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