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Emisar D1 (2022 edition) review: EDC-thrower flashlight test
Emisar D1 2022 specifications
|Brand & Model||Emisar D1 (2022 version)|
|LED||Gentian GT FC-40|
|Beam intensity||14,000 cd|
|Battery config.||1*18650 or 1*18500 or 1*18350|
|Modes||Many, Anduril 2|
|Review publication date||August 2022|
How do you build a better flashlight? Well, the general consensus is to consult with experts. Well, what happens when an expert (who happens to be a flashaholic) designs a flashlight? Enter Hank Wang, the chap behind International Outdoor (officially known as the Nanjing YaoQi Photoelectric Technology Co. Ltd.) and the Emisar and Noctigon brands. Well, the end result is some pretty innovative designs and interesting engineering behind extraordinary lights coming out of the Hank camp over the years. Starting with the Noctigon M43 Meteor, followed by the Emisar D4 series, D1 and D1S compact throwers, soda can D18, Noctigon K1 thrower, pocket rocket KR1 and KR4, vacuum cleaner nozzle DT8, and the multi-channel DM1.12 and K9.3 hybrid lights. These are some of the most enthusiast-centric out there, featuring advanced drivers and the most popular firmware and LED options.
Basically, any light you buy from Hank can be configured with the latest and greatest. You can order just about any combination of LED type and brand, in many tints, bins, and CRI (the basic D4V2 comes with no less than 10 optional LEDs with 27 options). Hank’s lights are very unique in that they meld performance and functionality without being overly complicated or gimmicky. This is great for the everyday flashlight carrier, enthusiast, and collector. Today I’ll be taking a look at one of Hank’s Emisar models, the D1 (2022 version). The D1 is a compact 18650 light touted as a pocket thrower, and indeed it is when equipped with the proper LED. It has been around for a while, and it hadn’t had a refresh since its launch in 2017, until about a month and a half ago with some nice design enhancements. It will be nice to see what’s different. Hey, it’s a Hank light, so I know it will be good.
Hank lights come in a basic package, no frills or fufu here. It’s a box, and a decent one (no bare-bones card stock coverings) and there’s a flashlight inside. No fancy graphs, feature blurbs, just a box with information on the LED, tint, and colors (aux LEDs or switch LEDs). Inside is pretty sparse, so don’t expect a bunch of accessories. Here’s what my sample came with:
- Emisar D1 flashlight
- 2 spare o-rings
- Pocket clip (optional)
Okay, when buying a Hank light, the consensus is that you a). already have a battery (or two, or four), b). a charger for said battery, and c). general knowledge of the UI. Besides, manuals and user guides are readily available online.
Flashlight in use
The D1 is a great pocket thrower, smaller than a C8, but bigger than something like a Thorfire TG06. It’s an 18650-size light, so handling is about the same as my Thrunite TC15 V3, and it fits my hands fine (it practically disappears). The texture on the body is made up of really grippy polygons and affords great control in all grip positions, and it points naturally. The barrel is slim enough for a cigarette grip. There’s a single lanyard mounting point at the tail, and it’s decently sized for the lanyard to thread through. Thanks Hank!
Hank also adds a magnet in the tailcap (as an option), and it’s a pretty stout one, and although I’m not a fan of magnetic tailcaps for a pocket light since it tends to snatch the keys out of my pocket with great prejudice, it is useful for other things. It clings to the side of my fridge like Sylvester Stallone dangling from a precipice. There’s also a pocket clip groove fore and aft of the head/tailcap. My sample came with (the optional) dual-position clip for bezel up or down carry. It’s pretty deep, but I wouldn’t call it a deep carry clip though. The clip end sits flush with the tailcap, so it does run pretty low in the pocket. The D1 has a single e-switch at the head, and it’s easy to find, sitting in a raised polished bezel and featuring an opaque, grippy, proud boot. Under the boot there’s 4 aux LEDs, and they come in many colors (the sample light has amber LEDs), customizable with the UI of course. It’s a nice switch, good clicks, nice action, and just the right amount of effort. Tail standing is a go, and the head now has indentations for some nice anti-roll prevention action.
Build Quality, and Warranty
I don’t hear folks complain about Hank lights going wrong or having issues, and that’s been my experience with this D1. It’s really well made and seems high quality.
Like all Hank lights, the D1 has tons of options for color, LED, LED tint, binning, switch LED color, short tubes, etc, and that affects the price quite a bit, starting at around $40 for a basic version up to $100 for the SBT90.2 version. My sample retails for about $50, which is a good deal for a pure enthusiast light with a special LED. The specs say the D1 is milled from aircraft aluminum and the machining is very good. There was only a tiny ding on the edge of the flat spot aft of the switch bezel. Otherwise, it’s perfect. The stainless bezel is also very nicely finished. The part fit-up is generally good, but there are some obvious small gaps between the tailcap, head, and battery tube joints, but nothing alarming. There’s chamfering everywhere, and no sharp or abrupt edges, which is important for pocket carry. The light can be disassembled down to the LED, and the switch bezel comes off with snap ring pliers. The driver is glued in slightly though. Everything inside looks really good, no issues with errant flux, and the joints look good with no oxidation.
There’s two springs at work here, and that’s a plus because it helps protect the light from drops and shock. The tailcap and driver springs are C17500 BeCu with 45% IACS for low resistance, which is important for efficiency and maximum output. The threads are rectangular cut, a bit fine, but fully anodized at the rear and front for mechanical lockout. The rears are pretty long, and the front threads are exceedingly short: it only took 2-½ turns to tighten the head to the tube. There’s o-rings sealing the front and rear of the tube, bezel, and lens. No IP rating is given, but I expect it to be water-resistant to everyday hazards (toilet drops, falling into pools, etc.).
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
As previously mentioned, Noctigon and Emisar lights are highly customizable and configurable from the factory. The D1 is available with 9 LEDs in 25 tints and bins. The sample (as requested) features a relative newcomer to the LED scene, the Gentian GT FC-40. This is a 12 volt 7×7 mm footprint (same as the XHP70 series) domeless LED. The LES is made up of 16 tiny individual LEDs similar to the SFH LEDs. However, what makes it special is the pristine beam and high CRI. The XHP70 goes up to 90 CRI, but the test LED is the GT FC-40 R9050 5000-5500K version so a minimum of 90 CRI. Take that with a grain of salt since it goes much higher. The reflector is a light OP unit, and it’s about the same size as the Thrunite TC20 V2 reflector. It’s topped with a nicely finished stainless bezel for drop protection. The lens is a dual-AR coated mineral glass unit, and the AR coating will help accentuate the rosiness of the tint.
The beam? You get a nice hotspot that’s pretty big and diffused with the abundant spill that’s very useful for general purpose use with just the right amount of reach. What you don’t get is the Cree angular blue-to-pee-yellow tint shift and corona. The tint is very even across the hotspot and spill (did I mention it’s really beautiful?). If you’re used to the anomalies of your XHP70.2 high output lights, you are in for a treat with this FC-40. The Opple Lightmaster Pro agrees. With the light 1 meter from the sensor on L3, I get about 5700K at 99 CRI with a duv of -0.0017, and L7 bumps it to 5810K at 97 CRI. Duv is -0.0016, so a nicely rosy tint.
Image 3: Lumintop D3, Emisar D1, ThruNite TC20 v2
Dimensions and size comparison
|With Sony VTC6 and pocket clip:||150||5.3|
Flashlight size comparison with its competition
I was surprised how small the D1 is! It’s easily pocketable and rides with the best of the 18650 and smaller 21700 size lights I’m comfortable pocket carrying.
Group 1 left to right: Emisar D1 2022, Thrunite TC20 V2, Amutorch XT45 NB90.16, Fireflies E07 2021 Edition.
Group 3 left to right: Thrunite T2, Fireflies PL09MU, Fenix PD32 V2, Emisar D1.
Driver & User Interface:
Since this is a single cell light driving a 12 volt LED, it’s going to have a boost driver and that’s a good thing, Boost drivers are fully regulated and maintain a constant output that doesn’t change based on the input voltage from the battery. As long as the battery can supply enough voltage to keep the 5 volt boost regulator IC working, the output will be constant and linear.
Any guess as to which UI the new D1 features? If you guessed a 3 mode UI go stand in the corner because the D1 is running every enthusiast’s favorite UI, Anduril 2. The original D1 ran the (then) remarkable Anduril, but it’s 2022, so Anduril 1 is out, and in with the latest iteration of ToyKeeper’s franchise UI, Anduril 2. It’s the most advanced UI currently available, and it’s still open-source (when properly distributed and utilized). It’s highly customizable, with aux LED control, LVP voltage adjustment, and if you have the skills (Hank sells the optional flashing interface for his drivers) it can be tweaked two ways from Sunday.
Anduril 2 User Interface
Here is another Anduril 2 UI diagram.
And by default, it uses the Simple UI… and here is the UI diagram:
Anduril2 has two UI’s available: Simple and Advanced. The light came with the Simple UI enabled, and I think it’s kind of a misnomer because it’s still a little complicated for a first-time user. However, those familiar with the original will pick it up pretty quickly. Simple UI is missing some of the familiar features present in the original, namely the special blinky modes, temp check, and thermal configuration (those are present in the Advanced UI), and there’s no “muggle” mode either. You still get access to smooth ramping (stepped is, you guessed it, only available in Advanced UI), lockout, momentary high, battery check, and some useful lock/unlock modes.
The Advanced UI is appropriately named because it’s, well, advanced and there’s a plethora of options and configurations available. There’s probably way more features than the average user would ever dip into, but it’s nice to know you can tweak things like the voltage sensor calibration for batt check, AUX LED settings, and even configure the auto-lock. I found this to be a pretty useful feature that enables the light to automatically turn off after a certain amount of time if the light is accidentally activated.
Modes: Simple and Advanced UI both have many standard and blinky modes available, but the main modes are stepped and smooth ramping, but stepped ramping is only available in Advanced UI, and smooth is enabled in both Simple and Advanced.
Switch to Advanced UI from Simple: 10 clicks, but hold on the 10th click
- Press and hold: Turns on in either smooth or stepped ramp (depending on which mode is enabled)
- Single click: Turn on in last mode (step or ramp state-again depends on which mode)
- Double click: Ramp ceiling/turbo
- Triple click: Battery check (in Simple and Advanced UI)
- Triple click and hold: Special strobe modes-remembers last used (in Advanced UI)
- Quad click: Lockout mode. In lockout mode you have different options available:
- 1 click: momentary moon (bottom of ramp)
- 2 clicks: momentary (higher floor)
- 4 clicks: turns on in ramp mode
- 4 clicks with a hold: on in ramp mode, lowest/floor
- 5 clicks with a hold: on in ramp mode, highest/ceiling
- 10 clicks with a hold: configure the lock timeout threshold (in Advanced UI only). This is a new feature for Anduril2, it allows you to set a timeout to the lock, where the light will lock after a pre-set elapsed time.
- Press and hold: Ramp up (depending on the mode)
- Single click: Turn off
- Double click: Ramp ceiling/turbo
- Double click and hold: Ramp down
- Triple click: Toggle between smooth and stepped ramping (in Advanced UI only)
- Quad click: Lockout mode (see above for the lockout options)
- Yes, memorizes last on state setting either smooth or stepped ramping, but does not remember blinkies
Low voltage warning:
- Yes, when in operation, the light steps down brightness gradually until turning off when the cell is around 2.9 volts.
- Yes, many! The blinkies are accessible from off with 3H (click click click-hold) in ADVANCED UI only. You switch between strobe modes with 2 clicks:
- Candle mode
- Bike flasher
- Party strobe
- Tactical strobe
- Lightning storm
- Yes. In Simple or Advanced UI, lockout is accessed by 4 clicks from on or off. 4 clicks to unlock. The lockout enables momentary operation in the moon mode, however, 2H (click click-hold) enables low mode. There are other lockout modes available (see the diagram).
Temp check and thermal calibration mode
- In the first version, you could do both the ambient temperature sensor calibration and thermal ceiling at the same time, but in Anduril2, it’s a little different. When in temp check, click 7 times and hold on the 7th to enter the thermal configuration. To configure the ambient temp, wait for the first flash and then set the ambient, but once you’ve done that, you need to go back to the temp check and click 7 times, hold on the 7th, this time, don’t let off the button. Wait for the 2nd blink, and then you can set the thermal ceiling.
- Yes. It’s fast PWM and invisible to the naked eye. However, L1 in the stepped modes has a somewhat noticeable PWM with the naked eye.
Additional info on the UI:
- I have mixed feelings towards Anduril and Anduril 2. On one hand, it’s more UI than I’ll ever need, with endless configurability, mode groups, smooth, stepped ramping, and aux LED controls. On the other hand, for someone who doesn’t need all those features, it can be a bit daunting, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not hard to use. Just click the button to turn it on, click again to turn off. Long press for smooth ramping (or stepped-depending on the mode set). Although the thermal sensor on Anduril 2-equipped drivers running the Attiny 1634 MCU come pre-calibrated, I found the thermal setting to be off…a lot. The thermal check said 51 C vs 25 C ambient. I recommend checking it before going crazy with top of the ramp or Turbo runs to get the most out of the useful peak output. The lowest mode of the ramp or stepped modes has a somewhat slow PWM (for Anduril anyway), and it’s not super noticeable, but is visible on camera and with careful observation. Anduril includes all the niceties a UI needs, like thermal control and LVP.
Batteries & Charging
The D1 has always been an 18650 light, and the new one continues that trend, but adds optional tubes for the shorter 18500 and 18350 li-ion batteries. Although good 18500 batteries are scarce, there’s tons of good 18350s out there. My sample came with the standard 18650 tube, and per Hank, you must use standard length, unprotected batteries. You’ll need high drain cells as well with a minimum 10 amp CDR, so for high capacity cells, the 30Q, 18650GA, LG MJ1 will be good choices. I used Sony VTC6 3000 mAh 18650s for the testing and they fit just fine. I tried a long Thrunite 3100 mAh 18650 and a Sofirn button top cell for fun, and the Sofirn button top fit fine, but the longer Thrunite cell was too long. There’s no onboard charging, and since longer 18650s don’t fit (like ones with integrated charging) you’ll also need a 18650 li-ion battery charger. Although it’s a bit more excusable on an enthusiast light, I really like to see onboard charging on flashlights, especially in 2022. That would have been a nice upgrade/addition to the new D1, but on the positive end, it keeps the price (and size) down.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
Lumens are measured using my home made 50 cm integrating sphere, and I use a Digi-Sense 20250-00 datalogging luxmeter. The sphere has been calibrated using many lights of known output and is accurate within 10% of actual output. All measurements taken at 30 seconds with a fully charged Sony VTC6 3000 mAh battery. Amps were measured with my (new) Thinside 18B+ multimeter with 14 gauge wires in the meter and my FY219 current clamp. I tested all of the stepped modes.
|Mode||Amps at Start||Specs||@turn on||@30 sec||@10 minutes|
|Turbo||6.68 A||1600||2905||2839 lm||1162|
This is the input voltage to the battery, not the current the actual LED is seeing, so take these with a grain of salt. The LED is not being driven too hard, and using a lower-drain battery (like an 18650GA) would constitute a negligible drop in output.
- 0.82 mA with aux LEDs on
- 0.09 mA with aux LEDs on low
- 0.03 mA with aux LEDs off
Runtimes were measured in my home made 50 cm integrating sphere. I use a Digi-Sense 20250-00 datalogging luxmeter. The sphere has been calibrated with many lights of known output and is within 10% of actual output. I used the fully charged Sony VTC6 3000 mAh battery for each test. I tested the stepped modes 6-7 and Turbo.
I maxxed the thermal limit to demonstrate the light’s output potential.
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime (ANSI)||Time till shut off|
|6||?||1h 33m||1h 40m+|
|7||?||1h 3m||1h 9m+|
|Turbo||?||1h 3m||1h 10m+|
I maxxed the thermal limit to demonstrate the light’s output potential. On Turbo, the light heats up fast: from 26 ambient to 43 C in 15 seconds, and it’s 55.3 C by 60 seconds, and too hot to hold by 90 seconds. By 5 minutes the temp is 74 C, and it held that temperature for over 30 minutes.
L7 was a similar story, great sustainability, but with the thermal limit maxed, it’s too hot to hold after 4 minutes. L6 is the most usable mode and with proper thermal calibration, it would sustain high output for quite a while. Even maxxed out, it was pretty warm, but not not uncomfortably so. Overall, very impressive performance from the diminutive D1! In typical Anduril fashion, the output drops very low for LVP and off the luxmeter scale, at which point I end the test. The light is still running, albeit at the very low output (about L1 output). Turbo, L7 drops happen at the same time, and L6 runs a bit longer. The battery was around 2.8 volts after each test.
ANSI FL1 standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
Throw numbers: Peak beam intensity
Throw was measured indoors at 5 meters using the Uni-T UT383S luxmeter. Measurements taken at 30 seconds. I used a fully charged Sony VTC6 3000 mAh battery.
|Turbo||14,000 cd||12,925 (14,350 at start)||227.3 (239.5 at start)||248.5 (261.9)|
This is some really decent throw from a big emitter in a small reflector, and more akin to something like an XHP50.2.
Extra info: Peak beam distance according to ANSI FL1 standards: The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object).
I compared the D1 to some similar pocket lights of varying outputs including two XHP70.2 lights:
- Thrunite TC20 V2
- Thrunite T2
- Astrolux EA01
- a couple of C8s (Thorfire C8 with XHP50.2, one with 5000K SST40).
Photos taken with my Samsung Note 8 with the shutter set to 0.3s, ISO 200 with the WB at 5000K. The fence is 40 meters away.
Disclaimer: I bought this flashlight with our own money. Nobody paid me to review this flashlight, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Nice build quality
- Anduril 2 UI
- Highly customizable from the factory
- Can be disassembled easily
- High output with beautiful tint and high CRI
- Compact and lightweight, easy handling
- Fully regulated driver
- Anduril 2 is complicated
- Thermal configuration was way off
- Gets hot fast on Turbo
- No onboard charging
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆
I think this is one of the most surprising flashlights I’ve ever reviewed, not in that it’s unique, revolutionary, or special, but the performance and overall usability. I’ve run through a lot of really nice flashlights, some not so nice (even from big brands), but this new D1 is really something. I didn’t review the original, but from my perspective, the upgrades are worthwhile. The added heatsinking is effective, it’s compact, light weight, and easily pocketable. It comes in a lot of different color anodizing and switch LED colors as well so you can order what you like (like a Ferrari or Bentley). I think enthusiasts and regular folks will really appreciate that. Although you can get the D1 2022 with other LEDs, the 3 volt LEDs are going to be using FET-based drivers, so I recommend the B35AM or GT FC-40 so you can get the boost drivers since these ones are really nice. Paired with a nicely regulated boost driver, the GT FC-40 LED is pretty amazing. Even with a wimpy 18650 onboard, you get really high output and very nice beam and CRI. I’m by no means a CRI junkie or tint snob, but I felt like I died and went to Heaven the first time I fired this thing up in Turbo since I’m so used to the XHP LED beam anomalies. The output is also nicely regulated, and with Anduril 2s endless configurability you can tweak the thermal limits to suit your pain tolerance.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the new D1. Although no fault of the light itself, Anduril 2 is a bit overcomplicated for most users, and the fact that the thermal calibration was off so badly is an issue since it’s very tricky to change it. Out of the box, the thermal limit is totally adequate for good performance, but I’d bump it up a bit to 55 C to get the most out of it since it heats up fast at higher outputs. Maybe I’m being a bit picky, but I really like onboard charging and for a new light in 2022 not to have it is a bit of a let down. I’m not too bothered by that though since the intended audience for these lights are enthusiasts (and chargers are cheap). Even so, a very impressive showing. 4.5 stars for the new D1.