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Powertac E5R-G4 Rechargeable FLASHLIGHT REVIEW: 1800 LUMENS
|Beam intensity||25,600 cd|
|Battery config.||1*18650 / 2*CR123A|
|Review date||November 2020|
I have a confession – I’m completely new to the Powertac brand. WIth most of my flashaholic time spent at BudgetLightForum, our paths haven’t crossed much. Powertac is a premium brand and while they are said to be “designed for everyone”, they are tailored to police officers, military personnel, and “extreme” outdoorsmen. They’ve been in the business since 2006 and started in Raleigh, NC – a stone’s throw away from the home of Cree.
Today I have the pleasure of checking out their E5R-G4 (4th generation) model, an 18650-based tube light with dual switches and built-in charging. They also offer this model with a “long gun” (rifle/shotgun) upgrade kit with a mount and remote switch.
The E5R-G4 arrived in a nice presentation box with a clear window through which you can view the flashlight. Sliding out the tray inside the box, you’ll find:
- Powertac E5R-G4 flashlight
- Powertac-branded 3200 mAh protected battery
- Magnetic USB charging cable
- Plastic holster
- Spare o-ring
- Spare USB charging gasket
- 2 sizes of split rings
Handling of the light
The flashlight has dual-switches. The rear switch is a forward-clicky and sits squarely in a saddle-cut tailcap which can tailstand easily. The front switch is an e-switch for mode changes. The front switch is slightly recessed to avoid accidental activation.
There is a very solid clip which is reversible, but definitely not deep-carry. There is also a lanyard attachment ring that sits just below the tailcap that can be removed if desired.
The E5R-G4 comes with a very solid plastic holster / belt clip. The fitment seems a bit tight, but that may ease up with use. There is a hole at the bottom of the holster, so you could activate the light with it still being the holster.
Build Quality, Knurling, Threads, and anodization
The packaging mentions “anti-slip knurling” and that ain’t no joke. It is some of the grippiest knurling I’ve ever held. The E5R-G4 won’t be slipping out of your hand unless you have some serious butter fingers. The aggressive knurling does like to pick up lint.
The anodizing on the aluminum is very even and is matte without being chalky. The head appears to be glued to the body tube. The rear tail threads are non-anodized and are square-cut. It employs a tube-within-a-tube design which enables the built-in charging without needing to activate the tailswitch. This would also be used with the remote switch, should you choose to outfit your flashlight with that option.
Side note: the flashlight comes with a fairly prominent “Made in China” sticker stuck to the head. Thankfully, it removes easily and cleanly. No harm, no foul.
LED, LENS, BEZEL, AND REFLECTOR
The photons are being emitted from a cool white Cree XHP35 HI LED that is well centered in the middle of a smooth reflector. The reflector is fairly large for a tube light. There are some fairly blunt, medium-sized crenelations on the business end of the E5R-G4.
The beam has a defined hotspot that exhibits a minimal amount of tint shift. The spill is very wide and even with no rings
- Length: 133.2 mm / 5.2 inches
- Head diameter: 25.4 mm / 1.0 inches
- Body diameter: 23 mm / 0.9 inches
- Without battery: 76 grams / 2.7 ounces
- With included battery: 122 grams / 4.3 ounces
Size compared to some EDC flashlights
Image 1+2: From left to right: Convoy S2+, Powertac E5R-G4, Sofirn SC31B
Image 3: From left to right: Powertac E5R-G4, Sofirn C8
Driver & User Interface:
The Powertac E5R-G4 uses a fairly traditional dual-switch UI. The rear clicky switch is solely for on-off duties and the front e-switch is for mode switching.
Modes: Firefly, Low, Medium, High, Turbo
- Press and Hold (tail switch): momentary, last used mode
- Single-click (tail switch): turn on in last used mode
- Single-click (tail switch): turn off
- Single-click (side switch): change modes
- Press and hold: strobe mode
- Yes, any mode can be memorized (including strobe).
Low voltage warning:
- The is an indicator LED that will light up when the battery gets low
- At 30% remaining, the LED will turn on (red)
- At 10% remaining, the LED will begin flashing red
- There is a single strobe mode (a single high frequency)
- The tailswitch provides lock-out functionality.
- PWM was not noticed in any mode
Batteries & Charging
The Powertac E5R-G4 comes with a Powertac-branded 3200 mAh battery, which is of the protected button-top style. Also included in the package is a magnetic USB charging cable that attaches to a pad opposite of the front switch. And – this is a new one for me – should you need to charge your Powertac and you don’t have the magnetic charging cable around, you can pry out the magnetic plug and gasket to reveal a normal micro-USB charging port! The magnetic plug is in there pretty firmly, so I wouldn’t want to be doing that on a regular basis, but it’s a nice addition that would be handy in a pinch. A true rechargeable flashlight.
When the E5R-G4 is charging, the indicator LED under the switch lights up red. When charging is done, it switches to blue (Powertac – thank you for not using red-green indicators!). I measured the charge rate at 1.19 amps. After charging was done, I measured the battery voltage at a perfect 4.20 volts.
Furthermore, when the light is charging, you are still able to use Firefly, Low, and Medium modes. I also tried turning the flashlight on while “charging” without the battery – firefly worked and it also switched to a lower-than-normal Low mode.
A note about battery fitment… I tried an unprotected, flat top Samsung 30Q cell and the E5R-G4 would not turn on. It seemed to be making contact at the tail spring (no rattling), so from what I can tell there is physical reverse polarity protection at the positive terminal.
For current measurements, a ANENG AN8008 multimeter and UNI-T UT210E clamp meter were used. Lux was measured by a UNI-T UT383 BT at 10 meters. Lumens were measured in a homemade lumen tube using a TSL2591 sensor, calibrated against several known lights. The temperature was monitored with an MLX90614 IR temperature sensor.
- Standby: 40 uA
- Firefly: 2.8 mA
- Low: 114 mA
- Med: 458 mA
- High: 2.53 A
- Turbo: 5.12 A
In Turbo mode, the Powertac E5R-G4 started out at 1718 lumens and gradually tapered down over the first 2 ½ minutes, arriving at 600 lumens. It stayed at that level until quickly dropping down and turning off at 134 minutes. In Turbo, the temperature was very steady and topped out at a comfortable 43°C. The battery voltage at the end of the run measured 2.87 volts.
A second runtime test was performed, this time in High mode. The results were nearly identical to the Turbo run, except that output began at 1072 lumens and decreased around the 3-minute mark to just over 600 lumens. The light shut off at 133 minutes, having topped out at 42°C.
- Firefly: <1 Lm (spec: 0.33)
- Low: 70 Lm (spec: 57)
- Medium: 258 Lm (spec: 214)
- High @ 30 sec: 1036 Lm @ 30 sec (spec: 850)
- Turbo @ 0 sec: 1718 Lm
- Turbo @ 30 sec: 1602 Lm (spec: 1800)
- Measured 217 lux @ 10 meters
- = 21,700 cd
- = 295 meter throw / 322 yards (spec: 320 meters)
Outdoor beam shots are taken at 25m (82ft) using a Pixel 3 set to ISO 200 with ½ second exposure time
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost, by Powertac. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Appears to be very solidly built
- Great output regulation
- Built-in charging
- Easy UI
- Really grippy
- Nice overall kit
- UI is too simple?
- So-so holster
5 stars: ★★★★★
When compiling the above list of Pros and Cons, I really had to sit with the Powertac E5R-G4 in my hands for a few minutes, just staring at it to come up with a couple of Cons. Not to say that this flashlight is perfect, but I feel that it nails almost everything. It really is a great, all-around flashlight. With the dual switch setup, I bet you could hand this to almost any halfway competent person and they’d quickly figure out how to operate it. Sure, there’s mode memory with no direct shortcuts. To me, that means two things: (1) if you haven’t used it in a while and you need just a little bit of light, you’re going to be playing Russian Roulette on whether or not you get blinded, and (2) I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable with this for self-defense purposes unless you always just leave it in Turbo or Strobe mode (if you do, then great!). Those nitpicks aside, the Powertac E5R-G4 is an easily recommendable, EDC-capable flashlight.
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