Review - SolarStorm SC01 AA flashlight

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old4570
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Review - SolarStorm SC01 AA flashlight

 

 

Flashlight was purchased : for twenty something aussi bananas from one of the online merchants not fleabay . 

So what I have is a SolarStorm SC01 , 1xAA or 1x14500 with a reported ( more later ) 3 modes , lo to high with hidden flash .

I have to say the build quality looks to be excellent , so far nothing to complain about :  ( Nothing ) 

Lents look at performance first : 

Nimh 1 )  Lo - 0.1A - 12Lumen , Hi - 0.83A - 110L

Nimh 2 ) Lo - 0.1A - 13L , Hi - 0.83A - 118L

Nimh 3 ) Lo - 0.1A - 13L , Hi - 0.83A - 122L

Alkaline ) Lo - 0.1A - 14L , Hi - 0.85A - 126L

Dry Cell 1 ) Lo - 0.09A - 9L , Hi - 0.7A - 65L

Dry Cell 2 ) Lo - 0.1A - 12L , Hi - 0.84A - 100L

Lithium ) Lo - 0.1A - 14L , Hi - 0.85A - 136L-110L 

So let me explain , there is very little if any heat related sag , in this light what I was seeing was voltage related sag . As you switch the light into high , it takes while for the battery to stabilize its power output , as the voltage drops under load so does the output until a sustained voltage is reached . 

Hidden Mode :

 Well , strobe is not really hidden ( there is apparently a hidden mode , more soon ) . So to access strobe just turn on the light ( single click ) and then double click and the light should be strobbing away like a sick little puppy . Just click one more time to exit strobe mode and the light will still be in the mode you were in originally . 

Lo - High :

To change modes is easy , the light operates in a sequence : Click once to turn it on , click one more time for high and then again to turn it off .. ( Thats it ) 

Ramping Lo :

You have some control over Lo mode . Turn the light on , your in low mode . Then click again but hold the button down ( dont let it back up ) .. The light should ramp up to start with until it flashes . When it flashes its as high as it will ramp , but not quite as high as in high mode . To go down just push and hold again , but it will not ramp down . It will simply start from the lowest and ramp up again , so if you want it low , you will need to be quick . 

Super secret mode : ( moon mode )

I dont know if anyone has actually mentioned the moon mode ? Anyhow here we go :

When you go to turn on the light , push and hold the button down for about 2 seconds , the light should now start in moon mode . 

Moon mode - 0.04A - 4L 

To get out of moon mode just click once and the light will turn off . 

Electronic switch : 

There is an initial 0.06A current drain , but then it goes into hibernation and my MM cant detect any current .. It only takes a few seconds to go into hibernation , and to bring it out just a light touch on the switch does the job and then there is a detectable 0.06A current for a few seconds before the switch goes back into hibernation . 

 

Conclusion : 

From my limited time with the Solarstorm SC01 , I have to say this is a lot of light for the money . If you are a AA fanboy or girl and you dont have this one in your collection . So far I have nothing , nada  zip , negative to report . 

So far its all good . Ok on AA's it does not have insane output , but for the current draw its acceptable . I havent tried a 14500 ( no longer a 14500 fan ) , and Im not sure I want to bother as it works well with just a decent NIMH ( AA ) . So far this light is pushing all the right buttons for me , and as long as nothing goes wrong id say we have another very good AA flashlight to chose from , and this one is definitely on the budget side of $$ .

If anyone else out there owns this light , push the button and hold for about 2 seconds and see if you get moon mode ... 

 

 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 02/10/2015 - 23:46
akoposilester
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i also have this one too. though i dont use AA. i think its much brighter if you use 14500.
from moon mode you can also double click to enter strobe mode

i like sc03 better sc01.

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unknown00101
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Mine does indeed have a moon mode (with a 14500 it’s more like a low-low). I’ve been using it pretty much every single night for the past 2 months. I have been exclusively using a 14500 in mine (after some initial testing on AA). One issue I’ve run into is the fact that using it in bursts and mostly in moon the low voltage warning(if there is one) doesn’t kick in. So after 3-4 weeks of nightly short bursts eventually it will just not turn on. Though a quick battery swap and all is well again.

Overall it is quite a nice light especially for the price. I’ve given a few to relatives for AA use and hear lots of praise for the little light.

keengeorge
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G'Day old4570, Smile

 

Great review!

 

Thank You Very Much,

George

MRsDNF
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As George said, thanks for the review. I keep telling myself I have to many lights. Smile

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

old4570
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MRsDNF wrote:

As George said, thanks for the review. I keep telling myself I have to many lights. Smile

Yep . every time I pivot my head to the left as I sit in front of my computer I can look upon the bulk of my flashlight collection : 

For some strange reason there seems to always be room for one more ..  ( One day that shelf may be full )  

 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 ….

 

MRsDNF
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Or break of. Laughing

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

Chicken Drumstick
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Thanks for the review. I have the 18650 version.

Sadly I think its a dreadful light.

Tactile build quality is fine, as is output and beam.

But that UI !!!!!!!

Has to be about the worst UI I’ve ever used, so f***ing annoying, as no matter what mode you want, you end up having to use both of them.

If you you want low. Try turning the light off without getting high.

If you want high, try getting to it without using the low mode first.

The side switch also isn’t nice for clicking through the modes quick either, so to get to high feels like hard work.

The low mode also has some pretty awful PWM too, which makes it quite useless for many tasks.

And to top it all, the rubber boot on the side switch fell off mine and is a PITA to put back and now falls off even easier.

totilde
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I use a trick for this light. It seems like it was meant to have a clicky in the tailcap, I mean, it has mode memory. I leave it in low and unscrew that battery cap a bit; it switches off, and will switch on again in low where needed screwing back the cap.
Installing a click would solve the problems mentioned by chicken drumstick, leaving the electronic switch for mode changing (and avoiding standby power consumption, and accidental switching too)

Mooooooo

old4570
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Chicken Drumstick wrote:
Thanks for the review. I have the 18650 version. Sadly I think its a dreadful light. Tactile build quality is fine, as is output and beam. But that UI !!!!!!! Has to be about the worst UI I've ever used, so f***ing annoying, as no matter what mode you want, you end up having to use both of them. If you you want low. Try turning the light off without getting high. If you want high, try getting to it without using the low mode first. The side switch also isn't nice for clicking through the modes quick either, so to get to high feels like hard work. The low mode also has some pretty awful PWM too, which makes it quite useless for many tasks. And to top it all, the rubber boot on the side switch fell off mine and is a PITA to put back and now falls off even easier.

ooops , there is something I forgot to mention , yes the PWM is noticeable , and yes working through the modes is a PITA but thankfully its a two mode light ..

But bear in mind the price , and for the price I can live with it ..  If it was a 4 mode light , I would probably tire of going through all the modes in a hurry ..

As is , not only can I live with it , I do like it ( So far ) .

Funny thing about budget AA lights , a lot of them become problematic  over time , so I am actually looking forward to seeing how this one goes long term .

The number of Good AA lights in my collection is small , very small . The rest have developed quirks I find tiresome ..

So is this one going to be on the short list , or is it going to become quirky ?    

 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 ….

 

Billy X
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I have the SC03 , 16340 or CR2 size.Thanks for the review , because I had forgotten , or never knew , about the ramping from lo and the moonlight mode Shocked .I’ve checked and they are there.
I have been using mine for work , but do not need it often.It can go for a month in summer without being used and the parasitic drain has killed one TF flame (not bothered) and brought an E-fest IMR V2 to under 2 volts (they can take it….once)so now I lock out at the tailcap and use a KeepPower protected cell.
I was going to cycle it with other lights , but with the new found modes , it can go to work a bit longer.
I won mine in a Givaway from Southland Beer

mrmatt
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Good review, I have this light as well. My personal observations:

+‘s
I also like the IU – one click for low, two for high, and hold it from off for lowest. I don’t think it has memory(?)
Machining is good, has a good feel and no (too) sharp edges
Has shiny bezel, tailstands, lockout, positive feedback ‘click’ on the switch
-‘s
PWM is too low and annoying for my taste (the highest mode does not have it though)
Finish/anodizing is very basic, I like a better finish on a light

It’s a glove box light for me, if not for the two -‘s I’d use it a lot more

Chicken Drumstick
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totilde wrote:
I use a trick for this light. It seems like it was meant to have a clicky in the tailcap, I mean, it has mode memory. I leave it in low and unscrew that battery cap a bit; it switches off, and will switch on again in low where needed screwing back the cap.
Installing a click would solve the problems mentioned by chicken drumstick, leaving the electronic switch for mode changing (and avoiding standby power consumption, and accidental switching too)

You are right, just tried it and yep, sure enough it works a treat. Thanks Smile

Now if only I could find a tailcap switch that fits, tried all my 18650 lights and nothing matches the thread. Although I’m not sure how you’d access the moonlight mode with another switch?

sb56637
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old4570 wrote:
From my limited time with the Solarstorm SC01 , I have to say this is a lot of light for the money

I agree, this is a pretty nice light for the price. I just received mine from BangGood:
http://www.banggood.com/SolarStrom-SC01-CREE-XML2-U2-T6-AA14500-LED-Flas...
I used a code to get the price down to around $12, which is a mighty nice price for what you get:

Pros:

  • Really nice neutral white color!
  • Low and high modes with hidden strobe, perfect.
  • Slightly lower hidden moon mode (while off hold the power button for a few seconds)
  • Even has ramping mode: while in low mode hold it to ramp up. It even has a thoughtful flash-‘n’-pause when it reaches the highest level
  • Nice size and construction, basically a poor man’s Olight S15.
  • Impressive output with a 14500! It’s visually much brighter than my Olight S15R, which is also running Li-Ion.

Cons:

  • It was a bit flickery at first, not like a physical switch / connection problem, but rather something funky happening with the electronic circuitry that made it kind of oscillate in brightness. It seems to have calmed down now.

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old4570
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Did I post this review early ( Feb ) 2015 ..

To date nothing has happened , the light runs as well as the day I got it .

To date I have not put a 14500 through it , ( To many bad experiences in the past ) 

sb56337 Mentioned : It was a bit flickery at first, not like a physical switch / connection problem, but rather something funky happening with the electronic circuitry that made it kind of oscillate in brightness

I wonder if this was before or after putting in a 14500 , as for me this has often occurred after trying a 14500 . 

The other thing it could be is a poor connection ...  ( Lose pill or driver ) 

Anyhow , back to mine .. 

To date Zero issues , and the electronic switch has not drained the battery .. ( As they often did in the past ) . 

I have left a nimh in the light for ( ? ) , damn it !!!  I actually dont remember how long it is now ... I charged the battery and then left the light on my desk for , is it 6 months now ( I have lost track ) .

I might have charged the battery in June ...  

The only other AA light I have used this year is the Solarforce Z2 , and I recharged the battery for that 2 months ago .. 

Anyhow , the SC01 still ticks all the boxes for me , and it is slowly becoming part of a very rare breed of AA light , one that does not become problematic over time . 

And yeah , I havent put a 14500 in it , and looks like I never will .  

 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 ….

 

akoposilester
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only cons for me is the lanyard hole is very brittle. dropped it less than a feet and the hole broke. cannot use lanyard anymore. though i really never used lanyard before. lol

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People have had issues with these lights up and dying on them …For me so far so good .i think i paid about 13$ as well and besides the PWM on low i really kind of like the light .One main reason it gets love from me is it has the very best 3C tint I’ve ever seen before .I’ve never had anything but foul green 3c tints in the past so i was ecstatic to see such a great tint . the clip looks a bit strange and i still think side button AA lights feel a little odd but for me it’s been a good purchase .I would also suggest using a 14500 in it because it gets much much brighter with one in it .

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

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old4570 wrote:
I wonder if this was before or after putting in a 14500

Before. The first battery I tried was an Eneloop, and it was immediately flickery. I still think it’s some kind of an electronic problem, because it was more like brightness oscillation. It mainly seems to happen after changing the battery, and maybe after that the issue resolves itself after a capacitor gets charged or something.

Quote:
and the electronic switch has not drained the battery .. ( As they often did in the past ) . 

I have left a nimh in the light for ( ? ) , damn it !!!  I actually dont remember how long it is now … I charged the battery and then left the light on my desk for , is it 6 months now ( I have lost track )

Great to know! That was my other concern.

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amoocow
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I wouldn’t mind paying around $11-12 for the SolarStorm SC01. I’m always looking for a nice budget-friendly AA, N/W with a side switch, but will likely pass at the current banggood price of $15.99. Sounds like an excellent EDC though.

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Quote:
And yeah , I havent put a 14500 in it , and looks like I never will .

Please, can you explain why? Why you don’t like 14500’? Thank you very much.

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old4570
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Manx wrote:
Quote:
And yeah , I havent put a 14500 in it , and looks like I never will .
Please, can you explain why? Why you don't like 14500'? Thank you very much.

Many of the cheaper AA lights ran fine on AA , but after using a 14500 ( which the light was supposed to support ) , they have developed flickering , or the driver has simply fried . So with the last few AA lights I have avoided the 14500 altogether , and they have been trouble free . ( Coincidence ( ? ) , possibly ) 

But then I am happy with their output  , and I dont need the boosted output that the 14500 offers .  

Seriously , a modern AA light is almost as good or as good as a P60 host from 5 years ago ... 

5 Years ago people used to rave about 200 Lumens like it was a gift from God , now they scoff at it like its nothing . ( How quickly things change ) 

I wonder what will be 5 years from now ( ? ) 

 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 ….

 

Manx
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Quote:
Many of the cheaper AA lights ran fine on AA , but after using a 14500 ( which the light was supposed to support ) , they have developed flickering , or the driver has simply fried . So with the last few AA lights I have avoided the 14500 altogether , and they have been trouble free . ( Coincidence ( ? ) , possibly )
But then I am happy with their output , and I dont need the boosted output that the 14500 offers .
Seriously , a modern AA light is almost as good or as good as a P60 host from 5 years ago …

5 Years ago people used to rave about 200 Lumens like it was a gift from God , now they scoff at it like its nothing . ( How quickly things change )
I wonder what will be 5 years from now ( ? )

You’re right, thanx a lot.

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