To be frank, I’ve asked for this light for ages, from multiple sources. Always got a response of ‘it’s not in season’ or something like that. Fortunately, the awesome guys at illumn.com sent this watershed thrower to me, along with a few cells, (which I reviewed here.) Needless to say, I’m super excited to have this light, and glad to put it through it’s paces, even though it’s been out for a while.
Of this light there are two versions; CW and NW. Of the TN42 family in general there are more versions. There’s the TN42C, and a newer TN42C v2, which both have internal cell and on-board charging.
This light is hanging around at $200, including at illumn.com.
This is a seriously impressive light, and deserves the credit it gets. It’s 30 second throw bests the spec by over 100 meters, and it’s built very well. It’s easy to recommend this one (even over lights that might make you giggle – this one’s much more manageable.)
The Big Table
|Emitter:||Cree XHP35 HI (NW)|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$200.00|
|Turbo Runtime||High Runtime|
|Quiescent Current (A):||?|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||2000|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||1940 (97% of claim)*|
|Claimed Throw (m)||1550|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||11550lux @ 7.562m = 660473cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||1625.4 (104.9% of claim)*|
|All my Thrunite reviews!|
- Standard measurement disclaimer: I am an amateur flashlight reviewer. I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment. I test output and such in PVC tubes!! Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).
- Thrunite TN42 Flashlight
- Shoulder strap
- Spare o-rings (2)
- Split ring
- Replacement switch cover
- Manual and paperwork
Package and Manual
Thrunite has standard packaging, and even their big lights ship in it. It’s a simple flap-cover card board box with Thrunite labeling, and a CW/NW checkbox on the side.
Inside, the light is cradled in custom cut foam, and packaged inside a plastic baggie. Very secure packaging.
Here’s the included manual:
Build Quality and Disassembly
As most Thrunite lights, the build quality on the TN42 is exemplary. The anodizing is smooth and tough. The knurling is grippy diamond pattern, and in the right places. (Those places being the two places you need grip for unscrewing the body off the light.)
I even like the branding on the head – Nice stark white silk screened logo and model number.
The knurling is quite grippy, but not too hard on the skin.
The tailcap doesn’t have a lot going on. No magnets or anything. Not even electronics. Just a container for the cell holder.
This isn’t a small light. But it’s just a 4 cell 18650 light, so not overall all that heavy (compared to something like the Imalend DX80, for example).
The threads are perfectly lubed (with very thick lube), square cut, and anodized. However, even the lip is anodized, since all the electrical contact is done through the cell holder. Still, unscrewing lightly allows mechanical lockout.
Below, see the contact points on the light. The tail part has the cell holder installed in this photo.
And uninstalled in this photo. It slides in and out easily. You can see that the tail is just an aluminum tube. Nothing else whatsoever in there.
The cell holder has is a 2 and 2 orientation. 2s2p actually, for a voltage of around 8.4V. It’ll fit (and work) in either direction.
The reflector is very smooth!
And the emitter is surrounded by a white centering ring. All very nice quality.
Overall, the build of this light is great.
- 206mm (length) x 100mm x 52mm
- Weight: 666g (including battery carrier)
As stated, not a small light. But it must be this big in order to throw >1500 meters!
Here’s the TN42 beside the BLF-GT. Yes, the GT throws much farther, but – even in it’s shorty configuration – is much bigger and quite unwieldy.
The TN42 ships with a shoulder strap.
This strap has a clip ring to connect on the tailcap, and a squeeze … thing… which conects around the head (just over the switch). I don’t love that it’s just over the switch, but it makes sense because of how the light is carried with the strap. This basically puts the switch right at your thumb. Of course the same argument could be made if the strap connector was on the other side, since that’d put the switch right at your index finger. Either way, this isn’t too bad.
The strap connects onto the tailcap, through one of these holes.
There’s nothing else for carrying this light. No pouch, for example. And no way to protect that big lens, either!
Power and Runtime
Power for this big light comes from 18650 cells. Four of them, which are placed into the cell holder below. The cell holder isn’t directional.
It’s adequately labeled (negative terminals always go on the spring end!), and works well. I used unprotected HG2’s in here, and have to say that there was so much room that I think a protected cell would fit better. But these fit fine, and of course don’t fall out once installed into the tail of the light.
This is a 2S2P setup, so the voltage is 8.4V going to the light. This also means that the light will work with a 2 cell configuration, as long as they’re in opposite orientation so you can reach the 8.4V needed.
User Interface and Operation
There’s a single switch on the TN42. It’s just below the head, and is a clicky e-switch with an indication function.
I like this switch. The action is low, the pad is wide, it’s metal (or close enough), it’s easy to find…. Thrunite does e-switches right!
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Click||On (Mode Memory except Turbo/Firefly/Strobe)|
|On||Hold||Mode cycle (LMH)*|
- There’s a mode cycle that’s hard to explain in table form. When the light is on, the only way to get to High is to cycle from low. If you turn the light on to Medium, and hold the switch to advance, the advance is to Low first, then Medium then High. In fact any time you’re in medium, and you release the switch, the next advance upon holding the switch, will be low, whereby you need to cycle through low and medium to get to high. I found this to be quite cumbersome.
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
At a voltage of around 6.2, the indicating switch turned from blue to red. At around 5.7, the switch began flashing red. At 4.1V (on the bench power) the light turned off completely. In practice, the light shuts off at a much higher voltage, since cells so depleted aren’t able to supply the needed current anyway. (The bench power is capable 🙂 ).
LED and Beam
Thrunite smartly chose the Cree XHP35 HI for this thrower. The version I have is neutral white, and I think that’s the best choice. The reflector is very smooth, broad, and deep. There’s a centering ring around the emitter, too.
Here’s just a ground shot, as if you were walking around with the light on low:
Some outdoor shots! All of these are with the same camera settings, chosen to be closest to what I see in person. 0.3″ f4 ISO 800 5000K.
First off, some references.
Lumintop BLF GT Mini. Imalent DX80. Imalent RT35.
Same settings with all modes of the Thrunite TN42.
Lumintop BLF GT Mini (lowish, then high). Imalent DX80. Imalent RT35.
Same settings with all modes of the Thrunite TN42.
Tint vs BLF-348
Here’s a relevantly filtered page on parametrek.com. Yes, there are a bunch of “throw king” Cree XHP35 HI lights available now. But the TN42 amazingly (since it’s not nearly the newest of that bunch) throws the best. Yes, the BLF-GT throws farther, absolutely. It also has some UI advantage (if you like ramping, and programmability). I still like the TN42 much more for usability.
What I like
- Very good LVP
- Indicating switch
- Hits actual throw numbers (and much more!)
- Comparatively light (since just 4×18650)
What I don’t like
- Knurling is a little bit grippy for my tastes
- Weird mode cycling up to High
- Somewhat expensive still
- This light was provided by Illumn.com for review. I was not paid to write this review.
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