Fenix LD32 UVC Review

Quick Thoughts:

Up for review is a brand-new offering by Fenix, the LD32 UVC. While its 1,200 lumens of primary output is quite bright, its hidden feature is a UVC emitter to potentially disinfect surfaces. I had to perform quite a bit of research on the disinfecting abilities of UVC light for this review. Note: Please be sure to wear UVC blocking glasses when using the UVC capabilities of the LD32. I’ll share my sources and my thoughts below. 

MSRP: $89.95 (You can 20% off your first order by signing up for their newsletters.)

Product Links: FenixLighting.com

Social Media Links: Fenix Instagram, Fenixlight Home (Facebook Group)

What’s in the Box?

  1. Fenix LD32 UVC Flashlight – Utilizing a CREE XHP 35 HI primary LED, a secondary Liteon 10mW UVC LED, and a blue indicating LED to show that the UVC is turned on. 
  2. Fenix ARB-L18-3500U 3,500 mAh 3.6v 12.6 Wh Micro-USB Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
  3. Pocket Clip (Attached to Flashlight)
  4. Belt Holster
  5. USB-A to Micro-USB USB Cable (used for recharging battery)
  6. Wrist Lanyard
  7. 1 Spare/Replacement Large O-Ring (for battery tube)
  8. 1 Spare/Replacement Small O-Ring (for UVC protective cap)
  9. 1 Small Keyring (for UVC protective cap)
  10. Warranty Card
  11. Instruction Manual (8 Languages) – Download English Manual Here
  12. Advertising Sheet 

Modes & Advertised Run Time with Included Lithium-ion Battery:

  • Turbo
    • Output: 1,200 Lumens
    • Run Time: 1 Hour*
    • Percentage of Total Output: 100%
  • High
    • Output: 350 Lumens
    • Run Time: 4 Hours 45 Minutes
    • Percentage of Total Output: 30%
  • Medium
    • Output: 150 Lumens
    • Run Time: 7 Hours 
    • Percentage of Total Output: 12.5%
  • Low
    • Output: 15 Lumens
    • Run Time: 20 Hours
    • Percentage of Total Output: 1%
  • Strobe
    • Output: 1,200 Lumens
    • Run Time: Not Stated
    • Percentage of Total Output: 100%

*Note: The Turbo mode is thermal regulated and will decrease output to preserve the life of the LED as heat is generated. 

Other Specifications:

  • Maximum Throw: 240 Meters (262 yards) – On Turbo
  • IPX Rating: IPX68
  • Impact Resistance: 1 Meters (3 ft. 3 in.)
  • Light Intensity (Candela): 14,400

Actual Physical Dimensions: 

  • Head – Max Width: 25.48 mm (1 in.)
  • Switch Area – Max Width: 30.3 mm (1.19 in.)
  • Body (Grip Area) – Max Width: 22.56 mm (0.89 in.)
  • Tail Cap – Max Width: 22.91 mm (0.9 in.)
  • Overall Length: 120.93 mm (4.76 in.)
  • Weight Empty – No Accessories: 66 grams (2.33 oz.)
  • Weight Loaded – Battery & Clip Only: 119 grams (4.2 oz.)

Usage Warning!

UVC light can be quite dangerous to human eyes and even your skin. Please wear safety glasses rated to block UVC light while using the LD32s UVC functionality. Fenix mentions the dangers of the UVC light in their manual but does not mention protecting your eyes. Most polycarbonate safety glasses protect against most UV light (including UVC). However, I opted to pick up these from Amazon based on my research on Safety Glasses USA’s site as they provide the maximum filter abilities (U6) for UV light. Additionally, here is a document from MSA, The Safety Company that can help you interpret the safety markings on any safety glasses you may already have. 

While researching, I found that when you purchase directly from one of the Fenix dealers, they force you to sign a waiver documenting you will follow all safety protocols. 

User Interface:

The LD32’s primary LED is controlled by a single copper covered side switch with a small LED in the middle of it to indicate remaining battery capacity. Additionally, to control the UVC LED (mounted under a screw on/off safety cap opposite of the primary side switch), there are two black aluminum side switches that when both are pressed activate the UVC light as well as a blue indicating LED.

Let’s go through how to operate primary LED on this light: 

  • Turning the Light On: When the light is off, press and hold the copper side switch for one-half of a second. The LD32 has mode memory, so it will turn on to the last mode you used. 
  • Cycling Through Lighting Modes: Once the light is on, single click the side switch. Depending on the last mode you used, the light will cycle through the modes in the following order. Low -> Medium -> High -> Turbo
  • Turning the Light Off: when the light on, press and hold the side switch for one-half of a second.
  • Strobe Mode: With the light off or on, press and hold the side switch for 1.2 seconds. Single click the side switch to exit strobe mode. The light will return the last mode you used when you exit strobe mode. 

Operating the UVC light is very simple: 

Simply remove the safety cover and store it on the tail-cap area that Fenix machined into the light, dawn your safety glasses and press both machined side switches at the same time. The pair of side switches are momentary only switches, meaning you must press both at the same time to turn the UVC light on. Additionally, there is a 30 second timer for UVC light activation. You can reactivate the lights immediately after 30 seconds, but they do shut off every 30 seconds. If you stop pressing just one of the side switches, the UVC light will turn off. 

The LD32 does come with a lockout mode. When the light is off, simply double click the side switch and the primary LED will flash twice. Until you unlock the light by double clicking the side switch, any attempts to turn the light on will be met with two flashes from the primary LED to help communicate that the light is locked out. The lockout mode is also effective at locking out the UVC light. 

The LD32’s UI is very consistent with the E35 V3.0 I reviewed last month and while it’s great, I have the same opinions for the LD32 as I did with the E35. The LD32 provides users with 4 different illumination modes and a strobe mode, I feel that the LD32 is missing a moonlight mode of less than 5 lumens. 15 lumens is not a lot of light, but in my opinion, it’s too bright if you are camping and need a reading light or are in pitch black. I would much prefer to see direct access to a sub 5 lumen mode on the LD32. Also, the LD32 is missing direct access to Turbo mode. Perhaps I’m too used to Olight’s UI, but I miss these two features on this light. 

Fenix provides users with a very easy to use battery level indicator. As mentioned above, this sits in the center of the side switch. To use it, when the light is off, simply single click the switch. Depending on the status of the led and color of the flashes, it communicates the battery level for three-seconds. Below are the details:

  • Constant Green: Between 100% and 85% Level
  • Flashing Green: Between 85% and 50% Level
  • Constant Green: Between 50% and 25%
  • Flashing Red: Between 25% and 1%

Additionally, while using the light and your battery level becomes low, the indicator will flash red to let you know of the battery status. I think that they implemented this feature quite well. 

Battery & Charging:

The LD32 ships with the Fenix ARB-L18-3500U 3,500 mAh 3.6v 12.6 Wh MicroUSB Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery. Which means there is no onboard charging on this light. The charging circuit is built-in to the battery. The battery can be charged on traditional 18650 battery chargers as well.

The 3500 mAh battery capacity is well stated as I was able to squeeze 3,458 mAh per my USB power meter over the 5 hours it charged. 

The battery’s positive terminal faces up, towards the flashlight head.

To charge the battery without a dedicated charger, simply plug in the included Micro-USB cable to the battery and the other end (USB-A) into your standard wall charger. The ARB-L18-3500U has a red and green indicating LED next to the positive terminal. When the battery is charging, the LED is red. Once the battery is fully charged, the LED is green. 

The manual documents several battery compatibilities options. Of course, they recommend the included battery, but they also list support for non-rechargeable CR123A lithium batteries, 16340 and 18650 LiFePO4, and button top 18650 Lithium-Ion recharge batteries. They “ban” or do not support 16350 Lithium-Ion batteries. Please have a look at the user manual for specifics.

Actual Run Time:

With a fully charged Fenix ARB-L18-3500U 3,500 mAh battery, I setup my illuminating shoebox for a test. I always start the lights out on their highest setting and let them run till they shut off. The Fenix LD32 provided some level of output for nearly 7.5 hours. However, the light remained on turbo level output for roughly 2 minutes before dropping due to thermal regulation to roughly 83%. From there the output declined to roughly 80% after 8 minutes. This is where something weird starts happening, the light output starts bouncing between 73% and 37% output for 1 hour 45 minutes. I suspect its due to thermal regulation, but I’ve not seen this before in any of my runtime testing. Have a look at the chart below to see what I observed. I included an expanded, more detail view of this section as well. It appears that this bounce is happing over the course of about two minutes, so it’s not super noticeable by the naked eye. I was also able to capture this on a time lapse video. Again, I suspect its due to thermal regulation and is happening to protect the light from damage. Please check the video out here

Long Duration Runtime Test
Detailed View of the Bouncing Output

Light Output:

The LD32 UVC’s primary LED is a Cree XHP 35 HI. Its paired with an orange peel textured reflector and finished off with a glass lens.

The deep reflector provides roughly 170 meters of throw while being tinted a bit closer to the neutral white spectrum.

Have a look at my Olight S1R Baton II (on right) in comparison with similar output below. There is a well pronounced hot spot at close distances. 

Have a look at my Indoor & Outdoor photos below! 

Outdoor Photos – Fixed Exposure
(1/15s, ISO 2000) – Low, Medium, High, Turbo

Outdoor Photos – Automatic Exposure

Indoor Photos – Fixed Exposure
(1/60s, ISO 32) – Low, Medium, High, Turbo

Indoor Photos – Automatic Exposure

UVC Disinfecting

With all the Coronavirus cases, disinfecting surfaces is a hot topic. I think it’s very important here to state that I’m not a scientist, a doctor, nor a health-care professional . I’m just a guy who loves flashlights so if get something wrong, please let me know. Please do your own research on UVC light to draw your own conclusions.

Since UVC light is something new to me, I took some time to research how to test for the presence of it. I’ve linked all my sources to my research inline. Just like regular UV light, UVC falls into specific range of light waveform that we cannot see with our eyes.

Below is a graphic showing the light spectrum from Materion:

The CDC states that a disinfecting UV light is most effective between 240–280 nm. Quantadose makes a quick reusable card to validate that your UVC lamp is in optimal germicidal range of 250 – 270 nm.

There are also less scientific ways folks have found to test UVC light, Such as bigclivedotcom on YouTube with his banana test where exposing a banana to UVC light will darken the skin of the banana. 

Have a look below at the banana I used, I placed a X on the spot I was testing and you will see that it didn’t darken at all after several attempts across multiple hours at varying distances from the surface. Unfortunately, this test failed to darken the banana. I’m not sure what wavelength scientifically causes bananas darken, but im guessing that the 280 nm is out of that range.

Also, this research from nature.com suggests that a 222 nm UVC light source may be safer to operate and still be effective at killing viruses and bacteria. 

In conversations with Fenix Lighting, the LD32 UVC provides UVC at 280nm. This is at the top end of the CDC’s most effectiveness range. With the light output being 280nm, my Quantadose card does not determine that the UVC light is indeed UVC, this is because as stated above, the card is looking for light between 250 and 270 nm. The card should reveal green UVC letters.

After I shared my findings with Fenix, they were able to supply me with their detailed test report that supports their 99% kill rate of several types of bacteria including: Candida Albicans, Staphylococcus Albicans, Escherichia Coli, & Staphylococcus Aureus. I’ve linked the report here

While I was unable to determine if the UVC light is effective, Fenix is a well trusted manufacturer and has the supporting test reports to show that the LD32 is effective at killing germs. I was able to determine that the UVC emitter (top emitter with the small white light in picture below) is indeed illuminating and should be functioning as designed. 

The Quantadose card also allows me to test UV lights, which I’ve done below. It’s a Convoy S2+ with a Nichia 365nm LED. 

Here is a few sites I used to help research UVC that may be beneficial to you as well:

Assuming the UVC capabilities work as designed, the range is only 2 cm (.8 inch). Meaning, you will need to hold the light 2 cm from the object you are disinfecting. This translates to if you need to say disinfect a door handle, you may be there for a few minutes of multiple 30 second cycles to ensure successful disinfection. 

Machining & Modification Possibility:

The LD32 is machined out of A6061-T6 aluminum and coated with a black hard-anodized finish for durability. The finish seems to be quite durable. The battery tube separates from the flashlight head and measures roughly 1.89 mm thick.

Fenix machined a nice socket to hold the UVC cover in the tail-cap, so you do not lose it. 

The light has an integrated smooth bezel at the front of the light. Towards where the switch area starts, you can see a small gap there. I believe that the bezel/lens/reflector assembly is held on by this section and could be unscrewed with force. It does not come loose with using my hand. Also, with the light apart, I do not see any retaining rings on the circuitry. The battery tube has a nice durable spring to keep the battery in place.

There are two small T-4 Torx screws holding the UVC board into the light body. With all this, I believe the flashlight head is assembled from the top down. I’d recommend against disassembly of the light as you wouldn’t want to void your warranty. 

What I Like:

  • Semi Neutral LED – When compared to my Olight S1R, the LED is a bit closer to Neutral White than the Olight is. 
  • Compact Size – With the large capacity 18650, and a secondary UVC emitter with additional switches, this light still maintains a slim profile and fits nicely in your pocket with its semi-deep carry pocket clip. 
  • UVC Disinfecting Capabilities – Knowing the limitation of your disinfecting source is important. While the LD32 is at the top end of the CDC disinfecting spectrum, it’s still a valid UVC source with disinfecting benefits. 
  • UVC Cap Storage – I guess its goofy to like something like this, but I really think did a great job machining a storage spot into the light for the UVC cap. 
  • Brightness – 1,200 lumens is a bit lower in comparison to some other lights offering 2,000 lumens in a similar package, but what you get here is longer runtime of lower modes. 

What I Don’t Like:

  • Mode Spacing – The LD32 deserves a ~700 lumen mode. The jump from 1200 lumens on Turbo to 350 lumens on high is too vast in my opinion. 
  • Lack of Moonlight Mode – Similar to my opinion on the E35 3.0, this light needs a Moonlight or very low lumen mode. I think every light should have one!
  • UVC wavelength – I would have liked to seen the UVC wavelength to fall more into the optimal germicidal range
  • No Direct Access to Turbo – This light is missing a quick way to access turbo. 

Manufacturer Warranty:

Fenix Lightning offers a five-year warranty on the LD32 UVC. Within the first 15 days, Fenix will replace the product with identical or equivalent products. Fenix will repair the light free of charge for up to 5 years. Post 5 years, Fenix will charge for the parts to repair the light. You are able to extend this warranty by 6 months if you register the light on fenixlight.com. The battery, pocket clip, and lanyard are covered by a 1-year warranty.

Overall Comments: 

Well, there you have it, I think Fenix did a good job with this one. I think the UVC disinfecting capabilities are nifty, but I wonder how effective they are since the sanitation area is so small. However, it’s very nice to be able to have a pocket sanitizer! Just know the capabilities of your light and be sure to wear some sort of safety glasses when using the UVC light. 

This is a high-quality light that I think will last for years. I appreciate the semi-neutral LED temperature and throw that comes out of this little light (aided by that deep reflector). Again, I do wish we had a lower lumen mode and direct access to turbo, but Fenix’s UI is growing on me. Hopefully in the future they can think about adding some of these features. 

I also appreciate all the accessories that come with the Fenix lights. When some light manufacturers remove maintenance items like O-Rings from their packaging (looking at you Olight), Fenix continues to include these to ensure you are not left hunting down such a simple thing. 

I want to thank Fenix Lighting for letting me have a look at this light! While they provided the light to me for evaluation, it does not influence my personal opinion. Additionally, I was not compensated in any other way for this review. This review and all of my reviews are my own thoughts and opinions gathered after carrying and/or use of the light/product. 

MSRP: $64.95 (You can 20% off your first order by signing up for their newsletters.)

Product Links: FenixLighting.com

Social Media Links: Fenix Instagram, Fenixlight Home (Facebook Group)