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Looking for light that meets specific requirements

  • Akrylamid Tuesday, October 22, 2013 9:14 AM Reply
    I have a bunch of lights for different occasions and I'm now looking for a light for a very specific need. I've been browsing around and reading reviews but I'm having troubles deciding. The requirements that must be met are:

    * Short body 1x18650 length. If the light takes more than one 18650 battery they must be installed side by side.
    * Zoom focus (flood to throw). Beem quality important on flood. No halo effects or bad beam pattern.
    * Mode memory.
    * High power. Can't really give a number of lumens as my only experiences are with manufacturer rated "lumens". I'm thinking something like XM-L T6 running at high current (mA output seems to be inaccurate manufacturer ratings also). Runtime is not important.
    * My budget is around $30. I do not want a package deal as I already have plenty of batteries and several chargers.

    The only requirement I am some what flexible on is the price tag. All other requirements are mandatory. I have lights that meet some of those requirements, but not one that meets them all.

    I can consider buying a light and additional drop in modules to enhance it if needed. If so, please give SKU numbers for all parts and simple instructions on how to replace as I've never done anything like that on a light before.

    Some lights I have seen here at DX and my thoughts:
    SKU: 121723 : Seems to be what I want, but according to reviews zooming seems to be annoying (4 full turns) and flood beam seems to be of poor quality. I could live with the 4 full turns but a bad flood beam is a show stopper.
    SKU: 192005 : How about this one? Anybody with any experience of it? It has no reviews at all.
    SKU: 180076 : Looks good, but this is a package deal. I found a light with same model number T55 (SKU: 174578) but the description says no mode memory. Circuit current and a few other things don't match either. Is this really the same light?
    SKU: 162491 : Many seem to like this light. I might get one, but for the intended use it will not do as it does not have mode memory.

    Any help much appreciated! /Mike
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    post edited by Akrylamid on 10/22/2013 at 9:28 AM
  • gasbag11 Top 10 Forum Poster Tuesday, October 22, 2013 10:41 AM Reply
    Just got sku.122711 out and dusted it off. I don't care too much for zoom lights, so I haven't used it for a while now. When I zoomed in, (wide as possible) the main, or central portion of the beam is very uniform, with no halo or dark spots at all. The beam itself is very slightly squarish, and there is a thin halo (or brighter ring) around the the very edge of the beam. Like most zooms, when zoomed out, it gives a very square beam which shows the wires in the LED. not sure if that meets you requirements though. It's a nice, good quality, light which is pretty small, but unfortunately doesn't have memory, if that's a deal killer. (I actually prefer no memory, (you always know what mode it will start in) Mine came with a crappy Ultrafire cell, but sku.121488 comes without a battery for slightly less.

    The only other suggestion I have, is check for videos and beamshots on the net. youtube has loads of them.

    One word of caution. If you find something you like here, make sure it doesn't have "next mode memory". DX seems to be getting a lot of those lately, but not stating that in the overview.

    edit - typo

    NO! I don't know why DX screwed up the site so badly.
    Ask them.
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    post edited by gasbag11 on 10/22/2013 at 10:45 AM
  • Akrylamid Tuesday, October 22, 2013 11:30 AM Reply
    Thanks for the tip. The squarish beam in spot mode is ok, it's the flood beam that needs to be nice. I have a light with the dreaded "next mode memory" and absolutely hate that. The SKU 122711 you linked, it always starts in high mode? That is far better than the next mode, but mode memory is preferred for me.

    I am considering skipping the mode memory requirement for the light I buy, and then replace the driver with this one: SKU: 127684. It has manufacturer rated "2800mA" output and has memory mode. Sounds good, but is there anything in particular I need to consider when replacing with this driver? Like heat management, choice of emitter and so on?
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  • gasbag11 Top 10 Forum Poster Tuesday, October 22, 2013 12:12 PM Reply
    Yep. sku.122711 always starts in high mode.

    My total experience with modding lights is replacing one screw-in module with another, in an Ultrafire C8, which had next mode memory.

    @sheepish or @desolder can give you much better advice about modding lights than I can.
    NO! I don't know why DX screwed up the site so badly.
    Ask them.
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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Tuesday, October 22, 2013 5:54 PM Reply
    When I zoomed in, (wide as possible)

    I call that zoomed out, with the "zoom" referring to the beam, not the relative position of the lens.
    Remembering 30 years.
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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Tuesday, October 22, 2013 6:09 PM Reply
    sku.127684 can be set to a group with 3 non-flashing modes, with mode order of increasing brightness - very nice. Your emitter obviously needs to be able to cope with 2800mA, which basically means Cree XM-L. I prefer neutral white tints.

    Other than adding o-rings I haven't modified any zoom lights (just fixed them) so I'd probably start with (a cheap project, starting with)* a donor WF-503B body from sku.192004. Not the best for handling heat, but I wouldn't run it on high all the time. I'd add that driver and ponder whether I wanted to change the LED.

    * - inserted.
    Remembering 30 years.
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    post edited by sheepish on 10/22/2013 at 6:11 PM
  • Akrylamid Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:02 AM Reply
    Thanks for the input. Sheepish, if I understand correctly from reviews you have to connect a star to the outside ring in order to obtain desired selectable modes. Does documentation on which stars do what follow with the driver?
    Regarding sku 192004, what LED would you switch to? Can something be done about the heat? If I get a light it might be running on high for a while. Perhaps a different donor body? It's ok if it costs a little more.

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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Wednesday, October 23, 2013 2:37 PM Reply
    Another thought on sku.192004 - because of the attack bezel around the lens, the wide angle beam won't be as wide as it could be. Pick an alternative body you like from http://dx.com/s/zoom?category=929.

    From memory, connecting the third star to ground (the outer ring) gives the group with three non-flashing modes. I'm sure there's a list in one of the threads for that driver.

    I don't buy LEDs from DX because they don't specify the tint bins. :(
    Remembering 30 years.
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  • Akrylamid Thursday, October 24, 2013 3:07 AM Reply
    Now I have a little more to go on so I should be able to figure something out. Thank you for your input.
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  • gasbag11 Top 10 Forum Poster Thursday, October 24, 2013 1:17 PM Reply
    I had a thought which may or may not help.

    Since you mentioned using the light on a tripod (maybe for photography?) if it's only used indoors, you might try removing the bezel and lens while using it. I mention this because I bought sku.113096 for a special need, but even when set at the widest angle possible, it was still not wide enough. When I removed the bezel and lens, it was perfect. I glued on a thin piece of clear plastic (from a blister pack) to protect the LED, and it works great. It has a perfectly uniform and even beam all the way across. There's a very very faint outer ring, but it's not noticeable beyond 1 meter or so. Do you have a zoom light you can try that with? I wouldn't recommend it for outside use if it might get rained on , or be easily damaged or knocked over.
    NO! I don't know why DX screwed up the site so badly.
    Ask them.
    Posts(12572) | Reviews | Tip post

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