Thursday, December 22, 2011

Announcing the Mydogtag Competition Winners!

Hi guys, just a quick update, the winners of the competition winners have been selected. 

Everyone one was assigned a number on an excel spreadsheet in order of when the email was received. Followers were given an extra entry.  I then ran the the numbers through an online random number generator to pick the winners.

Here are the five winners:

Денис Бакеренко

Congratulations guys!  Have fun picking and designing your customised dogtags!  When I bought mine in the past, I chose the 'mini' because it has the smallest footprint.  However,, has a large range of sizes and finishes to choose from... in the end, the choice is yours!

Winners should have already received an email with their gift certificate.  Please let me know, if you have any issues.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011




My first 'expensive' flashlight I ever bought happened to be a Fenix L0D Q4 (a AAA keychain light).  At that time spending $50+ on a flashlight was a huge investment for me, but having bought some budgets flashlights that failed far too easy, I felt it was worth paying more for something that would last.  Being happy with the robustness and quality of this flashlight, I soon followed up with buying a Fenix L2D Q5. 

Fenix has recently release a new flashlight to the market, the Fenix PD32.  With the release of this flashlight, Fenix had a competition offering samples of the PD32 for review.  I was lucky enough to be selected to review the flashlight, though it did take some time for my sample to arrive. 

Since Fenix was one of my first quality flashlights, I do have a soft spot for their lights.  Nevertheless, I'll do my best to provide an honest and non-biased review on the Fenix PD32.


• Cree XP-G (R5) LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours
• Uses two 3V CR123A batteries (Lithium) or one 18650 rechargeable battery (Li-ion)
• 127mm (Length) x 25.4mm (Diameter)
• 61-gram weight (excluding batteries)
• Digitally regulated output - maintains constant brightness
• Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation
• Over heat protection to avoid high-temperature of the surface (turbo drops down to high after 30 minutes)
• Anti-roll, slip-resistant body design
• Tactical tail switch with momentary-on function
• Side switch in the head
• Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
• Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
• Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating

Cost: ~$70USD  (Give or take a few dollars)


The version of the Fenix PD32 I received was a prototype sample, so the packaging was more rudimentary.  There were no accessories included and the manual was a photocopy on plain A4 paper.   According to the information included with the prototype sample, the proper packaging should come with a clip, spare o-ring and rubber switch boot.  (N.B. according to the actual fenix website, a holster and lanyard should also be included with the Fenix PD32)

Packaging for test sample


The head of the Fenix PD32 has a crenulated bezel.  A minor benefit that I've noticed from having these crenulations, are they let light through when standing it with the head down.  This lets you know if you've accidentally left it on in this position.  The crenulations are not too aggressive and civilian friendly.

Crenulations allow light through while the flashlight stands with the head down

At the base of the flashlight head there is an anti-roll ring.  This does an adequate job of stopping the light from rolling on a flat level surface.  However, I do find if the surface is at a slight angle, the flashlight can still have a tendency to roll downwards.

Anti roll ring

This light has a smooth reflector.  This obviously will affect the beam characteristics which will be mentioned later.

Smooth reflector. Cree XP-G R5 LED emitter
There is knurling present on the body and tail-cap.  The knurling on the body provides 'grippiness' when generally holding the flashlight.  The knurling on the tailcap is well placed, providing grip when unscrewing the tail-cap to change batteries.  The knurling on Fenix PD32 is slightly on the aggressive side, but no overly so.

Knurling on the body and tail-cap

The tail-cap has a forward clicky that provides a momentary on.  As with most forward clickys the rubber button is slightly protrusive.  The tailcap is also scalloped on two sides to allow better access to the rubber button.  Unfortunately due to the protrusive button, this flashlight does not tailstand.

Protrusive rubber button.  Tail-cap scalloped to allow easy access to switch

 Also at the tail-cap are two lanyard holes.  Unlike some other flashlights I have come across, these lanyard holes are nice and wide, and fit a standard lanyard strap easily.

Hole for lanyard strap.  There is another lanyard hole on the opposing side.

 The button at the tail of the light is used to turn the light on and off.  On the side of the flashlight, near the head there is also a grey button.  This grey button is used to switch between the various modes of the light.

Grey side button

 The Fenix PD32 unscrews into a head, body and tailcap.  Joining these sections are nice thick square threads.  The various sections of the flashlight engage together easily, with no chance of cross-threading.  The threads are also annodised, allowing you to 'lock-out' the flashlight.

Nice thick square threads and black o-rings on either end of the body section. 

There are nice thick o-rings at either end of the body section.  These o-rings help to prevent the ingress of dust and water.

The Fenix PD32 is rated as waterproof to the IPX-8 standard.  To provide cooling for the light during some runtime tests, I dunked the flashlight in a glass of water.  While this is not same as testing it to IPX-8 standards, I can say over the two hours it was running, there was no ingress of water.

Fenix PD32 submerged in a glass of water
In terms of size the Fenix PD32 is moderately compact for 1x18650/2xCR123 sized lights.  However if size is major factor for you, there are smaller 1x18650/2xCR123 lights around.  Personally, I still find the Fenix to be a little too large to carry around in my pockets.

The following picture gives you and idea of size in comparison to some other 18650 flashlights I have.

From the left: Armytek Predator, Ultrafire 504B, Fenix PD32, MG L-mini II, Zebralight sc600w


The Fenix PD32 has 4 outputs in it's general mode and 2 hidden flashing modes.  Outputs and times reported by the manufacturer are as follows:
Turbo - 315 lumens - 2 hours
High - 130 lumens - 8 hours
Mid - 70 lumens - 16 hours
Low - 9 lumens - 200 hours
Strobe - 315 lumens - ? no data provided on runtime
SOS - 130 lumens - ? no data provided on runtime

The runtimes were based on using 2xCR123a batteries.  Do note, the runtime for turbo is an acculumated runtime; it will not run for 2 hours non-stop without manual intervention.  This is because, when using the turbo mode, it will automatically drop down to high after 30 minutes of usage.  This a feature to prevent overheating of the flashlight.

As mentioned previously the button on the tail of the flashlight is used to turn the light on and off.  The tail switch is a forward clicky that provides 'momentary on'.  This means if you half depress the rubber button, the flashlight will turn on whilst the button is half depressed.  As soon as you let go of the button, the light will turn off.  If you want to leave the light on, just push the button all the way down until it clicks and it will remain on.

To switch between modes, you click the grey side button whilst the light is already turned on.  It will cycle from low -> medium -> high -> turbo -> back to low.  This flashlight will remember the last general mode used (it will not remember any flashing modes).  So the next time you turn on the flashlight, it will light up at the last output used.

To access the strobe, you need the hold down the side button for one second, whilst the flashlight is turned on.  The strobe is a random strobe that switches between various frequencies in how fast in flashes.  To access the SOS mode, you need hold down the side button for around 3 seconds.  If you want to switch back from the flashing modes to the general output modes, either click the side button once, or turn the light off and on again at the tail-cap.

The Fenix PD32 can run on the following battery configurations:
-Non-rechargeable 2xCR123A (3.0V nominal voltage per cell)
-Rechargeable 1x18650 li-ion (3.7V nominal voltage)
-Rechargeable 2x16340 LiFePO4 (3.2V nominal voltage per cell)

It is NOT recommended to used 2x16340 li-ions (3.7V nominal voltage).  Fenix also recommend using 1x18650 li-ion with caution.  I believe this is because of the potential dangers of using li-ion batteries.  I am not 100% sure but I do not think this flashlight has overdischarge protection for li-ion batteries.  I was able to run down a 18650 li-ion down to 3.06V. I believe the light would have discharged the battery further, but I discontinued the test at this point.


The fenix PD32 has a fairly pronounced hot spot.  The central zone of the hot spot is slightly darker than the outer edge of the hot spot.  There are some rings in the beam, though this is not unusual considering it uses a smooth reflector.  Personally I don't find the rings in this flashlight too distracting.

I wouldn't consider the Fenix PD32 a throw based flashlight, however for a flashlight of this size, it is more on the throwy-side, as it has a fairly intense hotspot.

The tint in my sample is a nice clean cool-white when run on turbo.  On the lower levels there is a slight hint of green.  In current controlled lights it's not unusual to see a shift in tint at different drive levels.

Beamshots @ ~5m.  From the top:  Fenix PD32, Ultrafire 504B, Armytek Predator.  The armytek predator is considered a thrower, and you can notice the more intense hotspot.  The Ultrafire 504B is more floody.  The Fenix PD32 is somewhere in between.


Beamshots underexposed so you can better see the characteristics of the hotspot.  Order is same as the last set of beam shots


Outdoor beamshots.  Same order as the first set of beamshots.



There's really not a lot to criticise about the Fenix PD32, but there a few things I would like to see improved.

As mentioned previously the anti-roll ring does not work so well if surface is not flat and level.  Perhaps the ring could be modified slightly, to reduce the tendency to roll on an inclined surface.

I like using the 1x18650 li-ion format, as they are rechargeable and energy dense.  I would like confirmation on whether there is overdischarge protection when using 18650 batteries.  I have not read any where that there is overdischarge protection, so I assume it is not present.  In my tests, I managed to discharge a battery to 3.06V, which is considered overdischarged by most standards.  I feel overdischarge protection is important in flashlights that use li-ion batteries.

With presence of a forward clicky and a randomised strobe, I get the feeling that the Fenix PD32 is targeted towards law enforcement officers and military personnel.  The presence of a randomised strobe could be useful for such personnel, however, I assume they would want instant access to strobe.  In this flashlight, the light much first be turned on tailcap, before the strobe mode can be activated.  If you were going to use the strobe tactically to disorientate your target, I assume you would want to switch from off to strobe, instantly.

Myself, as a general-user, I would have preferred an light with a retruded tail button that allows the flashlight to tailstand.  However it is hard to cater for and satisfy everyone in the market.  I understand, having a retruded rubber button at the tailcap, would make it harder to use the momentary feature... and more so if you need to wear gloves.

Another personal preference, would like to see in the Fenix PD32, would be having a lower low mode.  The current low mode is fairly bright.  The difference between medium and high are not that pronounced.  If you are dropping the low mode, I would also consider dropping the medium mode too. 


I have to say, I quite like the Fenix PD32.  Though you can get smaller lights in the category, the Fenix is not overly large and does fit the hand comfortably.  I feel the UI is fairly easy to understand, especially compared to some previous generations of Fenix lights. (where there is a need to tighten/loosen the head for different mode lines and then half click the tail button to switch between outputs in that mode line)

I guess whether this light is right for you depends on what you are after.  If these following points suit you, then it would be a good flashlight to consider:
-if you want a light that has memory and remembers the last mode used
-if it's important for you to have a light with momentary-on, with a button that can be easily used with gloved hands
-you want something that is not overly large
-if you want a light that has a combination of flood and throw, with a tendency to having slightly more throw.
-you like to have strobe and sos modes, but prefer to have them hidden away.

It might not be for you if:
-if you want a light that has a lot of throw
-if you want a light that has a lot of flood
-if you want a light that can tail stand
-if you prefer a light without memory.  (Some people prefer the light to start up at the same mode, no matter what it was last used for.  It comes down to predictability)
-if you need instant access to strobe
-if you want a flashlight with absolutely no rings in the beam, and a smoother transition from hotspot to spill
-if you want a light with a lower low mode


Fenix Website:


Inside shot of the flashlight head

Inside shot of the tail cap

Friday, December 9, 2011

CVS Travel Dental Picks

Also during my trip in the USA, I came across these 'Traveller's Dental Picks'.  I bought these from a drug store called CVS, but I think I also saw similar items in Walgreens and Duane Reade.  These things seem to be more common the United States, but I've never seen them for sale in Australia.  Not sure if you can pick them up from other countries.

I assume these dental picks are meant to be used to scrape out bits of food stuck between your teeth.  These portable dental picks come with a keyring attachment, so if your fanatic about dental health, you could consider carrying one of these with your keys. 

The lid seems to click firmly and comfortably into the opposing segment.  Nevertheless, if your rough with your keys, I'd be worried about the lid coming off and poking your thigh through the pocket.

Lid with split ring attachment

When opened, the lid can be attached to the other end, extending the length of the handle.  With the handle extended, the length and width is reasonably comfortable to hold.  The soft silicone around the handle aids in comfort and grip.

Handle extended.  Soft orange silicone grip
These travellers dental picks were more of a novelty for me.  Not something I would actually carry around.  In terms of actual use, I find the metal picks a little sharp and not a huge fan.  If it comes to it, personally, I would prefer to use a tooth pick or floss.

I can't remember exactly what they cost, but I think they were $3-4 for a set of two.  Not too expensive!

Rough measurements (not including the split ring):  73mm length x 17mm diameter (measured from the widest section)

Width is the widest in the middle.


Can be purchased from CVS online store


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One Year Anniversary and Mydogtag Competition

Wow, guess what?  It's been just over a year since I started this blog!  During this time we've reached over 110,000 pageviews, with numbers gradually increasing as the months go by.  I've enjoyed sharing my various gadgets, toys and topics of interest with you guys, I just wish I had more time to post more regularly.  I hope you guys find my posts useful and interesting.  If there are certain things that you would like to see more of just let me know.

Another milestone for the blog, is that we've just gotten our first sponsor: .  Often we can invest a fair bit amount of money in our keychain and EDC gear.  Having some sort of identification on your keyring, at least offers a chance that you will get your gear back if you lose it.  Of course this will also depend if the finder of your gear is a honest kind-hearted soul (or not), but we can always be optimistic.  Check out the website, they have a large range of customisable dogtags!

To celebrate this sponsorship, is offering 5 free dogtags to readers of the blog.  I've haven't used this on the site before, but I thought this would also be a good opportunity to make the most of blogger's 'followers' gadget. 

Here are the details for entering the competition:
1. Email me at 99abc99[at]  (replace the [at] with @)
2. State in the subject line:  "mydogtag competition"
3. All emails will automatically receive one entry into the competition, whether you are a follower or not. 
4. If you are already a follower or become a follower, you will get two entries into the competition.  To become a follower click on the 'Join this site' button on the right-hand column.
5. If you are a follower, make sure you state your google 'display name' in the body of the email so I know to give you two entries.
5. Deadline to enter the draw will be 21th of December 2011.  Winners will be drawn randomly and contacted back via email.

Good luck!

Monday, November 28, 2011

ABITAX 0510 Tag Light

This was another toy I came across in the New York MoMa Store.  Initially, I was hesistant to buy this keychain light, at $18 USD I felt it was overpriced for what it was.  Nevertheless, I ended up getting it anyway. 

The ABITAX tag light is sort of similar to the 'fauxton' lights, but what intrigued me about it was the design and smaller size.  Instead of two CR2016 batteries which are found in the fauxton/photon lights, it uses two smaller CR2012 batteries.  As a result this, the light is slightly smaller and very lightweight.  In fact, it's probably the smallest and lightest flashlight I own.

Size comparison.  From the top: Photon Freedom, ABITAX Tag Light, Egear Pico Zipper Lite
Comparing the ABITAX tag light to my Photon Freedom, the ABITAX is slightly less bright.  However, it does have a nicer tint which is more blue as opposed to a purple tint.   The beam also has less rings and artefacts than the Photon Freedom.  The ABITAX has a clear frosted section over the LED; I believe this helps to smooth out the beam.

LED is protected by a frosted translucent cover.  However, the centre area is not frosted.

To operate the light; you push the red button to turn it on momentarily.  If you want to leave the light on, you need to slide the red button forward.  I do find the side button a little too sensitive to pressure, and it is likely to accidentally turn itself on.

Another downside of this light, is that it's not waterproof. 

On the upside, the batteries in the ABITAX are easier to change than the photon/fauxton lights.  There is a small panel on the back, that can be slid open to change the batteries.  No need for screwdrivers or other utensils.

Panel on the back is flipped open to change batteries

Another thing I like about this light is the clip that it comes with it.  It's really sturdy, lightweight and well made.  I wish I could get more of these to use on my keyring.

I really like the clip that comes with this light!

 Overall this keychain light has a few shortcomings, but if you are looking for something very small that weighs next to nothing... it might be something to consider.

Dioide: Nichia white LED
Size : H31.6mm X W14.7mm X D8mm
Weight : 4g including batteries and clip
Runtime:  15 hours (manufacturer claims)
Made in Japan
Manufacturer's Website:
Online source: MoMa Store

Some similar sized, previously reviewed, keychain lights that you could also consider are:
Egear Pico Zipper Lite
Streamlight Nano

Monday, November 21, 2011

Zipper Scissors

Zipper Scissors

As I mentioned in my last post I picked up a few keychain items, during my trip to the USA.  This is the first of three; a pair of zipper scissors.  Stayed tuned for the other items later.

I bought these scissors at the MoMA (museum of modern art) store in New York City for $10USD.  Initially, I thought these scissor seemed pretty cool, however after buying them and opening it up, I find them functionally hard to use.  When I squeeze the handles together, the scissor tends to get stuck, rather than springing back out.  I'm not sure if they are all like this, or if I got a dud.  On the upside, they are very light-weight and a novelty to have. 

The scissor blades extends and retracts via the button on the side.  When retracted, these scissors look like a large zipper pull.  On the packaging it suggest that you attach it to a keyring or jacket/bag zippers.  In fact, it also claims these scissors are so 'cool' they can be worn as a necklace!

Here a some rough measurements:  43(L) x 16(W) x 10(H) mm

Can be purchased from the MoMa store:  Mini zipper scissors