Trustfire TR-J16 (2013-03-14)

Trustfire TR-J16 Review

*Flashlight generously provided by Aurabuy.com

Manufacturer Specifications:

Brand: Trustfire
Model: TR-J16
Emitter Brand: Cree
LED Type: XM-L
BIN: T6
Color: Cool White
Number of Emitters: 5
Voltage Input: 7.2~12V
Battery Configuration: 2 x 18650 / 3 x 18650 (not included)
Circuitry: Digital regulated 5000mA
Brightness: 4000LM
Runtime: 1~2 hours
Number of Modes: 5
Mode Arrangement: Hi 100% > Mid 45% > Lo 10% > Fast Strobe > SOS
Mode Memory: Yes
Switch Type: Reverse clicky
Switch Location: Tailcap
Lens: Coated Glass Lens
Reflector: Aluminium Smooth/SMO
Accessories: 1 x Carrying bag
  1 x Extension tube
  1 x Chinese / English user manual
Dimensions: 9.06 in x 2.48 in x 2.48 in (23.0 cm x 6.3 cm x 6.3 cm)
Weight: 15.52 oz (440 g)
Price: $55.98
Provided by: Aurabuy.com

Additional Measurements taken by me:

Lens (diameter x height) 59mm x 2mm
Driver diameter 25mm
Switch diameter: 20mm
Reflector diameter: 59mm
Individual reflector cup diameter: 22.5mm
Switch boot (diameter x height) 16mm x 8mm

A good, solid, well made light with a solid 2439 OTF lumens, it’s Achilles heel is it’s weak anodization.  Packaged with the extension tube inside the bubble bag with the main body, the body suffered from scratches in the finish where the ano was completely rubbed off of some edges.  In measuring dimensions with my micrometer I caused a few unintended scratches that never should have scratched it.  Not a light for the picky of finish or lovers of shelf queens, this light is one for die hard users that need lots of flood in a tough rugged light that care more about function than looks.  Consider it battle scarred after regular use and where it proudly.  It’s a man’s light and made for going, not showing.

Performance:

Output on high is a relatively healthy 2439 OTF lumens.  Doing ceiling shots the output is nearly identical to my original Skyray King in hotspot and brightness of spill except that the spill fades out nicely instead of having a defined edge like the spill of the SRK.  The light warms up quickly on high and remains fairly stable indicating good thermal management.  Here are the output numbers I attained using my Integrated Sphere and lux meter.

Mode OTF Lumens Tail Amperage Amps/LED
High 2,439 2.37 x 3 = 7.11A 1.42
Medium 1,479 1.475 x 3 = 4.425 .885
Low 330 .370 x 3 = 1.11 .222

Measurements below taken at 2 meters

Lux @ 1m 25,400
Throw Distance 318.75 meters

In the pic below, you can see the scratches around the Trustfire logo in the center of the battery tube.  The 3×18650 format means it’s a long plunger style and while it will work on 2×18650, I wouldn’t recommend it and will explain later.  I think the color is awesome and this type of gray is my favorite for flashlights.  Black Shadow uses this shade and it’s one of many reasons why I love their lights so much.  If Trustfire had only gotten the thickness of the anodizing correct so it would be as durable as the finish on the Black Shadows it’d be a real winner.  The light is waterproof for at least a couple feet and it tail stands as well as a tall, top heavy light possibly can.  It’d make a great outdoor hunting and camping type of light.

The head is quite solid and heavy with ample fins for good heat disapation.  It gets quite warm when running and rather quickly, too.  The light is rather front heavy, even with all 3 cells but it gives a comforting feeling when walking the dog at night or braving the dark, zombie infested areas of my neighborhood.  I think I’d actually choose this over a 3D Maglite if walking in a dark, unsafe alley.  It would make a great skull crusher.

The bezel is polished stainless steel and lightly crenelated.  Lots of surface area to wick away the head and tons of mass to handle the heat of 5 XM-L emitters.

The finned stainless ring at the front of the battery tube serves, not only a cosmetic purpose but helps to strengthen the joint where the battery tube threads into the head, not that it needs it as the tube is quite thick where it threads in.

Here you can see where the majority of the scratches were when I received it.  Had I paid for this light I would have insisted on replacement but fortunately for me, this is a review sample and the light will enjoy hardy use as my backdoor yard sweeper and bumps in the night light.  I also admit it’s nice not having to worry about those first scratches.  Quite a relief actually Smile

The machining on the light is actually very nice.  The grooves provide decent grip while giving the TR-J16 a bit of individuality in a market filled with black lights and the usual knurling.

The tailcap is agressively machined but my example suffered from some scratches as well.

A very thick. beefy 16mm boot covers the switch.

Time for the fun stuff – measuring and taking things apart.  Sort of.

The head measures 63mm in diameter.

…and is 60mm from the bezel to the end of the fins.

The reflector is extremely solid and heavy.  Unfortunately I was unable to remove the reflector and pill, hence the “sort of” comment earlier.  I’m pretty sure the reflector threads into the head but may be glued in with thermal epoxy just to be sure it doesn’t come loose.  Short of breaking out the large pipe wrench, I wasn’t able to loosen it from the front.

On a plus, the ano on the head seems much thicker and harder than that on the body and tail.  The threads are anodized and quite smooth. The o-ring seals nicely with the bezel.

The reflector itself is just shy of 59mm.

The individual reflector cups are roughly 22-23mm across.

The stainless steel bezel is quite nice.  The threads are clean and the o-ring is in the proper place – between the glass and the front of the bezel.

The o-ring for the glass could be a couple mm larger in diameter.  You can see below how once the glass was removed the o-ring pulled back from it’s groove.  When reassembling it I just prestretched the o-ring a little dropped it back in the groove and it all went together perfectly.

The lens is regular uncoated glass.  mine had a strange fracture along the edge.  It is almost as if the lens was comprised of layers as the crack cannot be felt from either side of the glass.  Fortunately due to the design of the reflector and the fact that it still smooth, waterproffing is unaffected as is the light output itself.

The lens itself is roughly 59mm across and 2mm thick.

Onto the rear of the head.  The threads here are clean and deep.  The machining itself is decent.  You can see some slight chatter from the thread cutting but they work very smoothly and have little play.  The driver is behind a thick brass threaded ring and the brass contact point is actually a very thick, solid machined spring cap.  Not a flimsy stamped cup like is found on most budget lights.

With the contact ring removed we can see the 25-26mm driver hiding deeper in the head.  The contact spring is pleasantly heavy and looks like it could handle the amperage.  It is soldered nicely onto the center of the driver board.  Unfortunately it is press fit and rather tightly, too.  It may even be epoxied from behind.  Try as I might I was unable to pop the driver out to have a look at it and the inside of the pill.  I have a feeling (positive actually) that the reflector is bolted to the pill from behind but without getting the driver out I was unable to get any further into the head. Sad

Here is what the driver contact ring looks like

All is pretty well made.  Negative contact is passed from the outer ring to the driver via the large spring.  It works.  The positive contact button is held in place by a white nylon spacer.  You can see how thich the spring cap is.  It is actually a machined piece and not just stamped out of a sheet disk.

The nylon centering ring is also threaded and very thick.  Everything in this light appears to be overbuilt and that’s a good thing.

The threads where the battery tube meet with the head are very deep and clean.  The stainless outer ring threads onto the tube and is sealed at the rear by an o-ring you can’t see yet.  The o-ring visible seats very snugly against the base of the head and seals well.

The tube walls are 5mm thick and extremely solid.

Here is the body with the ring removed.  You can see the o-ring that seals the base of the ring.

The body is 27mm thick.

On to the tailcap.

Inside is pretty much the same as what is up front minus the large outer spring.

The needle nose pliers helps unscrew the innards of the tailcap.  Again, the spring cap here is machined from a chunk of brass.  Everything else is standard build stuff.

The threads on the tailcap and extension tube of my TR-J16 were very dirty and had slight traces of fine milling trash.  Cleaned up they weren’t half bad.

THe switch has a 20mm board and according to the switch stamping it’s 1.5A rated but at 250v.  It does seem to handle this current just fine though.

16mm switch boot.  Very thick and sturdy without being too stiff to press.  The switch feel on the light is very good.

The TR-J16 came with a sturdy holster, a couple spare o-rings, an instruction manual and a warranty card.

A light like this definitely needs a holster.  Luckily Trustfire saw fit to include one.  Here we see the TR-J16 inside it’s holster.  It’s a tight squeeze to snap the flap shut but with a little use it may stretch a hair making it easier to snap shut one-handed.

The rear belt loop of the holster has both velcro and snap, allowing the wearer to put the holster on/off without undoing his/her belt.  No fear of it coming loose.

Beamshots:

The next pic here is of the TR-J16 by itself.  The pic does not do it justice as the camera squeezes shut at the amount of light and makes it appear much darker than it really is.  It does give a pretty good idea what is happening behind all of the glare but does not show the large spill area well.

Next up is a beam profile.  A surprising amount of focused light considering the 5 shallow reflectors in the head this size.

Here we have the Terminator on the left and the TR-J16 on the right.  The brightness of the spill coming from the Terminator nearly washes out the spill of the TR-J16 completely.

Compared to the Skyray King (A very bright original version – 2300+ OTF) in this next picture.  In person the spill of the TR-J16 is broader than that of the SRK.  The spill of the SRK stops almost abruptly while the TR-J16 just fades away.  The TR-J16 is also a bit more neutral tint compared to the SRK in CW.

This should give an idea of the size compared to the other two lights.


Concluding thoughts:

I have to give the TR-J16 a solid 3.5 stars.  I really do like the light but the thin anodizing on the body and tail added to it not putting out anywhere close to it’s full potential keep me from giving it more.  As relic38 points out though, the TR-J16 is supposed to be a blinged out version of the TR-J12.  It only succeeds at this to a point but the weak anodizing makes it fall short of it’s objective. That said, it still puts out close over 2400+ OTF lumens with plenty of flood and over 300 meters of throw.  What’s not to like about a light that can light up an acre of land or a football field?

And one last parting shot of the TR-J16 in shorty 2×18650 configuration.

Thanks for taking the time to read this review.  Feel free to ask questions or offer your opinions or experience.

Johnny

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2 thoughts on “Trustfire TR-J16 (2013-03-14)

  1. I didn´t catch why you don´t recommend the 2X18650 battery configuration.
    About it being a blinged up version of the J-12, one thought is that reviewers did mention some weaknesses on the J-12, such as weak springs and flimsy switch. The J-16 may well be the manufacturer’s response to such complaints.

    Thankyou for your review, it did influence me into buying the J16 instead of the J-12. Trade 12% of light and a couple of extra bucks for ease of mind on the matter of durability…

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