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EB Replica HL1-A-TN

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Old September 11th, 2008, 12:44   #1
Drake
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EB Replica HL1-A-TN

So I got my two HL1-A-TN knockoffs from EB just a little while ago (from the $19 sale); one OD and one Tan.

First impression, the construction quality is so-so; everything looks very solid, but the finish is mediocre in terms of rubber bits being glued on a bit crooked on one, lots of seams on the plastic, etc. Basically what you'd expect for the $20 price tag.

In terms of color, the "tan" one is a shade darker than Khaki/Tan Maxpedition Grimloc while the "OD" version resembles Magpul's Flat Dark Earth. The difference between the two is minimal unless you're holding them side by side.

They each came with a helmet mount and a RIS mount.

They're powered by one CR123A battery (not included).

Performance wise (this had been the big question) they operate like the real deal, proving 3x White LED or 2x Blue LED illumination, with three intensity levels each, plus an IR IFF strobe.

No instructions come with it, and I was honestly initially a bit baffled at how to get them to work (I had to look up a review of the real one). So to save anyone else the trouble: the switches at the rear of the unit are actually flip switches not push switches (d'oh!): Top one is a 3-position switch which controls White LED illumination (up), Off (middle) and Blue LED illumination (down). The bottom switch is a 2-position on/off switch for the IR strobe (up = on, down = off). On the top surface of the unit, above the IR LED, is a simple push button which cycles through intensity levels. Intensity levels are linked between colors.

The lowest setting is pretty discrete in pitch darkness, with no real difference between white and blue asides from the color. The mid and high settings provide a bit more light, the highest white setting being similar in intensity to a Maglight Solitaire -- however this was easily washed out by a mini LED keychain light running on a watch battery.

Based on the review of the real Surefire unit, it seems to be how it's supposed to work rather than an issue of it being a poor copy; this really seems to be intended as a small lightsource for your immediate work area rather than an illumination device like a tac light. If you have (or have ever seen) one of those LED lamps that plug into your computer's USB port -- it's along those lines.

I don't have any NVGs, so no telling how bright/visible the strobe is.

All in all, for $20 shipped, it's a neat gadget to add to a helmet for looks and will provide some useful functionality in low/no light situations, such as being able to see your radio's dials, reading a map, checking to see if an AEG mag is empty or full, etc. The inclusion of the rail mount seems slightly overkill since the light is just too weak to function as a tac light. I honestly would have preferred some kind of small clip to allow me to attach it to MOLLE so that I have a way to carry it around when I'm not using a helmet (or to attach it to the loops on a boonie).

Not sure I'd wanna pay the usual $35+ pricetag for it, however.



Review of the real item for comparison: http://www.tacticalreview.net/Articl...tent1179916933
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Old September 11th, 2008, 12:57   #2
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Nice review Drake. Thanks.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 13:08   #3
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Can it be mounted on either side of the helmet,or just the left?.
Can you have one either side?.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 13:21   #4
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Can it be mounted on either side of the helmet,or just the left?.
Can you have one either side?.
I just tried, and I can't think to of a way to make it work on the right side (short or mounting a RIS rail on your helmet and using the RIS adapter. Yes, I would laugh). There's no way that I can see to flip the mount, or mount it revesed.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 13:33   #5
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Ris on your helmet lol,just think of the fire power mounted on your head.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 14:40   #6
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lol, Moscart on the side of your helmet, shortly followed by deafness...
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Old September 11th, 2008, 19:45   #7
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I took a few pics of mine that came in today as well. Drake I hope you don't mind. Great Review BTW. This is the OD version and it does appear to be closer to Dark Earth than OD. I have to agree with Drake in that the quality is a bit rough but for 20 bucks I really cant complain. The IR IFF strobe does appear to work as I can see a very faint (read almost invisible) red flashing light, whether or not it's IR I am not sure.




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Old September 11th, 2008, 21:35   #8
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Ex-Royal, don't mind at all and actually glad you posted pics, haven't had time to take any yet.

You did get me curious about the IR LED, so I checked it with the only really IR sensitive device I have: my webcam.




Left the white LEDs on at the brightest setting for comparison. Don't throw away your SDU-5/E or MS-2000 just yet, but with NV you'd probably be able to notice it pretty well.

Here's a small video (AVI/Mpeg4) to show how it blinks. I used MPEG4 to try and maximize compatibility (VLC and WinAmp should both be able to play it even if you don't have the CODEC installed, and I think QuickTime should be able to play it on Mac). It's a small file (170kb) so no one should have trouble getting it.

DOWNLOAD HERE
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Old September 12th, 2008, 03:27   #9
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Update on performance

So it's pitch dark in the house and I tried one of the units on a helmet.

The mounting wasn't quite as sturdy as I'd first thought, specially with the helmet cover removed. I want to try and find a way to maybe shim it.

So mounting issues aside, in darkness the amount of light these put out -- even on the lower settings -- is adequate once your eyes have gotten used to the dark. On the highest setting it was bright enough to see clearly down the hallway. The lowest setting provides enough illumination to see what you're doing and even to read something without adversely affecting your natural night vision too much. After a few moments of testing it, I was actually surprised how dark it was after I turned it off (from the lowest setting).
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Old September 12th, 2008, 03:56   #10
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I've been playing with the one that arrived today (wtf, seperate packages?) and for 20$ I'm having fun.
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Old September 12th, 2008, 13:42   #11
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How long will one of these run being on all the time?.
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Old September 12th, 2008, 19:46   #12
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Just purchased an authentic Surefire Helmet Light @ Fort Drum today to take overseas. Here are some pictures to show the differences btwn the real deal and the ACM clone.



Here you can see a few differences right off the bat. The Surefire light is a v.4 while the ACM clone is based off the v1 design. The surefire has a shield over the toggle switches to prevent accidental activation. As well it has an enhanced tailcap on the battery compartment with a "disable" feature. Useful for when you stow the light etc.



A rear view gives a better view of the shield and tailcap on the surefire vs the ACM. Speaking of the battery compartment, in the ACM version the compartment is a little small, meaning surefire batteries fit very snugly. As well it is slightly too long, resulting in the tailcap being a touch loose when closed and causing some flickering of the LEDS occasionally. No such problems w/ the Surefire model. Not a deal breaker my any means though.



Viewed from the front in darkness, this gives a pretty good indicator of the maximum illumination given from each light.



Ahh the moneyshot! Obviously the Surefire model blows away the ACM model in terms of lumens output.

Overall, the construction of the ACM model is a bit on the shabby side in comparison to the Surefire original. However for the low low price of $20US, it's a pretty good deal in my books. As most players will just buy one to attach to the side of there helmet, it will fill that role just fine. I'll be leaving my clone @ home however and taking my Surefire v4 with me overseas.
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Old September 16th, 2008, 02:47   #13
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I might end up getting a real one, mine is already partially dead. I only fitted it on the helmet and played with it a little and now I took it out tonight to check out something and the white leds aren't working and nor is the IR strobe on it.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 19:08   #14
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Just an update...take your batteries out if your not using it. Mine drained two brand new Energizer Lithium batteries even though the unit was not on. Im so buying a real one now,.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 19:09   #15
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Just an update...take your batteries out if your not using it. Mine drained two brand new Energizer Lithium batteries even though the unit was not on. Im so buying a real one now,.
That's what I realized with mine but anyway I already got a real one on the way.
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