Vortex TC1 Flashlight, retail $49 (www.vortexvision.us)
Manufactured by Vortex Vision Inc. (www.vortexvision.us)
Last updated 08-30-04

The Vortex TC1 is a small, tactical style flashlight that uses a 1.2 watt Luxeon Star LED, and a single CR123A cell to power that LED.

It comes in an almost all-aluminum body, which is knurled (texturised) to help aid in grip.


To use your new Vortex TC1, press the button on the tailcap until it clicks, and then release it. This turns the flashlight on.
Press and release the button the same way again to turn the flashlight off.

To change the cell in the Vortex TC1, unscrew and remove the tailcap, throw it on the floor or pavement, and stomp on it...O WAIT!!! YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead. ;-)

Tip the used cell out of the barrel, and dispose of or recycle it as you see fit.

Insert a new CR123A cell in the barrel, button-end (+) positive first.

Screw the tailcap back on, and there, you're finished.
Aren't you glad you didn't stomp on it now?
Flattened tailcaps won't fit the barrels of Vortex TC1s - or any other flashlight for that matter. ;-)

I need to do a runtime analysis of the Vortex TC1, so I'll start that test now.

The battery discharge test is complete. A Tekcell CR123A cell was used for this test.
Runs for 50 minutes to the 50% intensity point, and 1 hour 40 minutes to completion of the test.

IMPORTANT: The Tekcell was apparently previously used by the flashlight's sender to take beam photographs and perform other measurements; hence the second battery discharge analysis below using a known-new Duracell Ultra.

When the battery is very low, the flashlight will not restart if turned off and then back on; however if you let it rest (turned off) for at least several minutes, it will then refire. I allowed the test sample to rest for about 10 minutes, and it did turn back on.

The battery discharge test was repeated the next evening with a Duracell Ultra CR123A cell.
Runs for 1 hour 40 minutes to the 50% intensity point, and 2 hours to completion of the test.

Measures 838mA on a new cell.

Picture showing the business-end of the TC1, showing the optic and the clear window covering it.

The Vortex TC1 flashlight is durable, to the point that it survived ten whacks against a steel rod (five on the tailcap, five on the bezel), and does not appear to have been damaged by the abuse, and it still operates properly.

It is advertised to have a Type III hard anodized finish, but I was relatively easily able to put a scratch (to bare metal) in it with the blade of a Swiss army knife. So it probably has a Type II anodized finish.
Would I really try to cut up a brand spanken new flashlight?
You bet your sweet patootie I would, if it's in the name of science.

There is knurling (texturising) on the barrel, and fine grooves in the bezel and tailcap, so retention (the ability to hold the flashlight when your hands are cold, wet, or oily) should not be a significant issue.

The TC1 appears to be water-resistant, so you should not have to worry about using it in the rain or snow. It should also be submersible to at least one foot.
I removed the tailcap, relieved the flashlight of its battery, and performed that dreadful suction test on it and it did not leak. I obtained the same results by suctioning the opened bezel as well (with the tailcap affixed).

I drowned it in the to...er...the sink for three minutes in a foot of water at 83F (28.3C) to simulate a user dropping it into a creek, and found no water inside. So I'm confident in saying you can use the flashlight in the rain or snow; and falls into shallow water should not kill it.

There's a clear, slightly domed plastic window (or "lens", if you prefer that term) covering the Luxeon's optic, and probably contributing to the water-resistance of this flashlight. It appears to have a very slight texturising inside to help smooth and diffuse the LED's beam.

The Vortex TC1 comes with a nylon belt holster. Since I do not use or own pants that require a belt, I cannot test this accessory in the manner in which it was intended. The flashlight fits in the holster bezel-up, and a velcro flap secures it in place. The bottom of this holster is open, so the flashlight cannot be accidentally activated. I was able to push the entire flashlight through this holster with some effort, so I suspect that after it becomes broken-in, the flashlight MIGHT be able to fall through the holster on its own.

Beam photo on the test target at ~12"
That dreadful "rotten dog urine green" color does exist in this
flashlight, but not so much as it appears in this photograph.
As I understand, the emitter in this flashlight has since been improved.

Measures 212,000mcd on a Meterman LM631 light meter.

Test unit is a "passaround" and was received on 05-29-04.
Once everybody who needs to test it has tested it, I will receive it back, and only after that will I do my "Punishment Zone" testing on it.

UPDATE: 06-21-04
I have received this flashlight back, so I removed the red "x" where it appears in the listings on my website, and I'll start my "Punishment Zone" testing of it later today.
(Edit, later the same day)
Let's start with that beating now. Then, let's try to drown it in the toilet...I mean, the sink.

UPDATE: 08-30-04
I have decided to award this flashlight 3 1/2 stars.

Small size makes it pocketable - in coat pockets anyway
Decent brightness for its size
Waterproof and submersible to at least one foot

Window (lens) appears to be fogged up - though I don't know if this was intentional or accidental
Beam has that characteristic "rotten cat urine green" tint to it
Belt holster could allow the flashlight to fall through after some time
Type II anodizing is not as hard as anodizing on flashlight bodies could be

    MANUFACTURER: Vortex Vision Inc.
    PRODUCT TYPE: Small handheld flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: 1.2 watt Luxeon LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Narrow flood with dimmer corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Pushbutton on/off on tailcap
    BEZEL: Metal; LED and optic protected by plastic window
    BATTERY: 1x CR123A cell
    SUBMERSIBLE: Yes, to at least 12"
    ACCESSORIES: Battery, nylon belt holster
    SIZE: 3.6"L, 1.25"D
    WARRANTY: 10 years


    Star RatingStar Rating

Vortex TC1 Flashlight * www.vortexvision.us

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