[Review] Sofirn SC31 Pro - now with Anduril & USB-C

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gchart
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[Review] Sofirn SC31 Pro - now with Anduril & USB-C

Introduction
The Sofirn SC31 Pro is the third version in the SC31 series, and I’ve had the pleasure of owning all three. The original was nice, but definitely made to hit a certain price point (fairly basic resistor-limited driver, but very affordable). The SC31B brought a few updates such as a High CRI SST-20 LED and a more refined design in the switch area. Now Sofirn is back with another version – the SC31 Pro! Let’s dive in and see what has changed, shall we?

I was kindly offered this light for review by Sofirn. I have made my best attempt at keeping all remarks honest, fair, and impartial.

Purchase links (non-aff): Amazon.com, Sofirnlight.com



Packaging
The SC31 Pro arrived in Sofirn’s updated retail box. I think it looks a lot nicer than the old box. Inside the box, you get:

  • Sofirn SC31 Pro flashlight
  • Sofirn-branded 3000 mAh 18650 battery, pre-installed with a protection disc
  • User manual
  • Wrist strap
  • USB-A to USB-C charging cable
  • Two spare o-rings




Fit & Finish
Like most Sofirn lights I’ve owned, the SC31 Pro feels well made. Certainly not high-end, but the threads are clean, square-cut and mesh well. Knurling is cut nicely without being overly grippy. Anodizing is full and satin-like. And for the first time in my experience with the SC31 series, the engravings line up! It’s a small thing, but it helps to appease my OCD tendencies.



LED & Reflector
The original SC31 used a Cree XP-G3 with the full Cree-rainbow effect. The SC31B swapped that for a Luminus SST-20 including High CRI versions. The new SC31 Pro has changed LEDs yet again. This time we’re looking at the Luminus SST-40, a potentially more powerful 5050-footprint LED. My sample is 6500K, but is fairly white (no angry blue!). Sofirn also offers this in 5000K, but that was not available at Amazon when I acquired my light. The reflector, like the other SC31 versions, is smooth. However, this new reflector has a larger opening to accommodate the larger LED and is a bit more shallow than previous ones.




Battery & Charging
The SC31 Pro kit includes a Sofirn-branded button top 18650 battery with a stated capacity of 3000 mAh. Unlike the first two versions that used micro-USB for charging, the SC31 Pro now uses USB-C (finally!).




UI
This is where the “Pro” edition really shows up. Sofirn has adopted the Anduril UI for this third edition. I could be here all day explaining the nuances of Anduril, but hopefully you’re already familiar with just how flexible this UI is.



Performance & Runtime
I charged up the included battery, slapped it into the SC31 Pro, and fired up my lumen tube. Then I started scratching my head as the output dropped hard and fast. 1 minute into the test, it was sitting at 200 lumens and only 30°C. Hmm…. oh yeah. Thermal calibration. Facepalm With the flashlight measuring 27°C by an IR thermometer, the temperature check said 49°C. Ouch, it was reading 22°C high. No wonder the output dropped off a cliff; the flashlight was barely warm but thought it was hot.

PSA – perform thermal calibration. Do it.

After calibration, actually Turbo

NOTE: this full runtime graph is using the top of the ceiling, not Turbo

Observations

  • Thermal calibration is absolutely necessary (have I said that enough?)
  • I measured 2434 lumens at 0 seconds and 2255 lumens at 30 seconds



Conclusion

Pro’s

  • Extremely flexible user interface
  • Super bright for a single-emitter tube light
  • Very compact & pocketable
  • Ridiculously good value (full kit for ~$30?!)
  • CCT options

Con’s

  • Way-off thermal settings from the factory (in my sample) ***

If you’ve got $30 to spend on a complete flashlight kit, I don’t think there’s a better value out there. But just because it’s a good value doesn’t mean that the SC31 Pro is for everyone. A non-enthusiast could get confused by all of the options in Anduril. And without having done the thermal calibration (not something your “average” consumer would do), the experience isn’t that great. And that’s why I think the name Pro is very fitting here. It’s a great light and an amazing value… for enthusiasts.



*** About the thermal calibration… this is one of my frustrations with the attiny85 that we keep using for Anduril. Basically every light should be thermally calibrated as soon as you get it out of the box. This isn’t a Sofirn thing, it’s an attiny85 thing. And it’s one of the reasons I’ve switched over to using the AVR 1-Series chips (like the attiny1616). Each 1-Series chip is factory-calibrated by Microchip; those calibration values are embedded in the MCU. This eliminates thermal calibration by the end-user and is a much better experience, in my opinion.





Edited by: gchart on 09/28/2020 - 14:54
Yokiamy
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Nice review Gchart!

That certainly looks like a winner, versatile, Anduril, usb charging, not too expensive, nice to give away!
I’d buy one if i didnt already have a large collection of lights Cool

WTB: Jetbeam TCR-1 or Sunwayman V10R Ti

FromShadowlands
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I have one coming from China. Just need to wait a couple weeks.

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Sofirn Q8, Astrolux FT03, Manker MC12, Convoy S11, Sofirn SC31 Pro & Wowtac W1

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Thanks for the review

Sofirn
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Hi gchart, thank you to test our flashlight.

We are wondering, if you set the max output for this flashlight? And would you mind check the Thermal Cfg? The temperature will limited the output as well.

Temperature check.

Blinks out the current temperature in degrees C. This number should be pretty close to what a real thermometer says. If not, it would be a good idea to click 4 times to enter thermal config mode, and calibrate the sensor. Thermal config mode has two settings: – Current temperature. Click once per degree C to calibrate the sensor. For example, if the ambient temperature is 21 C, then click 21 times. – Temperature limit. This sets the maximum temperature the light can reach before it will start doing thermal regulation to keep itself from overheating. Click once per degree C above 30. For example, to set the limit to 50 C, click 20 times. The default is 45 C, and the highest value it will allow is 70 C.
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Hi all, forget to mention, if you are enjoy this flashlight and want a fast shipping, please PM us to send you a discount to purchase on amazon. Cool

gchart
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So… I need to come back and apologize. This is a bit embarrassing to say. I’ve had a mis-understanding about Anduril after using D4 V2 UI (“RampingIOS”) so much. I’m accustomed to “double click from off” being a shortcut to Turbo. But by default in Anduril, that is a shortcut to the top the ceiling… not Turbo. What an idiot. Facepalm

I just re-ran the test using the included Sofirn battery, actually hitting TURBO, not the ceiling. Much better now! My sincere apologies everyone. Sad

updating the OP now

pennzy
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You are not the first to make this mistake.

how crazy is this
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I not only made the mistake but completely forgot that the manual, I just praised for its clarity, made it clear that a double click from off means top of ramp. Thought I discovered an undocumented feature when it got brighter on a double click Facepalm That was an embarrassing post.

Thanks for the charts! The top of ramp runtime confirms my experience. I think with the thermal control this light really punches above its weight in sustained output. Much closer to something like a C8 than I would expect. Truly amazing to me how far these tube lights are able to go.

Lightbringer
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Yeah, I thought all my SP36es were just underachievers ‘til I found out about the other 2click being necessary.

With my SP31pro, I did the config thing with buzz-1click-buzz-1click to ramp from min to max. So now 2click to ceiling goes right to “turbo”/max.

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Yokiamy
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pennzy wrote:
You are not the first to make this mistake.

Nope Innocent

WTB: Jetbeam TCR-1 or Sunwayman V10R Ti

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Looks great, thanks for the review Beer

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I was asked by a friend today. As to just how long this SC31 Pro will go, with the switch glowing, before the battery will need charging again. I can’t seem to find that information anywhere. Does anyone here know?

I have ordered this SC31 Pro tonight now, for myself. To check the paperwork in the package when it arrives. To see if that info is in there. Just in case no one here knows. I do see Sofirn in this thread though, so maybe we can get this answer from them?

Also, while I’m thinking about it. Will Anduril firmware 2020-03-18 kill the power to the glow switch, before the battery gets terribly low? Saving some light for the user, for example. Who may have left the light in the drawer for several months, and then all of a sudden one day. They find themselves REALLY needing a light. Smile

Lightbringer
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SteveMidwest wrote:
I was asked by a friend today. As to just how long this SC31 Pro will go, with the switch glowing, before the battery will need charging again. I can’t seem to find that information anywhere. Does anyone here know?

Ummm, on low, on high, or on… “animated”? Hesitate to call it “heartbeat” unless ventricular fibrillation counts.

Don’t want it lit, turn it off. 7 clicks to cycle through off/low/high/vfib.

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Lightbringer wrote:
Ummm, on low, on high, or on… “animated”? Hesitate to call it “heartbeat” unless ventricular fibrillation counts.

Don’t want it lit, turn it off. 7 clicks to cycle through off/low/high/vfib.

“with the switch glowing” – So the switch glow can be programmed? Very nice!

Not that a simple lock-out can’t be done, but my friend is a non-flashaholic. So he’s likely to leave it in a drawer long term, with the switch glowing. After laying in there for say 3 or 4 months though. He’s not likely to remember the 7-clicks programming sequence. Heck, I often do not remember either! Big Smile
He may also want the switch to glow, during that time.

I will give him some instruction, and a couple of tips and tricks, but how much will he remember? I don’t know, but for the average non-flashaholic. Who will likely just leave it in a drawer glowing. I’m looking for that approx. time frame/battery life.

Now correct me if I am wrong? My understanding of low voltage protection, is that when kicked-in. The main LED light is prevented from turning on. I have never read, or seen any talk about this also killing the power to a glowing switch. If so programmed to remain on.

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Wellp, let’s put it this way… even a car’s big honkin’ battery can go dead if you let the car sit unattended a month or two, yet no one complains about that as a defect.

Anyone who’d expect a light to still have juice left after being abandoned in a drawer or closet for months should just get a cheepcheepcheep plastic D-cell light from CVS. Don’t even waste a Maglite, ‘cause it’s cheaper to toss the cheap light once the alkaleaks do their thing.

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I seem to remember that LVP only works when the light is in use, not when sitting in the off state. TK is the person to ask. You could use a protected cell to be sure.

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Nice review!

Does the lamp charge from an USB-C power supply?
Or has it the same issues like the first version of the lantern: Only charging from USB-A sockets.

gchart
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joechina wrote:
Does the lamp charge from an USB-C power supply?

Sorry, I can’t remember if I tested that. And I let my SC31 Pro go home with a friend, so I can’t test it now. Hopefully someone else can chime in. I know some of the newer Sofirn/Wurkkos lights can indeed be charged with USB-C to USB-C.

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joechina wrote:
Nice review! Does the lamp charge from an USB-C power supply? Or has it the same issues like the first version of the lantern: Only charging from USB-A sockets.

 

The SC31 Pro flashlights that I have will not charge using a normal USB-C to USB-C cable from any of the USB-C ports on my chargers.

 

For my chargers with USB-C ports that would not charge the SC31 Pro with a USB-C to USB-C cable, I use the following USB-C to USB-A adapter with the adapter plugged into the USB-C port of the charger and a cable with USB-A to USB-C connectors plugged into the adapter and the SC31 Pro. The adapter is uni-direction and the adapter's USB-C connector must be plugged into the USB-C port supplying the charge to work correctly.

This is the adapter I use:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01COOQIKU/?coliid=IV4GZ9O3TCL91&colid=1CL6JB4...

 

How many flashlights does a "real man" need?

None, real men are not afraid of the dark.

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Is the stock 18650 cell the best we can use here? or any trials with different cells? can i use high drain imr please?thanks

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gchart
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Yes, you could absolutely use a high-drain cell. Sorry, I don’t have any tests right now with those. I doubt you’ll see a ton of difference because Anduril’s thermal throttling will likely kick in before you have to worry much about voltage sag. Just a thought, reality could be different.

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ok.thank you.i will try it:)

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Holzmichl
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Thanks for this great review! Thumbs Up

I have just ordered a SC31 Pro in 5000k. Smile

According to the review, the Sofirn-branded cell is a button top battery. Does anyone know, if flat top 18650s will work as well in the SC31 Pro without any problems?
Thanks a lot in advance!

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Sofirn only sells BT versions of their cells so that they can be dropped into Q8s, SP36es, etc., which need BTs.

FTs will work, too, as the ’31 has a spring on the driver side (just looked to doublecheck).

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Holzmichl
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Lightbringer wrote:
Sofirn only sells BT versions of their cells so that they can be dropped into Q8s, SP36es, etc., which need BTs.

FTs will work, too, as the ’31 has a spring on the driver side (just looked to doublecheck).

Perfect! Thanks a lot for your quick reply! Smile