Pre production sample [Review] Astrolux MF-01 4x18650 flashlight supplied by Banggood

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Lexel
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Pre production sample [Review] Astrolux MF-01 4x18650 flashlight supplied by Banggood

The light was supplied by Banggood, no compensation other than the light itself was received for this review

The light is a pre production sample, so there might be improvements for the final light

The price can be lowered with Freeme coupon here

This is my 4. light that was supplied by Banggood for a review, I am honest and will judge the light as it is with its pros and cons

Manufactory specification:
I did edit the errors in it

Product name: Astrolux MF-01 18x XP-G3/Nichia 219C 12000LM LED Flashlight
Brand: Astrolux
Model: MF-01
Emitter Type: XP-G3/*Nichia 219C*
Light temperature: 6000-7000K,5000K
Light color: Cool white, Neutral white
Material: Aerospace grade aluminum alloy
Total Emitters: 18x
Mode: Low, Middle, High, Turbo,+ Strobe, SOS, Location Beacon
Lumens: 100LM, 600LM, 5100LM, 12000LM (Samsung 30Q)
Runtime: 500h, 14h ,4h, 30min (Samsung 30Q)
Battery Configurations: 2 × 18650/4 × 18650 battery (not included)
Voltage Input: 5.5V-9V
Switch Type: Clicky
Switch Location: Body side of the flashlight
Peak Beam Intensity: 53960cd
Impact Resistant 1.5m
Max Output: 12000Lumens (XP-G3)(tested with 4×18650)
Range: 450meters (max)
Lens: Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
Waterproof: IPX-7 waterproof
Color: Black
Weight: 550g (without battery)
Size: 125mm x 72mm x 52mm (length x head x body diameter)

Features:
• Utilizes 18 x XP-G3/Nichia 219C LEDs, max output up to 12000 lumens
• Powered by 2x/4×18650 batteries.
• Max runtime up to 500 hours
• Max throw up to 450 meters
• 4 brightness levels and 3 special functions available
• High Efficiency constant current circuit
• Direct thermal path(DTP) copper board
• Breathing light and lockout design
• Breathing light displays battery voltage
• Integration and high efficiency optical lens
• One single switch provides access to all functions
• Made from aerospace grade aluminum alloy
• HAIII hard anodizing
• Waterproof in accordance with IPX7
• Tail stand

Package included:
1 x Astrolux MF-01 18x XP-G3/Nichia 219C 12000LM LED Flashlight
1 x Tripod Mount Screw
1 x O-rings
1 x Lanyard
1 x Manual

There are some errors in the original specs
- the Nichia are neutral white, while they are described as warm white
- Sumsang Q30, Utilises, aluminium, Nicha and anodising spelled wrong
- some spaces are missing after the comma

The parcel arrived after 11 days shipping with to Germany which is very fast from China.

Package and content:

The lights box came packed well with a plenty wrap around and in a plastic bag

The light comes in a solid card box
the box is also coated with plastic the tape gets off without any residue or damage

The box has a compartment for the light and a bag with small parts

It comes with 2 spare o-rings, lanyard, thread adapter and manual, but in my case the manual is missing

Photos of the light




Comparism and teardown:

Size compared to other 18650 lights, I do not own SRK size lights, the MF-01 is a bit bigger than them as the head has a lager diameter than the battery tube

Beam color is neutral around 5000K for the Nichia 219C model, the Nichia has a nice uniform beam and color rendering is great

The LEDs are reflowed ok could be better and the MCPCB is perfectly flat, but not polished
Unfortunately on my sample there was a little solder under the LED board and the heat paste was not evenly spread

and some small dust particles on the domes of some LEDs

from left to right the lights get warmer, picture taken @5000K camera setting
left Astrolux S42 Nichia 219C 5000K, Astrolux MF-01 Nichia 5000K, XPL HD 1A 6500K

The LEDs in this light are available XP-G3 and Nichia 219C

The light can be taken apart completely, nothing is glued

The light has a massive tail cap with holes for a lanyard, and tail stands rock solid

The head has a diameter of 72mm and 62mm visible of the TIR optic

The battery carrier comes with a warning not to put in the batteries in reverse polarity

The driver can’t be pulled out easily, the LED leads have to be unsoldered

The light uses 3 separate buck regulators

The light can be physical locked out by twisting the tail cap or head about a 1/2 turn

The Head

the TIR is a medium throw, gives a nice uniform beam with some spill

the Nichia LEDs fit in nicely and the majority of them seem all to be centered perfectly
the LEDs are wired in 3 pairs of 2S3P

The slave board for the switch has also a green and red LED

The shelf is 2mm thick and the 1.5mm thick copper MCPCB does a good job spreading the heat, on Turbo the head gets hot quick, so the thermal path is well if the heat paste is applied better than in my sample

The MCPCB is s true copper DTP, the back of it is gold plated
The MCPCBs back is perfectly flat

The light should be waterproof, but I wish the heads o-ring would be pushed a little harder

The lens is AR coated glass

I would like to see the TIR attached to the lens with optical glue to get more OTF lumens

Tube and Tail

The tail cap is solid and fully anodized there is no battery connection

the tube inner diameter is 45mm even my double heat shrink tube unprotected batteries have some play

The tube threads are triangular cut on both sides, the tube has 2 o-rings and both sides is lubed for water tightness, the amount of lubricant is good
square cut would be nicer, but all Astrolux lights have triangular with a flat top

Driver and Battery

The light has no visible PWM in any mode, even falling water drops show nothing

The light has a lot mass to absorb heat, in turbo mode on a high drain cells it gets hot quickly, in High the temperature takes quite some time to get hot

The light seems not to have a temperature protection which is not fast,
the head heats up above 75°C then I shut down the light a minute, when I switched it on again it stabilized at 70°C
as I got no manual I cant check if its specified there

The 2S/2P battery carrier is build rock solid and can be inserted both ways

The battery carrier can be used in both directions, but it’s better to put the side where the battery positive and negative is separated towards the driver to avoid the current flowing through the brass rods connecting both sides

The light is build for unprotected batteries, protected or button top unprotected won’t fit, the ones I have with a 2mm brass button fit barely
On the left the one with the brass button and on the right a flat top battery

the springs get fully compressed with an unprotected brass button cell, so their resistance is very low

The mode spacing is OK, the moonlight has about 3-5 lumens, the high could be a little less

Current measurement with 4 Samsung 18650-30Q fully charged and rested at 4.15V
The carrier is modified to measure the current with a 0.5mm² wire, so the measurement might not as precise as in the assembled light

Tail current for modes

Moon 0.125W 8.3V and 15mA
This is not really accurate with the clampmeter, I guess the real current is lower

Low 6.4W 8.25V and 0.78A

High 57.4W 8V and 7.17A

Turbo 120W 7.66V and 15.67A

At 3.4V per cell the light does switch the indicator LED in the side switch to red to show low battery warning

At 2.9V the indicator LED blinks to show critical battery level

The light shuts down at 2.7V per cell, for my liking too low for a 2S light if the batteries might be not perfectly matched

Below that voltage it shuts down and you can’t turn on the light again

The light pulls in the breathing mode 0.5-0.7mA from the battery
the breathing mode stops at 2.7V per cell to prevent over discharge

When the light is locked out with side switch it pulls about 39uA

Modding:

First thing was to bypass the copper alloy Spring on the driver

I sanded MCPCB to remove the solder residue and get a polished surface

Added a wire to the LED- to shelf, I could have increased the positive gauge, but I didn’t

You can also see that I cut threads in the TIR holes to screw down the MCPCB to spread the paste better, the 3 screws on the outer ring are nice but in the middle of the MCPCB they would be more effective

Beam shots

about 2m from Light to ceiling
Astrolux MF-01 Nichia 219C

Astrolux S42 Nichia 219C

Astrolux K01 XPL-HD 3D

Nitecore P12 XML U3-3D NW

User Interface

The light has 4 modes including moonlight
Too bad my sample misses the manual, but so far I got it sorted out

Connect battery with light it enters breathing mode.

From breathing mode
- 0.5s long press locks out the light
- short press to turn on the light last mode memory
- double press enters strobe
While in strobe any short press advances to SOS, then beacon, another short press turns the light off

In any mode a 0.5s press turns the light off

I like the user interface of the UT01 more than the one here, but it’s better than the last Astrolux S42 light.

Conclusion

Positive:

- mechanical very good production and engineering
- very solid head, DTP MCPCB screwed on the 2mm shelf
- Nichia LEDs has a nice neutral white with great color rendering
- AR coated glass lens
- good uniform beam, some throw by the shear amount of light on turbo
- nice low moonlight
- proper LVP and low battery warnings
- low resistance copper alloy springs

Neutral:

- triangular cut threads, square cut would be nicer
- 18650 battery carrier fits only unprotected flat top batteries
- the UI is a lot better than on the S42, but still not like many flashaholics want it, one like Utorchs UT-01 would have been nice
- mode spacing is not optimal and a light with this amount of lumens need an option to switch to more modes
- slow temperature protection, the head gets >75°C before the driver knows its hot, then the output drops a lot and the light cools down

Negative:

- no reverse polarity protection, you get a big notice in the light to avoid wrong polarity
- Quality management is not good: missing manual and solder spot below the MCPCB and not good applied heat paste

Edited by: Lexel on 07/08/2017 - 00:51
Lexel
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reserved for updates

The light is a pre production sample, so there might be improvements for the final light

The light seems to have a slow temperature protection, when it is cold it takes about 2 minutes to reach the level

the temperature sensor seems to be on the driver, which is not good on the MCPCB would be more precise and quicker regulation

as I got no manual I cant check if its specified there

I will do a timelapse to show how the light does thermal regulation

All pictures with F1/2.8 ISO800 and 0.3s

control shot distance 50m

Klarus XT12GTS modded with HI E4-3C 1800 lumens

Nitecore P12 U3-3D @3A

Astrolus MF-01 low

Astrolus MF-01 high

Astrolus MF-01 Turbo

Astrolus S42 modded to about 18A cold start

control shot

Astrolus MF-01 turbo

M4D M4X
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 nice teardown !

but i am very interested in the UI and output...

find all available items in this list

i launched my new blog - all deals for members without MAP B$ Wink

find a short description about my idea here

 

if you want to buy a flashlight or battery for a better price: just send a mail - i will try to save you money!

TSO
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Lexel, did you get a chance to use it outside? Thoughts?
(Edit; this post was originally made before any outdoor shots were posted, lol)

hIKARInoob
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No reverse polarity protection, no space for protected cells… This might be a deal breaker… Thanks for the review Lexel! Thumbs Up

EasyB
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Pretty cool light. So are the LEDs wired 2s9p?

Too bad cool white XPG2 is not an option. I would dedome them and put in a FET driver and that would be a nice beam.

Lexel
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TSO wrote:
Lexel, did you get a chance to use it outside? Thoughts?

All pictures with F1/2.8 ISO800 and 0.3s

control shot

Astrolus MF-01 Turbo

g_sintornillos
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What a stupid craze to attach that tape right in the box!

Please do not use tape directly on the box

Sorry for my bad English

Lexel
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EasyB wrote:
Pretty cool light. So are the LEDs wired 2s9p?

Too bad cool white XPG2 is not an option. I would dedome them and put in a FET driver and that would be a nice beam.

the LEDs are wired in 3 pairs of 2S3P

g_sintornillos wrote:
What a fucking craze to stick that tape right in the box!

Please do not use tape directly on the box

the box is also coated with plastic the tape gets off without any residue or damage

hIKARInoob
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Kids in the building traumatised thinking aliens are going to abduct them.

g_sintornillos
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But these was not coated

Sorry about this off topic but I am too pissed because all the boxes that come from BG come that tape stuck

Sorry for my bad English

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12000lm is rated for the XP-G3…I wonder what the actual output is for the Nichia 219C.

Lexel
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I did a 20x timelapse for the thermal stepdown

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Looks like a good product so far, i am torn between this and Haikelite MT03.

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Nice light, it may even give the meteor a run for its money. Many details can be improved, such as having the MCPCB wire a bit further away from the edge to avoid shorting, and better application of thermal paste (Although for this size it should not matter much, the light will heat up quickly anyways).

Lexel
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Swi from Banggood told me this morning this is a pre production sample Banggood received from the company producing them

none of the regular lights will go in production till the improvements and changes are clear

they seem to have reacted after the S42 issues to put more efford to improve the lights handing out pre production samples for testing, rather than go too early in production and find out later which issues the lights have when the first reviews show issues

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the switch ‘s light is not…perfect for me, it’s kind of unbalance

Forgot my pen

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Nice review!
thanks

I find thesetemps a major problem.
They did build in thermal step down but it seems to protect the hardware and not the user, this is literally burning hot, unscceptable imho for a production light, for a modded hotrod it is ok but for something one buys stock a no go.

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I’m pleasantly surprised, it seems like they did the details quite right. And I’m curious about the output too, the 12.000 lumen is for XP-G3 of course, the high CRI Nichia version is not specified but will be more like 9000. I like the looks too. And the beam is nice.
Still the first thing I do with any Astrolux light is take it fully apart and check, check, check! Flat Stare

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Only recommended for the experts... Else risk catastrophic result... embarassed

djozz wrote:
Still the first thing I do with any Astrolux light is take it fully apart and check, check, check! :|
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Lexel wrote:
Swi from Banggood told me this morning this is a pre production sample Banggood received from the company producing them

none of the regular lights will go in production till the improvements and changes are clear

they seem to have reacted after the S42 issues to put more efford to improve the lights handing out pre production samples for testing, rather than go too early in production and find out later which issues the lights have when the first reviews show issues

That’s great to hear. I’m glad they’re taking the extra steps to make sure everything is right from the start. I really like the looks of this light and will end up getting one as long as there’s no known issues.

freeme
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We have identified several issues back in June. Several parts will undergo redesign, and i am awaiting for their test results.

mizou51
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freeme wrote:

We have identified several issues back in June. Several parts will undergo redesign, and i am awaiting for their test results.

That’s very cool to work with the manufacturer for redesign and the best for Chinese products to get feedback for improvements…
I’m amused the way Chinese people adapt their way of thinking

Anyway can’t wait for this flashlight
Groupbuy Groupbuy…

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Thanks for the review Lexel. Looks like a nice light once the kinks are worked out.

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djburkes wrote:
Lexel wrote:
Swi from Banggood told me this morning this is a pre production sample Banggood received from the company producing them

none of the regular lights will go in production till the improvements and changes are clear

they seem to have reacted after the S42 issues to put more efford to improve the lights handing out pre production samples for testing, rather than go too early in production and find out later which issues the lights have when the first reviews show issues

That’s great to hear. I’m glad they’re taking the extra steps to make sure everything is right from the start. I really like the looks of this light and will end up getting one as long as there’s no known issues.

Quick learners. Definitely a good sign for Astrolux/Banggood. Thumbs Up

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@Lexel
Please tell Banggood their lamps would gain a lot if they use atiny chips or tell how to flash each light.
Some Astrolux lights could be brilliant lights with the right software. They should enable the flashaholics to fix their errors easy.

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2S battery config with buck driver feeding 2S emitters? 2S li-ion operative voltage window (8.x down to 5.4V in this case) overlaps with 2S emitters driving voltage, which means you lose regulation early at some point. Stupid decision imho.

Dealing with certain limitations can be understandable with cheap flashlights in the name of cost. This is not the case.

 

Copper is mine, copper divine!

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Barkuti wrote:

2S battery config with buck driver feeding 2S emitters? 2S li-ion operative voltage window (8.x down to 5.4V in this case) overlaps with 2S emitters driving voltage, which means you lose regulation early at some point. Stupid decision imho.


Dealing with certain limitations can be understandable with cheap flashlights in the name of cost. This is not the case.


 

Good for ANSI lumen rating, and good for ANSI runtime rating. So yeah, I want to know what output you get at 4.2V, 3.8V and let’s say 3.5V.

P.S. It’s not just 2S emitters, but those 2S are in 9P, so you have a lot more voltage sag.

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hIKARInoob, I clearly see the torch uses a 2S2P high drain battery feeding 3 buck engines, each one driving a 2S3P emitter stack. The limitation I am referring to is the same you can find on any other 2S torch driving 2S emitters (like a Convoy L6): once the battery voltage drops below Vf + driver overhead, you lose regulation. This means turbo won't fully work once the first low battery warning has appeared, or thereabouts (a 30Q loaded with 5A outputs below 3.4V once you're in the 2 to 2.8Ah of its discharge capacity curve; also bear in mind carrier and other contact losses).

To me, regulation matters. ¿2S2P battery? Go fully regulated buck with a beefier engine and 1S18P emitter stack. Also, some efficient boost engines available now: 1S4P battery feeding powerful boost engine driving 2S9P emitter stack. For examples, of course. 

 

Copper is mine, copper divine!

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^^^

I think we’re on the same page here. I think I fully understand the limitation you are referring to, and I’m definitely not a fan of “you only get that output with fresh 4.2V cells” either.

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UI is awful. Modes : 100, 600, 5100 ,12000. Power consumption: 0.125W , 6.4W , 57W, 120W

LPW:
800, <100,<100, <100
First obviously is mistake. But if the other are right that is shame. Newest led and constant current driver and lpw < 100! WTF?!
To get 5100lm from 18 xpg3 s5 it needs about 30W not almost 60.

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