TaoTronics ThorLite TT-TF01 (2013-04-24)

TaoTronics ThorLite TT-TF01

TT-TF-01 with replacement parts photo 008_zpsa1a65a7b.png

Manufacturer’s link: www.taotronics.com

PROS

  • Phenominal build quality
  • Type III hard anodization.
  • No blinky modes
  • Reversable/removeable pocket clip
  • Multiple cell configurations. Runs in single or double cell modes
  • Tailstands solidly
  • Truly waterproof
  • Decent output on 2*AA or 14500 (AA/NiMH,/Li-Ion compatability)
  • Comes with smooth and crenelated bezels
  • Excellent packaging with manual, holster, good lanyard, extra bezel, spare o-rings, spare switch boot

CONS

  • Price a little higher than most budget lights
  • Output not great on single AA/NiMH
  • Tail switch can be weak but is easily replaced.

Manufacturer’s Specifications

Features:
•Super bright Cree XM-L T6 LED with an average 50,000 hours lifespan.
•Replaceable stainless steel strike bezel for personal protection.
•Tail standing / Candle mode.
•Three modes fits multiple environment requirements.
•Premium Type Ⅲ hard-anodized anti-abrasive finished.
•Tactical switch with momentary-on function.
•Compatible with multiple batteries,both AA & 14500 battery.
•Practical body clip made from durable steel for convenient carrying.
•Waterproof rating IPX-8 (up to 2 meters /30minutes)..
•Anti-reverse protection and low voltage protection circuit.
•Full orange peel reflector with flawless wide beam.

Specifications:
Material: Aircraft Aluminum alloy T6061
Dimension: 159mm (L) x 24mm (D)
Weight: 90g (exclude battery)
Color: Black
LED: Cree XM-L T6
Battery Type: 2 x AA , 1 x AA or 1 x 14500 battery
Reflector: Orange peel
Switch: Tactical switch in tail cap
Beam shot Intensity: 200m
Waterproof: IPX-8

Operating Modes:
When using double AA batteries
Low: 16 Lumens (45 hours)
Mid: 50 Lumens (8 hours)
High: 180 Lumens (2 hours)

When using single AA batteries
Low: 9 Lumens (20 hours)
Mid: 46 Lumens (4 hours)
High: 168 Lumens (1 hour)

When using 1x 14500 battery cell
Low: 13 Lumens (50 hours)
Mid: 159 Lumens (4 hours)
High: 325 Lumens (1 hour)

(Please do not use more than 1x 14500 battery cell, as the high voltage will damage the Cree LED.)

Operation:
•Half press (no click) the button at the tail cap, the flashlight will be temporarily on at high mode.
•Half press (no click) the button again, the flashlight will be temporarily on at next mode.
•Full press (click) the button, the flashlight turned on and the mode will be confirmed.

GENERAL

I was contacted by a representative of TaoTronics by the name of Heather who asked if I would mind reviewing a couple of their lights.  I was sent this light, the Thorlite TF-01 (the light being reviewed here) as well as the TT-TF03 (which will be reviewed soon).  I recognized them both as rebadged Balder flashlights.  This one in particular is the rebadged Balder BD-1P which is not a bad thing to at all to be.  Having never owned a Balder light, I was was very eager to give these the shakedown as I’ve heard nothing but good things about them overall.  It appears that TaoTronics has changed nothing in these except for their lasered logo being on it instead of Balder’s.  I also prefer the location for TaoTronic’s logo better than Balder’s.

Pretty much we all know that Balder makes a quality light.  The only I’ve heard of them is that they are a little pricier than the competition.  I am happy to say that while these lights are a couple years old, they still hold up well to the standards of more recent lights.  While not excelling in output, they are competitive with other 2*AA flashlights like the Shiningbeam Caveman (290 lumens) and the Fenix LD20 (only 170 lumens) when it comes to performance but where the TT-TF01 really surpasses them is in quality of construction and finish as well as in versatility.

This little light will work on any AA sized cell(Drunk you can stick in it, which is something the Caveman and LD20 cannot do.  Want a small 2*AA light that pumps out 265 OTF lumens?  You got it!

Like the idea of being able to run 2*AA cells in an emergency but prefer a single 14500 light for your EDC duty?  You got it along with 417 OTF lumens to boot!

What about emergencies when the power goes out and you  need batteries for your light?  Only one AA cell you could find in the junk drawer?  No worries there, either.  The TT-TF01 runs fine off a single AA cell, too.

Prefer to clip your lights inside your pocket for EDC?  The TT-TF01 has a nice little clip.

Need your hands free to work on stuff but the pocket clip is mounted to the tailcap?  No worries!  The clip on the TT-TF01 is reversible and, BTW, you needn’t worry about scratching up the finish moving the clip from one end to the other and back.  The finish on this thing is tougher than nails.  Stick the pocket clip onto the head and clip it to the brim of your ball cap.  BAM!

Hate pocket clips all together?  Take it the hell off!

PERFORMANCE

I kind of figured the TT-TF01 wouldn’t fair so well against the competition in it’s price range when it came to performance.  I’m happy to report that it held it’s ground pretty well.  First, let me say that the beam on the light is extremely nice.  The reflector is OP  Which gives it a smooth, creamy spill with a nice hotspot in the middle.  The main beam concentration has about a 15 degree spread with the overall spill at 60 degrees.  It’s a nice all around beam.

On 2*AA it managed 265 OTF lumens in my Integrated Sphere.  On a single 14500 it pushes 417 OTF lumens.  This is after 30 seconds runtime.  Performance on a single AA/NiMH is nothing to brag about but it gets the job done and in a pinch when you are scrounging for batteries to run the light and you can only find a single AA in the junk drawer it will still give you 81 OTF lumens to work with.  Let’s take a look at all the numbers.

OTF Output

Cell/Cells Low Medium High
1*AA/NiMH 5.3 29.5 81
1*14500 21.5 141 417
2*AA/NiMH 14.5 86.5 265

Lux after 1 minute

Cell(Drunk Lux@1m Throw (meters)
1*AA 840 58
2*AA 2630 102.5
1*14500 4110 128.2

TaoTronics also states that the TF-01 is IPX-8 (2m/30 minutes) and I have no problem believing it.  I left my sample in a bowl of water turned on and promptly forgot about it until 1.5 hours later when I suddenly remembered I left it submerged.  It was fine.  Not a spec of moisture got into the light.  This light is tight as a frog’s arsehole.

CONSTRUCTION

Aside from a few specs I noted during my teardown, I will simply allow my photos to do most of the talking.  I will only narrate when necessary to elaborate on what you may be seeing.

Noted Specs:

LED MCPCB diameter:  16 mm

Switch diameter:  9.5 mm

Lens diameter & thickness:  20 mm x 1.89 mm

Lens o-ring diameter and thickness:  20 mm x 1 mm

Reflector diameter & depth:  18 mm x 16.35 mm

I received my TF-01 in the tasteful package below.  I’ve seen this packaging before on milling bits I’ve purchased.  I think it’s a great idea to use them for flashlights. Smile

 photo df87c550-e737-4c43-bca5-76542320a863_zpsbf2d6c30.jpg

Squeezed into that little plastic box is the light, it’s holster, a very nice paracord lanyard, a smooth bezel, a couple spare o-rings, and a spare switch boot along with a very nice manual.

Packaged item & accessories photo 007_zps0a623e9b.png

Here is the light with battery extension and stainless steel crenelated bezel installed.

TT-TF-01 with replacement parts photo 008_zpsa1a65a7b.png

Here is the light with the smooth anodized aluminum bezel installed.

TT-TF-01 with smooth ano bezel installed photo 009_zps3c3c4cf4.png

A few glamour shots of the light from various angles.  The machining on this light is top notch and rather exceptional.  All knurling is just right, the threads are immaculate, and the anodizing is flawless.  HAIII on this light is top notch.  I’ve removed and replaced the clip a dozen times on each end and it shows no sign of wear or scratching.  Anything you see in the pics is dust or dirt as the body and finish is turly flawless.

ThorLite TT-TF-01 front 3/4 view photo 010_zpseb8ee1d2.png

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ThorLite TT-TF-01 rear 3/4 view photo 011_zpsfffe381d.png

Here we get a pretty fair representation of theanodizing on the TT-TF01.  Really nice!  The rubber on the switch boot is thick and sturdy while still giving good feel from the switch.

ThorLite TT-TF-01 rear angle view photo 021_zpsa347dd12.png

 photo 486f0e7b-6fc5-4e09-80a3-b78ef7e66ac0_zps6e1460f7.jpg

Laser etching is clean and heavy.  Looks great!

 photo 8ed9ba0f-4c3d-4556-a19f-3de19827a122_zps70ab4029.jpg

The wide tail cap is wide for tail standing stability yet notched for easy finger access to the tail switch.

 photo 5e000a0a-cc7d-4a9b-9511-92b4c6841c5a_zpsdc2c75b8.jpg

Knurling on the head is a perfect combination of agressiveness while still being smooth and easy on the pocket.

ThorLite TT-TF-01 close-up head detail photo 014_zps2374e045.png

Here it is in single cell “shorty” configuration.  One off the nicest looking AA light I’ve ever seen.  I’ve always loved the look of the Balder BD-1 and obviously, the TT-TF01 has the same great looks.

ThorLite TT-TF-01 front 3/4 view in shorty mode photo 023_zps5dfa3ad8.png

Mild OP reflector gives a super smooth, useful beam.

ThorLite TT-TF-01 front view photo 013_zps47780552.png

Another shot of the TT-TF01 in shorty mode along with the extension tube.  When the extension is not on there are no indicators on the light as to the manufacturer’s name.

 photo 24516787-9834-49b3-b385-981fda33bc07_zps622a7d8d.jpg

Clean ribbing on the main body give great feel.

ThorLite TT-TF-01 main body detail photo 015_zps57239d7e.png

A look at the TT-TF01 in shorty mode with the pocker clip on the tail…

ThorLite TT-TF-01 side view in shorty mode photo 020_zps74eb8e0d.png

Another with the clip mounted to the head…

 photo 5c914649-f27d-44b7-ab6b-f7baa674dcc6_zps067dbe84.jpg

And for those of you who detest clips, here it is without one.

ThorLite TT-TF-01 side view in shorty mode photo 018_zps4f38d267.png

The bezel is easily removed to swap out without effecting the lens and it’s seal.  Threading throughout the light is not square but nearly so.  All of it deep, clean and smooth.

ThorLite TT-TF-01 head with bezel removed photo 031_zps953e273b.png

The lens and reflector are installed from the rear.  If you had to you could use the TT-TF01 without any bezel at all but I wouldn’t recommend it.

ThorLite TT-TF-01 with bezel removed photo 029_zpsc41e9095.png

Both bezels are included.  Some folks like stealth and others prefer a little flash.

Crenelated Stainless steel bezel and smooth anodized aluminum bezel photo 033_zps5d61ffe8.png

The pocket clip is of course removable.  The crenelated bezel is not aggressive and is easy on the pocket.

ThorLite TT-TF-01 removable clip and interchangeable bezels photo 032_zps3512341b.png

With the head removed we can see the rear of the reflector.  The reflector threads into the head to press against the lens and o-ring.

Rear of head removed from main body photo 037_zps88659cfa.png

The “run” you see here is from the chroming process.  The part of the reflector that matters is perfectly finished.

Rear of head removed from the main body photo 036_zps697beb9c.png

Here is a view of the reflector removed from the head.

Reflector, lens & o-ring removed from head photo 040_zps47677261.png

Head internals layed out…

Reflector, lens & o-ring removed from head photo 039_zpsba28cc85.png

Clean threading all the way though.

Smooth anodized threads inside head. photo 041_zps64e07060.png

The XM-L is protected from shorting to the reflector thanks to this nylon isolator ring.

Main body/pill in candle mode photo 035_zpsb4860432.png

The entire silver part of the head is the pill.  It is anodized aluminum.

Main body/pill in candle mode photo 034_zps9c42b7dd.png

With the pill removed we can see a nylon bushing holding a nice brass anode connector for the battery.

 photo 95e6751e-ec68-46a8-af82-e8ba38f5f792_zpsb824468b.jpg

Removing this bushing we can see the backside of it where there is a spring that pressed against the positive contact of the driver.  When installed and tightened, the spring is full compressed against the driver.  I doubt it’s even needed except as a safegaurd to ensure connection if it should work loose.

 photo 8cc2c2c1-fb2b-4b82-acb8-fa854ff74551_zps27aeb086.jpg

Here we have a little better look at the threading where the body meets the extension tube/tailcap.  The anodized threads at the rear of the body allow lockout if needed so the light can’t accidentally be turned on.  All o-rings fit tight and are perfectly sized for their duties.  All threads were lightly lubed from the factory as well.

View of main battery tube threading photo 062_zpsad42af45.png

Here we see the back of the driver.

View of rear of driver photo 047_zps33cef214.png

All the extra “flaps” on the pill act as finning for increased surface area and cooling ability while keeping the light non-aggressive/tactical looking.

View of rear of driver photo 046_zps8515300f.png

Body tube is thick and sturdy at all threaded joints.  The front of the body tube, where it joins with the pill/head is unanodized for greater electrical contact area.  Also, since the driver is shielded with the nylon ring, all current is passed through the threads themselves instead of the face of the body tube.

 photo 455d7b91-90b3-4a28-b5e0-75d809bab8f6_zps2abd20b7.jpg

 photo ab7ffc53-c5fa-47c2-95ca-e10b8cab44ec_zps4e1300a9.jpg

A better look at the extension battery tube.

Battery extension tube photo 028_zpscc9b370b.png

Thick walls and flawless machining throughout.

Front of battery extension tube photo 027_zpscf0684ba.png

Anodized threads for lock-out ability.

Rear of battery extension tube photo 025_zpsd000e8f4.png

Very thick tube walls for strength.

Rear of battery extension tube. photo 026_zpsdf18bce8.png

The inside of the tailcap is protected by another nylon bushing that threads into the tail.  Once removed you can see the solid piece that threads into the tailcap.  This piece holds the small switch itself.  The nylon ring itself holds the ground contacts of the switch against the body of the switch housing.

 photo 2ce01eac-f617-4a31-b22b-b2dcd1bb9f35_zps38829027.jpg

Here the switch housing is removed and you can see ow thick this piece is.

Internal switch housing photo 186b5063-7f3d-4276-a2c0-db95c5d57d3e_zpsc048ca49.jpg

With the switch housing removed we can see the backend of it along with the switch button showing.  We can now push on the switch button and push the switch itself out of the housing…

View of switch housing with switch button showing photo 063_zpsbbf01d9b.png

Revealing the switch itself.  I see the switch itself as the only Achillles heel of this light.  It is easily replaced, however, with a standard 9.5mm switch that is available from several sources, one of which is CNQG.

9mm forward-clicky switch photo 9c7140cb-6949-4c8f-8f37-8419d712b6f4_zps3b71cc08.jpg

Here are all the tail components together.  You can see the deep threading throughout.

Tailcap and complete internal components photo 68d18973-85dd-4c6a-95b3-429f1427a785_zps56a97d81.jpg

A shot of the tailcap closeup.  No rough edges anywhere and no missing ano either.

Outer tailcap photo 95e9b422-680e-4507-87db-32c1530539e2_zpsb0cfd3b5.jpg

A peek inside from the back.

A look into the tailcap housing photo 057_zpsbe1d8656.png

ThorLite TT-TF-01 exploded view photo 059_zps67cab705.png

Here is a beam profile pic.  The center hot spot is about 15 degrees and the total spill is 60 degrees.

10 degree hotspot and 60 degrees of smooth spill photo 8dafa8ca-8cc4-4007-ae8b-8be8a5dd99dd_zps5c8ba4ec.jpg

Beamshot from 1 meter.  Yardstick on the wall for scale.

 photo 010_zpsd4e5d208.png

Can’t claim it’s waterproof without testing it.  Initial dunking and it’s a go…

Waterproof indeed! photo 006_zps30bf5831.png

1.5 hours later and still going strong!  Not a trace of water anywhere inside.  As tight as I figured it was.

CONCLUSION

Mac Approved!  Highly recommended if you want a quality light and aren’t afraid to spend $45 or so (street price).  Build quality is superb and output is competitive with other lights in it’s class.  Overall I have to say this light, while not exactly a budget light, is a very good value.  It’s versatility sets it apart from most of it’s competitors.

I would give it 4 of 5 stars with only it’s price and it’s potentially weak switch keeping it from getting 5 stars.

One thought on “TaoTronics ThorLite TT-TF01 (2013-04-24)

  1. Pingback: TaoTronics ThorLite TT-TF01 | Johnny Mac Reviews

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