Review: TrustFire F15-T6

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JohnnyMac
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Review: TrustFire F15-T6

TrustFire F15-T6

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★★

 

Summary:

Battery: 18650
Switch: Reverse-clicky tail switch
Modes: High>Low>Strobe - 17mm driver
LED Type: Cree XML-T6 on 20mm star
Lens: Coated Glass
Tailstands: Yes but shaky
Price Payed: $24.5 USD
From:Manafont
Date Ordered: 2011/05/11

 

Pros:

  • Extremely bright and throwy with decent spill
  • Solid build quality. Feels like it's machined form one solid block of billet aluminum.
  • Flawless finish and anodizing.
  • Emitter perfectly centered.
  • Excellent switch quality.
  • Fast delivery from Manafont. Received in roughly 9 days from placing order.
  • Comes with OP reflector.
  • Did I mention it is insanely bright?

Cons:

  • Brightness at the price of heat. This baby generates BTUs like it generates photons...excessively!
  • Comes with OP reflector.
  • With the way the tail piece is machined there is a small area on which to tail-stand. Switch rubber also protrudes just enough to make it somewhat unstable on all but the smoothest, level surfaces.

Features / Value: ★★★★★

To start with it came with the usual promptness from Manafont. It arrived in our favorite envelope wrapped in bubble bag and inside a white cardboard box. My first impression was amazement and awe at the quality and feel of this torch. Feels very solid and well banced in teh hand especially with the 18650 battery installed.

This light has 3 modes: High > Low> Fast Strobe. The low is good enough for everyday tasks and the high mode will light up a football field and the one behind that one, etc... The strobe will please those who appreciate a disabilitating strobe and annoy those who hate all strobes. Thankfully having only one blinky mode means there is only one blinky mode to switch past if you don't want it. Might have been nice to have  a slightly brighter medium mode and one really low low mode to go with the insanely driven high mode. Overall though I feel that the chosen modes are a nice compromise that will satisfy most operators.

For the price this light offers an unbeatable value in both quality and performance. I am willing to bet that it will stand toe to toe with the likes of the 980L and other heavy hitting hotrod torches. For what little money this baby costs you couldn't build one yourself for less and you couldn't build it any better or brighter.

 

Design / Build Quality: ★★★★★

The quality of this light is outstanding. There are no scratches in the finish nor any dents or dings to be seen. The anodizing is flawless and even through and through. The external heatsink and pill is stainless steel while the remainder of the light is aluminum. THe torch is balanced in the hand and comfortable to hold without any slipping should they be wet or sweaty.

Threads are all pretty even in number and quality, deep and clean, and came lubricated. There is no play in any of the threading and the o-rings are thick and should provide great waterproofing for all conditions with the possible exception of divers who go greater than 10 meters. I do not know what waterproof rating this torch has but I would not hesitate to drop it in the water or swim with it.

The battery fits with little play. There is a spring at the driver side and a spring-loaded brass button at the switch end. Shaking the light reveals no rattling or connection issues and lends only to the feel that the entire light is made of one machined piece of billet aluminum.

The lens is glass and appears to be AR coated and amply thick. The reflector is aluminum and is perfectly chromed with zero flaws or blemishes.

Heatsink is stainless steel on the outside but judging from the driver side of it the main part appears to be brass or copper. I did not remove the emitter to see if there is a copper slug in the center of the heatsink but I would not be surprised to find one even if only brass.

Cosmetically it is a very handsome torch in the "plunger" style. The polished stainless steel heatsink in the middle is proportioned such that is breaks up the monochrome black finish and makes for a ruggedly elegant air about it.

Crenelation of the bezel is not too deep. I normally don't care much for crenelated bezels but this light will never be a pocket torch and as such I don't worry about it tearing up my pockets or cutting my leg. It looks good on this particular torch.

Tailstanding with the small footprint of the tail can be shaky business. While definitely possible, it needs to be done on a smooth and level surface. The fact that the rubber switch boot protrudes ever so little makes it even shakier business. This can be resolved easily enough with an oring placed between the boot and the tail housing to draw the cap just a bit deeper into the tail piece.

 

Battery Life: ★★★★

I haven't done any testing with a DMM at this point but will attempt to do so over the weekend. As it stands I would say that battery life is not going to be as long on high mode as it might be on other torches in it's class due to it appearing to be slightly over driven. On low mode I'm sure it will last several hours. Once I am able to get some DMM readings from it we can do our own calculations and see exactly what kind of life one can expect to get in each mode. Right now I'm going to give it a 4-star rating i this area due to it being overdriven.

 

Light Output: ★★★★★

Light output is where this torch excels. In fact, if this were a drag race between hot rodders, I would not hesitate to put it up against the Ultrafire UF-980L. I replaced the OP reflector with an SMO reflector from Manafont for $3.89 USD. I actually prefer it with the SMO which is unusual for me as I generally prefer OP to smooth out the hotspot and rings. This light is a throw monster and once I find a suitable place to take good night shots I will update this review with the pictures. In the mean time I will show you the one I took today showing the F15 next to an UltraFire WF-501B with the Manafont 3-mode XML drop-in. In this pic the 501B with the Manafont XM-L drop-in and SMO reflector is on the left and the Trustfire F15 is on the right. Not only does it kick it's ass in brightness, it gives it a parting kick to the nuts while it lays beaten and unconcious.

Ceiling shot

 The drawback to all that brightness is that nothing comes without a price and in the case of this much light that price is heat. As long as one uses it responsibly it really shouldn't be an issue. I certainly wouldn't leave this torch in highmode unattended for long unless it was in front of/under a fan. While in the hand and under the benefits of blood cooling it should be just fine as long as it is still warm enough to be held. In low mode I wouldn't hesitate to leave it tailstanding until the bettery was drained.

I took some temperature readings while the F15 was in high mode and tailstanding. I stopped the test after 13 minutes because I frankly got a little nervous and didn't want to damage my new baby.

  • After 5 minutes (in degrees farenheit)
    • Tail: 103
    • Heatsink: 123
    • Head: 119
  • After 10 minutes
    • Tail: 115
    • Heatsink: 133
    • Head: 127
  • After 13 minutes
    • Tail: 122
    • Heatsink: 138
    • Head: 134
    • Battery: 125f/52c

Other measurements:

Head width45mm
Head length50.6mm
Reflector width41.58
Reflector length31.68
Overall length155mm
Body width at heatsink29mm
Maximum Emitter diam.20mm
Driver diameter17mm
  

 

Summary: ★★★★★

While not for a novice user, this torch would be perfect for the outdoorsman and hunter. The build and quality of it is exceptional, especially at it's price point. Exceptionally attractive, bright, waterproof and durable makes it a great choice for anyone in the market for an outstanding value. Personally if this was not already in my collection I would run out and buy it imediately. You honestly can't go wrong with this one and it gets Johnny Mac's 5-star seal of approval!

Enjoy the pictures to follow (please excuse all the dust particles on the parts)! These pics and more are available here.

 

driver

Reflector width

reflector depthBody

Body

tail piece

501B vs F15

 

I hope you have enjoyed my little review. I am sure there will be others to follow.

Gentlemen, start your PayPal triggers!!

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:22
JohnnyMac
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Reserved

jacktheclipper
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Great review . Looking forward to amp readings at tailcap .

SashiX
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Wow, amazing beam shot comparison Shocked That MF XML look pathetic Shocked

sb56637
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Nice! We have a winner here, it appears. XM-L continues to impress with copious quantities of lumens at a very reasonable price.

I don't like that switch design much either. I imagine they cut those diametrically opposed notches for ease of thumb access. But it's not worth it if it sacrifices tailstanding.

Great review! Thanks for the deal tip. Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

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

LIght_Of_Day
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Tempting. Very tempting.

how2
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Jonnymac does the led and driver unscrew from the heatsink?

SashiX
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Differences between SMO and OP reflector?

Oxy Moron
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Outstanding review. Thanks, Johnny.

*added to wishlist*

Well, make that next month's wishlist because I'll probabably get murdered in my sleep if I buy anything that emits light for any reason whatsoever this month. Big Smile

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jacktheclipper wrote:

Looking forward to amp readings at tailcap .

+1

Great review!

"There are always new jobs, women, and apartments......there is only ONE BLF." - Chicago X (27/03/2012)

agedbriar
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The review I have been waiting for! Thank you Johnny. I too am looking forward to amp readings and OP/SMO reflector comparison. In the meantime: which one has been used for the above beamshot? Also: does it always switch on on High?

JohnnyMac
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agedbriar wrote:

The review I have been waiting for! Thank you Johnny.


I too am looking forward to amp readings and OP/SMO reflector comparison. In the meantime: which one has been used for the above beamshot?

I used the smooth in that beam shot. The OP is just a little smoother in the spread from hot spot to the flood and not as intense in the hot spot. I will get shots tonight or tomorow and post them.
trooplewis
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Great review. I ordered this a few weeks ago, along with the SMO reflector, so it should be here soon from Manafont.

Curious to test it agains my Tk41!

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

agedbriar
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The link to the SMO reflector is in the Light Output section of the OP.

Johnny, could you please also measure the SMO hotspot diameter at a given distance, so I can compare it to my Manta Ray C8.

jamesearljonesi...
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agedbriar wrote:

does it always switch on on High?

Its got mode memory so starts where you left off last. I was getting 2.7amps on high and 0.6a on low. 

 

Johnny-do you notice any flickering on lo when the battery runs low? seems mine does it on low once voltage drops significantly. ive taken the switch apart and all looks well. gotta fix the die to the pill with some thermal adhesive.

03/04/16 

 

8 lives left

jamesearljonesi...
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Be-Seen Triker wrote:

I'm truly curious about the switch in that tailcap.  Care to take it down to the next level for a reveal?

I'm also wondering about the details of the pill assembly.  Would love to see more there too.

Otherwise, yes.. excellent review... and a an order pending at such a great price.  Can you link us up to the smooth reflector SKU too?

heres the smo reflector link.

03/04/16 

 

8 lives left

fishinfool
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Excellent review there JohnnyMac! 

 

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

jacktheclipper
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"...Not only does it kick it's ass in brightness, it gives it a parting kick to the nuts while it lays beaten and unconcious..."

Oh man , that's wrong .Laughing

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The thing about those nice, big C8 reflectors is the focus of the beam and the throw it gives you. Even my R5 Palight with it's XP-G kicks an XM-L's light when you take a good look at the beam and throw.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

Foy
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Soooo . . . ya think this guy can hang with a 980L do ya?  Hmmmm.  Might be worth $25 so I can do a head-to-head . . . put this matter to rest.

Foy

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Call me crazy but I just ordered this thing.  I happen to think the 980L will put this flashlight to bed early with no dinner and a bright red bottom. Cool

 

By the way; enjoyed the review.

justhavingfunweareallfreindsFoy

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photon1k
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trooplewis wrote:

The thing about those nice, big C8 reflectors is the focus of the beam and the throw it gives you. Even my R5 Palight with it's XP-G kicks an XM-L's light when you take a good look at the beam and throw.

Exactly. Is anyone able to compare beamshots of the Trustfire F15 with another XM-L  in a similar sized reflector?

Nice review Johnny Mac! Your enthusiasm for the light really shines through!

JohnnyMac
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I agree completely about the reflector being the key with this light as I agree with Match about it being a major factor with the 980L performing as well as it does. Comparing it to the Manafont P60 XM-L is not exactly fair but indoors and 6-7 feet from the wall I don't think it's entirely unfair either when there is such a vast difference in the brightness. Outdoors where big distance comes in is a different story. I'm looking forward to Foy getting his so he can do a direct comparison to the 980L and hopefully someone else will be able to compare it with another C8.

@AgedBriar - I hope to do some DMM readings sometime this weekend. With yours pulling 2.7A do you notice it getting as hot as mine does? This is my first C8/MRV style light and I'm not sure what to expect. I have a very well heatsinked P60 in my 501B and it gets hot all over but nothing like this one does. All I know is it makes my P60 look dull and I have no doubts it will hold it's own against others of it's type. Does your F15 have the same driver (the one with the thin red lines) as mine does? I'm actually hoping it doesn't put out 4.5A like Foy's 980L does since I'd like this to last and not poop the bed on me while using it.

@Foy - Bring it on! LOL! I think you will be happy with this light either way and for the money it's a winner. I think you will agree that these lights (980L & F15) are able to hold their own against the snobby lights costing several times more when it comes to fit and finish. I hope my DMM can get good amperage readings on it. It got almost as hot as your 980L and if I hadn't chickened out and let it run the full 15 minutes it would have come within 5 degrees or so I'm thinking. How hot can the Li-Ions safely get? I thought I read somewhere that 50c was the upper limit of safety. Hope I read/recall incorrectly.

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Johnny - I'll tell you what; if this light of yours does compare well with the 980L, Foy will be eating some crow for more reasons than one.  The F15 is $20 less expensive so, other than the strobe mode (which I do not like) it would represent a better value.

That is of course, if it can hang with the 980L.Wink

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I'm interested in that head-to-head between this F15 and the 980L.  They both have pills that screw into the body, which is a feature I'm looking for.  I like the idea of p60 drop-in modules, but having to wrap foil or what-have-you around the modules doesn't excite me.  I'd rather just swap stars on well-heat-sinked lights.  Are there any other contenders for good heatsinking and easily-swappable stars in the 1x18650 category?  I have an MTE M3-2 that also has a screw-in pill (and the star is screwed onto the pill--another good feature), but its beam is so perfect for me that I don't want to swap the LED.

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peteybaby wrote:

.  Are there any other contenders for good heatsinking and easily-swappable stars in the 1x18650 category? 

The Trustfire TF-R2 has a pill that screws onto the head. Coincidentally (?) P60 pills fit perfectly.

http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/trustfire-ter2-led-5mode-memory...

There is thread on it here http://budgetlightforum.com/node/1177

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I don't own the f15 but made myself one. Usually i'm not impresses by the thingas i do myself untill i managed to build this one up. Smile

kragmutt wrote:

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

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peteybaby wrote:

I'm interested in that head-to-head between this F15 and the 980L.  They both have pills that screw into the body, which is a feature I'm looking for.  I like the idea of p60 drop-in modules, but having to wrap foil or what-have-you around the modules doesn't excite me.  I'd rather just swap stars on well-heat-sinked lights.  Are there any other contenders for good heatsinking and easily-swappable stars in the 1x18650 category?  I have an MTE M3-2 that also has a screw-in pill (and the star is screwed onto the pill--another good feature), but its beam is so perfect for me that I don't want to swap the LED.

The Trustfire T2 pill screws into the body, so does my palight C8. I think the M8's are the same: most of the budget lights with oversized reflectors have the pill that screws into the body.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

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Somebody with some math skills could work out the spread based on posts and comments on BLF and come up with betting odds.  I'm guessing because much had been said already about the 980L, it might be favored . . . but by how much?  Hope Manafont ships fast this time. (been pretty good lately)  Will be a fun shootout for us.

Foy

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It will be fun! Nothing better than having great lights and lots of options in multiple price ranges. Smile

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Because it would use less of it when I (inevitably) weaken.

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