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Старый 25.06.2010, 21:26 Автор темы   1
Аватар для Zeruel
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По умолчанию Volere AA - A User's Evaluation

Was kindly requested to post my review of the Volere AA (from CPF) here.


Steve Ku came into the CPF scene last year as a dealer for Liteflux LF2XT and he hit the ground running by being the first to offer LF2XT with the R2 emitter, then with upgrades like R5 XP-G, different runs of titanium hosts (for LF2XT, D10 & a big headed EX10 named Fatty), copper beryllium LF2XT and now his first venture into the limited production lights under his own brand, the Volere AA. Only 40 are made. I've been keeping watch over the development of this light since January for I'm always on a lookout for new AA lights, and even more so for titanium AA lights.

My critical viewpoints stem from the constant search for the "perfect EDC". I suspect it doesn't exist given the current technology, but it's always exciting to try out new potentials and of course, it's kind of hard to cure oneself of flashaholism. Sometimes, it came close to being the perfect one, but it's pretty aggravating to discover one feature that spoils it all. So, here's my 2 cents in my evaluation of the Volere from a user's point of view. Sample kindly provided by Steve Ku for this evaluation.

Here're the specifications:

Volere AA
* Constructed from 6Al4V titanium alloy.
* Cut knurling with 5 micro grooves per knurl.
* Length of 91mm and a width of 19mm (app. 3 1/2" x 3/4").
* The Volere can be run on AA alkaline and 14500 Li ion with built-in ODP for Li Ion cells.
* Available in Cree XP-G R5 Cool White and XP-G R4 Neutral.
* 3-mode driver with 1 second mode memory to reduce accidental mode switching when using the light in short bursts. High - 1amp, Medium - 300ma, Low - 60ma.
* Electronic switch for minimal resistance at the tail-cap and extended life cycle.
* Pocket clip compatible with D10 series clips. (Ti clip to be announced)
* 6mm tritium vial slot.
* 37.4g empty.
* Individually numbered. (Pictures below are of an unnumbered Volere)
* Units are laser engraved with a high heat warning, serial number, Volere AA and a logo

Volere AA Sales Thread (CPFMP)

Packaging: Matt laminated black box with elastic silvery band

Contents: Volere AA, lanyard, attachment, extra lens, spare o-rings & internal rubber boot and a cleaning clothe

Volere AA: Titanium goodness

Emitter & Reflector: R5 (XP-G) with OP reflector

Crenelated Head

Body Knurling: Diamond 5 micro grooves per knurl

Tailcap & Electronic Switch: Pre-threaded holes for Nitecore D10 clip, no backplate needed

Tritium Vial: Choice of blue or green



Low Beam

Medium Beam

High Beam

1) Form
The Volere is pretty slim for AA lights. When I first grip it, the fingers immediately contacted the length of the knurling which itself has a good bite. The head has a subtle crenellation, not aggressive enough to induce cuts or damage to inner pocket materials as its sole purpose is to tell if the light is turned on/off when placed head down. So if one is looking for a kubaton-style light, the Volere isn't it.

The material used for the Volere is Titanium Grade 5 (Ti-6Al-4V), meaning it's using about 90% titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium to achieve a high tensile strength and toughness. Any grade higher than 5 are pure, unalloyed titanium which will not be as strong as Grade 5. So the Volere is very much a light that's built to last. I have accidentally dropped the light from table's height and it landed on the edge of the crenelated bezel. Besides making my heart stopped, it took me a while to locate the point of impact, it caused a slight flattening of the crenellation of less than 0.05mm in width which I have seen much worse outcome for smaller and lighter aluminum lights.

Different from the traditional clicky, an electronic switch is used in the Volere, which is smaller, thinner and more stable due to lesser resistance and lower moving part counts. Therefore, the switch is kind of nice and easy to depress and does not have the usual loud clicking during activation. I think it's a good call considering its user interface where it allows a mere 1 second time frame to switch modes. If the Volere had used the usual switch components for a clicky, it might be irritating or harder to depress repeatedly. Of course, a good alternative is to use a forward switch where all it needs is half-presses to switch modes, but then this would result in a taller switch, hence a longer Volere. From what I understand, this electronic switch is not available as an individual part to retailers or to the casual shoppers.

However, one minor downside of this switch is the higher chances of accidental activation although I'll find that unlikely to happen often since the switch sits low within the tailcap recess. The switch button is also made of titanium and one thing I noticed for lights that use metallic tailcap is they tend to slope to one side after I nudged them on the edge because the switch component beneath the cap pushes it at the centre with no support around it. Good thing is the Volere doesn't suffer from this as it springs back to original postion no matter which part of the switch I press.

The Volere does not come with a titanium clip pre-installed as I had hope so but it is designed to allow Nitecore D10's clip to be installed on it. I'm aware a titanium clip (for the Volere) is in the making by Moddoo, but my concern is if the clip is of the same length as D10's, that would be less than desirable. The reason being the contact point of that length sits on the knurling and it will definitely be abrasive against pockets, belts and holsters from the daily insertions and pulling out. Also, when using the D10 clip, I feel it would be nicer if it had been a little more deep pocket. I prefer something that doesn't peek out of the pocket and cast a glare with it shiny nickel-plated surface... Like this.

2) User Interface
To me, a good user interface provides the basic brightness levels without having to cycle through mandatory modes like strobes, SOS or beacon. Such modes are alright and might prove to be useful once in a while only when it's hidden away until they're needed. So, Volere does score well where user interface is concerned with its 3 modes; High, Medium and Low which loops back to High.

Mode switching is done via quickly clicking on and off. I have a problem with this initially. I have to click 4 times to get the modes to start changing. When I learnt that mode activation has to be done within 1 second, the UI becomes a piece of cake to master. Likewise, memory is activated when the light is on for more than 1 second, ie when the light is turned on for more than 1 second, the next time it's turn back on, it'll be at the brightness it was turned off.

3) Beam Profile
At the heart of the Volere is the CREE R5 (XP-G), which is the latest and most efficient CREE LED to date. As an option, R4 (XP-G) can be chosen for buyers who prefer the neutral tint. Usually, R5 beam has slight yellowish or greenish tints, but my Volere sample projects the whitest R5 beam I've ever came across. On high, the hotspot is almost pure white follow by a warm corona and ends off with a very slight purplish spill. If one is to be critical about tints, this slight purplish tint becomes evident for medium and low settings. The Volere uses a OP reflector, so the transition is very smooth yet it creates a distinct hotspot that enables a decent throw for a AA light.

4) Battery
The Volere allows AA battery of any kind; primary, NiMh and rechargeable li-ion. There is reverse polarity protection built-in, no worries on the part. On a side note, there are times when lights are able to use these batteries, but not all can physically take in the longer li-ions. In this aspect, the Volere can take in longer li-ions but might be slightly better off with just a tad more allowance for such batteries. Using li-ion, the high beam is delightfully bright but I was slightly let down by the close proximity in the brightness between low and medium. It became even more indistinguishable when primary batteries are used.

There're some lights that I've used that have "Warning: Hot" label engraved on the heads and more often than not, I think it's a false alarm. Not in the case of the Volere if you want to use li-ion on maximum brightness. In order to keep the size compact and be able to emit such brightness, heat is inevitable. The head becomes uncomfortably hot in about a minute. I guess the maximum should be used in short bursts or in colder climates or environments.

In a nutshell

- Comes with accessories: O-rings, extra lens, lanyard and a decent polishing clothe.
- Nice crenelated head. Not too aggressive. Crenelated edges are not sharp, which is good since it's not meant to be a kubaton.
- High grade titanium: Ti-6Al-4V.
- One of the smallest titanium AA lights.
- Very bright (on max) for its size.
- Beam profile is smooth with a good balance of spill and throw.
- R5 (XP-G) for my sample is the whitest R5 I've seen.
- Fine quality knurling provides good grip.
- Good tactile switch, does not slope to one side when I nudge on the edge (have experienced this with other lights that have metallic buttons).
- Comes with the option of tritium vial (choice of blue or green) pre-installed.
- Reverse polarity protected.

- When using li-ion, it gets really hot on maximum brightness after about 60 seconds.
- User interface can be confusing at first because the 1 second requirement takes some getting use to to execute.
- The lowest mode is not low enough.
- Accidental activation is possible since no electronic lock-out is available.
- If the titanium clip is going to be of similar length as D10's, then the clipping point sits on the knurling. Although this provides a good clipping grip, but it will undoubtedly damage whatever material the light is clipped on everytime it's pull from the pocket or the belt.

I was musing over what could be added to make Volere, in purely my personal opinion, a better EDC. A lower low mode for longer runtime and better differentiation between modes would address my main concern for this light. If the light comes with a pre-installed titanium clip that clips at the head, that would be great. And in terms of design and this is subjective, I feel the angles at which the flute head and tail are machined could be gentler, so that the edges are not so... distinctive.

Now for eye-candy shots taken during 2 weeks' of EDC.

My overall zeruel points for this light are:

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Старый 25.06.2010, 22:16   2
Администратор и
Главный фотограф ;)
Аватар для alefedos
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По умолчанию Re: Volere AA - A User's Evaluation

Отличный обзор, красивые фотографии. Welcome :)
alefedos вне форума   Ответить с цитированием Вверх
Старый 26.06.2010, 05:10   3
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По умолчанию Re: Volere AA - A User's Evaluation

Thanks! :)
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