[Review] Niwalker MM18JR Flashlight - 4x18650 high power

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WalkIntoTheLight
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[Review] Niwalker MM18JR Flashlight - 4x18650 high power

This is a review of the Niwalker MM18JR flashlight. This is a extremely bright light that uses two neutral-white XHP70.2 emitters for high output and large flood, and a XHP35 HI emitter for long throw. The output can vary from 1 lumen, up to an impressive 13500 lumens.

Niwalker is a flashlight company that designs high-output flashlights with simple but versatile user interfaces. You can see more of the company profile and flashlights at niwalkerlight.com. This light was sent to me by Niwalker for review purposes.

There is also a video review of the light I put up on youtube, here:

Overview:

You want bright? This light will turn your yard into daylight. It might also bring the cops down on you, maybe the black helicopters, and you’ll end up in a cell in Area 51 indefinitely. They thought you were signalling aliens, or perhaps trying to blind the spy satellites in orbit. All for just using a light because you’re a nut about high-power flashlights. Yes, it could happen, so beware!

The Niwalker MM18JR (if this is “junior”, I don’t know what “senior” is), is a flashlight that meets and exceeds its brightness claims. It claims 10,000 lumens. I measure 13,500 lumens on a full charge, and surprisingly it maintains this output quite well as the batteries deplete their charge. Only the highest modes sag a bit as the voltage depletes, leaving the maximum output at around 11,500 lumens by the time the batteries are about 50% depleted. This is still more than the 10,000 lumen claim in the specs. Maybe my measurements are wrong? Maybe I was blinded during the testing and can’t read the lux meter correctly? Whatever the case, the MM18JR is a very bright light.

It is also a very usable light, when you become tired of annoying your neighbors by pretending there are helicopter search lights on their homes. Have I done that? Well, let’s just say they’re trying to run me out of the neighborhood.

The light can be used in a flood condition, utilizing the large XHP70.2 emitters which provide a massive amount of even light in all directions in front of you. Of course, you don’t usually need a massive amount of light, so there are 6 different mode levels to choose from. Level “2” is usually all I need (around 100 lumens). That doesn’t stop me from chuckling while I crank it up to level “6”. But seriously, the big flood on a modest output is great for lighting up a large area of the path in front of you. And it’s very efficient when using the XHP70.2 emitters.

So what do you do when you want to see further? You turn on the XHP35 HI emitter, which is set in a very deep and smooth reflector for maximum throw. And it does throw very well, lighting up a long distance with a small hot-spot, plus a small amount of spill.

You can use the XHP35 HI emitter either alone, or in combination with the flood of the XHP70.2 emitters. While the XHP70.2 emitters create most of the lumens, the XHP35 HI emitter does most of the throw.

My initial thoughts were, “Why use a combination of different emitters, when you could use a single emitter type that gives both decent throw and good flood?” Other multi-emitter lights, like the BLF Q8, do this pretty well. Well, there are two reasons I can think of:

1. You can tune whether you want flood, or throw, or both.

2. The combination of different emitters works really well together, to give you an illusion that the light is even brighter than it actually is. You get immense flood up close, which lights up areas close to you and the sides of your vision extremely bright. And, you get a hot-spot that reaches out a long distance (up to 560 meters), that gives you an illusion that the flood is actually reaching out that far. Your eyes see a light that lights up a long way, and they see it’s extremely bright all-around you. It makes it seem like that brightness all-around you extends far into the distance.

It’s a cool effect, but I admit it’s probably not something you’re likely to use on a regular basis. You’re more likely to use the light in a low flood mode, and only kick it into high if you hear something growling in the bushes near you. Okay, in that case, you might also want to throw the light at whatever is growling, because it’s solid and modestly heavy (675g with batteries), and might do some damage to the bear coming at you. Or perhaps the bear just wanted your light, in which case it might catch it and go about it’s business. I’m not sure what bear business is, but it’s probably important to them, and they might appreciate some light at night to do it.

Overall, this is an impressive light, if you like bright lights. It is well built, easy to use, and gives you a wide range of modes and combinations of flood and throw. It is, however, fairly heavy as mentioned, and while it does come with a wrist strap for carrying, it doesn’t come with a belt pouch which is probably more important. It is well-balanced, and easy to grip and hold, so carrying it is not a problem. But, for a long walk, you’re probably not going to want to hold it the entire time.

User Interface:

Niwalker uses different user-interfaces in their lights than most companies do. I generally like them, and they’re simple to use once you learn them. In the MM18JR, the light uses three buttons to control the light. There is a main button, used for cycling through all the modes. The other two buttons are for custom-modes, which is a very nice feature.

Secondary buttons:

Once you select a mode you like using the main button, you can set one of the other two buttons to memorize it, by simply pressing & holding the button until it flickers (after about a second). Once the button it set to that mode, whenever you click it it will instantly go to the programmed mode. Clicking it again will turn off the light. Essentially, you can use the light in an on/off configuration by only using that secondary button. You can set the other secondary button to a different mode you like. That gives you two favorite modes which are instantly accessible at any time.

Main button:

The main button is more cumbersome to use, acting more like a traditional switch on a multi-mode light. A single click turns on the light to “moonlight” using the two XHP70.2 emitters. Another click will cycle to the XHP35 HI emitter, and a third click will use all three emitters, still in their lowest mode. A forth click turns off the light. When you’re in a particular configuration, you increase the brightness by pressing and holding the main button. That will cycle the brightness up through six different levels.

It sounds a bit complicated, but it’s really not. Basically, it’s single-click for on, and to cycle through the emitter configurations. Then, and click & hold to choose the brightness. It’s a long process, which is why the two instant secondary buttons are so nice.

Turbo mode:

Turbo is chosen by a press & hold of the main button from off. This instantly kicks in all three emitters, at a level above their normal maximum. Think of it as cranking a stereo up to 11 on the volume knob. It’s bright; really bright. Releasing the main button will shut off the light.

If you want to use the light in turbo without holding down the button, you can turn back on turbo within 3 seconds. That will leave the light on turbo for 1 minute, until thermal regulation kicks in and drops the light down to “level 6” maximum. Essentially, it drops the output from 13,500 lumens to 9,400 lumens.

The light will run at “level 6” indefinitely, and surprisingly it handles the heat well. You essentially have a 9400 lumen light which will run at constant output until the batteries start to die.

Strobes:

A fast-flashing strobe is accessible by a double-click of the main switch when off. Don’t do it! You have been warned. It is extremely bright and disorienting, and might put you into a coma for weeks.

There are other strobes (SOS, warning flash, and beacon) which are available by double-clicking the main button when the light is on. Don’t do these either, because real men don’t use strobes. We’d rather starve on a deserted island than signal for help using a flashlight SOS mode.

Lock out:

Each button can be locked-out independently, by triple-clicking the button. After that, the button does not work until triple-clicked again. It’s a little odd that each has to be locked out separately, but I suppose it might be useful if you just want to use the secondary buttons to use the light in a 2-mode (or 1-mode) style.

Batteries:

The main button has an integrated LED to indicate battery health. The button is green when the batteries are charged, and will turn red when the battery voltage drops below 12v. That is 3v per cell. When this happens, stop using the light as soon as possible and charge your batteries. In a multi-cell light that uses batteries in series, you do not want to drain the batteries too far for safety reasons.

This light requires high-drain cells for best performance. So, make sure to use a good matched set of high-drain cells, such as Samsung 30Q or something like that. The light will accept both button top and flat top cells in its battery carrier. The carrier is good quality, and you can install it in the light forwards or backwards. But, protected cells will likely not fit, and they won’t have the high-drain characteristics anyway.

The light is not listed as having low-voltage protection. And, even if it did, it can not know the individual voltage of each cell. So, best practise is to turn off the light when the red switch LED comes on, or soon after. If you are using a matched set of cells (same brand, same capacity, same purchase date), this should be perfectly safe use of the cells.

Output Modes:

As mentioned earlier, this light has a lot of output levels and combinations of emitters. It is easiest to sum up my measurements in the following table:

On levels 6 and “turbo”, battery voltage does have an impact on maximum brightness. A half-depleted battery results in about 20% less output than when batteries have a full charge. On level “1” though level “5”, the regulation is extremely flat and there is no apparent loss in brightness.

Specifications:

Construction: Black anodized aluminum. Solid build, good heat-sinking, easy grip on body. Threads are nicely square cut, and came lubricated. Lanyard with large wrist strap included.

Modes: See prior discussion.

LED: 2 x Cree XHP70.2 + 1 x Cree XHP35 HI.

Tint: 4600K neutral white. There is a little green in the tint, which is usual with Cree emitters, but not noticeable in normal use.

Lens: Good anti-reflection coating. Tempered glass.

Size: 143mm long, 55mm diameter body, 67mm head.

Weight: 675g including four 18650 cells.

Battery type: 4 × 18650 high-drain lithium-ion. Flat-top or button top. Most protected cells will not fit, and could not deliver the required current.

Output: 1-13500 lumens. Most modes are well regulated.

Throw: 80,000 candella. This represents a throw of 560 meters to 0.25 lux.

Beam pattern: Selectable, with lots of flood or narrow beam, or both.

Heat: The light will get hot on turbo, but steps down after 1 minute. After that, output is constant, and the light does not get too hot.

Tail-stands: Yes.

Package contents: Flashlight, cardboard box, spare o-ring, lanyard.

My impressions:

Pros:

- Shockingly bright.
- Good construction.
- Can run constant output on everything except turbo.
- Extremely efficient, due to XHP70.2 emitters.
- Flexible outputs.
- Nice method to program two most commonly used modes.
- It comes in a standard neutral white tint.
- Tail-stands well.
- LED switch indicator warning for battery charge level.

Cons:

- No low-voltage protection I am aware of, but I wouldn’t rely on such a system in a multi-cell light that uses cells in series. Just be aware not to run this light flat, or any light that uses cells in series, regardless of low-voltage-protection.

More pictures:

Here are some images showing the indiviual emitters, on and off, as you cycle through the different modes.

There is a hole for a tripod mount.

Flood mode:

Spot mode:

Combination mode:

This is a nightshot (all are the same exposure values) of the BLF Q8, for comparison:

This is a comparison shot of the Niwalker MM18JR (on right) vs the Convoy C8 (on left).

This is the Niwalker MM18JR (on right) vs the Zebralight SC600w MkIV HI (on left). To be fair, the flood of the Niwalker adds some brightness to the spot of the Zebralight.

Finally, this comparison makes no sense, but here is a shot of the Niwalker MM18JR vs a BLF A6 (a floody EDC). Yeah, you can’t see the BLF A6 at all:

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading.

singularity35
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Sorry, but I didn’t see price.

Chuck Roxas

GeeKeR
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Banggood has it for $253.85. M4DM4X has a coupon code that brings that down almost a hundred dollars.

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DENGOH
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Do you measure the candela?
Maukka measured it to be 61kcd, short of 80kcd.

cool i'll see you when you get there

southland
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Thanks for the review. Think a lot of those photos are overexposed, looks like a nuclear bomb went off in some of them. Again, nice review.

Nicolicous
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southland wrote:
Think a lot of those photos are overexposed.

i agreed.

Nico -.-

WalkIntoTheLight
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I am told there is a groupbuy for this light. You can find it on this thread:

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/58576

And, yes, the pictures are very overexposed in the foreground. A couple of reasons for that.

1. The Niwalker has an extremely bright flood, which washes out the foreground in the pictures. If I exposed the foreground properly, then the background wouldn’t show up very well. I probably should have included some pictures in an area that was mostly just foreground, which I could have exposed evenly.

2. I wanted to keep the exposure constant for all the lights I was comparing it to, and for the different modes, so you could see the difference in brightness. That meant the MM18JR turbo was too bright for the exposure.

lionheart_2281
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Good review, love the humour, but those beamshots are waaaaaaaaay overexposed mate, would like to see how they look showing a proper NW beam

Wrathbringer27
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Nice review! Is there any difference between this and the MF5SV1?

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CM2010
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Wrathbringer27 wrote:
Nice review! Is there any difference between this and the MF5SV1?

That’s what I’d like to know.

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CM2010 wrote:
Wrathbringer27 wrote:
Nice review! Is there any difference between this and the MF5SV1?

That’s what I’d like to know.

Niwalker seriously has no idea what they’re doing when it comes to candela and throw measurements. They do however have bang on lumen outputs

Maukka tested both the MM18JR and the BK-FA30S
MM18JR test 9350 claim 10,000
BKFA30S test 2199 claim 2200

Their lumen measurements can be counted on and anything to do with their website descriptions is useless. They state the MF5SV1 has the same ansi rated lumens as the MM18JR which is just a typo.

I’m betting heavily that the MF5SV1 is driving the leds 50% harder and is now producing 15 000 lumens compared to the MM18JR 10 000

Throw should increase too but by how much nobody knows until Maukka tests it

Wrathbringer27
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mattadores wrote:
CM2010 wrote:
Wrathbringer27 wrote:
Nice review! Is there any difference between this and the MF5SV1?

That’s what I’d like to know.

Niwalker seriously has no idea what they’re doing when it comes to candela and throw measurements. They do however have bang on lumen outputs

Maukka tested both the MM18JR and the BK-FA30S
MM18JR test 9350 claim 10,000
BKFA30S test 2199 claim 2200

Their lumen measurements can be counted on and anything to do with their website descriptions is useless. They state the MF5SV1 has the same ansi rated lumens as the MM18JR which is just a typo.

I’m betting heavily that the MF5SV1 is driving the leds 50% harder and is now producing 15 000 lumens compared to the MM18JR 10 000

Throw should increase too but by how much nobody knows until Maukka tests it

Nice… Now we just have to wait for it

Words can be broken,
so can bones.

Tom E
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The UI is very different - I don't think they made any enhancements to max/turbo levels, just from my prelim tests.

Edit/Update: Yes, sorry, but I see no improvement in lumens output or throw, over the MM18JR. The UI is different where each button does the same thing but acts on different LED's. so you can do the same modes on all LEDs, just the 2 70's, or the thrower LED.