Request for review: Ultrafire C3 Stainless Steel Cree Q5-WC 5-Mode

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sb56637
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Request for review: Ultrafire C3 Stainless Steel Cree Q5-WC 5-Mode

Hello everybody, I am considering purchasing the Ultrafire C3 SS Q5-WC 5-Mode from DX.  I believe several of you already own this model?  But this light also suffers from an identity crisis, there are several models advertised that looks identical and have the same name, but which have a non-Q5 emitter or only a single mode.  At any rate, any comments or anyone want to do a full review?  After researching it, it does NOT appeal to me aesthetically because I like knurling and simple cylindrical designs with only one outer diameter.  But I like the price, the advertised Cree Q5, and when I read that several reviewers said it has almost infinite battery life on low, well, you know the rest of the story for me....   Wink

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Don
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I'll stick it on the box and sacrifice an alkaline to a low runtime. I like it a lot but it is a hand burner on 14500s. I see the one that Jay reviewed is an earlier model that cost a lot more. It gets a mention here but I'll work up a full review. Now digging out a cheap alkaline to do a runtime. Found a Lucas branded one - which most certainly qualifies as a cheap alkaline -anyone who ever drove a British motorcycle knows about Lucas electrics. Initial voltage 1.546V, current draw on low from this cell around 50mA - high is over 1.6A

 

Test running now - starts at 2.9 microamps, will see just how long it runs till the cheap alkaline dies.

 

Calculated as 10-12hr on an alkaline, we'll see.

 

This may take a while.....

 

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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You're very obliging  Smile   Let me make some popcorn and kick back... Actually it's bedtime now.  Thanks for any information you can easily give about this light without taking too much of your time.

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Don
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My lightbox says 46 lux on low - which is comfortably more than a Fenix E01 (37).

 

Just hope that the meter battery holds out. They seem to live for about 3 days continuous use when USB is turned on. It's had most of 2 days on the WF-504B so I wouldn't trust the absolute numbers towards the end of the run though he relative values should be fine.

 

For that matter, I don't know if the output of the solar cell that I'm measuring the current from is linear. And I can't think of a way of testing it that doesn't involve a huge amount of very expensive equipment that I don't own (Or know anyone who does)

 

Not bedtime here, I've been up for a couple of hours since the dog decided it was time I let her out.

 

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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2.5 microamps.

 

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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2 microamps - 67% but alkalines have a much longer "tail" than NiMH or Li cells. 33 lux - still comparable to a Fenix E01 and brighter than an E0

 

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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Looks like it should be good for at least 20 hours doesn't it?

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Don
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At 50mA draw an AA alkaline is not stressed at all and I believe the good ones go to 3,000mAh. This is not a good one but the cheapest my organisation's supplier could source. And that is very, very cheap indeed.

 

So no real idea of its theoretical capacity, but under 3000mAh anyway - so let's say 60 hours as a hard upper limit. If it's less than twenty hours I'll need to get a hat from you to eat.

 

Curried I think...

 

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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Well that is really impressive.

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Don
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sb56637 wrote:

After researching it, it does NOT appeal to me aesthetically because I like knurling and simple cylindrical designs with only one outer diameter.  But I like the price, the advertised Cree Q5, and when I read that several reviewers said it has almost infinite battery life on low, well, you know the rest of the story for me....   Wink

 

Not on NiMH though - it is between 6 and 12 hours on low with an NiMH cell. Can't be more precise as computer crashed during the night - as Windows has been known to do, though in this case it was almost certainly thermal as that particular problem has not recurred since I cleaned out the heatsinks and replaced a fan (It runs at 100% CPU all the time).

 

I suspect that crappier alkalines may even give longer runtimes as it is their internal resistance that is responsible for the low current draws. Or they may just ooze strongly alkaline goo into the guts of the light and eat its innards instead. Certainly there's now way I'd leave a flat alkaline in anything capable of amps of current draw, as the alkies will leak when treated like that.

 

The electrolyte inside is a strong alkali and is very, very bad for hands and eyes. Alkali burns take far longer to heal than most acid burns. Believe me, I know...

 

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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1.7 microamps. Still usable light and still brighter than a Fenix E0, though not as bright as an E01

 

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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1.5 microamps

 

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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12.5 hours now at 1.4 microamps output from the solar cell in the lightbox I use for runtimes. So the conventional runtime reckoning on an alkaline would be 12.5 hours but let's see how long it continues to emit light.

 

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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50% is still quite usable isn't it?

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Don
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If I shove a Fenix E0 (With an alkaline of unknown age - it may be 3 years old) onto the lightbox as well, current goes from 1.3-2 microamps which assuming a linear response from the solar cell I use for these measurements would suggest that the E0 would give 0.7 microamps on its own and that is certainly usable. I'd say it gives usable light in a dark place down to about 0.1-0.3 microamps - but there's a lot of light pollution here.

 

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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1.1 microamps

 

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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Still going, that's impressive.  

The C3's have sort of bad reputation for contact problems and flickering, have you run across that?

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Don
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All five of the aluminium ones have had/have issues. Most are poor contact issues solvable with some desolder braid and solder. Will test the 4 aluminium ones (and the two externally identical Aurora SH0030's but they are better made) with a 14500.Now, where did I put the 14500's?

 

C3 1. A bit of desolder braid in the tailcap fixed it. Working. This is the oldest of my 5 C3's in Aluminium

C3 2. Second oldest. Working - no fixes currently needed.

C3's 3-5 were bought at the same time. C3 5 is out on loan just now.

C3 3. A bit of desolder braid between head and body in this one.

C3 4. Not working. Will need to pull it apart and see what's up. Head is working. so suspect tailcap contact issues. Issue would appear to be head/body contact as putting head and body together and using a paperclip between negative of 14500 and unanodised body gives no light. Suspect body tube is too short. Some solder on the body ends will fix that.

SH0030 singlemode. Working. Threads came lubed. Was not working last week, but head was loose. tightened it. No issues now.

SH0030 5mode. Working but very, very green. It was like that from the day it arrived though. It is the only C3 bodied device that I've ever been able to make work in a 3AA configuration, there are too many contact issues with the others. The Auroras appear to be better made C3's. This is not hard.

 

However, all of this is a red herring. The stainless steel C3 does not have a single part that will interchange with the aluminium ones. It has never given me any trouble at all other than trying to set my hands on fire when used on high with a 14500. It is a far, far better made device than the aluminium ones. However, there seem to be cheaper and nastier ones on the go - see the bottom half of this thread at Jayki. And this thread at the DX product forum. I got mine pretty much on the day DX announced them. Mine is 93mm long, apparently the current ones may be 98mm long and not nearly as well made. Where have we heard this before?

 

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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Hmmm.... The official DX "Reviews" during the past few months have been extremely positive for the sku.26122.  I did see that it seems to have gotten longer.  I would really like to know about the efficiency of the new ones though, and if it comes with a new higher efficiency Cree or not.  I get lost in the threads about this light, because there were older single mode versions, expensive new multi-mode versions, a cheap new-multimode version, and now a cheapened cheap new-multimode version....  

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Don
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Ran for 14hr 4 mins 40 secs. Usable light till about 14hr. I'll give it a few minutes to recover then try it again.

 

While I waited I made the runtime chart.

 

Battery voltage after a 20 minute rest: 1.087V

 

Got some moderately bright light out of it - I expected it to be dim enough to look into the LED as I lit it. Spots in front of eyes but I can see the brightness dropping off

 

Well my employer does buy cheap AAs. Like everyone in the public sector everywhere, the motto is, "Always remember that all of your kit was provided by the lowest bidder."

 

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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It's quite a flat curve from 4 hours on out.  Looks great.  I might risk buying one of these.... Seems the price is has recently been reduced by about $1?

 

Thanks again for running that test for me, it was very helpful.

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Don
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And since it has the 4 bond wires it has to be post P4 bin.

 

The DX forums suggest it is now an XR-C LED in the longer ones. Not sure how much credence I place in that though. Can't remember the difference between the XR-C and XR-E emitters anyway.

 

Pretty sure I paid $14.69 for it. I hope the new one is as good or better. If it is less bright on high, it'll probably run longer on low as long as they are using a current-generation LED. Here's hoping.

 

I've had another ten minutes of light from it since I put the cell back in though there is now no difference between high and medium.  Cell voltage about 0.9V. Still can't look into the LED.

 

You are welcome.

 

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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sb56637 wrote:

It's quite a flat curve from 4 hours on out.  Looks great.  I might risk buying one of these.... Seems the price is has recently been reduced by about $1?

 

Thanks again for running that test for me, it was very helpful.

 

The vertical scale is grossly exaggerated because of the small range of values - remember we are talking about three microamps of difference. I's say it's flat between 2.5 and 1.5 microamps - about ten hours. And there are errors in there. There was really no visible difference in the light coming out of the lightbox till the output fell off a cliff. I should probably get a much larger solar cell - this one is about the size of an AA. Then find someone with a calibrated light source who can tell me if the panel's response is linear enough for this purpose. Or the meter's. My good meter is years out of calibration, very battered and needs some more fuses - which cost more than i got the meter for on ebay. Which, of course, is why it was cheap.

 

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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Still good for relative results anyway.

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Don
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I used to do lab work for a living, so cynicism about precision comes naturally. Spent 4 months on a bit of work when it looked like someone was tankering really nasty liquid waste, loaded with cyanides, heavy metals and all sorts of other undesirable stuff and pumping it down residential sewers. People go to prison for those sort of tricks - can get up to 5 years for it.

 

I did the most painstaking analytical work I've ever done. Spent ages doing the statistics to check error boundaries. Checked the calibration of everything I could.

 

Got the cleanest error bars I've ever seen.

 

I'd have been ecstatic with 5% which is pretty good going for manual "wet" chemistry. I'd have been able to do enough handwaving to get away with 10%.

 

I got errors of under 1%. Didn't believe them. Got the boss who had a PhD in this stuff to go through all of it from the raw data. He got the same numbers. He watched me do a lot of the work all over again. He did some of it. We took each others' numbers and crunched them.

 

Still got the most precise work either of us had ever seen.

 

Right, somebody's going to jail over this. At which point all new sets of samples have to be taken - 3 of each in front of witnesses. You run one set of analyses yourself, you give one set to the accused and keep one set for independent analysis if the court tells you to.

 

27 hours straight spent throwing a bucket on a rope into sewage pipes did not count as one of my better days. Especially as this was the second time I'd had to do it.

 

The boss beat me about 300:0 at chess.

 

Took 4 sets of samples as neither of us really believed my results. Sent one set to a sister lab that had better gear for metals analysis (It was cadmium we were most worried about.)

 

I still got beautiful results - the sister lab gave us back random numbers. Turned out that the most expensive machine in our place, which had been calibrated a month earlier had a major problem. Like me, the guys who'd done the calibration had done them in a strict sequence.

 

The results from the spectrophotometer had nothing to do with the amount of cadmium in the sample and everything to do with how long the £$%£^&% thing had been running.

 

Precision is a very elusive thing sometimes.

 

Nowadays I'm not about to spend way more than the price of my house on gear for doing this stuff - just point out possible sources of error and try to keep it consistent. My test gear consists of a cardboard box painted white internally with a port for a lightmeter and a solar cell glued inside it. The solar cell cost about $2. A lightmeter that cost under $50, a data-logging meter that cost about $50 and a couple of other cheap meters.

 

Certainly not lab-grade kit. The cardboard box does have a diffuser (A piece of a plastic milk carton) and an internal baffle (White painted cardboard) so that light can't get directly from the torch to the solar cell, it has to bounce around a bit first, thus evening it out.

 

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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Running it on an NiMH - will do alkaline too.

 

Seems to fit here as it's basically a better made Ultrafire C3 aluminium

 

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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Great!  Thanks.

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So do you plan on getting one.....it is a nice light for the price.  I have the SS version and if you leave the light on you can fry an egg on that sucker.  It was a single mode though.  Nice run graph on an alkie.....that sucker would probably do more on a L91.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 


Don
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With a Q5 in mine, it is OK on NiMH or alkaline but is a hand burner on a 14500. My hands are pretty heat resistant (all the lab work helped there) and I couldn't hand hold it for 5 minutes on high. And that was with a lot of heat reducing shouting ;)Wink :wink:" />

 

There are at least 3 versions of this light - DX still sell the P4 variant at a rather high price and there seem to be two versions of this one available. 

 

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 all that great I fear, will charge up an NiMH and try it again, Jayki got 101 minutes with regulation. If there's any regulation in there, it is far from evident.

 

The above was done on an Eneloop 2000mAh that I assumed to be fully charged.

 

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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These manufacturers could greatly increase the perceived value of their products if they were more precise with the nomenclature.  Don is right about the C3 SS versions on DX:

http://www.dealextreme.com/advsearch.dx/search.Ultrafire%20C3%20Stainless

 

And searching for any "C3".... Good grief!

http://www.dealextreme.com/advsearch.dx/search.Ultrafire%20C3/searchType...

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