Vollsion MR12-D review with measurements (18650, XP-L, USB charging & power bank)

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maukka
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Vollsion MR12-D review with measurements (18650, XP-L, USB charging & power bank)

Disclaimer: The Vollsion MR12-D was provided for testing by the manufacturer at no charge.

The MR12-D is a part of Vollsion’s new line of rechargeable lights with a power bank function (the -D in the end). The same light comes in two form factors, a throwier MR25-D with a bigger head and the classically straight tube shaped MR12-D tested here.

Features and manufacturer’s specifications
Battery: 18650, the light comes bundled with a protected 3400mAh cell
LED: Cree XP-L2 in cool white (actually XP-L)
Waterproof: IPX8, 2 meters
Impact resistance: 2 meters
Mode memory: yes
Micro-USB charging and power bank function with included OTG adapter

Manufacturer’s output specs
Maximum output: 1180 lumens
Other output levels: 300/30 lumens
Special modes: SOS, strobe
Light intensity: 18600 candela
Beam distance: 245 m (doesn’t match indicated cd)

Measured dimensions and weight
Length: 155 mm
Head width: 88.5 mm
Handle width: 50.5 mm
Weight: 85 g for the light and 48 g for the battery

User interface

The operation of the light is very simple and easy to grasp immediately. It works identically to the Thrunite TC12 V2. The tail switch completes the circuit and turns the light on. As it is a forward clicky you can press it halfway for memorized momentary. The gradual output increase when the power is turned on makes especially the high momentary just a bit too slow. The electronic side switch is used to cycle modes. The switches feel great with no mushiness.

From off:
Full click of the tailcap switch turns the light on at the previously used brightness (strobe not memorized)
Half press for momentary on the memorized mode

From on:
Single click of the tailcap switch turns the light off
Short press of the side switch cycles through output modes (low, mid, high)
Long press (~1 sec) of the side switch activates strobe (alternating frequency)
While on strobe, single click returns to the previously used mode

The side switch is lighted when the flashlight is turned on so you’ll never lose the position.

Physical appearance


The Cree XP-L2 XP-L with a smooth reflector.


I’ve heard some lewd comments about the USB rubber cover.


18650 battery and 18650 lights from the left: Zebralight SC600w III HI, Olight S2R, Olight S30R III, Convoy S2+, Armytek Prime C2 Pro, Thrunite Neutron 2C, Vollsion MR12-D, Eagle Eye X5R


So yeah, Vollsion MR12-D is a big 18650 light, but no bigger than other double switch usb rechargeables like the Thrunite TC12 V2 and Eagle Eye X5R.


The head and reflector come off easily with some straps.


The head inside diameter is 18.9mm, but the MCPCB is 20mm. That’s why they’ve had to grind some of it a bit bigger. The reflector pushes the board down and holds it in place. The gasket fits very well.


The driver is 20mm. With a slightly protruding positive terminal. Flat tops do still work.


Threads are square and well lubed. Overall the finish feels rugged and the materials used are thick.

Vollsion UPL-18-34 battery


The Wh marking on the wrapper is underselling the real capacity.

The bundled battery is a high quality (and “really reliable stuff”) rewrapped Panasonic NCR18650B with added protection circuit and a nominal capacity of 3400mAh. The protection PCB adds some resistance (~15mohm) to the battery. Using a high current battery gives some output gains.

UPL-18-34 measurements with 1A discharge down to 2.8 volts
Capacity: 3188 mAh / 11.135 Wh
Low voltage protection: 2.45V
Over current protection: 8.2A
Internal resistance: 78mohm


Protection circuit comes with a button top, but the light works fine with some flat tops I tested (VTC5A, VTC6, GA).


Panasonic NCR18650B under the wrapper


The protection circuit is on the positive end.

Integrated charging and power bank

The USB charging works with any 18650.


Charging a completely depleted battery takes about four hours, which is about the same as charging it at 1A in a separate charger. In the light the current starts off high at 1.8A from the USB power supply but slowly declines until it terminates at 170mA.


What sets the Vollsion MR12-D apart is the power bank function, which works from the same USB charging port via an OTG adapter.


The Micro USB charging input also acts as a power bank output using the supplied OTG adapter. The adapter can be placed either on the light or on the device being charged. You’ll also probably misplace it at some point. I had to search for it multiple times during the review process.

As a power bank the light is able to charge an iPhone 6 to full (8.4Wh) with 0.78Wh to spare. Total conversion efficiency is decent at 82%, but the dc-dc converter can’t handle 1A discharge current with low battery voltages so the last 30% must be extracted at a lower rate.


Charging an iPhone 6 from 0% to 100% takes about 3 hours after which I turned the display on and started an app to deplete the rest of the power bank.


At 1A constant current discharge, the output voltage starts to decrease at fairly high battery voltages before an hour has passed. This slows down charging. When the USB output had dropped to 4 volts, the battery resting voltage was at 3.45V.

Beam and tint

Domed Cree and a small smooth reflector usually results in a variety of tints. The Vollsion is no exception. The hotspot is a cool but neutral white, the corona around it has a warmer greenish tint and the spill is even cooler than the hotspot. The tint is better (more neutral, closer to the black body radiator line) on higher modes.


Tint in different parts of the beam.


Tint in different brightness modes.

The beam in practice is quite similar to a Convoy S2+ using an XP-L HI emitter. The Convoy throws a bit further and my version is a neutral white 3A tint. Their total lumen output matches quite well too.

Color rendering

For spectral information and CRI calculations I use an X-rite i1Pro spectrophotometer with HCFR, Babelcolor CT&A and ArgyllCMS spotread for the graphs and data. For runtime tests I use spotread with a custom script and an i1Display Pro because it doesn’t require calibration every 30 minutes like the i1Pro.

Explanation of abbreviations

CCT = correlated color temperature, higher temperature means cooler (bluish)
CRI (Ra) = color rendering index consisting of 8 different colors (R1-R8), max value 100
CRI (R9) = color rendering index with deep red, usually difficult for led based light sources, max value 100
TLCI = television lighting consistency index, max value 100
CQS (Qa) = Proposed replacement for CRI, RMS average of 15 color samples
CRI2012 (Ra,2012) = Another proposed replacement for CRI, consists of 17 color samples
MCRI = Color rendering index based on the memory of colors or 9 familiar objects
NEW Read more about the IES TM-30-15 method
TM-30 = The newest color rendering method using 99 samples. Preferred for comparing LEDs.
TM-30 (Rf) = Accuracy of colors, fidelity index. Replaces CRI(Ra).
TM-30 (Rg) = Gamut of colors, saturation index. Higher number means more saturated colors.
Tint dev. (“Duv” in the CTA screenshots) is the tint’s distance to the black body radiator line in the CIE graphs. The higher the number, the greener the tint. 0.0000 means absolutely neutral white and negative numbers mean rosy/magenta tint. Anything over 0.0100 can be described as visibly very green. Under 0.0050 is usually satisfactory.

If you have an hour to spare, I recommend watching this presentation on IES TM-30-15 which also shines light into color rendering in general.


Color rendering on maximum output.

Output and runtimes

The output falls a bit short from advertised (1180 lm). A good battery will increase the maximum output a bit. With an unprotected Sony VTC6 I measured 976 lumens at switch on and 947 lumens at 30 seconds. This is about 10% better compared to the Vollsion battery.


The high mode steps down at two minutes regardless of cooling. Mid is visually stable for three hours after which it starts to decline. Efficacy is very good in its class.


All lights tested for efficacy (lm/W) at the mode closest to 400-600 lumens.

PWM

Vollsion says the driver uses constant current circuitry without flicker. I measured 31.2kHz switching frequency on low. Nothing to worry about, since it’s not going to be visible. Output is stable on mid and high.

Verdict

Vollsion MR12-D is a well built 18650 light. It is only available in cool white, and the smooth reflector causes some visible tint shift in the beam. While the hotspot looks clean cool white, the corona around is a bit greenish and spill cooler still. The output and throw measurements don’t match the manufacturer’s inflated specifications, but the differences aren’t too big. The performance is similar to other lights in the same category and you can improve the output by using a high current battery.

The output modes are a bit silly. There’s no real moonlight mode and the mid and high modes are visually too close to each other. I would have liked the mid to be somewhere around 250 lumens or at least to have another level between low and mid. The highest mode always steps down to mid level (~400 lm) after two minutes. The highest mode always steps down at two minutes regardless of temperature.

The user interface is easy to grasp and works perfectly. Click the tailcap to turn the light on, click the side switch to cycle modes. There’s no way to instantly access low from off, but that’s usually the case with these mechanical+electronic switch lights. Strobe is well hidden behind a long press of the side switch. The tailcap switch protrudes too much and the light cannot tailstand.

For the price, I’d rate it a fair performer, but most people I know would like to change the emitter to a bit warmer and higher CRI one, which isn’t too difficult to do on the MR12-D. There might have been some weak glue on the head, but it came off without any effort. There’s also lots of options for the 3535 LED footprint. The driver still needs improvement and considering the selling point of the light (USB input and output), it’s not easily done.

+Comes with a high quality battery which is rechargeable inside the light
+Very simple UI with no way to accidentally activate strobe
+High quality construction and nice switches
+Works as a power bank with decent efficiency
+The switching frequency on low is high enough to not be visible
-No neutral white or high CRI option
-Mid and high modes are too close to each other
-No real moonlight mode
-Large tint shift from hotspot to corona and spill when shone on a flat surface
-Cannot tailstand
-You’ll probably lose the OTG adapter at some point

Edited by: maukka on 09/28/2017 - 15:38
Lexel
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In the pictures is clearly visible its a XPL HD not a XPL2

maukka
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You’re right. Shouldn’t have believed the specs without checking.

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Had to add that the light does come with a holster but it’s useless since the bad Chinese velcro doesn’t stick at all.

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Good we’re seeing more powerbanks that work as non-junk flashlights as well.
But this is still far from what I’m looking for.

  • way, way too large
  • unenlightened UI
  • performance is fair enough, but I’d like more
  • (less important) not Type C
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Kiitos!

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Thanks for highlighting it. I have already feedback to VOLLSION.

Lexel wrote:
In the pictures is clearly visible its a XPL HD not a XPL2
d_t_a
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Lexel wrote:
In the pictures is clearly visible its a XPL HD not a XPL2

I’m just curious, how does one identify XP-L HD vs XP-L2 LED? Would you have side-by-side images of the two?
(in particular, the FiTorch P20R/P30R also mentions using XP-L2; as the Vollsion and FiTorch seem to be clones of each other, would like to know if any of them had real XP-L2, or they are just XP-L HD)

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d_t_a wrote:
Lexel wrote:
In the pictures is clearly visible its a XPL HD not a XPL2

I’m just curious, how does one identify XP-L HD vs XP-L2 LED? Would you have side-by-side images of the two?
(in particular, the FiTorch P20R/P30R also mentions using XP-L2; as the Vollsion and FiTorch seem to be clones of each other, would like to know if any of them had real XP-L2, or they are just XP-L HD)

I’d like to know how to tell this too…

.
I just got the Litesam PS16 (Fitorch’s “Amazon exclusive” line)

Didn’t know about Vollsion brand, I just came across them listed at KD and found this review.
http://www.kaidomain.com/Search/SearchResult.VOLLSION

.
The Litesam PS16, (which is same as Fitorch P20R but with knurling instead of grooves) appears to be the same base flashlight as MR12 / MR12D
Litesam lists an XP-L emitter, and 1380lm instead of 1180lm.
And the Litesam included battery is only 2600mAh, compared to the 3400mAh that’s included with the MR12.

Once I get the bezel removed I’ll report back here about the emitter / mcpcb.
.

https://www.amazon.com/Flashlight-Rechargeable-Indicator-Water-Resistant...

https://www.amazon.com/VOLLSION-Pocket-sized-Rechargeable-Dischargeable-...

I see the Litesam on ebay now too.. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tactical-Flashlight-Rechargeable-with-Power-Ind...

.

Thanks for the great review maukka, it’s useful for the Litesam PS16 as well, I think it’s the same just not sure why the 200lm higher output spec.

"Over 2000000 hours (about 200 years) standby time"  (DQG Tiny 4th)

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I contacted Litesam and they informed:

“Litesam brand was created by Tommy Mo, the CEO of Fitorch Electronics” and “Vollsion is not our brand”.

But obviously MR12 and PS16 are identical lights, and P20R just has different knurling. So whatever factory in China makes the lights for Fitorch/Litesam also makes them for Vollsion. Fitorch/Litesam might even be the OEM also selling to Vollsion. They only said “It’s not their brand”

One factory, same lights, (OEM service – logo imprint) just different names on them.

These are good quality lights, the PS16 is very bright and well built. I love how the side switch on these is nice and wide compared to others in their class, and I especially like the knurling of the Litesam and Vollsion.

"Over 2000000 hours (about 200 years) standby time"  (DQG Tiny 4th)

"27,157 results for zoomable flashlight" (ebay)

 

 

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"Over 2000000 hours (about 200 years) standby time"  (DQG Tiny 4th)

"27,157 results for zoomable flashlight" (ebay)

 

 

d_t_a
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Good find, beam0.

I got the Fitorch P20R, it does look similar to the Boruit flashlights indicated above, except the Boruit doesn’t indicate powerbank feature (so I suppose it’s minus that feature [question: I wonder if the OTG adapter from the Vollsion/Fitorch will work on other flashlights with micro-USB port??] ).

Also, I don’t exactly trust Boruit’s item descriptions — for instance I got the Boruit RJ-02 headlamp from them, including the Boruit battery.
In their product listing, Boruit mentions 1000-lumens (while Gearbest indicates a more correct 300+ lumens for this headlamp).
Plus the Boruit branded battery label indicates 4000mAh when my actual tested capacity is around 1500-1600mAh.
It’s actually not a problem with bundling a low-capacity 18650 with their package since it only costs little additional, but would be good if they had indicated something near true capacity.

Which is the reason I don’t exactly trust what Boruit is indicating on their store product descriptions.. (it says “XP-L2” I wonder if t’s true?)

Anyway, this is not the Boruit thread…

~~~~

Going back to XP-L (HD) vs XP-L2, I’ve got a few more flashlights that come with XP-L2 (Sofirn SP32A, Wuben LT35, etc.) and now I can actually notice what’s the difference between an XP-L (HD) vs an XP-L2. XP-L2 LED has yellow backing (sorry I don’t know the correct terminology) on the emitter, whereas the one on the XP-L (HD) is white. This is also probably the reason why XP-L2 LED often shows a yellow corona around the hotspot beam.

In any case, I have determined that the Fitorch P20R definitely is not an XP-L2, but an XP-L HD. (I have the Astrolux S1 which uses XP-L HD and it looks the same LED as the Fitorch P20R.)

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d_t_a:

Litesam PS16 and BORUiT BC03 appear to be the exact same light as the Vollsion MR12 (Which appears the same as the Vollsion MR12D but without the powerbank adaptor)

Vollsion makes a “D” model version for each of their “Fitorch based” lights. It appears the only difference of their “D” models is the included powerbank adapter, so I’d think it would work in the others, but I’m not sure if or where you can buy those adapters?

maukka started discussion about Vollsion’s powerbank adapter system here: https://www.reddit.com/r/flashlight/comments/6y10cv/vollsion_has_a_novel...

The (optional) battery included with the BORUiT lights is showing a 2600mAh, it may be the same battery that is included with the Litesam’s models which are also 2600mAh, I haven’t checked the true capacity of the Litesam batteries yet but I will soon. At least BORUiT offers a version without a battery for $4.00 less.

.

So the various choices for this light are:

Fitorch P20R……….Battery not included…………………….$27.99 w/code (regular $54.99)

Models with knurling:
BORUiT BC03……Battery optional-2600mAh……………$25.56 or $29.50 w/battery
Litesam PS16………Battery included-2600mAh ………….$44.97
Vollsion MR12…….Battery included-3400mAh…………..$39.99
Vollsion MR12…….Battery included-3400mAh…………..$45.95 (Includes powerbank adapter)

So BORUiT BC03 is the best deal if you want the knurling and don’t need their battery.

.

"Over 2000000 hours (about 200 years) standby time"  (DQG Tiny 4th)

"27,157 results for zoomable flashlight" (ebay)

 

 

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I’m wondering if anyone else noticed this about the switch on this light:

Although I love the wide flat metal switch, unfortunately I hate the feel/feedback of this switch. On my Litesam version the switch is a bit sloppy, klunky and rough and has too much travel before it activates, it’s just not “precise” and smooth feeling like other e-switches, and it makes the mode switching seem “slow” or “delayed” too.

Olight, Crelant, Thorfire, On The Road, Thrunite, Nitecore, all my other e-switch lights have much better feeling switches, more smooth and precise. It’s really the only complaint I have so far with this light, but it’s a big one for me. I hate it.

I’m wondering if I got a bad one or it’s just how they are, anyone else with a Litesam, a Fitorch or Vollsion (or BORUiT) notice this too?

"Over 2000000 hours (about 200 years) standby time"  (DQG Tiny 4th)

"27,157 results for zoomable flashlight" (ebay)