Originally posted: September 4, 2011
Last revised: September 5, 2011
Warning: Pic heavy, as usual.
Titanium Innovations has recently come out with a less expensive aluminum version of their 1xAAA keychain light, the Illuminati. How does this new model compare to the original titanium version? Let us see ….
Material: Aluminum Alloy- Hard Anodized Black
LED: Cree XP-G R5 (1B)
Battery: 1 x AAA (lithium, NiMh, or alkaline) (We do not recommend or warrant using lithium ion rechargeable batteries)
Reflector: Textured Aluminum Alloy
Operating Voltage: 0.9-3V
3 Output Levels
Low: 3 Lumens (30+ hours)
Medium: 30 Lumens (4+ hours)
High: 115 Lumens (90+ minutes)
Length: 2.66" (67.6mm)
Diameter: 0.54" (13.7mm)
Weight: 0.49oz (14g)
Package Contents: 1 x Illuminati CA1-AL LED Flashlight, 1 x Keychain, 1 x Pocket Clip (Pocket clip is reversible for user preference), 1 x User Manual, 1 x Energizer L92 AAA battery (recommended for optimum performance), 1 x Instruction Sheet
Packaging is unchanged from the titanium version. The presentation-style case (very similar to the early Fenix cases) includes the light with attached keychain ring, reversible pocket clip, spare o-rings, Energizer L92 battery, and manual.
From left to right: Titanium Innovations Illuminati Aluminum, Illuminati Titanium, Sunwayman R01A, Maratac 1xAAA, Lumintop Worm Aluminum Black, Klarus Mi X6, 4Sevens Preon1.
The aluminum version has the same overall build as the titanium version, only lighter due to the aluminum construction
The black body has a fairly matte finish, with bright white lettering (sharp and clear). While there is still no knurling to speak of, the patterned squares over the surface of the light do help with grip. I found the light can be easily operated one-handed, but a little extra grip on the head would be nice.
Tailstanding is possible on both models. As before the keychain attachment point seems fairly thin – I wasn’t too concerned on the titanium version, but this aluminum version should be carefully inspected to make sure all is secure.
The Illuminati uses a spring in the tailcap, like many lights in this class.
NEW: Normally at this point in the review, I like to show the emitter/reflector and beamshots. But I’m trying something new - video reviews showing both the basic build and user interface. Check it out below. Beamshots will follow after the user interface and circuit discussion.
Video was recorded in 720p HD, but YouTube defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the 360p icon in the lower right-hand corner, and select the higher 480p and 720p options if you like.
Turn on by fully tightening the head/bezel against the body. The light is off when the bezel is loosened slightly.
Light comes on in Lo output to start. To select a different level, twist the head off and then back on again within 1 second. This will advance to the next level in the following repeating sequence: Lo > Med > > Hi.
There is no memory mode.
The Illuminati Aluminum uses 1kHz PWM on its Lo/Med mode, which is not readily apparent visually. This is a slight bump up from my original Titanium version, which was ~1kHz on Lo, but ~885 Hz on Med.
There is no strobe feature.
And now the part you’ve all been waiting for.
The Illumati Aluminum comes with a lightly textured reflector (OP) and uses a XP-E emitter. Centering of the emitters wasn’t already perfect, but acceptable on all my samples.
Which brings me to the white-wall beamshots. All lights are on 1xAAA Sanyo Eneloop NiMH, about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences. All beamshots taken immediately upon activation.
Note the original titanium version is just list as "XP-G R5" below.
I find most 1xAAA lights to have fairly diffused beams, with broad hotspots. The aluminum version is not appreciably different from the titanium one.
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.
Effective November 2010, I have revised my summary tables to match with the current ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.sliderule.ca/FL1.htm for a description of the terms used in these tables.
Output is somewhat increased on standard cells - although I expect this is common to the latest version of the circuit, and would be true of the currenty-shipping titanium version as well. Max output and throw is reasonable for the class.
There has been a definite improvement in the Max output on alkaline, and a smaller increase on NiMH (although again, this probably now common for all versions that share this circuit). On all other modes and other batteries, there is no apparent difference between the Illuminati versions.
Overall performance remains typical for the PWM-based class of 1xAAAXP-G R5 lights.
Light uses PWM for its Lo/Med mode, but at a not distracting 1 kHz frequency.
Light can be used single-handed, but extra grip on the head would be advantageous.
The original titanium Illuminati was a solid light 1xAAA light. I EDCed it for several months when it first came out, and it worked reliably during that time. I like seeing this new lower cost aluminum version – it provides another option for those looking for a simple, straight-forward, keychain light.
Aside from the choice of material, all other aspects of this light seem unchanged – including the emitter, circuit, and form factor and build. One minor upgrade is the increased PWM from ~850 Hz to 1 kHz on the Med mode – but I imagine that’s a standard improvement made to the common circuit. Same goes for the increased max output on alkaline and NiMH.
Although titanium has a much stiffer build, aluminum lights are easier to use in one sense – the thread action is smooth on my aluminum Illuminati, whereas the titanium version suffers from the common galling effect (i.e. stiffer, gritty-feeling threads).
Circuit performance is unchanged, and the Illuminati is still quite respectable for this class. There hasn’t been a great deal of innovation in 1xAAA lights this past year, except for a couple of models that current-controlled (offering flatter regulation and better runtimes on Lo/Med). One change I would like to see here is an even higher PWM frequency – while 1 kHz is quite decent, something >2 kHz would be completely undetectable.
If you are looking for a basic model 1xAAA keychain light, the Illuminati aluminum is certainly worthy model to consider.
Illuminati aluminum provided by Battery Junction for review.
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