One to Watch–oLight S1RII Baton
Tony Sculimbrene 09.22.18
As far as producing EDC lights go, few if any are just flat out better than the oLight S1R Baton. This light is the result of years of product design and iteration. It was an evolution on the original S10 Baton, one of the first, high profile sideswitch lights. The sideswitch allowed for a much smaller body without sacrificing output. But the S10 Baton lacked some features that were showing up on other production lights. The S1R addressed those concerns, adding a TIR optic (replacing the hard to make emitter), including a very handy magnet in the tail of the light and it allowing for easy recharging via a charging port and included charging station.
Even today, two years after its release the S1R is still among the cream of the crop. But oLight has decided to upgrade its standard bearer. Of course we get a new emitter, because, what would be the point of a new light without incorporating the newest emitter. We also get a slimmer charger, a new machining pattern on the body, and a smaller profile. But the real upgrade is that the S1RII now uses high discharge batteries allowing for some truly eye-frying outputs.
The battery used is an “IMR” battery. These cells, in theory, solve a few problems that have plauged other rechargable cells. Until recently, you had two choices for rechargeable cells—NiMH cells and Li-On cells. NiMH cells were very safe and had very little “recharge” memory (meaing their capacity didn’t degrade with successive chargings), but they couldn’t output a huge amount of energy. Li-On cells, on the other hand, did have some recharge memory and could output large amounts of energy. The trade off was that these cells could be overcharged resulting in very dangerous conditions that could lead to fires and even explosions.
IMRs use a new battery chemistry that acts like NiMHs in some ways and Li-Ons in others. IMRs use LiMn2O4 material instead of more common Li-On or NiMH chemistry. This material has two inherent advantages over other rechargeable materials. First, it offers a very high discharge rate (that means it can “push” out a lot of energy quickly). Second, because of the molecular structure of LiMn2O4 it has a lower overall power capacity and it can’t be overcharged. This results in a safer battery when compared to Li-Ons. LiMn2O4 cells have some recharge memory issues, but they are a bit better than Li-Ons in this regard.
In real world terms, the S1RII is about twice as bright as its older brother, hitting a high of 1000 lumens thanks to the high discharge IMR cells. However, unlike a lot of ultra bright lights, it still has a good moonlight low, outputing .5 lumens on its lowest setting. The only drawback, which is a plague on production lights, is the awful friction fit clip. Pitch it and carry this in the coin pocket of your pants. You’ll be happier.
What: oLight S1RII
When: Just released
Made in the USA: No, produced in China
High and Low: 1000 lumens, .5 lumens
Highlights: IMR cell, magnetic base, charging port with base included, and TIR optics.