The HDS Systems "EDC Ultimate 60 XR" is designed
to be the final word in EDC (Every Day Carry) lights,
and frankly it very well may be. The EDC Ultimate combines
a Luxeon III LED and a combination boost/buck regulation
and multifunction circuitry into a very small and tough
package. The result is an incredibly versatile and easily
carried light which exceeds the expectations and the
requirements of most users.
There are several different models of EDC units.
There are EDC 42 and EDC 60 models. The 42 models produce 42 Lumens
of light on High, while the 60 models produce 60 Lumens of light on High.
The XR designation (extra runtime) on the EDC 60 models indicates a 30 minute
runtime on the highest setting instead of a 20 minute runtime as found
in the non-XR models. There is also a GT designation which indicates
a guaranteed tint LED. These lights have a near-sunlight white tint to
the LED. The tint may vary slightly on all other models. Last, there
are EDC Basic and EDC Ultimate models. The Basic provides 4
brightness settings. The Ultimate includes the 4 brightness modes of the
Basic model, plus a number of different additional options. The model
tested is a EDC 60 Ultimate XR.
Body: The body itself is made of aerospace aluminum with a
military spec. type III hard anodize finish for durability and
abrasion resistance. There is a wide band of knurling around
the head area of the light for grip. Below this section is a narrow area
with another band of knurling, followed by the smooth tailcap area
where the clip makes contact. The clip is large, has a lanyard
hole built in, and is easily installed/removed with a Phillips head
screwdriver. The clip is included but not installed.
Bezel/Head: The glass lens is held in place with a removable
retaining ring. The tool for removing the ring can be acquired as
an accessory. Behind this is a smooth reflector with a very slight
texture. In the center of the reflector is the Luxeon LED which
produces the light for the product and is extremely shock resistant.
Deeper inside the head is the circuitry which can boost or reduce
the power from the battery as needed to maintain constant brightness.
The circuitry also provides a myriad of features for the user.
Output description: At this point I should probably start to
describe all of the great things this light can do!
First off, you click
the switch on the tailcap and it turns on in Primary mode. This mode
provides an excellent balance between output and runtime. From Primary, double
click and you move to Secondary mode - lower output, longer runtime. A double
click brings you back. From either
Primary or Secondary you can triple click and you get Minimum mode - very low output
but loooooong runtime. A double click again brings you back to whichever setting
you were just on (Primary or Secondary). From any of these modes you can
press and hold the button to get momentary Maximum setting for about 60 Lumens (advertised)
of output. Releasing the button returns the output to the
setting you were just on. To lock on the Maximum setting on
you quickly triple click but hold
that last click until the light switches to Maximum. Maximum now stays on. A
double click returns you to your Primary or secondary setting. A single
click always turns the light off.
In actual use you become familiar with the options very quickly.
throw readings are in Lux
at one meter. The numbers in parenthesis are for comparison
in the Comparison
Both the "EDC Basic" and "EDC Ultimate"
models supply these exact options, but the "EDC
Basic" lacks the specialty options found in the
"EDC Ultimate" version. The "Ultimate"
model also has the following additional options:
Change the preset brightness levels of the four basic settings (19-20 possible settings)
Select an emergency strobe mode
Select an emergency SOS mode (46CFR161.013-7 signal timing compliant)
Turn on a locator flash for finding your light in the dark
Force a particular brightness setting for initial turn-on
Set the light to automatically lock after 5 minutes
off- a triple click unlocks and manually locks the light
Set automatic turn off (5 minutes with warning)
Set simple momentary usage capability (press for momentary, click for constant on)
Set tactical momentary on (press on, release off only)
In the event that you mess around with the menus and options and completely
hose your light, you can perform a soft reset (retains your settings)
or a hard reset (returns the light to factory defaults).
Output from the light is in the form of a smooth beam
with a bright center, good corona and wide spillbeam
(not seen in photo). Color temperature of this particular
unit is a fairly high with a very slight purple tint.
Unless you get a GT (guaranteed tint) unit, there will
be some tint variability between units. As the tint
is not severe, the eyes adapt to it quickly and you
really don't notice it in practical use.
Beam at one meter at target center.
Runtime Plot: This runtime was completed on the factory
preset Primary mode. Over 11 hours before output drops.
Regulation is excellent - it literally remains at the
brightness level it starts with, displaying only slight
variations. No initial drop at all. The circuitry drops
the output by 50 percent when the batteries become too
weak to support the mode the light is in. This continues
until the light reaches a very low level, providing
emergency light. If the light is turned off when the
batteries are weak, it will remain lit very dimly until
the batteries recover a bit. If you turn the light on
with a weak cell it may come on in the Primary setting
and quickly step down to a lower setting.
completed with Duracell batteries. More information
on runtime plots is available HERE.
Here is the runtime on "Maximum". The light
was placed upright in a cup of room temperature water
to conduct heat away from the body of the light so it
didn't shut down due to overheating.
completed with BatteryStation batteries. More information
on runtime plots is available HERE.
It should be noted that the light does also have a
thermal protection system to protect the LED. If the
light gets too hot due to excessive use of the brighter
output settings and/or environmental conditions, output
will drop to facilitate cooling. When the light cools
you may turn the light off and then back on to access
the brighter output levels again.
Switch: The switch is a simple click switch covered
with a rubber cap. The circuitry inside the light interprets
the clicks you make in order to perform all the wonderful
functions of the light. The cap on the switch is almost,
but not quite, flush with the tailcap. The result is
that it will stand precariously on end on a flat surface.
Seals / Water Resistance: O-rings seal the light from
the entry of the environment. The manufacturer gives
the light a 2 atmosphere watertight rating.
Ergonomics: Small, easy to use. The switch is easy to press and the
narrow waist on the light body helps provide an excellent grip.
Size compared to a common 2AA aluminum light
Batteries: A single included 123A lithium cell powers
the light, but the EDC lights can handle a wide variety
of battery options which produce up to 7.2V. A two cell
123A battery pack is mentioned in the documentation,
as well as a two cell AA battery pack, but I was unable
to find any for sale at this time. A single rechargeable
Lithium-ion 123A cell can also be used (use only manufacturer
recommended type), and should be changed as soon as
step-downs in illumination occur. To change out the
battery simply unscrew the tail of the light. Inside
you will see the depleted cell which is held in place
by two gold colored contact/battery retainer wires.
Shake gently and the old cell will drop out. Carefully
place a new cell in the tail and reassemble. The unit
has reverse polarity protection, so if you put the new
cell in backwards the light will not work. When you
tighten the two halves of the light together the LED
will illuminate dimly for about 1 second to indicate
acceptance of the new cell.
Accessories: There are a bunch of additional accessories
mentioned in the documentation including replacement
lenses, lens removal tool, lanyards, battery pack cap,
battery packs, and rechargeable battery pack and charger.
The clip is included and comes in a separate baggie
in the package. It can either be attached or left off
depending on your preference (I prefer it off).
What I Liked: Waterproof,
Tough/impact resistant, Excellent regulation and long battery life,
Very bright output available, Easy battery change, Lightweight, Lots
What I Didn't Like: Almost too many options in the
Ultimate model. Keep the little plastic cheat card that comes
with the light handy in case you need to program options in the field.
If at all possible, set your options ahead of time under controlled
Other Things I Noticed: The HA-III finish is
missing along the edges of the machined knurling in spots and there were
a couple of nicks - minor issues.
Conclusions: The HDS EDC Ultimate
series is an excellent set of lights which have a wide
variety of extremely usable features. Anyone can pick
the light up and use it without having to read the instructions
(important in emergencies), but it can also be customized
to meet almost any need with minimal effort and learning.
A light is useless if it is left at home, and the EDC
series is small enough to be carried with you almost
all of the time. Keep in mind that "A pearl of
great price is not for the asking."; all of this
versatility and quality comes at a fairly high price,
as should be expected.