Today we are taking a closer look at the newest Modular Personal Lighting System (MPLS) for the US Military, the Remix Pro by Princeton Tec. We would like to thank our partners and distributors at FULMATECH Germany for sending over the light for testing. I know, i know, “Goran with another flashlight review”. But bear with me, this one is different.
When US based Princeton Tec was designing the new military-specific MPLS, they wanted to put emphasis on four main adjectives; fast, light, simple and easy.
For 40 years, Princeton Tec has been an industry leader in producing innovative, bright and high-quality outdoor lights – ranging from headlamps to industrial lights to SCUBA lights. With the introduction of the tactical modular light into the military, Princeton Tec brings personnel in all branches a reliable, dynamic light that is easy to use.
While working closely with members of the US Military, the prototypes were tested and re-tested and thus the REMIX PRO came to be. It’s an ultra-light weight, easy to use powerful illumination tool that will stay by your side (or on your head for that matter) until the job is done.
In the box, you get the lighting module with included Duracell CR123A battery, two “butterfly” style 1” attachment points for MOLLE or headbands, one NVG helmet attachment point and a head strap. All parts are in the color you chose, this one happens to be tan. Other available colors are Black, Tan/Multicam and Olive Drab.
The light module by itself, weighs only 33,89 grams. When you add a battery and the lightest mounting option, the number rises to 57,69 grams. This is with MOLLE/Head strap attachment option. Adding the head strap pushes this number to 73,72 grams. Still less than some competitor head torches, which weigh in at 85 grams.
Powered by a single CR123A battery, its maximum beam power is measured to 150 Lumens. This is quite adequate for a personal lighting system. Have been riding my bike quite fast through the woods and must say it’s enough. Keeping the burn time in mind, there is no point in having “one Million” Lumens on a system like this.
On the lowest power setting, the light will shine for 40 hours straight with some 15 meters of beam throw. The highest white light output will gulp down the battery in 4 hours with some 75 meters of beam throw.
It’s made of hard, high-quality polymer plastic, to endure the rigours of anything you get into. It will not become brittle and break when exposed to temperatures below freezing. I was especially worried about the strap attachment points, but it turned out I did not need to worry. The plastic just got a bit colder and harder but did not fail at -5°C.
It’s level 1 waterproof, which is equivalent to IPX4 in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. Lights rated at Level 1 are designed for water resistance to splashing and quick dunkings.
According to the manufacturer, if a light with a Level 1 rating is accidentally submerged for a longer period of time, the batteries should be removed and the cabinets should be carefully inspected for signs of battery leakage. If water has entered the housing, the light should be dried and batteries replaced.
DETAILS AND PRACTICAL USE
The lighting module houses all of the components in one compact shell. One Maxbright LED in a cone shaped reflector for fast movement activities and long range and a cluster of three Ultrabright LEDs. These LEDs can offer three different colour combinations or they can all be red. The other combinations are one red, one green and one IR or one red, one blue and one IR. In our case all three are red, which serves us perfectly. If one of the LEDs offers infra-red light, the module will have a separate switch on the side for selecting between IR and visible light.
Even though the module offers 150 Lumens high power, it’s programmed that it will always turn on on the lowest power setting to preserve light discipline. Also if you happen to be extra careless and it somehow turns on during transport, you will surely notice that before if fully drains the inserted battery.
The operating switch is nicely recessed to avoid accidental activation. The shape and the material both allow for easy operation and have a solid feel to it. Operation with gloves is the same as without, as the size of the button is perfect.
Single click for red low power and double click for red high power. If you want to turn it on and use white light, hold the power button for two seconds. If the power button is then pressed again in 1,8 seconds from the light powering on, it will switch to high power white light.
The battery can be accessed through a side hinged cover, which can be manipulated easily. Even with gloves, the notch is big enough to enable easy operation. The cover itself houses the contact spring, which besides providing a perfect connection for electrical current also holds the battery in place during vibrations, big or small.
The head has true 170° swing without any “middle position” steps. This way, you can point the light directly to where you need it, without having to adjust your strap or helmet.
With this function, you can actually turn the head up as far as it will go and hide the power button between the head and the back plate. No accidental powering on even if you drive over it.
On the back of the module we have the attachment tab. This brings the M in MPLS. Just pull on the marked spot and the whole module can be removed, leaving just the mount.
The module will then be able to be placed anywhere you have the other mount ready. Be it on a head strap, NVG helmet mount or any other 1” strap or MOLLE webbing that can accept the mount.
In case you are wearing a helmet and need your NVG mount clear, the light can still be used by the means of the head strap being put on the helmet. With the mount of course.
If by any chance the single sway arm on the module or the attachment tab gets broken, it can be replaced by a new one with just two screws. Usually parts like this are not in stock at your local supplier, but their order is viable upon request.
The included soft head strap can be used in any and all other manners you are familiar with from other headlamps.
Head, a tree branch/log or hand, the strap will fit. It’s easily adjustable with the notched friction tabs and can be loosened with one hand effortlessly.
Tightening it with one hand can prove to be a bit difficult, but it can be done nicely with some practice and the help of the aforementioned notches.
With the intended use being military applications, this system is still perfect for many outdoors enthusiasts. With the red LED cluster you can prepare your overnight stay without drawing too much attention to yourself.
Some land owners hunt on their land, also at night. And many of them don’t like other people walking through their woods, not to mention spending the night. So are you going to ask every single land owner on your backpacking trip if you can crash in their forest or are you going to set up your hammock, sleep for a few hours and be gone by the time the sun rises? My choice would be the latter. And shining white light all over your location is not what you want if you just want to rest and not argue over pointless things all through the night.
Also the white light is bright enough to be on your head when riding your bike through the woods at night. The beam is focused enough to give you that throw you need and dispersed enough for you to notice anything on the sides. And in traffic, car drivers will actually turn on their fog lights on the back to let you know your light is annoying them. Just adjust the angle and be on your merry way.
Some laid back adventurers commented on the operation as being not intuitive enough. It all comes down to preferences and needs. Personally I love the “lowest power red first” deal. But some want the “full power white” first. This being a professional illumination tool meant for serious use, I think the manufacturer dealt with those opinions before and decided for our favourite, “light discipline preserving”, “low power red”.
Also to be completely honest (and this is just this authors opinion), if you find a two second button press not intuitive enough, you might want to rethink your outdoor activities.
And while we are talking about honesty, i could only find one thing that was not to my liking. The production procedure obviously does not include a person checking the parts for manufacturing leftovers. There are several leftover moulding protrusions present on the bottom of the single arm and on the back of the head, which give out a “cheap” look.
While the system is as rugged as can be, these really do look nasty. Luckily you can just take an exacto knife (or any other sharp knife for that matter) and smoothen them out in a few seconds. Not a catastrophic failure, but the first time i saw this, my mind went “ahhh come on, really”?
While this being a review for the Remix Pro MPLS, I can’t help myself but to mention another great product from Princeton Tec. For all you PT Charge MPLS and PT Switch MPLS users, they made an offset helmet mount. Yes, I know you have side rails for those. And yes, I know you can get a head strap for those too. But this one is a bit different. For instance, head straps might be no good if your night shift activities include some fast roping, rappelling or parachuting. In these cases it’s best to have the thing as fixed as possible.
“But, my rails…” yes, your rails are fine. More than fine actually. But some operators use different ear-pro. What If a user wants to clear their rails for hearing protection system adapters like Peltor ARC adapter and still use their Charge light? They can do this by using Princeton Tec’s MPLS-Above the rail (ABR) mount.
This nifty little mount can be slipped under the rail, thus adding another attachment point above the rail for your light or a Contour camera. Just undo the front screw on your rail, slip it through and select the desired position.
The tab fits snugly in the hole of the rail and the hook part fixes the mounting plate below. The manufacturer advises you break of the lower hook for non-ballistic helmets, but if it doesn’t bother you and there is room available, you might as well leave it. Some ballistic helmets don’t have the high cut, so the breaking off also applies. After tightening back the front rail screw, it won’t move at all and will leave you with a solid and secure mounting plate.
Then just select the type of mount you want to use and secure it with two machine screws. These need to be tightened with some care, as they will strip the material of the plate if over tightened. If this happens, just use a screw that’s a bit wider and similar length. You can’t do this indefinitely, so I advise some care when tightening the first time.
Now you have a solid mounting point for all accessories that were meant for the rail. The plate is also long enough so the accessories don’t interfere with each other. So if you have a Switch light with white and red LED’s but also need the Charge with infra-red capabilities, you can use them both!
If you don’t want to change the mount on the plate, just use the Charge mount and add the Switch as it was on the side rail. Not the most low profile thing you can have, but it works. And if it works, it’s not stupid.
In conclusion I would say that this system is in its own category when it comes to personal lighting. The modularity offered by this system is unbeatable and will definitely work in any and all situations. It has so many mounting possibilities, that once you have this, you will never look back. The weight is as low as any competitors head lamp with many more options. I strongly recommend giving this system a try if you need a secure, reliable and light-weight lighting solution.
Be sure to check Fulmatech‘s online shop, where they offer the whole Princeton Tec assortment and many more lighting solutions.