Review: KD C8 XP-L Hi

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Rolz
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Review: KD C8 XP-L Hi

The KD C8 line of torches has been around for years with newly released versions adopting the latest Cree LEDs. This newly released model comes with the Cree XP-L Hi and would be one of the cheapest torches on the market with this LED.

Not being an owner of any de-domed LEDs the appeal of an affordable XP-L Hi LED torch was very appealing. The specs of this new model looked impressive and although the driver current was listed a 2.5A, I suspected it was more in the region of 3A. The results show this to be correct. Overall I was impressed with the torch.

The torch was ordered on the 22nd July and arrived approximately 3 weeks later on the 5th  August. This was via the normal free shipping option offered by KD.

The torch arrived in a white box which contained some bubble wrap. The box was sent in a padded envelope. No damage suffered during transit.

Sellers/Manufacturers Specs

Multiple versions of the torch are sold by KD. These are,

  • C8M3T1 – 3 Mode (Med : 30% > Hi : 100% > Strobe) SMO Reflector
  • C8M3T2 – 3 Mode (Lo : 2% > Med : 35% > Hi : 100%) SMO Reflector
  • C8M3T3 – 3 Mode (Med : 30% > Hi : 100% > Strobe) OP Reflector
  • C8M3T4 – 3 Mode (Lo : 2% > Med : 35% > Hi : 100%) OP Reflector

The model reviewed here is the C8M3T2 version.

Features / Value: ★★★1/2

KD C8 C8M3T2 Cree XP-L HI V2 6500K 1600 Lumens 3-Mode SMO LED Flashlight - Black (1 x 18650)

http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S024268

 

Brand:

KD

Model:

C8M3T2

Flashlight Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Flashlight Color:

Black

Emitter Brand/Type:

Cree

Emitter BIN:

XP-L HI

Color BIN:

6500K White

Total Emitters:

1

Battery Configurations:

1 x 18650 Li-ion batteries (not included)

Voltage Input:

2.5V - 4.2V (4.5V MAX)

Switch Type:

Clicky

Switch Location:

Tail Cap

Modes:

3

Mode Memory:

-

Mode Arrangement:

Lo : 2% > Med : 35% > Hi : 100%

Circuitry:

Digital Regulated 2500mA Current Output

Brightness:

1600 lumens maximum brightness (manufacturer rated)

Runtime:

2 to 3 Hours (manufacturer rated)

Lens:

Coated Glass Lens

Reflector:

Aluminum Textured / SMO Reflector

Carrying Clip:

-

Carrying Strap:

Yes

Other Features:

Waterproof IPX-4 Standard

Dimension:

150mm (L) x 44.5mm (Dia. of Head) x 35mm (Dia. of Body)

Weight:

165g (not include battery)

Package Content:

1 x KD C8 C8M3T2 LED Flashlight

The listing describes the LED current as being 2500mA, which isn’t consistent with the driver included. The driver fitted to the torch appears to be the 3040mA version of the KD V2 LED Driver.

http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S020073

 Features:
- Current regulation for all output mode (no PWM flicks even at low mode)
- As low as 3mA-5mA for low output mode
- Eight programmable outputs
- Low voltage warning below 2.8V
- High mode: Constant regulated at 3040mA
- 1oZ copper PCB, immersion gold surface
- 1.6mm double sided PCB, 17mm diameter, 4.8mm height w/o spring, copper spring loaded positive

 

Voltage support: 2.5V-4.5V
Battery types: 1xLi-ion or 3xNiMH/alkaline
Output version: 3040ma
LED support: XM-L, P7, SST50, etc. (3*XP-E, 2*XP-G wired in parallel)
Low voltage warning: under 2.8V, reduce output to 35%, and flash once per minute
Last mode memory: By soldering the bridge at S1, you toggle this setting (default off - disconnected).
Programmable outputs: By soldering the bridge at S2, S3, and/or S4, you get different output modes. (see product image for detail output and connections)

The torch reviewed is a 3 mode model. This is set via solder tabs. The Low, Medium and High is my favorite combination. Being set via soldering on the driver it may be limiting to some who seek the flexibility of being able to use Strobe. The UI on torches such as the Convoy C8 which has multiple groups may be an advantage for some on this point.

The spacing between modes may not suite all. The low mode (2%) is very low. The brightness between Medium and high is far closer.

Design / Build Quality: ★★★★

 

The torch styling is typical of most C8’s. In the image below where is it very similar in shape to the Convoy C8 (Pill version). The quality of the host is excellent, it came with no imperfections.

 I’m unable to confirm the anodisation used here. May be type II.

 Threads are not too sharp, they are slightly square.

 

The host screws were lubed at the tail cap end.

 

 

The knurling of the body is good. Not quite as smooth as the Convoy, but well machined.

 

Tailcap comes with a solid brass cap and metal retaining ring. No GITD button cover, only plain black.

 

Tailcap switch disassembled

 

 Driver includes 8x7135 380mA regulators, 4 of which are visible on the bottom side of the PCB as per the photo below.

 

 Next is an image of the XP-L HI LED. The reflector is a smooth type made of Aluminium. The pill appears to be made of brass and is removable. The bin of the LED is unknown. According to item title it may be a V2.

 

 The pill is not glued in. It can be removed easily. The LED board appears to be 16mm x 1mm and is copper.

 

 Lens is approx. 2mm in width and may be plastic. Coating isn’t obvious.

 

 

Light Output: ★★★★☆

The light output is impressive.  Being a XP-L Hi with a smooth reflector it’s no surprise that it throws well. The centre spot is very focused. The three beam images below show the pattern. Images below taken at F4.0, ISO 100  and 1/320

Low (2%) is very low as mentioned earlier. The spot is visible with nil corona or spill.


 

 The medium setting (35%) brightness is significantly brighter. This time we see a much brighter spot with some rings in the corona. There is some spill.

 

On the High setting we again see the rings around the corona.  The tint appears a little warmer than the 6500k listed. I have many 1A Cree LED torches and this one shows a slightly yellower tint.

 

Tailcap and LUX readings.

The figures below are approximate as I’m slowly refining my approach to measuring tailcap currents and Lux. The LUX readings of the KD C8 were almost up there with the high performing HD2010 and well above the results achieved from the Convoy C8.

 

LED

Battery

Tail cap Current

Lux @ 1m

Estimated Throw (m)

Nitecore CU6

XP-G2 R5

 

 

9000

190

KD C8

XPL HI V2?

LG HE4

3.04A

37000

385

HD2010

XML T6 1A

LG HE4

6A

40000

400

Convoy C8 (OP)

XM-L U2 1B

Samsung 30B

2.8A

21000

290

The Nitecore CU6 was used to set a reference with measurements and used to “calibrate” my setup.

The recent arrival of LG HE4 batteries added another level of interest as I found that the tail cap current in my HD 2010 was measured at just over 6A. This was a big surprise and was quite different to the result achieved when using a freshly charged Samsung 30B battery (approx. 4.1A)

Tail cap readings, 

HIGH   3.04A, MEDIUM 0.9A and LOW 0.11A

The C8 design manages the heat well too. On high the head of the torch gradually warms, but not too hot to handle after 12 minutes.

Time (minutes)

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

Hotest Point (Celsius)

19.7

21.9

24.6

26.9

30.3

30.8

31.5

35.2

35.6

38.1

39.8

40.9

41.5


Conclusion

Overall I’m very pleased with the torch. The C8 continues to be a popular design due in part to its ability to be easily upgraded to newer drivers and LEDs.

The host design itself is not new, what sets this torch apart from other C8’s is the drop in. The 3.04A driver drives the XP-L Hi Led nicely leading to very good results on the high setting. For those on a budget seeking an affordable compact torch that throws well this is a good choice.

Reviewer's Rating: ★★★★☆

Pros:

  • 3.04A 8x7135 Driver
  • Nice thrower
  • 3 Light levels with Memory. LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH. Can be changed via soldering
  • Price is good considering the XP-L Hi is new to the market.

Cons:

  • Beam pattern is “ringy”
  • Low is very low.

 

Rolz
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zelee
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Can the ringy problem fixed with OP reflector?

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Rolz
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zelee wrote:
Can the ringy problem fixed with OP reflector?

Just searched around and found a spare OP reflector that fits. The beam profile is cleaner as the rings are no longer there. The throw would be reduced with the OP.

 

bibihang
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I was curious about this light for quite some time and thanks for giving us some insights of it. Smile

There is one strange thing with this light though. The current draw is 3.04A, which seems to be fine, but it only puts out 37kcd which is quite low for a domeless LED. I expect that it can produce at least 60kcd.

robo819
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Thanks for the review.

Does the ringy pattern show when you get outdoors with this light and use it under normal conditions? I have noticed on a few of mine they are ringy in close wall shots, but it goes away and undetectable outdoors even a little closer up.
If I didn’t already have 4-C8’s I might go for one of these.

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Rolz
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bibihang wrote:
I was curious about this light for quite some time and thanks for giving us some insights of it. Smile

There is one strange thing with this light though. The current draw is 3.04A, which seems to be fine, but it only puts out 37kcd which is quite low for a domeless LED. I expect that it can produce at least 60kcd.

Thanks for reading the review, it’s the first I’ve produced. The current draw is definitely around 3A. I checked it multiple times. The lux reading may be due to my test setup. The light meter used is a low end model LX1010BS. The readings were taken at 1.1m as that was the distance where the Nitecore CU6 measured 9000lux as per spec. I just tried the KD C8 with a fresh HE4 battery at about 1m and it scores higher at around 55k, peaks a little higher. The meter I have fluctuates alot. I was very conservative with the figures I posted

 

Rolz
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robo819 wrote:
Thanks for the review.

Does the ringy pattern show when you get outdoors with this light and use it under normal conditions? I have noticed on a few of mine they are ringy in close wall shots, but it goes away and undetectable outdoors even a little closer up.
If I didn’t already have 4-C8’s I might go for one of these.

Thanks. The rings are only noticeable at shorter ranges, outdoors not really noticeable to its a minor negative. I’ll post some thoughts on my outdoor experience as a followup

 

ri chevy
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Nice job with the review.

Rolz
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ri chevy wrote:
Nice job with the review.

Thanks. I’ll improve on my next attempt. Smile

 

MRsDNF
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Thanks for the review Rolz. That must of been you flashing the light around last night I saw. It looks like a nice light.

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

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Manx
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Thank you very much for the work.
If I’ll buy a C8, will buy one like this, XP-L rulezzz! :bigsmile:

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gaston01
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Hi

Thanks for the review Wink now the HD2010 at 6A only 40 kcds? Something here is not right :~

Sorry for my bad English…

Rolz
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Thanks guys for reading the review. I was happy to give it a go and I’ll produce a couple more in weeks to come. It’s interesting in working through some of the steps as I learnt more about the performance of the some of the other torches I have. I tend not to leave torches as stock but just changing out batteries can result in sizeable improvements in brightness. Based on the feedback I need to improve my light measuring techniques to be more accurate. I’ll look at another light meter and also test out more of my torches and compare the results to what others have measured.

 

twinclouds
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Good job!
How did you test the lux @1m? Did you put the lux meter directly in the light spot? >20000 lux sounds high to me. How large is the light disk at 1m in your case?

Twinclouds

Rolz
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twinclouds wrote:
Good job! How did you test the lux @1m? Did you put the lux meter directly in the light spot? >20000 lux sounds high to me. How large is the light disk at 1m in your case?

The method of testing for lux was to initially use the Nitecore torch to gauge the accuracy of the setup. I placed the light sensor on the floor and then observed the reading when I pointed the torch centre spot at the sensor. At a height/spacing of approx 1.1m between the sensor and the torch head I read 9000 lux. This was my reference for the next readings. For each of the other measurements I included in the report all were taken with fresh batteries at the adjusted spacing of 1.1m. The readings that resulted varied so I took a typical figure not the peak nor the lower end. Earlier this morning I did a recheck again with fresh batteries (HE4) and reduced the spacing to 1m. The measured lux was about 55k, it peaked at around 61k. The spot size of the light beam at 1m was about 9-10cm

 

gaston01
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I think you should measure a minimum of 6 meters….

Sorry for my bad English…

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O.K. Thanks. I will try it once I receive my Convoy C8.
Do you know the KD C8 that you reviewed has reverse battery protection?

Twinclouds

Rolz
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twinclouds wrote:
O.K. Thanks. I will try it once I receive my Convoy C8. Do you know the KD C8 that you reviewed has reverse battery protection?

Appears not. I checked the Kaidomain site and it lists the following comment for the driver

  • Do not short circuit, do not reverse battery polarity, warranty does not cover user damage.

See url http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S020073

 

Rolz
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gaston01 wrote:
I think you should measure a minimum of 6 meters….

I’ll aim to do that tonight outdoors and see what I measure. I’ll also take out the HD2010.

 

twinclouds
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9-10 cm is a very tight disk. I tried my WF502. It can get over 12000 lux for such a small disk, so it is possible to get larger readings with C8.

Twinclouds

Rolz
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gaston01 wrote:
Hi

Thanks for the review Wink now the HD2010 at 6A only 40 kcds? Something here is not right :~

It doesn’t appear to be correct. I’ll re-test outdoors at 5-6m. I’ll do some checking to see what should be expected from a stock HD2010 5A+. Do you know what Lux reading I could expect 1m?

I’ll try a couple of batteries too. The actual measurement was 6.3A on the HD2010 which amazed me.

 

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Rolz wrote:
gaston01 wrote:
Hi

Thanks for the review Wink now the HD2010 at 6A only 40 kcds? Something here is not right :~

It doesn’t appear to be correct. I’ll re-test outdoors at 5-6m. I’ll do some checking to see what should be expected from a stock HD2010 5A+. Do you know what Lux reading I could expect 1m?

I’ll try a couple of batteries too. The actual measurement was 6.3A on the HD2010 which amazed me.

In a thower If you look at the beam pointing to the sky you’ll see that in the first meters in the center beam has no light in the central part, for that reason is the error in reading a few meters…

My HD2010 standart xml was around 48/50 kcd std 18650 (not INR)

Sorry for my bad English…

Rolz
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I’ve measure the Lux @5m and found the KD C8 scores 1260 and the HD2010 1590. These translate to results similar to what I list in the table. Both torches perform very well outdoors with a nice spot light. Possibly my light meter. I need to explore further to work out whats wrong.

 

bibihang
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You get 31.5kcd by measuring at 5 meters? That is strange. :~

I think your lux meter is fine. I always use my cheapo HS1010 lux meter from Fasttech to measure my lights and the readings make sense (I made comparisons with other forum members here), and I believe your LX1010BS is even better than my HS1010.

You use HE4 and measured 55kcd at 1m, but when you measure it at 5m it is 31.5kcd, something seems to be not right to me…

Anyway thanks for your effort to share and answer our questions here. Smile

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Hi,

For the rings, can you adjust the position of the emitter relative to the reflector hole (without shorting things)? I don’t know if that matters since the emitter is dedomed, but might help.

Rolz
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Guys thanks for your feedback again. My lux figures seem too low. The torch visibly performs very well outdoors and throws almost as well as my HD2010 @ 6A. I’ll need to review my process as it’s not yielding results that are consistent with whats expected.

 

Rolz
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ohaya wrote:
Hi,

For the rings, can you adjust the position of the emitter relative to the reflector hole (without shorting things)? I don’t know if that matters since the emitter is dedomed, but might help.

May be possible via removal of the white LED protector that covers the wiring terminals. I’ll have a look later to see if its ok to do so without shorting. It would only result in a very minor shift of the placement of the reflector relative to the LED. That may be all that is needed.

 

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This can't be correct.

This means there is no advantage to the XP-L HI over a standard domed XM-L emitter since any really good C8 with a deeper reflector can visually compete with the throw of an HD2010, but not out throw it. Another mentioned his KD HI C8 out-throwing his stock HD2010 by some margin. I know that has to be true because I have the XP-L HI drop-in and it can throw about like a lesser C8 (with 41 mm head). Hmm.

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Rolz
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Rusty Joe wrote:

This can’t be correct.

This means there is no advantage to the XP-L HI over a standard domed XM-L emitter since any really good C8 with a deeper reflector can visually compete with the throw of an HD2010, but not out throw it. Another mentioned his KD HI C8 out-throwing his stock HD2010 by some margin. I know that has to be true because I have the XP-L HI drop-in and it can throw about like a lesser C8 (with 41 mm head). Hmm.

The very good stock HD2010 I have draws 6A on a HE4. Visually my HD2010 has slightly more throw than the KD C8 XP-L HI. They are my findings.

 

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There was a bazillion different HD2010 lights made with varying differences. I cant see how you can compare someone's findings with another. It just isn't going to be the same and only causes confusion trying to compare them. Keep knocking yourselves out if you like though. 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".

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