Review: Mr.Lite LT3

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Don
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Review: Mr.Lite LT3

Mr.Lite LT3

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★

 

Mr. Lite LT3

 

Summary:

Battery:  Cr123/RCR123
Switch:  Reverse Clicky
Modes:  9 in two groups
LED Type:  Cree XP-G R5
Lens:  Toughened coated glass
Tailstands:  Yes
Price Payed:  $26.50
From: Manafont
Date Ordered:

19th November 2010

Shipped

24th November 2010

 

Pros:

  • Bright, 334 lumens peak measured, dropping to 300 at 2 minutes.
  • Acceptable runtimes for a high-output CR123 light.
  • Feels good in the hand
  • Useful holster and much improved manual supplied.
  • 3 useful outputs in basic mode.
  • 5 posible output levels which wouldn't be hurt by only having 4.
  • A good collection of hidden flashing modes if you really want them.
  • No PWM evident to me, but it doesn't bother me much anyway.
  • Lots of mass for heatsinking and doesn't get too hot with IMR cells on continuous max output.
  • No garish decorations on the body, just a small Mr.Lite logo.
  • Deep reflector, throws moderately well.

 

Cons:

  • Short runtime in Modes 4 and 5. (25 and 23 minutes)
  • To me, Mode 4 is superfluous - you only get 2 minutes more runtime with a comparable decrease in output. I believe Mode 5 is only intended as an overdrive for brief use.
  • It is very large for a CR123 light, easily the largest one I own.
  • The lowest level is too high for my taste. It is around 40 lumens and could do with being a quarter of that.
  • It weighs 114g with a cell. This is a lot for a CR123 light, i have 18650 lights that weigh less. The WF-501B with a dropin, but no cell weighs 90g.
  • I assume it uses the standard Mr.Lite switch assembly. Don't even think about taking it apart.

Features / Value: ★★★

This has the usual Mr.Lite 9-mode setup. It starts in high, goes to medium, then low, then strobe. To get into the second set of modes you need to turn it on, switch to low then turn it off again. When it is switched back on it will come on in "Professional Mode". That gives you

Dim Light 10%

Low Light 30%

Normal 70%

High Light 100%

Super light 120%

10Hz strobe 100%

SOS 30%

SOS 100%

Standby - where it flashes at 10% once very 10 seconds.

There is also a low battery warning where it double flashes every ten seconds. The supplied manual doesn't tell me which 3 steady light levels it uses in basic mode.

There is no lanyard hole in the light body, but it is supplied with a holster and the manual.

Not an ultra-budget light and to large for some so I'm giving it 4 and a half stars. It does have a lot of modes and if you want those it could easily be worth five stars

 

Design / Build Quality: ★★★★

I like the design a lot, but it might not be to everyone's taste. It fits well in my smallish hands and will not set fire to them. It does get hot on continuous maximum output but not too hot to hold. Not nearly as hot, for example as the XM-L dropin in a Solarforce body I am doing runtimes on just now. All of it, even the tailcap got too hot to hold after 20 minutes. The threads are good and correctly lubed, not the gallon of grease or totally dry that you get all too often. The waterproofing is only claimed to be IPX3.

IPX-3
  Protected against spraying water - Water spraying up to 60 degrees from vertical at 10 liters/min at a pressure of 80-100kN/m2 for 5 min.

This does not include immersion. There is no O ring on the switch end so it isn't one I'd want to use in the bath though I'd not be worried about dropping it in a puddle.

Disassembled

 

The reflector is deep and quite heavily textured. It does give a nice beam. It is not a monster thrower, but is better than most pocket lights.

Reflector and LED

 

The switch appears to be standard Mr.Lite issue. Do NOT attempt to take it apart.

Switch detail

Again it is getting 4 and a half stars. The deduction is because of the lack of a tailcap O ring. I have no reason to believe the rest of the light is not fully water-resistant. It would probably require knurling of the switch ring in order to make this possible.

 

Battery Life: ★★★★★

It's pretty hard to rate the battery life of this one. CR123 lights tend to be about sheer output rather than runtime. On this basis I'd say that over 3 hours on low is actually pretty respectable. I've seen a lot less well regulated lights.  The graphs are pretty typical of what an IMR cell will do, constant output suddenly falling off a cliff with very little "tail". For what it is, I'm giving it 5 stars though I know Mr. Admin wouldn't agree. I'll sacrifice a cheap CR123 primary to see what sort of life it'll give on high. Output is roughly halved on a primary cell. I'd say this is an RCR only light. Runtime graph on high with a cheap CR123 being generated.

Runtimes

Mode 1

Mode 1

 

Mode 2

Mode 2

 

Mode 3

Mode 3

 

Mode 4

Mode 4

 

Mode 5

Mode 5

 

Light Output: ★★★★★

I think it has the flexibility for most close - medium range tasks, not to mention a maximum output we'll just call a lot. It is the brightest CR123 light I own, and all but one of the brighter lights use 18650 or larger cells. I can't wait from Mr.Lite to bring out one of these with a well-driven XM-L LED in it. The body has enough mass for MrLite basically just to drop in a new emitter leaving pretty much everything else as it stands.

 

 

  Lightbox lux Lightbox lux Lightbox lux Est. Lumens Est. Lumens Est. Lumens Throw at 1 metre lux
Light Battery Turn-on 30 secs 2 Minutes Switch-on 30 secs 2 Minutes  
Mr.Lite LT3 Mode 1 IMR 16340 219 214 213 39 38 38 771
Mr.Lite LT3 Mode 2 IMR 16340 423 418 407 76 75 73 1550
Mr.Lite LT3 Mode 3 IMR 16340 1232 1160 1110 221 208 199 4700
Mr.Lite LT3 Mode 4 IMR 16340 1787 1637 1568 321 294 281 6490
Mr.Lite LT3 Mode 5 IMR 16340 1864 1727 1645 334 310 295 7370
Mr.Lite LT3 Mode 5 CR123 945 881 953 170 158 171 3380

After 25 minutes on Mode 5 with a CR123 it is giving 410 lux / 75 lumens. The drop in output is more gradual than with an RCR123 but runtimes will not be great and output suffers greatly.

Ceiling beamshot. The light is 60cm from the ceiling tailstanding on the top of a door. The colours are miles out.

Ceiling beamshot

 

The beam with more accurate colour.

Beamshot

 

Outdoors beamshots when there is no sleet, snow or rain. And when I remember to retrieve my tripod from the boot (trunk) of my mother's car which I've just returned to her. This will not be before the weekend. Here we go, I missed mode 2 - all shots with an IMR 16340

Control

Control

 

Mode 1

Mode 1

 

Mode 3

Mode Three

 

Mode 4

Mode Four

 

Mode 5

Mode Five

 

 

Summary: ★★★★

I keep reconsidering my ratings on this one. A bit of me wants to give it an overall 5 stars, I like it a lot.

This may be at least partially "new toy syndrome" but I do like this one. I'm giving it four and a half stars overall, with the half star being knocked off for price, Mr.Lite's switch design (Which will never be a problem if you are not in the habit of taking things apart.) and lack of better water resistance. Not that I am in the habit of unintentionally dunking my lights (I seem to lose them instead Sad ) but IPX7 or 8 is nice to have. IPX3 is perfectly adequate for all non-underwater use though. I think the reason for the lack of an O ring on the switch is that there is a quite narrow smooth ring to screw it in with and the added stiffness of an O ring might make it difficult to tighten the tailcap. I tried sticking an 18mm O ring on the switch assembly but was then unable to screw it down enough to allow the light to operate.

You can see the shoulder that makes contact with the switch assembly just above the base of the cell.

Battery "tube"

 

Switch assembly.

Switch 

 

And from above, you can see the outer ridge that makes contact with the body.

Switch end

 

This rather out of focus picture more clearly shows the contact ridge in the body.

Body

 

Its handling of heat is very good, I had no concerns about leaving it on the lightbox without cooling on Mode 5, dropping in a new cell then running it dry on Mode 4. At no point was it too hot to touch. Usually I put a fan on lights when doing runtimes on high, this time I didn't bother as the fan I usually use was in use heating my bathroom instead.

If I lost this one, I'd buy another - but I will definitely be getting one of these with an XM-L in it as soon as someone will sell me one.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:00
sb56637
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Great, I've been hoping to see a review for one of these. Subscribing for future updates...

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Don
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Still emitting light with a primary CR123 after 1hr45min on high. But down to 16 lux on the lightbox / 3 lumens. Will run it till the cell dies and do a graph.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

Don
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Not impressive on output but more than double the runtime, counting rechargeables to 50% and disposables to 10%. But do remember that the rechargeable at 50% is putting out the same amount of light as this cell at 100%. It is emitting around 17 lumens at the 10% level. This was done with a cheap and nasty cell, it might be a bit better with a better brand. However, I'd burn through scary amounts of money putting decent disposable cells in such tests. For at least the last two hours of the test the light emitted was basically useful for telling that the LED was working than anything else.

CR123A runtime

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

sb56637
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Excellent, incredibly thorough review, Don! Thanks so much for your time and attention to detail.

Let me know when to send it frontpage!

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pipopopo
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Great review on a beautiful light

I still have to find a purpose for those 20x CR123 batteries that are waiting in the refrigerator..

Did you do a tailcap measurement?

sb56637
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Very well done sir! Thorough and informative. You're frontpage and sticky now. Thanks!

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Don
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pipopopo wrote:

Great review on a beautiful light

I still have to find a purpose for those 20x CR123 batteries that are waiting in the refrigerator..

Did you do a tailcap measurement?

 

Glad you reminded me of that, knew I'd forgotten something.

Mode 1  160mA

Mode 2   340mA

Mode 3   970mA

Mode 4   1450mA

Mode 5   1590mA

 

My grey protected Trustfires cut off after a short time on modes 4 and 5. All these measurements done with freshly charged IMR 16340 cells.

 

If we assume that the cell is giving 3.6V on that load, that gives us a power consumption of 0.58W, 1.22W, 3.49W, 5.22W, 5.72W and lumens per watt of 67, 62, 63, 61 and 58. There are too many assumptions to be more definite and I'd not place a lot of reliance on these figures. Notice how the efficiency drops as current rises is about all I'd take from this.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

pipopopo
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If we assume that the cell is giving 3.6V on that load, that gives us a power consumption of 0.58W, 1.22W, 3.49W, 5.22W, 5.72W and lumens per watt of 67, 62, 63, 61 and 58. There are too many assumptions to be more definite and I'd not place a lot of reliance on these figures. Notice how the efficiency drops as current rises is about all I'd take from this.

Pocketrocket!

Don
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Beamshots added to review. These were part of a larger collection of beamshots and were exposed for XM-L lights at full power and other high-powered devices.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...