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My 1xAA McGizmo Mule

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by cowsmilk, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. cowsmilk

    cowsmilk EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I was asked to do an overview of my recently purchased Ti Mule McGizmo with the 1xAA converter and battery pack. I'll start with a quote from Don (McGizmo creator) with some of the specifics on the LE or light engine. I borrowed this quote from CPF and edited out the pictures and links.

    So, with all of the technical jargon out of the way, let's get some photos of my light.
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    The pocket clip is the strongest clip I have used to date. My light has never come out of my pocket without my consent.
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    Side view, showing the nice detail on the battery pack. The ribs of the battery pack feel good in hand, no sharp edges.
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    The business end. Notice there is no reflector present. The beam is an ultra flood.
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    The light uses a forward McClicky to advance through the three levels of light. You can cycle through the levels with a half press on the button, then full press on the level you want to keep it on.
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    Here are a couple of views of the disassembled light showing the head and body sections in relation to the installed battery.
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    [​IMG]
    Also, here is what the LE, or light engine, looks like. It just screws right into the head. I have the Nichia 119 LE.

    Beam pattern shot, taken with my phone camera, while at work (not the best, but it works to show the pattern).
    [​IMG]
    The light was just over 1 meter, 42" to be exact, from the wall. I had to stand nearly 20 ft from the opposite wall to get the entire beam pattern in the frame. Fortunately, we have a long conference room at work. You can see in the picture just how wide the beam is compared to how close it is to the wall.

    When I use the light, I don't have to move it from side to side to look around, I just keep it pointed forward.
     
  2. trickcarey

    trickcarey EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Need more info/photos! What's the beam look like? It doesn't have a lens so it must be ultra floody. How do you like that?
    How many lumens, runtime, etc
     
  3. cowsmilk

    cowsmilk EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Good Lord, @trickcunningham! He is good, by the way.:). Give me a little bit of time to finish accumulating the data.

    The mA outputs for the AA converter are shown above in the quote from Don. As for lumens, I don't know, and I have no way to measure. The XM-L LE lumen output for all three levels are shown in the above quote also. My light is probably a little less than that due to the differences in output between a nichia led and an xm-l led, but I didn't buy the light to be a barn burner.:)
     
    Last edited by cowsmilk, Mar 4, 2014
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  4. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    Does Don use PWM on this light? I heard he does on his other models.
     
  5. cowsmilk

    cowsmilk EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I've got to admit, I don't know what that is.:(
     
  6. Nick4305
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Nick4305 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    "Pulse Width Modulation" i read on web, but honestly don't know nothin about it as well...
     
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  7. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    It's a way of dimming the light - in short, it's a high frequency 100% output strobe which is cycled quickly enough so that we visually perceive it as a continuous beam - similar to how we view TV or video which is actually just a series of frame by frame stills. For example, if a PWM light had a 100 lumen max and wanted a 2 lumen low, it would (high frequency) strobe 100 lumens 2% of the time and 98% it would actually be off.

    The other way to dim light is regulate the current to the LED so that it is continuously on. The LED is (in the example above) receiving the proper forward voltage (3 something V) to power the LED, but the current is restricted to 2% of what it get at max. This is similar to dimming an incandescent light.

    Some people are sensitive to PWM so that it gives them headaches or makes the nauseous. It doesn't do that for me, but I learned how to see it every day usage and now I can't stop seeing it, which makes it mildly distracting to me..... There are a bunch of ways to test for it, but you may not want to know.
     
  8. cowsmilk

    cowsmilk EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Thanks for that explanation. I have no idea if this LE does that. I'll read up on it tonight when I'm back at work, and see if I can find an answer.
     
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  9. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

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    Cool review. I have the 123 version of this light. I can answer about PWM -- yes, the 3S driver used by McGizmo does have PWM but it is at an exceptionally high rate -- faster, I believe, than your typical LCD monitor or TV.

    It is only noticeable when used on very fast moving objects, and then only barely. Nobody has ever complained about the PWM on a McGizmo.
     
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  10. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    This why I asked - nbp over at CPF mentioned this:

    A close-up pix (close enough so it fills the frame and can't quite focus) of the emitter with a smartphone is a pretty reliable test.. here's an example of a current regulated, high freq PWM, and low freq PWM light clicky.
     
  11. cowsmilk

    cowsmilk EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Good morning! Yawn....

    That's a neat trick, photographing the light like that. Based on what you did, I did the same, and I would say it's a high frequency pwm. Anyone concur?
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    That's awesome! I'd never seen this trick before.

    Just based on the picture that reppans linked, I'd say you analyzed the results correctly.
     
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  13. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    Hmmmm, that's a tough one... could go either way. Not sure if every camera picks it up the same way though (my photos are from an iPhone5). But whatever it is, it looks pretty good on that McGizmo - doubt I can see it w/ my naked eye as I can with my two examples.

    Thanks for the test... another step closer to a McGizmo :)
     
  14. Mumbojumboo
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    Mumbojumboo EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    oh my gosh! Now that be a champion. very cool.


    Edit:" Now that might be a champion." I am never going to get a hang of typing or this language.
     
    Last edited by Mumbojumboo, Mar 13, 2014
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  15. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    I tried some different flashlights last night with my iPhone 5 camera. I got the same results. My Preon ReVO (current regulated) appeared as a solid light. My PWM lights (sadly, the majority) all showed varying degrees of lines.
     
  16. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    Well, I just played around with the cellphone test (iPhone 5) a bit more and now find it definitively.... inconclusive :).

    If you see dark banding, then it does seem quite accurate on detecting PWM, but light banding (like Cowsmilk photo) I've seen for both PWM and current regulated lights, and with it changing back and forth as the camera tries to focus. Here's a couple of photos of a Malkoff MDC AA which I know to be PWM (I can visually see it) both pix are on the same sub-lumen mode - clicky.

    The definitive test is sweeping the beam in front of a camera on time exposure, here's a old photo of D25A and Quark AA on moonlight... the D25A is not even a true PWM light... it's more like a oscillation that never quite goes black (regulation is not very good on ML and does this when cells are getting low voltage) clicky.

    PWM is not necessarily a bad thing if done right, and I'm pretty sure Don will have done it right :). Subject to a temperature caveat, in side-by-side tests with my light box and stop watch, my Malkoff MDC AAs proved to be the most efficient (on a lumens x hrs basis) of my entire 1xAA collection, on the low single digit and sub-lumen levels I use most often - and it wasn't even close on ML mode. That said, the majority of the cheaper PWM lights, and particularly 3xAAA junk, are pretty inefficient - although I'm a huge fan of 47's current-regulated lights, their PWM lights (Minis and Preon 1 & 2s) fall into that category too :(.
     
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  17. cowsmilk

    cowsmilk EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I have had two mule lights, the 1xAA and a 1xCR123. They are both well made lights. I carried the cr123 daily for awhile and ended up with a two finger grip, middle and ring finger, that felt surprisingly well in hand. But, as solid as that grip felt, the 1xAA is superior in my personal experience.
    I can use either a forward sweep grip.
    [​IMG]
    Or, I can use a more "tactical" grip.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. fsdigital12

    fsdigital12 Loaded Pockets

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    sweet!
     
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  19. cowsmilk

    cowsmilk EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Adding some O-ring replacement information.

    Mule head:
    Window seal O-ring - #017 EPDM
    Window retaining O-ring - #018 EPDM

    1xAA battery pak
    Boot & Seal Retaining O-ring - #113 EPDM
    Head to pak seal - #017 EPDM
     
    Last edited by cowsmilk, Mar 28, 2014
  20. cowsmilk

    cowsmilk EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    New tail cap arrived.
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    As well as some spares, and a few McClicky switch spares too. I just need to get some blue o-rings to complete my maintenance kit.
     
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