ThorFire S1 Diving Light

Thorfire S1 Diving Light

*S1 flashlight provided for review courtesy of Thorfire

Thorfire has updated an older model in their lineup of generally great
quality lights.  When they asked for voluntary reviewers of this new
“monster light” (their words, not mine) I was intrigued and volunteered.
Now I’ve read and seen generally good, if not glowing, reviews of this light and
can’t help but wonder…”what??”.

I’m just going to start off with what I don’t like about the light along with
negatives I’ve noticed about it.  Let me preface this all by stating that
in general, I’m a big fan of Thorfire lights.  Their S70 is one hell of a
well made and well performing flashlight and is one of my favorite torches I
have.  If this didn’t say “Thorfire” on the box and light I’d say you were
full of shit about it being one of theirs.  I’ve not seen a single review
(not that I recall reading, however) where this S1 received any negative
comments.  Perhaps I got the only lemon in the basket but I have a few
negatives to remark about.

Cons:

  • Let me start this off with a biggie to me.  Mine has quite a bit of
    water condensation under each of the lenses.  This is a diving light
    and it already looks like someone took it diving and it leaked, they sent it
    back to Thorfire, and Thorfire restocked it as new.  Everything seems
    extremely tightly screwed on and I could not get into this light at all.
    I gave up before damaging it.  Is it waterproof? Who knows?  It
    feels like it should be extremely waterproof judging by the body to head
    joint seal.  I can’t say the same about the lens bezels and seals.
    Can’t get them off and like I said, they have moisture already in them.
  • Very thin anodizing.  Many of the edges on the fins have anodizing
    worn off of them
  • Machining looks like the head and body were made in two different shops.
    Lots of machining grooves in areas of the head, in particular on the side
    wells between the finned areas.  Little gouges in the head that I
    rarely see on lights these days, even the budget ones.  The battery
    tube looks pretty good with nice anodizing but the lanyard holes are not
    chamfered on the edges and they are extremely sharp and I could see them
    cutting through a lanyard.  not what you want in a diving light where a
    lanyard is a must.
  • 2000 lumens makes a “monster light”?  Not in my world  Aside
    from the newer XP-L emitters, everything about this torch feels really
    dated.  It is a clone of the Niteye 30 from several years ago.
  • The magnetic control ring feels very crude.  Holding the light by
    the handle (as intended) the ring cannot be turned using your thumb like it
    can on nearly every other magnetic control ring flashlight I have (ThruNite,
    Jetbeam, Acebeam, etc).  You actually have to use two hands just to
    change modes.  If you hold it by the body like a regular flashlight you
    can find a position where two fingers can turn the ring.  It actually
    clunks going into the highest setting instead of a neat “snick” like other
    control ring lights I have.
  • The handle appears like it should be removable but my sample is cranked
    on hard.  I damaged the slots a bit trying to no avail to unthread the
    retaining bolt for it. The handle does have some side-to-side play if you
    twist the handle.
  • HEAVY!  This is the Mamma June of flashlights.  It is 685g
    (1.5lbs) and  without batteries and 865g with 4 cells.  That’s
    almost 2 lbs! (1.9)
  • The handle could be a little bigger.  My pinkie finger hangs off
    the back when I’m holding it.
  • No type of reverse polarity protection in the cell carrier itself.
    Now I don’t make a habit of installing batteries incorrectly but I would
    assume that a carrier would have some basic type of reverse polarity
    protection.  A tiny diode in the PCB in the carrier perhaps.
    Maybe none of them do and I’ve just been lucky enough to not be unlucky all
    these years.  I was talking to the little lady while loading cells into
    the cartridge and damned if I didn’t put the last one in backwards.
    Fortunately the cathode spring on that last cell was weaker than the rest
    and it went nuclear before melting completely and falling off before I could
    even yank the cell.  A trip to the soldering station and all was well
    again once a new spring was put in.  This last negative might be one
    that all cell carriers have,  I don’t know and I’m not about to test
    and find out.

Pros (it does have a few):

  • Just under 2000 lumens but the deep SMO reflectors give this S1 pretty
    good throw for a light like this.  I measured 39.6kcd and 398m of
    throw.  Not bad for a light that isn’t a thrower.  At least I
    don’t think it is.
  • No visible PWM.
  • Built like a tank (as it should be at 685g empty).  If I needed a
    torch to go into a fight with this is the one I’d probably grab first.
    You can cave a skull in with it.
  • Refreshingly simple UI with just three output levels.
  • Tail stands like a champ!  Wide base with tripod crenellations
    coupled with the mass it has makes this almost an earthquake proof
    tail-stander.
  • I really dig the color of the anodizing
  • The laser engraving for the logo is well done

Thorfire Product Page Copy

========================================

Specifications

Material: durable aircraft Aluminum
Modes: High/Mid/Low, 3 modes
Bulb Lifetime: With a lifespan of 100,000 hours
Battery: 4x 18650 3.7v batteries(Not Included)
Size: approx 155mm (Length) * 56mm(Body Diameter) * 73mm(Head Diameter)
Weight: 685-gram weight (Excluding the battery)

NOTE: The light was tightened for diving test. Please find a helper if you find
it difficult to unscrew the light.

Best Diving flashlight
This Diving Flashlight is an extremely versatile, Super Bright. The max diving
depth is 70m under water. It is fit for diving and scuba. Designed for the
professional divers or under water Photographer.

NOTE: Every flashlight passed our test under the same pressure of 100m
underwater.

Easy to Operate

The middle rotary switch controls all the functions, rotate switch in anti
clockwise direction, the light starts from High, keep rotating it goes to medium
and low. Rotate in clockwise direction to go back and turn off. Easy to be
controlled by operation of user.

Comfortable Appearance Design

It is make out of durable aircraft-grade aluminum body. The handle is wide
enough to hold on, very comfortable and convenient.

Intend Use
It is mainly used for diving works, Underwater fishing operations, Salvage
operations Underwater archaeological work, Teaching Scuba diving. Also it is an
ideal choice for outdoor activities, Such as fishing, diving, swimming, hiking,
sailing, caving, hunting and seeking survival without fear of rainy days.

Package includeds
1 * ThorFire S1 diving flashlight
1 * User Manual
2 * O-rings

=========================================

PERFORMANCE AND UI

Thorfire claims 2000 lumens for the S1 and they are pretty much spot on once
you consider variations in individual components and LEDs.  Throw is not
bad at just under 400m.  Low mode for a regular flashlight would be more of
a medium level but for a diving light this might be perfect and I suspect it is.
There is no visible PWM at all so that’s a good thing, right?

The user interface is really simple.  Hold the light by the handle and,
using your other hand (hopefully free), turn the silver control ring
counter-clockwise until it ratchets into Low mode. Turn it some more until it
pops into Medium.  Another crank in the same direction and it will clunk
into High mode.  Rotate the ring clockwise to reverse the modes and return
to the Off position.  There are no blinky modes.  No hidden modes
either.  Pure and simple.  I just wish the ring was more refined and
smoother.  It feels like operating an old dump truck transmission.

DETAILS AND CLOSER LOOK

^ A decent full-color box shall greet you when you open your delivery
Nice change from all the plain manila colored boxes with black only printing on
them that other lights come in.  I do kind of prefer the plain, straight to
business boxes though.  Still, the cardboard is thick and the box was only
lightly tuned up on the corners.

^ Main specifics are printed on the one side of the box.

^ Inside is a fitted foam liner that holds the light very securely.
Actually kind of pain to get the light out.  The only extras that come with
the S1 are two spare O-rings and an instruction manual written in English and
Chinese.



^ Decent, to the point instructions but wrong.  The manual says mode
order is from High to Low when turning the control ring counter-clockwise.
It’s actually from Low to High.

^ The S1 is a near exact clone of the Niteye 30 and has actually been in
production for a few years.  It’s a very dated design, IMO, and a bit long
in the tooth.

^ I actually do like the look of the battery tube and tripod crenellations in
the tail cap.  It feels good in the hand but is a bit slippery and
definitely requires the use of the handle.

^ Three Cree XP-L emitters are the only apparent update to this model.
The reflectors are very deep and smooth.  They actually throw very well but
the spill is not too smooth and has defined rings of brightness as it fades out
to the edges.

^ The individual bezels are stainless steel and extremely beefy.  They
are also sealed from the factory and I was unable to remove them without risk of
damaging the light.

^ Here is where the big issue comes in and why this, more than any other
reason, is why I’m giving this sample a terrible review.  Note the
highlighted text in the instruction manual above.  Apparently Thorfire puts
each light through a water test before approving it for sale.

^ Every single reflector and lens in my sample has heavy moisture inside it
behind the lens.  Clicking the pic and viewing a larger image will make it
easier to see.  It obviously did not pass the diving test but went
unnoticed by their QC.  The instructions also state that the lights are
sealed at the factory which is why I am unable to open anything other than the
battery compartment.

^ The handle is fairly comfortable and is almost long enough to fit my hand.
I get 3 and a half fingers in it at best.

^ The handle appears that it would be removable based on the large
double-slotted bolt cap securing the handle to the head.  It should
actually be removable with nothing more than a large coin.  I tried budging
the bolt with both a quarter and a large screw driver but when I only ended up
marring the aluminum I gave up.  Not worth messing it up.

^ The fins on the corners of the head are nicely machined but the anodizing
is super thin and bare aluminum is exposed on many of the edges.

^ The control ring blends in nicely with the head of the light.  Small
surface imperfections in the host made prior to anodizing can be found if you
look carefully.

^ Not the grippiest design machined into the battery tube but it does feel
good in the hand and looks pretty snazzy.

^ The S1 tail stands like a champ thanks to the 3 crenellated “legs” on it.
The large lanyard cutouts are not chamfered on the opening edges and are very
sharp.  They could easily wear and cut through a lanyard cord which I would
imagine anyone using the light diving would have on it.

^ With the battery tube removed we can see the back of the head.  A
large anode spring sits in the center with a large, plastic insulating ring is
pressed in tightly.  There are two holes that look like grip points to
unscrew it but it only spins and won’t unscrew to see the driver board.  I
suppose I could have forced the issue but would only have destroyed it.  As
it is I gouged it up a bit when the needle-nose pliers slipped repeatedly once
the ring refused to turn further.



^ The battery cartridge holds four 18650 cells.  It sits about flush
with the battery tube with only the anode contact sticking out.

^ Inside the tube you can see the ground ring where the anodizing is machined
off allowing the ground current from the battery carrier to the body of the
light.

^ The cells are arranged in parallel (4P).

^ As you can see there is plenty of room for any 18650 cell you choose to
use, even the longest protected cells.  I measured the maximum length that
would fit and with the spring fully compressed a 72mm cell will actually fit
inside.

^ Another look at the carrier without cells.

^ The control ring has two large “nubs” sticking out from it for gloved hands
to easily grab the ring and turn it.

^ The majority of weight if behind the handle.  It feels balanced when
held by the handle.

^ Compared to a few other lights to get a feel for the size.  It seems
on the long side for a compact triple but it is an old design and shows it’s
age.

CONCLUSION

I’m sorry, Thorfire, I can’t recommend this light based on my sample.
It has some good points but there are just too many negative aspects in general.
Enjoy the review folks, this could be my last Thorfire light that the
manufacturer sends me for review.  I hope they take my criticism to heart
and work to improve on the points I brought up.  It’s constructive
criticism.  I realize that there have been plenty of great reviews for this
light but I honestly don’t understand how.  Thorfire is capable of making
some extremely impressive lights and I know they are better than this.
It’s an old design and, frankly, I’d say it’s time to put it out to pasture and
come up with a better one.  I know you can do it!