Review: Ultrafire C8 XM-L U2 (Warning - Very Picture Heavy)

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SaCRiiD
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Review: Ultrafire C8 XM-L U2 (Warning - Very Picture Heavy)

MY RATING – 5 STARS!

I ordered the Ultrafire C8 XM-L U2 off lightmalls.com. Overall I am quite happy with the quality of this product, and shipping did not take too long (10 days from China to Australia). This cost me $17 and also I had to pay $2.50 for shipping.

Click here for the product page.


BUILD QUALITY
First off, I would like to say that I am pretty impressed by the build quality of this flashlight, since there were no machining errors or bumps on the surface. The threads were not that smooth out of the box, but a bit of cleaning and silicon spray helped with that. I was pleased when I saw that the o-rings had indeed been lubed, which also made me wonder why they did not use a bit more grease to lube up the threads while they were at it. I personally cleaned and re-lubed the threads with synthetic engine oil, which is just a habit. The engine oil helps a lot.
The o-rings themselves were all in the right places all over the flashlight, and they are all substantially large which actually proves that they are waterproof. I immersed this flashlight in my bathtub for about 10 minutes, and I also tested out the switch underwater. No problems


You can see the o-rings

The switch itself is a bit springy. It is a large, reverse-clicky type switch (12mm), which makes a little springy sound when you press it, and the protruding tailcap that covers it does not allow the torch to tailstand un-modded. The tailcap is also black, but it is something that I may change, probably to a GITD one or a fluro orange one, so I can get it to tailstand (plus orange looks so much cooler!)

This also seems to be a lego flashlight, with a tailcap that looks like it can be taken apart.

The reflector is made out of aluminium, and it is polished beyond my wildest dreams. This reflector is one of the best reflectors I have ever seen on a flashlight. To top that off (literally), is the glass lens. This lens is not coated with anything, but it still does its job well enough.


Reflector


Photo of all the parts

On the side of the flashlight there is the engraved “Ultrafire” logo, with “C8” in small on the bottom right hand part of the panel. On the other sides, there are the large letters of “Cree”, and then “XM-L U2.


The overall feel to the flashlight is remarkable. It feels solid and sturdy, and it feels like something that will not break if you dropped it a few times (the glass might shatter; so I would not recommend doing so).


The aluminium around the pill! There is about a good 5mm of aluminium around the threads!

The pill is not a drop-in, it is a screw in pill. There is good thermal paste under the star, and you can tell that there is.

If you leave the torch on for about 5 minutes, you can feel the heat really starting to set in. That is the heat transfer working well.


Pill screwed in

And that wraps up the build quality review.

Current and Brightness
So since I do not have a decent camera at this moment, I cannot do any beamshots or ceiling bounce shots at all. I measured these current draws at the tail with my cheap “Digitech” multimeter. I used Ultrafire LC 18650 batteries, which may limit the power capacity.
High: 2.5A 3.01A with Ultrafire LC 18650
Med: 642mA 1A
Low: 150mA

This flashlight has 5 modes; High, Medium, Low, Strobe, SOS. There is mode memory, and the type that I like. You can cycle through the modes by slightly depressing the reverse clicky switch, and then when you have a mode that you like, you can turn the flashlight off. The next time you turn it on, it will be on the same mode, even if you take out the battery. That way you do not have to keep cycling through the modes every time.

Since the batteries that I was using were probably not that good, these results may be a bit off. At the time being I cannot be bothered ordering AW’s or even Trustfire “Flames”, so these will have to do.
Ceiling bounce is remarkable. It lit up my whole room better than the actual ceiling light. It was like my roof was cut off and the sun was pouring in. My room is naturally dark since I only have one window facing the back fence.


Ceiling Bounce Test. This thing is very bright!

The throw on this thing is awesome! This threw better than my Ultrafire Sipik sk98 clone.

I also tried shining this flashlight on trees that are more than 400m away from my house, and it was still able to reach them. This is one powerful flashlight.

ISO800 for all of these photos, trees about 50m away


These trees are about 100m away


Wall is 4m away


Fence is 15m away

The Cree XM-L U2 is the newer XM-L led, and it is said to be more powerful than its predecessor, which was the XM-L T6. I own a T6 torch, and although one is a zoomie and the other is a thrower, I can still easily say that when both are running off the same batteries, at the same current level (high for Sipik Clone, med for C8), the C8 is definitely noticeably brighter. The Cree XM-L U2 is a great led.

Website review
I was a little wary of the website at first, but after buying the flashlight, I decided to put my worries behind me. It is pretty well designed, with easy navigation. I give the site 9 out of 10, it is not as good as Dealextreme, but it is pretty good. Their customer support is extremely good, and they responded to all of my emails within a day and with great helpfulness and kindness. I was very happy when I got my flashlight, and saw the condition that it was in, and I knew that I could trust that site and buy from them again and again.
Shipping took about 10 days, which is rather good if you think about it, but of course, that may have been because I live in Australia, which is closer to China than the US (although Australian Customs pretty much open EVERY package they get).

Website Spec Sheet
Brand: UltraFire
Model: C8
LED Emitter Type: 1xCREE XM-L U2
Luminous Flux: 1300-Lumen
Lamp Life: 100,000 Hours
Power Source: 1 × 18650 (Not Included)
Modes: 5(High>Mid>Low>Strobe>SOS)
Input Voltage: 4.2V
Operate temperature: -20 ~ +50 degrees Celsius
Switch: Tactic Click Construction:
Shockproof and waterproof
Lens: Glass
Reflector: SMO
Current: Digital Regulated 3000mA Current Output (manufacturer rated)
Dimensions: 15.4cm(Length) x 4.5cm(Diameter)
Weight: 0.23 kg
Material of Product: Aluminium Alloy
Flashlight processing technology: Aerospace Grade Aluminium Body with Anti Scratching Type III Hard Anodisation

The Verdict
This torch is a great torch, and is very bright. The solid, sturdy feel, the good looking exterior and the internal parts all come together to make an amazing budget flashlight. And for $17, there is hardly any reason not to buy this.
This is a great budget flashlight.

UPDATE (4-9-2012)
This flashlight actually does have digitally regulated current. When you have a battery that is running at lower than 3.5v it disables High mode. When you try to cycle to high mode, it just skips to the next mode. If you run your batteries all the way down to 3.4v, it also disables Strobe and SOS and medium modes. So that is also another thing to keep in mind if you are considering getting this flashlight. But with normal running above 3.6v, you may see only a slight difference between a fully charged cell and a cell at 3.7v running on high. Just a slight difference.

UPDATE (14-9-2012)
I just realized that my multimeter’s leads were limiting the current reading, so I bought some thick ultra heavy duty wire to do the tailcap test with instead. I got a totally different reading:
3.01A on high
1A on medium
150mA on low

And assuming that this torch is at room temperature at the time of operation, that would mean that this flashlight should put out around 1000 lumens on high! Although it does not reach the claimed “1300-luminous output”, this is still very impressive for a light under $20. Definitely a great first budget light or something to add to your collection.

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:20
jacktheclipper
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raccoon city
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What a way to enter BLF! Welcome and appreciate the extensive review!

Btw beamshots do not have to be superior quality, a smartphone with manual controls (iso and exposure) would be enough.

Tomorrow after I pick up my 7g5V2 + collimator head from the post office I’ll be heading down to the park to take some distance shots, and then when my DMM and lux meter come i can add more details.

Slewflash 

SaCRiiD
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Ok cool, I might do a few beamshots later tonight if it stops raining!

MattSPL
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Thanks for the review. Looking forward to the beamshots Smile

SaCRiiD
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Beamshots and other photos are up as of now

SashiX
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Now that’s what I call “picture heavy” review :bigsmile: Darn, 65 MB review!! Shocked :bigsmile: Thanks and welcome to BLF Big Smile

Langcjl
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Welcome and thanks for the review. The most important part of reviews of more common lights like this is the vendor information. There are so many C8s out there, I know I can get a decent one from this vendor, for a while anyhow. Good job on the review.

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

rdrfronty
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Nice review. Nice to see somebody else is trying out this nice little light. I too have one of these new U2 c8’s. I am very confident your battery is holding your light back. I didn’t try an ultrafire in my U2 version, but in my brothers T6 version, he lost about 200 lumens vs a good Eagletac 18650. With those good batteries both our lights are putting out right at 3.5 amps. His T6 ended up putting out 742 otf and my U2 actually put 871 otf.

Tom E
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 Nice Review! Got one on order since 8/23 with a holster. Probably a couple more weeks - good to hear another recent, good review. I read "rdrfronty"'s earlier write-up on it, and ordered it. I'll be using an EagleTac 3100 with it. I agree with Langcjl -- these things seem to change over time, so hoping it's still the same good batch. There has been some criticism of this vendor but looks like they got this C8 right. A U2 at 3.0 amps, good reflector and good heat management -- a great combo.

 

SaCRiiD
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Tom E wrote:

 Nice Review! Got one on order since 8/23 with a holster. Probably a couple more weeks – good to hear another recent, good review. I read “rdrfronty”‘s earlier write-up on it, and ordered it. I’ll be using an EagleTac 3100 with it. I agree with Langcjl — these things seem to change over time, so hoping it’s still the same good batch. There has been some criticism of this vendor but looks like they got this C8 right. A U2 at 3.5 amps, good reflector and good heat management — a great combo.

 

I also bought this light because of “rdrfronty“s review. I have seen so many good reviews about the KD C8, and some Trustfire lights, but since the U2 came out a while ago I decided to give it a spin, to try my luck with something different.

Thanks for the comments, guys, your support has been greatly appreciated.

photon1k
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Nice review. Thanks to you I just ordered one of these. I have a C8 with a T6 in it from KD and am keen to get one with a U2 so I can do some beam shot comparisons. My C8-T6 has been a reliable performer for a year+ now, and if this new one is anywhere near as good I will be a happy camper. Thanks for the review!

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Got mine yesterday, running a EagleTac 3100 - wow! Love it! Bright, near brightness to the 7G9 I got yesterday as well, but obviously not as tight or bright hot spot. Think it's real in the 900 lumens. Cleaned and lubed the threads, that was about it. LightMalls dropped the price a little bit - hope that's not a sign it's been cloned/faked already...

 

sb56637
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Thanks so much for all your hard work on this review! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

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

Tom E
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I did something really stupid -

 Noticed my U2 LED had a decent scratch/cut right across the top, so, decided to try a de-doming. knowing I had a spare U2 star. Well, tried the exacto knife thing, but it came out rough, then used a buffer attachment on a Dremel to smooth it out. Well, it turned out the buffering takes the dome down, and when I stopped, it actually got it down close, but not to exposing the LED. So, took a look - and really got the results people have talked about: tighter, brighter spot, less brightness in the spill. I figured I nailed it! But, when testing with the light on (this C8 U2 on a fresh pana unprotected runs 5.1A), noticed the head was not tightened, so I tightened it -- then the light goes out. Flipped the switch, still out -- loosened the head still out. Then, noticed that burning smell... Looking at the emitter, it got turned in the clock-wise direction, probably messing up +/-. so I figured tightening the head with the light on means the solder holding the emitter down was softened, and the plastic protected ring that is glued to the reflector axtually rotated the emitter. Got the driver out and noticed an IC blown apart, near the neg wire -- ouch.

 Ok, so I removed the star, which was glued down (think a thermal glue), cleaned up the pill top by buffering and then alcohol, so it's all set for a U3 20mm LED and new driver which I'm planning on using a KD V2 or Nanji 105c and adding 7135's. I want the final regulated amps to be 3.5a to 3.8A - this light can take it and with a U3, should do well with it. Need the parts though - I got 16mm U3's, not 20mm, and didn't get my KD V2 drivers yet, but I do have the 380mAh 380's.

 Not sure if the high amps (>4) or the de-doming had the effect to soften the solder, or maybe it just wasn't soldered well to begin with. But lesson learned - Do Not tighten or loosen the head with power on - maybe just for high powered lights.

 

GHOST
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I just get my Ultrafire C8 XM-L U2 from lightmalls.com.
In the low-light conditions, it is able to reach around 100metres but it is not too bright.
I think 30-50metres is the best range for me! Do u agree what I am saying??? Smile

Tom E
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 Mine blazes, should easily do 200-300 meters, estimating from distance tests I did. We are talking 3.6A min, up to 5A depending on the battery - very dependent on the battery. If you get KumaBear's unprotected Panasonics (2900, 3100, or 3400): 4A plus. I get more light, and more distance from a HD 2010 or a Crelant 7G9 but those are the only lights that can beat it for what I have - when mine was working stock of course... Frown. Probably better to use a quality protected battery like an EagleTac or KumaBear's because you get the amps in the 3-4A range which is safer, still very bright though. The UF's and TF's are unpredictable - I got some good, some bad ones... My flames wound up being fakes - trick in finding identifying marks in the labeling, as posted here on BLF somewhere.

 Also, the charge level of the battery makes a big difference. Everyting I've seen means these lights are unregulated, not as described on the website as regulated to 3000mA.

amraspalantir
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nice review. can you get the inside diameter of the tailcap?
also anyone can recommend a more floody type head/reflector that would fit the c8 body?
so i can have a light with options for throw and flood.

W30,K70,sc600w, Aspheric DBS V3, Sanmak 5500 HID,Costco HID, TK-40 and my reliable FJ-40. 

SaCRiiD
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I do not own calipers, so I cannot say for sure, but I think the diameter is close to 23mm.

And also, the C2’s reflector looks like it would fit the C8, and it is OP and shorter than the C8’s SMO reflector, a combination for good spill.

Personally, what I did was use baking paper to diffuse the light. Although it does block a bit of light, you can barely tell since it is so bright, and there is still is a hotspot in the middle, though it is quite faint.

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 Running now with a U3 1C with a KD V2 driver at 3.8A (8*7135 + 2*7135, all at 380 mAh). It does appear to be brighter than the stock C8 U2 light - we compared at 100 meters or so. Wish I could measure the lumens. It's an easy light to upgrade.

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GHOST wrote:
I just get my Ultrafire C8 XM-L U2 from lightmalls.com. In the low-light conditions, it is able to reach around 100metres but it is not too bright. I think 30-50metres is the best range for me! Do u agree what I am saying??? :)

 Did you every find out what's wrong? It could be the battery (cheaper one), or internal connection, etc. Maybe it's just not what you expected? Not sure of your experience, but you may be expecting a wall of light at 100-200 meters, not sure. I believe technically, a light's "throw" is rated at what distance light at the level of moonlight can be cast on an object, so the actual "throw" on this C8 should be closer to 350 meters. There is also a big difference in the width of light diffferent flashlights project - a Jacob A60 for example is a very small spot, but a C8 light is usually a quite large hot spot, comparatively.

rdrfronty
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I tested my U2 C8 at .3L at 300m and .1m at 400m. And that was with simple protected ET 18650’s pushing about 3amps. So Toms estimate of 350m should be pretty dead on. Some running it harder on an unprotected 18650 might be able to make 400m on a good night.

GHOST
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Can the Jacob A60 beat this C8? I bought this C8 after I read this preview but I’m planning to have Jacob A60 too.
Any comment???

rdrfronty
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On throw, yes the A60 will easily beat this C8. I have both lights and both are very good lights. But they are very different. The U2 C8 will throw about 350m and put out about 860L doing so. The A60 will throw about 500m and put out about 280L doing it. So the A60 has a nice tight spot, a little spill, and great throw. It has the bigger head and different die to get these results. The U2 C8 has a nice combo of flood and spot – good throw and good spill.

Johm
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GHOST wrote:
Can the Jacob A60 beat this C8? I bought this C8 after I read this preview but I’m planning to have Jacob A60 too. Any comment???

If you are talking about throw, as I suspect, then the Jacob beats the C8, hands down.

If you are talking about spill and overall light output than it’s the other way around.

GHOST
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Right, let’s try A60

Tom E
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rdrfronty - wish you could measure my LightMalls C8 U2 now. Updated to: U3 1C, KD V2 driver 8*7135 + 2, resulting in 3.8A regulated. It's lookin real good and with an SS head now.

rdrfronty
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Sounds like you have a really sweet setup now. I did test mine recently. Check out the results on the other SS bezel thread.

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Tom E wrote:

I did something really stupid

 Noticed my U2 LED had a decent scratch/cut right across the top, so, decided to try a de-doming. knowing I had a spare U2 star. Well, tried the exacto knife thing, but it came out rough, then used a buffer attachment on a Dremel to smooth it out. Well, it turned out the buffering takes the dome down, and when I stopped, it actually got it down close, but not to exposing the LED. So, took a look – and really got the results people have talked about: tighter, brighter spot, less brightness in the spill. I figured I nailed it! But, when testing with the light on (this C8 U2 on a fresh pana unprotected runs 5.1A), noticed the head was not tightened, so I tightened it — then the light goes out. Flipped the switch, still out — loosened the head still out. Then, noticed that burning smell… Looking at the emitter, it got turned in the clock-wise direction, probably messing up +/. so I figured tightening the head with the light on means the solder holding the emitter down was softened, and the plastic protected ring that is glued to the reflector axtually rotated the emitter. Got the driver out and noticed an IC blown apart, near the neg wire — ouch.

 Ok, so I removed the star, which was glued down (think a thermal glue), cleaned up the pill top by buffering and then alcohol, so it’s all set for a U3 20mm LED and new driver which I’m planning on using a KD V2 or Nanji 105c and adding 7135’s. I want the final regulated amps to be 3.5a to 3.8A – this light can take it and with a U3, should do well with it. Need the parts though – I got 16mm U3’s, not 20mm, and didn’t get my KD V2 drivers yet, but I do have the 380mAh 380’s.

 Not sure if the high amps (>4) or the de-doming had the effect to soften the solder, or maybe it just wasn’t soldered well to begin with. But lesson learned – Do Not tighten or loosen the head with power on – maybe just for high powered lights.

 


So a smaller star will not work? I also have a u3 on a 16mm star that I bought for my hd 2010 but I kind of don’t want to mod it and was going to use it on my c8. We (rdrfronty and myself) are ordering drivers and extra chips from Illumination Sply which is in California but I didn’t want to have to wait for some 20mm stars to come in from Int. Outdoors. Reading about your success has made me anxious to start on mine. Lol. Sorry to the OP for going off topic.
Tom E
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Hi - I'm not sure. A 16mm star would probably work. I like to go with the bigger size stars when I can. With a 16mm, you would carefully have to center it - I've done it by eyeball on other lights and seemed to work ok.

 Oh - this weekend, got in my order of UCL/UCL/p lenses (7 of various sizes for a variety of lights) and upgraded my LightMalls C8 (now U3, 3.8A, SS head), also an HD2010, Jacob A60, EDC 18650 from I-O, C2, etc. These are from Chris at FlashLightLens.com - wow! They look perfect - never saw the reflector and LED so clearly.

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