Flashlight Reviews

NovaTac EDC 120 T

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NovaTac EDC 120 T is a medium sized, Tactical Series flashlight from NovaTac. EDC 120 T operates on single CR123 battery and has Seoul SSC P4 LED as its illumination source. The body of NovaTac EDC 120 T is built aerospace aluminum and has military type III hard coat anodize. NovaTac EDC 120 T has O-Rings at various places that make the flashlight waterproof. The lens is polycarbonate and has anti-reflective coating. Reflector is built from solid aluminium and has LOP finish. NovaTac EDC 120 T uses Advanced Microcontroller (µC) Controlled Buck Boost Drive Circuit. The flashlight has inbuilt sensors to protect LED from damage due to high temperature and currents. Software running on Microcontroller (µC) constantly monitors the battery input voltage, input current, temperature of LED and adjusts output current based on the selected level of light and the battery condition. Microcontroller (µC) and the software is capable of identifying the battery type once the battery is inserted in to the flashlight. This enables safe operation of the flashlight on both primary CR123 Cells as well as the Li-Ion Rechargeable RCR123 Cells. EDC 120 T is one of the most advanced Tactical single CR123 light available in the market. The total output of the light is 120 Lumens, thus the name EDC 120 T. Overall built quality of NovaTac EDC 120 T is excellent.

Update 2009-07-30: This review is updated after nearly 2 years since first posted. The light is still going strong and is in no way outdated itself except for the overall max output which now seems to be about 60 to 70 lumens less than output of current lights. Over the years, light has not let us down on any occasion and we still use it often. You have to be careful of the threads while unscrewing and screwing the head to the battery tube. Regular cleaning and lubrication of threads is recommended.

Light Features:
  • Can run on various CR123 sized battery ranging from Primary Lithium to Li-Ion cells
  • Polycarbonate lens with AR coating
  • Seoul SSC P4 LED
  • Buck-Boost Advanced Regulation Microcontroller (µC) Controlled Drive Circuit
  • Tactical Momentary Switch
Light Operation & Output:
Light Operation: Complete User Guide for this light can be downloaded from NovaTac's Site, here is the direct link to Download PDF file. The light has three light operating levels. Namely, Primary or Maximum (120 Lumens), Secondary (10 Lumens) and Minimum (0.3 Lumens).

A Click is less than 1/3 second (like a mouse click).
A Press is greater than 1/3 second.

Tactical UI:
Click: Turn on to Maximum (120 Lumens)

From ON
1. Two Clicks: Toggle between Maximum (120 Lumens) and Secondary (10 Lumens)
2. Three Clicks: Minimum (0.3 Lumens) setting
3. Press while ON: Momentary Disorienting Strobe
4. Click-Press: Disorienting Strobe
5. Click: Turn off

From OFF
1. Press: Momentary Maximum
2. Click Press: Momentary Disorienting Strobe

Below is the chart showing total output levels for various CR123 batteries
Level CR123 (3v) RCR123 Li Ion (3.7v)
Primary (Maximum 120 Lumens) 1238 1235
Secondary (10 Lumens) 119 116
Minimum (0.3 Lumens) 4 3
Light Info:
General Info
    Light Model EDC 120 T
    Manufacturer NovaTac
    Review Page & Image
 EDC 120 T
EDC 120 T
    Country  United States
    Review Date 2007-08-07
    Review Update 2007-08-12
Light Vitals
    Length 88 mm
    Width / Bezel Diameter 25 mm
    Width / Tube Diameter 23 mm
    Height (if applicable)  mm
    Weight (without battery) 69 gm
Light Source
    LED Format Power LED
    Number of LEDs 1
    LED Name Seoul P4
    LED Power 3  Watts
Light Management
    Lens Material Polycarbonate
    Lens Coating (if any) AR Coated
    Lens Transperency (typical) 90
    Lumen Management Reflector
    Material Aluminium Metal LOP
    Beam Type Mostly Throw 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
    Nominal Voltage
    # Used
    Total Output
    Runtime to 75%
    Runtime to 50%
    Runtime to 25%
LiMnO2  Li-Ion  
Switch Options
    Switch Type
    Switch Properties
Body Material Options
Type III Hard Anodized
Light Rating
80 80
    Build Quality
85 85
60 60
80 80
90 90
80 80
    Bang for buck
65 65
    Overall Rating
In-Depth Review & Pictures:
Size Comparison: From L to R: Nuwai QIII, NovaTac EDC 120 T, CR123 Battery

From L to R: Fenix P1 SE Q2, Fenix P2D, NovaTac EDC 120 T. As seen from the pictures, EDC 120 T lands in medium sized 123 light category when compared with Fenix P1 which is smallest 123 based flashlight observed so far.

From L to R: Fenix P3D, Deal Extreme DX X1, NovaTac EDC 120 T

From L to R: NovaTac EDC 120 P, NovaTac EDC 120 T. Notice the tactical switch bump.

Bezel Comparison: On the left is NovaTac EDC 120 T and on right is Nuwai QIII. As mentioned earlier, reflector is built from solid aluminium and has LOP finish. Sitting almost in center is the Seoul SSC P4 LED. The combination of LOP reflector and the Seoul SSC P4 LED produces one of the best beams that can only be matched by extremely few flashlights. The hotspot smoothly merges to the side spill providing a good balance of central and peripheral illumination.

From L to R: Fenix P1 SE Q2, Fenix P2D, NovaTac EDC 120 T

From L to R: Fenix P3D, Deal Extreme DX X1, NovaTac EDC 120 T

Beautiful bands of diamond knurling defines the 90% of exterior surface for NovaTac EDC 120 T. Battery tube is slightly "thinner" than rest of the body. Flashlight is defined in to three major parts. Head, Battery tube and the Tail cap. Flashlight name and model number is laser engraved on flat surface.

The head where all the brain is, quite literally. Head of flashlight houses LED, reflector and electronic drive circuit. The electronic drive circuit is by no means simple. The fact that it has got sensors for temperature, a Microcontroller (µC), little bit of memory (ROM/RAM) and a software that controls the entire light operation. Sounds like advanced system isn't it? It is indeed. More or less like a computer on board. Microcontroller (µC) and the software is capable of identifying the battery type once the battery is inserted in to the flashlight. If a rechargeable Li-ion battery is inserted, NovaTac EDC 120 T will not allow the battery to deplete beyond 2.7 Volts and thus the flashlight is enables operation of the flashlight on both primary CR123 Cells as well as the Li-Ion Rechargeable RCR123 Cells. When flashlight is switched on, the sensors constantly provide data to the Microcontroller (µC). Software keeps on adjusting the current to the LED in order to maintain and sustain the desired light level.

Tail cap: For a flashlight that has such advanced control circuitry and electronics, what do you think the tail cap should be comprised of? Nothing short of amazing. Basically this is no ordinary tail cap. It provides 'signals' to the head based on user input. This is the reason why there is an additional spring that communicates the signals to the head. we shall see that shortly.

Components: From L to R: Head, CR123 battery, spring, tail cap with battery tube. If you see the back side of head, one of the most prominent thing is the center brass like disk with three protruding dots. These protruding dots actually help in firm positive contact with the battery. Next thing you notice is two concentric circled rings on the PCB. The outermost circle is where head collects the signals from the tail cap. The spring transports these signals. You will also notice that there is a retaining ring with notches. This gives an opportunity to open up the flashlight head and perform upgrade of LED giving new lease of life to the flashlight. A word of caution though, we do not recommend users to perform such upgrades as it may be beyond normal means. Special care has to be taken in order to open the flashlight head. You may however head to Candle Power Forums to look out for instructions / CPF Marketplace for upgrade services. Again, note that the opening up of head is probably going to void the Warrantee of flashlight.

On the battery tube, you will see that there is exposed aluminium, this is the portion that actually carries the negative current to the head.

Light in Operation at 0.3 Lumens.

Beam Shots:
NovaTac EDC 120 T has a beam with excellent hotspot and gradually decreasing side spill. This is one of the most beautiful and clean beams we have observed in a while. Here Beam shot Matrix shows NovaTac EDC 120 T on Low, Secondary and Max light levels with AW RCR123 battery. All beam shots are taken at f/8 aperture with varying shutter speed.
Low Secondary Max

Here is another comparison that we performed previously. Below Beam shot Matrix shows NovaTac EDC 120 T on Right and Various Lights on Left the beam is NOT blue as it appears, the QIII's LED is Yellow and camera is trying to adjust the white balance
+1 0 -1
Nuwai QIII
EDC 120 T Max
Nuwai QIII
EDC 120 T 10 Lumen
Nichia CS LED DD with 1 CR2032
EDC 120 T 0.3 Lumen

Beam shot Matrix shows NovaTac EDC 120 T on Right and Various Lights on Left
+1 0 -1
Fenix P1 SE Q2
EDC 120 T Max
Fenix P2D Turbo
EDC 120 T Max
Fenix P3D Turbo
EDC 120 T Max
DX X1 Max
EDC 120 T Max
Beam Shots in Smoke:
In order to display the beam properties, here are a couple of beam shots for NovaTac EDC 120 T at different exposure compensations. The Spill Beam is around 56 degrees divergence where as the main beam is of 4 degrees divergence

Extreme Closeup Pictures:
Here are a few extreme closeup shots. The construction quality of NovaTac EDC 120 T is excellent. First picture shows bezel ring and the head.

Join of NovaTac EDC 120 T Head and battery tube.

Tail cap section.

Super Extreme Closeup NovaTac EDC 120 T shows amazing diamond structure of knurling and the perfection that is achieved by maintaining high quality standards. The type III, natural color hard coat anodizing is near perfect.

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.

AW RCR123 Li-Ion Max (120 Lumens): The runtime for NovaTac EDC 120 T with fully charged 750 mAh AW RCR123 Li-Ion battery on Max light output level is about 1 Hour 29 Minutes till 50%. Interestingly for the first 14 Minutes, the light output Jumps from 120 to 140 Lumens, there is no regulation what so ever. This behavior mostly due to a combination of software code and some of the hardware components. At the 14 Minute mark, light output then suddenly drops to 80 Lumen level which is maintained till 1 Hour 29 Minutes. This drop is mainly because of the battery being unable to supply the necessary current. At the 80 Lumen level, NovaTac EDC 120 T runs in full regulation. Again, one more peculiar thing that we observed is that the light output does not stay dot at 80 Lumens but rather there is a fluctuation of ± 10 lumens. We suspect the cause of this is purely the software code. At all times, the software in conjunction with hardware constantly monitors the battery condition and the output current. At each instant if the battery is getting depleted, the software adjusts the output parameters to match the desired output level. Also, please be aware that the light has inbuilt temperature sensor to protect LED from getting damaged. After 1 Hour 29 Minute point, the output starts rapidly decreasing and after 1 Hour 45 Minutes Light enters in to "Moon Mode".

Here is the runtime graph for NovaTac EDC 120 T on AW RCR123 Li-Ion battery at Max light output level.

AW RCR123 Li-Ion Secondary (10 Lumens): The runtime for NovaTac EDC 120 T with AW RCR123 Li-Ion on Secondary light output level of 10 Lumens is about an astounding 11 Hours and 10 Minutes till 50%. Here again, there is a fluctuation of ± 20 lumens during the runtime. The fluctuation is less pronounced after about first 4 hours, but it is still there. The cause for this is same as we explained above.

Here is the runtime graph for NovaTac EDC 120 T with AW RCR123 Li-Ion on Secondary light output level.

Runtimes Conclusion: As you can see, the NovaTac EDC 120 T is capable of delivering upwards of 120 Lumens with ease but for a short duration of time. At the same time you can switch of low output of 10 Lumens and get much longer runtime. Depending on the need the light can cater to various illumination requirements. We recommend use of Rechargeable Lithium-ion CR123 cells.

Buy NovaTac EDC 120 T Flashlight at www.NovaTac.com
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