Review - KDLIGHT C8 XPL-HI V3 SMO 18650

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Rolz
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Review - KDLIGHT C8 XPL-HI V3 SMO 18650

 

Review3

 

 

KDLIGHT C8 XPL HI V3 Flashlight Review 

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.4.%20KDLIGHT_zpsfdow0u6i.jpg

The people at Kaidomain passed onto me their latest C8 release for review, the new KDLIGHT C8. This one comes with the Cool White (6500K) XPL HI V3 LED and the recently released 3.04A V3 KD Driver. Comments on the item listing also suggest a redesigned SMO reflector to assist with beam throwing performance. Having reviewed KDs previous XPL HI equipped C8’s it was an opportunity to see what’s new here.

The C8 design has been around for what seems at least 5 years, but it’s been found to be very popular as it is a very well performing design that can easily be modified. It’s powered by a single 18650 Lithium Ion battery. High end C8 Models are priced at just under $US30 from some suppliers, the Kaidomain range typical sell for <$US20. Past

Newer models have generally been produced with newer more powerful LEDs matched with suitable drivers. Many brands exist, some with higher quality than others.

Price at time of the review is $18.99

KDLIGHT C8-XPLHI Cree XP-L HI V3 6500K White 1100 Lumens 3-Mode LED Flashlight - Black ( 1x18650 )

  

First Impressions and Unboxing

The flashlight arrived in a simple brown box, labelled clearly as KDLIGHT.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.0.%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20BOX_zpskvmllitc.jpg

The outer box slides off revealing the contents which consists of the flashlight in a bubble wrap and also included is lanyard. Both components rest in a black foam padding, which helps ensure the flashlight isn't damaged in transit. It's a welcome change from the plain white box that we sometimes see provided with budget flashlights.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.2.%20KDLIGHT_zpsds1yebgw.jpg

Below is a photo of the flashlight and lanyard removed from the box. Initial impression is that the host is a stock standard C8. The inclusion of a lanyard is a nice small extra. I prefer to use lanyards on my flashlights to pocket clips. Not a big expense to include one here, but it’s pleasing to see. The quality of the lanyard is good. The label of "KDLIGHT C8" is nicely printed on the side of the flashlight.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.3.%20KDLIGHT_zpsndabgise.jpg

The flashlight being well packed arrived with no damage at all to the flashlight. The Quality and finish is excellent.

 

Sellers/Manufacturers Specs

The seller’s specifications for this flashlight are shown below. The model tested is a 3 mode variant (Low, Medium and High) with a cool 6500K LED. The XPL HI V3 LED specs are not unlike what we've seen in other models from KD, however the change here is the Driver. We see in this model the new KD V3 driver which can provide up to around 3Amps of current. More on this later.

Specifications:

Brand:

KDLIGHT

Model:

C8-XPLHI

Flashlight Material:

Aluminium Alloy

Flashlight Color:

Black

Emitter Brand/Type:

Cree

Emitter BIN:

XP-L HI V3

Color BIN:

White 6500K

Total Emitters:

1

Battery Configurations:

1 x 18650 Batteries (not included)

Voltage Input:

2.5V - 4.5V

Switch Type:

Clicky

Switch Location:

Tail Cap

Modes:

3

Mode Memory:

Yes (2 secs)

Mode Arrangement:

Low (2%) > Medium (35%) > Hi (100%)

Circuitry:


Hi : Digital Regulated 3040mA Current Output
Med : Digital Regulated 1000mA Current Output
Lo: Digital Regulated 5mA Current Output

Brightness:

1100 Lumens maximum brightness

Runtime:


Hi: 90mins
Med: 180mins
Lo: 500+mins

 

Lens:

Ultra clear reinforced lens

Reflector:

Aluminum Textured / SMO Reflector

Carrying Clip:

-

Carrying Strap:

Yes

Other Features:


1. Constant Current
2. Reverse Polarity Protection
3. Low voltage warning when the voltage is below 2.8V, it changes to Low mode (1 ma) and flashing every 60 secs.
4. LED auto cut-off when the voltage is below 2.6V, LED will be turned off.
5. Waterproof IPX-6 Standard

Dimension:

148mm (L) x 44.5mm (Dia. of Head) x 26.5mm (Dia. of Body)

Weight:

180g (not include battery)

Package Content:

1. 1 x KDLIGHT C8 Flashlight (with package box)
2. 1 x Lanyard

Flashlight Build and Disassembly

The build quality is excellent. When I buy flashlights I like to see an unblemished product appear, no scratches, dents or imperfections. That's exactly what we see here.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.7.%20KDLIGHT_zpsucjze6ia.jpg

The C8 style of flashlights fits nicely in hand, it's not of a size considered a small pocket flashlight. Below we see a photo of the KDLIGHT C8 (Far right) with some other similar styled flashlights.

 http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.9.%20KDLIGHT_zpsvp7pfy2p.jpg

 

Below we have the KDLIGHT C8 beside a Convoy C8. The host designs are almost identical. The Convoy range have always been praised for high quality and finish. The KDLIGHT has comparable quality, both are what I’d consider excellent in this measure.

 

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.10.%20KDLIGHT_zps8sroxlfl.jpg

Taking the flashlight apart is a simple exercise. No glued parts. This is a product that can be easily modified as is true of almost all C8 flashlights.

A glass lens is included. I'm not able to confirm if the glass is coated.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.11.%20KDLIGHT_zpsyhy2ql3q.jpg

Below is a photo of the smooth KDLIGHT C8 reflector and that from a prior model OP KD C8. The dimensions of each are near identical. Both have a diameter of 41.5mm at the main opening. At the LED end the new SMO reflector is slightly narrower, by approximately 1mm. The Left reflector is that from the KDLIGHT C8, the one on the right has been taken from a previous model KD C8 XPL-HI SMO.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.23.%20KDLIGHT_zps9dywfi0v.jpg

Another view of the two reflectors side by side. Again the KDLIGHT reflector on the left. The SMO reflector includes a small LED gasket with an attached LED insulator disc. This solution ensures that the LED is well centred. Although not shown in a photo the LED we perfectly centred in the reviewed flashlight.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.22.%20KDLIGHT_zpsveu5pguc.jpg

The Brass LED Dropin photo below shows the XPL HI LED on a square all copper board. The heat sink paste spread reasonably well, although it does appear to be lacking in one corner. The paste is not the glue type so the LED can be easily repositioned or removed if needed. The SKU 2579 appearing on the label of the LED board wasn't listed on the Kaidomain web site at the time of writing this review. According to the specifications this is a 6500K XPL HI V3 LED.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.20.%20KDLIGHT_zpsnj2l1da0.jpg

Bottom side of the LED dropin is shown below. The Driver board includes 4 x 7135 voltage regulators on this side of the board. These are rated at 380mA. Another 4 x 7135 chips are present on the hidden side of the board. In theory a maximum current of approximately 3040mA can be provided by this new board. The short spring

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.19.%20KDLIGHT_zpsxxgmab4r.jpg

Side view of the dropin. Threads are square

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.18.%20KDLIGHT_zpsgmosmlfb.jpg

Below is a photo view of the head, showing the threaded section where the dropin is fitted.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.17.%20KDLIGHT_zps27r7wdar.jpg

Tail cap of the host in the photo below. The tail cap button is black. The switch and tail cap can be easily removed and replaced as needed. The spring is covered by a brass cap. The rubber switch cover extends very slightly too far out which doesn’t allow the host to tail stand.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.16.%20KDLIGHT_zpsi4vt2xzy.jpg

Below is a photo of the bottom end of the flashlight head with the pill fitted.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.15.%20KDLIGHT_zpsir1i954t.jpg

 Front view below of the head with the reflector and glass lens removed.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.14.%20KDLIGHT_zpstnm5216j.jpg

Knurling and anodisation is very good. The body has a very good level of grip. The O-rings had grease applied, but neither of the two ends of the body. Threads have a nice square edge. Flashlight can tail lock.

 

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/1.12.%20KDLIGHT_zpsovhx7nf4.jpg

User Interface

The Driver board is a new model released by Kaidomain. See link below for full details.

New KDLIGHT 7135 V3 17mm 8 x AMC7135 1-Cell 16-Groups Flashlight Driver Board ( 1 pc )

The V2 Driver performed well and on usage of this flashlight during the review, I’ve found that the V3 is an improvement over the prior model. 

Below is an extract from the Kaidomain site describing the features of the LED driver. In total 16 mode options are available via soldering of the appropriate tabs on the board as per the reference table. There are other flashlights on the market which have more sophisticated UIs which via various button presses results in access to mode selection. The KDLIGHT UI is very simple. One press of the tail cap switch to turn on the flashlight, and another full press to turn off. As this model is a 3 mode, to move between modes a half press is required to cycle through. Last mode memory applies for the model reviewed. The configuration here being the first in the table where S1=0, S2=0,S3=0 and S4=0.

This is a simple UI that works well. For those seeking an alternative group to the 3 mode reviewed, some soldering work is required to bridge the solder tabs to set the appropriate mode. Kaidomain also offer an option to set the driver to other modes prior to shipping. 

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/6.%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20Driver_zpstjpyetzt.jpg

 

Current Measurements

The Current measurements on the highest setting were taken using a UNI-T UT204 clamp meter with a 12AWG wire with the tail cap removed. Actual current levels will be lower due to the resistance of the tail cap switch and spring. Figures below represent the peak measured. The high figure of 3.15A exceeds the 3.04A rated number. This may be due to the manner in which the measurements were taken. The safe conclusion here is that the current levels at the tail cap exceeded 3A.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/8.%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20Current_zpsinwxsagh.png

 

 

Indoor Beam shots

Indoors beam shots were taken. Below are the images from lowest mode to highest. The beam pattern is clean, with a small focused hot spot and even spill. LED tint is at the cool. The specified value of 6500K seems accurate. Only 3 modes but the spacing is good. The lowest level being a moonlight mode, the other 2 modes are where most of the usage is expected. This flashlight throws very well. The smooth reflector combined with the XPL-HI LED result in an excellent throwing flashlight.

There’s a slight yellow haze around the hot spot. This wasn’t noticed in general use of the flashlight. It’s detectable on the medium and High images below.

LOW Mode

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/9.10.%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20LOW_zpsquclkaj7.jpg

Medium Mode

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/9.12.%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20Medium_zpsgi1z3tay.jpg

HIGH Mode

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/9.13.%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20HIGH_zpsrg65gwgw.jpg

 

 

Light Output

Presented next are,

-        Ceiling bounce measurements

-        15 minute run to assess heat build up

-        Full runtime test for HIGH mode.

The ceiling bounce results were very pleasing. The performance measured was similar to that of a high end P60 dropin.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/8.%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20Bounce_zpspbuce3h1.png

The next set of testing proved two sets of results. Over a 15 minute run the light measurements were taken over a spacing of 1m, between the flashlight head and the light sensor. During the run temperature readings were taken at the head of the flashlight. Measurements were taken on HIGH mode.

The results are very impressive. The initial light reading of 72,000 lux is excellent. The temperature readings gradually increased over time peaking close to 50C, but never exceeding it. Over a longer run present further below the temperature was found to again never exceed 50C. The Heat management is very good.

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/8.%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20Temperatures_zps2r4ijpvd.png

The final test below describes the light output full runtime test whilst on high mode. The figures suggest that the light output was maintained at 50,000 lux over a duration of approximately 35 minutes. Another excellent result. The driver here performing very well, as performance slowly dropped off over time. At approximately the 76 minute mark the driver cutoff came into effect. The battery voltage measure at 2.85V

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/8.%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20Runtime_zpsdjzbc680.png

Outdoor Beamshots

All tests perform with the camera settings as F 2.7, Exposure Time 2.0s, ISO 100. The centre of the image is a tree at a distance of approximately 50m from the flashlight. Although a throwing flashlight with very good range, the spill area makes it very usable as a general usage outdoor flashlight.

LOW

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/10.1.%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20LOW_zpsbb7ricuk.jpg

MEDIUM

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/10.2%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20Medium_zpsbcmohdgl.jpg

HIGH

http://i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae119/Rolz1234/10.3%20KDLIGHT%20C8%20HIGH_zpsmhdllf6l.jpg

Summary

Excellent Flashlight. I’ve been able to review other C8 and C12 flashlights in the past and have found this one to be the best performing. The driver delivers excellent consistent performance, and combined with an XPL-HI result in a wonderful combination. The smooth reflector design is a slight variation on those used in the past. It works very well in maintaining a focussed hotspot with clean even spill.

It’s not a compact flashlight you can easily store in your pocket, it’s more of a size that requires a holster. This makes is less of an every day carrier.

 

For those seeking a high performance C8 at a budget price, I’d recommend this flashlight. Based on my results I consider it an improvement over previous KD models which use the V2 Driver.

 Pros:

> Excellent Quality

> Budget price <$20

> Throwing range is excellent for its size.

> Low Voltage cutoff

> Can Tail cap lock

> Heat Management

> Comes with a lanyard

 

Cons:

> SMO reflector only.

> Comes in Black only.

> Threads not lubed.

 

Price at time of the review is $18.99

KDLIGHT C8-XPLHI Cree XP-L HI V3 6500K White 1100 Lumens 3-Mode LED Flashlight - Black ( 1x18650 )

Kaidomain also offer two other XPL HI LED models of the KDLIGHT C8, one has a Neutral white model LED with the same 3 modes as that reviewed and the other a 6500K LED with a single mode. See links below. They are also priced at $18.99

KDLIGHT C8-XPLHI Cree XP-L HI V2 4500K Neutral White 1100 Lumens 3-Mode LED Flashlight - Black ( 1x18650 )

KDLIGHT C8-XPLHI Cree XP-L HI V3 6500K White 1100 Lumens 1-Mode LED Flashlight - Black ( 1x18650 )

 

 * Last edit made as link to products have been updated.


 

 

 

Edited by: Rolz on 08/02/2016 - 05:07
Rolz
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Reserved

The Miller
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Nice review!
Does the Convoy (what model is that BTW mine have large cut outs for lanyard yours has a small round hole?) Lego?
Simon sells a OP reflector cheaply so if it Lego’s ypu can get one there.

Rolz
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The Miller wrote:
Nice review! Does the Convoy (what model is that BTW mine have large cut outs for lanyard yours has a small round hole?) Lego? Simon sells a OP reflector cheaply so if it Lego’s ypu can get one there.

Thanks for your feedback. The Convoy I show in one of the photos is the XML models, not the L2. It has the drop in/pill that can be removed. I have an C8’s with OP reflectors. They should fit with some minor additions such as a suitable insulator. The arrangement on the tested flashlight was very good as the reflector with the supplied LED gasket ensured nice centering.

Ragsy
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Hi Rolz
I have been curious about this flashlight for a while – thanks for this review

G'day mate, ow ya garn?
Yeah, nah good mate

264
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Now I want a new flashlight. Superior review.

Rolz
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Thanks for your comments. Smile

MRsDNF
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Thanks for the review Rolz.

 

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

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

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.

 

will34
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Great review Rolz, did you find any difference between the updated KD and the convoy reflector?

This one seems to be the top recommendation for anyone looking for the best thrower under $20.

brted
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Great review, Rolz. I just got my KDlight C8 in 4500K yesterday. Your points are all on target. The anodizing is shinier, not as matte, as say the BLF A6. I think the matte finish is a little nicer. The light works great and throws like crazy with not much spill. I’m having a hard time finding things around my house that are far enough away for me to test the beam. The low is listed as 2%, but from the current measurements and observation it is less than that and more of a moonlight mode (I’d prefer a little more output on that level). The LED is well centered. There is a hint of yellow in the hotspot on mine, similar to some other XP-L HI lights I have, but it isn’t that bad. The 4500K seems about right compared to other lights I have with that tint. I think using an IMR in a light like this is compelling: you get the safety of the IMR, driver regulation to 3 amps, and the driver’s low voltage signal to keep you from running the cell too low.

dhvl1357
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Beamshot comparison with the Convoy XM-L2 please!

Any ideas how this would compare with the Convoy XP-L HI?

Great review, TFS!

Slow is smooth; smooth is fast.

bugsy
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I would recommend the Convoy over this. The quality on Convoy looks to be superior based on these images.

blueb8llz
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Thanks and very nice review for a great light. I just wished they would upgrade the tail cap. I find that one hard to press the switch. Maybe add some cutouts for the thumb. Or at least raise the rubber boot but while still being able to tail stand.

will34
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bugsy wrote:
I would recommend the Convoy over this. The quality on Convoy looks to be superior based on these images.

The KD C8 does indeed have a cheaper looking finish, maybe it’s the shiny anodizing and the use of a generic looking logo, making it feel ultrafire-like?

MG
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Thanks for the comprehensive review. Nicely built light for the price.

Rolz
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will34 wrote:
bugsy wrote:
I would recommend the Convoy over this. The quality on Convoy looks to be superior based on these images.

The KD C8 does indeed have a cheaper looking finish, maybe it’s the shiny anodizing and the use of a generic looking logo, making it feel ultrafire-like?

As mentioned the finish is shiny, unlike the Matt finish on the Convoy C8’s. I’ve seen some cheap C8 bodies and this isn’t one. I don’t have access to the latest model of Matt finish Convoy C8’s so can’t compare directly. The finish on the KDs is excellent and would be comparable to the Convoy C8 I have. Whether it’s on par with the new Convoy’s I can’t say.

Rolz
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brted wrote:
Great review, Rolz. I just got my KDlight C8 in 4500K yesterday. Your points are all on target. The anodizing is shinier, not as matte, as say the BLF A6. I think the matte finish is a little nicer. The light works great and throws like crazy with not much spill. I’m having a hard time finding things around my house that are far enough away for me to test the beam. The low is listed as 2%, but from the current measurements and observation it is less than that and more of a moonlight mode (I’d prefer a little more output on that level). The LED is well centered. There is a hint of yellow in the hotspot on mine, similar to some other XP-L HI lights I have, but it isn’t that bad. The 4500K seems about right compared to other lights I have with that tint. I think using an IMR in a light like this is compelling: you get the safety of the IMR, driver regulation to 3 amps, and the driver’s low voltage signal to keep you from running the cell too low.

Thanks for your comments. The low voltage cutoff is a nice feature and provides confidence in using non protected cells. I may get the chance ot try out a 4500K soon, and it will be interesting to see the difference in performance. As you found it’s throwing ability is really good for a C8. I may in time consider a C8 comparison between brands. Just need more flashlights Smile The big winners here are us as buyers. It’s pleasing to see so many good C8’s on the market. The Convoy’s are always a safe choice at a budget price, and I do believe the new KDLIGHTs as per this review model are a good buy too and may throw further.

Rolz
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blueb8llz wrote:
Thanks and very nice review for a great light. I just wished they would upgrade the tail cap. I find that one hard to press the switch. Maybe add some cutouts for the thumb. Or at least raise the rubber boot but while still being able to tail stand.

Thanks for your comments

Is there another flashlight tailcap that describes your comments as I cant quite picture the cutouts for the thumb?

Kaidomain are seeking ideas on how to improve this flashlight. What improvements would you suggest to the KDLIGHT to make it an even better flashlight?

blueb8llz
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https://www.google.com/search?q=thorfire+c8s&client=safari&hl=en-us&prmd...

Perfect example would be this thorfire c8s upgraded tailcap

Rolz
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blueb8llz wrote:
https://www.google.com/search?q=thorfire+c8s&client=safari&hl=en-us&prmd...

Perfect example would be this thorfire c8s upgraded tailcap

Thanks for explaining with an example. It’s not unlike the C10 in one of the photos I included in the review above.
Any other thoughts people have on possible improvements? What would make for a perfect C8?

giorgoskok
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A very nice thing for me , is a flashlight like Convoy C8 , without pill . And a retaining ring for the driver .

Rolz
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I’ll aim to buy a new Convoy C8 with the integrated head to compare against for future C8 reviews. Has anyone actually proven that the heat management for a C8 with an integrated head is clearly improved over one with the removable pill?

No Agenda
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I just got a new KDLIGHT C8, the machining is great, the low is pretty low, and it has nice throw. Mine has an issue cycling between modes though, I usually have to half press 2 to 3 times to get it to change modes. Other than that I really like it.

Rolz
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No Agenda wrote:
I just got a new KDLIGHT C8, the machining is great, the low is pretty low, and it has nice throw. Mine has an issue cycling between modes though, I usually have to half press 2 to 3 times to get it to change modes. Other than that I really like it.

Odd issue you have, possibly switch or otherwise driver related.

Rolz
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I’ve ordered a Convoy C8 XPL HI with Cool White. This will enable a direct comparison with the KDLIGHT C8. When it comes in I’ll add some further comments on how they compare. Should be interesting to see how they compare. I’m not sure if the Convoy if the 8×7135 in the Convoy provides 2.8A or 3.04A. This is where a difference may be noticed in brightness and throw.

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Hi Rolz
How did the CONVOY C8 XPL-HI compare against the KDLIGHT C8 XPL-HI V3?

Did you end up getting the Convoy with the integrated head?

I’ve got a few of the Thorfire C8S’ (XM-L2) with the integrated head and they seem to manage heat well.

G'day mate, ow ya garn?
Yeah, nah good mate