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The source of the fake Cree LEDs

  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Tuesday, January 12, 2016 5:58 PM Reply

    We've wondered for a while why DX often doesn't state the LED brand any more, and I can confirm one of the suggested explanations (edit - discussed in http://club.dx.com/forums/forums.dx/threadid.1427611). It's because there's a Chinese company making LEDs that it - or its suppliars - calls the same model names as the Cree LEDs. But the LEDs are not the same.


    This example is an LED often sold in Chinese torches as an XM-L. Notice the die is smaller than the die in a genuine Cree XM-L.


    Edit - fixed broken link to pic.


    comparison LatticeBright vs XM-L.jpg


    It is made by this Chinese company: http://www.latticebright.com/En/cpzs/cpzs1.html


    The specs indicate it has an efficacy of about the same as a T3 binned Cree XM-L and has a maximum current rating of 2 A... which has big implications for some many of DX's lumen claims, which depend on high efficacy Cree LEDs running at (or above) their maximum current rating of 3 A. The colour temperature is a cool 8000 K.


    OK DX, when were you going to tell us about this LED maker?

    Remembering 30 years.
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    post edited by sheepish on 11/25/2017 at 6:34 AM
  • desolder Top 10 Forum Poster Wednesday, January 13, 2016 5:35 AM Reply

    Thanks for the side by side photos, sheepish. Even to a flashaholic, it would be very difficult to tell them apart without a side-by-side view. The number of yellow bars and bonding wires is the same. Even the copper traces on the surface look the same. The Cree seems to have a wavy conformal coating vs the smooth coating on the LatticeBright, but I suspect that is just an issue with the lighting in the photos. The only real difference is the die size. *VERY* deceptive.

    What's up with the scrubbed LED driver IC markings?
    What are they trying to hide?

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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Wednesday, January 13, 2016 5:58 AM Reply

    It's not my photo! I found it on a BLF thread and I didn't mean to take any credit for it, sorry. Where was it... ? Ah, http://budgetlightforum.com/node/41084. They say the smoothness of the surface of the green area is a difference. It's much more subtle than the die size, and like you say, the differences just get smaller from there.


    Recently I've noticed many product photos here and on gasbag11's other favourite site where the die was smaller. There was just too much metal showing around the die for an XM-L and I kept wondering if it was a camera lens perspective thing, or if Cree had started making a smaller die, like they did with the XR-E. Nope, not Cree at all.

    Remembering 30 years.
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  • gasbag11 Top 10 Forum Poster Monday, July 18, 2016 12:11 AM Reply

    One way to tell XM-L2 fakes from real is the dot patterns.


    The dot patterns on Crees are staggered, a row of 6 across, then a row of 5 etc.


    The fakes have all equal rows. Of course you'd need super good eyes or some type of magnification to see it.


    Another way to tell most fakes from real, is that they are a much paler yellow tha real ones.




    Btw, it took me at least 10 tries to post that pic at the right size and not all distorted. And I've already forgotten what sizes I used. lol


    One good thing about this stupid new forum interface is that you can see your pics before you post instead of posting and hoping it comes out right, and then editing when it doesn't.

    NO! I don't know why DX screwed up the site so badly.
    Ask them.
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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Monday, July 18, 2016 6:24 AM Reply

    With the previous forum arrangement we could actually see what was going on, it was possible to figure out what was going wrong and how to fix it, and make those changes easily.


    With the Stupid New Forum Interface we cannot see what is actually going on, it's difficult or impossible (!) to figure out what's causing a problem or how to fix it, and making changes is far from easy. For example, gasbag11, edit your post, paste anything - even a single character, SKU number, link, etc - and start crying when you realise the picture you spent so much time getting right just isn't there any more.


    And the spell checker doesn't work.


    The paler yellow is directly related to the cool blue tint the fakes give, because of the phosphor composition.

    Remembering 30 years.
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  • gasbag11 Top 10 Forum Poster Wednesday, July 20, 2016 6:30 AM Reply

    I just checked the LED in sku.396066 which is listed as "others" brand in the description. 


    It's either a genuine Cree or they are now copying the staggered dot pattern on the die. Plus the color is very similar to the Cree LEDs and not pale like the fakes. I was fairly certain before that though because the light has warmish~neutralish (lol) tint which I mentioned in my review of it.


    It took a fairly powerful magnifying glass, my reading glasses and a small flashlight for me to be able to see it. :)


    It makes no sense for DX to list it as "others" brand instead of a genuine Cree which would be a better selling point, unless the policy now is "Just list everything as "others" and no one can say we lied."

    NO! I don't know why DX screwed up the site so badly.
    Ask them.
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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Wednesday, July 20, 2016 8:42 AM Reply

    I've wondered on occasion if the suppliar deliberately omits that info so they can later replace the genuine Cree LED without notice with an "equivalent" one.

    Remembering 30 years.
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  • gasbag11 Top 10 Forum Poster Wednesday, July 20, 2016 8:55 AM Reply

    An excellent thought. I guess we'll never know though. 


    I tried to see the LED in sku.395648 but it's recessed too deeply in the head and I don't feel like taking it apart just for that. It's a cooler tint though, but not blue at all, and it's as bright as any of my other single LED lights, including a 960 lm Nitecore EA41 with an XM-L2. I kinda think it's a real Cree too. I was surprised about that and assumed I'd be replacing the driver/LED soon after I got it. 


    A pleasant surprise for a change. :)

    NO! I don't know why DX screwed up the site so badly.
    Ask them.
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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Wednesday, July 20, 2016 9:00 AM Reply

    So people should buy them while they're still good, before the cost cutting bites.

    Remembering 30 years.
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