Vortex TR3 Rechargeable Flashlight, retail ~$240.00 (www.vortexvision.us...)
Manufactured by Vortex Vision (www.vortexvision.us)
Last updated 03-22-07

The Vortex TR3 is a rechargeable flashlight using a high-dome (lambertian) Luxeon III LED at the bottom of a mirror-smooth reflector. It uses a rechargeable battery inside its aluminum body to power that LED with, and has a rubberised pushbutton on the tailcap that allows for off, momentary on, and continuous on operation.

The box and the instructional material were labelled as being for the TR5 flashlight, but the product itself is a TR3. I was ***NOT*** misled about this; I knew it was a TR3 going in.

This flashlight is not expected to be available until early-2006, so don't expect to be able to find one very easily until then.


Charge and install one of the two batteries in the TR3 first, and then you'll be ready to roll.

For momentary light any time, press firmly on the tailcap button and hold it that way for as long as you need light. Release the tailcap button to turn your TR3 back off.

For continuous mode, press the tailcap more firmly until it clicks and then release it.
To turn the TR3 off, just press and release this button the same way again.

The flashlight comes with a nylon pouch/belt holster. The flashlight fits this holster bezel-up; a flap with Velcro on it folds over the top and attaches to the body of the holster (equipped with a mating piece of Velcro), so the flashlight doesn't just fall out. This holster fits belts up to 3.0" wide, and can either be threaded through the belt or attached to the belt after your pants are already on, thanks to the snap that can be unfastened and some Velcro to attach the holster to your belt, and then snapped back together once you have the holster fitted in place. I do not own or use pants that require a belt however, so I cannot test this accessory in the manner in which it was intended to be used.

The TR3 comes in a rigid box with cutouts in its foam liner to hold all the parts of your TR3 set, plus it has a magnetic latch on its lid so the lid won't just unexpectedly fly open.

I usually don't show flashlight packages, but this one is nice enough to warrant such a photograph.

To charge the battery in your TR3, unscrew and remove the tailcap, throw it in the {vulgar term for toilet}, and flush it away...O WAIT, YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead.

Tip the discharged battery out of the barrel and into your hand.

Insert the used battery into the charging cradle, orienting it so the button-end (+) positive faces the (+) sign silkscreened into the bottom of one end of the cradle. Plug the connector on the end of the cord of the wall charger into the round receptacle on one end of the cradle, and plug the charger into any 2- or 3-prong 110-130 volts AC receptacle.

The LED on the charging cradle should now come on yellow. When the LED flashes alternating red and yellow, this indicates the battery is fully charged. Unplug the wall charger, and remove the battery from the cradle.

Insert the battery back in the flashlight barrel, button-end (+) positive going in first. Screw the tailcap back on.
Aren't you glad you didn't flush that tailcap away now?

The first time, charge time should be 10 hours; subsequent charges should be ~3 hours.

Current usage measures 678mA on my DMM's 4A scale.

Picture of the business-end of the TR3, showing the LED emitter and smooth reflector.

The flashlight appears to be reasonably sturdy. Ordinary flashlight accidents should not be enough to do it in. I administered the smack test on it (ten whacks against the corner of a concrete stair; five whacks against the side of the tailcap and five whacks against the side of the bezel), and found the expected damage. There is some gouging on the sides of the tailcap and bezel where it was struck. No optical or electrical malfunctions were detected. The smacks were rather loud; I could hear each strike make a sound that echoed off the house across the street.

The TR3 is water-resistant, but it is not submersible. When I removed the tailcap, relieved the barrel of its battery, and performed that dreadful suction test, a very, very small leak was detected. It doesn't hold a *PERFECT* partial vacuum, but it comes very, very close. It also performs the same with "The Blow Test". Some leakage was detected, but it's a very, very small leak.
If I had to venture a guess, I'd guess this very minor leakage occurs around the bezel.

If your TR3 goes in a shallow mud puddle or if it falls in the toilet, I think you'll be fine if you fish it out of the water quickly. But falls into deeper water may cause it to very slowly flood.
Notice I said "very slowly" here.

There is knurling (texturising) along the barrel; this helps aid in retention (the ability to hold the flashlight when your hands are cold, oily or wet).

The beam this sample produces is a pure, slightly warm white in color, with none of that obnoxious purple, blue, yellow, or "rotten porpoise urine green" tint anywhere in it. Not in the hotspot, and not in the corona either.

I believe the TR3 is regulated, meaning it will give constant illumination regardless of what state of discharge the battery is in.

Beam photo at ~12".
Measures 2,030,000mcd with a Meterman LM631 light meter.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrometer plot of the LED in this flashlight.
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from TWO-CUBED.

ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis.
Image made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.

Beam photo at ~15 feet.

That red thing is from an American DJ Laser Widow, and that rectangular graphic thing near the lower-left is a marquee from a Williams 'Stargate' upright coin-op video game from the early-1980s.

Sample was purchased from a website fan, and was received on 10-31-05.

UPDATE: 00-00-00

Never have to buy disposable batteries for it
Reasonable intensity

If battery dies while you're away from the charger, you might be SOL
Not submersible; in my opinion, it should be

    MANUFACTURER: Vortex Vision
    PRODUCT TYPE: Tactical handheld flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: 3 watt Luxeon LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Narrow flood with dimmer corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Tailcap click on/off/momentary
    BEZEL: Metal; polycarbonate window protects LED and reflector
    BATTERY: Rechargeable battery stick; NiCd, 6 volts, 1.5Ah
    ACCESSORIES: Two battery sticks, charging cradle, wall transformer, automobile charger, belt holster, storage case
    WARRANTY: 10 years


    Star Rating

Vortex TR3 Rechargeable Flashlight * www.vortexvision.us...

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