Review: Piritlight SG-L8 MC-E

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Don
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Review: Piritlight SG-L8 MC-E

 

Piritlight SG-L8 MC-E

Reviewer's Overall Rating: 

Piritlight

 

Summary:

 

Battery: 18650
Switch: Forward clickie
Modes: 5
LED Type: Cree MC-E
Lens: Coated glass
Tailstands: Very well
Price Paid:$44.90
From:DealExtreme

 

 

Pros:

  • Bright. Very bright
  • Throws
  • Feels good in the hand
  • Good optics
  • Drives an MC-E like it is meant to be driven. Most Chinese lights don't
  • Manages to get the heat away from the LED
  • Did I say it throws?
  • From the lightbox numbers it is putting out (Give or take 50%) 550 lumens
  • Spill is very usable, even on low. Most dedicated throwers have useless spill.

 

Cons:

  • Atrocious build quality redeemed by the fact that the electronics and optics do what they are supposed to.
  • Gets hot - it is a 10-11W device
  • Shows a hole in the beam even at 50'
  • Reflector not really designed for a quad die LED
  • Despite the repairs, it can still flicker a bit. Time for some gorilla action on tightening everything down. May need to fiddle with the reflector as should be able to get more throw out of it yet.

 

Features / Value: ★★★

This is a Raidfire Spear clone more or less - but the Raidfire was a $120 light. I'm saying it is not that great value because of the dreadful build quality.

Light

Other Side

 

Ignore the marks on the body, those were from my attempts to get the thing apart. I got one of these in error - I ordered the single die Q5 version which certainly makes less light but probably throws better. And is $15 cheaper.

It has the usual 5 modes in a slightly odd order, it goes medium, low, high, strobe, SOS. It is a real SOS, rather than the SOSOSO that quite a few lights do. The strobe is quite effective, a few seconds of it made me queasy. Doubt I'll ever use it though. The light does not have mode memory, it always comes on in medium which seems a little odd for a thrower. Personally, I prefer either LMH or HML. At least with no mode memory you can avoid the blinky modes altogether.

On high it is pulling 3.2A from an 18650 which probably means it is driving the LED at spec (2.8A). It has a very deep, smooth reflector for throw.

Reflector

This picture doesn't really show the depth of the reflector, but if you look at the first picture and know that the LED is actually behind the broad ring at the base of the head you can see that it is a very deep reflector indeed (about 55mm (2.25")) The out of focus spots in the picture of the reflector are mostly stuff raised when I cut the grass shortly before these pictures were taken. There was nothing visible on the reflector when I got it.

 

Build Quality: 

Well..... See this post for details. #41 Poor design of contacts at switch end - the spring post needs to be longer even when used with 17670 cells. Very poor soldering on switch module - again see the link for details. Glued head which is why the body is scarred from my attempts to open it to get at the pill. The pill was loose which lead to another intermittent fault. Apart from that it is a nice enough light. The reflector is good and was clean (less clean now that I've had it apart). It tailstands very well due to the flared tail. It'll even tailstand on an uneven surface such as my just cut grass

It does get hot, but then it is a 10-11 watt light and LEDs do generate heat, they aren't even close to their theoretical maximum of around 400 lumens/watt. This might be 80-85 lumens/watt.

It feels good in the hand. But just too many things wrong with it to give it a decent score on build quality. I had to resolder the switch PCB, reseat the pill in the body and generally mess around far too much.

Other examples of it may be better, I hope none of them are worse. Or at least I hope that if there are any worse, they don't make it out of the factory. I've had it for over two months now and have just in the last 48 hours been able to render it usable.


Battery Life: 

Battery life rating given on the basis that it is driving an MC-E LED as it ought to be driven. This means getting 2.8A into the LED and a lot of heat out.

At 3.2A from an 18650 on high - 30-40 minutes but it is going to be very, very hot before that. 

Current Draw on a freshly charged (4.248V) 18650 Not happy that the charger got it that high.

Low: 0.39A (More than 6 hours)

Med: 1.18A (2hrs on a 2400mAh cell)

High: 3.56A (about 40 mins on a 2400mAh cell)

 

I can hear the circuit "sing" to me on medium and low - presumably PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) in action. Strangely, with the tailcap on I can't hear it at all even with the light as close to my ear as I can get it. Will do runtimes but will need to keep an eye on the temperatures. It doesn't get as hot in the hand as the fearsome Ultrafire C3 stainless steel does. But then it has more mass for heatsinking. That bit of the design they appear to have got right.

 

Light Output:  ★★★★★

I can summarise the output as "lots". Beamshots to follow once it gets dark.

Lightbox

High: 2380 lux This is in the 500 lumen ballpark

Med: 430 lux

Low: 151 lux

 

The only comparable light I have is the Aurora AK-P7 a single 18650 P7 light (The P7 and the MC-E share the same dies, the phosphors and the dome are different). It does 

High: 1185 lux

Low: 153 lux

 

Throw at 1 metre

Low: 3,350 lux

Med: 11,000 lux

High: 29,500 lux (That is a LOT!!)

 

For comparison the Aurora on high does 16,050 lux and it is a bright light.

 

Here's a ceiling beamshot to be going on with. The Piritlight is on the left, the other three are (L-R) Trustfire F22 on low, Tank007 E07, Ultrafire C3 stainless steel. The lights are 60cm (2') from the ceiling and are tailstanding on top of the door.

4 lights

 

I doubt that my backyard test range is nearly long enough for this light. I got impatient and didn't wait for full darkness, there is quite a lot of solar light pollution still (21:00BST). In an effort to lengthen the range, as well as the usual tree, I pointed the light at the telegraph pole in the bottom of my garden. If I remember correctly it is 6.5m high (21 and a bit feet) from what the lineman told me the last time the line needed repairing. That pole has been there since 1936.

 

Control

Control

 

Low

Low

You don't see it in these pictures but i could see a hole in the beam just above the tree trunk.

 

Medium

M

 

High

H

The hotspot has completely saturated the sensor. The base of the tree is way overexposed. The spill is pretty bright too. Not something you expect from a dedicated thrower.

 

Pole low

Pole L

 

Pole Medium

Pole M

 

Pole High

Pole H

 

A comparison light, the zoom light mentioned here. #32 This is its first outing and a full review will get done in due course.

Flood

Zoom Flood

 

Throw

Zoom Throw

 

Pole throw

Zoom Pole Throw

You can see that this has saturated the sensor at the top of the pole. Again that bit is way overexposed.

 

 

Summary: ★ (Or ★ if you get a good one)

If I'd not had the trouble I have had with it it'd be in the 4-5 star area, probably 4 because of the price. I want to give it a higher rating, I like it a lot. It produces a ton of light and throws it a long way. I'd like to do some longer range beamshots, but the local park would be a bad idea as I'd not go on owning my cameras for long if I set up there at night. It'll have to wait for my next sojourn in the wilds. It still needs some fiddling, but at least I know how to do it now. If you get a good one I'd suggest 4 stars. I didn't get a good one but I've managed to sort out most of the problems and will sort them completely. If I were costing the time I've spent on this light it would cost a lot. Hence the two star rating. As a working light it'd lose a star for the price, but it is a really good light when it is working.

 

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

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

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:22 Reason: sb56637 replaced budgetlightforum.cz.cc with budgetlightforum.com via Scanner Search and Replace module.
alfreddajero
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Now that is one hell of a light.....that sucker is bright.  Once again another awesome review.....i plan on doing one soon but i have been too busy with life.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

Don
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alfreddajero wrote:

Now that is one hell of a light.....that sucker is bright.  Once again another awesome review.....i plan on doing one soon but i have been too busy with life.

 

I gave up on having a life 10 years ago. Meanwhile, I have a lot of fun. Must get out of town to do some beamshots among other things.Time I got away from what I do for a while.

 

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

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

alfreddajero
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I hear you on that one man.....kids keep me busy especially since its spring break for them right now.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

Don
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Kids. I love kids.

 

But I couldn't eat a whole one...

 

Especially this one. http://www.bebo.com/c/photos/view?MemberId=2091973799&PhotoAlbumId=2092012976&PhotoId=6776636755

 

My favourite niece.

 

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

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

alfreddajero
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Lol.....your too funny man. 

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

Don
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It got two stars from me with a caveat that a good one would be worth 4 stars, maybe 5.

 

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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Very nice review!  Sticky'd and frontpage'd.  Thanks as usual for the great pictures.  That "Throw" picture is incredible, it perfectly projects an image of the LED itself.  I've never seen a square beam with a rectangle of top, just like the LED.

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

Don
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That is an image of the die. The blob above it (you can see if in the fork of the tree) is actually a blob of silicone that holds the bond wires going into the LED die. All of this is inside the LED package. I've tried to photograph this- invariably unsuccessfully.

 

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

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

KingGlamis
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Sorry to bring up an old thread but I have a question. I own one of these and it is my favorite light for outdoor throw (has a lot of flood too). I'm wondering if anyone knows how it compares to the newer lights, like the C8 XM-L that Rusty Joe just posted about here: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/3823#comment-61853

Or similar lights to the one he posted about. Thanks for any input.

I've got lots of bright ideas.