Review - Sunwayman Dolphin C15A ( AA - 14500 )

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
old4570
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 days ago
Joined: 09/06/2010 - 02:44
Posts: 3359
Location: Land of Oz
Review - Sunwayman Dolphin C15A ( AA - 14500 )

 photo IMGP3730_zps2324eadb.jpg 

Tmart has sent me the Sunwayman Dolphin C15A for review. 

  photo picture1_zps362aaa2c.jpg


Manufacturers Product Page :


Manufacturers Specs : 

Features

● CREE XM-L2 LED, with a lifetime of up to 50,000 hours;
● Soft-contact Side Switch:
 Three modes constant output, hidden Strobe and SOS
 Three constant output modes: 193Lumens (1.2hrs) – 34Lumens (10hrs) – 3Lumens (70hrs)
 Strobe: 193Lumens
 SOS
● Constant current circuit, constant output
● Effective range of 117 meters
● Uses one AA (Alkaline, Ni-MH, Lithium) battery
● Working voltage: 0.9~4.2V
● High quality metal reflector maintains great throw distance and spread with an ideal beam pattern
● Dimensions: 93mm (length) x  25mm (head diameter)
● Weight: 76g(battery excluded)
● Aerospace-grade aluminum alloy
● Military Specification Type III- hard anodized body
● Waterproof, in accordance with IPX-8 standard
● Ultra-clear tempered glass lens resists scratches and impacts
● Tail stand capable- can be used as a candle
● Accessories: O-ring,  lanyard, holster




First Thoughts : 

Wow, this is such a well made light and I don't have a negative thing to say about my initial thoughts on this light ( I write this before taking measurements ) , its very simply superb. From the square cut threads that join the two body halves, to the natural fit in the hand, and the hidden modes ( strobe and SOS ), I have been so impressed by the C15A, I can't help but feel that this little flashlight has just become my No1 EDC. I would almost go so far as to say I feel almost guilty for being given the opportunity to review this light, well ? almost. The build quality is top notch, as is the anodizing and the lanyard plug, what a nice touch. This flash light oozes quality where ever you look, and I'm going to really try hard to show you guys why you might want one. 


Using The Light :

Pop in a battery, and screw the body back together. Now you are ready to use the light.
To turn it on just give a quick press on the side switch, and to turn it off, just another quick press. To change modes, you turn on the light, and then push the button down and hold it down. The light will now cycle through the modes, simply let go the switch when you get to the mode you want. 


  photo bow_zpse08a9cb7.gif     
Hiden Modes :   To get to strobe or SOS .


Push twice very quickly and you will have Strobe. To get to SOS just double click again quickly, and you will get SOS. ( from Strobe ) 
 

Lock out :
Push quickly twice, only now on the second click hold the switch down, to unlock repeat the proces. ( you have to be really fast and precise or it wont work ) And dont forget to make sure the light is of for 7 seconds or more. ( I wait a good 10 seconds )  How hard is it to defeat the lock out if you get stuck ?  Just unscrew the light breacking battery contact, screw it back together and the Lock out is defeated. 


Momentary-on : 
How many know about the momentary-on?, this was such a vaunted feature of early Surefire and the C15A has it as well. To use the momentary-on, just push the side switch down and hold it down ( from the light being off ). What you get is High mode for as long as you hold the switch down, let go and the light turns off. 


 
Mode Memory :
This light does have mode memory, and will start up in what ever mode you left in ( no , not Strobe or SOS ). You could have the light in Low ( mode mem ) and if you needed to, start the light in Momentary-on ( high ), let go the switch and turn the light on ( normal - press and let go ) and then be in Low mode. How many time's have you left your light in Low mode ( mode mem ) and wanted High right away ? The C15A gives you just that, it lets you have your cake, and eat it.  

Low Voltage Indicator :
Just a FYI here, its only works with the 14500. I ran a AA down to 0.84v to check if it might come on and NO. 


Parasitic Drain :
This is an electronic flashlight, or the switch is electronic depending on how you want to look at it. It does not have a mechanical clicky, so for the switch to function there has to be current ( parasitic drain ), and I measured some 4.2mA ( AA ) with the light off. So for long term storage it might be an idea to remove the battery.  


EDC : 
Every day carry. I took the C15A for a walk, in my front left trouser pocket. I cant say the light vanished from my perception, as I always felt it. But neither was it annoying or really that noticeable, and certainly no leg slapper. In fact while I was in the supermarket doing a bit of shopping it completely became unnoticed. And I only picked up on it while walking back home after some 20 meters from the supermarket front door. Probably because I was conscious of its where about, and being a new light one does not want to lose it. There is a very nice belt holster for the light, and should you chose to use it, I cant help but feel you may never know the light is there unless you reach out and touch it. 

Performance :

 photo ScreenShot002_zps1f910308.jpg 
Wow!  The Turnigy 2200 Nimh put in a serious effort, I checked and checked and checked again, and every time it came out as 250 Lumen, that is some serious performance and I'm not sure I believe it either. The Lithium ( Chinese Lithium ), the Alkaline and the Carbon battery were all dropping output as the light ran, obviously they were feeling the strain of feeding current to the C15A. On medium output all the batteries were happy as well in low mode. I read somewhere where some people were complaining that low was not low enough, really?, two lumen is too much?   I guess you cant please all of the people all of the time! 

 The 14500 certainly performed as expected, though efficiency looks to have gone to the AA battery, there is a price to be paid for the versatility of using such a large voltage range of battery and Sunwayman has chosen to make the AA battery the primary power source and so optimized. This does mean that the 14500 is less efficient, but I'm happy to see that the sacrifice went to the 14500 rather than the AA battery.  There really is no reason to put a 14500 in this light, the gains are there but they are so small as to be negligible and with the driver optimized for the AA, I wonder why even bother.  

Disclaimer : 
The posted performance figures are my measurements, and one has nothing to do with the other. In other words the current measurements is what I measured, and the same goes for the output ( measured ). Since the variables for both measurements don't match, there is no point comparing each result against each other. I simply don't have 6 hands ( arms ) to be able to measure both at the same time. Due to the design of this light, take this information as it is offered, simply as a guide, not gospel. Though I expect the measured output to be as close as possible to actual. 


 photo ScreenShot001_zps411be0ac.jpg 

 
 photo ScreenShot003_zpsbfc6dd79.jpg


Night Time Beam Shots : 


 photo High_zps9561f6a2.jpg 

 photo Medium_zps2af22af2.jpg 

 photo Low_zpsc1c6917c.jpg 

Now you cant really see the two lumen output in this shot, so I thought I would shine the light at the bench in front of the camera so you get an idea of just how low 2 lumen is : 


 photo Bench_zpsf49ca772.jpg 



As can be seen, 2 lumen is a very small amount of light, but it is just enough light to allow you to see with at night. And the darker your surroundings, the more effective the 2 lumen will be.  


Last Word :

I really like this light, the Sunwayman Dolphin C15A is a wonderful little torch. The performance on AA is outstanding if not class leading and Sunwayman has certainly laid down the gauntlet with the C15A. The build quality is just fantastic, the removable lanyard plug is such a neat feature allowing the light to tail stand. A lot of great features have been built into this light that a prospective buyer can simply chose to ignore if they want ( Strobe - SOS - Lock out - 14500's ). I have to say the light impresses, and nothing seems to have been left to chance, or any short cut's taken, what you have is a well thought out and executed product that performs ( for me it did ) better than advertised. The only negative I can possibly think of is that this is not a budget light, its also not an expensive light either. But very much middle of the road and what a prospective buyer will find is a product that punches well above its price point. I have to give the C15A a solid 10 out of 10, I cant find anything to complain about in regards to quality, or the way it functions. 

 I love the fact that Strobe and SOS are hidden modes , the lock out function is great if you are worried about turning on the light by accident, and even the lanyard supplied is one of the best I have seen. 

Thank you Tmart for sending the light for review, the C15A is possibly the very best AA flashlight for the money, it is certainly the best AA flashlight I have ever handled or seen in the flesh and I can say for sure this little light just became my No1 AA EDC by quite a margin. 


UPDATE :

Parasitic Current drain , ok I have had a battery in the light for several months now , and it still runs fine , (  V = 1.15 ) . I do believe it has two modes of stand by ( electronic switch ) , ready to rock n roll , and some sort of stand-by / hibernation mode which I can not measure , but looks to draw sweet F all power .  I think my MM keeps the switch in ready to use mode , and stops it from switching into the much lower current mode ( stand-by or hibernation , what ever you want to call it ) . 

This is still the best AA flashlight I own by quite a margin ! 

 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 ….

 

Edited by: old4570 on 08/24/2014 - 23:26
ChibiM
ChibiM's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 50 min ago
Joined: 05/09/2011 - 10:25
Posts: 6245
Location: Holland

Thanks for the review!

I have the XML U2 version, and as you said, its a very handsome light!

unfortunately I don`t like the UI so much, so Im selling it

MountainKing
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/01/2011 - 03:20
Posts: 2273
Location: Lost Islands ™

I think for the money its a crap shoot really. Low performance on LION, lower modes than ZL. Its about the same price as a zebra sc52/h52 series. HOWEVER, chibim has one for sale shipping included at $35. Now that is a real deal!
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/28178

Never ever forget and forgive. Niwal**er new kid on the block trying to act tough.
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24847
Do not support this brand.

DINODIRECTSCAM COMPANY. DO NOT BUY
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/11324?page=2#comment-254983

Milan
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: 05/08/2012 - 12:13
Posts: 305
Location: Czech Republic

Thanks, just watch the values – mAh is capacity and by “Parasitic drain 4,2 mAh” you probably meant µA as with 4 mA, any AA would be drained within weeks making the torch pretty much useless.

Also check this value with AA and 14500 separately as it’s very voltage dependent.

old4570
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 days ago
Joined: 09/06/2010 - 02:44
Posts: 3359
Location: Land of Oz

What do you want ?  a AA light or a 14500 light ?   

What you have here is a AA light that can run 14500 , rather than a 14500 light that can run AA .  

Its apples and oranges :   

268L @ ( 0.61A ) ooooh , you wanted more current ?  

 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 ….

 

old4570
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 days ago
Joined: 09/06/2010 - 02:44
Posts: 3359
Location: Land of Oz

1.23am , Im tired ...   

 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 ….

 

old4570
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 days ago
Joined: 09/06/2010 - 02:44
Posts: 3359
Location: Land of Oz

Milan wrote:
Thanks, just watch the values - mAh is capacity and by "Parasitic drain 4,2 mAh" you probably meant µA as with 4 mA, any AA would be drained within weeks making the torch pretty much useless. Also check this value with AA and 14500 separately as it's very voltage dependent.

 

 Im tired ...  Been a long day ..  ( mA ) 

Yes - Parasitic drain = Drains a battery ..  So knowing that = Dont store long term with a battery ! ( how much common sense is needed to understand that ? ) 

+ for those who EDC and use a light every day , is it an issue ?  I dont think so .

You get into a route-en , take out the used battery , pop it in the charger and swap in a fresh one ..

If you know it takes 440 hours to drain your battery ( a little over 18 days for 2000mAh capacity) , then surely you can charge it before it runs dry ?

I have a Solarforce Flashlight with a electronic switch , its a wonderful flashlight , ramps the power up and down , easy to use , fantastic quality for the price , and it has parasitic drain , so I have to deal with that one of two ways .. Dont store it with a battery ( wow ) , or unscrew the tailcap far enough to break contact ( electrical ) .. = What problem ! 

 

Im tired - going to bed !   

  

 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 ….

 

Magicstone12
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 03/04/2014 - 20:42
Posts: 24

nice torch

old4570
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 days ago
Joined: 09/06/2010 - 02:44
Posts: 3359
Location: Land of Oz

UPDATE :

Parasitic Current drain , ok I have had a battery in the light for several months now , and it still runs fine , (  V = 1.15 ) . I do believe it has two modes of stand by ( electronic switch ) , ready to rock n roll , and some sort of stand-by / hibernation mode which I can not measure , but looks to draw sweet F all power .  I think my MM keeps the switch in ready to use mode , and stops it from switching into the much lower current mode ( stand-by or hibernation , what ever you want to call it ) . 

This is still the best AA flashlight I own by quite a margin ! 

 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 ….

 

WarHawk-AVG
WarHawk-AVG's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 3 days ago
Joined: 01/04/2014 - 06:47
Posts: 5071
Location: H-Town

Nice but way out of my “budget”

Thanks for the awesome review!

The UI on this seems quite nice…almost perfect (hidden strobes and all, and the momentary on is even good too!)

old4570
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 days ago
Joined: 09/06/2010 - 02:44
Posts: 3359
Location: Land of Oz

Just under $60USD ... @ Tmart

If I lost this one for what ever reason , I would replace it ..

I own a Jetbeam and Nitecore single AA , and they cost about $60 ..

Single AA lights have been the most troublesome flashlights I have owned , ever . 

But the higher ticket ones have proven themselves ... Whilst the budget ones have developed issues , and never get used ...

I like cheap flashlights , but I like flashlights that work even more ...

I guess once you get to saturation point ( you own a lot of flashlights ) , you start to look at other things ..

And I admit if it were not for Tmart I would most likely not posses this light , and to them ( Tmart ) I am ever so grateful . After half a year of owning this light , I can only say its superb , I use a XM-L L2 every now and again , but the C15A takes care of about 90% of my needs ..

If only this light had been made 3 or 4 years ago , my flashlight collection might be smaller ... ( Might ) 

 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 ….