Review of Crelant V4A

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Bort
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Review of Crelant V4A

This light was provided by Banggood for review purposes and can be bought here.
Banggood has provided a 20% off code for this light, CLV4A

After a long wait of 2.5 months (not Banggood’s fault, Canada post had a customs delay of over a month because of Christmas postal volume) this light finally arrived.

I like this light because of its 4AA design which is a neglected form factor, i don’t know why exactly, it only needs a linear driver like those used in our popular 18650 lights. The tailstanding ability of this light is amazing, its completely stable, as if the body was designed to tailstand. The box it came in is simple (the foam being designed for a standard non wide tube light) and the manual is short and succinct, though i wish it explained things a bit better.

This light uses an XP-L HI chip, has a better throw than a C8 from a ~35mm reflector (owing to hte XP-L HI chip) and runs on 4AA at 3.6Amps at maximum brightness and a parasitic drain of the electronic switch at 0.77mA which Djozz pointed out will drain the batteries in 3 months, so be prepared for this (i would store it without batteries installed unless you use it regularly). Crelant claims 1095 lumens (likely LED lumens) but there are losses from the reflector/glass leading to a tested output of 880 max lumens and 20 lumen minimum (thanks Djozz). The lens is not AR coated. According to posts below the driver is not linear but direct drive and the light dims as the batteries are drained with no constant brightness

This light only has two modes unlike the three we are used to and has hidden strobe and SOS which are well hidden (thanks Crelant). In fact i can’t figure out how to get to SOS mode! Big Smile

The ability to reprogram the modes is rather unique to this light, instead of the High-Low-Off modes it comes from the factory with one can choose the brightness in each mode by holding the switch while it dims to minimum then brightens to maximum and letting go of the switch when the desired brightness is reached. This can be done in both modes so one can choose the brightness of both modes. The light remembers these selections until the batteries are removed which is kind of annoying, it would be nice if it remembered the custom modes while changing the batteries.
The ramping is not completely smooth, from minimum it jumps a bit then ramps to maximum then blinks letting you know its at maximum. There is no corresponding blink for minimum which takes some getting used to.
When you change the batteries the light keeps turning on on High while your trying to screw the end cap on the light which is annoying and the threads are not especially smooth even after generous flashlight lube its something you get used to though. This light eats batteries for breakfast, about 1/2 hour of (cumulative) use and the eneloops are drained, but eneloops are very hardy, more cycles then li ion and i can keep them fully charged without losing capacity. Fortunately i have a good smart charger as well.

I had an interesting experience with this light, when replacing the eneloops after recharging and reprogramming the modes (they reset to factory each time the batteries are removed) the low went down to moonlight (maybe 1-2 lumens) and maximum went down to about 300 lumens. I can’t explain how or why this happened, when i took the cover off and replaced it the light went back to normal.

The pill has a poor heatsinking path as shown here (thanks Nicolicous)

credit http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/989965#comment-989965


Overall this is a good light with some flaws, 4AA which means eneloops which are far more durable then li ion. The throw is mighty impressive for the small reflector, thanks to the HI LED chip used. The biggest improvements i would ask for is better heatsinking, lower parasitic loss and 3 modes factory programmed for low-medium-high.



Pros
Runs on 4AA batteries
Both modes are easily programmable
Amazing tail standing ability
Doesn’t use a separate holder for the batteries, less damage to the batteries from insertion/removal and less voltage loss/wearing out


Cons
Low is not as low as i would like
Modes reset when batteries are removed, but easily fixed after battery replacement
Running for long periods on higher output can potentially fry the LED/circuitry, i have not tested this but always be aware of it when using the light.
I don’t know the lifespan of the electronic switch which would make repair difficult

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 11:48
The Miller
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Nice review, love this format
Have the 4AA Thorfire in the car with eneloops

djozz
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Thanks for the review, Bort. I’m looking forward to your further observations while in use.

I have not used mine much because of the cool led and the bit rigid UI, but once I have swapped the led for a more pleasant one, it will be better.

Bort
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djozz wrote:
Thanks for the review, Bort. I’m looking forward to your further observations while in use.

I have not used mine much because of the cool led and the bit rigid UI, but once I have swapped the led for a more pleasant one, it will be better.


Your welcome, and thanks for the measurements you posted in the other thread Beer
I’m a bit afraid to take it apart because of the thin and easily broken bond wires someone mentioned, but while it has its imperfections this is one of my more interesting lights.
I’ve never owned a soda can light so i’m still shocked by its amazing tailstanding stability, and this is my first XP-L light (and XP-L HI) so the throw is mighty impressive.

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

DEL
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I wanted to like this one. Nice format and great tail-stander as you said. Mine is the ‘neutral’ version, so even the tint is acceptable.

But:

  • One of the two keying pins in the tail PCB came loose on mine and now seems ready to fall out of the PCB. This PCB spins on a rivet with no access to the solder side, so not sure how to repair it.
  • Parasitic drain is too high. Tail lockout works for some reason even with the series-wired springs, but it is flaky.
  • The way the tactile button wires thread through a hole in the pill makes the light almost non-serviceable. Mine got damaged on second disassembly/assembly.
  • The driver is a very basic PWM FET type with a little bit of current-limiting resistance. But most of the current limit is provided by the cells and springs. This light would have been great with Ni-MH cells and a buck driver.

Bort
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DEL wrote:
I wanted to like this one. Nice format and great tail-stander as you said. Mine is the ‘neutral’ version, so even the tint is acceptable.

But:

  • One of the two keying pins in the tail PCB came loose on mine and now seems ready to fall out of the PCB. This PCB spins on a rivet with no access to the solder side, so not sure how to repair it.
  • Parasitic drain is too high. Tail lockout works for some reason even with the series-wired springs, but it is flaky.
  • The way the tactile button wires thread through a hole in the pill makes the light almost non-serviceable. Mine got damaged on second disassembly/assembly.
  • The driver is a very basic PWM FET type with a little bit of current-limiting resistance. But most of the current limit is provided by the cells and springs. This light would have been great with Ni-MH cells and a buck driver.

You say most of the current limit, are you saying its actually direct drive?

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of alternative facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists"

 

DEL
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It has two small FETs in parallel IIRC. But too much resistance in the circuit to be called a DD:

There is a 56 mohm resistor on the board, then a very inefficient PCB track that circle the whole board. Then the high resistance of the AAs and the steel springs. These resistances all add up rapidly since they are all in series. And it is needed, we need to drop about 1.5 V with a set of fresh Ni-MH cells.

The 56 mohm is not a current sense, and is kind of pointless – there is no regulation happening.

Beachlogger
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Thanks for the review Bort, I got this light during the group buy and when I got it I got another for a gift light. The bang buck factor was too good to pass. I’ve got other crelants and like there products and user interface

ImA4Wheelr
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That pills lips may appear to be poor heat sinking, but it's a lot of surface area  Now, how much of those 2 large diameter diameter lips actually make contact to host could be an issue.  That will take more than casual measurements to determine.

One "Con" for me with this light is the narrow spill.

Ronin42
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I see this light and I think of is 4s 14500’s and a 9v MT-g2 emitter. All i would need is the driver.

any ideas?

(“It’s good that most people can’t remember their previous lives. Otherwise
things would be a lot more complicated than they already are.”
Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo)