Firenock Challenge #6

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Last Updated: Aug 6, 2010 – 1:11:39 PM
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Firenock Challenge #6

By Wayne Reed

Dec 10, 2009 – 8:54:00 AM

Lighted Nock Product Comparison Review
(Visit the web site of FIRENOCK)

Products reviewed:

  • Firenock GSH $19.95 + S/H
  • Lightning GSH $12.95 + S/H
  • Lumenok GT $10.95 + S/H

Equipment used:

Martin Saber, 65lbs draw weight, 29” draw length

Goldtip XT Hunter 5575 arrows, Blazer vanes, 27 ¾” shaft length, 125 gr field tips Whisker Biscuit QS arrow rest

Ordering / Receiving:

Firenock and Lightning Nock were ordered from the Firenock.com online store on 7/31/09.

Lumenok was ordered from the Lumenok.net online store on 7/31/09.

Both orders were received via USPS, in a padded mailer envelope on 8/3/2009.

The orange Lumenok was received assembled in a standard clamshell plastic package. Instructions printed on the packaging insert. Received with the Lumenok was the printed sale invoice.

The Lightning Nock was received unassembled with battery, orange nock and circuit in a sealed plastic bag with instructions also printed on the packaging insert.

The Firenock was received also unassembled with battery, red nock and circuit, plus 2 green practice nocks with matched weight inserts in a larger sealed plastic bag also with much more detailed instructions printed on the packaging insert. Along with these items came a business card, bumper sticker, Firenock catalog, circuit and fit chart / nock color chart and invoice for both products.

If the Lightning Nock had been ordered alone I do not know if it would have come with the other items (catalog, bumper sticker, etc) or not.

Installation 8/4/09:

Firenock and Lightning nock battery installation was a bit intimidating the first time I tried it. Detailed instructions tell you exactly how to do this and after the first time you realize that it is quite simple, as long as you follow the instructions. The second battery was installed in a matter of seconds with no hesitation at all.

A rubber O-ring for the Firenock and flat “rubber band” for the Lightning Nock are also installed on the battery to center it in the arrow. Installation into the arrow was as simple as pushing in the nock and rotating it to the proper orientation.

The Lumenok directions were very specific on what has to be done for proper operation. I was sure to lightly sand the end of the arrow to ensure proper contact, then was very careful to make certain that the end of the arrow was perfectly square, or at least as close as I can come to perfect.

It’s stated that the nock cannot fit too loosely nor too tightly in the arrow shaft for proper operation. If it fits too tightly, you must carefully file or sand the nock down so it can be easily turned off. If it fits too loosely, pieces of paper packaging material are supposed to be cut and installed in the shaft around the nock. Luckily the nock fit perfectly in the Goldtip XT 5575 arrows. I didn’t mind the idea of sanding down the nock slightly to improve the fit in the arrow, but am not too impressed with putting the paper strips around the nock if it’s too loose. Sounds somewhat like putting a folded napkin under a wobbly table leg. I would prefer separate adhesive strips to be included if the nock is too loose.

The Firenock and Lightning Nock can be turned on the same way you turn them off, by dropping nock down on a hard surface from at least 8”. The Lumenok can be turned on by simply pushing all the way into the arrow shaft. I turned all nocks on to verify they worked, and noticed right away that the Lumenok seemed considerably brighter than both the Firenock and Lightning Nock, especially when viewing from the side. When viewing directly down the shaft, as you would when shooting, the Lumenok was still brighter, but not as much.

After the initial installation, I weighed each completed arrow.

Firenock arrow – 431.7 gr

Lightning Nock arrow – 431.9 gr

Lumenok arrow – 432.3 gr

I then removed the lighted nocks to weigh the shafts minus the nocks’ weight.

Firenock arrow minus nock – 403.6 gr

Lightning Nock arrow minus nock – 403.0 gr

Lumenok arrow minus nock – *405.5 gr

*Unfortunately the Lumenok arrow weight minus the nock is not exact. When removing the Lumenok to weigh the shafts, the shrink tubing sleeve around the Lumenok battery came off in the shaft. I was not able to get it out of the shaft so there it remains. On the same note, the rubber band also came off of the Lightning Nock battery when it was pulled out. With a little help from a small drill bit I was able to coax the rubber band out of the shaft and reinstall it on the battery.

After installation in the shaft, the Lumenok instructions tell you how to turn it off. To do this, you should lay the arrow with the fletchings in your palm, grasp the nock and wiggle it back and forth while pulling out, just until the nock turns off. Do NOT twist as this can damage the contacts. I did exactly this on the evening of8/4/09 after all nocks were installed, and left the three arrows on my workbench. On the morning of 8/5/09 before leaving for work, I walked into my shop to find the Lumenok turned on. It was in the same place it was left and had not been moved. Somehow the pins made contact sometime during the night enough to turn it on. I’m not sure if this was due to temperature change, moisture, expansion / contraction or if the contact pins of the Lumenok were compressed when installed for the first time and then after turning off moved just enough towards their previous resting position to remake contact. In any case, not something I would want to happen if I had the bow and arrows cased leaving for a trip.

Field testing:
Day 1 – 8/5/09 – 25 shots each

All nocks lit on every shot.

On the 3rd shot, the Lumenok was shot first and worked as normal. However, after the other two arrows were shot into the target, the Lumenok started flashing on / off intermittently for about 30 seconds then turned off completely. It worked normally on all subsequent shots.

Turning off the Lumenok was simple, just grasp the arrow and nock and wiggle and pull a little bit, just until the light goes out.

To turn off the Firenock and Lightning Nock, I dropped the arrows together, nock down, straight down onto a wodden picnic table from about 12”. One thing I noticed was the rattle in the arrows when turning them off, or laying them down on the table. This is something that I feel should be fixed by including larger or various outer diameter O-rings / rubber bands with these nocks. This did not affect operation, but was an annoyance.

All nocks seemed to be just as accurate on the shot as the others, at least to my shooting capability.

As for brightness, at 20 – 30 yards away they all looked about the same. The Lumenok still seemed a bit brighter as I could pick it apart from the other two while in the target however the photos I took do not look much different. On the last shot, I took photos of the target as it sat, then moved it to a dark area and took more photos.

Both images, nocks from left to right, Firenock, Lumenok, Lightning Nock
Day 2 – 8/8/09 – 25 shots each

All nocks performed 100%. The rattle is still an annoyance with the Firenock and Lightning nock. Shortly after starting on Day 2, I started to grow tired of wiggling and pulling the Lumenok to turn it off. Especially if my hands were sweaty, it became a pain in the rear.

Day 3 – 8/11/09 – 25 shots each

On the first shot of day 3, the Lightning Nock did not light. I retrieved the arrows and did a drop test to turn it on, and it did come on normally. Turned it off and shot again. Again the Lightning Nock did not turn on at the shot, but did turn on with a drop test. At this point I removed the nock and it looked fine. I twisted the battery to make sure it was seated properly and reinstalled the nock. From this point on it worked fine. I’m still not 100% sure what the problem was.

On shot 20 of day 3, when turning the nocks off I noticed that the rattle sounded louder than before. I inspected both the Firenock and Lightning Nock and found that the louder rattle was coming from the Firenock. Upon removing the Firenock I found that the O-ring had come off of the battery. I retrieved the battery with the same small drill bit used on the rubber band of the Lightning Nock previously and replaced it on the Firenock battery. Re-installed the Firenock and all was back to normal.

*Literally as I write this I realize that the O-ring may have come off of the battery when I removed the Firenock from the arrow rather than before it was removed. If that were the case, then I don’t know why the Firenock rattle sounded louder. It actually could have been that the field tip had come loose as I don’t check those until right before I nock my arrow.

I have noticed that after the shot the 3 lighted nocks in the target from 20 – 30 yards look no different as far as brightness is concerned.

Day 4 – 9/7/09 – 25 shots each

On shot 5 after retrieving my arrows and turning them off, after I set them down on the table the Lumenok came back on. I then pulled it out a bit further to turn it off again.

On shot 11 the Lumenok again turned back on when set on the table, this time only very dimly though. I again pulled it out further to turn it off again.

After shot 13, when nocking the Lumenok for shot 14, it came on very dimly. I notice that tapping the string will intermittently turn the Lumenok on and off, although dimly, not with full brightness. I did not turn it off this time, I just shot as normal. After this shot, I made sure to pull the Lumenok out almost a full 1mm to make sure that it doesn’t come back on. Doing this over and over, while wiggling, not twisting, became tedious for the remainder of the test.

On the last shot of the test, after 100 shots on each arrow, I again took photos of the arrows both in the target where they were shot, and in a dark area for comparison.

Top Left – Firenock, Bottom Left – Lumenok, Middle Right – Lightning Nock

Conclusion:

Firenock worked 100% of the time. I would not think twice about trusting this nock to work even if filming a shot at a world class animal. Firenock has a field changeable battery and nock, which is a BIG plus. Break the nock or wear out the battery and it can be changed and keep going. Heck, it could be changed while in the stand if necessary. Also it has different colors of nocks that you can use, another plus. You can be original or use different colors to pick out your arrow in a target if there are multiple shooters. This is by far the best of these three tested nocks. The price could be seen as a little steep however. $20 for a lighted nock is more than many people would want to pay in my opinion. However if you take into consideration the changeable battery and nocks, it’s not as much more as you might initially think, as long as you don’t lose the arrow.

I still don’t like the rattle, that’s something that needs to be addressed in my opinion, and it seems like it should be a simple fix.

Lastly for this top of the line lighted nock, I want it brighter. I have seen that a special battery is used so it can sit for years and still work when you use it, plus it has tremendous battery life, but to me personally I’d rather have a super bright nock that needs a battery change every year. I WILL be using Firenock for any filming that I do in upcoming years, without question. $20 is a lot for a lighted nock, but I would pay it in a heartbeat for those times that I need 100% success. Just fix the rattle and make it brighter and it is priced right where it should be. In fact with the practice nocks included and a changeable battery, it could go as high as $25 retail without me questioning the price. Remember though, this is for when 100% reliability is NEEDED, not for everyday shooting.

Lightning Nock worked 98% of the time. I would have no problem using this nock anytime except for the most important of shots, ie. Filming and/or shots on big game where there might not be a pass through and the nock could help you locate an animal, etc. Casual backyard shooting, league shooting, small game hunting, etc. this nock would be just fine. Lightning Nock has the same options as Firenock for replacable nock and batteries although not the full quality of components. It’s 98% success rate is enough for casual shooting situations. Again, I would like to see something done about the rattle. There should be a simple solution. Brightness is fine for this “budget” nock. Fix the rattle and this nock is priced right where it should be. To me, Lightning Nock is a top of the line “standard” lighted nock and $13 is just about right.

Lumenok initially ran right at the front of the pack. I liked that the contact pins are now thinner than previous models which would seem to help ease fears of physical damage to your arrow. I also was very surprised to see that the least expensive nock was brighter than the most expensive one. Add to that the fact that all that you have to do is take it out of the pack and pop it in your arrow, seems like you’ve got a winner. That is until (unless?) you read the instructions about sanding and squaring your arrow. Sanding or filing tight nocks or wrapping loose nocks with paper strips cut from the package? Ok…not so impressive.

Reliability was good after the first couple of glitches, and before I got about 80 shots on it. I’m not sure if something changed with the nock or if I just got more comfortable, and lazy, with turning it off. However I was doing exactly what the instructions said to do and I made sure not to ever twist it. At the end of the test, all the nocks looked to be almost identical in brightness also. Not too sure how to give a reliability % on this one. While it only failed, or had intermittent problems on 5 out of 100 shots, I have to say that it turning on by itself overnight is a big strike against reliability, especially because you cannot change the battery. Lumenok is esentially an $11 disposable lighted nock. To me, Lumenok should cost about $6.00 since it is disposable and somewhat unreliable.

Final thoughts:

Personally, I will not use anything but Firenock for any important hunts or filming. Firenock is top notch in reliability and options and that makes it worth the additional cost for those situations in my opinion.

For day to day practice shooting, small game hunting, building kid’s arrows, etc. I give the edge to Lightning Nock. It’s not 100% reliable, but for cost vs. performance, it’s very well good enough.

Lumenok is better than I remembered, I’m happy with the brightness and the smaller contacts, but it’s still not quite good enough. I would however use Lumenok rather that shoot with a standard unlighted nock. I just like lighted nocks that much.

Footnote: After purchasing these 3 nocks, I found a “Daily Deal” for a 2 pack of Easton Tracer Nocks. I purchased those and planned to include them in the test. However, upon arrival, I found that they were completely dead. Although I had other pin type batteries, I could not change the battery to check them as they are non-replaceable. Another “disposable” lighted nock. I contacted Easton technical via email and did not receive a reply for 3 days. I sent another email and they replied back the next day with an RMA #. I sent the defective nocks in and got my replacements about 2 weeks later.

So in the end it took about a month from my time of ordering until I had working Tracer nocks. Unfortunately, the nocks that were available on this “Daily Deal” were made for small diameter arrows and would not fit in my Goldtip 5575 XT Hunter arrows. Therefore I was still unable to include them in this test. I still don’t know if these nocks were old stock with dead batteries, current stock that just got turned on, or if they were in fact defective circuits. It does surprise me that they package these with the batteries installed, with a magnet to activate them, and stack them in clamshell packaging where other packages could potentially activate them and drain the non-replaceable batteries.

I noticed a similar scenario with Carbon Express Lazer Eye nocks at Wal-Mart. While browsing the sporting goods section, which I always do when at Wal-Mart, I noticed that every Carbon Express Lazer Eye nock was turned on in its clamshell package hanging on the shelf. I’m sure some kid decided it would be funny, but it’s the fact that they CAN be turned on while still in the package. I definitely wouldn’t risk wasting $10 per nock for either of these products when there’s a real possibility that when you get them they’ll be worth exactly $0.

Visit the web site of FIRENOCK 

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