Review of Manker U21 - 18650/26650

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Budda
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Review of Manker U21 - 18650/26650

Manker was kind enough to supply me a U21 for the review.

Manker’s specs:
- Emitter Type: CREE XHP35 HI
- Max Lumens Output: 1300lumens
- Maximum Beam Intensity: 124000cd
- Maximum Beam Distance: 700 meters
- Working Voltage: 2.8-4.35v
- USB Charging Current: 2A (Over charge and discharge protection)
- Circuit Driver: PFM/PWM Synchronous booster intelligent conversion circuit Intelligence Lithium battery charge design
- Reflector: aluminum reflector
- Material: Aero grade aluminum alloy (Surface treatment: Premium type III hard anodized anti-abrasive finish,Thickness> 50μm
- Switch Type: Electronic Click switch
- Length: 148mm, Head diameter: 59mm, Body diameter: 35mm
- Weight: 290g (without battery)
- Shockproof standard: 1.5m
- Waterproof Standard: IPX-7

The U21 comes in a big cardboard box.
Inside the box: light, spare o-rings, battery adapter, lanyard, micro USB cable and manual (English and Chinese).


The U21 has an electronic switch at the head

There is some knurling on the light, and the anodization is matte black.

In the big and smooth reflector there is a CREE XHP35 Hi emitter, CW 6000K.

The switch on one side, on the other the micro USB port for charging the light. The rubber cover when it is in position stays recessed.


Under the electronic switch there is a red-orange led, like the blue one on the U11. The rubber cover of the switch can be removed by untwisting the metal bezel.

Here with the Manker U11 dragon breath mode

Well machined and anodized threads (you can physically lockout the light by unscrewing the tailcap or the head).

At the tailcap and at the head, the contact points are double nested golden springs. This is a solution that decreases the resistance and allows more current to pass. No physical protection against polarity inversion.


The translucent plastic battery spacer allows the use of an 18650 battery inside the battery tube that can fit a 26650 battery.

U21, U21… what is inside your head?

An AR treated glass, a big and heavy threated aluminium reflector (it screws inside the head of the light) and a big baseplate for the LED.

Size and comparison with other lights (Manker U21, Manker U11, Armytek Predator 2.5, 47 Quark 123^2


UI
The U21 has a UI similar to the one of the U11, but simpler.
From off, one short click turns the light on at the lowest level.
From off, a long click turns the light on at the last used level (low mode does not count).
When the light is on, a double click gives you strobe mode.
A single click when the light is on advances in the next mode (low medium hi turbo if you are in the constant output mode, strobe SOS and dragon flash if you are in the flashing mode).
There is a shortcut for dragon flash: from off make 3 double click.
When the light is on dragon flash, a single click will activate the SOS, a double click will activate the last used mode.
In dragon flash mode, the led under the switch will slowly turn on and off, dimming.
When the battery is running low, the led under the switch will stay on.

Output, Beamshots, Runtime.
For powering the U21 and getting max performances, Manker recommends to use IMR cells, and advices to not use protected cells. This because the PCB of protected cells may trip and stop the battery.
I do not have any 26650s, so I tested the output using two different 18650 batteries: LG MJ1 and LG HG2, unprotected batteries. I got no differences, so for the runtime test I used the LG MJ1, since they provide the same output as the HG2 but better runtime.

The outputs measured are higher on all levels, compared to Manker specs. I do not show the low mode value because of my improvised setup: it has too much error at low measurements.

I measured:
- Low 369 Cd
- Mid1 13’650 Cd
- Mid2 37’250 Cd
- Hi 69’400 Cd
- Turbo 119’600 Cd

Beamshots, at 1 meter from the wall.


Real world Beamshots. To my eyes the pics I took with the 4” exposure are less bright than the light, and the one with the 8” exposure are overexposed. Here are the pics with 4”.
A bit more than 100 meters (120?)

280 meters at the building


The sampling rate on the luxmeter is 2” for the turbo measurement, 60” for all the other levels tested.
The Turbo curve I get now is completely different from the one I published before. I checked the data log from that old test, and I can’t find any error.
However, I tested the first 10 minutes of runtime at turbo 3 times with 2 different cells and got the same results… This can’t be wrong.

After the stepdown at turbo, the output is still much higher than the one high level.

You can reset the stepdown, just switch off and back on the light.

However, as you can see in the last graphic, what you gain is around 10% of output. Such a small gain at 1000+ lumens is something very hard to notice by eye, while the light will have a lot more heat to handle.

EDIT: 10 July 2016
How about runtime with the 26650?


My thoughts
The U21 is a relatively compact thrower with a big and bright spill with just a couple of rings in the beam (you can see them in the pics). Fit and finish are great (I love the matte black anodization).
The U21 looks bigger in the pics than in the hand. The electronic switch helps reducing the length of the light. The light will I fit in a big pocket of a winter jacket, in a funnypack…
The electronic switch at the head of the light allows to turn on, operate and turn the light off without moving your hand on the light.
The highly driven driver gives the light a lot of output (I found Manker’s spec to underestimate the output of the light), throwy beam with still a decent spill, and great regulation. The stepdown are only present: after the 3 minutes at the turbo, and when the battery is running low. On this light the stepdown is very small compared to other lights.
It’s good to have more than 900 lumens for more than 1 hour from a single 18650, if you use a hi capacity 26650 the runtime will be a lot more, keeping the same size factor.
The levels are well spaced.

Having a micro USB port for recharging the battery inside the light is always a welcome feature.
Manker says it can charge the battery with currents up to 2A. I do not know how to measure this, so I will advise you to choose the output current of the supply carefully: if it is an 18650 that you have in the light, a 1 Amps charger will be fine. If you have a 26650 battery, you can adopt power supply with more output keeping the charging times in reasonable limits.

The supplied adaptor is very large and the 18650s I tested rattle inside the body of the light, but this does not affect the light functionality. I used a piece of paper, rolled around the 18650 and inserted inside the battery adapter to fix the rattling. You can be more professional and use another battery adapter, or come up with better fixes than mine.
Accessing to strobe is easy, maybe a bit too much (I would decrease the delay for the light to consider two single click a double click, let’s say a 1/10 or 1/5 of a second; Manker has already done so compared to the U11 and the T01 models (it is more difficoult to get into strobe accidentally), but I’ll decrease it even more.
This light, as all the other Manker I tested, gives you accesso to a low mode and the last used mode that was not low.
I like direct access to low mode and a higher output mode, but I would like to see quick access to low, turbo and another level. Maybe adopting a triple click feature, or a double stage electronic switch could help “improving” further the UI.

When this review is published, the price of the U21 is 65$.
I find the price reasonable.
Manker said that they will release soon a NW version of the U21.

Thanks to: AntoLed (for lending me the camera and the luxmeter) and P.P. (Beamshot location), Manker (battery funding).

For you BLF guys, nothing really new is said in this video, but you can still admire the light moving in my hands while I delight you with my english.

All my reviews, in italian and english, here: Lumenreviews.com

Edited by: Budda on 07/09/2016 - 19:07
Mankerlight
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nice review,enjoy it.

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ReManG
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Very good review!

It seems, and this is good, that the UI is the same as the U11. So if you have a U11, here is the thrower to compliment it…

The price is not bad, considering the XHP35 and a boost driver, plus the nice looking finish and fit….

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great review Budda!

molte grazie

 

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Budda
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Fenix PD40, by comparison, works with 26650/18650 battery, has an MTG2 at 1600 lumens. It comes with an holster, but is not rechargeable and there is no tint choiche… has an MSRP 100$ on some known chinese websites.

65$ seems to me a competitive price, as an MSRP

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will34
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Great review! I like the flat runtime graphs. Regulated at 900lm is nice.

Tac Gunner
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Tha KS for the review, kinda want to get this light when it becomes available in NW. As for measuring the charging current, Xtar makes a USB amp meter that you plug inline between the power source and cord.

ProtaBLF
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Sounds really nice. But where is it available (maybe with a good deal)???

The Miller
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nice review, thanks
that design and finish look very nice!

Tom E
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Nice Review! I received one as well for review. May take me a couple more days, mine performs similar in output on a EFEST IMR 5200 cell.

Rusty Joe
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Disappointing about the stepdown when the light is driven at spec. Also, no tactical momentary on-off feature. I hate press-and-hold UIs. But still, looks and sounds like an impressive light.

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TheDude
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Thanks for the review. Would it be possible to pop the driver out to see if a resistor mod could be performed to increase current? Also, is the LED sitting on an “integrated pill?”

Thanks again,

That's just like . . . your opinion man.

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On mine, the driver appears to be epoxied in, similar to a soft thermal epoxy you find under many MCPCB's. Notice in the OP picture, there's no driver retaining ring. When you remove the bezel, it gives access to a really nice 28 mm MCPCB that appears to be copper DTP, but not sure. But no easy access to the driver from the bezel end. So, possible way to pop out the driver is via the switch hole (like an SRK), but from past experience, you can risk damaging the driver by trying to force the driver out by breaking the seal of the epoxy.

For me, I might try drilling out a hole on the edge of the driver, and use leverage from a pry tool. Not sure how resistor mods work with a well regulated boost driver. Also the turbo stepdown cannot be disabled, most likely.

MG
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Thanks for the review. The clear pictures are a great help.

Budda
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Thank you guys for the feedback.
Soon I should get my hands on a 26650 and update the graphic.

All my reviews, in italian and english, here: Lumenreviews.com

Mankerlight
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Budda wrote:
Thank you guys for the feedback. Soon I should get my hands on a 26650 and update the graphic.

 

Wait new data base on 26650 

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Thanks for the review – is the tint really that greenish? Looks almost like those early Javelots with their dedomed XP-L´s …
Too bad for the harsh stepdown to 60% (after 2 minutes I suppose?) I hoped for a thrower without stepdown.

Cheers,
K.

altonx
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Budda, as You clearly have access to both U11 and U21, why not make picture with both those lights for relative size comparison?

Budda
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@Kusie
My eyes are very used to warm tints (almost all my lights are under 4000K).
I don’t know why the camera shows the beam a bit on the neutral side.
The tint is a CW, but not too cool.
The XP-L with greenish tint I believe are the one “custom dedomed”. The XP-L Hi and the XHP35 Hi are produced dedomed by CREE, and so the tint is fine.
A light without a stepdown is a light without a turbo mode. Turbo mode is something that you should use for a short period of time.
The turbo mode can differ from light to light, for a small AA battery may be 500 lumens and for a triple led copper light may be 3500 lumens, but the principle is the same: this mode will push the components to the limit, and for the sake of the light, this mode is limited.
My advice is: if you need a 100’000 Cd light, choose one that have this value at hi mode, not at turbo mode. Thus you will have the amount of throw you need with no stepdwon.

@Altonx
I will make pics, but the size are quite different.
I’ll throw in some other lights to compare, bigger than the U11.

All my reviews, in italian and english, here: Lumenreviews.com

BOMBAY
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turbo stepdown can be reset after the off-on switching ?

my9221
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Thanks for the beautiful pics & review!

Budda
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After the third hailstorm, I made some use of the hail collected today.
Manker U21, Manker U11, Predator V2.5, 47 quark 123^2
http://i1024.photobucket.com/albums/y309/Budda_CPF/Manker%20U21/DSCN0815...
http://i1024.photobucket.com/albums/y309/Budda_CPF/Manker%20U21/DSCN0814...
http://i1024.photobucket.com/albums/y309/Budda_CPF/Manker%20U21/DSCN0807...

I added the images at the first post.

All my reviews, in italian and english, here: Lumenreviews.com

Tom E
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Here with similar form factor single 26650 reflector throwers:

The compact size, to me, is a big advantage. The reflector I.D. is very close, maybe 1 mm shy of an HD2010, to it's right.

DARCANGEL
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Sweet pics Budda,looks neat on the hail. I wish Manker would offer a BLF discount for us,I would definitely buy it.

akhyar
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DARCANGEL wrote:
Sweet pics Budda,looks neat on the hail. I wish Manker would offer a BLF discount for us,I would definitely buy it.

My thought too.
If only Manker offers BLF discount, I would jump into it.
Pity there’s also no direct access to Turbo

Btw, nice written review @Budda and plenty of nice pics too Thumbs Up

Budda
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Thanks guys.
Your feedback is very important to me.

@Bombay: I have not forgot you. I’ll make another runtime graph to answer precisely to your question.

All my reviews, in italian and english, here: Lumenreviews.com

BOMBAY
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ok, thanks guy

Budda
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BOMBAY, while I did the test you asked, I got very different results from my runtime graph above: the stepdown is very very low.
The Turbo curve I get now is completely different from the one I got before. I checked the data log from that old test, and I can’t find any error.
However, I tested the first 10 minutes of runtime at turbo 3 times with 2 different cells and got the same results… This can’t be wrong.

After the stepdown at turbo, the output is still much higher than the one high level.

And, coming to your answer: yes, you can. Just switch off and back on the light.

However, as you can see in the last graphic, what you gain is around 10% of output. Such a small gain at 1000+ lumens is something very hard to notice by eye, while the light will have a lot more heat to handle.

The main post has been corrected and updated.

All my reviews, in italian and english, here: Lumenreviews.com

BOMBAY
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thanks for the great review and graphs. Run Time looks very good with + 1250lumen and 18650 battery, I have cold hands, act as a good heat sink :). I like this type of flashlight, now I use mostly eagle eye x6r xp-l hi, sometimes blf d80 but I think that I have to buy my first Manker light

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Budda wrote:
Fenix PD40, by comparison, works with 26650/18650 battery, has an MTG2 at 1600 lumens. It comes with an holster, but is not rechargeable and there is no tint choiche… has an MSRP 100$ on some known chinese websites.

65$ seems to me a competitive price, as an MSRP


I have and like very much the Fenix PD40 and this Manker U21 will be a nice addition for a light with more throw.

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Budda
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For you BLF guys, nothing really new is said in this video, but you can still admire the light moving in my hands while I delight you with my english.

All my reviews, in italian and english, here: Lumenreviews.com

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