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The big LIGHTS thread 2011-2014

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  • Thanks for the comprehensive reply. Seen what I think is that light going on Amazon for £15, tempted to get one to complement the Moon Shield 60 I currently run.
    "Mummy Mummy, when will I grow up?"
    "Don't be silly son, you're a bloke, you'll never grow up"
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    Thanks for the comprehensive reply. Seen what I think is that light going on Amazon for £15, tempted to get one to complement the Moon Shield 60 I currently run.

    The Moon Shield is a very good light. They both use a Cree XP-E. The only difference is the Moon runs it at 60 lumens and focused to reduce battery consumption on it's smaller battery where as the 3w Cree runs it around 150/180 lumens of a much bigger battery.

    Been meaning to try a Moon Shield (i like the fact it has a drain indicator rather than leaving it to guesswork).
  • MrGrumpyMrGrumpy Posts: 288
    Anyone recommend a charger for the magicshine clone battery packs ? The one I got with a light set a few years back seems iffy ?? Just don`t trust it tbh.
  • zntrxzntrx Posts: 27
    Re the amtech light, from my sample size of 2 I'd say stay clear.

    My brother had one that stopped working entirely after a few weeks.

    I also bought one that lasted a bit longer but not much, multiple problems... First it started randomly turning itself off so I had to keep checking it while on the bike. I solved this by adding a shim between the button and circuit board. Second problem was parasitic discharge of the batteries, so I had to remove the batteries when not on the bike, else next time the batteries would be flat next time I used it. Third problem was it started bouncing off the mount. This I solved by supergluing it to the mount. This worked for a few weeks then the mount itself disintegrated. So now useless.

    From my POV, brightness wise the light is great, quality wise it's absolute junk.
  • neilusneilus Posts: 245
    Finally - a top notch battery pack with decent Panasonic cells at a reasonable price:
    http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S024442
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    Bored and it's Payday. Not a wallet friendly situation to be in. So... inevitably... i bought some lights.... Lol.

    Got a Bontrager Ion 700R to go on my black/white carbon summer mountain bike. Don't tend to use lights with separate battery packs on that bike as it rubs against the expensive frame and the undertube cabling makes it hard to fit one in my preferred position. Since it's a summer bike, when it only gets dark in the late evening, i tend to just strap a 501 style torch to the bar as you don't need much else when it's dry.

    Mainly went for this as it colour co-ordinates with the whole bike (black/white). Vanity, i know.....

    1414062510163-1byves1uy0d8g-700-80.jpg
    10945_A_1_Ion_700_USB_Headlight%20(2)?wid=1980&fmt=jpg&qlt=50,1&op_usm=0,0,0,0&iccEmbed=0&cache=on,on&bgc=247,247,247

    USB rechargeable with a battery drain indicator, side lights and bar mount. Three things that don't really apply to the average Ultrafire 501/502 torch. The RT version can even be controlled remotely by a ANT+ controller (more useful for people who strap it to their helmet, i imagine).

    Got it brand new for almost half the standard retail price. Hasn't turned up yet but i imagine the red card the postman left me on Friday morning was for this. I guess i'll find out tomorrow morning when i pop up to the post office.


    The other main bit of splashing out was for another all in one light, the NiteCore EC4S Explorer

    EC4S_EN_24.jpg?512810
    EC4S_EN_09.jpg?512810

    Mainly because i wanted something with the newer XHP50 in it and liked the thin, "stack two 18650 batteries on top of each other" approach. This means the torch is no wider than a Ultrafire 501/502 style unit which gives far more options for mounting the light than some of the other XHP torches which are enormously fat.

    EC4S_EN_12.jpg?512810

    Normally sell for £80 but managed to get mine for £59 (the XM-L2 version can be picked up for about £35). Unfortunately, this probably isn't going to turn up until sometime in late December/January
  • neilusneilus Posts: 245
    Looks awesome Ouija, always nice to have a splurge on something a few notches up quality wise...
    Got a package from Gearbest today, shipped by DHL and horror of horrors, had to pay €40 import tax. Well, €30 tax and €10 to DHL for the spuriously called "transaction processing fee", or in plain English, legalised daylight robbery (Id already paid €18 for shipping). Makes my effing blood boil how these firms can just sting you and not be obliged in any way to justify themselves. Value of goods €60 :evil:
    Ive recieved tons of stuff from China, always flat rate shipping and have never paid a penny. I vaguely recall something saying that the parcels are often labelled as "gifts" which are exempt from any charges. I guess huge global shippers like DHL arent willing to exploit these loopholes.
    Can anyone confirm that? Sorry for thread derailment, but were all ordering our lights from Asia so it may be useful info to know...anyone else had any unexpected charges?
  • The other main bit of splashing out was for another all in one light, the NiteCore EC4S Explorer

    Mainly because i wanted something with the newer XHP50 in it and liked the thin, "stack two 18650 batteries on top of each other" approach. This means the torch is no wider than a Ultrafire 501/502 style unit which gives far more options for mounting the light than some of the other XHP torches which are enormously fat.

    Normally sell for £80 but managed to get mine for £59 (the XM-L2 version can be picked up for about £35). Unfortunately, this probably isn't going to turn up until sometime in late December/January

    I'm fascinated by that Nitecore light and the XHP50 emitter which I hadn't heard of before now. Now that I've googled around a bit it seems like the XHPs (50 and 70) have had mixed reviews in terms of beam pattern, with either a dark spot or a dark cross in the middle of the hotspot as a result of the quad-die architecture. It'd be good to know if those are present from this light when you get it, or whether they've designed it out e.g. in the reflector somehow. Also, I can't figure out whether XHP50 gives more lumens per watt than XP-L or XM-L2, but it seems like it might do marginally, which makes it worthy of our attention I guess even if it does need at least 2 cells to drive it...
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    Well, if there is a cross (it's a OP reflector, so i imagine that would get rid of it) there are identical Nitecore packages with XM-L2 (EC4) and MT-G2 (EC4SW). The XM-L2 has only half the brightness and lower run times off the two batteries (1h 30min at 1000 lumen compared to the EC4S and EC4SW's 2h 15min) and the MT-G2 in the EC4SW gives almost the same performance as the XHP50 but without the cross....

    EC4S_EN_24.jpg?512810
    EC4S_EN_03.jpg?512810

    EC4SW_EN_23.jpg?512810
    EC4SW_EN_02.jpg?512810

    EC4_EN_23.jpg?512810
    EC4_EN_12.jpg?512810
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    Its a little trick of words according to the press release: XHP-50 is 2,546 lm @ 3A vs the XM-L2 1,052 lm @ 3A. XP-L 1226 @3A

    All sounds impressive until you factor in the voltage the XHP-50 is designed to run at 6V/3A or 12V/1.5A (so 20W vs 10W)

    Its Lumen/W that are key 134 (for the XHP-50), vs 105 (XM-L2), 123 (for the XP-L)
    model	Watt		Lumen	Lumen/W	base price	p/lumen/w
    XHP70	32		4022		127	 	£8.23 		 £0.065 
    XHP50	19		2546		134	 	£4.59 	 	£0.034 
     XP-L	10		1226		123	 	£3.29 	 	£0.027 
    XM-L2	10		1052		105	 	£2.38 		 £0.023
    

    so... If you are thinking single cell - forget XHP, if you are thinking budget XM-L2 wins

    Quad Cores are normally a bit odd beam shape.
    CreeXHP_zpsb09a070a.jpg
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    But if your not thinking single cell?

    The XHP and MT-G2 can both put out the same brightness as the XM-L2 while running cooler and drawing less watts (hence the longer run times). At 1000lumen the XM-L2/XP-L are pretty much running as hot as they get (which shortens life span) while the XHP/MT-G are barely ticking over. Those two emitters have exceptionally long life spans to start off with (compared to the XM-L's). I imagine they last even longer if you never ramp them up to their max output.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    yeah - I think the 50 has the sweet spot but the MT-G isn't worth a look at 114l/w
  • kenankenan Posts: 952
    I've acquired some 18650 batteries but they are not the button top type I need. I have seen several people recommending adding a blob of solder to enable the batteries to make contact, anyone got a better idea or is this the best way?
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    Magnets.......
  • kenankenan Posts: 952
    Magnets.......

    Then a drop of glue to keep them from moving?
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    Magnets.......

    Then a drop of glue to keep them from moving?

    Nope. Neodysium (or however it's spelt) magnets designed for the job....

    634729136134100000_med.jpg

    Have a hard time getting them off when on.

    634075676801325000.JPG
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    Would they not wedge the battery in a torch and make it hard to get out though?
  • I've been using two torches - one http://www.dx.com/p/ultrafire-th-t60-ha-ii-xm-lt60-5-mode-1200-lumen-white-led-flashlight-with-strap-1-x-18650-57007#.VlyKqnDfWrU and one 501b with an XML-2 - for four years now. Only ever use them in the winter for commuting 2-3 times a week for 3 hours a trip. This year I reckon they are not as bright, especially the T60. Batteries should be ok because I bought some new ones from Torchy last year and was careful to store them only partially charged over the summer so it can't be that. Is it possible the emitters have degraded at that age, with that kind of use?

    I loved this combo cause the T60 threw a good light up the road and the 501 with an op reflector lit a broader area close to front wheel. I don't think the T60 is throwing the same distance now. Unfortunately the T60 emitter is glued in so I can't try a new drop in for a cheap check/replacement.

    Any suggestions for replacement to get the same effect from a set up with no external battery? Any advice much appreciated.
  • kenankenan Posts: 952
    Thanks buddy, got some in the post now :)
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    @wishitwasallflat have they got a bluish tint? It could be a lose connection somewhere causing a micro arc, that seriously reduces the driven current.

    If you have a DC amp meter you can test the draw and work out if the LED is still sucking the same amps. My guess is - lose connection, censored cells or censored charger.

    What voltage are the cells showing fully charged?
  • JodyPJodyP Posts: 193
    Can anyone recommend 18650 batteries for a Solarstorm type box that will have a decent run time. I'm getting really confused with mAh figures and brands. Which will be right for the job and not cost a fortune?
  • @wishitwasallflat have they got a bluish tint? It could be a lose connection somewhere causing a micro arc, that seriously reduces the driven current.

    If you have a DC amp meter you can test the draw and work out if the LED is still sucking the same amps. My guess is - lose connection, censored cells or censored charger.

    What voltage are the cells showing fully charged?

    Thanks DIY I don't have a meter but I have been thinking of getting one so this might be the nudge I need. Hope it's not cells though as I bought new from Torchy last year. Charger is nitecore intellicharger i4 which is only 3 years old so hopefully it's ok too. I will try to check out your options thanks again.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    Can anyone recommend 18650 batteries for a Solarstorm type box that will have a decent run time. I'm getting really confused with mAh figures and brands. Which will be right for the job and not cost a fortune?

    NCR18650B from Panasonic 3.4Ah (3400mAh) or if you can find yourself a genuine Lenovo 47+ or 47++ laptop battery or something from Dell then there is a good chance you'll get decent cells in side. the last lenovo pack I demolished had 9 2,7Ah cells in and they seem to give a genuine 2.7Ah and highish load 3A.
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    Had a few lights to play with this week. For a start my Nitecore EC4S XHP50 torch turned up...

    nitecore_ec45_zpsfjepcxhf.jpg

    Very nice, very bright.

    Couple of things worth noting. For a start, you do need to wrap tape around the batteries just like you would a Ultrafire 501/502 style torch as the two chambers for the batteries are milled just slightly larger and will allow the batteries to buzz inside when strapped to handlebars. Unlike a 501/502 style torch though, this doesn't cause any mode changes as the button is directly connected to the driver, not the tail cap. It's also not a good idea to over wrap the batteries for too tight a fit as you can't push the batteries out from the front like you would a 501/502 torch, due to it's one piece construction.

    Also worth noting that you can't use flat topped Panasonic 18650 batteries as the slightly recessed top on them prevents the "+" contact from engaging with the contacts in the torch. Button topped batteries don't pose any problems.

    The torch itself has two buttons that do various things depending weather you press them when on or off and for how long.

    Rear button (press) (off) = toggles the light on in the last mode (mode memory)
    Rear button (press) (on) = toggles the light off
    Rear button (Hold) (off) = toggles the light on in dimmest mode (resets mode memory to dim)
    Rear button (Hold) (on) = toggles light off and activates the battery charge indicator to flash continually

    Front button (press) (off) = momentarily turns on the battery charge indicator (three flashes - full, two flashes - half drained, one flash - drained)
    Front button (press) (on) = mode cycle
    Front button (Hold) (off) = Toggle light on in brightest mode (resets mode memory to brightest)
    Front button (Hold) (on) = Activate hidden flash modes (flash, beacon and SOS)

    Also worth noting that the brightness levels up to 1000 lumen are the same irrespective of what make/model of battery you use but the 2000 lumen mode is very dependent on the total amp draw of your 18650 batteries. With cheap Ultrafire batteries the 2000 lumen mode is only fractionally brighter than the 1000 lumen mode, suggesting that the two batteries were unable to meet the amp requirements of the torch (i imagine a XHP50 torch powered by 3x18650 batteries wouldn't struggle in this regard). With some old but better Senybor 2800mAh batteries the jump in brightness was more noticeable. Probably around 6/700 lumen. I would of liked to try the Panasonics but, unfortunately for the reasons mentioned above, they don't work.

    However, the torch can run off 4 CR123A primary cells but i don't have any to try unfortunately. Just rechargeable li-ion versions which give out higher voltage and, therefore, probably not suitable.

    Not that it really matters as i've been riding around with it all week on the bars of my mountain bike and only really use the 450/1000 lumen mode, which is plenty bright enough, even in the wet.

    So... beamshots. Taken from about 20 feet away (it's one of those oversized doors that's about a 3rd bigger than the average house door.. which messes up the perspective a little).

    For comparison i thought i'd use a 8.4v twin head, programmable, Yinding/Lightmalls light which puts out around 1600/1800 lumens...

    2015-12-15_22-59-50_1_1_zpsnda8u9ba.jpg

    2015-12-15_22-59-46_1_1_zpsozy2cqo3.jpg

    Very similar with a smooth beam pattern and similar output. And compared against a 1800lumen Fenix BC30 i got the other month....

    2015-12-15_22-59-43_1_1_zpsufbeun4c.jpg

    The Fenix BC30 has two freznel upper attachments to the lense that don't interfere with the central spot but take some of the outer penumbra from the top of the beam and divert it downwards, creating a "Keyhole" type beam pattern with a slit of light coming from the central spot down to the front of the bikes tyre. A very wide and floody light (notice how it lights up the lettering on the plaque to the right, whereas the spottier beams from the others don't). This semi-shaped beam allows the BC30 to make better use of the lumens it's throwing out (less is going up into the sky).

    FenixBC30_zpsfogjjo0i.jpg


    And some distance shots.....

    All three have soft, wide(ish), spots so tend to encompass the whole front of the building at this distance. The edges of the expanding conical beams hitting the grass closer to the camera create a false hot spot on the grass that's noticeably brighter. You'd think the Nitecore would be more spotty, with it's big, deep, reflector but the Orange Peel coating helps spread it out a lot (probably necessary to prevent dark spots in the central beam that Cree XHP50's tend to create)

    2015-12-15_22-59-28_1_1_zpsio0yuua9.jpg

    2015-12-15_22-59-33_1_1_zpshwwlmbwh.jpg

    2015-12-15_22-59-38_1_1_zpscm2z2kmk.jpg

    And that, as they say, is that.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    So the XHP50 is on par with a pair of XM-l2 /XP-Ls?

    I see on ebay the market has kicked off with twin XHP50 car headlights - not legal but would be interested to see how good they were. The beam pattern didn't look to great.
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    It's all just different solutions to the same problem. The Yingding/Lightmall and BC30 achieve their near 2000 lumen output by simply utilizing two XM-L2's fed by a 8.4v battery combination (one internal, one external). The Nitecore does it with a multicore single emitter (XHP-50) running at 6v (the batteries are series wired, giving 8.4v output so i imagine it's stepping down the current to run the XHP-50 in it's 6v mode).

    You could stick a 18650 in the bottom chamber and two 16340's in the torches upper chamber and get 12.6v output (same as if you'd used four CR123A primaries) which is something i might test. But again, i have no real need for the 2000 lumen output. Nobody does (not even mountain bikers). My primary reason for getting the torch was the longer runtimes and greater efficiency of running it at 1000 lumens over something like the BC30 or other "2cell" torches.

    In fact, the above three lights pretty much cover three of the four main approaches to light design...

    Multi-Emitter seperate units
    Multi-Emitter combined unit
    Multi-Core combined unit

    the only one missing is the Multi-Core seperate units, but i'm sure someone will get round to designing XHP50 bike lights with seperate battery packs eventually.
  • Ouija, you've got a few lights that I'm interested in and I wonder if you can help me decide which one to go for.

    Firstly, I presume that the Ion 700 doesn't compare either to the Nitecore or Fenix in terms of light output? Second, how do you mount the Nitecore? Third, if you were me, coming from a Kaidomain C8 with first generation T6, which would you go for?
  • All sounds impressive until you factor in the voltage the XHP-50 is designed to run at 6V/3A or 12V/1.5A (so 20W vs 10W)

    Unless I'm confusing what you're saying, 6V at 3A and 12V at 1.5A are both 18W.

    Ah, I probably am thinking about it. Never mind.
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    Ouija, you've got a few lights that I'm interested in and I wonder if you can help me decide which one to go for.

    Firstly, I presume that the Ion 700 doesn't compare either to the Nitecore or Fenix in terms of light output? Second, how do you mount the Nitecore? Third, if you were me, coming from a Kaidomain C8 with first generation T6, which would you go for?

    The Nitecore replaces my Trustfire A8 which is a very spotty XM-L T6, not unlike a C8. The only difference being the A8 runs off a big fat 26650 battery...

    2015-12-18_15-09-38_1_zpsjdvtof9v.jpg

    It's essentially my backup light that i carry in my backpack (used to carry 501/502's but got sick of swapping batteries). Largely because my main bike lights, with seperate battery packs, never get charged more than 70% full to stop them deteriorating. Only problem with that is i sometimes finish work early (anywhere between midnight and 4.00am) and decide to go for a long bike ride home over the moors or through Dalby forest with only a partially charged battery pack, so always need a reasonably long running backup torch that puts out a reasonable brightness. The nitecore easily matches the brightness of the A8, and the run times and is a similarly sized package.

    It's still a spot light, but with a softer, wider, more filling light than the A8. Kinda depends where you aim your spot. If you aim it 50ft in front of the bike then a tight spot as time to expand (as in the pic above), but if you only aim it 15/20ft in front of the bike it's still just a little dot on the road that doesn't illuminate much. The OP reflector of the Nitecore widens the spot out a bit. making it more suitable for mid range stuff without compromising it's ability to throw light some distance forwards.....

    2015-12-18_15-09-31_1_zpsa9ol4fry.jpg

    As for the Ion. It's a great little light, running off a high end 2800mAh cell. Suprisingly bright, largely due to it's more efficient collomated optics (parallel rays, not the scattering rays of a traditional reflector).

    2015-12-18_15-09-25_1_zpswzqzvqax.jpg

    However, being so tiny it doesn't really have the runtimes of the larger lights and is really only useful for short commutes. But that's ok as i bought it to go on a black/white carbon summer bike so isn't going to see the sort of extended night riding i do at this time of year, where it's dark going to work and dark coming back and can be anything up to 50 miles depending on weather and inclination.

    As for mounting. You can use the tried and tested Universal Adjustable Bicycle Mount...

    sku_31871_3.jpg

    however, the soft rubber does allow the torch to jiggle and rock slighly on bumps and potholes. My, somewhat ineligant solution is to simply strap it to a railed torch mount (the two rails actually nicely sit in two grooves in the torches nurled surfacing). The trick to this is using good quality electrical tape (not the cheap, thin, stuff that stretches like taffy) and applying a lot of pressure when wrapping it around the torch and mount. The result is rock solid (if a little ugly)......

    2015-12-18_15-09-18_zpsdkaix74p.jpg
  • -Archie--Archie- Posts: 152
    my main bike lights, with seperate battery packs, never get charged more than 70% full to stop them deteriorating.
    Partial charge doesn't stop that: just slows down a little bit. Additionally, full discharge is way more harmful - so IMHO it's unlikely that your usage routine will extend the life of battery...
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