Just ordered some budget CR123 lights. Opinions?

14 posts / 0 new
Last post
jamesbeat
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/19/2011 - 10:09
Posts: 19
Location: NY
Just ordered some budget CR123 lights. Opinions?

I recently decided to 'standardize' on CR123 cells. I've found that I prefer the short fat form factor of a 1xCR123 light over the longer slimmer AA type.

I have a few 1xAA lights that I bought from DX and I really like them, with one caveat:
I believe that these budget lights are good lights, providing you understand that they arrive in kit form

I'm one of those people who love to tinker, and to me, part of the enjoyment of ownership of an item such as a flashlight comes from the modifications I make to it.

So, I wanted a CR123 light for edc.
I bought a Novatac Storm, and while I thought it was a nice light, I also found it a little bland. Take it out of the packaging and stick it in your pocket. Maybe do the hack and reprogram it first if you're feeling adventurous
One of the main reasons I bought it in the first place was that I want a light that is lo-med-hi. Strobe modes are ok as long as they are completely hidden during everyday use.
This can be accomplished with the Novatac, but the double clicking etc seemed a bit of a clunky way to go about it.
All I want really is a reverse clicky with half presses for lo-med-hi and no strobe modes.

So, the Novatac. Nice light, but not for me. I returned it and used the money to buy three lights from DX

By buying three lights, I have covered all my edc bases. I got a tiny twisty, an aluminum clicky, and a stainless clicky:

Tank007 M10


Ultrafire A20


Ultrafire RL-118
The pocket clip and its horrible brass fittings will be going in the garbage, and I'm going to polish the SS to a mirror finish


I also bought some driver modules


The driver modules are 16 mode, but the nice thing is that the modes are three groups, and one of the groups is lo-med-hi with no disco modes.
Output on hi is 1A, and low is 75mA.

I'm going to take out one of the transistors to take the max down to 700mA, and give me a really low low.

They also have low voltage protection, so I can use unprotected 16340's.
This does mean I can't use primaries, but I never intend to use primaries anyway, so that's moot.
I'm going to install them into all three lights and pot them for durability and shock protection.

I'm also going to get some Cree XP-G emitters, I've found some R4's in neutral white. Should be nice and bright at 700mA, and as the truly enlightened are already aware, neutral white is the way to go

So now I have to sit back and wait patiently for them to arrive from China.
I haven't found much info online about these lights, so I was just wondering if anyone has any of these, and if so, what do you think of them?
Obviously, I'll be changing the electronics, but I'd love to hear about the physical aspects of these lights, construction, durability, generally what they are like as a pocket carry light?

Edited by: jamesbeat on 01/19/2011 - 10:41
Don
Don's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2010 - 16:32
Posts: 6617
Location: Scotland

I have the RL-118 and actually like it a lot. Current draw is on the high side for RCR cells. My review is here.

http://www.jayki.com/5788

I know that at least one other person here has one.

 

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

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

Budgeteer
Budgeteer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 08/24/2010 - 02:19
Posts: 3087
Location: Slovenia (EU)

Nice choices. I never wanted a 16340 light myself. But i ordered an angle light that takes those. In the future i might consider getting some. The Ultrafire RL-118 is the most interesting from the above mentioned.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

jamesbeat
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/19/2011 - 10:09
Posts: 19
Location: NY

Don wrote:

I have the RL-118 and actually like it a lot. Current draw is on the high side for RCR cells. My review is here.

http://www.jayki.com/5788

I know that at least one other person here has one.

 

Hi Don, it was actually your review that prompted me to buy this light!

Thanks for providing such detailed photos, they really gave me an idea of what this light will be like to modify. It seemed to me that your only complaints were related to the driver, but that doesn't matter to me because I'll be changing the driver anyway.

One question, does the pill unscrew from the front once the reflector assembly is removed?

jamesbeat
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/19/2011 - 10:09
Posts: 19
Location: NY

Budgeteer wrote:

Nice choices. I never wanted a 16340 light myself. But i ordered an angle light that takes those. In the future i might consider getting some. The Ultrafire RL-118 is the most interesting from the above mentioned.

I initially started out only wanting 1xAA lights for edc, but then I bought a Hugsby P2.

Apart from being a fantastic light, the P2 takes 1xAA or 1xCr123. I had a CR123 laying around, so I unscrewed the AA extension tube and tried it in the light. I was immediately hooked!

It only makes a small difference in length, but that difference is very noticable in the pocket. I got one of those MXDL 3W twisties to try out a truly tiny edc light, and I love it. The clickies are necessarily longer than twisties, but are still around the 3" mark, which to me seems like the ideal size for pocket carry.

If you edc 1xAA lights, prepare to fall out of love with them when you get a CR123 one... Big Smile

Don
Don's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2010 - 16:32
Posts: 6617
Location: Scotland

Just checked, the pill does unscrew from the front end. It was only finger tight and lubed.

Pill in tube Side view Slightly loosened The end of the pill is much prettier than usual. 

Back of pill Light emitting end of pill

 

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

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

charlestt
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 3 months ago
Joined: 01/16/2010 - 09:05
Posts: 664
Location: Bristol UK

I 'm the other one that has the RL-118 Smile i actually love it how it is, i managed to get a three mode version " HIGH-MED-LOW". It currently sits in the car for emergencies. Along with a stanley tri-pod flash light and normally a itp a3 and a1 ss in my pocket Cool

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

Budgeteer
Budgeteer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 08/24/2010 - 02:19
Posts: 3087
Location: Slovenia (EU)

"If you edc 1xAA lights, prepare to fall out of love with them when you get a CR123 one... Laughing out loud"

Yeah i switched from AA's quite fast.

My edc is a 18650 flashlight most of the time.

Currently a L2 fake solarforce with R5 customized Hi-Med-lo and with coated lens. In jacket season i don't mind the size. Never been a fan of holsters. That might change in summer but i fear looking like a techno gadget geek. Its enough being a computer technician i really don't need more weirdness. XD

Actually in summer this one http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/ultrafire-ufh3-q5-mode-cree-led... will be my companion. Still somehow pocketable. :S

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

jamesbeat
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/19/2011 - 10:09
Posts: 19
Location: NY
Thanks for checking that for me Don, looks like this is going to be a really good light for modding! I might receive that 3 mode version which would save me some work... Here's hoping! Nice to see some fellow Brits here, I live in NY but I'm from Birmingham. Budgeteer, it seems that your edc requirements are very different from my own, I couldn't conceive of carrying such big lights unless I knew I was going to need it for something specific that day!
old4570
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 22 hours ago
Joined: 09/06/2010 - 02:44
Posts: 3369
Location: Land of Oz

Im a A20 fan , great mod host ... I have one in SSC P7 and one in XM-L 

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

jamesbeat
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/19/2011 - 10:09
Posts: 19
Location: NY
Old4570, it was your article about your XM-L upgraded A20 that inspired me to buy one! I originally intended to go the same route, but after looking at the specs, I decided that I wouldn't be losing too many lumens by going with the XP-G R4, a tradeoff that I'm happy to make to get a neutral white emitter. At higher drive currents, the XM-L blows the XPG out of the water, but at 700mA there's not much in it from what I gather. Once the XM-L comes out in neutral white though, all my lights will be getting them Smile
Boaz
Boaz's picture
Online
Last seen: 2 min 51 sec ago
Joined: 11/07/2010 - 09:31
Posts: 7125
Location: Birthplace of Aviation

James  has done his homework reading reviews on Blf .. sends chills up my spine .. I used to do way too much of that on CPF  i was a member for 4 months before ever posting..even then it took a really good deal on lights to get me to speak up .

Glad to hear from you James ...lots of budget folks wonder what it's like to play with expensive toys /But like anything electronic or high tech ..Yesterdays wow is todays ho hum .. That's why I'm interested in well built hosts and something that feels good in your hand.

welcome to blf

       καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν

                            

       Dc-fix diffuser film  >…  http://budgetlightforum.com/node/42208

jamesbeat
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/19/2011 - 10:09
Posts: 19
Location: NY

Thanks for the welcome Smile

The only non- budget light I have experienced was the Novatac as mentioned above, and I wasn't particularly impressed.

Don't get me wrong, it was a nice light, but it didn't strike me as being worth six or seven budget lights! For what I wanted, the UI felt clunky (although those wanting more features would disagree) and, although the build quality was good, it wasn't significantly better than my budget lights. To top it off, that spring in the battery tube is a joke.

I think part of the problem was the attitude towards budget lights on 'the other forum'. They seem to have a real loathing for budget lights that I'm not sure I understand. I got the impression that budget lights were considered worthless junk, not even worth the low asking price.

Since I already had some budget lights and thought they were very nice, I think my expectations of non-budget lights were too high.

I find it a little ironic that if you get a budget light and put a high price tag on it (Dereelight for example) it suddenly gets praised...

The bad thing about budget lights isn't the lights themselves (although there are some real stinkers) but the fact that we have to get them from DX or KD, with all the associated problems that brings.

Of course, the other bad thing about budget lights is that my wife doesn't believe me when I tell her how cheap they are Big Smile

jamesbeat
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/19/2011 - 10:09
Posts: 19
Location: NY

I just checked my DX account.

These lights are still 'waiting for supplier', but the Trustfire TR-803 I also ordered is 'packaging'.

Hopefully that means it'll get processed and shipped before the Chinese New Year celebrations start in February.

I guess the above lights will get delayed for an extra week because of the holiday Sad

Meanwhile, could I get opinions on the TR-803? I expect a lot of people have this one.

It looks pretty nice, and easy to mod too.

I got the single mode version because I'm going to replace the driver in this one too, but I'll be using it in stock form until my other DX order arrives. I've heard that it might be direct drive, can anyone confirm this?