Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)

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maukka
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Nitecore EC4SW measurements (2x18650, neutral white)


Made from a solid block of aero grade aluminum alloy, the Nitecore EC4SW has a unique look to it. It is very comfortable to hold, even though there has been reports of varying machining quality to the knurling and edges. My sample has a bit of graininess to the tailcap threads even after cleaning and lubing with a silicon grease.

Manufacturer specifications

  • Battery type: 2×18650, 4x CR123A, 4x RCR123/16340
  • LED: Cree MT-G2
  • Color temperature: Neutral white
  • Body material: Aluminum, die-cast unibody
  • Waterproof: Yes, IPX-8
  • Impact resistance: 1.5 m
  • Switch type: Dual side clicky (power, mode)
  • Lens: Glass
  • Reflector: Orange peel, micro-texture
  • Battery protection: Voltage indicator, battery polarity
  • Regulation: Advanced Temperature Regulation (ATR)
  • Tail stand: Yes
  • Tripod threads: Yes (tail)
  • Length: 151,3 mm
  • Head width: 40,1 mm
  • Minimum handle width: 25,2 mm
  • Weight: 172 g
  • Price: $97.95 at nitecorestore.com


Manufacturer information. ANSI/NEMA FL1 data measured with 2x Nitecore 18650 2600 mAh and 2x Nitecore CR123 1700 mAh batteries.

  • Modes: 5
  • Special modes: Beacon (0,5 Hz), sos, strobe (16 Hz)
  • Mode memory: Yes
  • Button lock: Yes
  • Direct access from off: Ultralow, Turbo, Strobe
  • Beam throw: 238 m
  • Beam intensity: 14200 cd

Included in the package:
Nitecore EC4SW flashlight
Hard nylon holster
Lanyard
User manual

The UI is simple and intuitive. With the two buttons, power on and mode, the operation is simple, even though cycling both ways (up/down) is not possible.

There’s direct access to Ultralow, Turbo and Strobe. Ultralow is activated from off by pressing the on/off switch for about one second. Turbo activates similarly with the mode switch. Strobe is accessible from off by double clicking the mode switch.

When the light is on, holding the mode switch enters strobe mode and additional long presses cycle through beacon/sos/strobe.


Strobe has a 16 Hz cycling frequency. Beacon has a short flash every 2 seconds.

The buttons can be locked out by pressing and holding both switches for a second when the light is off. This prevents accidental activation. Unlocking is done in the same way.

There is no low voltage protection, but a power indicator can estimate the remaining life in the batteries. This is done by pressing the mode switch when the light is off. Three blinks means that the charge is over 50 %, two blinks means under 50 % and one blink means close to depletion. Battery indicator also activates automatically after inserting new batteries and screwing the tailcap in.


Cree MT-G2 with a finely textured orange peel reflector.


The tailcap is screwed in and it has a tripod thread.

The tint is neutral white (4960 K) with no discernible hue towards green or magenta. According to my measurements, the tint is purest on turbo. Color rendering at 72 is only average, but the neutral tint makes up for it. Just don’t use the light to do critical color work.



Nitecore EC4SW (2×18650), Eagletac D25LC2 (18650), Zebralight H600Fd III (18650)

Measurements
Please note: lumen measurements are only rough estimates
My diy 30/40 cm integrating styrofoam spheres have been calibrated using a Fenix E05 on high with manufacturer’s claim of 85 lumens. Verified with an Olight S10 that has been measured with a Labsphere FS2 integrating sphere by valostore.fi. Results may be more inaccurate with especially throwy or floody lights.

For spectral information and CRI calculations I have an X-rite i1Pro spectrophotometer with HCFR for the plot and ArgyllCMS spotread.exe for the data. For runtime tests I use spotread.exe with a custom script and a i1Display Pro because it doesn’t require calibration every 30 minutes like the i1Pro.

Explanation of abbreviations
CCT = correlated color temperature, higher temperature means cooler (bluish)
CRI (Ra) = color rendering index consisting of 8 different colors (R1-R8), max value 100
CRI (R9) = color rendering index with deep red, usually difficult for led based light sources, max value 100
TLCI = television lighting consistency index, max value 100
CQS (Qa) = Proposed replacement for CRI, RMS average of 15 color samples
CRI2012 (Ra,2012) = Another proposed replacement for CRI, consists of 17 color samples
MCRI = Color rendering index based on the memory of colors or 9 familiar objects
x,y = coordinates on a CIE 1931 chart



I was not able to verify the claimed lumen output of 2000. With my 40 cm diy styrofoam sphere and using a pair of LG MH1 18650 batteries I measured 1705 lumens at 0 seconds and 1590 lumens at 30 seconds. Neither Samsung 30Q or Sanyo NCR18650BL had any notable effect to output. Take the output measurements with a grain of salt though, since the sphere is far from perfect and I don’t have a verified reference light with this high of an output and a similar beam profile. Also the advertised beam intensity is significantly higher than what I measured (14200 cd vs. 10000 cd), but then again, none of my lux meters are calibrated.

The output is consistently 20 % lower than advertised down to Medium. However, Low only provides about half of the listed lumens. I really don’t know what is going on in here. Maybe these anomalies have something to do with the new driver, which does not have PWM like the earlier revisions and the specs just have not been updated yet.

Spectral distribution (Turbo)

Color rendering (Turbo)

Read more on color rendering indices here: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/44570#node-44570

Beam and tint

The beam angle is 62° with a hotspot of 20°.



The tint has a slight shift in the spill with a visibly warmer area in the corona around the hotspot. Generally the variation is quite moderate and is only distracting when lighting up a white surface. In practice the whole beam looks quite natural all the way to the outer edges. Still not as consistent as in the frosted Zebralights for example.


Tint in different brightness modes

PWM
There is no pwm on any mode.
Note: older revisions have been reported to have PWM on the lower modes.

Runtime (Turbo and High)

Batteries used: 2x LG MH1 with a rated capacity of 3200 mAh (0.62 A to 2.5 volts). I measured 3000 mAh at 1 A down to 3.0 volts with a SkyRC MC3000.
Runtime was significantly longer than advertised. On turbo I got 1 hour 50 minutes to 10 % as opposed to the stated 45 minutes. Nitecore has done their runtime tests (down to 10 % according to ANSI/NEMA FL1) with a pair of 2600 mAh batteries, which still doesn’t explain the difference.
On high, the output is rock solid until 2 hours 23 minutes when it starts to slowly decline and reaches 50 % at 2 hours 53 minutes and finally 10 % at 3 hours 15 minutes.

Temperature and regulation
Temperature tests were done in room temperature (24°C).

The ATR (Advanced Thermal Regulation) function works really well. The output is regulated to keep the head at about 65°C max. When the light is cooled the output increases correspondingly. You can repeat this process as many times as you like.


Thermal image taken on Turbo at 45 minutes with alternating fan on and off (see runtime above). The heat spreads evenly just like advertised. Difference between the hottest part and the average on the handle is only about 5 degrees after the light has had time to reach equilibrium. Even after 5 minutes the difference is only about 10 degrees.


First 5 minutes on Turbo without a fan.
Edited by: maukka on 02/13/2016 - 16:20
will34
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Thanks, I enjoy reading your tests. This is the first time I see ATR in action, in another review of a nitecore with ATR is just shuts off when got hot.

Impressive thermal image, the unibody design really does its job.

lightx
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Thanks for the great review.
Max output in this review is 1570 lumens
On EC50 II review, EC4SW max output (as comparison) is 1730 lumens
Can you explain the difference? Is it just because of the batteries?

maukka
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lightx wrote:
Thanks for the great review. Max output in this review is 1570 lumens On EC50 II review, EC4SW max output (as comparison) is 1730 lumens Can you explain the difference? Is it just because of the batteries?

New integrating sphere.

lightx
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Last seen: 3 years 3 weeks ago
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maukka wrote:
lightx wrote:
Thanks for the great review. Max output in this review is 1570 lumens On EC50 II review, EC4SW max output (as comparison) is 1730 lumens Can you explain the difference? Is it just because of the batteries?

New integrating sphere.

Ah.. right, I missed that part. Calibrated using R50. Thanks buddy.