Author Topic: ThorFire S1 Diving Light  (Read 859 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JohnnyMac

  • Team Kronos
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1283
  • TFF Co-Founder
    • Johnny Mac Reviews
ThorFire S1 Diving Light
« on: October 15, 2016, 09:32:17 PM »

Thorfire S1 Diving Light

*S1 flashlight provided for review courtesy of Thorfire

Thorfire has updated an older model in their lineup of generally great quality lights.  When they asked for voluntary reviewers of this new "monster light" (their words, not mine) I was intrigued and volunteered.  Now I've read and seen generally good, if not glowing, reviews of this light and can't help but wonder..."what??". 

I'm just going to start off with what I don't like about the light along with negatives I've noticed about it.  Let me preface this all by stating that in general, I'm a big fan of Thorfire lights.  Their S70 is one hell of a well made and well performing flashlight and is one of my favorite torches I have.  If this didn't say "Thorfire" on the box and light I'd say you were full of shit about it being one of theirs.  I've not seen a single review (not that I recall reading, however) where this S1 received any negative comments.  Perhaps I got the only lemon in the basket but I have a few negatives to remark about.

Cons:

  • Let me start this off with a biggie to me.  Mine has quite a bit of water condensation under each of the lenses.  This is a diving light and it already looks like someone took it diving and it leaked, they sent it back to Thorfire, and Thorfire restocked it as new.  Everything seems extremely tightly screwed on and I could not get into this light at all.  I gave up before damaging it.  Is it waterproof? Who knows?  It feels like it should be extremely waterproof judging by the body to head joint seal.  I can't say the same about the lens bezels and seals.  Can't get them off and like I said, they have moisture already in them.
  • Very thin anodizing.  Many of the edges on the fins have anodizing worn off of them
  • Machining looks like the head and body were made in two different shops.  Lots of machining grooves in areas of the head, in particular on the side wells between the finned areas.  Little gouges in the head that I rarely see on lights these days, even the budget ones.  The battery tube looks pretty good with nice anodizing but the lanyard holes are not chamfered on the edges and they are extremely sharp and I could see them cutting through a lanyard.  not what you want in a diving light where a lanyard is a must.
  • 2000 lumens makes a "monster light"?  Not in my world  Aside from the newer XP-L emitters, everything about this torch feels really dated.  It is a clone of the Niteye 30 from several years ago.
  • The magnetic control ring feels very crude.  Holding the light by the handle (as intended) the ring cannot be turned using your thumb like it can on nearly every other magnetic control ring flashlight I have (ThruNite, Jetbeam, Acebeam, etc).  You actually have to use two hands just to change modes.  If you hold it by the body like a regular flashlight you can find a position where two fingers can turn the ring.  It actually clunks going into the highest setting instead of a neat "snick" like other control ring lights I have.
  • The handle appears like it should be removable but my sample is cranked on hard.  I damaged the slots a bit trying to no avail to unthread the retaining bolt for it. The handle does have some side-to-side play if you twist the handle.
  • HEAVY!  This is the Mamma June of flashlights.  It is 685g (1.5lbs) and  without batteries and 865g with 4 cells.  That's almost 2 lbs! (1.9)
  • The handle could be a little bigger.  My pinkie finger hangs off the back when I'm holding it.
  • No type of reverse polarity protection in the cell carrier itself.  Now I don't make a habit of installing batteries incorrectly but I would assume that a carrier would have some basic type of reverse polarity protection.  A tiny diode in the PCB in the carrier perhaps.  Maybe none of them do and I've just been lucky enough to not be unlucky all these years.  I was talking to the little lady while loading cells into the cartridge and damned if I didn't put the last one in backwards.  Fortunately the cathode spring on that last cell was weaker than the rest and it went nuclear before melting completely and falling off before I could even yank the cell.  A trip to the soldering station and all was well again once a new spring was put in.  This last negative might be one that all cell carriers have,  I don't know and I'm not about to test and find out.

Pros (it does have a few):

  • Just under 2000 lumens but the deep SMO reflectors give this S1 pretty good throw for a light like this.  I measured 39.6kcd and 398m of throw.  Not bad for a light that isn't a thrower.  At least I don't think it is.
  • No visible PWM.
  • Built like a tank (as it should be at 685g empty).  If I needed a torch to go into a fight with this is the one I'd probably grab first.  You can cave a skull in with it.
  • Refreshingly simple UI with just three output levels.
  • Tail stands like a champ!  Wide base with tripod crenellations coupled with the mass it has makes this almost an earthquake proof tail-stander.
  • I really dig the color of the anodizing
  • The laser engraving for the logo is well done

Thorfire Product Page Copy

========================================
Specifications

Material: durable aircraft Aluminum
Modes: High/Mid/Low, 3 modes
Bulb Lifetime: With a lifespan of 100,000 hours
Battery: 4x 18650 3.7v batteries(Not Included)
Size: approx 155mm (Length) * 56mm(Body Diameter) * 73mm(Head Diameter)
Weight: 685-gram weight (Excluding the battery)

NOTE: The light was tightened for diving test. Please find a helper if you find it difficult to unscrew the light.

Best Diving flashlight
This Diving Flashlight is an extremely versatile, Super Bright. The max diving depth is 70m under water. It is fit for diving and scuba. Designed for the professional divers or under water Photographer.

NOTE: Every flashlight passed our test under the same pressure of 100m underwater.

Easy to Operate
The middle rotary switch controls all the functions, rotate switch in anti clockwise direction, the light starts from High, keep rotating it goes to medium and low. Rotate in clockwise direction to go back and turn off. Easy to be controlled by operation of user.

Comfortable Appearance Design
It is make out of durable aircraft-grade aluminum body. The handle is wide enough to hold on, very comfortable and convenient.

Intend Use
It is mainly used for diving works, Underwater fishing operations, Salvage operations Underwater archaeological work, Teaching Scuba diving. Also it is an ideal choice for outdoor activities, Such as fishing, diving, swimming, hiking, sailing, caving, hunting and seeking survival without fear of rainy days.

Package includeds
1 * ThorFire S1 diving flashlight
1 * User Manual
2 * O-rings
=========================================

PERFORMANCE AND UI

Thorfire claims 2000 lumens for the S1 and they are pretty much spot on once you consider variations in individual components and LEDs.  Throw is not bad at just under 400m.  Low mode for a regular flashlight would be more of a medium level but for a diving light this might be perfect and I suspect it is.  There is no visible PWM at all so that's a good thing, right?

The user interface is really simple.  Hold the light by the handle and, using your other hand (hopefully free), turn the silver control ring counter-clockwise until it ratchets into Low mode. Turn it some more until it pops into Medium.  Another crank in the same direction and it will clunk into High mode.  Rotate the ring clockwise to reverse the modes and return to the Off position.  There are no blinky modes.  No hidden modes either.  Pure and simple.  I just wish the ring was more refined and smoother.  It feels like operating an old dump truck transmission.

DETAILS AND CLOSER LOOK

^ A decent full-color box shall greet you when you open your delivery  Nice change from all the plain manila colored boxes with black only printing on them that other lights come in.  I do kind of prefer the plain, straight to business boxes though.  Still, the cardboard is thick and the box was only lightly tuned up on the corners.

^ Main specifics are printed on the one side of the box.

^ Inside is a fitted foam liner that holds the light very securely.  Actually kind of pain to get the light out.  The only extras that come with the S1 are two spare O-rings and an instruction manual written in English and Chinese.

^ Decent, to the point instructions but wrong.  The manual says mode order is from High to Low when turning the control ring counter-clockwise.  It's actually from Low to High.

^ The S1 is a near exact clone of the Niteye 30 and has actually been in production for a few years.  It's a very dated design, IMO, and a bit long in the tooth.

^ I actually do like the look of the battery tube and tripod crenellations in the tail cap.  It feels good in the hand but is a bit slippery and definitely requires the use of the handle.

^ Three Cree XP-L emitters are the only apparent update to this model.  The reflectors are very deep and smooth.  They actually throw very well but the spill is not too smooth and has defined rings of brightness as it fades out to the edges.

^ The individual bezels are stainless steel and extremely beefy.  They are also sealed from the factory and I was unable to remove them without risk of damaging the light.

^ Here is where the big issue comes in and why this, more than any other reason, is why I'm giving this sample a terrible review.  Note the highlighted text in the instruction manual above.  Apparently Thorfire puts each light through a water test before approving it for sale.

^ Every single reflector and lens in my sample has heavy moisture inside it behind the lens.  Clicking the pic and viewing a larger image will make it easier to see.  It obviously did not pass the diving test but went unnoticed by their QC.  The instructions also state that the lights are sealed at the factory which is why I am unable to open anything other than the battery compartment.

^ The handle is fairly comfortable and is almost long enough to fit my hand.  I get 3 and a half fingers in it at best.

^ The handle appears that it would be removable based on the large double-slotted bolt cap securing the handle to the head.  It should actually be removable with nothing more than a large coin.  I tried budging the bolt with both a quarter and a large screw driver but when I only ended up marring the aluminum I gave up.  Not worth messing it up.

^ The fins on the corners of the head are nicely machined but the anodizing is super thin and bare aluminum is exposed on many of the edges.

^ The control ring blends in nicely with the head of the light.  Small surface imperfections in the host made prior to anodizing can be found if you look carefully.

^ Not the grippiest design machined into the battery tube but it does feel good in the hand and looks pretty snazzy.

^ The S1 tail stands like a champ thanks to the 3 crenellated "legs" on it.  The large lanyard cutouts are not chamfered on the opening edges and are very sharp.  They could easily wear and cut through a lanyard cord which I would imagine anyone using the light diving would have on it.

^ With the battery tube removed we can see the back of the head.  A large anode spring sits in the center with a large, plastic insulating ring is pressed in tightly.  There are two holes that look like grip points to unscrew it but it only spins and won't unscrew to see the driver board.  I suppose I could have forced the issue but would only have destroyed it.  As it is I gouged it up a bit when the needle-nose pliers slipped repeatedly once the ring refused to turn further.

^ The battery cartridge holds four 18650 cells.  It sits about flush with the battery tube with only the anode contact sticking out.

^ Inside the tube you can see the ground ring where the anodizing is machined off allowing the ground current from the battery carrier to the body of the light.

^ The cells are arranged in parallel (4P).

^ As you can see there is plenty of room for any 18650 cell you choose to use, even the longest protected cells.  I measured the maximum length that would fit and with the spring fully compressed a 72mm cell will actually fit inside.

^ Another look at the carrier without cells.

^ The control ring has two large "nubs" sticking out from it for gloved hands to easily grab the ring and turn it.

^ The majority of weight if behind the handle.  It feels balanced when held by the handle.

^ Compared to a few other lights to get a feel for the size.  It seems on the long side for a compact triple but it is an old design and shows it's age.

CONCLUSION

I'm sorry, Thorfire, I can't recommend this light based on my sample.  It has some good points but there are just too many negative aspects in general.  Enjoy the review folks, this could be my last Thorfire light that the manufacturer sends me for review.  I hope they take my criticism to heart and work to improve on the points I brought up.  It's constructive criticism.  I realize that there have been plenty of great reviews for this light but I honestly don't understand how.  Thorfire is capable of making some extremely impressive lights and I know they are better than this.  It's an old design and, frankly, I'd say it's time to put it out to pasture and come up with a better one.  I know you can do it!