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Hog DL-20 and DGX light review

Discussion in 'Lights' started by aviator8, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. aviator8

    aviator8 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Georgia
    882
    550
    93
    I just picked up a Hog DL-20 dive light the other day. I have not dived with it yet but thought I would do a little review and use the DGX lights as a comparison since many here have those. I have the DGX600 button spot, the DGX600 push button video light, and the DGX300 Mini.

    IMG_8382.JPG
    IMG_8394.JPG

    I got the Hog light from Pirahna Dive MFG for $60. which is the same price I paid for the DGX spot and DGX video lights. The DGX mini was $30. All of the lights came with extra o rings, a battery and charger. The DGX spot and video lights are rated at 600 lumens, the Mini 300 lumens but also states "600+ raw LED lumens" so not sure about that. When comparing the light output The Hog is definitely brighter than the 600 lumen lights. The video light has a nice even spread of light with no hotspots. The mini appears about half the brightness of the DGX600 spot so I have to guess that it is really a 300 lumen light. The Hog is really only comparable to the DGX 600 push button spot so I will mostly stick between these two for comparison.

    With the Hog DL20 you get a 18650 battery but it is lower power than the DGX600 light. It is labeled as an unprotected 18650 2200mah
    IMG_8393.JPG
    This seems low but has some impressive burn times for a lower mah battery. The box states a burn time of greater than 3 hours but does not state which mode.
    IMG_8384.JPG



    I did a bucket test and burn at high power for 5 hours and 15 mins before I finally turned it off. As I understand it the 18650 3.7v batteries should not be discharged below 2.5 volts to maintain battery condition and longevity. The light output was so low I doubted it was monitoring voltage to shutdown, so I shut it off. At that point the output was so low it may as well have been off. I pulled the cell and measured, and it read 2.65V so it seems the light would have probably cut out before actually reaching 2.5V. The light output began to be noticeable dimmer at about an hour and a half. After two hours it has lost a lot of power and I would judge it to be pretty ineffective. At 2 hours and 40 mins its brightness was only about a quarter of the strength of my DGX300. The button gives a colored indicator of power. Hog's video on their website states that 100% is green then 50% is blue but my light is the opposite of that. At 100% it is blue, at 50% it is green, at 25% it turns red, and at some percent not stated, it begins to flash red. I would guess this in the 10-15% range. The battery that ships with the DGX600 is a 18650 protected 3000Mah so has more power.
    IMG_8398.JPG
    The DL20 is slightly larger than the DGX600 in both length and lighthead barrel diameter. The DL20 light has two o rings were the DGX600 has three.
    IMG_8396.JPG
    The DGX connection feels better though. What I mean by that is the tolerances for the threading and Oring gap feel more tightly machined. I can feel a slight rocking in the DL20 when i screw it together most of the way, then try to move the body shaft and light head. I do not get that with the DGX600. once the threads begin engaging there is no play at any point all the way down to its seated point. All the DGX lights are easier to start threading without potential cross threading. The batteries sit deeper in the shaft allowing you to engage the thread without the resistance of the springs. The DL20 requires you to press the body and head together while turning to engage the threads because of the springs. Beyond that, the machining, fit and finish looks and feels very similar between them. The Hog did not have any instructions other than what was printed on the outside of the box. It does state a caution though; "Batteries must be inserted correctly. Positive battery terminal must go towards the light head. Failure to do so could cause permanent damage to the LED module." so the light has no circuit protection and the battery is unprotected so that is a bit disappointing because all the DGX supplied batteries are protected and while I cant find on the DGX site if the circuitry is protected I believe that I read somewhere that it was.
    IMG_8384.JPG

    They both use the same CREE XML2-U4 LED but the internals work with it differently.
    IMG_8383.JPG
    The DL20 is brighter, and by my unscientific look at them on the wall method I would say it is about 50% brighter than the DGX600. The lightheads of both look very close in cone size, shape, and smooth highly reflective silver lining.
    IMG_8397.JPG
    The DGX states that the LED "is single-mode driven to prioritize light output over burn time." That bears out in the test I ran. while I got a much longer burn time on the DL20 the light output became pretty ineffective after about 2 hours even though it stayed lit for another 3 hour and 15mins. The burn time of the DGX600 was 2 hour 1 mins. After the light shut off I registered the battery at 2.81V which is about the recommended discharge rate for 3.7V Lion Batteries. I began to notice some diminished light output at around 50 min, but not significant. At 1 hr 20 mins I would guess the light output had dropped by 40%. By 1.5 hrs the output appears to have dropped by 50%. At 1.75 hours the output has become so low to become ineffective. The DL20 does not state the beam angle. The DGX600 is an 8 degree beam angle. I like both of these lights but feel that on the whole the DGX is a better light. If they could increase the lumens to 1000 that would be great as that is really the only area apart from absolute burn time that I see the DGX lagging on. On burn time, while the Hog burns longer both quickly line up on par with each other in terms of lumen output form my clearly non-scientific eyeballing. While the Hog burns longer it is essentially diminishes to a pretty unusable light around the 2 hour mark, and before that drops in intensity so that it is close to the DGX in output since the DGX seems to maintain a more consistent output over time. For the diving I do the DGX provides me enough burn time to do 2 dives. If I need more I can carry a spare battery to swap in. Mind you that I am not doing cavern or cave diving, and am only using the light for Caribbean OW dives to poke around the reef. I am happy with both purchases though.

    The DGX video light and mini are different lights than the first two so a straight out comparison wouldn't be fair. For the mini it is very small so easy to carry along as a backup. It is a twist engage light. It has two O rings which seems to be the standard for most dive lights though I like that the bigger DGX lights have three, both on the spot and video light. Fit an finish is very good and the slight wobble in the threads of the HOG is not there on this light. It feels as solid as it's bigger brother DGX600. The battery that ships with the 300 mini is a 14500 900Mah but does not state if it is protected. this has an 18 degree beam angle. Effective burn time is slightly over 1 hour. Total burn time is 3hrs 45 min(me pulling it out), and surprisingly this lasted longer than both the DGX600 spot and video lights(I also pulled the video light at this time) and was brighter than them both when they did go out. At about 1.25 hr the light had lost enough intensity to be effective. Surprising me the light output of the DGX 600 spot had dropped below the 300 at around 2 hours right before it shut off. I did not expect the 300 to outrun the 600 spot. The 300's output was greater than the video light that was still burning at 3 hrs 15 mins. the mini battery was at 2.89V when i pulled it.

    I like the DGX video light a lot, though it is a bit weak for anything other than macro when it comes to video or photography with a stated lumen value of 600. I bought it before I learned that I was going to need a lot more output. It is a nice light and well thought out though. the size is the same as the DGX600. It is also a push button but the button is a magnetic button on the tailpiece. That is a bit easier to engage when you have this mounted on arms so you don't have to feel around the barrel of the light for the switch. It is also recessed into the back somewhat so just bumping the back of the light against something will not turn it on.
    IMG_8401.JPG
    The switch itself travels very freely and is easy to engage so i can see being able to click it on and off without shifting around the rig. The LED is the same as the others. The battery that ships with the video light is a 18650 protected 3000 Mah. As stated before the light spread is very even with no hot spots. The beam angle is 120 degrees.
    IMG_8400.JPG
    Effective burn time is about 1 hour, total burn time was 3hrs 45 mins (me pulling it out at this point). Surprisingly as the DGX600 spot and mini light seemed to fade more rapidly after 1.5 hours the video light output seems to be holding out stronger at this point in time and has not lost more than 50% intensity at almost 2 hours. around the three hour mark the DGX600 spot was dead, and the mini was brighter than the video light that was still running. An oddity here is that when i pulled the video light the button would not shut off the light, not a good sign! I will have to see how this works over time. I measured the battery and it was 2.65V. after reinserting the battery I could turn on the light but it would not turn off without unscrewing it again.



    I do have a question about the unprotected HOG. If I use a higher Mah protected battery in it will that cause any issues? I wouldn't think so but wanted to ask.
     
  2. aviator8

    aviator8 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Georgia
    882
    550
    93
    After having a chance to recharge batteries I wanted to make an update that the video light is no longer acting the same way where it would not shutoff without opening the battery compartment. I have to conclude this is a problem at low voltage only. I noticed something new though and wanted to report back on it. The DGX600 spot and the Hog DL20 did not appear to be that different in their output. On my initial test I could clearly tell a difference between them with the DL20 being brighter, but they looked pretty close now. I pulled the cells and put them on a voltmeter and they were both at 4.2V which is expected for a charged 3.7V Lion battery. To be sure I put them both back in my Xtar vc4 charger and within a few mins they were both reported as full. I reassembled and did a couple quick tests against a wall. The first was me holding then under each arm as I took a pic so not very good, but it shows the DGX on the right looks brighter.
    IMG_8403.JPG
    The second I placed on a table so I could separate them more. They line up to a chair rail, but I think it is clearly visible that the DGX on the right is brighter than the DL20 on the left.
    IMG_8405.JPG
    The DL20 appears to have a tighter spot beam but on the whole the spot is dimmer as well as the outer spread of the light. This clearly cements the DGX light as being superior to for me.
     
    couv and fmerkel like this.
  3. aviator8

    aviator8 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Georgia
    882
    550
    93
    wonder if anyone can answer this form my first post buried at the end:


    I do have a question about the unprotected HOG. If I use a higher mah protected battery in it will that cause any issues? I wouldn't think so but wanted to ask.
     
  4. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    1,675
    638
    113
    No, mAh is simply the size of the 'tank'. Having said that you can't absolutely trust anything that's written on the side of them. There are a lot of junk cells out there some claiming to be 3000mAh, 5000mAh, and even 8000mAh. There are absolutely NO good cells with more than 3500mAh. The higher the claim, the bigger the lie. And....there are counterfeits, so it is a good idea to buy from a reputable dealer of a known product (Samsung, Sanyo, LG, etc.). I don't see anything on those cells you got that would give me a lot of confidence until I tested them. It's a really good idea to get an analyzing charger for reviews like this. I think ALL batteries need to be verified.

    If you have a REALLY high output light (these are not), then you need to think about a cell that can support that high draw. There are some 18650's that will sustain 10A and more.

    As you've noticed the lights don't have drivers that maintain the output as the voltage drops. That's common in cheap lights. IMO you don't need a protected battery. The dimming of the light will be plenty of notice to turn it off. The protection circuit adds length, complexity, and some resistance. But it does add 'protection'. It's not going to hurt if you feel better about using it. I don't bother with any of my lights.
     
    aviator8 likes this.
  5. Nicolas Pottier

    Nicolas Pottier Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Ecuador
    50
    35
    18
    Thanks for the useful comparison.

    Note that the DGX lights are just rebranded Brinytes as far as I can tell:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Brinyte-NITESUN-DIV05V-LED-Video-Light-CREE-XML2-1000lm-LED-Scuba-Dive-Torch-LED-Diving-Flashlight/32854501886.html

    I'm not sure I would not use an unprotected cell in either of these. Yes they will become so dim as to be unusable once they get to dangerous voltages but thats if you notice it. If they turn on in your bag or elsewhere then those cells are likely to be ruined and more importantly could be dangerous if you then try to recharge them. That's why cheap lights that don't have built in protections rely on the cell to do it for you.

    But yes, any higher capacity protected cell should work just fine, just look out for fakes. (don't trust Amazon, use somebody like imrbatteries.com)
     
    aviator8 and fmerkel like this.
  6. aviator8

    aviator8 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Georgia
    882
    550
    93
    yep, i have an analyzing charger on the way. I purchased some additional Panasonics from mountain electronics. so I should have those soon.
     
    Nicolas Pottier likes this.
  7. Sam Martinez JR

    Sam Martinez JR Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Macon, Ga
    1
    0
    1
    Thanks for the thorough review. I am just getting re-equipped and bought a couple of the DL-20's. I too noticed that BLUE was full charge and Green was 50%. Opposite of what the guy at Diver's Supply told me.

    I went ahead and looked for some higher capacity batteries, from USA battery shop. Going to try a few Olight 2600 mAh batteries.

    I got a 2 and 1/2 hour burn time with considerable light reduction before the DL-20's charge indicator went RED. Going to do a side by side of the supplied battery with the new higher capacity battery to compare the difference if there is any.

    Do you mount any of your flashlights or handhold?
     
  8. aviator8

    aviator8 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Georgia
    882
    550
    93
    I picked some 3400 mah batteries but have not tried them yet. As to mounting I have a ball adapter to use on my rig as needed. I use the others handheld. If I need to be hands free I use one of these:

    DGX Soft Handmount
     
  9. buddhasummer

    buddhasummer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location:
    9,551
    2,811
    113
    @aviator8 Great review and comparison, thank you for taking the time to post. I trust nothing written on websites so first hand experience is priceless. Cheers.
     
    aviator8 likes this.
  10. MilesC

    MilesC Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: China
    18
    2
    3
    @aviator8
    Could you pls kindly contact me by: vivabuddy@hotmail.com, lets see how can I arrange you a giveaway flashlight if you are interesting!
     

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