Review: New Thorfire C8s from Amazon, Updated with 3+ Amps on new driver.

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ReManG
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Review: New Thorfire C8s from Amazon, Updated with 3+ Amps on new driver.

Thorfire has released an updated version of their take on the venerable C8 flashlight. The new model is designated a C8S and does have some improvements to the driver and body worth note. I PM’d Thorfire here on BLF when they posted looking for reviewers, and they sent me a code for a deep discount on this light. Just to get that straight, I got this light for a very cheap price, the compensation I am getting for doing this review. I did not say that this was going to be a positive review to them, so should there be any negatives, they will be mentioned.

Another good review to read by member freefly is HERE Linked back to him as he linked to my review, he has some great beam shots in the review.

Thorfire has an advantage over any other budget light that I have found, they have a strong presence on Amazon.com, as can be seen HERE . This eliminates having to do the long wait from China, and their pricing remains very competitive on Amazon, considering most of their stuff is available via Prime and can be at your door in two days with that option…. In fact, I ordered this light Thursday evening and it was delivered 04-03-2016, on the Amazon Sunday deliveries, pretty fast. The typical, and well done, Thorfire box was well padded with foam and bubble wrap, there was the light, a operating manual, a lanyard and a couple of extra O-rings included.

The new Convoy clip does NOT fit this model, the new tail cap does not let it sit close enough to the body for a good grip. The threads are a beautiful square cut and came well lubricated, a good thing on a light and it seems Thorfire wants to make its customers happy.


They have a great 40 day warranty (plus Amazon protections) and if your light fails within two years, they repair it for cost of the components. They have a US address for this, so no need to ship a $25 light back to China with $30 in shipping costs…

On to the differences…
The physical size is unchanged, the head diameter and length remain close enough to call the same. In fact, at first glance, the C8S is almost indistinguishable from their earlier 3+5 mode C8. Upon a second look, there is now some difference noted at the tail end of the light. There are larger lanyard holes, and the ring around the button is cut away to allow gloved hands or actuation by pressing on a corner of something should you have the other hand full. There is also knurling now on the tailcap. All of these are improvements and there is no functionality lost. The Knurling looks great. The light still tailstands and the larger lanyard holes are easier to use, some small clips may even fit now. All net improvements to a classic design.




The finish on their original C8 (one of my favorites, and the first light I ordered due to BLF) was a good matte anodized finish. The new C8S takes this to an almost parkerized look and feel for a matte finish. I really like it, though some will not. But it is a flat finish and non-reflective for those that like this look. Pocket or holster wear will make it look good, as the matte will polish out in the rubbed areas… It is even and with no flaws visible out of the package, where it was well wrapped for delivery.

Starting at the head, taking the bezel off, the reflector looks to be the same dimensions, but a bit better finished than my original stock C8. There is no “pill” anymore that can thread out with the driver and emitter, instead, the emitter sits on a solid shelf carved from the head itself. This should make for better thermal transfer and allow you to mod the light to run hotter if you wanted. There is one drawback that I see with this, in the old C8 with the pill, the MCPCB the LED is on, it was held in place by screws. On the new shelf version it is not. Now the reflector has to hold the board to the head, so changing the LED will still be possible, but getting focus and the reflector to sit down hard enough to keep the LED board pressed onto the head for good thermal transfer may be a bit more tricky. On the plus side, a couple of my mods with the threaded pill were a pain to keep the pill at the right level until the loctite took effect. The fixed shelf will now require sanding of plastic spacers or shimming, neither of which is a big deal, except to get it just right… Thankfully those parts are cheap and plentiful.



Taking the driver out of the light is still done via a threaded retaining ring, thankfully. All to many manufacturers are soldering the drivers in or making use of pressed in rings, having a threaded one means that us modders will have an easier time… The driver is now Moonlight-Low-Medium-High and a hidden strobe that can be accessed from any mode via a quick double tap of the tail switch. The tailswitch is a reverse clicky, which works well in this kind of light. A forward clicky can be installed as it could in the older C8, with a couple of mods to the washer and maybe filing of the switch corners. Honestly, I have never put a forward clicky into a C8, they are great with the regular reverse clicky switch to me, never seemed worth the effort… It can be done, search here on BLF for how to…



On to the driver, which is very improved over the old 8×7135 3+5 mode one that was just sufficient for modes (couldn’t stand the blink on low to change modes, didn’t bother me at first…) and very nice on power at the rated 3A. This is some kind of torrid/fet/chip driver that has four well spaced modes. The Moonlight is nice, and while on something like a C8 where it is just a small ball of light on the floor with almost no spill on ML, it has its uses and is a valuable mode to me. I would rather have a ML mode than not. It makes for a nice nightlight for instance… The Low and Medium are about matched visually with the original C8 driver levels, very useful for more than ML level in the case of low. In the case of Medium, less than High, but at a big savings in mah on the battery. The reality when measured by a quick check of the amps is that the new C8S is much more efficient on lower modes. The Moonlight mode is about 15ma, Low is 80ma and Medium is 600ma. Compared to the 3+5 mode driver where low is 140ma, and Medium is 1A, there is much more runtime available in the new C8S on anything other than High. I did this with regular multimeter leads, I will get the clamp on meter tomorrow at work and check it out for better numbers. Right now though, a 2000mah battery will get you 3 hours and 20 minutes of medium, that is a good runtime for the output. The low will run over 23 hours and Moonlight can run over 130 hours, good times for the levels. The older 3+5 driver would give about 14 hours on low, and 2 hours on medium…

When we get to High level, the new driver beats the old. How much do you say? By enough that unless they were closing out the old C8 at less than $15, I would order this one at $25 to give away to someone new in lights, and they would have a great light with an even better High level than the old C8. Remember, the old C8’s were no slouch in their own regards, this one just bests it. Nothing like more lumen. My Lux meter says it beats it by about 20%, 14000lux at 1M for the 3+5 mode, and 17400lux at 1M for the new driver. I have no integrating sphere yet, and have not done a ceiling bounce test to my satisfaction, so I will not guess the lumen… On skinny multimeter leads, 2.4A for the 3+5 mode driver, and 2.6A for the new C8S driver. I will get better amp readings tomorrow with the clamp on meter at work. The C8S is visually brighter than the old one on high as well.

There is also a hidden strobe mode on this light. I am not a fan in general of strobes, but this one is easy to access, but not in the cycle of regular modes. Lets say you were out on the side of the road to change a tire, using this light. Keeping an eye on the nearby traffic, a quick double tap on the switch from whatever mode you were in, puts out a good strobe to bring drivers awareness up that someone is on the side of the road, a quick tap and you are back at your original mode. A strobe like this, well executed like it is in the C8S is welcome. I am sure on occasion that it will be activated while accessing another level too quickly, but I can live with it. The driver in the C8S also has mode memory, the book states it is after 2 seconds on the level before you turn the light off to get it to memorize the level. This seems about right when in use. The big feature and upgrade in my opinion, this has some form of Off Time Memory. What does this mean? One click to change levels from another level, no matter how long you have been on the previous level. This is different from the Qlite driver in the older C8, you had to bump the switch twice after you had been in a mode more than three seconds or so, to get to the next mode. This one you just bump once, it is very nice to see this in a stock driver.

Another beamshot gif this one is side by side with the levels.

In conclusion, this light is an improvement in finish, output, User Interface (UI) and ergonomics over its predecessor C8 from Thorfire. Is it worth the $5 price difference? It is! Just the driver alone is worth $5 more in a good stock light like this, in my opinion. The modes are well spaced with no visible PWM and the hidden strobe is there if you need it. The increased output from the driver on High will be useful and is always appreciated too. The tailcap is nicer in feel and the larger lanyard holes are good to keep the light with you as well. I personally like the (even more) matte finish myself, though I know that some will not. It will wear well and look awesome when it is broken in.

Are their any other improvements I would like to see on this C8S? None off the top of my head as far as the majority of the light is concerned. I would like a NW emitter and perhaps an XP-G2 option for more throw, but in reality, this is a great light stock, so that is all I can think to “improve”.

Update:

Did some readings today with the clamp on ammeter. The light outdoes the old 3+5 mode driver in the previous C8 by a good amount….

Moonlight: 42 hours runtime on a 3000mah 18650

Low: 27 hours runtime on a 3000mah 18650

Medium: 3.5 hours runtime on a 3000mah 18650

High: 3+ Amps! About 1 hour runtime on a 3000mah 18650

Previous version 3+5 mode “3A” driver” on High @ 2.39A

So this one lives up to the promise of improved output by far. A good job by Thorfire on improving the driver.

Some more pics of the lanyard holes and how far the battery can go into the C8s, plenty of room for protected cells.



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Edited by: ReManG on 04/05/2016 - 20:32
MRsDNF
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Thanks for the review RMG. Do you know of anywhere else the rest of the world can buy from? I have one of there older ones and like it.

 

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Thanks for the review. Nice comparison of beam shots!

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Great review. Thanks for all the effort you put into it. Good pics. Informative teardown.

Thanks.

 

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Thanks for the review! I was hoping for a pill design though…

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Thanks for the review.
This seems to be at least the 2nd version of C8s. I got one C8s in the beginning of this year which much looks like the old one (tail-part without knurling and opening for thumbs), with non removable pill and screws for the MCPCB (maybe they only printed C8s onto an old C8). I got 2 more C8s a few weeks ago, same as the one you tested. And there seems to be a 3rd version, where the pictures indicate the removable pill is back:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/45784
But perhaps Thorfire used old pictures for the current amazon sale.

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Thanks for posting this excellent review. I like the new design, wish they’d sell the host only.

I’d like a NW XPL-HI in this, I wonder if the KD XPL-HI drop-in would fit this. http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S024912

 

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beam0 wrote:
… I wonder if the KD XPL-HI drop-in would fit this. http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S024912

If you can’t remove the pill, obviously not.
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soldering the star down inside the non-pill head? looks like a pain in the tookus… but, i agree with the better heatsinking idea…

i solder from the SIDE onto a flat surface, like a drummer holding a drumstick on a snare, lol… this is more like playing “operation” game, lol…

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Nice review!
Moonlight by default cool, Convoy needs to update or Thorfire will be the stock C8 of choice.

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sedstar wrote:
soldering the star down inside the non-pill head? looks like a pain in the tookus… but, i agree with the better heatsinking idea…

i solder from the SIDE onto a flat surface, like a drummer holding a drumstick on a snare, lol… this is more like playing “operation” game, lol…

It gets tough soldering inside the reflector housing. I have a special solder iron tip that I use just for this. I took an old worn out tip and sanded it flat starting from the point until I had about a 2mm diameter flat circle. It works great for this stuff.

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Thanks for the good reception on the review! It does look like Thorfire has a couple of different C8s “models” but I believe this is the newest one. The shelf looks tight and I would not solder down in the head, but attach the wires to the LED and then thread the wires through. Soldering the wires to the driver is much easier than to the MCPCB down in the head…

@MRsSNF- it does not seem anyone but the shop on Amazon has these yet. I am sure Banggood will get them soon, they have a great relationship with Thorfire.

As a stock C8, the C8s is the one to get in my opinion…

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Flashy Mike wrote:
beam0 wrote:
… I wonder if the KD XPL-HI drop-in would fit this. http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S024912

If you can’t remove the pill, obviously not.
Oops, yeah obviously. Saw that but it didn’t register. I should have been in bed instead of on BLF lol Tired

I guess I could just swap out the LED/MCPCB. The main difference I like better is the knurled/scalloped tail cap.

 

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ReManG wrote:
Thanks for the good reception on the review! It does look like Thorfire has a couple of different C8s “models” but I believe this is the newest one. The shelf looks tight and I would not solder down in the head, but attach the wires to the LED and then thread the wires through. Soldering the wires to the driver is much easier than to the MCPCB down in the head…

@MRsSNF- it does not seem anyone but the shop on Amazon has these yet. I am sure Banggood will get them soon, they have a great relationship with Thorfire.

As a stock C8, the C8s is the one to get in my opinion…


I destroyed the LED on my BLF X6 by being impatient but at least for me it’s not hard to solder with the LED in the head as long as I use a wood coffee stirrer to hold the wire down right by the contacts and take my time.

I put LED’s into 2 new version Convoy M1’s and my BLF X6 last week and it didn’t take any more time that with the pill models.

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Wow, no removable pill after all. Tired

ReManG
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Updated OP with Amp meter readings and new pics. The driver is over 3A on high now.

Thanks for reading!

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freefly
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Nice! I was just about to put together a review as well, but you pretty much covered everything! Another perspective couldn’t hurt I suppose, so I’ll probably add an “addendum” review a bit later. Good work!

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Very thoughtful review. I can see a big difference between the old and new versions now.

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Nice review reman, Beer
you seem to be in contact with thorfire, could you please ask them if they offer remote pressure switch for this flashlight!
thanks

 

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Dang, ReManG!! Your review is too good!

I’m in the process of building SWMBO a C8 for this Summer, at a net parts cost of $15. Newegg has this one for $25 net. Meaning this one (factoring in labor) is almost as cheap budget as full-on DIY! The only real advantage (other than labor) that $10 buys me is a specific LED color.

It’s a nice color. It’s not worth $10, but it’s a nice color.

I think this might even make a darned good 1st-timer’s Mod Host. ROI will be ‘C8 Great’ just to R&R the emitter with a choice of color. (Not saying this one is “bad” since I have no idea what bin they’re using, just that NW works better for me outdoors around here at night & YMMV with the tint lottery.)

Thanks for taking the time to put this together!! Nicely done!

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Mine just arrived and I love it.
I was going to slowly move my boys up to the next level (from zoomies q5) to a floody (eg. S3, S2+) but after seeing this baby in action, they want me to skip them straight to this !

Fell into the trap of sounding like my late dad again:
Me: (preaching) “listen boys, you have to be careful not to shine it in each others eyes, I don’t think you’re ready for this one just yet, you want a gentler torch, one with a mix of flood and throw to begin with.”
Boys: (hearing) “blah blah blah BOYS blah blah”
Boys: (thinking) “man, look how far this goes ….my school mates are gonna love this……wish dad would just shut up and log back on and order another 2, tight arse”

This review and all the other reviews of the C8S recently, gave me all the info I needed before buying, so thanks to all.

(credit to Gary Larson for the blah blah blah bit)

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Wish they offered a HI led option on this then they really would be head to head v convoy.

I’ve been looking at a c8 but don’t fancy ordering from China unless there’s no other option.

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I got a couple of these earlier this year because they were a screaming deal, and I figured they would be nice bike lights, even if they aren’t my favorite tint and UI.

We were using them in our cabin overnight every night in moonlight mode. One worked fine and the battery was down to 3.7 volts after a week of that, and the other one died after 4 days. We’ll see what Thorfire CS has to say about my dead one. It’s not the switch and I’m not going to take the head apart unless Thorfire won’t do anything.