Thursday, April 3, 2014

ThruNite Catapult V5,Neutral White XM-L2 ,2x18650 Thrower-Review,Outdoor Beamshots

ThruNite released an updated version V5 of their well known thrower,Catapult.
Massive aluminum body,deep aluminum reflector,thick cooling fins,very well driven LED XM-L2 (over 3A from 2x18650 in series!).
My testing sample is equipped with a neutral white emitter,which gives very pleasant light with very good color rendition.
As before the flashlight is meant for thrower and provides about 100kcd. The maximum lumen output is ~1500Lm.
This version V5 has a new UI with two electronic(push button)switches and many functions.



Excellent grip in all positions and easy access to the switches.


Catapult V5 comes in a cardboard box.

Very good holster-thick,sturdy,fits very well and has all needed options for attaching to a belt or backpack,etc.
Great Diffuser is a standard accessory. Optional color filters can be bought separately.






There are also user manual,spare O-rings and short lanyard in the box.



The V5 fits very well in the foam.


Technical information(directly from manufacturer)

Description:
Body: Tough
Heart: Short circuit protection
Open circuit protection
Over-voltage protection
Under-voltage protection
Over heat protection

Key Features:


  • Improved UI for more lumens;
  • Cree XM-L2 U2 LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours;
  • Uses 2/3 18650 rechargeable batteries or 4 CR123A batteries;
  • Max output: 1500 lumen;
  • Working voltage: 5V-14V;
  • 267.5mm(length)×59.0mm(bezel diameter)
  • 650g weight (without batteries)
  • Reverse polarity protection design to protect from improper battery installation;
  • Tested by 2×18650(2600mAh):Remote Switch Momentary On 1000lumen(75min);1500lumen(70min),750lumen(140min),400lumen(305min) ,80lumen(1344min);
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum body;
  • Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish;
  • Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating;
  • Smooth reflector gives perfect beam and throw;
  • Accessories(included):Holster,Lanyard,User’s manual, diffuser,O-ring.

An extension tube for using the V5 with 3 18650 batteries can be bought separately.


Beautiful deep,smooth aluminum reflector with a Neutral white Cree XM-L2 LED at the bottom.
50mm diameter of the reflector. 50mm depth.
Toughened,ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating for optimal light transmittance.

Excellent black anodizing.Beautiful rhombus shape knurling. Excellent grip.
The V5 has very good anti-roll design.

There's no clicky switch at the tail. Three holes for attaching a lanyard.

The two switches are easy to find by touching despite they are not too big.
There is enough space between them for easy operating.Even a part of the body above them is cut for better comfort.
Most of the edges are well rounded.
There is a LED indicator between both buttons. It changes its color-Red,Blue,Purple depending of the status and used mode.


The blue light of the indicator lights up once at every 10 sec in Standby mode and is constant when the flashlight is activated.
The light is low intensity. Doesn't attract attention and doesn't affect night vision.
Definitely helps finding the switches in the dark.


These tables are from Thrunite's website.
When the light is ON:

In StandBy mode:




Beautiful rhombus shape knurling.Not sharp,not slippery. Very nice feel in hand.




The switches are well made. Relatively heavy to press. Hard for accidental,unwanted activation.
If you want to prevent any possibility of unwanted activation,you can use the lock function by pressing the ON/OFF switch for 3sec.

The switch at the head side is for brightness modes/Strobe switching. The switch closer to the battery tube is the ON/OFF switch.


Matte bezel prevents parasitic reflections. Most of the edges are smooth.





The Cree XM-L2 LED is perfectly centered.

A close up photo of the bezel and clear,very well engraved labeling.


Basic disassembling on three parts.
All parts are made of thick aluminum and the whole construction is very stable.

The battery tube is well sized and all protected batteries that I have fit well.
Thick triangular cut threads at the tailcap side. Thick trapezoid cut threads at the head side.
Smooth screwing.All parts fit very well.
The O-rings were not well greased. I tested the flashlight in my river test,in this condition,as it arrived,without any problem.Even that,good greasing is recommended.







A big plus for Catapult V5. High quality glass diffuser is included in the standard accessories.
The diffuser is different from what we are used to see.
It has a clamp for very tight fit to the flashlight head.Can be opened for easy switching between the normal thrower beam and very wide(almost 180degree) flood beam. There is also a rubber sealing.









User Interface

Using the light is easy. Operating by the two electronic(push button) switches is convenient.
Both switches have good click sound,not too loud,not too quiet.
The first switch (which is closer to the hand) is the ON/OFF switch.
Activating/deactivating the light is simple. Press once for ON. Press once for OFF.
This switch is also used for the lock function,that prevents accidental activation of the light.
Press and hold the ON/OFF switch for 3sec to enable/disable the lock function.
The light will flash twice to show you that the buttons are locked.
The LED indicator will light up in Red color when the button lock function is turned OFF.

The second switch is for mode changing and Strobe activating.
When the light is ON,short press will change the brightness mode between Lo-Mid-High-Turbo (in this order).
Pressing the switch for more than 1 sec will activate the dual frequency Strobe mode.

When the light is OFF, pressing the mode switch will activate Strobe mode momentary.( I used a lot this function for signalling with my Klarus RS11 and I like it ).I like to have a momentary Strobe option. Pressing the switch for more than 3 sec will activate constant Strobe mode.

Remote switch mode is also available. When the light is turned ON. Press and hold the ON/OFF switch,then the mode switch to activate Remote switch mode.

The UI is very well designed and is quite convenient. I like the UI with only side switches. No need to think about switches on two places over the flashlight's body.All modes are accessible without changing the grip. This is very important is some situations.
The modes are well spaced. 1500Lm - 750Lm - 400Lm - 80Lm.
Some people may miss the real Low or Ultra Low mode,but other may prefer this relatively big flashlight without very low brightness modes and with one click less when cycling through the modes.

Because the Catapult V5 uses only electronic switches(no physical disconnecting the power),there is a small stand by current draw. I measured it about 7uA,which is quite small comparing to other flashlights.

 Short video,presenting the UI and design specifics.
(turn on annotations)



Current draw from the batteries.
I turbo= 3,2A
I high= 1A
I mid= 440mA
I low= 110mA

Runtime graph.
Batteries Keeppower 3400mAh,fully charged.
A small 8cm cooling fan was used.
The V5 makes four step-down. First is after ~3,8min on Max mode. Down to 70% of the initial brightness.
The second is about 80min later to ~52%.
The third step down is 16min later,to ~28%.
The last is 18min later to 6,7% of the initial brightness. The light will last on this level for quite a long time as I waited 55min and stoped measuring. The batteries had a voltage of 3,1V.
This level is great for emergency situations and will give you enough time before the light to shut down.







Beamshots

The 50mm reflector and Cree XM-L2 LED is good combination. The beam is very well focused. There is enough spill for a thrower.
There is also bright zone between the spot and the spill. You can see it on the picture below.

The light from the Neutral white LED is excellent. Good color rendition. Pleasant for the eyes.
I measured ~100kcd max beam intensity.

The glass diffuser gives excellent,very wide beam,as can be seen in the picture below and the beamshots later in the review.


1m, 1/20sec
Catapult V5, Turbo-High-Mid-Low, Turbo with Diffuser



Thrunite TN35, TN32, Fenix TK51


1m,1/250sec


1m, 1/1600sec


5m,1/6sec
Catapult V5, all modes.


Catapult V5, Thrunite TN32, Thrunite TN35, Fenix TK51, Catapult V5 diffused.


5m,1/50sec



5m,1/400sec


Outdoor
~50m












Due to the deep reflector,there is a reflection from the top side of the reflector that makes a bright circle outside the main beam.
You can see it in the picture below.


With Diffuser.





My first river test for this year.
Catapult V5 successfully passed the short water test without problems!
No water drops or fog under the glass lens.Fully functional switches.
















In my medium size hand with thin fingers.


A few water drops outside. The flashlight is well sealed.








ThruNite Catapult V5 performed very well during the test/review.It is an excellent choice in the 2x18650 class flashlights. Extremely bright,excellent throw,high quallity white light(especially with the NW LED). The UI is quite comfortable. Quick and easy operating with the 2 switches. Momentary Strobe is a big plus for me. Good modes. Thick aluminum to handle all the heat from the LED when working on max mode. Excellent,comfortable grip. The status indicator is a great feature.Thanks to it you know when to replace the batteries.

People with big fingers could find the buttons a little smaller than needed,but I doubt this will affect the easy operating.
There's no real Low mode.But the need of a lower mode in a thrower flashlight depends on personal preferences and how the flashlight will be used.

After using the V5 for more than two weeks,I can say that this is one of my favorite beams.I found it very useful as a work light,not just for fun.The beam is very useful for search and any other outdoor activity.

Thanks for watching and reading!


Catapult V5 kindly provided by ThruNite for review.