Review: SKY*RAY G6 Stainless Steel XP-G R5 18650 Flashlight

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Be-Seen Triker
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Review: SKY*RAY G6 Stainless Steel XP-G R5 18650 Flashlight

SKY*RAY G6

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★

 

 

Summary:

Battery:  18650
Switch:  Reverse Tailcap Clickie
Modes:  5-mode hi-med-lo-flash-SOS
LED Type:  XP-G R5
Lens:  Glass
Tailstands:  Yes
Price Payed:  USD$21.20
From:  Manafont
Date Ordered:  June 16th, 2011

 

Pros:

  • Very stylish, simple 18650 flashlight
  • Very Bright and nice beam profile
  • Exceptional build quality
  • Fine pitch thread throughout
  • Tail-stands even with lanyard attached
  • Glass lens w/ GITD seal
  • Sealed throughout

Cons:

  • Somewhat under driven
  • No memory, starts in high mode
  • Some battery limits
  • Gets warm
  • Single battery spring
  • Proprietary switch assembly 

Features / Value: ★★★★★

Even if this light is under driven, it will rival most equivalent lights on your collection.  This light is easy to carry, easy to hold, and easy to operate... it is even easy to look at, all the way down to the stylish Sky*Ray logo.  The GITD o-ring in the head is a nice touch and finishes off the perfectly clean smooth reflector and perfectly centered XP-G R5 emitter.  The feel of the threads when replacing a battery is like no other light I own.  I would consider this light even better in a 3-mode light only because the steady modes are so usable.  This light definitely fits snuggly into the high quality budget light catagory and will fill the void in any flash-o-holic's collection.

 

  

Design / Build Quality: ★★★

I had to work hard to find the nits this light possesses.  The fact that it is under driven shouldn't be harped on too much. Even at 1A in high mode, this light just pushes out lumens.  Kudos' to the developer of the reflector/emitter interface.  The threads of this light are very well cut.  All the threads are fine pitch and the feel, even without lubrication, is pure flashlight bliss.  The attention to detail is even extended to the capture nut of the tail cap rubber.  The tool holes are only minimally drilled to give it the clean look so apparent throughout this light.  Even though the switch is a proprietary design, it does appear to be well made and has the solid feel needed for a flashlight of this caliber.  Even the pill, made from aluminum, has a nice thermal path to the body.  Many have attempted this design path, this one hits a high mark. 

The only reason I did not provide a hard 5-star rating is that the switch module was either not fitted completely or it really doesn't fit the long batteries comfortably.  The Callie's Kustoms cells are a bit tight on the tail end due to limited inside body diameter, and the XTAR 18700 are a bit too long with the switch fully seated.  The CK cells fit issue is due to 2 machining processes leaving the tail end diameter slightly smaller than the head end.  I have already removed all the labels form the CK cells and it is still a snug, but do-able fit.  The XTAR 2600 18700 cells can easily be made to fit by biasing the tail switch out about 1mm.  At some point, the seal will be compromised.  This only matters if you like taking baths with your flashlights.  Also, with the single spring in the tailcap design, the light will easily change modes when setting the light down for tail-standing as the battery will disconnect on the driver end for a moment.

 

  

Battery Life: ★★★★★

At 1 amp in high mode, the battery life is excellent.  Medium is a solid 500ma and low is a very usable 100ma.  I don't know what the driver design is but I do know it is not a boost driver as the light does dim as the battery depletes.  Overall, for a very bright XP-G, you can use the mode appropriate for your expected battery life and be happy with it.  If you consider that a 2600 XTAR cell can glow in low mode for better than 20 hours without breathing hard, I suspect you will rarely run out of juice.  And I have run the light in low mode on my bike and it did provide enough light to the path for me to ride at 15mph.   

 

  

Light Output: ★★★★

Again, spectacular!  3 very usable modes and 2 that this light could do without.  I know some of you really want to see the full 1.5A to an XP-G so I did deduct a star for this.  Seriously, I don't know what you would do with the extra lumens.  This flashlight provides a very nice hotspot and some very usable spill that the XP-G is gaining a reputation for.  The PWM is very tolerable and only noticeable in my camera's monitor.  The body design doesn't get in the way of the exiting photons and therefore I would venture to guess that the light out the front is fairy optimized.  A coated 20mm lens might help, but for most of us, this design is prefect as-is.  Medium mode at 500ma too is a very usable light pattern.  This is where I normally use this light when riding a bike in total darkness or with oncoming headlights. 

 

  

Summary: ★★★★

You are not a true flash-o-holic until this light is in your collection.  It is stainless steel, after all and it is easily an EDC.  For those who call themselves budget light hounds... you too have no reason not to have this on order.  At $21.20 (or less for other brands) it is probably the most affordable and usable 18650 bling light you will own.  The only downsides are the care that must be taken in battery choice and I would highly recommend keeping an eye on the light if you tail-stand it on high mode.  Stainless steel is not the best material for heat transfer and the head does get hot after a while.  In low and medium modes, heat is not an issue.  The G6 does have a standard 17mm driver, so if you want to drive it harder it is not hard to do so with an appropriate driver.  However, not knowing the current limit of the tail switch will keep me from risking the upgrade. 

This light easily deserves the 4-star rating... and I am only slightly hesitant in giving it the full 5-stars.  This is a definite "buy" recommendation.

 

(pix to follow)

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:22
Be-Seen Triker
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This is an amazing flashlight.  In the past, one could only dream of so much light in such a nice compact host.

This one deserves a glamor shot:

 

We begin the tour with a the tailcap tear-down.  We have a switch module, a standard 14mm switch-rubber, and the typical lock-ring, although installed form the outside of the light as there is no tailcap present.

Tailcap parts:

 

The switch rubber is a little taller than most tailcap rubbers.  Also notice the shallow drilled holes in the lock-ring.

Switch rubber and lock-ring:

 

Switch module threads in the body.  Fine pitch and well cut.  Could be cut slightly less deep for longer batteries.

Tail end of body:

 

This is the button side of the switch.  A very nice fit.

Switch view 1:

 

The spring on the battery side of the switch could be a bit more robust.  Also notice the crimp to hold the switch in the housing.  This is a very small switch of unknown amperage rating.

Switch view 2:

 

The head is self-contained.  Everything is threaded together with the pill.  Here are the 2 views of the head assembly.

Head Assembly - reflector end:

 

 

Head Assembly - driver end:

 

 

The GITD o-ring sits nicely in a cut groove in the head.  The lens is a 20mm diameter glass lens.  I cannot see any evidence of a special coating on the glass.

Head and lens:

 

 

Here is the non-descript driver.  Notice the lack of a driver spring.

Driver image:

 

 

The XP-G R5 emitter is mounted with ample heat sink compound, not silicon glue.  Also notice the very detailled design of the insulator.  This is in fact what aligns the reflector to the emitter.  Definitely a well thought out feature.

Emitter w/ insulator:

 

 

The reflector is very clean, very smooth, and has a very nice mirror finish.  I had to blow it clean with compressed air to maintain this wonderful finish.

Reflector:

 

The head really is a quality design and build.  Notice the index on the reflector near the emitter hole that mates to the insulator in the previous image.  The plating on the reflector is a bit rough on the backside.  Some cleaning up can be useful if you're willing to handle the part that much.  I wanted to protect its finish as much as possible.

Head parts:

 

 

This is an attempt to show the installed interface of the head components.

Assembled head:

 

 

And for the all important beam shots.  All are taken at 1 meter, 1/60 second, f2.8, and ISO160:

Control:

 

 

Low beam - 100ma

 

 

Medium beam - 500ma

 

 

High beam - 1000ma

 

 

 

Stay tuned to the GITD tail-cap install

 

 

 

Be-Seen Triker
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When I 1st got the Sky*Ray G6 I said a GITD tail cap would be a nice touch.  Today I finally got around to the mod along with this review.

The switch rubbers I used were the 14mm GITD x10 from Deal Extreme.  They are a kind of mixed bag with regard to quality but having 10 of them, I had a chance to pick out the best for this mod.  This light certainly deserves it.

1st thing you notice when you put the original and the GITD cap side by side is the difference in height.  The original black cap does not have a knub inside, therefore a little fit issue had to be resolved.

Comparing the switch rubbers:

 

It was clear that all the knub had to be removed from the replacement GITD cap.  A hobby knife and careful carving made quick work of the knub.

Modified GITD cap:

 

 

Make sure the switch is in the "on" position (tallest) when you do the fit check.  It should fit flush to the body and have minimal clearance to the switch button.

Fit check:

 

 

Care must be taken in putting the lock-ring back in.  The tool holes are shallow but deep enough to get a decent grip.  This is how it looks once complete.

GITD cap installed:

 

 

 

Thanks for looking!

pounder
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nice review! this is a light I am ordering..1a is perfect for an xp-g in a small host..

SirJohn
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Excellent review. This has been on my want list for a while and this only reinforces it.

DasFriek
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I just lost another long post as this bulletin doesn't save info typed if you accidentally hit the forward or back button.

Anyhow, Ive already done the GITD tailcap and added a mid body GITD O-ring. My 65 year old mom liked the light so well i had to get her one also and do all the GITD parts too.

It feels very solid in the hand like a roll of quarters as if you was gonna hit someone. How did you access the parts in the head? Is the driver a 17mm item? Even tho it does put out alot of light id like to see what 1.5A looks like or maybe an under driven 1.5A XM-L. I could just use an IMR cell to get the amperage up on the emitter but id rather have the longer run times.

Or heck i may just leave it alone as it really is almost perfect as it is with good output and no high heat being generated.

Great review and i couldnt have said it any better than you did, And it is a MUST BUY light no doubt. Its so slim and sleek and yet powerfull enough to get the job done and needs no adjustments. 

df2dot
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i have wanted a SS light for some time , this has to be one of the best 18650 based one i have seen

any other contenders with this ?? or one you almost got instead of this

 

also,  i didnt understand - Some battery limits - what did you mean?

DasFriek
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So did you take the pics with the head out of the host? If so how did you get that far as i saw no way to do so without damage.

EDIT- I see it looks like it screws out from behind. If i make any mods ill post them, But im still waiting for all my drivers from KD to be delivered. 

Be-Seen Triker
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The Callie's Kustoms need the label removed, and it will still be a snug fit.  I only say this because it doesnt just "drop in"...it needs some gentle persuation.  Nothing drastic.  It comes back out with a little shake.

The XTAR 18700 drop right in even with the label but the length, as XTAR acknowledges by calling it an 18700 is just a hair to long if the switch is fully seated.  A small pair of needle nose pliers will make quick work of moving the switch out a little to make room for the XTARs as well.

I got the UltraFire X1 which is slight bigger in diameter and slightly taller... and has a clip.  The X1 is a definite dud compared to any light.  It was a fun host to play with but it was becoming more and more frustrating as I kept at it.  I actually shouldn't be posting about the X1 in this same thread as the SKY*RAY G6.  It seems insulting Smile

fishinfool
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Great review Triker!  I really love stainless steel flashlights and it's been months since I bought a new light so maybe now is the time.  Oh wait....I spent all my money on knives. Frown

 

 

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

Be-Seen Triker
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DasFriek wrote:

So did you take the pics with the head out of the host? If so how did you get that far as i saw no way to do so without damage.

EDIT- I see it looks like it screws out from behind. If i make any mods ill post them, But im still waiting for all my drivers from KD to be delivered. 

oops... yes, there are two slots on the side of the pill that the small needle nose pliers fit into for unscrewing the pill.  There are a lot of threads to get past!

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Excellent review, mate Big Smile And excellent light, btw Silly What about tint? From your shots it looks very white.

sontakke
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Anybody received the DX FandyFire equivalent yet?

okwchin
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I have the skyway G6 and I considered the PWM flicker to be RIDICULOUSLY visible.... almost as bad as the UF-H2b from DD. I can even feel it without moving, and while walking everything is strobing.

The pwm frequency is just wayyyyyyyyyy too low.. I am considering a driver change to fix this, but the non-memory is handled pretty well for a 5 mode. Ill try to show the pwm in a picture later

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

Be-Seen Triker
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Okwchin, yours obviously has a different driver.  I ride my bike with it on med and low and it is very steady light.  It about doubles my spoke count on the wheels and the chain is smoother than any of my NANJG drivers.  I'll see if I can do a similar comparison when you post yours.

okwchin
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From Front/Left... SS, Al, Ti, SS

There is a beautiful flaring for the lanyard holes on the outside, really nice, but inside its sharp as.. Needed some fine deburing on the inside with a round 2mm HSS bur.

 

 

Nice consistent fine machine finish, really great to hold. The grooves have a very light sand/blast appearance, not really visible in a macro but a nice subtle touch.

 

 

Very clean laser? engraving. 

 

 

Photo is a 1/8 second shot, we see 24 flashes from the G6, therefore PWM frequency is under 200hz (~192).

The UF-H2b has 13 flashes, therefore PWM frequency is just over 100hz (~104)

From Left;

  1. Alum twisty based on the 105c 2.8A driver 3 mode memory on low. I would describe as visible PWM, but bearable
  2. Maratac AA SS, on low - slightly more visible pwm, bearable. You can Just see it on the top half of the light from this torch.
  3. G6 on low - Ridiculously low frequency PWM, Very annoying to me
  4. UF-H2b - SERIOUSLY visible pwm, moving my hand around i see individual fingers.. doesn't even need to be fast moving - Very very annoying.

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

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Comparing the fastest strobe on the predator vs the PWM of the G6... (should have included the UF-H2b in this pic too!! would almost the the same frequency)

 

From Left,

AA, AA, 18650, 18650 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

Be-Seen Triker
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You would think I could see that in low and medium when riding a bike since things fly by pretty darn fast... and I don't.  To me it all appears quite steady.

So how do I set up a shot like that?

okwchin
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Just have a camera set to delay (10 sec) and have an exposure time of about 1/8 (set exposure + or - a couple ev depending on your environment to get a 1/8 shot) and then wave the torches up or down. It usually takes several photos to get the timing right and the photo in the right spot.

 

Riding your bike should make any PWM under 1khz visible!! Walking is enough for mine to be annoying.. Was yours ordered in the first run? or did you have to wait for them to "restock". Mine was part of the second batch.

"like everyone else - I’m looking for my next “last” flashlight" -  ohnonothimagain

Be-Seen Triker
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Mine came after a significant wait from a PayPal glitch.  The order date was 6-16 but it wasn't shipped until maybe 6-26.  I'll work on the picture.  My wife is going to think I'm nuts waving my arms around though.  Oh wait, I -AM- nuts Smile

Be-Seen Triker
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I don't know how telling this is but this is 1/12th of a second with the G6 on low:

If my calculagtions are right and I see about 18 "flashes" in the image, it will agree with your ~200hz calculation.  In which case this is normal and for the "normal" eye, quite tolerable.  I don't see any motion studder except where you'd expect them, like bike chains, spokes, and tires.

 

sontakke
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Which one is the other 18650 torch?  Is it  custom one?  I saw 3 led's on it.  How come is it shorter than G6?

trooplewis
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Rats, I have gone about 45 days without hitting the "Confirm" button in Paypal.

Back to Day 1 again, waiting for a beige Manafont package to show up...

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

sb56637
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Really nice review, thanks! Sweet macro pictures as usual. Frontpage'd and Sticky'd. Sorry I'm late on this, I was away from my computer for a few days.

That's a real looker isn't it? It would be perfect with an XM-L, a clip, and 4 non-strobe modes. But as is, it looks like a great deal and a nice piece of work.

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

Be-Seen Triker
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Thanks! 

A clip would be very nice.  It wouldn't be hard to add with a few tapped holes on the tail.  I think an M3 tap should just about handle the lanyard holes.  I measure them at Ø2.4mm.

HID45
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NOOOOOO!!! I was too late! I'd intended to post a review about FandyFire XG-V5 during the weekend but I was too busy. Now you went and reviewed it's SkyRay counterpart before me. Big shame on you. Hmph. It doesn't matter. I will post it anyway. FandyFire is so much better than the useless Skyray clones anyway...

καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν

Be-Seen Triker
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Looking forward  to the FF review, HID.  "Clone Wars!"

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LOL, gladly pay the extra $3 to not have it say 'FandyFire' on that nice SS 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

Be-Seen Triker
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trooplewis wrote:

LOL, gladly pay the extra $3 to not have it say 'FandyFire' on that nice SS body...

I went for the Sky*Ray -just- because of the logo Silly

picrthis
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Yea I like the their logo AND name much better than fandyfire too, sounds too...well you know....

Fenix TK12, TK15, TK21-U2, TK61, TK75 Olight M20S, M21<span style="color: #0000ff;"

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how does this light compare to the kd C8 reviewed on this forum?

 

 

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