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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Sorry for repeat post but cant seem to update the title of earlier thead so thought it was worth posting complete version (slightly revised).

I have been looking at more powerful lighting options for some time now having grown tired of my popular 230 lumen torch, but quickly found that the costs of more powerful systems were extremely prohibitive. Being a recreational diver (Padi AOW) I could not justify spending upwards of £5-800 on a light and many of the more realistic options available to me were not much brighter than what I already had, or came with very limited burn time making multiple dives per day difficult. That’s when the Archon range was suggested and the D33 in particular appeared to tick all the right boxes:


  • Extremely reasonably priced (<£275 UK but <£150 if imported yourself)
  • Very powerful (3000 lumen!!)
  • Tight spot beam (6 degrees) -flood lights are no use in murky water
  • Waterproof to 100m
  • Enough burn time even on high for 3-4 dives per day (4hrs on high, 9 hrs on Low apparently)

Available in several places, Wallbuy was the cheapest option at the time including delivery and even came with 4000mah batteries. From the day it was ordered it was less than 2 weeks to arrive at my door in the UK.

Now the important bit – what’s the torch like!

First off I have had a careful look over everything to make sure rubber seals were snug and lubricated (comes with 2 spares) and that there is no chaff in the threads etc. But to be honest I needn’t have bothered as it was clean and lubricated already. I also went as far as removing the front Perspex to make sure the reflector was not loose and the seals were tight against the Perspex as I have read this was a problem with another brand of Chinese dive light which would do strange things in the water, but again it seemed to be ok.

Turning the light on is done by simply tightening up the base. This gives high beam to start with and you can cycle though to dimed and strobe function (full beam) by turning it off and back on (pause for a second as too quick means it doesnt register the mode change)

I first tried it out in a dark lane next to my house where my usual torch would give reasonable side light wall to wall perhaps 20ft to see what was around you / where you were going, with the spot part giving a nice bright area in front of you with enough range to see what you were coming up to in more light.

Turn on the D33 and the old torch looks like a candle in comparison and is completely obliterated. Both side of the lane were brightly lit up for the entire length (approx 10 houses) with the spot itself turning the middle of the lane into something akin to daylight, much further than one could have use for but you could probably drive a car using this! Point it in the sky and you can see the narrow spot beam at the core of the light well defined and holding tight for a good distance.

However, the true test is under water and I took this with me to Lochaline in Scotland, as diving to 40m in the limited viz of UK waters was going to be the real test.

First things first, it’s not a small torch with most of the weight in the head meaning it will require a decent lanyard clip to keep it in place on your BCD and you need to be slightly more aware of it swinging about. I use a Lumb Bros detachable clip/coil as I suspect the retractable spool types will sag or let it bounce a bit much. That said it’s not excessively heavy and holding just behind the head means it is nicely balanced and easy to use in the water. Also easy to turn on/off under water with the only thing I noticed was that it turned itself on as you went down (although simply backing the end off slightly further than I had previously done soon stopped this happening).

Down to 39.2m on the first dive no problems. It throws out a nice spread of light with a very usable flood that lets you get a good awareness of your wider surroundings without having to point the light every which way, not to mention this alone was brighter than the spot of my old light but not so intense that you cant see anything for the reflected ligth (e.g. high beam in snow beam). Viz was not bad most of the dives but even on the Shuna when it silted up badly I had no problem, did try on low to see if it made much difference and whilst it helped reduce the glare I didnt find it was needed. The important thing though is to rememeber this is not the main beam I am talking about!!!… that comes out in a very tight and solid tube of solid white light which can be seen cutting through the murk like somewhat akin to a light sabre.


Hard to describe the light in words but it would literally light up the side of the wreck (or wall) with a good solid white light perfect for even murkiest of water with best of both worlds (flood and spot). Everyone was using LED lights but the D33 looked everything else look yellow and in most cases dull. Think the closest was a canister type torch with 3 LEDs also but even their light was knocked out the park by the D33 and I believe 3 times the price. Put it this way, my buddy ended up just turning their torch off and looked at what I was looking at as it completely obliterated everything else! Even used it like a laser pointer when Scalop bashing when she was closer to a scalop than I was so as to point it out several meters away on her side.

Some of the comments heard were references to Encounters of the Third Kind, being run over by a motorbike underwater, star wars light sabre fight, did anyone see that train, burned out retinas, etc. etc. 13 divers on the boat and everyone was very impressed by it in action and all interested in where and how much...

Used if for 3 dives per day, 30-40 minutes each time at 6 degrees. Always on full power with no problems and still going strong at the end of each day. I charged the cells over night each time just in case but think it had plenty life left as charging never took more than a few hours @ 1A so no question of it lasting a day’s diving and more likely multiple days, may test this more in future more locally but wasnt risking it on a dive trip to Lochaline when I didnt need to.

Think from the above you can imagin I am very pleased with my purchase, so long as it lasts of course. Cetainly no problems over 8 boat dives at the weekend so fingers crossed. Will try to update a few months down the line.

One thing worth pointing out is that protected cells don’t fit, at least not TrustFires 5000 which I bought at the same time. It looks like it might be King Kong unprotected cells that are shipped with the light and these are marked as 4000mah and have a good reputation so I probably shouldn’t have bothered getting extras. I use a hobby charger as I already had one and makes it easier to charge multiple cells in balance, but single cell 28650 chargers can be picked up for £6-7 each of ebay etc.

Some pis with my iphone against my rising 230lumen torch. Not best representation as hard to take pics of light sources but gives you some idea.

230 on hedge


D33 on hedge, note can't compare brightness to above as exposure changed (see sky colour) but gives a idea of spread.


Side by side on hedge in same pic to better compare


On the floor side by side


Side by side on the floor, d33 so bright it blows out the exposure so can't even see the spot of the 230 on bike shed


The Source. Green bit glows in the dark, Perspex can be removed to check seal which is the black line on inside of green.
 

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Sounds like this thing has cracking performance, and if it's lasting you 2 hours without wilting, then that's more than most of us will ever need. More batteries is only likely to be necessary if you're on a trip away from a plug socket for a few days.

I was one of the early adopters of the MagicShine torches which you refer to above. Their big Achilles Heel was the silly magnetic switch and power-selector electronics. What sort of switch does this torch use? From reading the online advertising blurb, I understand that you have to repeatedly push the button to move between different brightness levels. If this is the case, then hopefully these torches use a switch based on good old-fashioned contacts-and-spring technology, and won't leave you in the dark at an awkward moment... Which reminds me - regardless of how good this torch is, you want to be carrying at least one bomb-proof back-up with non-rechargeable (i.e. long shelf-life) batteries. I carry two: the Tektite Expedition and Expedition Star. You can enjoy the insane performance of your mega torch a lot more when you have the smug feeling that you've got a plan B if it fails.

One final thought - you mention that this thing is quite heavy. Sounds like it might be a good candidate for a home-made Goodmans handle. I made one by bending a bit of aluminium into a C-shape, then drilling two holes at either end and bolting a stainless threaded bar through (i.e. turning the C-shape into a D-shape.) I put some 1" plastic water pipe around the threaded bar and some bike inner tube over that (to make it comfy, grippy and black.) I attached this d-shape to my torch using a combination of bicycle light clamps and cable ties (sounds awful but works perfectly) and finished it off with a short lenth of cord with a loop of inner-tube rubber attached to it. I wear the loop of inner tube rubber round my wrist, so the torch dangles from that when I'm not holding it by the Goodmans handle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a ScubaPro 230 on the boat and unlikely I will need to carry both on a dive as I dont do anything that extreme where I need to carry a back up at the same time but its worth bearing in mind should that change.

As for the switch, appears to be a spring loaded contact at the bottom of the torch in the end cap as you simply tighen it up to switch on and unscrew to switch off rather than pushing a switch. I expect there must be some electronics on the circuit board in the head that decicdes on the output given the sequence of events (on/off/on).

Weight wise I should probably clarify that its heavy compared to my SubaPro but its not that bad to be honest. Whilst a handle may be usefull in some situations I doubt it is waranted and I would also be cautious that it could be somewhat unbalanced with 80/90% of the weight being in the head.

Weighed it this morning and its 1100g set up ready to go, no doubt in the water there must be a fair amount of air in the deep reflectors of the head and overall body as it seems noticeably lighter . Holding the torch at the back of the head, perhaps with your thumb and forefinger pinching the heat sinks slightly is definately the way to go as plenty grip this way and it sits balanced in your hand to the point you can relax your hand and it wont go anywhere. Also if you dive without gloves you can even get some heat of it ;) (I was testing a theory on my dry suite leaking hence diving without gloves).
 

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• Waterproof to 100m
At risk of repeating myself yet again, if it's made by humans there's no such thing as "waterproof". "Water resistant" yes but not "waterproof". For example had a look at well respected watches or camera housings lately? Not one of them will say "waterproof", that's a court case waiting for somewhere to happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Added pics to get an idea how it compares :)

I'm trying to refrain from commenting on how little value the above post adds to a review...it resisted ingress of fluid well in my experience to date!
 

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I'm trying to refrain from commenting on how little value the above post adds to a review...it resisted ingress of fluid well in my experience to date!
You're probably correct in what you say but manufacturers are on notice that if they say waterproof, then waterproof it is and woe betide them if there is fluid ingress (at any time, for any reason). Most manufacturers, never mind where their products are made, no longer use waterproof for that very reason but some, mostly Chinese dare I say, still do so, probably in all innocence and without realising the possible consequences.

The fact of life is that if it's made by humans then it can also be "unmade" by other humans, and often is. My camera housing, very expensive, carbon fibre (mostly), is described by its manufacturer as water resistant, even though it is rated to 160 metres and that last is no typo. I live with the knowledge that a flood of my housing is not a case of if, but when. Edit/: I'm also fairly certain that the flood will be operator/user error, 99.99% of them usually are, never mind the protestations of the guilty party.
 

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Currently working on a very easy "waterproof" homebuild using the same head with the same
output for less than £40 and with far more certainty that it wont leak than the Archon D33.

Will post up pics when it's done :)
 

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Currently working on a very easy "waterproof" homebuild
Folks, it's a legal thing. Waterproof means just that and the device has yet to be made (will never be made) that is proof against anything at all. Any device referred to with words such as proof is a court case waiting for somewhere to happen (if the defendant is brave (stupid?) enough to defend that court case at all).

Simple as that really.
 

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ChristianG, we get the gist of what you're saying, but just let it go mate.
The guy is giving us his time and effort trying to help inform anyone's decision who is considering potentially buying this torch.

And what are you doing?

Your nit - picking at his words isn't going to help anyone here in any way.
Who cares what term he used to describe the torch's ability to keep the water out?!
I for one don't, the guy's not a manufacturer. I doubt anyone here cares either.

So please let the guy be, and let him get on with his good work/review that is actually helping our community.

Oh and AlanK, thanks for your contribution mate. It is greatly appreciated.
 

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I also got one of these from the same place. Very pleased with the brightness and the cost but be aware that it is big and consider the 20% import duty and £8 post office handling fee. It has done 4 dives and sits on my left hand for the whole dive and still burning bright. Like it a lot. Thanks Alan K for your review. If I knew how to post pictures then I would have attached a few.
 

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The rest of the story
In the interest of balance, I ought to tell you the rest of the story.
The torch packed up on the 5th dive. I immediately emailed back to Wallbuys asking for a refund. After around 72 emails (yes I counted) and a bizarre skype call at 6 in the morning where I had to show that the torch didn’t work, and a written report from a local electronic engineer stating that the problem was the tail switch, I sent it back. It arrived today, working. The metal connector in the tail switch had been worn away (after 5 dives!!).
It’s back, very shiny and I am happy again. Wallbuys have come up very shiny too. They have been very patient, prompt and polite, despite my terse and RC emails. They also refunded the engineers cost £24 and the cost of shipping it back to China £31.
In the meanwhile I have emailed ARCHON, asking if they could supply me with spare parts but they have not even responded.
So, top marks for Wallbuys, must improve for Archon products and an F for their customer service. As for the wisdom of buying from China against a reputable UK supplier, the £100 saving is fading against the agro and 2 months without a torch. I must remember this for the next time I come to buy a torch.
But have you seen their W51 5000 lumen torch for around £200? Wo.
 

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Thanks for coming back to let us know mate, your experience is a real eye opener.
It's so easy to get lured by a very good price and forget that sometimes this is how things may unfold.

I may as well just get it from a reputable UK supplier, as you put it :) and be done with it.
However, I'll probably go for that W51. It would be rude not to - it seems awesome!

Cheers
 

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I have had a D33 for nearly a year now. It has done many dives and has been seriously abused, I even used it to bash the Stanegath once to get my buddies attention. I trek through Welsh mountains looking for dive sites, dived in caves, been down to 62 mtrs and my D33 has never let me down. I bought mine from Stoney Cove for £275 but they can be had a lot cheaper.
Archon's customer service isn't the best which is why you are better off dealing with the big players and paying more money. If anything goes wrong with the torch, they deal with it straight away, without any hassle.
These are a fantastic torch and much better than the umbilical Archon torch (stay away from those unless the price is right) I have never changed an O ring, only lightly greased the rear O rings and it has never flooded and never let me down.
 
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