Review: Ultrafire C3 Stainless

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brted's picture
Last seen: 1 month 20 hours ago
Joined: 01/12/2010 - 19:44
Posts: 2371
Location: Atlanta
Review: Ultrafire C3 Stainless

Ultrafire C3 Stainless

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆Copy and paste, maximum ★★★★★



Battery: AA or 14500
Switch: Tail clicky
Modes: 5: H-M-L-Strobe-SOS
LED Type: Cree XR-E
Lens: glass
Tailstands: Yes
Price Paid: $12.50
Date Ordered: 

Still working on this review. Hopefully I'll have pictures and be able to finish it tonight.


  • Cheap
  • Stainless
  • Well-spaced modes
  • Takes 17mm driver
  • Memory


  • Older LED
  • PWM
  • HML plus strobe and SOS

Features / Value: ★★★☆☆Copy and paste, maximum ★★★★★

There are already 4 reviews of this light, or its variations. But since there are a lot of variations, I thought I'd post something just to show what the latest thing shipping from DealExtreme consists of. One of my early purchases was an Aurora SH-034 which I burned out as soon as I put in a 14500. DX gave me my money back and later I added a new driver, neutral XP-G LED, and rubber switch cover. And that is a really nice light. So I had a new Nichia 219 LED with a neutral tint and high CRI value. I had already put one of them in a P60 drop-in, so I figured an AA host would be good for the other. This C3 is fairly cheap and looks good, plus it takes a 17mm driver, which not all AA lights do. I wound up installing the Nichia in a different AA host I bought a couple of days later that looks just like the AKOray K-106, but I have a warm white Osram Oslon Square that I may try in here once I get that base trimmed down to size.

$12.50 for a stainless steel light is a pretty good deal. So in terms of value, this one is up there. But this model has been at DealExtreme for a quite a while and been through all kinds of variation. The early 93mm long version was supposed to be very good, while the 98mm version was not. Some people even got the inferior Cree XR-C instead of XR-E, or their lights burned out on 14500.

So here is the deal. The one I ordered is 99mm long. The modes are High-Medium-Low-Strobe-SOS. SOS is spelled correctly. The light has memory that sets after the light is on for about 2 seconds. I have a lot of lights like that, so it doesn't bother me as much as it used to, but it does mean that if you want to switch modes after the light has been on for longer than 2 seconds that you will have to press it Off twice since the first press will just remember the last mode.

Other than that, the light has a glow-in-the-dark tailcap that I don't like (black looks a lot better, but dark blue would be nice). There are GITD o-rings everywhere including up in the lens which will glow after the light is turned off.


Design / Build Quality: ★★★☆☆Copy and paste, maximum ★★★★★

The light is about what you would hope for from a budget light with no real flaws. The o-ring at the tail seems very thin. I don't see any flaws in the finish of the stainless. It is a brushed finish, not glossy. There are two holes in the tail for a lanyard, so it can tailstand just fine except they didn't tie the lanyard correctly. Easy to fix. The lens seems to be glass. So the light is about what you'd expect.

The problem with stainless is it doesn't dissipate heat very well and it is heavy. Aluminum has 10 times the thermal conductivity of stainless. Steel is 3 times stainless. So it isn't great for keeping the LED cool, but the brass pill at least screws into the light so there is good contact anyway.


Battery Life: ★★★☆☆Copy and paste, maximum ★★★★★

My scale is 1 star for 0-15 minutes, 2 stars for 15-30 minutes, 3 stars for 30-60 minutes, 4 stars for 1-2 hours, and 5 stars for more than 2 hours. I don't measure while the light is in use but instead take measurements at the tail (bypassing the tail switch) regularly and measure the battery voltage without load. On a freshly charged Eneloop I was able to get about 90 minutes out of this light, so that puts it at 4 stars. Something weird was going on with the regulation where I would measure right around 2 amps at first, but this would drop very quickly to 1.4amps. I'm not sure what was going on with that. 2 amps is a pretty serious draw, but 1.4 amps is pretty reasonable. At the 50-minute mark the current draw started to drop, and especially on Medium it seemed to drop way off. So I don't know what was going on with that.


Time (hr:min)Battery VHigh (mA)Med (mA)Low (mA)



Light Output: ★★★☆☆Copy and paste, maximum ★★★★★

This light has noticeable pulse width modulation (PWM) on its lower modes. This is a technique of flashing the light off and on very quickly to simulate low modes. But if the frequency isn't high enough you will notice the flicker, at least while you are moving the light or things move in the light. Setting my camera to 1/20th second exposure, I took a picture while I was moving the light and the resulting picture showed 9 images of the light. That means the frequency is 180 Hz, which is pretty low. I am taking off one star for that.


Summary: ★★★☆☆Copy and paste, use rounded average, maximum ★★★★★

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E1320's picture
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/30/2011 - 05:26
Posts: 3369
Location: New Hampshire

Thanks for reviving the C3 review, I absolutely love my Stainless C3.

The C3 pill is interchangeable with the R5-A3 and the SA-2. I put a R5-A3 pill in my C3 with the strobe delete mod, so now it's an XPG  R5 3 mode low, medium, high.

Here is the link to the conversion.

I am already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

sb56637's picture
Last seen: 1 hour 4 min ago
Joined: 01/08/2010 - 09:29
Posts: 6609
Location: The Light

Thanks brted! Just PM me when you’re satisfied with the review and I’ll send it frontpage.

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

vēer's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 01/07/2012 - 14:23
Posts: 2838
Location: N Europe

brted wrote:
Still working on this review. Hopefully I’ll have pictures and be able to finish it tonight.

So, hows the review going :D?