Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DQG Tiny AAA! (Initial thoughts and impressions)



D.Q.G. TINY AAA FLASHLIGHT

Specifications:

--Using CREE XP-E R2 cool white LED
--Material: HaIII Alu / 304 SS
--Switch: Head twist on/off
--Two modes of brightness: Lo>Hi
--Current drawn: Lo 25mA>Hi 210mA
--Runtime: 60mins on hi; 10hrs on lo, with quality AAA
--Using PMMA lens, Angle:15 degree
--With powerful magnet in the tailcap.
--Luminous O ring on the head
--Battery: AAA (put the battery upside down into this light)
--Anti-reverse protection
--Ashproof and waterproof
--Size: 61.5mm×12.5m
--Weight:Aluminum version 8g; SS version 15g

Available in stainless steel or aluminium (Black, Ti-coloured, natural)
NOT COMPATIBLE WITH 10440 LI-ION
Cost: $25 from cnqualitygoods


Background:

I believe the 'DQG tiny AAA' initially emerged on the Chinese flashlight forums; shoudian.com .  It was put together in a small workshop by someone based in china.  When a cpf member posted some photos of this light on candlepowerforums, a lot of interest developed from the non-chinese literate flashaholics. 

Initially, the light was only available from taobao, which is similar to a Chinese version of ebay.  Unfortunately to buy from taobao, you need to pay with a Chinese credit card.  This made it extremely difficult to buy the light if you live outside of china.  Thankfully, since then, a dealer for the light has emerged on cpfmarketplace.

Keep in mind, When critiquing the light, you do have to consider this is a small project with limited funding behind it.

Initial Thoughts and Impressions:

-I received the natural aluminium version of this light.  The aluminium weighs less than stainless steel, but it is uncoated, so I do not have to worry about the annodisation coming off.  Black and Ti-coloured, would be HA III coated. 

-The build of this light feels like it lacks a bit of polish.  You can see the machining marks, and there are a few sharp edges that would be nicer if they were smoothed off. 

-This light is the smallest AAA light I have come across.  I believe the fenix e05 and nextorch K1 come close, however both these lights only have one output and their max output is significantly less.  While the specifications say it is 61.5mm, when I measure it, it is actually ~60mm when fully closed.  Impressive for a AAA light!  It is also thinner than some other AAA lights as well.

Preon 1 (clicky), Preon 1 (twisty), Fenix L0D, DQG tiny AAA, Modamag Drake


 -The lens/optic/reflector in the DQG tiny AAA is quite different from my other AAA lights.  It results in a sharply-defined large hotspot, with limited brightness to the spill.  Comparing it to a preon 1 (neutral XPG R4); the preon has a smaller hotspot which is slightly less intensive.  The preon has a brighter spill and a more gradual transition between the spill and hotspot.

Beamshots taken ~5m from curtains.  Please ignore the reflection from the glass table.  ISO 200, F2.8, 0.5"

DQG Tiny AAA - High
Preon 1 - High

DQG Tiny AAA -Low
Preon 1 - Medium
Preon 1 - Low
 -I do not have any instruments to measure lumen ratings accurately.  However by eye, based on a ceiling bounce, the DQG tiny AAA has a similar max ouput to the preon 1 (70 OTF lumens).  The preon 1 may be a fraction brighter, which is expected as it has an XPG-R4 (as compared to XPE-R2 in the DQG).  The low mode of the DQG sits somewhere between the low and medium modes of the preon 1 (1.8 and 8.5 OTF lumens).

-This light is current controlled, no PWM!  Love that! 

-This light works as a two mode flashlight: 

Fully tightened (off) -> slightly loosened (high) -> loosened more (low) ->loosened even further (off)

I wouldn't recommend having the head loosened for off-mode.  It is quite unstable and only requires a few more turns before the head will fall off completely.

Having said that, I would try to avoid over tightening the light when turning it off.  If you tighten it too hard, there is a tendency for the spring to compress the negative end of the battery.  My sanyo eneloop AAA, now has a small dent on the negative terminal.

-The head is quite small which makes it hard to use one handed

-There is a magnet at the tail end of the light.  This might come in handy to stick the light to the fridge or other metal surfaces.  Given a choice though, I'd rather not have it.  I find some of my keychain clips/split rings get stuck to the magnet.  I'd also be concerned keeping it near magnetically sensitive objects, such as credit cards or CD/DVDs.

Tail-end and magnet

 -The lanyard/split-ring attachment is fairly thin and may be a potential weak point.  The attachment is actually retractable;  if you do not need it, you can push it in and have it recessed.

Thin O-ring attachment point

-There is a glow-in-the-dark o-ring at the head.  It looks sorta funky, however, it doesn't stay glowing for very long. I would not rely on using this feature to locate it in the dark.

luminous glow-in-the-dark O-ring


-My sample has a small hole/spot in the reflector.  It would be interesting to see what the after sales support is like, on this issue...

Black speck in the reflector (just above the LED)

Conclusions:

For $25 shipped the DQG tiny AAA is not an overly expensive light.  The build
quality is not as good as some dedicated manufacturers, however considering its a small project with limited budget, its not too bad.  The size of this light is impressive, its the smallest AAA that I can find available.  That it manages to fit a driver which offers a high and low mode, makes it even more impressive.

I don't think cnqualitygoods has much more stock of the DQG tiny AAA.  However keep your eyes on the cpfmarketplace (dealers corner), there is meant to be a model coming out next year with an XPG LED and updated driver.

There has also been a run of the DQG tiny with a 2/3AAA tube.  These run on specialised 2/3AAA sized NiMH batteries, further reducing the length of this light.  Hopefully there will be another run of these in future, as well.


This light was purchased from:
http://www.cpfmarketplace.com/mp/showthread.php?242840-cnqualitygoods.com-Preorder-D.Q.G-Tiny-AAA-CREE-R2-EDC-Flashlight-The-Last-batch

Original thread from shoudian:
http://www.shoudian.com/thread-141138-1-1.html

Additional Photos:



8 comments:

  1. The magnet is not firmly attached, and given a correct metal surface will come out loose and stick to the metal. Not sure if this is an issue with my light, but I could take it out easily. :)

    -Amarendra (choombak on cpf/mp)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi thanks for your tip. I have a feeling mine won't come out that easily. I may try and pry it out with a small screwdriver, if it really bothers me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great review - cant wait for mine to come

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just an update with the black spot/hole in the reflector. This is the reply message I got from the dealer:

    I contacted the maker. He said it's because the light has no reflector and the lens can not hide the wire.Most of this version have this problem, but it dont influent the beam.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love mine and want to buy more

    ReplyDelete
  6. "I'd also be concerned keeping it near magnetically sensitive objects, such as credit cards or CD/DVDs"

    CDs/DVDs are not magnetically sensitive, they are read and written optically with lasers. Just a handy tip :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. @ Protip

    You are right indeed, thanks for point that out. I was getting it mixed up with other storage mediums, such as hard drives and floppy disks (who uses them these days anyway?)

    ReplyDelete
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