Review: Crelant 7G9 (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

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Review: Crelant 7G9 (XM-L U2 | 3 x 18650)

Crelant has a history of releasing throwers, with the most recent one in memory being the 7G5 V2 utilizing a more traditional size and form factor with 2 x 18650's in series. They have now uppped the ante with the release of the 7G9 which comes in a different form factor (3x18650 in 1S3P config) featuring a XM-L U2 outputting 1020lms on high and a claimed 700m throw distance.

Let's see if their latest release lives up to these claims shall we?


MFG SPECS
MSRP: $142USD
- CREE XM-L U2 bin LED with 50 000 hour life span.
- Maximum output: 1020 lumen- High efficient constant current circuit and output-luminance- Microcontroller drive circuit- Tactical High Mode- Working voltage: 2.8 - 6 VDC- Battery Types Supported: 3 x 18650
- Runtime:
High output at 3A: 1020 lumen max for 145 minutes.
Mid output at 2A: 700 lumen max for 220 minutes.
Low output at 0.3A: 138 lumen max for 21 hours
- Mil. Spec. Type 3 hard anodized aircraft grade 7075 aluminum alloy
- Colour: Black
- Ergonomic grip with anti-roll design
- Tactical forward tail cap switch
- High performance aluminum smooth reflector with concentrated beam shot
- Waterproof: IPX-8 Standard
- Lens: Toughened ultra-clear coated and anti-abrasion glass
- Candle function with ability to stand on tail cap
- Dimensions: Length 187mm, Head Diameter 65mm
- Weight: 185g excluding battery
- Accessories: Lanyard, spare o-ring.


PACKAGING / CONTENTS
The 7G9 arrived wrapped in a plastic bag in a rather non-descript cardboard box with a sticker covering the main specs on the side:


Additional accessories included were a spare o-ring and a short lanyard:



CONDENSED VIDEO SUMMARY
Here is a quick high-level video summary of the 7G9 until I can fully flesh out this review:

 

DESIGN / FEATURES
The 7G9 features a crenellated SS bezel:


While it is easily removable, the glass sits behind a ledge in the head in which case the upper portion is glued and not removable:

Thus therewill be no easy access to it, the reflector or the emitter.

The glass is AR coated and the emitter is perfectly centered:


There are six grooves milled into the cooling fins that provide an alternating pattern:


There is another set of cooling fins in the throat area also featuring an alternating pattern between flat and round surfaces:

The uppermost fin towards the head is where I obtained the highest temp readings.

There are three oval "dimples" spaced evenly around the tube in which are engravings for the company name, model/serial no and battery requirements along w/voltage range:


The texture isn't very deep or aggressive thus doesn't contribute to the grip at all:


This rectangular motif runs around the entire circumference of the tailcap:

And is just sharp enough to provide some grip without really digging into one's skin. It is however glued and thus not easily removable.

There are four "points" on the tailcap end that can be used for strike, glass breakage and tailstanding purposes:

The switch is a forward-clicky that allows momentary activation.

There are four holes in the points that can be used to attach the lanyard, however, due to the bulk the mini-ring must be used. Given I marked up the anodizing (see Fit & Finish section for details) by (carefully) trying to attach the lanyard (per below pic), I didn't attempt to use the ring:


The tube itself is a nice solid chunk of aluminum and arranges the cells in a 1S3P configuration. There are springs in the tailcap end but none on the head thus flat top cells can not be used:

As covered in my video summary, overly large batteries (circumference-wise) can be a very tight fit and shouldn't be used since the rebound rate of the springs may not be sufficient to ensure all the cells are pushed up tight against the positive tip in the head. I'll create a video later covering this aspect.


SIZE & HANDLING

L to R: RL3100 | NITECORE TM11 | Niteye EYE30 | Sunwayman V60C | ThruNite TN30 | Crelant 7G9 | ThruNite TN31

The above shots compares the 7G9 vs. other multi-cell lights that have the batteries in "parallel" config.

This shot covers the 7G9 vs. more convential throwers:

L to R: RL3100 | Dereelight DBS V2 | Lumapower D-65V w/TurboForce Kit | Crelant 7G9 | Lighten7 Max L2A | SureFire M3LT | Sunwayman T40CS

While the 7G9 is a large light, it's not too difficult to handle as the cells are arranged in a side-by-side formation creating a relatively stout profile:



FIT & FINISH
The overall quality of the 7G9 is pretty good. The edges of the bezel have been fully deburred and are very nice smooth (the very tip of the edges however are still sharp):


The anodizing matches on all parts:

(flash intentionally used to help highlight mismatching but none found)

While I didn't not any missing on the edges in the head:


There were some of it missing from the edges around the tailcap:

The sharp edge also really digs into the thumb when operating the switch (at least for my medium-sized hand).

Also, as previously mentioned, I marked up the anodizing by simply trying to attach the lanyard:

So I'm not confident of the anodizing's toughness but time will tell.

The laser engraving is nice and sharp with no blotchiness:


In the few weeks I've had it, I've noticed that the brass seems to be "wearing off" and marked up considerably on the positive connection ring:

I'm uncertain what effect (if any) this will have on the conductivity (increase in resistance maybe?) but I'll report back in my long term update.

The threads are trapezoidal cut and while the head screws on smoothly, there was very little grease applied:

Note: Pic above was taken after I had applied decent amount of grease.

Last but not least, the rubber tailcap cover is overly long and has about 3mm-5mm of play when depressed before it physically touches the tip of the switch:

This creates a mushy feel and makes operational difficult if pressure is not applied from dead on


UI / PWM
It's a little ironic that the User Guide features everything but instructions on usage. None is really needed though since it's very straightforward; there are but 3 output levels (H, M, L) with no blinkies. As the switch is a forward-clicky, momentary activation or a full on/off click will cycle through the levels in that order. Strangely, there is no memory thus the 7G9 will always cycle to the next used mode.

The 7G9 uses PWM on medium and low modes. I am sensitive to PWM but was not able to detect it in use, however there is an audible high-pitched whine in these modes.


BEAMSHOTS
Indoors (5m)

High




Med


Low

For details of the above indoor shots and comparo vs. many other lights, please check Epic Indoor Shots Trilogy


RUNTIME
The relevant battery stats are provided above each runtime graph along with:
- Voltage of the battery at the start and end of the test
- Current draw as taken right before the test
- Actual runtime using ANSI FL1 (first in HR and then in M so for the RL3100 on High, read this as 4.3hrs OR 260min)
- NEW (as of May 2012): Lumens measured on PVC LMD @ 30 seconds
- Also for High, captured the temperature: ambient, the head at start and the max it reached (fan was used for all bats)


After an initial drop, the 7G9 runs in near perfect regulation for roughly 43 minutes then steps down slightly and starts a gradual decline in output. There is a weird drop out at 183 minutes, I'm unsure of the cause but will check to see if it occurs again w/other batteries. Temperature on this run was a non-issue as the max reached was just shy of 95F.

I made a boneheaded move and conducted runtime on 3 x AW2600 but only one made contact due to the flat tops. But it's interesting nonetheless as it shows the 7G9 can still run on a single cell just with drastically reduced runtime and slightly lower output.

I then conducted runtime w/3 x XTAR 2600 and the curve is as I expected in that it's a shorter runtime than the nickle containing RL3100's but with a slightly higher output duration for a short while of the run. Also, unlike the RL3100's there was no distinct step down when the 7G9 came out of regulation.

I can now confirm that the drop is actually the low voltage warning kicking in w/a series of flashes. I stopped the runtime at this point to take the voltage of the cells (~3.6v for the 1 x AW2600 and ~3.4v for the 3 x XTAR 2600's).]


Just completed testing on medium and the runtime was much longer than Crelant had claimed thus the RL3100 was truncated since it hit up the 10K max logging limit of my Extech HD450. I'll reconduct the runtime in the future but for now, I estimate runtime to be 350min's (but likely a bit longer). Also, at the beginning of the run, it didn't seem like it was hitting max for Medium so I had to cycle through the modes and re-tighten the head to ensure good contact thus you'll see the spike from 0 - 1120 lms. The spike towards the end of the XTAR run is the low voltage indicator (blinking) kicking in.

One thing I was surpised about was the lack of regulation given in High, the 7G9 runs semi-regulated for a period of time.]


INITIAL CONCLUSION
The 7G9 is a solid effort by Crelant and faces stiff competition in the formidable TN31 which is the closest competitor in this form factor. While it can't match it in output or throw, the cost of admission into the 55K+ lux category is admittedly lower. I remeasured the lux @ 1m and got 57.2K lux this time around which translates into a 478m beam distance. While this falls short of the 700m claimed by Crelant, it is uncertain at what distance they derived this measurement from and it's very likely the beam has not fully collimated at 1m so I will revisit this measurement at longer distances in the future. For now, here is my take on this light:

turboBB-licious

  • great thrower in a reasonably stout but chunky form factor
  • solidly built with good levels of fit and finish (other than the anodizing)
  • flexibility to run with less than three batteries (albeit with requisite reduction in runtime)



turboBB-cautious

  • no memory for output levels
  • questionable durability of anodization
  • larger batteries will have fit issues in the tube
  • mushy rubber tailcap cover feel



turboBB-wishes

  • lanyard lobster claw that actually fits without the use of a mini ring
  • optimized driver performance (I feel this light can perform better with some minor tweaks)
  • holster




7G9 GALLERY



=======
Disclosure: 7G9 provided by md-lightsource for review.

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:20
sb56637
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Another excellent review Turbo, thanks so much! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

scaru
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Thanks, can't wait to see some beamshots. Smile

VIET PRIDE BULLIES
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Nice review as always, waiting for beam shot and comparison.

turboBB
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Thx guys!  Indoors (5m) bounce and beamshots added.

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Thanks for the nice review and pics.

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

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Thanks for yet another awesome review Tim! 

 

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

lanterneled
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Yesterday i recived my Crelant 7G9 and last night i took few beamshots.
First one is at a distance of 260 meters and second one to about 390meters

Distances were measured with googleearth
I dont know how to put images directly here on website. someone please PM with some tips about how to put images here. I have 15 diferit models of flashlights and i want to put some pictures with eache of them here.

turboBB
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Thx guys, runtime on H added for RL3100.

@lanterneled, thx for sharing the pics, I'll PM you w/tips.

EDIT: I've posted them on your behalf for now and will remove them when you've figured it out:

 

Cheers,
Tim

indenial
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Please, please. Limit your use of the phrase “with that said”! You said it a half dozen times in the above video. I fully appreciate your reviews, and have relied upon them in purchasing both Thrunites, but please, no more “with that saids” than necessary!

Thanks!

My name is indy, and I've been a flashaholic since 2004.

turboBB
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Thx, I appreciate the candid feedback.  I do notice speech patterns is very addicting and not sure where I picked it up from but with that said Wink  I'll do my best not to utter that phrase again. lol! Smile

turboBB
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Short of whitewall/outdoor shots, this review is now wrapped up.

indenial
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I bought the Crelant and it was delivered recently. I agree with everything you said. The pros are self-evident – it’s definitely a quality light

Its lack of memory is odd – even much cheaper Chinese lights have that function. And, as illustrated in your photos, the output level between the high and medium modes is barely discernible.

The fit and finish of my light is superior to your sample. I have none of the anodization problems or sharp edges depicted in your photos. And I hear no whining in the lower modes. But I agree the knurling could be more aggressive.

That said, taking in account I got it for 15% off retail, I’d say it was a great value.

My name is indy, and I've been a flashaholic since 2004.

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With such a price I am surprised to see lamps light this being reviewed on *budget*lightforum. I thought CPF was the place to go for everything from expensive to luxuriously decadent Smile

raccoon city
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Welcome & I hope you have a good time, XGK-Saturn-5!

Best0270

Saturn1

Saturn2

Saturn3

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$142 bucks for a light that always turns on in the next mode?? Did I read that right?

Unthinkable. In that case, I’d have no desire for such a thing (needs a button switch up front on a light this size, anyways).

But as always, superb review, Turbo.

Eat Once a Day - Lose Weight - Feel Great!

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indenial
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Rusty Joe wrote:
$142 bucks for a light that always turns on in the next mode?? Did I read that right?

Unthinkable. In that case, I’d have no desire for such a thing (needs a button switch up front on a light this size, anyways).

But as always, superb review, Turbo.

Much to my chagrin, most places are selling this light now for 99.00 – and some offer additional free batteries or a blf discount! Uggh. I still like the light, however.

My name is indy, and I've been a flashaholic since 2004.

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 Outstanding quality light. Mine came in like "indenial", no noticeable marks, no whining. Here's the summary of the mode switching:

  It's exactly, I mean it exactly works like the popular Romisen RC-29, 3 mode. I have the RC-29 and can probably get used to it, though I would definitely prefer it with mode memory. The switch takes force to even depress half-way, let alone a full click, so it makes the mode switching that more cumbersome (advantage to the easy switching RC-29). But overall, you are getting a high quality, great throwing light, with a long battery life. Also makes a substantial weapon - this thing has weight. I'm using EagleTac 3100's to keep it purring Smile.

Update 09/08/12:

  The stiff switch really bothered me - added 3 of these: http://dx.com/p/super-strong-rare-earth-re-magnets-8mm-20-pack-4248 by gluing to the bottom of the rubber boot -- now there is little/no gap between the boot and the switch mechanism -- works as easy as my RC-29 now!

mags
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I recently purchased the Crelant 7G9 through BLF member EDCPlus.

I highly recommend this seller, flawless purchase with unbelievable pricing.

Will not hesitate to purchase my future flashlight needs from them.

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im enjoying this light… i bought it second hand from vinh @ cpf for $100 who modded it to 4.32a with memory

the no memory would have been a deal breaker at that price imo

very tight hot spot and handles heat very well due to the large mass of the light

long runtimes with 3x panasonic 3400s

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
Best wish, May
Tmart service team

 

Soumil wrote:

PLEASE HELP ME GEARBEsT! IM LITERALLY CRYING!

 

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 jmpaul320 - I assume he replaced the driver? 4.32a - wow. Is the button a reverse clicky after the mod?

 I ran this light  (stock) for 12 mins on EagleTac 3100's, sitting it down, and it was difficult to tell it was any warmer then room temperature.

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i believe the switch is still stock

yes he replaced the driver… medium is close to 3a… light gets mildly warm on medium after 20 minutes (30C) on high it gets warmer but not excessively so… this light has a good amount of mass to it so it manages the heat well

modded, this beam intensity is close to my sbt90 o light, although the hotspot is smaller as well

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
Best wish, May
Tmart service team

 

Soumil wrote:

PLEASE HELP ME GEARBEsT! IM LITERALLY CRYING!

 

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Wow! I want that mod! Wonder if vinh would be willing or maybe ask E1320 here... 4.3a on a U2 could be at a high risk, but you are right about the heat mgt on this beast.

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4.2-4.3a on an xml is ok if the heat is managed properly or copper pcb is used…

he makes xmls direct drive on copper pcb that will take 5.6amps with no problem

obviously you have to turn them off after a few mins to cool down though

EDIT: i am actually curious now that were talking more about this light – maybe ill charge everything up this weekend and take some measurements to compare to some of my other lights… i have difficulty doing conversions to 1m since i dont have a tripod, but i can set up each light on the edge of my dresser and keep my lightmeter in the same spot to at least compare ‘relative’ measurements

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
Best wish, May
Tmart service team

 

Soumil wrote:

PLEASE HELP ME GEARBEsT! IM LITERALLY CRYING!

 

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 Very interested in your results. Wish their was a way to hookup with guys here that have the instruments and procedures for accurately measuring these things. It's great though they are starting to build one common list of test results with details of models, batteries, lumens, lux, etc.

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jmpaul320 wrote:
4.2-4.3a on an xml is ok if the heat is managed properly or copper pcb is used... he makes xmls direct drive on copper pcb that will take 5.6amps with no problem obviously you have to turn them off after a few mins to cool down though EDIT: i am actually curious now that were talking more about this light - maybe ill charge everything up this weekend and take some measurements to compare to some of my other lights... i have difficulty doing conversions to 1m since i dont have a tripod, but i can set up each light on the edge of my dresser and keep my lightmeter in the same spot to at least compare 'relative' measurements

 Got a quote from vinh to do the mod. The cost is not a problem, but he says it will only run on 1 battery - that's a big limitation for such a big, heavy light. Sounds like yours runs on all 3, so I don't quite understand... He looks very busy so maybe he doesn't remember your light, but it's a pretty new model, or maybe your mod was very costly in time or parts.

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Tom E wrote:

jmpaul320 wrote:
4.2-4.3a on an xml is ok if the heat is managed properly or copper pcb is used… he makes xmls direct drive on copper pcb that will take 5.6amps with no problem obviously you have to turn them off after a few mins to cool down though EDIT: i am actually curious now that were talking more about this light – maybe ill charge everything up this weekend and take some measurements to compare to some of my other lights… i have difficulty doing conversions to 1m since i dont have a tripod, but i can set up each light on the edge of my dresser and keep my lightmeter in the same spot to at least compare ‘relative’ measurements

 Got a quote from vinh to do the mod. The cost is not a problem, but he says it will only run on 1 battery – that’s a big limitation for such a big, heavy light. Sounds like yours runs on all 3, so I don’t quite understand… He looks very busy so maybe he doesn’t remember your light, but it’s a pretty new model, or maybe your mod was very costly in time or parts.


It does run on one battery. Just tried it on mine.
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 But he is saying it will run on only 1 battery, not 3. He said he can't get that special driver to handle 3 batteries in parallel.

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Ok - he cleared up the issue of the batteries - looks like 3 will be ok afterall. I'm going ahead with the Vinh mod - sounds like 4.3 amps, or in that ballpark. He recommended no mode memory, always comes on in high which I prefer, with the mode sequence of:

     High, Medium, Moonlight, High, Medium, Moonlight, 10Hz Strobe, 2HZ Blink, SOS, Beacon

 This will be ideal for me - got the fancy blinky modes but never have to see them if I don't care to, but, I can get to them if I want. 99% of the time I want it to come on high, so this will always default to high without mode memory. Sounds like he will retain the forward clicky, which is also fine with me. Shipping it out tomorrow - can't wait to see this thing...

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indenial wrote:
Rusty Joe wrote:
$142 bucks for a light that always turns on in the next mode?? Did I read that right?

Unthinkable. In that case, I’d have no desire for such a thing (needs a button switch up front on a light this size, anyways).

But as always, superb review, Turbo.

Much to my chagrin, most places are selling this light now for 99.00 – and some offer additional free batteries or a blf discount! Uggh. I still like the light, however.

Mark is selling this light now for 80.99….biggest drop I’ve ever seen in such a short time on a light. Uggh!

My name is indy, and I've been a flashaholic since 2004.

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Yes - $81 is what I paid on an eBay bid a while back, but I had vinh mod mine - very pleased, nice UI for a fwd clicky, lots of modes but no mode memory, which is fine. Crelant is launching a bunch of lights with U3's and variable brightness with a side switch - a new 7G9 is due soon I bet.

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