Review: CK36 Recoil Thrower

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citruspers
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CK36 Recoil Thrower
Reviewer’s Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary:

Battery: 1×18650 (fits protected cell)
Switch: Rear, reverse clicky
Modes: 3-mode, no memory
LED Type: XR-E Q5
Lens: glass lens, uncoated
Tailstands: Yes
Price Paid: $13
From: http://dx.com/p/new-ck36-recoil-cree-xr-e-q5-350lm-3-mode-white-light-fl…
Date Ordered: Q4 2012

+This review (including the pictures) is made after using the light for half a year. The light arrived clean and undamaged from the factory. +

Pros:
Extremely compact reflector
TIGHT beam
Rugged

Cons:
No pouch
Not extremely bright
No mode memory

Recoil thrower?

Reading this you may not have any idea what a recoil thrower is. Neither did I. Most flashlights use a reflector in line with the LED to shape the beam. It’s an efficient design, but it’s not very space-effective if you want a tight bundle of light. A recoil design solves this problem by ditching the reflector and employing a parabolic reflector and making the emitter face the inside of the light (doubling the length of the optical path). In this case the mirror also provides the (fixed) focus, unlike some systems with more optics in them.

Features / Value: ★★★☆☆

So, a recoil it is then. As I briefly touched on in the initial description, the recoil design greatly reduces the size of head of the flashlight, making this thrower seem quite modest in terms of size. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you see the beam size though!
The light itself boasts an XR-E which isn’t driven that hard, coupled with a cheap driver board without mode memory, allowing the unit to cycle through it’s H-L-Strobe pattern with each actuation.

Design / Build Quality: ★★★★☆

Rugged barebones would describe it. The head is very small for a thrower flashlight, and there’s plenty of knurling to ensure good grip. The specs state HAIII but after half a year of use the anodizing is starting to show wear. There’s no manufacturer logo, just the typical CREE+LED type

On the front we find a rather strange looking reflector and a glass lens, and a modest assault crown.

Flipping the light over to the back there’s the typical reverse clicky switch, with two small pieces of metal surrounding it. The light tailstands and yet activates easily even with fat fingers. A good compromise.

Opening the light up we find a rather simple inner construction, which is great because complex mechanisms have more parts that can break. Wink
The head comes off as a whole, and the rear threads are a slightly lubed. The light also has the neccesary O-rings to ensure it’s IPX-6 rating.

Opening the front up further reveals one more O-ring near the glass lens, and a neatly manufactured aluminum reflector housing, which fits snugly inside the head. heatsinking is always a problem with recoil designs, so it’s good to see that the optics housing is aluminum and fits snugly.

Bonus picture:

Battery Life: ★★★★☆

Good enough. No firefly mode obviously, but then again I fail to see the point of that in an extreme thrower flashlight. It’s not as if you’re going to read a book with it. Maybe help someone else read a book at a distance, but definitely not up close.

It’s an XP-E though, so it’s never going to compete with the efficiency of an XM-L. Then again the XP-E is much better for a thrower light due to it’s small size. It’s a tradeoff, but the XP-E is the right choice for this light (though it could have been driven a bit harder).

Tailcap readings (@4.08V)

High 0.4A
Low 0.06A
Strobe 0.2A

Light Output: ★★★★☆

Guesstimated at 200+ lumens, which doesn’t seem like much until you realise how well focused the beam is. The identification range on this thing is amazing even in fog/haze, as there is no spill light to blind you while you’re looking in the distance.

http://i.imgur.com/3noH2ny.jpg

The hotspot looks nasty up close but becomes decent enough at a distance (which is what you’ll be using this flashlight at). The tint is a cool white with a slight hint of green.

Beamshots

My backyard doesn’t cut it, so I scared the neighbours and used their tree for my beamshots, which is ~35 meters away.

Camera settings: 15mm F/4 1” ISO 500, 5100K

Control

High

Low

Summary: ★★★★☆

The CK36 is a typical chinese light, it has the common flaws: not a great driver, not a great tint, not a great UI. But these flaws are soon forgotten once you turn it on, and you realise it only cost you 12 dollars shipped. The light is sturdy and has already surviced half a year of abuse with only cosmetic damage., and the beam looks amazing when you see someone else handling this tiny flashlight.

I’d recommend this light to everyone who likes thrower flashlights, for 12 bucks you simply can’t go wrong.

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My Convoy S2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/23468 My Trustfire T2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/20626 My CK36 Recoil review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24003

photon1k
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I have a 10” reflector

I have a 10” reflector telescope so I had a general idea what a recoil light might look like, but your article helped me better understand the design. Thanks for the review.

Probably a typo, but were the tailcap measurements really done at 4.8 volts?

schlieb01
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thats a neat little light.

thats a neat little light. thanks for the review

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citruspers
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Thanks guys, and special

Thanks guys, and special thanks Photon1K, the tailcap measurements indeed had a typo, it was at 4.08 Volts. Fixed now.

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My Convoy S2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/23468 My Trustfire T2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/20626 My CK36 Recoil review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24003

Gj
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Good review, thanks. I'll put

Good review, thanks. I'll put one on my wish list.

TrakTuned
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Wanna see more of these

Wanna see more of these lights, I just hate that you cant drive them very hard.

I can never buy them and leave em alone Crazy

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Thanks a lot for the review!

Thanks a lot for the review! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

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Gj
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No sales resistance, I

No sales resistance, I ordered one. Embarassed

citruspers
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Cheers guys and thanks for

Cheers guys and thanks for the Sticky SB! Could you by any chance check if my other two reviews (see signature) are sticky’d already? I think they both slipped through the cracks.

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My Convoy S2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/23468 My Trustfire T2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/20626 My CK36 Recoil review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24003

comfychair
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Somebody just needs to

Somebody just needs to duplicate the LED... um, strut... arm... mount thing, in copper.

If the single strut doesn't compromise the beam pattern, I'm assuming 3 smaller struts wouldn't either?

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ImA4Wheelr
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Nice review and light.  It

Nice review and light.  It would be cool to up the amps and emitter with Comfy's idea.

BanglaBob
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Thanks for the review,

Thanks for the review, citruspers. Everything you said about it is true Smile
I bought one of these well over 2 years ago and I still have it, rolling around in my drawer. I bought it ‘just for the heck of it’ since it was cheap and I never owned a recoil-thrower before.
It was fun for a while but once I got a couple of more serious throwers, it got stored away. I’m still keeping it (along with a few other cheap lights) to lend to the little kiddies in the neighbourhood Big smile

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comfychair wrote:Somebody

comfychair wrote:

Somebody just needs to duplicate the LED... um, strut... arm... mount thing, in copper.

If the single strut doesn't compromise the beam pattern, I'm assuming 3 smaller struts wouldn't either?

Comfy - here's your new venture. Get a light that takes something like a 100mm head, (one of those 121 led lights) and get a concave mirror that will fit. Build the holder out of copper as you say. Yes you could use three prongs or two and then bring that out to the outer copper sleeve, so it transfers heat and put an MT-G2 in it. (coat it all with silver paint - flat silver). Some testing would have to be done, to figure out the exact mirror needed, but it could be an awesome light!

I think you need to do it!

 

 

@citruspers - thanks for the review. That's all I needed, was one more idea! LOL. Good review.

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citruspers
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Cheers guys! With a tad of

Cheers guys!

With a tad of luck I can scrounge the reflector from one of my work’s broken moving heads…that’s a dichroic coated reflector aimed at 250W HID lamps. I wonder what it will do with an XM-L or XP-E >)

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My Convoy S2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/23468 My Trustfire T2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/20626 My CK36 Recoil review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24003

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Looks like a xre not a

Looks like a xre not a xpe…

0.4A…there is a lot room for improvement…
Looks like there is almost no spill…

I would like to see a comparison shot of the light with a familiar better known thrower, pictures of throw and picture of the two lights beneath would be helpful.

citruspers
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So would I, but I don’t have

So would I, but I don’t have any more throwers, and I can’t even afford the Jacob A60 on sale right now :/

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My Convoy S2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/23468 My Trustfire T2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/20626 My CK36 Recoil review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24003

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I'm up for it, assuming a

I'm up for it, assuming a mirror of compatible dimensions can be found that doesn't cost $750... How do the specs on these things work - would the focal length listed in the specs work out to be the distance between the light source and the center of the mirror? I don't know enough about the optics to sort through the available mirrors to find one that would be practical to fit inside a flashlight.

As something to experiment with before attempting anything serious (...and apparently expen$ive) I've ordered some of these (http://www.fasttech.com/products/1067500). Should be similar reflector module thingy dimensions (if not the exact same part) as the CK36, right?

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citruspers
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I found this optics

I found this optics calculator that might be of use: http://mscir.tripod.com/parabola/

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My Convoy S2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/23468 My Trustfire T2 review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/20626 My CK36 Recoil review: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24003

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citruspers wrote:I found this

citruspers wrote:
I found this optics calculator that might be of use: http://mscir.tripod.com/parabola/
Thanks, of course I had to go buy a cheap recoil thrower from a US seller on ebay, so I can play with the thing. I got to stop reading threads here when I am supposed to be "in retirement".Undecided

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Old-Lumens wrote:citruspers

Old-Lumens wrote:

citruspers wrote:
I found this optics calculator that might be of use: http://mscir.tripod.com/parabola/
Thanks, of course I had to go buy a cheap recoil thrower from a US seller on ebay, so I can play with the thing. I got to stop reading threads here when I am supposed to be “in retirement”.Undecided


You are in retirement. Just trying to have fun while your at it. Wink

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comfychair
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Old-Lumens wrote:citruspers

Old-Lumens wrote:

citruspers wrote:
I found this optics calculator that might be of use: http://mscir.tripod.com/parabola/
Thanks, of course I had to go buy a cheap recoil thrower from a US seller on ebay, so I can play with the thing. I got to stop reading threads here when I am supposed to be "in retirement".Undecided

I found a no-name version with what's surely the same internals on ebay for $10.92 shipped, out of NJ (probably Tmart)... that the one you got?

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Gj
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comfychair wrote:I found a

comfychair wrote:
I found a no-name version with what's surely the same internals on ebay for $10.92 shipped, out of NJ (probably Tmart)... that the one you got?

That's the one I ordered Saturday, seems to have been posted this morning and USPS kicked into high gear,

NJ to eastern LI in 1hr.15min.!! 

 

First-Class Package Service

Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility

August 20, 2013, 2:16 pm

MELVILLE, NY 11747 

Scheduled Delivery Day:
August 22, 2013 

USPS Tracking / Delivery Confirmation

   

Accepted at USPS Origin Sort Facility

August 20, 2013, 1:01 pm

SAYREVILLE, NJ 08872 

 
   

Electronic Shipping Info Received

August 17, 2013

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Thank you for the review,

Thank you for the review, citruspers! ^^ It’s not the nicest looking light but I had to get one after seeing your beamshots and finding some cheap on Ebay.

P.S. searching for “reflection flashlight” or “reflect flashlight” also brings up some results but check the pictures because not all are the recoil kind.

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Chloe wrote:Thank you for the

Chloe wrote:
Thank you for the review, citruspers! ^^ It’s not the nicest looking light but I had to get one after seeing your beamshots and finding some cheap on Ebay.

P.S. searching for “reflection flashlight” or “reflect flashlight” also brings up some results but check the pictures because not all are the recoil kind.

You can also search for “reflect* flashlight”, using a wildcard, which’ll cover both cases.

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Ebay changed their search

Ebay changed their search engine a while ago and wildcard searches no longer work.
http://pages.ebay.com/help/search/advanced-search.html#using

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@Comfy

Is your Fasttech version indeed able to run on 6 volts? Description says 18650 or 2 x CR123A. I’m wondering whether this driver can also handle 2 × 18650 with an extension.

All other recoils I currently see advertised don’t mention anything other than 1 × 18650.

comfychair
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I cancelled the ones from FT

I cancelled the ones from FT before they shipped and picked up two of the no-name versions from ebay, but they won't be here until tomorrow.

Most '3-4.5v' drivers will tolerate 2x CR123A (only 3v each), even 105C/7135 drivers are fine with it. RCR123 or 16340 would be a different matter altogether.

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photon1k wrote:I have a 10”

photon1k wrote:
I have a 10” reflector telescope so I had a general idea what a recoil light might look like, but your article helped me better understand the design. Thanks for the review.

Probably a typo, but were the tailcap measurements really done at 4.8 volts?

I also have a reflector telescope but its tiny at only 4”. I wonder if my addiction to flashlights would be severe enough for me to decide to convert my telescope into a recoil thrower. Sick

If I have a 10” reflector, which would cost a fortune to acquire, and convert it into a recoil thrower then I know I’m already a total wacko on flashlights. But on the other hand, a 10’ reflector should produce a very powerful beam that would beat the hell out of most, if not all, of our throwers. Crazy

Thanx citruspers for this review and for introducing another insane idea to my already demented mind. Big smile

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this one is very similar with

this one is very similar with the one in OP but no description about the emitter type.

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sorotantaz wrote:"this

sorotantaz wrote:
"this one":http://www.ebay.com/itm/500-Lumen-CREE-Reflect-LED-Flashlight-Torch-18650-NEW-/281124338018?pt=US_Flashlights&hash=item417450f962 is very similar with the one in OP but no description about the emitter type.

This light is designed around the xre, I have never one with a different led.

sorotantaz
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I have asked the seller and

I have asked the seller and will update if receive reply.
lately light based on xre has been swapped to xpe by manufacture. Maybe to keep the brightness vs dollar balance..anyway this will be on my next purchase over the jacob. Just like the other design mechanism Smile

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