Review: Nitecore HC60

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Budda
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Review: Nitecore HC60

I received the Nitecore courtesy of BangGood for the review, and a coupon: SH6%OFF

Classic Nitecore box



Inside the box: the light already mounted on the headband adapter, headband strap, micro USB cable. The light has inside a Nitecore 3400mAh protected 18650 battery.

You can even take the light apart and replace the important o-ring and switch cover

Nitecore’s specs for the HC60

The HC60 is made mostly out aluminum, there part where the switch resides is made out of plastic/rubber. The two parts are connected by 4 screws.

Even the light holder has the same kind of construction: rigid plastic for the part that rests on your head, soft rubber for the 2 parts holding the light.

The switch is slightly raised, and has a LED underneath it.

XM-L2 CW emitter under the glass with AR treatment, inside a small and smooth reflector.

Anodized threads and squared o-rings at both sides, so the water resistant feature is not an issue even for the presence of the micro USB port.



You will need button top batteries to make this light work because at the positive pole there is a mechanical protection against polarity inversion.

Some pics with some other headlamp: Armytek Wizard Pro HICRI, Skilhunt H03 warm (modded by replacing the emitter), and and 18650 battery.


The headband is made by 2 pieces, one that goes around the head, and another that goes above

The headband is thick and elastic, and the width is the same as the ones of my wizards

However, the HC60 needs a wider space to fit, so the headbands for the other lights won’t fit the HC60.

UI
When you insert the battery the blue led under the switch will blink and give you the voltage read (3.8 volts = 3 flashes, pause, 8 flashes).

The HC60 turns of by clicking the switch.
With a short click, the light will turn on at ultralow mode.
With a long click, the light will turn on at the last used mode.
With a longer click, the light will turn on at turbo mode.
When the light is on, to advance in the modes you have to click the switch. Each click will cycle modes in an increasing order: Ultralow-Low-Mid-High-Turbo.
To turn the HC60 off you have to keep pressed the switch.
A double click will give you strobe, click again for SOS and beacon mode.

Output and Runtime
Output and runtime have been measured using the included Nitecore 3400mAh protected 18650 battery.

First, test of the battery: discharged at 2A until 2.8Volts are reached with my SKYRC MC3000.

Output

No sign of PWM on any level according to my eyes.

Runtime
Sampling time is every 2 seconds for Turbo mode, every 90 seconds for high and medium mode.

Testing the thermal regulation system

Beamshots 0.5 meters from the wall
Prior to the actual beamshot, a brief explaination on the beam patterns in headlamps, as there are 3 types:
A) the completely flood (such as zebralight H602), where you have only spill. They can be used from a few centimeters to a few meters (because the light is not focused and will disperse itself in short distances).
B) The “throwy” (such as Nitecoew HC60, Zebralight H600, Skilhunt H03R), where you have a regular beam composed by a spot and a spill. The spill is narrower than the one of the completely flood light, and the spot makes them usable to longer distances, but not for close distances where the spot will dazzle your eyes)
C) The “middle ones”, they go from models with a frosted lens (Zebralight H600F) to the one with the optic/lens (Armytek wizard, Skilhunt H03). They fall somewhere in the middle of the 2 above. The spot is very softened and widened by the lens, so even at close distances it won’t be an issue for your eyes, and can be used from close distances to a few meters more than the flood ones. Flashlight with optics such as TIR lens can still have “traces” of hotspot and its angle depends on the characteristic of the lens.
I don’t believe one of these beams is superior to another, simply there are different scenarios that requires different beams and there is also user preference.



The HC60 has a narrower beam with a more concentrated spot compared to the one of the light with the TIR optic, and so it has more throw.
You can widen the beam, switching from type A to type B by sanding a bit the glass, or simply by adding a layer of magic tape scotch on top of it.
The last solution is fast and easily reversible, but how it works?

Let’s see this in practice:

Before



After



Comparative GIF!s

If you wanted to apply magic tape in a reversible but very durable way, you could remove the 4 screws and open the light

Pull the glass out, apply the magic tape on the inside side of the glass, and put the light back together.

Since the light is already apart, here is a close look at the main board, that hosts the emitter and a whole bunch of other components.

My thoughts
Fit and finishes on the HC60 are as good as you would expect from Nitecore.
I like that this light has an integrated micro USB port for charging, and this port is secured from the environment with a threated tailcap and an o-ring.
I like the UI that allows access to lowest, highest and last used mode. I would make the low mode lower than 20 lumens.
I believe this is the first time I see a headlamp with “hidden” orings that are replaceable and given as spare, and you can access them just by unscrewing 4 screws. This also benefits making easier to access the inner parts, to do some modifications as the magic tape above suggested.
I like the thermal regulation, it works effectively as seen the above plot.
Having an inclued hi capacity, quality 18650 with PCB, is not bad either.
I am used to swapping the head mounts on my lights: Armytek, Zebralight, Skilhunt. The 18650s light they all pretty much work using one of their headband. With the HC60 you are forced to use the head mount provided from Nitecore, because the distance from the 2 anchor points is longer compared to the one of other lights. I would like to see a clip come with this light, and a retention system for the tailcap you remove when charging. Also, a XP-L emitter and a NW choice would be a nice addition.

Thanks to AntoLed for the luxmeter and the camera.

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

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:28
djozz
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Thanks for the extensive review, very informative! Smile

It almost looks like a led swap is doable, quite rare for Nitecore lights!

Budda
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I’m not putting it back toghether without swapping the emitter.

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djozz
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Big Smile Let us know how it went!
Budda
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djozz wrote:
Big Smile Let us know how it went!

I spent more than 1 hour trying to remove the emitter.
my 50W soldering iron was not able, either by heating from below or directly on one of the 4 sides of the led.
I tried to use a frying pan, but then the flux residue on some chips started smoking and still the led was solid.
I made a small box with aluminium paper (to avoid blowing away all the stuff that was being desoldered on top of the board) and used a heat gun at 1.8 KW but it was the same situation.
I used a turbo lighter below, and everyting was smoking but the led was still.

So, soldering iron on one side of the led plus turbo lighter below made the trick. Note that at the first attempt the led desoldered and moved half way from the baseplate, i needed half second to pick up the tweezers and remove it. It was enough and it was back stuck in place.
Using the soldering iron on the baseplate was not enough, and now I was more confident on using both iron and the jet lighter, because I had visual feedback.

Soldering the new emitter (XM-L2 7C4 2850K) with the turbo lighter required 2 attempts, because the first time it was not enough attached to the baseplate, I had to insist more with the turbo lighter (wait until the lead become lucid, wait a bit more, stop the lighter add the led on top and turn the lighter back on for a couple of seconds).
Now the led was soldered back in place, and obviously the light will not turn on.

This happened to me already with other lamps with electronic switch, so I tried to “reset” the electronic connecting to the chargin system. No signal.
But I noticed that the light somehow worked if I kept pressed the switch. I screwed back in place the screw on the electronic board and the light now works fine, it seems that the screw somewhat conducts some signal.

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

Silent_Star
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Thanks for the review!
I have a few questions.
Whether it is appropriate in this flashlight front plastic panel?
Can we hope that it is more reliable than aluminum?
I was confused by the gap under the plastic.
In the photo they are marked in red.
I think that the plastic panel will worsen heat dissipation from the flashlight.

http://s107.photobucket.com/user/114dry/media/DSCN2553_zpsfay4t5dm.jpg.html

 Genesis 1:3 "And God said, "Let there be light,"  and there was light."

Budda
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the plastic part doesn’t cover all the way the aluminium, also there is rubber o-ring between them, so it creats additional space. But the waterproofness is insured at the contact point between the part, where there is the o-ring.

The plastic is thermally less conductive but even if that part was made out of aluminum, I believe most of the heatsinking would be done by the body. Remember that the only place where these 2 part meet is at the o-ring spot.
Also, the circuit board does a wonderful job dissipating the heat, judging from the difficulty I encountered during the modding.

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

Budda
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Purchase link edited: https://goo.gl/OxsJST Coupon SH6%OFF

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

Barkuti
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A niteexpensive, mod unfriendly light. My cup of tea this is not. 

Budda, if you are confident you can solder an emitter back in the board, you may want to try milling the stock one. Literally. I learned this after trying to unsolder a surface mount inductor from a cramped driver board. Of course, this means the stock component is sacrificed. 

 

Cheers Party

adirondackdestroyer
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Great review man, just picked this one up, looks like a real winner especially for the price!

Buzzing Bulb
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Wouldn’t the scotch tape melt or curl either on the out or inside of the lens?
Don’t get me wrong I like the solution, it’s fast, simple and lets not forget cheap.
After having it for a while now, could you please tell me I’m wrong Big Smile

I’m still waiting for some different angle optics to come in the mail to test on a HC30.
To see if I’m going to buy a second HC30 or decide on a HC60.

Budda
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If the quality of the material is good, it won’t melt.
It can’t curl either since it is kept in place by the pressure from the glass, on one side, and the o-ring, on the other.

if magic tape or other diffusers would have this issues, we won’t have many people buying them.

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