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Lighted Nock Challenge

by John Mueller 23. June 2010 15:31
John Mueller

Earlier this year I signed up to do a comparison between 3 different lighted nocks. I chose The Firenock, Easton’s Tracer Nock, and Burt Coyote’s Lumenock to do my test. There were certain tests required for this evaluation. I was to shoot each nock 100 times, unless the nock failed before the 100 shots. After 50 shots I submerged all 3 arrows in tap water for 12 hours. After shot #75 I submerged the nock end of the arrow in salt water for 12 hours then let the arrows sit in a bowcase overnight. For the 100th shot it was optional to shoot the arrow with the lighted nock into a cinder block. Since I am using Easton FMJ arrows, which aren't cheap, I chose not to perform the final test. Here are my results and findings.

 

I purchased my Lumenock and Tracer Nock at Bass Pro Shop in St. Charles, MO. The Lumenock cost me $10.99 and the Tracer cost $6.77. I ordered the Firenock Model A1 direct from the manufacturer for $20.95. The Lumenock and Tracer are available in either Florecent Orange or Green. The Firenock comes in 9 different nock colors and 6 different LED colors or any combination of the above for 54 different combinations.

I used Easton Full Metal Jacket Arrows to perform my testing. This is the arrow I use while hunting. My arrow with a standard nock installed weighed in at 463 grains. After adding the Tracer Nock total arrow weight was 478 grains. The Lumenock mounted arrow weighed 477 grains. And the arrow with the Firenock weighed 477 grains. So the lighted nocks added roughly 15 grains to my arrow.  Adding weight to a hunting arrow isn’t a bad thing in my opinion, but adding it to the back of the arrow is. I would much rather add weight to the front to add stability in flight. Be careful when adding weight to the rear of lightweight arrows.

During the assembly of the arrows I needed to sand a small amount of plastic from the diameter of each nock to allow ease of insertion of each of the nocks. Without sanding I felt it took too much pressure to get the nock seated all of the way to the arrow, especially with the Lumenock. The Lumenock is designed to turn on by sliding in the arrow until it makes contact with the back of the arrow. You turn it off by pulling it out slightly away from the arrow. The Firenock turns on by the shock of the shot triggering a sensor built into the nock. You turn it off by tapping the nock end against a hard surface. The Tracer Nock is activated by passing near a magnet. The magnetic field activates the circuitry in the nock, turning it on. To turn it off simply pass it by the magnet again.

To me the simplest system is the one used by the Firenock. The shock of the shot turns it on and you bounce the nock on a hard surface to turn it off. I never had a failure to light on the shot. It usually only took one tap to get it turned off, but on a few occasions I had to tap it twice.  The Firenock also seemed to have the brightest light when viewed side by side with the other two. The Firenock was the only one of the three to supply a separate nock along with a weight to use when practicing and sighting in. This would definitely save some wear and tear on the nock as well as save valuable battery life.

The Lumenock proved to be the most unreliable nock to light. Some of the time it didn’t light at all and sometimes it would light, but turn off when it hit my target. The nock sliding inside the arrow just leaves too many variables.

While the Tracer’s magnetic system was pretty reliable, it did fail to light a couple of times. I do like the fact that after 10 seconds the Tracer Nock begins to flash, instead of a steady on light. I think it makes it more visible and easier to find your arrow.The magnet is held on to the bow by adhesive, but can be removed by a Velcro connection. There is the possibility that while walking through the woods you could knock the magnet off your bow, leaving the Tracer nock useless. To me simpler is better.

To perform my testing, I used my Bowtech Captain Bow, set at 65# with a 30” draw, equipped with a Ripcord Rest. I was shooting into a fairly new Block Fusion for my backstop.

During the first 50 shots of my test the Firenock performed flawlessly. It lit on every shot and stayed lit after coming to rest in the Block. It only took one tap of the nock on my picnic table to turn it off. The Tracer Nock lit on 49 out of the first 50 shots and stayed lit after entering the block. Passing the lit nock past the magnet a second time immediately turned off the Tracer ready to be shot again. On the one shot that failed to light, I passed the arrow by the magnet by hand and it did light. Not sure what happened there. The Lumenock failed to light twice at the shot and one time did light but it was a very weak glow instead of being completely light up. In addition, on one occasion the arrow was lit, but when it hit the block the Lumenock turned off.

Then it was time for the water submersion test. I used an old wallpaper soaking trough to completely submerge all 3 arrows in water. When I first started soaking the arrows I didn’t notice anything abnormal. When I came back an hour or so later, the Lumenock was glowing under the water. I guess the water was acting like a conductor and completing the citcuit causing the nock to glow slightly. Neither the Tracer or the Firenock showed any signs of light.

I let the arrows soak overnight and pulled them out the next morning. The Lumenock was still glowing slightly. After drying all of the arrows off with a towel the Lumenock went completely out.

I then started my next round of 25 shots into the block target. After the first shot with the Firenock I was unable to turn it off by bouncing it on my picnic table like I had before. I bounced it a number of times, but it would not turn off. So I pulled the nock out of the arrow. Some water came out with the nock. I blew on the nock and circuit board and shook the water out of the arrow. Then I disconnected the battery from the nock, the light went out and didn’t come back on when I reconnected the battery. It worked fine after that coming on every shot and turning off with a tap on my picnic table.

The Tracer Nock worked fine after I took it out of the water.  It came on every shot and shut off when brought back by the magnet. The water submersion test had no effect on the Tracer at all.

Once dried off the Lumenock turned off and stayed off until shot again. It lit all 25 times when shot, but did turn off 1 more time as it entered the block. I guess the shock of hitting the target is causing the nock to move enough in the arrow every now and then to shut it off.

After shot #75 the test called for all 3 nocks to be soaked in salt water while installed in the arrows for a minimum of 12 hours, then left overnight in a bow case. Once again after soaking for a short time the Lumenock began to glow slightly. I let the arrows soak overnight and in the morning not only was the Lumenock glowing, so was the Firenock.  I put all 3 arrows in an old bowcase and left them there until I got home from work about 12 hours later.

When I took the arrows out of the case, the Firenock was still burning. I tried bouncing in on the table to turn it off, but it would not shut off. I took the nock out of the arrow and dried it off and pulled the battery out. Then I reconnected the battery and the nock turned on again. I could not get it to turn off with the battery connected. The salt water must have gotten in there and ruined the circuit board.  I tried shooting it to see if that would maybe shut it off, but it stayed lit until I pulled the battery.

Taking the Lumenock out of the case I noticed it was no longer glowing. I pushed the nock against the back of the arrow to see if it would light, but nothing happened. Then I pulled the nock out of the arrow and dried it off and disconnected the battery. I reconnected the battery and tried setting off the nock again, but it would not light. I shot it a couple of times and nothing. I’m not sure if the battery went dead from burning all that time or something short circuited in the salt water bath.

I then took the Tracer Nock out of the saltwater and passed it by the magnet, it lit. I then shot the Tracer 25 more times and it lit every time but once. The Tracer was the only nock to complete my testing. I’m not a big fan of the magnetic system, but the Tracer held up really well to the test.

I chose not to do the final crash test of shooting an arrow into a cinder block with nock attached. I really didn’t want to destroy one of my good arrows.

I have to say I liked the operating system of the Firenock the best. The shock of the shot lights the nock and then you simply bounce the nock on a hard surface to shut it off. The Tracer worked most of the time, but I don’t like the idea of having the magnet attached to my bow with the possibility of knocking it off walking through the woods. The Lumenocks’s system of the sliding nock was the most unreliable method with more failures than the rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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