Review: Xtar S1 with curves and outdoor beamshots

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HKJ
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Review: Xtar S1 with curves and outdoor beamshots

Xtar S1

DSC_0548
DSC_0711

Xtar has made flashlights, batteries and chargers for some time, including very large lights (D30 and D31). This time the light is a 3 led light with some high power XM-L leds, this makes it one of the most powerful led lights on the market today.
The user interface for this light is a ring, there is no on/off switch, this is also handled by the ring. The light is made of aluminum with hard-anodized (Type 3) finish.

This is a test release and Xtar will do some modifications to the final version of the light. My copy of the light was without any box, accessories or instructions.

DSC_0549 DSC_0550 DSC_0551

The light uses a smooth tri-reflector with 3 XM-L leds.

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The head is a large heatsink, this is probably a good idea with 3 leds.

DSC_0555 DSC_0554

Just below the heat sink is the ring, it has 6 active positions, it is possible to turn it to 4 other position, but they do not have any function. The ring has clicks, but they do not prevent setting the ring between two settings. It is possible to use the light one-handed, but some knurling or other structure with a good grip on the ring would have been nice.

UserInterface

Here are all the positions, the "Preset" is a user selected brightness and "Select" is used to select the brightness with.

S1Adjust

When turning to the "Select" position the brightness will start going up and down, this is a linear ramp that takes 14 second for a cycle. It is difficult to select exactly the lowest brightness setting, because it only stays there a fraction of a second. When turning back to "Preset" the brightness at that point is remembered.

DSC_0560

The backside of the head has the battery connections, this is just a large metal plate, i.e. all 3 batteries are in parallel and the light does not work with flat top batteries!

DSC_0561 DSC_0562

The battery tube has square cut threads and dual o-rings to seal the light. The tail thread is anodized, making it possible to lock out the light.

DSC_0703

The body has knurling to improve the grip and with the large head and ring on the tailcap a hand cannot slide off the light.

DSC_0556 DSC_0557

On the tailcap is a ring with hole for a lanyard. The back of the tailcap has some bumps, and the light can easily tail stand.

DSC_0558 DSC_0559

Inside the tailcap is the battery connections, the 3 pillars has heavy springs behind them and the assembly with the pillars can rotate. This is necessary when mounting the tailcap.

DSC_0563

Here is all the part the light can be disassembled in without tools.


The light is one of the brightest led lights at the current time and it also has a good throw. I could have wished for a better user interface, either a slight delay at low or a couple of fixed levels, instead of the freely adjustable brightness. The size of the light is much better than a light with string of D cells.
The light has a standby current, that will drain the batteries in about 10 months, this makes it a good idea to loosen the tailcap when not using the light.



Technical specification and measurements

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The light is rated for use with 3x18650, but can also work on one or two at lower brightness. The light works fine with all protected 18650 batteries, but unprotected are a bit too short.

DSC_0707 DSC_0706

The light requires button top batteries, to fit my AW batteries into the light I had to use some small magnets. This is not recommended, but I did not have 3 of any other type batteries.

Measured size and weight:
Length: 240 mm
Diameter: 46.8 mm to 83.2 mm
Weight: 1027 gram with AW18650-26.

The light uses a 3 Cree XM-L U2 leds.

Measurements

In the above table I have collected all modes including two user selected modes. The current is measured at 3.7 volt. All the estimated runtimes are with a 18650 2600mAh LiIon battery. The estimated lumen is scale from a estimated maximum of 2000 lumens.

Xtar%20S1%20High

The first voltage sweep is done in high mode. The light is only stabilized above 3.5 volt and this is with a linear current generator. Easy battery has to supply 2.5 ampere and above 3.5 volt for max. brightness. In my battery test look at the 3.4 volt or 3.6 volt discharge chart, the battery with longest cyan and yellow bars will keep this light at maximum output for the longest time.

Xtar%20S1%2040%25%20pwm

Reducing the brightness to 40% pwm reduces the power consumption. Strange enough the lowest voltage does rise to 3 volt.

Xtar%20S1%206%25%20pwm

Somewhere near minimum brightness.

Runtime

Using 2600 mAh batteries does keep the voltage high enough to get nearly stable output from the light.

Xtar%20S1%20Heat

To see how this light handles the heat, I did a run on my test bench with a temperature sensor on the light. The light has a nearly stable current, independent of temperature. The drop in brightness is due to heating of the leds, this is normal and the leds are rated for it.
Note: My test does not simulate actual usage conditions, but are done on a test bench with only the head of the light and no cooling airflow, i.e. the light will get hotter than during normal use.

S1Strobe

The strobe is 9.9 Hz and has a 47% duty cycle. It runs at full brightness.

S1Sos

SOS is not really a SOS, it only sends SO, the last S is missing.

S1PWM2

The light uses pwm at 486 Hz to control brightness, here is something near the lowest setting.

S1PWM1

And pwm at about 60% brightness.



Comparison to other Flashlights

Xtar S1, NiteCore TM11, Fenix TK70:
DSC_0686a DSC_0687a DSC_0688a

Olight SR92, Fenix TK35, Balder BD4:
DSC_0689a DSC_0690a DSC_0691a

For the full comparison to other lights with graphs and beamshots see here
DSC_0708




Notes

The light was supplied by Xtar for review.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:21
2100
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Update for a good review!

how2
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Can you show a pic off the leds without the reflector please.

2100
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It's interesting to note that HKJ gives a flatter representation of the output curve.  Anyway, it's approx 80% at 60 mins or ard there.

asd

 

 

how2
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When at 60 mins it's more like 40% 2100

HKJ
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how2 wrote:

Can you show a pic off the leds without the reflector please.

I will do that later today.

 

 

2100 wrote:

It's interesting to note that HKJ gives a flatter representation of the output curve.  Anyway, it's approx 80% at 60 mins or ard there.

I wonder if there are differences in the driver between the two review models (with 3 and 7 second adjust slope) or is it just due to batteries?

The temperature of the light can also affect this (See my heat chart), I do my runtime with forced airflow on the light.

 

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

2100
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how2 wrote:

When at 60 mins it's more like 40% 2100

Ok i stand corrected, 55 mins is 80%, that's the "knee".

 

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2100 wrote:

how2 wrote:

When at 60 mins it's more like 40% 2100

Ok i stand corrected, 55 mins is 80%, that's the "knee".

 

I really do not understand you sometimes?

2100
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HKJ wrote:

The temperature of the light can also affect this (See my heat chart), I do my runtime with forced airflow on the light.

Your temperature result is good.  I see that you have forced airflow, so it's approx 45 deg C @ 13-14 min.  I started off at the same temperature as you did, and I got 49 deg C @ 12th min.  Nil airflow.

After the Sky Ray 3800 incident, i have sort of stopped doing full bore runs.  I must have done > 20 full bore runs on XTAR 2600, Solarforce 2400, TF 2400, NCR18650 on that light. Luckily when the driver got a dead short i was doing protected cells and not NCR18650.  Definitely i'd be looking at some expensive repairs to my decor then. (area full of tempered glass!)

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how2 wrote:

I really do not understand you sometimes?

At the 55th minute, the output is 80% (I misread it a little to be the 60th minute).  The "knee" refers to an important aspect of any graph and this represents where something is really useful. For example, Mitro refers to Sanyo 2600 cells to have the best knee in his discharge graphs.  If you dabble in hifi/audio, a frequency graph has got to have a lower cut off point and it is usually the f3 or -3dB point before the graph really dives.  In the above graph, we choose 80% and it is the point where the graph really dives after that.

Should have clarified that technical part for you.  Hope that helps....

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2100 wrote:

Your temperature result is good.  I see that you have forced airflow, so it's approx 45 deg C @ 13-14 min.  I started off at the same temperature as you did, and I got 49 deg C @ 12th min.  Nil airflow.

You must not confuse the heat test with the runtime test, they are done separately and with very different test conditions and purpose.

The runtime is with forced airflow and a normal battery load, this is a simulation of actual use conditions (Light in hand and moved around).

In the heat test the light is tied down in the test bench and supplied with power from a bench power supply (Adjusted to average battery voltage i.e. 3.7 volt for LiIon), the purpose is to see how the light handles high temperature, secondary how good the cooling is.

It does not look like the S1 has any temperature throttling and the led does get hot, but not dangerous hot (The XM-L datasheet has a curve with relative output depending on temperature).

 

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

2100
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HKJ wrote:

You must not confuse the heat test with the runtime test, they are done separately and with very different test conditions and purpose.

The runtime is with forced airflow and a normal battery load, this is a simulation of actual use conditions (Light in hand and moved around).

In the heat test the light is tied down in the test bench and supplied with power from a bench power supply (Adjusted to average battery voltage i.e. 3.7 volt for LiIon), the purpose is to see how the light handles high temperature, secondary how good the cooling is.

It does not look like the S1 has any temperature throttling and the led does get hot, but not dangerous hot (The XM-L datasheet has a curve with relative output depending on temperature).

 

I see...I am looking at the blue graph actually. So I am getting a bit hotter temperatures but not a lot.  Usually i am not worried about the LEDs, in my experience it is usually the driver that cooks first.  heh...

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how2 wrote:

Can you show a pic off the leds without the reflector please.

Here it is:

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

SashiX
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So it's regulated after all? Flat Stare So selfbuils sample was DD? Flat Stare

The strange thing is that on Med and Low mode I can still see that DD-like curve, so dunno it's heat related. Strange Flat Stare

HKJ
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SashiX wrote:

So it's regulated after all? Flat Stare So selfbuils sample was DD? Flat Stare

The strange thing is that on Med and Low mode I can still see that DD-like curve, so dunno it's heat related. Strange Flat Stare

It is some sort of regulation, but it does not work as well on the lover brightness, yes this is strange.

As can also be seen from the heat test, heat will reduce output considerable, but I do believe that Selfbuild uses a fan for runtime (like me).

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

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Yup, agreed with heat related problems for HI, but on Low modes I dunno heat will affect Flat Stare Xtar need to polish that :bigsmile:

Great review anyway Wink Crown

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my9221 wrote:

HKJ: Is this your website as well?

http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%20Xtar%20S1%20UK.html

http://lygte-info.dk is in his signature

HKJ
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my9221 wrote:

HKJ: Is this your website as well?

http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%20Xtar%20S1%20UK.html

 

Yes, and all pictures in the review are hosted on that size.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

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Just wanted to say thanks for all!!

 

( and what happens with your XTAR torches? so many review samples you got for free Big Smile )

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
HKJ
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kreisler wrote:
( and what happens with your XTAR torches? so many review samples you got for free Big Smile )

 

Mostly they get used in my beamshot comparisons, but sadly not this one (I had a bad day and made a mistake with my power supplyCry).

 

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

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sorry to hear about your bad day, omg :cry:

 

after you're done with a torch review, you can keep the torch and dont have to return it, right? They remunerate you with the torches.

Better than a cheque Cash

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kreisler wrote:

after you're done with a torch review, you can keep the torch and dont have to return it, right? They remunerate you with the torches.

Better than a cheque Cash

That is the standard deal, it is the same for chargers and batteries.

But if you check the reviews on my website, you will see that many of the light/chargers/batteries are some I bought (I always write a note, when I get the stuff for free).

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

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Great review sir! Thanks very much for the excellent details. Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

2100
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2pcs of the UCL 72.7mm x 1.85mm thick gives 1.48% cut in output. (each one is 0.74%). Original glass is nearly 10%. AR tint is green in colour. No rattle, the bezel screws back on ok but there is a very slightly bigger gap between the bezel cap and body than before. Original glass is 3.5mm and this is 3.7mm, a minor difference of 0.2mm. In reality you absolutely won't notice it.

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HKJ, since you've reviewed the S1 and most or all of Xtar's 18650 batteries, would you be able to say which ones are most suitable for use in the S1, for someone who wants the output to stay as high as possible, even if that means less run-time?

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peteybaby wrote:

HKJ, since you've reviewed the S1 and most or all of Xtar's 18650 batteries, would you be able to say which ones are most suitable for use in the S1, for someone who wants the output to stay as high as possible, even if that means less run-time?

 

You have to look at the voltage sweep for high. This shows that the light as stable output for any voltage above 3.5 volt and it needs 7.5 ampere. Because it uses 3 batteries in parallel you can divide the 7.5 ampere with 3, i.e. 2.5 ampere for each battery.

With these data you can look in my battery summary (or the full comparison, that I will publish soon). You want the discharge down to 3.5 volt, but I only have a 3.4 volt or 3.6 volt. With 2.5 ampere you want somewhere between 2A (cyan) and 3A (yellow).

I.e. the batteries with the longest cyan and yellow bars in both charts are the best.

I would go for the Spark or Xtar 2600, they are best in the 3.4 volt chart (i.e. the light has dimmed slightly).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

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Swell, thanks very much, HKJ.  That explains things perfectly.

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HKJ wrote:

how2 wrote:

Can you show a pic of the leds without the reflector please.

Here it is:

HKJ, could you describe this photo a little bit please?

Is the central disc recessed for the 3 MCPCBs or do the MCPCBs sit on the surface?

If the disc is recessed, do the plastic insulators also fit into the recesses?

Are the MCPCBs fastened to the disc, by glue or screws, or are they held in place by the reflector pressing on the plastic insulators?

Are the MCPCBs a standard diameter? (I might some day switch them to NW)

Is the central disc held down by a large threaded ring?

How much mass does the central disc have, and how much surface area does it have in contact with the head (qualitative descriptions)?

thanks very much!

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peteybaby wrote:

Is the central disc recessed for the 3 MCPCBs or do the MCPCBs sit on the surface?

If the disc is recessed, do the plastic insulators also fit into the recesses?

Are the MCPCBs fastened to the disc, by glue or screws, or are they held in place by the reflector pressing on the plastic insulators?

Are the MCPCBs a standard diameter? (I might some day switch them to NW)

Is the central disc held down by a large threaded ring?

How much mass does the central disc have, and how much surface area does it have in contact with the head (qualitative descriptions)?

thanks very much!

I hope some photos will answer the questions:

 

 

 

I did not see any trace of glue. The MCPCB are 16mm in diameter.

 

 

 

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): https://lygte-info.dk/

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Thanks very much, HKJ.  I really appreciate the pictures.

Hmm... it looks like maybe only a small amount of surface area contacts the head when it's assembled.  Could you please either confirm, or take a guess, as to which of the five surfaces make solid thermal contact with the head, after the threaded ring is added?  Surface #2 should for sure be one of them.

     |
    1|
     |
  _2_|
 |
3|
 |________

      4   |
          |
          |
        5 |
          |
          |


Edit: and surface #4 too.  I'm asking these nitpicky questions because of all the troubles people had with the early Skyray 3x XM-L with its drop-in design. The original version 0 of that Skyray, and the current Dry, have an excellent thermal path from the LEDs to the head, and the TR-3T6 does too via the threaded drop-in design.

I'm wondering if the low temperature rise at the S1's head, measured by various reviewers, is just due to poor thermal contact between the LED & driver module and the head.

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