[Review] Inexpensive work light from Amazon - Updated Run Times

17 posts / 0 new
Last post
jeff51
jeff51's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 19 hours ago
Joined: 03/26/2019 - 17:36
Posts: 91
Location: Middle of Texas
[Review] Inexpensive work light from Amazon - Updated Run Times

I’ve lurked for years, so now it’s time for my first review.

I acquired this lamp from Amazon for $16.85 (a budget light to be sure):
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H2C5D14/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_...

There are several venders selling the same light at slightly different price points.
The package includes the lamp, a micro USB charging cord (data capable), a pair Gracetop branded 18650s with a 3200mAh rating, and a set of instructions. The Gracetop brand appears in several places on the packaging.

Box Front

Box Side

Key of multi shift Dimming (???)

Box End

Instructions 1

Instructions 2

Description
The battery compartment is on the back. I think the design is brilliant.
The light can run off of 1 or 2 18650 (in parallel) or 4 AA cells in series.

Back 01

Back 02

In each of the round portholes is a COB cell with 12 small LED elements arranged with 1 in the center surrounded by 11 others.

COB LEDs

On the back of the light is the power switch, a micro USB charging port, a full sized USB port (for use as a power bank) and collapsible stand/hook for supporting/hanging/holding the light. The switch seems to be well sealed against water intrusion. The USB port plug is not tight. The USB power bank is only supported when using 18650 cells.

Lamp Side

Observations and Tests
The box says the light waterproof (no rating). The online description lists IP55. The battery compartment door just slides on without any type of weather seal. Water can certainly wick around the door. Depending on the orientation of the light it might, or might not, find a way into something that should not get wet. The USB port cover is not tight and water can also wick into this area as well.

The 2 front COB LEDs are covered with convex plastic lenses. These lenses are loose and can be moved around with finger pressure. These are clearly not waterproof and lead right into the LED compartment. I think this light will not stand up to rain or even a light mist (IPX55) much less a dunking. Taking the front silver retaining thingy off reveals the plastic lenses, a white plastic ring, and the COB LEDs. As you can see from the photo there is no water sealing at all. Any water on the lens will get right into the insides of the lamp.

Guts 01

Other than the poor water sealing the exterior seems quite sturdy. The plastic is nice and thick feeling. The handle/stand/hook on the back ratchets to different positions and stays put.

Lamp In Hand

The orange corners are more of a plastic rather than some sort of soft rubber. Still the light feels like it will survive getting dropped or banged around. The rear door is not very secure and can get bumped open or pop off. If you want it to stay put some tape is needed.

The UI
First click = High. Second click = Low. Third click = High white flashing. Fourth click = Off. You have to click through all the modes to turn it off. It’s annoying to have to go through the full power flashing to turn the thing off. Blows away your low mode adjusted pupils.

Let there be light
The lamp is rated at 20 watts and 1000 lumens (i think it said 2000 when I bought it last year, and it says 2000 lumens in the instructions). I’m not setup to do any real lumen measurements (yet). But I do have a photographic light meter, a lux meter, and some other lights to compare it with. I used the ceiling bounce method and a very non-calibrated light box. A wild ass guess puts the light in the 350 to 450ish lumen range.

Using a fresh 30Q battery I measured 1.39a on high and 0.34a on low. So let’s see, 1.39a at 4v, that sounds like about 5.6 watts to me. That is only about 28% of the rated 20 watts. I won’t even bother doing a comment on the rated 2000 lumens.

The Batts
The supplied batteries are flat top unprotected cells marked with the Gracetop brand. A solder blob battery will fit. A protected cell is a very tight fit and YMMV. The batteries are marked 3200mAh. One battery tested 1432mAh and 45mOhm. The second battery tested 1539mAh and 39mOhm. That’s about 45% and 48% of the rated capacity.

Battery Shaming

A pretty sorry performance says I. I have laptop pulls from the XP era that are better than that.

The batteries were setting at 3.58v and 3.43v when they came out of the box. I equalized them with a 10Ohm resister to prevent damage before putting them in the light.

Run Time
Using the freshly charged supplied batteries the lamp ran for 152 minutes on high before dropping off the voltage curve and dimming down. The light continued to put out light to 170 minutes at which time it was very dim. There is no low voltage protection and letting the lamp continue to run can result in battery damage.

Recharging the light drew 0.41 amps max and I measured 4.12volts after it finished a charge cycle. So it is slightly undercharging the 18650s (a good thing thinks I). I measured 5.1 volts on the USB output port. It’s supposed to be good for 1 amp (I didn’t test it under load).

What’s it look like?
The light radiates out at a 45 degree angle from the front of the lamp (so a 90 degree beam spread pattern). The spread is not as large as one might think considering this a flood light. The light is very even except at the edges where there are some artifacts. The porthole covers are clear so there is no softening to the light.

Beam 01

There is plenty of light for indoor emergencies. Outdoors it would do as a work light or hung up to light up a table or small seating area. This is not a stadium light by any means.

I can’t measure color temperature but it is certainly on the blue end of the spectrum. Low is useful to conserve battery life or when high is not needed.
It’s a shame you have to blast through the flashy mode to turn it off.

PWM
On high some PWM can be seen on the O-Scope and interacting with the camera shutter in videos (got to love those alien death beams). I can’t notice it with my eyes.
PWM High

On low PWM is clearly visible and may or may not be a bother depending on use (and user (naturally)). The horizontal scale is 2ms.

PWM Low

Thoughts
I really like the battery compartment design. The lumen rating is what we have come to expect from bargain lights. The crap batteries are disappointing. I guess it’s par for the course on these type of lights. The lack of any type of water resistance is a bummer. Still the thing produces a useful amount of light and it’s inexpensive. I suggest shopping for something better if you are looking for a flood to use outdoors where water resistance is needed.

Mod 1
I decided to take the front off to see what could be done mod wise. After removing the silver retainer thingy, I turned it on with the naked COBs for all the world to see. Wow, a much nicer beam pattern. Without the lenses there is nearly a 170 degree spread of even light. No edge artifacts.

Mod 1 Beam

Now how about some weather sealing?
I found a scrap of 1/8 inch plastic and cut it to fit the opening. I kept the white rings for looks (they don’t seem to change the beam pattern). Some bit of fussing and the result can be seen in the pic.

Mod 1 Front

If I add some heavy grease or caulk, the front will be weatherproof. The COB strip mounts to a metal plate that one gets at by removing the back of the light.

LED Guts

That leads one to ponder what could be stuffed in there to make this even better (and I’m open to suggestions here).

Format/Review comments welcome
As this is my first review, I’d welcome comments about, well, all of it. Like the format? Too many/few pics? Ditch the box or manual photos? Does the photo quality/size work for your browser?
Thanks for the input.
Jeff

Update Run Times with various batteries

Since a few were interested in what the light would do with AAs and what it might do compared to other similar lights.
I got wondering myself so….
I did a run with (4) AA eenloops (White wrapper), (2) high quality Sanyo 18650GA 3400mAh protected cells, and the (2) Gracetop 18650 “3200mAh” cells supplied with the light.

The Batts

Something I didn’t’ notice before when just timing the light is the step down at the 5 minute mark. It did this on all three sets of batteries. I ran one of the tests without cooling and the other two with a fan blowing on the light. Looks like it’s time controlled not temperature controlled.

Realize that these are Jeff lumens, not to be confused with any real lumens (living or dead).
I think I’m a bit low on my light box measurements

Run Time Plot

Some comparisons
For 150 lumen drop off
Gracetop 1Hr. 20Min
eenloops 2Hr. 25Min
Sanyo 5Hr. 20Min

Dropping that down to 50 lumens
Gracetop 1Hr. 30Min
eenloops 2Hrs. 55Min
Sanyo 8Hrs. 20Min

That’s a fairly astonishing difference between a high capacity 18650 and a set of eenloops.
It’s also shows just how crappy the Gracetop branded cells that came with the light. For a drop off of 50 lumens the Sanyos ran nearly 7 hours longer!

Edited by: jeff51 on 04/22/2019 - 16:24
Phlogiston
Phlogiston's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 16 min ago
Joined: 10/27/2016 - 16:57
Posts: 847
Location: Scotland

Thanks for the review, I thought it was pretty well-structured. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting one of these for myself, so it was a useful read. Still haven’t decided yea or nay yet, though Smile

Pete7874
Pete7874's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 27 min ago
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 16:47
Posts: 2754
Location: USA

Thanks for the review. Speaking of inexpensive work lights, I have this Defiant one that I got for $10 from Home Depot. However, it only runs on AA cells and only has one brightness level. It claims 500 lumen output. Runtime is not very long.

PBWilson
Offline
Last seen: 37 min 8 sec ago
Joined: 08/24/2016 - 17:49
Posts: 914
Location: Rochester, NY

I did a review of a similar light and agree that it could be better in the waterproofing department and the UI which demands that you go through the strobe setting. I’m going to try to remove the aespheric lenses like you did and see how it fares in my shop. Thanks for showing the difference with them installed and without.

Despite these issues, I like how it can be propped up in a few different angles. I’ve used it a number of times when routing, sanding and finishing woodworking projects. I can set it on my benchtop so that it shines light across the work at a low angle. It shows off any tearout or scratches easily.

Here’s my review if anyone’s interested: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/66055

MRsDNF
MRsDNF's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 50 min ago
Joined: 12/22/2011 - 21:18
Posts: 12970
Location: A light beam away from the missus in the land of Aus.

Nice review Jeff. Thumbs Up

 

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.

 

Muto
Offline
Last seen: 7 hours 42 min ago
Joined: 09/04/2012 - 16:42
Posts: 2030
Location: Southeast, PA

Great review.
Have the same light with different badge.
Was worried about the charging voltage, so thanks for testing that.

Never tried mine with the eneloops, did you try it that way and what was performance (no lumen reading, just visual opinion)?
Thanks!
Later,

Keith

After the Apocalypse there will be only 2 things left alive, Cockroaches and Keith Richards
..
Rockin’ In Bedrock, Twitch, Twitch!
..
Big Sky Country

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 15 min ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 9458
Location: nyc

Yeah, I got the one that looks like bewbs, not the square ones. One for me and one for mum. Figured I could keep one for the car with eneloops or such.

No included cells, though. I’d rather do without the spontaneous combustion, personally.

They’re… okay. I could do without the nigh-useless “flashlight” out the side, though.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

jeff51
jeff51's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 19 hours ago
Joined: 03/26/2019 - 17:36
Posts: 91
Location: Middle of Texas

Thanks for the feedback.

PB, you’re right about the stand/handle. It’s really a nice form factor for a work light and it seems plenty sturdy.

And you guys are right about the flashy mode. So annoying. I think the Chinese think we must all be in constant need of rescue.

I did try it with eneloops. I didn’t do a run time, but I thought it might be a hair brighter with the fresh AAs.
I’ll try to give it a run time with the AAs maybe this weekend if I’ve got some free time.
All the best,
Jeff

Vegas LED Fan
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 21 hours ago
Joined: 11/05/2017 - 14:51
Posts: 102
Location: Nevada

If you want to buy it without the batteries, the same light and two other versions are available in three different versions from $10.34 to $13.03. https://www.ebay.com/itm/30W-Portable-USB-COB-LED-Flood-Light-Outdoor-Camping-Spot-Work-Lamp-Power-Bank/202631237001?_trkparms=aid%3D555018%26algo%3DPL.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D57476%26meid%3Db352e761216d4fd5a05ea966281785e2%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D123689799714%26itm%3D202631237001&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851 There is probably more money tied up in the case than in the COB arrays. They have gotten so cheap these days.

Paradise
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 6 days ago
Joined: 04/14/2019 - 08:27
Posts: 84

Thanks for the review. Great light, seen it across the web, wasn’t sure whether I need it.
I appreciate the nice pictures and the details.

agent80
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 3 min ago
Joined: 01/06/2013 - 02:28
Posts: 360

Nice review. Is the 18650 version available without the flash mode?

jeff51
jeff51's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 19 hours ago
Joined: 03/26/2019 - 17:36
Posts: 91
Location: Middle of Texas

Agent80
Unfortunately most of these seem to have the flashy mode.
I notice the one that PBWilson reviewed has a side mounted LED with a reflector in addition to the COB LEDs. His version takes 3 AA cells while this one takes 4.
The design of the charging indicator and the port cover are different also.
Still the overall look is very similar.

DavidEF
DavidEF's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 38 min ago
Joined: 06/05/2014 - 06:00
Posts: 7643
Location: Salisbury, North Carolina, USA

Thanks for the review. I like the style… sorta. But those COB emitters look SO cheap! If I were in the market for one of these, I’d pay the extra to have better emitters. Is there a way you could replace that COB strip with a couple of regular LEDs on Noctigons or something? International Outdoor still has some MT-G2 for $9.00 bare or $9.90 on 20mm Noctigon MCPCB. HERE Those might make the light more interesting! Party

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

RobertB
RobertB's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 hours 37 min ago
Joined: 12/18/2015 - 17:49
Posts: 3280
Location: USA, Michigan

Why is it the chinese think they have to put a strobe on everything? Strobe on a work light? geeze

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 15 min ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 9458
Location: nyc

In case you work in a disco, I imagine.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

DavidEF
DavidEF's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 38 min ago
Joined: 06/05/2014 - 06:00
Posts: 7643
Location: Salisbury, North Carolina, USA

RobertB wrote:
Why is it the chinese think they have to put a strobe on everything? Strobe on a work light? geeze

They use an inexpensive “LED Driver” chip that has all of these modes, including strobe, and feed output through some tiny FETs that are rated for about 1A each. Nothing fancy. It would be more costly to NOT have strobe. Facepalm

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

jeff51
jeff51's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 19 hours ago
Joined: 03/26/2019 - 17:36
Posts: 91
Location: Middle of Texas

Muto,
So much for my memory. I just did a quick comparison. I was bass ackwards in my first reply about different batteries.
And remember these are Jeff lumens, not to be confused with anything close to the real value. I think my values are too low. I’m still playing with my light box.
But the relative values are what should give an idea whats going on with various batteries.
I’m not sure when I can get a run time test with the eneloops.

(2) 18650 = 332L
(1) 18650 = 317L
(4) AA alkaline = 293L
(4) AA eneloops = 243L

All the best,
Jeff