to the outside of your trousers, shirt, or jacket. So if you work at a job with a suit, you won't be packing it on your person.

    The UI is a little complicated and at first I was lost because there was no manual in the box. SPA Defense sends the light in a thick ziploc bag inside a plain brown box with a rather makeshift label on it. But the good thing is that Novatac provides a manual in PDF form on the website to download, so not all was lost. Before I even got to the manual, I started toying with it... double clicking, triple clicking, click and hold... and sure enough the UI started to reveal itself. I have to say that it's really very well thought out. I only needed to see the manual to learn about the programming and optional modes.

    The programming is a bit trickier than accessing the 4 main brightness modes. But once you do it, it seems easy to remember. Just in case anyone is curious:
    Off, Single click: On, primary mode.
    On, double click: Next mode (factory is a few steps brighter)
    On, triple click: Next mode (factory is almost the lowest setting)
    On, double click-hold: Next mode (factory is maximum).

    If you want to reprogram any of the 4 modes, while it is on you triple-click and hold. After a second, the light begins stepping up until it hits maximum, then goes through 3 of the primary signals, then cycles again from the dimmest setting. When you release the button, the light remains on at your selected setting. Switching off confirms it. If you triple-click and hold, the cycle goes in reverse, from bright to dim... repeating again will reverse the direction. Got it?

    The options menu is a little more complicated. 4 rapid clicks and hold brings you into the menu. Single click advances you through each option. On a given option, click and hold until you see the brightness step up a few levels then go off. Now that option is active and will remain on until you click off your light. Each has their own particular uses, some very specialized to tactical use, others just plain fun. The dim-to-bright and bright-to-dim step up/down really well, because Novatac built in 22 light levels for the EDC-120. It's a very smooth graduation of levels.

    Here are the 9 options:
    1. Emergency strobe <flash>
    2. Emergency SOS signal <SOS>
    3. Locator flash <dim flash>
    4. Force setting <long flash>
    5. Automatic button lock <three rapid flashes>
    6. Automatic turn off <bright-to-dim>
    7. Simple momentary <short-long flash>
    8. Tactical momentary <short-short-long flash>
    9. Ramping/Options menu <dim-to-bright>

    Some of these options affect how the light operates while others enable a special flashing mode. One of the modes I really appreciate is the ability to set memory or forced mode. When forced mode is set, the light will be in that mode every time you turn it on. Disabling that enables memory--every time you turn on the light, it resumes the previous brightness or mode setting. This satisfies virtually every user (those who wish to ramp down or ramp up, or want the same mode started every time).

    The brightest setting is 120 lumens. Not the brightest of the bunch these days for a 1xCR123, but it's a VERY usable beam. Super smooth... no rings. Well diffused spot. USABLE in every sense of the word. In this form factor and with all of the programming, this Novatac is a GREAT light.

    Beam shots? It's already been done... this is indeed an EDC-120P, so I won't bother with redundancy (plus, I probably wouldn't do a good job of it anyway).

    Now I know what the attraction is all about, having the light in my hands finally. Me like! Novatac.
    Last edited by xevious; 01-16-2008 at 05:32 PM.
    LIGHT BRANDS IN ROTATION: FW3A, Zebralight, Jetbeam, Lumintop, RovyVon, Olight, Astrolux, Nitecore, NovaTac

  2. #2
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Wicked, I want to get a 120P as soon as I can raise the spare dosh-spent a bit much on xmas pressies plus vacation, but soon, in the next month or so...where did you get yours from and what was the price?

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Beastmaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    He got his from SPA Defense. Unfortunately, many orders (mine included) were rejected and the money returned.

    -Steve
    Laser Products/SF 6P/3P/9Z (w/LED), SF 6P/G2/Z2 (w/LED), SF 8X/LED, SF E1e/E2e/E1B, SF/Aleph/VG KL4/TLS, TW4, K2-Shorty, Novatac 120P, PentagonLight MOLLE, & SL PT1L Home of the BMX80 LED Assembly

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* xevious's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Quote Originally Posted by Beastmaster View Post
    He got his from SPA Defense. Unfortunately, many orders (mine included) were rejected and the money returned.

    -Steve
    Yeah, it may have been that because I was order #3, they let me through... It was held up on a inventory backlog for a while and I was anticipating that I'd receive a cancellation notice like others reported. It was a very good price--$125 shipped. However, you can buy slightly used ones from CPF members on average at $130. I made my decision to buy from SPA Defense before I knew about Novatac's warranty--you don't need to prove where you bought it. I'd rather buy one from a veteran board member who sells the light with honesty upfront about the characteristics (beam tint, function reliability, etc.), avoiding the chance of getting one that might have initial problems (who needs the hassle of sending it in when you can avoid it completely).

    The other thing is, mine has the "SPA Defense" name on it... which could be good or bad depending on your perspective. One person might say "I want to see 'Novatac' on the side" while another would claim "I'm one of the few with a different brand on this EDC!"

    I'd prefer to have "Novatac" imprinted on it, but I like this light so much that I sincerely doubt I'll sell it anytime soon.
    LIGHT BRANDS IN ROTATION: FW3A, Zebralight, Jetbeam, Lumintop, RovyVon, Olight, Astrolux, Nitecore, NovaTac

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* 9volt's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Could you post a pic of this light with its different label? Or email it to me and I'll host it?


  6. #6
    Flashaholic* 9volt's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Does it look like this?



  7. #7
    Flashaholic* xevious's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    You got it--that's the light I received, with the exception of the clip; I have the more streamlined version. And on the tail cap, "www.novatac.com" along with "Made in USA" is imprinted. The SPA Defense website shows the shot you're displaying, and a bezel standing shot, but the tail cap inscriptions are photo edited out.

    http://www.spa-defense.com/images/ro...s_r1_c2_f3.jpg

    http://www.spa-defense.com/images/ro...0_overview.jpg

    Hot linked images changed to links
    Last edited by Unforgiven; 04-17-2010 at 10:48 AM.
    LIGHT BRANDS IN ROTATION: FW3A, Zebralight, Jetbeam, Lumintop, RovyVon, Olight, Astrolux, Nitecore, NovaTac

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* xevious's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    I finally got a response back from the NovaTac service director--the SPL-120 is definitely covered by Novatac's lifetime warranty. SPA Defense had claimed this, but I just wanted to be sure.
    LIGHT BRANDS IN ROTATION: FW3A, Zebralight, Jetbeam, Lumintop, RovyVon, Olight, Astrolux, Nitecore, NovaTac

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* xevious's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Also, I had heard rumor that more recent versions of the EDC-120P have some kind of thread lock applied to the bezel threads, so it's extremely hard to remove it. But I was able to remove the bezel on my SPL-120 after using some heavy duty textured rubber (for opening jars), which of course was a relief--resorting to more risky means like vice grips and subjecting the light to extreme temperatures would make me nervous about doing damage beyond the bezel. My SPL-120 is from a new production batch, fresh from NovaTac.

    Maybe NovaTac changed its methods on securing the bezel in the latest models? Certainly, it was mounted tight enough that it would never come off without strong deliberate force. Thread lock is overkill, IMHO.
    LIGHT BRANDS IN ROTATION: FW3A, Zebralight, Jetbeam, Lumintop, RovyVon, Olight, Astrolux, Nitecore, NovaTac

  10. #10

    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    I just received my SPL-120 (SPL-120 AWLK), but in NO WAY it is programmable.

    I mean. It only has 3 modes: high (120 lum), low (10 lum), and CQB strobe.

    I click once and it turns on into it's max setting.
    Then from that mode:
    if I click it turns off
    if I double-click it goes into the low mode
    from both modes if I press/hold it goes in momentary CQB strobe, while if I click and then press/hold it goes in continuos CQB strobe.

    But that's all.
    There is no way to program it, nor to find the 4 levels and the 22 levels programmable...


    I ordered it from an E-Bay seller. The package seems original 100%, it came with the Picatinny rail mount, IR filter, Remote pressure switch...

    what do you think?

    thanks!

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* xevious's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    You may have gotten the lesser version which is not programmable. However, there might be a way to "unleash" the programming.

    See this thread, here:
    NovaTac EDC T and E Models CRACKED! Back Door/Easter egg found!
    LIGHT BRANDS IN ROTATION: FW3A, Zebralight, Jetbeam, Lumintop, RovyVon, Olight, Astrolux, Nitecore, NovaTac

  12. #12

    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Quote Originally Posted by troller_cpf View Post
    I just received my SPL-120 (SPL-120 AWLK), but in NO WAY it is programmable.!
    The Novatac SPL-120 AWLK was made for the US Army. At their request, Novatac removed the 0.3l (3 clicks) setting, and did not make it programmable. It can be hacked using the 250 click back door.

    There are also 3 generations Novatac made for the US Army, each with a subtle change at the client's request.

    Gen1 has a steel black-oxide bezel. Programming is 120L@1 click, 10L@2 clicks, Disorienting strobe@ 2click/press-hold

    Gen2 has an aluminum bezel anodized to match the body. The Army also requested the head be locked to the battery tube to cut down on "movable parts". program remains the same.

    Gen3 is the same as Gen2, but the bezel was elongated to accommodate a bezel up pocket clip, although no clip was requested or provided in the kit.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* JohnnyBravo's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Just bought a new/old stock one for $40-something shipped. This will be my first Novatac. I don't plan to use the weapon hardware, just the light as part of my EDC rotation. I'm on a made in USA roll and trying to increase such lights in my collection...
    I have more than I need, but not as many as I want.

    Surefire owner since 1995.

  14. #14

    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    I've had one in my collection for like 4 years - and bought it used. It's a great light and Novatac/HDS UI makes it unique. Changed SSC P4 (if I remember correctly) with XM-L2 and now it's about 400lm on max. It's got a nice floody beam, good for EDC tasks. The only downfalls are: it's size - bigger than other CR123 flashlights and second thing - quality. It's OK, but not top notch. HDS feels WAY more sturdy and I managed to damage one spring by just screwing down the cap (with battery inserted of course). The coating on bezel came off, the body coating is fine (I've golden version ). I've got a 18650 tube for it, but it's get BULKY with it, never used it.
    Generally - great light, it made flashlight history - especially when it comes to programmable lights

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* JohnnyBravo's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Just got back from a trip out of state to Utah. Left the Surefires at home; had to break in the new Novatac. Used the low setting 1-2 x to adjust the hotel's thermostat and once more to check under the bed before checking out. The tint/color of the light is borderline too cool for me, but I'll continue to rotate the light in my EDC stable...
    I have more than I need, but not as many as I want.

    Surefire owner since 1995.

  16. #16
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    LED swap Johny would be an option for you. The nichia 219b and 219c work very well with these little lights. The lumens bump up to double or even triple(my 120's anyway) presumably down to the lower vf. My SPA120 actuall had a nice cool white, pure white in tint so i could have lived with it as is. Still the 219c 5000k(ano strip has the 219b 4000k so wanted a different version) 80+ cri makes me want to use it more. Mine were done in the UK by CRX up Scotland, your side gunga is the man if you decide.


    SPA120 219c 5000k Ano stripped 120 219b 4000k..................love them!





    iirc(figures are on here in the history thread) , the SPA of mine measured around 60lm on high, after the 219c 5000k it measured over 200lm. The bare 120 measured around 100lm on burst, now over 300lm. Both the low levels bumped to a very usable 25lm ish(for me).

  17. #17

    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    LED swap Johny would be an option for you. The nichia 219b and 219c work very well with these little lights. The lumens bump up to double or even triple
    ...
    the SPA of mine measured around 60lm on high, after the 219c 5000k it measured over 200lm. The bare 120 measured around 100lm on burst, now over 300lm. Both the low levels bumped to a very usable 25lm ish(for me).
    hmmm, my SPA seems to max out at 70 lumens.. add a Nichia 219b and get double?.. that cant be bad :-)

    I must say, Im so glad its dark again,
    really fun having access to ramp brightness on the fly

    Im getting better at triple press hold (the way it says in the Tactical Manual), aka double click hold (in the Executive Manual)

    almost as easy as dialing a Rotary..

    ===

    SPA Defense SPL-120 Tactical with 16340 battery, high mode drain test, to verify Novatac LiIon overdischarge protection

    starting with a half depleted battery, at 3.67v the light ran on maximum of 71 lumens hi for 31 minutes then stepped down to 40 lumens at 3.2 volts

    about a. minute later it stepped down again, to 19 lumens @ 3.11v and I ended the test and reloaded a fresh 16340

    this confirms the light is properly configured to recognize the LiIon battery and implements Low Voltage warnings at 3.2 volts. I like it. :-)

    and I agree with bansuri, and you, that the SSC P4 has a nice tight beam
    he has a very detailed post about it here
    Quote Originally Posted by bansuri
    The beam profile of the old SSC P4 lights was beautiful despite the blue tint. The P4 emitter lent itself perfectly to a great beam by allowing the reflector to sit down on the emitter body and get the dome right where it needed to be
    Im a bit disappointed the light does not meet the 120 lumen spec.. sounds like ven's copy is actually similar.. oh well, lumens are overrated.. lol

  18. #18
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Lumens are just a number Jon, 70, 120, 240....................end of the day, its quality of beam, how it is put down field(figure of speech.............could be garden). Just a number, most of the time, outside with a decent designed reflector(like these for size) puts out a good all rounder imo. Maybe 25-35lm is enough tbh.

    My memory is useless....................well almost, i remembered i had posted the exact numbers(well which relate to each other) in hondo's awesome thread.

    As follows
    Ano stripped 120e
    Previous measurements
    Low – 10 lm, 140 cd
    High – 30 lm, 420 cd
    Turbo – 106 lm, 1520 cd


    Now with 219bt 4000k
    Low – 26 lm, 280 cd
    High – 100 lm, 950 cd
    Turbo – 310 lm, 3100

    Copy and paste from here Jon.....................fantastic read, if not read already get stuck in!
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?426231-A-brief-history-of-the-HDS-universe

  19. #19
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    The SPA was actually worse than my memory(gold)
    Before
    High – 54lm
    Low – 8lm

    After Nichia 219C D280 5000k 80CRI
    High – 220lm
    Low – 38lm


    A jump from 54lm to 220lm which is quite a jump.

  20. #20
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    I put it down to the lower vf, newer emitter.......................and witch craft. Either way, measurements might not be exact, but they are measured on the same set up which shows the difference.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Lithium466's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    I think Novatac must have used the cheapest emitters they could get, at the end of their life...coupled with no calibration.

  22. #22

    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...=1#post5085788
    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    Good thing for me now is i can just click and every time i get around 26lm of usefulness. As i dont do sub lumen, it works out pretty much perfect as a general user.
    your SPA @54 lumens is even more pathetically out of spec than mine @70 lumens.. but, like you, I mostly use about 20 lumens.. I do also enjoy the option to use 3 lumens at times..

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...=1#post5115333
    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    Even more proof Hondo, that a more to date LED does give out more lumens.
    ...
    The actual cool LED in originally was imo quite good. By that i mean it was a pure white
    I agree the stock P4 in the SPA is pretty nice and white, not too green, not too blue.. but, the promise of 3x the lumens from a 219b and the CRI increase.. well.. you definitely got my attention.. thanks for digging up the data

    Quote Originally Posted by Lithium466 View Post
    no calibration.
    very true!
    of course that means double the runtime

    I feel an urge for a Nichia swap into my SPA.. great conversations, thanks to everyone contributing

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* Lithium466's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    54 or 70 lumens instead of 120, even if we're talking about "uncertified" measurements is indeed pretty pathetic - not that Novatac is still around though, only thing to do is change the led^^
    Would you have the opportunity to measure the tailcap current on lowest and highest mode ?

  24. #24

    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lithium466 View Post
    Would you have the opportunity to measure the tailcap current on lowest and highest mode ?
    I have no experience or training, but if this meter is capable, and youre avaible to coach me, I would be happy to learn how


    additional SPA trivia

    when I did the battery discharge on high mode, I was impressed that the light held constant flat regulated output of 71 lumens the entire time until the stepdown.. there were just small continuous fluctuations +- 1 lumen on my meter, not visible with naked eye

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* Lithium466's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Yup the Novatac is ok-regulated. The HDS is supposedly better, but the Novatac is already good.

    The meter could do it, but you'll need an extra set of hands, and some more wires. Let me try to figure it out first

  26. #26

    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    Lumens are just a number Jon, 70, 120, 240....................end of the day, its quality of beam, how it is put down field(figure of speech.............could be garden). Just a number, most of the time, outside with a decent designed reflector(like these for size) puts out a good all rounder imo. Maybe 25-35lm is enough tbh.

    My memory is useless....................well almost, i remembered i had posted the exact numbers(well which relate to each other) in hondo's awesome thread.

    As follows
    Ano stripped 120e
    Previous measurements
    Low – 10 lm, 140 cd
    High – 30 lm, 420 cd
    Turbo – 106 lm, 1520 cd


    Now with 219bt 4000k
    Low – 26 lm, 280 cd
    High – 100 lm, 950 cd
    Turbo – 310 lm, 3100

    Copy and paste from here Jon.....................fantastic read, if not read already get stuck in!
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?426231-A-brief-history-of-the-HDS-universe
    thanks for those data points, ven
    very helpful.. the 4k 219b produced 3 times more output, while keeping runtime presumably the same.. win win, I like 219b

    a N219b 4.5k 9080 might be fun in the SPA




    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    The SPA was actually worse than my memory(gold)
    Before
    High – 54lm
    Low – 8lm

    After Nichia 219C D280 5000k 80CRI
    High – 220lm
    Low – 38lm


    A jump from 54lm to 220lm which is quite a jump.
    4 times more output with the 219c 5k

    I look forward to hearing you managed to ramp down your SPA to 20 lumens on first click.
    Last edited by jon_slider; 08-23-2018 at 12:02 AM.

  27. #27
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post

    I look forward to hearing you managed to ramp down your SPA to 20 lumens on first click.
    I am not sure how old you are Jon, how many roughly and to be expected years left to enjoy............................I wish you luck in what your looking forward to hearing

  28. #28
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    I am not sure how old you are Jon, how many roughly and to be expected years left to enjoy............................I wish you luck in what your looking forward to hearing
    hahahaha i feel the same way ven. Ive given up on programming mine. Ill carry it, (carrying it today actually along with another HDS I bought, LE edition 200.) but I will just have to enjoy it for what it is. 250 clicks I do not have the patience for.
    hunter, fisherman, flashlight enthusiast

  29. #29
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    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    I have some lights that are single mode(high), some come on in high with lower modes(EDC+ for one). I have lights that come on in low, or ones that are programmed at a set level chosen by me. I like choices /options/variety, so it’s all fine for me as it is. It’s not like it’s an eye searing 3000lm single mode. It’s just 250, less than a typical Malkoff single mode p60(other than the lows). It is actually a useful al round type of output I use outdoors. I would say out of the h17f drivers, most will be there or about in output(although different beam type).

  30. #30

    Default Re: SPA Defense SPL-120 (Novatac)

    Quote Originally Posted by southernstar View Post
    The Novatac SPL-120 AWLK was made for the US Army. At their request, Novatac removed the 0.3l (3 clicks) setting, and did not make it programmable. It can be hacked using the 250 click back door.

    There are also 3 generations Novatac made for the US Army, each with a subtle change at the client's request.

    Gen1 has a steel black-oxide bezel. Programming is 120L@1 click, 10L@2 clicks, Disorienting strobe@ 2click/press-hold

    Gen2 has an aluminum bezel anodized to match the body. The Army also requested the head be locked to the battery tube to cut down on "movable parts". program remains the same.

    Gen3 is the same as Gen2, but the bezel was elongated to accommodate a bezel up pocket clip, although no clip was requested or provided in the kit.
    Apparently Novatac and their SPA Defense line, was a US company selling the US Govt lights made in China :

    Quote Originally Posted by Hogokansatsukan View Post
    All of the SPA Defense lights were made in China.
    The same happens with the Maratac lights, a California company has them made in China, and sells them to the US Defense Dept.

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