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Torch review - Fenix PD32
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Fireman_DJ
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Joined: Aug 11, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:03 am    Post subject: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

I was lucky enough receive a torch for product testing, on the condition I let communities who may benefit of my findings.

As we are a bunch of hunters and outdoors folk, I thought I'll share with you.

The Fenix PD-32 is the same size and weight of the LED Lenser P5 but with more power equal to the larger LED Lenser P7, on paper anyway.

The LED Lensers P7 135 Lumens can spread out wider and shoot out longer then the Fenix PD-32's 130 Lumens, but it can't do both at the same time which is where I think the Fenix will find it's ideal market.

It's a good general purpose torch that would be equally at home in the hands of law enforcement or mum taking the kids on a nature walk. It has a good mix of throw and spill, letting you pinpoint a target while illuminating the surrounding area.

The tail clicking switch feels very solid and I really like that it remembers the last used brightness setting.

The brightness is adjustable via a small button on the side of the torch near the lens.

Pressing it cycles through Low (9 Lumens), Medium (70 Lumens), High (130 Lumens) and Turbo (315 Lumens). Turbo only runs for 30 minutes before it reverts to high to prevent damage to the LED and circuits, but I doubt anyone would need that much light from a small torch for that long.

Holding down the selector switch will put the torch into Strobe mode first,then SOS mode.
The Strobe mode has a pattern of very rapid flashes followed by a pulsing flash. It is quite disorienting at night and that was without looking directly at the torch.
The SOS mode, unlike some competitors, actually flashes the SOS Morse code of three short flashes, three long flashes and three short flashes.

One thing I dislike about the selector button is it's hard to find by feel. And lets face it, it'll most likely be dark when you need to use the torch and fumbling around to adjust the brightness isn't a good thing.

I was not able to try the 18650 rechargeable batteries (they are still in the mail) and I'm not wasting money on non-rechargeable CR-123A's to test the battery life. But as I only buy lithium batteries for my other torches I can say that $8 for 2 CR-123A's is much cheaper then$20 for 4 AAA lithium batteries.

In addition, there are a number of accessories available that give this torch more versatility.

Overall,I would buy the touch with no hesitation. I like beam spread and will keep mine in my car for general purpose work. And I'm thinking of buying another as a gift for my mother who likes a powerful compact torch in her handbag.

And because nobody reads reviews without pictures, here they are.
To compare the torch, I used a LED Lenser P7 (Rated at 135 Lumens) and a Streamlight Survivor LED (Rated at 140 Lumens), both are similar in power to the PD32 (rated at 130 Lumens in high mode)

Front view


Back view


Reflector


Selector Switch


Competitors Front


Competitors Side


Test Results
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slimjim
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:59 am    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

I had one similar to this that I took on an trek through Philmont Scout Ranch. It would light-up the night well past 100 yards. It did get hot though if you left it on for too long (which wasn't long)

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inthedark
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:35 am    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

I found that the rechargable batteries in the CR123 size did not last long at all. I only use the CR123 batteries and usually buy them in quantity to lower the price per unit cost.

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War is sweet to those who have no experience of it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach - Pindar 518-438BC
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lesterg3
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:04 am    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

Of course I am not in Law Enforcement (God Bless the vast majority of them) nor am I any longer in the service.

I am a cheap old SOB and cannot for the life remaining in me see any reason to spend this kind of money on a flashlight. I bought a Thermos brand flashlight 5 years ago that had red and green filters and took 3 AA batteries. It still works, and I find my way to the blind every time, I think I have replaced the batteries twice.

Other than EGO, and/or a requirement of being in Law Enforcement or the military will someone please explain to me why a person would spend so much for a little light?

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"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine. "--Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. -- Thomas Jefferson

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inthedark
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:23 am    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

I have a couple of these high tech flashlights from work and the fenix light was given to all the officers during the annual re-qualifications by our Chief. They were a novelty at first and once the guys, myself included started carrying it along with our issue flashlight, I found out quickly just how handy they are. The adjustability of brightness and the strobe feature comes in handy for signalling and for disorienting suspects to gain control of them. I am cheap also but I have found (and you have also) that it is a rich man who buys cheap because he always has to replace it. Buy it once and be done with it.
I also have one of the rechargeable sure-fire lights and it works well but if you ever leave it on, it will burn or set flammables afire. During police training we had a couple of troop mates who were burned by them.

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War is sweet to those who have no experience of it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach - Pindar 518-438BC
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Fireman_DJ
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Location: Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

I'm the type of person who buys the first item cheap. If I break it, I know I use it enough to get a better one. If I find any lacking, I now know what I need out of the product.
And I then have no problems spending my life savings on a good quality product that meets all of my needs.

This torch should only be around the $80-90 AUD price range. Most likely cheaper in the US for some stupid reason, which is quite cheap for what it is.

The Streamlight cost me $150, as a discounted price. But it's also intrinsically safe and I'm both a volunteer firefighter and a fuel truck driver.

The LED Lenser cost me about $140, but then I bought the extra accessories such as the scope mount and remote pressure switch so I could mount it to my rifle for hunting.

I took my first fox using it.

Why spend the money on these torches? Have you ever played with one of them?
You can buy cheaper ones that are "just as bright", but the reflectors aren't as well designed so you don't quite get the same throw and spill. And in most cases, they compensate this by using putting more current through the LED. So you think it's just as good, but really it's just wasting battery power on a poor reflector design.

A good example of this. I bought a cheap 12v 100w spotlight for my car. I thought it was pretty good. Until I bought a 12v 75w scope mounted spotlight.
25w LESS power and it lit up more area and poked deeper into the darkness.
And all it took was a better designed reflector from a dedicated spotlight manufacturer.

If you're happy with the torch you have then that's all that really matters.
But if you ever come to Australia, make sure you drop past my place so you can try out these torches.
And I don't even have the best of the best, YET.
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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

While we're on the subject of lights ... Anyone know of a decent work flashlight, LED, long battery life using AA batteries, and rated "NEC Class 1 Division 1"? I'm supposed to use one at work and the one they issue us is total crap. It has the right rating but a 3-4 hour battery life and 20 hour bulb life. My Streamlight Jr. Luxeon does the job pretty well but doesn't carry the right rating.

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Fireman_DJ
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

The Streamlight pictured above is rated as follows.
Temp T4
Class 1 Division 1 for groups C and D
Class 1 Division 2 for groups A, B, C and D
Class 2 Division 2 for groups F and G
Class 3

That assumes you use alkaline AA batteries (four placed in a special holder) or the Streamlight rechargeable batteries


They claim 4 hours on alkalines on high mode or 3.5 with their rechargeable. But you can buy spare rechargeable batteries and a "piggy back" charger that does the torch and a space battery at the same time.

That could give you say 6 hours (two rechargeable batteries, rounded down to 3 hours each) to do your work, not including if you used low mode which is meant to give 15 hours of light (47 Lumens).

You're torch I believe is superceded by the Streamlight Jr LED, that does 85 Lumens.

The only catch with it, it's designed for firefighters with a narrow beam to cut through the smoke. It throws the light further and does cut through the smoke. But for most work environments I like a little bit more spill.

Not used any others, but this is a list of Div 1 torches on the Streamlight site.
www.streamlight.com/pr...lters=1745
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chambered221
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

wtf Fireman.....you don't have an alias do you ??? Laughing

I have the PD30 and wouldn't trade it for anything !!!
Cree premium Q5 bulb (LED)
standard mode
9 lumens 65 hrs
70 lum 8hrs
117 lum 4hrs
and sos
turbo mode
220 lum 1.5hrs
and strobe

Uses (2) 123A batteries, just got a 12 pack for $19.20, I buy them at a uniform shop that sells tactical goodies. Most places that sell batteries get 4-4.50 per battery. Deals can also be found online.

I paid $85 for it when they switched the PD30 over to the Q5 bulb. If you can find one they go for about $50 now. They no longer make the PD30 but equal to better models cost about $55-65.


lesterg....... If you were to handle one of these and do a side by side comparison you'd understand.
I don't need one as part of my job but I do carry it most of the time.
They work great as a first line of defense for certain situations in blinding a person so you can get the upper hand.
I also shoot IDPA at a indoor range that runs no light and low light courses of fire. Shoot a match with one of these and you'll throw your mag light or any other light in the garbage.

If you want a decent tactical light that's a little cheaper take a look at the Surefire G2's, they can be had for about $30-35
Not as good but bright, just a basic on and off, harder on batteries, and a little bulkier. None the less it will work in self defense situations. It is what I first used in competition.

These lights (PD30) are also great for tracking deer in archery season.... made my dad a believer.... he owns one also.

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Fireman_DJ
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Location: Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

Nah, DJ my real life nickname, has been for the last 17 years (of 27 years total). But I found on the internet there's to many "DJ's", so I added my title to make it unique.

The PD30 is listed for $75 in Australia at the minute.

And I should note that one of the accessories for Fenix is a gun mount that fits on Picatinny/Weaver rails. Using the included spacer it will take the PD32, which in my opinion the would be near perfect for the job for close quarter combat on say a handgun or sub-machine gun like the MP5.

Just not quite enough for use on a hunting rifle. The LED Lenser P7 in spot mode is on the lower edge of what I like for that task.
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Dawgdad
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:56 am    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

I really like the rechargable 18650's in my torches. hours of battery life, carry a single spare is like having a 16 ga shell in your pocket.

Buy once cry once is hard for some to figure out.

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radar
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

Good review,
Im a torch gadget guy, I love seeing whats available.
NZ Police have always issued maglight 3D cell torches until last year when it came out that most of the complaints about being smacked by a cop was with his torch (weapon of opportunity) and nearly every complaint was not upheld so the powers that be got us small but powerful torches. As a supervisor i have one that has UV and Laser pointer which I fooled some poor muppet with telling him he had a gun on him....look down at your chest fellah...and he gave up
I will find out what brand we use and post, but I also have a P14 Led Lensa which I use spotlighting bunnies with and thats a lot of fun.

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stovepipe
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Location: Pine, Az.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

Like the moving pics comparo- good show!

Gotta Pelican 2360 that runs on AA's. Wow it's bright. Must have a super reflector cuz it's a lot brighter than it's advertized lumen thingy. I use it daily and it replaced a ton of other lights!
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Pumpkinslinger
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Location: NC foothills

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

DJ, thanks for the info! Now I need to do some research before shopping.

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"I ain't no better than anyone else, and there ain't no one better than me!" Ma Kettle

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Vince
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:57 am    Post subject: Re: Torch review - Fenix PD32 Reply with quote

Radar wrote:
...Laser pointer which I fooled some poor muppet with telling him he had a gun on him....look down at your chest fellah...and he gave up...

Haha Haha Haha Haha

I like it mate...its a bit like the photocopier "Lie Detector" that was once used. Every time the grub answered a question one of the guys would press the copy button and a page saying LIE would come out...the grub eventually rolled over and copped to everything.

Cheers, Vince

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Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
(Without Commitment, Nothing Gets Done)
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