Noctigon KR1 flashlight review: Throw / EDC
Only a few months after the quad LED Noctigon KR4 was announced, Hank introduced the KR1. Hank is the owner of Intl-outdoor store and currently sells his own 2 brands, namely Noctigon and Emisar.
The Noctigon KR1 is another flashlight with the immense popular Anduril firmware. But instead of focusing on EDC merely, the KR1 is a small pocketable thrower instead. According to specs, the KR1 is supposed to throw at a max. of 110 Kcd for the W1, and about 100 Kcd for the W2. It's also available with XPL Hi and SST-40 in case you prefer a little more flood or more output.
What you'll get:
The quality of the packaging is just fine. Nothing special. It was delivered in a simple, brown carton box.
- The Noctigon KR1
- Spare O-rings
- Metal ring for lanyard attachment (instead of the pocket clip)
|Brand / Model||Noctigon KR1|
|Beam intensity||100,00 cd|
|Review date||July 2020|
Handling of the light
The electronic switch in the tail makes the light a little shorter than usual. Not that it's short in any shape or form, but for a medium-wide head and 18650 type flashlight, it's definitely on the shorter side. It looks a lot like the Noctigon KR4, that Peter reviewed.
The KR1 has a single switch, in the tailcap. Just like with most of the Anduril based flashlights.
Before using the light, make sure everything is properly tightened. The design resembles the immense popular Lumintop FW3A and FW1A lights but with an improved design. The innertube (which is used to change modes) is held in place by a spring and a groove/lip. Please refer to the pictures to let it make sense.
Because of the lip on the inner tube and the groove in the body, it doesn't fall out as it does with the original Lumintop FW3A. If yours will flicker of flash, you might not have tightened the parts properly.
There is a large gap between the pocket clip and the battery tube. This could let the flashlight move freely around your belt. So instead of using the pocket clip, you can use the lanyard attachment ring.
- It does tailstanding just fine.
Build Quality, knurling, threads, and anodization
Lots of people in the community love the build quality of Emisar and Noctigon flashlights. Both brands are owned by Intl-outdoor.com. The KR1 looks great, especially the Cyan colored one. The Cyan coating looks fine and all parts of the flashlight fit well.
As I mentioned earlier, the inner tube improvement is great. You won't lose the inner tube by accident anymore. The spring helps to make contact even better and have less chance for flickering problems like the Lumintop FW series.
Threads are very mildly greased and look fantastic. The O-rings are greased as well, which helps with waterproofness.
LEDs, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector
One of the reasons why flashoholics love Noctigon flashlights is of all the choices you get. This includes the type of LED as well as the color bin. The number of choices you have usually depended on supply and demand.
Some LED types are very popular, while others aren't. At the time of reviewing, there are 4 LED types available and for the CREE and LUMINOUS types, you can even choose the CCT (color temperature).
- W1 (Osram CSLNM1.TG): 900 Lm, 110,000 cd
- W2 (Osram CSLPM1.TG): 1300 Lm. 100,000cd
- CREE XP-L HI, with 4 choices: 6500 / 5000K / 4000K: 1300 Lm, 45.000cd
- Luminus SST40 with 2 choices: 5000K / 6500K: 2200 Lm, 29.000cd
The one we are reviewing is the Osram CSLPM1.TG, also known as the W2. According to the above specs it is supposed to throw about 100Kcd. We'll make sure to test that.
The W2 has a bit more lumens than the W1 but at the cost of its throw. The W2 LED is double as large 2 square millimeters instead of the 1 square millimeter for the W1.
I simply love the stainless steel bezel. Without the bezel, I don't know if I would have liked it as much. It looks more professional that a completely blue flashlight from top to bottom. Another benefit of stainless steel bezels is their impact resistance. It's much stronger than aluminum. If you drop the light on a concrete floor, the stainless steel bezel may have some tiny tiny dents, but an aluminum bezel could even change shape.
The beam doesn't have an extremely defined hotspot as you might have thought. It has a relatively smooth transition between hotspot and spill. Maybe because of its rectangular LED, the beam shape is a little different. Can't really explain, but you can see the shape of the hotspot being a little different.
- Length: 110.25 mm ( 4.34 ”)
- Head diameter: 34.25 mm ( 1.349”)
- Body tube smallest diameter outside: 24.03mm (0.946")
- Inner body diameter inn: 18.75 mm ( .738 ”)
- Empty: 119.9 g ( 4.23 oz)
- With battery: 168.8 g ( 5.85 oz)
Driver & User Interface:
One of the reasons this light is so popular is because of its Anduril UI. The UI has been put together by Budget Light Forum member ToyKeeper. She has been groundbreaking with her fully programmable flashlight firmware. Many flashlights currently use this UI, since it's a mix of ease of use, and programmable at the same time. The UI is the same as with the FW3A with maybe a few small changes.
- Single-click: ON
- Double click: High (Top of ramp)
- 3 clicks: Access the blinky/utility modes.
Enter Special/Fun modes from OFF:
- 2 clicks + hold: Strobe modes
- 4 clicks: Lock Out mode
- 5 clicks: Momentary on
- 6 clicks: Muggle mode
- Single-click: Off
- Double click: Turbo
- 3 clicks: change ramping mode.. Instead of a smooth increase, it has 6 little steps between Lowest and Max.
- 4 clicks: change to ramping configuration mode
- Press and hold: brightness ramps up.. release and press and hold again to ramp down.
INTERESTING, SPECIAL AND FUN MODES:
Please read the manual carefully to know how to access or customize these modes. Also see the firmware picture, above.
- Blinky Utility mode:
- Battery check
- Sunset Mode
- Beacon mode
- Temperature check
Strobe / Mood modes:
When in the strobes mode, double-click to rotate between them - all modes except party strobe are brightness, changed the same way as a normal ramp. In party strobe mode, ramping up and down will increase and decrease the frequency of the strobe, for incredible effects.
- Bike flasher
- Party strobe
- Tactical Strobe
- Lightning mode
- Lockout mode (can't use the light)
- Lockout mode is available by clicking four times from off - while in lockout mode, click-and-hold will light up at bottom of the ramp, and a double-click-and-hold will light up somewhat brighter. This is to give you a way to quickly use the light if necessary, but if it activates in your pocket, it will only be at very low modes, and only for as long as the button is pressed. No more holes in pants!
- Momentary mode (signaling/ morse coding)
- Muggle mode: (safer for children)
- Configuration mode
- Ramp config mode
- You will be able to detect some PWM at low modes via phone camera, but as soon as it kicked in higher, it disappears. None of it was able to be detected by eye, though.
Protection Features (Low Voltage Protection)
- LVP makes the light step down to a lower level when the battery is low, and if the light is already at the lowest level, it shuts itself off. This activates at 2.8V. LVP happens suddenly but you will notice a dramatic low output before this will happens.
- Thermal regulation attempts to keep the light from overheating, and otherwise adjusts output to stay as close as possible to the user-configured temperature limit. Thermal adjustments happen gradually, in steps so small they are difficult for humans to perceive.
Troubleshooting ( Factory reset)
If you changed a setting accidentally and don't know how to solve it, you can simply use the Reset function to go back to factory settings.
- Turn the light off
- Unscrew the tailcap
- Press and hold the switch for 3 seconds while you tighten the tailcap.
Batteries and charging:
In addition to using 18650 batteries, you can also order a short 18350 tube. This isn't included in the normal listing.
Ther is no built-in charge function so you need a lithium-ion battery charger to charge the batteries. You can include a charger and a battery when you order it.
Note, that you can't use protected 18650 batteries. They are too long. I tried it with a Nitecore 18650 3500mAH 8A and a Panasonic NCR18650B, both protected, and both didn't work. Both simply won't fit. You really need to use unprotected 18650s.
In case you like trits. You may have to read that sentence twice. You are lucky. The KR1 has a slot in its tailswitch button for trits. Tritium vials will glow for more than 10 years without charging. Amazing stuff.
In the pictures below you can see the spring to touch the inner tube and the ridge that keeps the inner tube in place. That way it won't fly out when you unscrew the tailcap. This is a huge improvement over the Lumintop FW design. At least the initial design, because they may have upgraded theirs as well.
All output numbers are relative for my home-made Integrating Sphere. It is set up with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter for measurements including a Kenko PRO1D ND-16 filter. The base measurement is done with a Convoy S2+ that has been tested at 137 lumens.
All of my readings were taken from a fully-charged Samsung 30Q .
Before I tested it, I set the ambient temperature sensor to the ambient temperature in my room. You should also do that before using it.
|Noctigon KR1||Mode (steps)||Amps||Measured|
This means that it doesn't do 1300 lumens as advertised.
The runtime test was done with the 50cm integrating sphere, including the Kenko Pro1D ND-16 filter and Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter. Turbo was set with a 1 minute interval. This was done accidentally, but the graph still represents the correct runtime.
Turbo drops to roughly 270 lumens within the first 15 minutes. Total runtime is just less than 3 hours. Even after 4 hours the Noctigon KR1 still produces a few lumens. Enough to find a spare battery in your backpack.
The next runtime shows the High setting.
It looks very similar to Turbo, and the total runtime is also roughly 3 hours.
In the next graph you can see the first 15 minutes.
Just before the 8 minutes mark, it drops to below 275 lumens.
Throw measurements were taken both indoors and outdoors with a professional Hagner E4-X Lux Meter.
My measurements are
- Indoors Turbo (5m): 83,500 cd = 578 meters / 598 yards
- Indoors High (5m): 74,750 cd = 547 meters / 632 yards
80,000 cd is about the same as my first high-power light from 5+ years ago. But only at a fraction of the size. How far flashlights have come! It doesn't reach the advertised 100 kcd though.
For the following beamshots I used a Canon EOS 5D Mk2 and a 50mm lens. manual settings: ISO1600, 1/4sec , F4, 5000K
The shed is about 65 meters / 71 yards away.
Disclaimer: This flashlight was bought from my own money. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.