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Arc6

provided for review by
arc-flashlight-logo
  Introduction:
Arc6 is a Microprocessor (µC) based, single CR123 battery, piston drive (PD), programmable LED flashlight. Arc6 uses Seoul SSC P4 LED as its illumination source. As the name suggests, Arc6 is 6th revision of legendry LS series. Like Arc AAA, Way back in 2001 Arc Flashlight was one of the first manufacturer ever to launch a CR123 battery based Power LED flashlight. Arc6 is designed as a bright illumination tool for EDC (Every Day Carry) keeping four key factors in to consideration namely flashlight size, runtime, brightness and durability. Firstly, the size to be small & pocketable so that you can carry it on a daily basis without any concerns i.e. easy for every day carry. Secondly the runtime should be enough to last long for emergencies at a low brightness level. At the same time the brightness should be enough to illuminate greater distances. And lastly Arc6 should be durable enough to be used in range of situations including rain & fire. To put it in simple words, here is a quote manufacturer "It should be at least as durable as the person carrying it". Reflector in Arc6 is built from solid aluminium and it has a LOP finish. Lens protecting the LED and reflector is AR coated Sapphire lens. The bezel ring is built from Titanium (Ti-6AL-4V) and is crenellated. Arc6 uses advanced electronics fully regulated buck boost circuit to drive the LED. Arc6 has two programmable light output levels with sufficient illumination for general illumination as well as high output demanding purposes. Body of Arc6 is built from 6061 Aluminium. Natural color hard anodized type III coating on Arc6 provides excellent environmental protection and resistance against wear and tear. Arc6 LS has dual switching mechanism. One is through twisting head and second is through actuating the piston. There are O-ring seals at various locations in head and battery tube for waterproofing. Arc6 is waterproof to 100 feet. Overall build quality of Arc6 is good. Arc6 flashlight is packaged in trapezoid shape white colored hard paper box. Arc6 box includes CR123 Lithium battery. Arc6 is available in various configurations and options such as additional battery tube with guarded sleeve or without guarded sleeve, Powerizer rechargeable RCR123 battery pack with charger and car plug in cable and UCL AR Glass lens.

Light Features:
  • Crenellated Ti-6AL-4V (Titanium) bezel
  • Uses high Seoul SSC P4 U Binned LED and LOP Reflector
  • 100 Lumens out front output with standard CR123 battery (120 Lumens from rechargeable RCR123 battery)
  • Advanced Microprocessor (µC) based, fully regulated, programmable electronic drive circuit with memory
  • Piston drive switching mechanism
  • Waterproof to 100 feet
  • Easy to upgrade
Light Operation & Output:
Light Operation: Simple twist switch. For Switching ON / OFF twist the head in clockwise or anticlockwise direction. Arc6 starts with low output level, twist further to switch light in high output mode. For advanced mode and customizing light levels and programming please refer to Arc 6 Instructions (Word Document) .

Here is chart showing total output* on various CR123 batteries.

Arc6 LED
Battery Duracell CR123 AW RCR123 Powerizer RCR123
Low 7 8 8
High 1603 1452 1800

*The total output levels are based on custom built Integrating Sphere with Gossen Mavolux 5032 Class B USB Light Meter as photometer. To convert total output readings in to approximate Lumen readings, simply divide the total output by 10.
Light Info:
General Info
    ID
53
    Light Model Arc6
    Manufacturer Arc Flashlight
    Review Page & Image
  
 Arc6
Arc6
    Country  United States
    Review Date 2008-09-27
    Review Update 2008-09-27
Light Vitals
    Length 75 mm
    Width / Bezel Diameter 24 mm
    Width / Tube Diameter 22 mm
    Height (if applicable)  mm
    Weight (without battery) 42 gm
Light Source
    LED Format Power LED
    Number of LEDs 1
    LED Name Seoul P4
    LED Power 3  Watts
Light Management
    Lens Material Sapphire Crystal
    Lens Coating (if any) AR Coated
    Lens Transperency (typical) 88
    Lumen Management Inbuilt Optic
    Material Acrilic
    Beam Type Wide with good side spill
Power Management
    Converter Type Buck Boost
    Properties Regulated, Advanced Micro Controller (uC)
    Features Advanced User Interface
Batteries Supported, Output & Runtime
    Battery Size
    Chemistry
    Nominal Voltage
    # Used
    Total Output
    Runtime to 75%
    Runtime to 50%
    Runtime to 25%
CR123
Li-Ion  
3.7
1
1787
0
0
0
Switch Options
    Switch Type
    Switch Properties
Piston Drive with Twist
Kilroy
Body Material Options
    Material
    Properties
    Color
Aluminium
Type III Hard Anodized
Natural
Light Rating
    Looks
75 75
    Build Quality
70 70
    Runtime
60 60
    Output
75 75
    Features
85 85
    Usability
75 75
    Bang for buck
50 50
    Overall Rating
 70
In-Depth Review & Pictures:
Unboxing: Based on the mode of shipping selected packaging may vary, here are the unboxing pictures of Arc6 showing package with USPS Priority Mail.

The box opened has four smaller packages containing Arc6, Powerizer battery pack, guarded sleeve and UCL Lens.


Here are the contents taken out of the box. Notably, Arc6 box appears to be kind of unique.




Packaging: The box containing Arc6 is different than normal boxes. Firstly, the Arc6 box is trapezoidal in shape and secondly it has embossing of Arc Logo.


Contents inside Arc6 Box are placed forming a triangle.


Size Comparison: Arc6 is a small to medium sized CR123 battery based flashlight. Here in picture, you can see the size comparison between AA battery on left, Arc6 without guarded sleeve in center and CR123 battery on right.


Arc6 with different battery tubes compared with CR123 battery. On the left is Arc6 without guarded sleeve where as on right is Arc6 with guarded sleeve.


This comparison shows size comparison of Arc6 with guarded sleeve and Titanium pocket clip against Arc6 without the guarded sleeve. The guarded sleeve protects accidental actuation of piston switch. The Titanium pocket clip installed on guarded sleeve is removable.


Another Size Comparison: Arc6 Compared with other CR123 based flashlights. From L to R: NiteCore Extreme, Novatac EDC 120 T, Ra Twisty T 100, Arc6 without the guarded sleeve and Arc6 with the guarded sleeve.


Reflector Comparison: Lights with same sequence as above comparing the reflectors. Nitecore has the reflector with the largest diameter where as Arc6 has smallest reflector. Smallest diameter of reflector by no means is less powerful or inefficient. In fact, Arc6 puts up impressive amount of light out front and the beam pattern generated by the reflector and LED is by far one of the finest beams.


Bezel: Looking at the bezel end of Arc6, first and prominent noticeable thing observed is the crenellated Titanium (Ti-6AL-4V) bezel ring. Placed behind the Ti bezel ring is thick gauge (read 2mm thick) Sapphire lens with AR coating which is cushioned by a thick red-orange colored rubber O-ring seal. Solid Aluminium LOP (Light Orange Peel) reflector sits behind the O-ring. Next thing that you will notice at the bezel end of flashlight is the scalloped head.


Reflector & LED: From the front view, reflector appears completely 'green', that's because the LED die is getting projected forwards to the fullest of extent. It is also an indicator of good reflector design is good and location of LED die is at the focus of the parabolic reflector. LED is aligned perfectly in center. You can also see the thick O-ring from front view. Beam pattern generated by the LOP reflector is soft hotspot with gradually fading corona and a lot of side spill. Tint of LED used is slightly on warmer side considering that these LED's belong to cool white category of LED bins.


Closeup of LED below shows that there is some gap between reflector base edges. The gold bond wires of LED's are protected this way and chance of damaging them is rare.


Body: Arc6 is built from aircraft grade 6061 Aluminium, complete body has natural color type III hard coat anodizing for excellent protection from wear and tear. The overall built quality of Arc6 LED is good.


There is slight difference in color of natural color anodizing, but at the same time it gives a unique identity to this Arc6. It is normal to have variations in color when it comes to natural anodizing and there is nothing to worry on this aspect. Surface of Arc 6 has smooth textured with moderate shine.


Battery tube has three small circular grooves and one wide circular groove assisting grip. Similarly, scallops on head help twisting the head. With sufficient lubrication, after initial run-in cycles of switching on and off, it is possible to switch on the flashlight with single hand.


Tail: At the tail end, first glimpses of nickel plated piston are observed. Piston protrudes out assisting easy actuation of switching mechanism. Using a piston in combination with kilroy loop is a altogether different way in switching mechanism. The piston concept and was originally designed by a very popular and legendry flashlight designer Mr. Don McLeish (also known as McGizmo at Candle Power Forums). In fact the Arc6 with guarded sleeve from exteriors looks very similar to McLuxIII-Ti-PD flashlight. However, it should be noted that the design including the brain and electronic drive circuit of Arc6 is a result of considerable efforts amounting to more than two years of extensive research and development activity by Mr. Peter Gransee (owner of Arc Flashlight who also designed of the worlds first single AAA based LED flashlight).


There is a tritium vial slot machined on the piston's tail cap end.



Components: Arc6 consists of three main components, head, battery tube and piston. Head houses reflector, LED, Microprocessor (µC) based electronics and part of switching mechanism (kilroy). Where as battery tube is composed of outer sleeve and a piston.


Side view of Arc6 LED Components.


Head: Here is a 360 view of head. Most of the flashlight action takes place in here. The electronic drive circuit by no means is simple. Yet the Arc6 behaves as a simple two level twist switch flashlight. All the underlying intelligence is hidden away from user and yet is there when required. The Microprocessor (µC) used in Arc6 is capable of operating at speeds up to 20 Mhz and has a inbuilt temperature sensor. In brief, Software that controls the light output constantly monitors the condition of battery, temperature of LED and adjusts the current delivered to LED so that LED is not damaged. There are 7 preset levels that can be programmed and memorized at any mode. By default, the low mode is set at level 1 which is less than 1 Lumen and the high mode is set at 120 Lumen level 6. Depending upon the type of battery installed in Arc6, the Microprocessor (µC) changes the mode of operation. The Microprocessor (µC) will also protect rechargeable Lithium ion batteries from over discharging.

The positive contact has solder blob over a metal stud on PCB helping better contact with the battery positive terminal of battery.

Closeup view shows exposed components on head, kilroy loop and mysteriously there is some sort of 10-pin connector on the rear end of the pcb. Probably, in future this port might be used to provide user access towards re-flashing the firmware and custom programming the flashlight.


Piston: Piston is primarily built from aluminium and is nickel plated. At the tail end of piston there is a O-Ring. Diameter of piston is just enough to slide through the battery tube. Piston takes active part in switching as well as completing the electrical circuit. Contact spring is installed on inside at the tail end of the piston. Here is a 360 view of piston.


Battery Tube: The battery tube is anodized inside out including the threads. Battery tube does not take any part in completing the electrical circuit. It only acts as a sleeve to hold the piston.


Here is a 360 view of battery tube with piston installed.


Powerizer Kit: When you buy Arc6 flashlight, you can also opt in for Powerizer battery kit. The kit includes 4 powerizer RCR123 Li-ion rechargeable batteries, two bay charger, switching power adapter and a 12 v car adapter cord.


The two bay charger has input voltage of 12V and output of 4.2V. When two batteries are placed on charger, the charger will charge batteries at 0.21A.


Here is a closeup of charger specifications and instructions.


The Powerizer batteries have protection against venting but do not have in built electronic protection against overcharge, over discharge and short circuit. One advantage of using these batteries is that it is able to deliver higher currents, required for level 7 in Arc6. Another advantage is they have slightly more capacity when compared to protected RCR123 batteries. Using Powerizer batteries in 'non intelligent' flashlights is not recommended. Arc6 has mechanism to protect Powerizer battery from over discharging.

Beam Shots:
Beam pattern for Arc6 is soft hotspot with gradually fading corona and a good amount of side spill. All beam shots are taken at f/8 aperture with varying shutter speed.
Arc6 RCR123 Low Arc6 RCR123 High
1/1000
1/500
1/250
1/100
1/50
1/25
1/10
1/5
1/2.5
1


Extreme Closeup Pictures: Arc6
Here are a few extreme closeup shots. Workmanship of Arc6 LED is good.

Bezel and head of Arc6.


Arc6 battery tube.


Arc6 battery tube.


Arc6 battery tube.


Arc6 battery tube.


Super closeup Arc6 bezel.


Super closeup Arc6 scallops.


Super closeup Arc6 battery tube.


Super closeup Arc6 battery tube.


Super closeup Arc6 battery tube at the tail end.



Runtime:
Equipment Used: Custom built Integrating Sphere with Gossen Mavolux 5032 Class B USB Light Meter as photometer. Mavolux 5032 B USB is high precision, high accuracy and high quality light meter with conformance to DIN 5032-7 and CIE 69 standards. Utmost care has taken to ensure that the light measurements are accurate. Click here to read more about Gossen Mavolux 5032 USB Light Meter.

AW RCR123: The runtime for Arc6 with AW RCR123 battery on high is about 2 Minutes 40 seconds till 50%. Another test was performed on with another AW RCR123 battery only to confirm that runtime is exactly 2 Minutes 40 seconds till 50%. It should however be noted that the runtime is performed without any cooling and with room temperature of 28° Celsius. For the second test we observed the rise in outer body temperature. The light reached a maximum temperature of 40° Celsius. Considering the fact that Arc6 will never let LED damage and no active cooling was involved the runtime seems certainly reasonable. Obviously, the runtime will be considerably more with active cooling like holding in hand or when placed underwater. Once the critical temperature is reached, the output drops to 30% of original value. The overall runtime for Arc6 is between 1 Hour 17 Minutes and 1 Hour 25 Minutes. Please note that AW RCR123 is a protected cell, it limits the maximum current draw, the maximum light output will be limited.



Powerizer RCR123 battery based runtime tests for Arc6: Before performing runtimes, the Powerizer RCR123 batteries were subjected to 8 charge discharge cycles at 1C with the help of Vencon UBA5 Ultimate Battery Analyzer. This was done to ensure so that batteries are properly formed and have reached optimum capacity. Also to ensure that we do not have any discrepancies in runtime charts, each runtime was performed twice. From Level 7 to Level 2 a total of 12 runtime tests were performed. For all the runtime tests, it should be noted that the runtime is performed without any active cooling and with room temperature of 28° Celsius. Also note that Arc6 will never let LED damage. The runtimes will be considerably more with active cooling like holding in hand or when placed underwater or at lower room temperatures. Always, when critical LED temperature was reached, the output dropped to Level 3. The overall runtime for Arc6 is between 1 Hour 5 Minutes and 1 Hour 20 Minutes for Levels 7 to 3 where as for Level 2 the total runtime observed is 3 Hours 23 Minutes. Here are the charts with incremental time scales on x axis. For each of the runtime test, the sampling rate was 1 second.

First 6 Minutes of runtime test. Arc6 regulates the light output for all the light levels. However, it should be noted that as the LED temperature rises, light output decreases due to heat and other factors. According to manufacturer for Level 6 and Level 7 current fed to LED is of the order of 1 to 3 Amps.


For Levels 7,6,5,4 the light exhibits the LED protecting behavior. Once again, we would like to stress that the temperature tripping will be not as quick when the light is held in hand or is at a lower temperature.


As you must have noticed, the total runtime of all levels above Level 2 is between 1 Hour 5 Minutes and 1 Hour 20 Minutes. This might seem relatively less and is highly dependent on Vf (Forward Voltage) of LED. Arc configures each individual flashlight to provide the promised light output at any particular light level. If for instance, Vf of LED is low, the power required to produce a given level of light output will be less and vice versa. This particular sample appears to have Vf of LED on a slightly higher side. Also, it should be noted that Vf of each LED is not controlled by Arc, rather, it is governed by the LED manufacturer and their manufacturing process. The runtime of each and individual Arc unit may vary based on this fact.


Arc6 on Level 2 with Powerizer battery runs for 3 Hours 23 Minutes.



Buy Arc6 LED Flashlight at www.arcflashlight.com
 
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