LedXtreme Predator

Provided for review
by the kind folks at:

4 Stars
Very Good

Light Type: Luxeon Star LED
Light Class: Outdoor / Rough Use / Etc.

Short Description:

The Predator is a regulated Luxeon LED light made in Canada by LedXtreme and is available from Brite-Lite.

The body of the light is made from anodized aluminum with knurling on the body and tailcap for grip. The head of the light takes up about 1/3 of the body length. The body tube walls are about 5mm thick and construction is very beefy in general. The bezel consists of a recessed 30mm collimating optic situated over what is presumed to be a Luxeon I high dome LED and a regulation circuit to maintain consistent brightness throughout most of the battery life. There is a rubber seal between the lens and the bezel front for water resistance. There are also O-ring between the bezel and body tube and between the tailcap and body. The light is advertised as water resistant to 150 feet. The light is activated by either pressing the rubber covered switch in the tailcap for momentary operation or by twisting the tailcap for constant-on operation. The Predator uses two 123A lithium batteries for power (included).

Size Reference
Size vs. common aluminum 2-AA light
Bezel picture
Beam Profile

Detailed Information:

The LedXtreme Predator is a very impressive illumination tool. I was surprised by the very thick walled construction of the light and the bright light output from the Luxeon LED. This light should be able to withstand a very significant beating just based upon the amount of metal used in its construction and the fact that Luxeon LEDs are essentially impervious to impacts.

The body, as mentioned, is machined out of thick aluminum stock. The body walls are very thick. This serves two purposes: First, the light is very tough as a result of the solid construction. Second, there is plenty of metal to serve as a heatsink for the Luxeon Star LED. As Luxeon Stars are driven at high levels they can produce a significant amount of heat. This heat needs to be drawn away from the LED to prevent the LED from being damaged. In use the Predator gets quite warm from head to tail. This indicates to me that the designers have built in a good thermal junction between the LED and the thick aluminum body of the light to draw heat away from the LED, thereby protecting it from thermal damage.

Thick body wall

The knurling on the body is just aggressive enough to provide a good grip, but not be excessively abrasive. Machining throughout the body appears to be very good with no burrs or rough spots.

The bezel contains what appears to be a 30mm collimating optic similar to that found in the Blaster 3P . The beam pattern indicates to me that a "high dome" Luxeon Star is used and the literature indicates that it is a 1 Watt LED. The central spot surrounded by a square spillbeam is typical of high dome Luxeon Stars. As a result of using an LED, the bulb should never need to be changed and will not "blow" like an incandescent bulb.

I noticed that as the batteries diminished, at a certain point the light started to flicker - low, high, low, high, etc. This is often evidence of a regulation circuit that is straining to maintain the brightness of the light as the batteries are dropping to a level that cannot supply the circuit with enough current. I also noticed that over the first 2 hours or so the light maintained its brightness very well. I contacted the supplier about the possibility of a regulator and they in turn contacted the manufacturer. As it turns out this light is indeed regulated to maintain consistent brightness throughout battery life. This is a significant plus and I am very surprised it is not mentioned in the product literature.

Positive contact inside light at base of bezel

The switch on the tail of the light is what would be called a "lock out tactical switch". There is a rubber textured button (like a bullseye) on the end which allows for momentary illumination when pressed. Twisting the tailcap turns the light on for constant illumination use. The switch can be rotated backwards (unscrewing) about one turn to "lock out" the switch, preventing accidental activation when carried or packed.

"Bullseye" pushbutton switch

Water resistance is provided by thick O-ring and rubber seals at points of potential water entry. Advertised water resistance is to a depth of 150 feet.

The Predator uses a pair of 123A lithium batteries. Runtime is unknown, but I've been running mine for around 2-4 hours before it really started to dim. These batteries are best purchased online from somewhere like Surefire.com. 123A batteries are very expensive in retail stores and can be purchased for 1/4 the retail price online. To change the batteries, remove the tailcap and drop out the old batteries. The batteries are a very tight fit, so you may need to tap the open base of the light on your palm to drop out the old batteries. Place two new batteries in the tube, positive first. Replace the tailcap and away you go. The light I received included a pair of Maxell Gold 123A batteries.

No accessories are included with the light.

One thing to note, the packaging states that the light has 3 Watt peak output. At 6V, if the LED is drawing 500mA, that would give 3 Watts of draw from the batteries (V*A=W). I cannot confirm this with my meter but I imagine this is close to the truth. Luxeon Stars can be driven at these levels, and beyond, with adequate heatsinking and this light is not lacking in the area of heatsinking. The packaging also claims 100+ Lumens of output. In my mind this rating is highly suspect. Using my somewhat unscientific "Lightbox Apparatus" I have found that lights generally rated around 60 Lumens read around or just a little below 6000 on the meter. This light reads 2850 - almost half that. If it really were putting out 100 lumens of output I would definitely expect it to read higher than 6000, not less than half.

UPDATE: Here is a "quick and dirty" runtime graph - 15 mintue intervals, GE/Sanyo 123A (new). Red line indicates 50% brightness.

Appears to really start to drop out of regulation around the 2 hour point.

What I Liked: Waterproof, Very Tough and solid construction, Good battery life, Very bright, Easy battery change, Lightweight, Easy to operate switch, Lockout tailcap, Regulated output to maintain constant brightness

What I Didn't Like: A bit large for a 2x123A light, but the size is necessary to provide enough metal to serve as a heatsink for the LED which is being driven at quite high levels.

Other Things I Noticed: Nothing significant.

Conclusions: A very good light. Tough as a tank, well engineered and designed. Marketing claims about output may be exaggerated but that doesn't take away from the fact that this is a quality light. This is another one of those lights that I just plain like.

Update Jan 29, 2004: Received notification that the price has come down on the unit - price below updated to reflect a $20.00 drop!

Quick Facts Table:

Review Date ............................. December 2003
Case Material ........................... Anodized Aluminum
Case Features .......................... Knurled for grip, very thick construction
Case Access Type .................... Unscrew Tailcap
Switch Type ............................. Lock out tactical tailcap (momentary button and twist for constant on)
Reflector Type ......................... None
Lens Type ................................

~30mm collimating lens

Bulb Type ................................. Luxeon I high dome LED
Beam Type ............................... Spot
Beam Characteristics ............... Narrow spot with square spillbeam
Throw (Lux) at 1m (click for description) ~ 3402 at beam center. (58.33 Comparison Chart equivalent)
Overall Output (click for description) ~ 2850 (28.50 Comparison Chart equivalent)
Battery / Power Type................ 2 x 123A lithium cells
Battery Life (advertised) ........... Estimated 2-3 hours before dropping to low levels
Environmental Protection ......... Rubber seals and O-ring - 150' depth rated
Special Items of Note ............... Made in Canada
Warranty .................................. Unknown
Retail Cost ................................ $75.95 US$ from Brite-Lite at time of review


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