Review: OEM hosts from CNQG/Fancyflashlights.com

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Match
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Review: OEM hosts from CNQG/Fancyflashlights.com

Folks,

  This is a short review of three OEM hosts I recently purchased from Ric at fancyflashlights.com (retail site of CNqualitygoods.com).  Warning...pictures taken were with my phone while at my workbench and are not the best...

Short summery: Each of them impressed the heck out of me and was far and away better quality than most budget lights I've dealt with before.  Since these are only hosts, I'm strictly speaking of machining, finish, and design.  Shipping was also a speedy 12 days to the USA Smile

I'll go into detail a bit on each below:

C8 Upgrade Edition 1x18650/2x16340 Flashlight Host Kit For XML or XPG


First up is a C8 host that can be had with your choice of reflectors.  Those choices are either smooth or OP for either xpg/xpg2 or XML.  If you look on the site it says OP or Mill, where Mill in this case is Smooth.  I went with the smooth xpg reflector due to wanting to use an xpg2. 

Couple of quick notes about this host:

  • Machining was excellent, as well as the other two
  • The pill uses a brass retaining ring to hold a 17mm driver, that is pressed into the pill.
  • The specs state that it needs a 16mm star for the emitter, but only a slight bit of filing was needed to fit a 20mm star.
  • The host came with all O-rings in place and a very light coat of lube.
  • There were a couple of small flecks on the reflector, but were unnoticeable in testing/usage.
  • The finish is HA II, as stated.  Despite not being as rugged as HA III, the finish was flawless as received and very attractive.

This host was assembled using a Cree XP-G 2 (from cutter.com.au) emitter on a 20mm star and a KD 6x7135 V2 driver.   The parts as delivered looked like this:

Notice in the above picture a spring, as well as a plastic centering insulator and sticker was included.  I didn't use the sticker (blob of square white in the above photo), but did use the plastic piece and it worked great.

Here is a close-up of the tail switch once disassembled:

And one more close-up of the switch itself:

The switch seems to be an Omten 1.5a @ 250v PBS-101. I can't comment on max current for the switch, but it's holding up to the 2.2a I'm feeding it just fine.

Here are a few shots of the pill itself:

As you can see, the aluminum is nice and thick where the emitter would sit, and there is plenty of room for deep drivers on the back side.  The only thing of note here is that I did a little file work around the wire holes to the emitter to remove the splay leftover from drilling.

Here above you can see the KD driver fitted to the pill.  Now that brass ring can be soldered beforehand to the driver, and then both press fit to the pill.  I found that unnecessary, and simply pressed the brass ring into the pill and proceeded with the driver install.  The driver only needed a slight touch with a file to fit perfectly, and excellent contact was made without any soldering to the ring.

Above you can see the pill installed in the head.  As mentioned earlier, even though the specs say a 16mm star must be used, I found that a 20mm will fit perfectly with just a little bit of filing around the edges.

As for the final results?  Using the above mentioned XP-G2 @ 2.2amps, the beam was extremely throwy yet had surprisingly useful spill...much more so than a A60.  The test results are as follows:

OTF Lumens = 435

Lux = 38.7kcd

A shot of the host in hand:

Final thoughts on this host:  Of the three it was by far the easiest to assemble mainly due to the driver ring.  Fit and finish was excellent along with the beam.  Please note, while looking at a white wall the beam did appear a bit ringy, but not noticeable outside during actual usage.  Due to an impatient co-worker wanting to buy this one (actually he bought all three), no beamshots are available.  Although I was impressed enough with it to purchase again. 

Next host up for review is this:

OEM D4 HAIII 1x18650 CREE XM-L T6 Flashlight Host Kit

Of the three OEM hosts reviewed here, this one impressed me the most. Not that the others were bad mind you, but every part of this one exudes quality.  True HA III coating (passed my scratch test with my EL-01), Beefy pill, beautiful checkering, smooth threading, and well thought out engineering.  If there was a contest, this host would be voted "most likely to survive a wayward shotgun blast while looking good doing it".

Speaking of engineering, take for example the ends (both ends) of the body:

Anodizing covering all of the threading, and the addition of a brass ring to keep the wear and tear off of the bare aluminum.  Brilliant!  Here are the head components:

And tail components:

And a close-up of the switch:

Using a 3 amp KD 8x7135 V2 driver, the switch showed no issues with the current.

Let's take a closer look at the pill:

Big solid chuck of brass.  True, it would be better if it was copper...or had a built in peltier chiller for that matter, but for a non-custom pill it's definitely a notch above the rest.  Again, this flashlight host lists a 16mm star as required, but as you'll see it was made for a 20mm star.  Also, if you notice in the above photo the small brass driver retaining ring.  This is an outstanding solution to driver retention IF and only if...you have a driver suitable for it design (i.e. - no components on the base side).  Since I used a 8x7135 KD V2 driver, the ring was a no-go.  Retention was achieved by a few well placed solder blobs.  This alone is my only knock against this host, for the selection of drives suited to this style are few...while 7135 based drivers are all over the place.

  Also worth pointing out - not only does a 20mm star mounted emitter fit perfectly on top, but there are already screw holes for extra physical retention.  

Above you'll see an XM-L T5 NW emitter held very securely in place by using the aforementioned screw holes. No screws were supplied, but if you've ever taken apart a laptop you'll find those little machine screws fit perfectly:

The only extra step needed if using the screws is to file down the sides and the small area around the pill where the screws will sit as shown in the above photo.

Here is a shot of the reflector as compared to a standard P60 reflector:

A shot of the host in hand:

Final thoughts on this host:

- When asking about a dozen co-workers which host they liked the best, those that didn't run away from with screaming all picked this one.  Like the Goldie-locks fairy tale, this one wasn't too big or too small, but just right.  Final numbers with T5 NW emitter and 8x7135 KD driver are:

OTF Lumens = 697

lux = 14.4kcd

Last host up for review is this one:

1x18650 Black HAIII Straight Tube Flashlight Host Kit for XM-L T6

  Think of this host as a UF 2100 done right. True HAIII coating (again, passed the EL-01 scratch test), square cut threads, dual O-rings at each end, and a solid brass pill make this a solid small 18650 choice.

 If you notice in the above picture, it shows it delivered with the tailswitch in pieces.  This is not the case, and was fully soldered and working when it arrived.

Here are the requisite components unscrewed from the head:

Notice the same brass driver retention ring is employed in the pill.  Again, great idea...if the right driver is used.  Since I used a 8x7135 driver, I did not use the ring and simply soldered to the edges which works just fine.

Here is the switch as removed from the tailcap.  One interesting thing is that the switch is firmly attached the the brass screw insert and would take a bit of persuasion to remove.  Good thing is, the switch appears to be a quality part and held up to 3 amps just fine.

Here's a shot of this wee 18650 host in hand:

This little guy was assembled using an XM-L T6 emitter and a 8x7135 driver and yielded the following:

OTF lumens = 725.7

lux = 6,120cd

 Final thoughts on this host: Comparing it to either a Yezl or UF 2100, this host wins easily hands down.  The quality is that much better.  Comparing it to the Shiningbeam S-Mini however, things get a little more interesting. Both are HAIII and well built, but the S-mini is slightly slimmer with thinner walls and a less substantial pill - which is perfect for what it was designed for (emitter ~ 1amp).  However, if one wanted to see full potential out of an XM-L, this host and it's larger/thicker pill should allow for a larger thermal window.  Granted, at 3 amps, it still gets warm really fast.  Of the three hosts here, this is the one I carried personally for all of a day and a half before the entire lot was bought.  

 

Well, there you have it.  If you're looking to build your own flashlight with the driver and emitter of your choice, each of these hosts would be a great starting point and would net you a flashlight of much higher quality than the price would suggest. All three were a pleasure to assemble, and now that I no longer own any of them I will be ordering (multiple) replacements.

  Also don't forget that one could have their own name printed on the side!  "Match's Mods", "Nadzonfire", "Boaz's Blaster", "Foy'sLight", "Clipper's Candle" or "The ChicagoX Darkon Destroyer"....  The possibilities are endless! Smile

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Thanks for reading,

-Match

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:27
cainn
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Great stuff Match. I’ve been eyeing that C8 style host for a while now, so I’m thankful for the comprehensive review.

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" Clipper's candle ? "

Laughing

Thanks for sharing your observations and builds with us .

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apt323
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Very nice review Match!!!!

If I understand correctly instead of using the brass ring on the 2nd and 3 host you just soldered them to the pill, correct? I guess there is a lip for them to sit on so they wont push up further into the light?

Thanks

iron potato
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Awww…. I also built one 18650 straight tube host, XM-L T6 with a lowly 3*7135, nice little flood light, follow me everywhere I go Wink

I also built one of these OEM E2 HAIII 1×26650 CREE XM-L T6 Flashlight Host kit

XM-L U2 paired with LD-29 driver, 2× 26650 throwy, feels solid too ~

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Nice reviews, Match! I especially like the last one.  Quality compact torch. Wink

I'm too lazy to try and dig it up but IIRC Old-Lumens had that second one and did a review of it and he hated it. Lots of issues.  Maybe they changed it around since then or I could be thinking of a different host.  I'm sure he'll chime in when he reads this.

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The d4 looks like a baby keygos m10. Me likey muchy Love I’m quite into the idea of building my own lights too, I’m actually waiting on my first host, but a trio of gordslight branded lights is very appealing 8)

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Excellent review, thanks for sharing.

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Johm
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JohnnyMac wrote:

Nice reviews, Match! I especially like the last one.  Quality compact torch. Wink

+1
I’m feeling week today and just pulled the trigger.

Thanks Match.

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Thanks for sharing your impressions and results of these hosts. The first one certainly looks like it will lend some quality and heft to the C8 type light. And I have to agree with gords here. That second one looks very nice. TY.

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Thanks Match. Very informative reviews. Do you know what the diameter of the reflector was in the UF2100.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

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Awesome review, Match! Big Smile Thanks a bunch :bigsmile:
Can you, please, measure the inner, tube diameter of the smallest (last) host? Thanks in advance Wink

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Can someone else look at the dimensions of these two hosts, and tell me if I’m being stupid?

This is a 26650 host :-

http://fancyflashlights.com/goods.php?id=419

This is an 18650 host :-

http://fancyflashlights.com/goods.php?id=414

Are they measuring the tube diameter at the lanyard ring? Because i’m kind of thinking if not, it may swallow a 26650, and with a 52mm head, I’m finding it a bit interesting tbh.

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Thanks for the review! Very informative.

=the=

 

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Looks like the CNQG generic hosts are getting better. Any idea of which company is actually producing these?

 

The second host was the one I had and I didn't care for it. The extension tube was not the same ID as the body and there were other issues, but it looks like improvemenet have been made, or you just got a good one.Wink

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Match
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Thanks for the nice comments, guys.

apt323 wrote:
Very nice review Match!!!! If I understand correctly instead of using the brass ring on the 2nd and 3 host you just soldered them to the pill, correct? I guess there is a lip for them to sit on so they wont push up further into the light? Thanks

Yes, there is a lip for the driver to sit on and solder around the outside holds it all in place.

MRsDNF wrote:

Thanks Match. Very informative reviews. Do you know what the diameter of the reflector was in the UF2100.

20mm x 20.5mm One like this would work as a replacement: http://www.fancyflashlights.com/goods.php?id=72

SashiX wrote:
Can you, please, measure the inner, tube diameter of the smallest (last) host? Thanks in advance ;)

I no longer own the light, and like a dummy forgot to measure certain parameters...the ID being one of them.  I can say though that there was no issue with protected cells fitting.  I'll be ordering another one shortly.

Old-Lumens wrote:

Looks like the CNQG generic hosts are getting better. Any idea of which company is actually producing these?

 

The second host was the one I had and I didn't care for it. The extension tube was not the same ID as the body and there were other issues, but it looks like improvemenet have been made, or you just got a good one.Wink

No idea who the actual manufacturer is, as the boxes were plain white with no markings.  As far as the second one (D4), it may be a different host all together as there was no extension tube included or offered.  Every part of this host was of exceptionally high quality. I'm about to order quite a few more of this particular style, so I'll update if I find any changes.

-Match

apt323
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Thanks for the answers Match

Match
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I have on order a OP reflector (xpg) and Smooth (xml) for the C8.  Also have a OP xpg reflector on order for the small 18650 host to use with an xpg2.  I'll update this when they arrive.

(really excited about the xpg2)

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Great review.  

Does it look like this switch work with the C8 upgrade Edition?

Here's a new host from IOS (T10).

נֵר־לְרַגְלִ֥י דְבָרֶ֑ךָ וְ֝אֹ֗ור לִנְתִיבָתִֽי   (Psa 119:105)   

rojos
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Match wrote:

Did this one come with a driver spring included?

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The spring in the picture is for the negative on the switch board.

 

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.

 

Match
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MRsDNF wrote:

The spring in the picture is for the negative on the switch board.

Correct.  Also, there is a small bag that includes an insulator to go between the reflector and emitter and, if I remember correctly, a driver spring.  I didn't have to use it as the driver I employed already had one on it.  

As stated in the review, the picture on the site is a little misleading.  The tailswitch is already assembled, so the spring you see is meant for the driver.  I have a few more of these on the way so I'll update if things are different the second time around.

Philipp
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Can someone who (still) owns that last straight-tube host measure the exact outer diameter of the battery tube?
On fancyflashlights.com it says 24mm and on intl-outdoor.com 23mm. I wonder if it would fit into my fenix headband, where even 23 mm is actually too much, but may work with some tweaking…
thanks in advance!

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Match wrote:

MRsDNF wrote:

The spring in the picture is for the negative on the switch board.

Correct.  Also, there is a small bag that includes an insulator to go between the reflector and emitter and, if I remember correctly, a driver spring.  I didn’t have to use it as the driver I employed already had one on it.  

As stated in the review, the picture on the site is a little misleading.  The tailswitch is already assembled, so the spring you see is meant for the driver.  I have a few more of these on the way so I’ll update if things are different the second time around.

Would the straight tube host make a decent pocket thrower if an xr-e is used? At least as good as a p-60?

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I received my host (the 3rd strait one) yesterday.

@philipp the battery tube outer diameter is 24mm (measured 23.99 with a digital caliper).

The reflector on mine is different and it is smooth not op as i think the photos show.

I haven’t made this into a light yet, i am waiting for some xm-l’s still in transit, a quick and dirty reflector over another XM-l though revealed a beautiful artifact free beam. I guess i’ll have to wait a few days to see the final result. (unless i loose my patience and cannibalize another light.)

The Host arrived in excellent condition, the fit/finish and feel is also excellent.
(I did have to sand down a little the two points near the tail-cup at the split ring cut-out, it felt like a fruit peeler.)

I’m very pleased with this light and can’t wait to get it working.

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Thanks very much! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

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Great review, Match!
Do you (or anyone else here) still have the D4 on hand? If yes, can you please measure the tube’s inner diameter, rubber tailcap dimensions and glass diameter?
Love the metalwork for this host, but would prefer green tailcap and AR coated glass Smile
Thanks in advance!

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Match wrote:
there is a small bag that includes an insulator to go between the reflector and emitter and, if I remember correctly, a driver spring.  

Maybe things have changed.  I received some Straight Tube hosts today and no insulators or driver springs were included.  Frown

gords1001
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I run mine without spring, but I used an ld25 driver.

Match
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AlexTG wrote:
Great review, Match! Do you (or anyone else here) still have the D4 on hand? If yes, can you please measure the tube's inner diameter, rubber tailcap dimensions and glass diameter? Love the metalwork for this host, but would prefer green tailcap and AR coated glass Smile Thanks in advance!

Inner tube diameter = 18.8mm

Rubber tailcap = 15.5mm

Lens diameter = 31.5mm

 

As for the missing isolator and spring, I don't know what to tell you.  Since this review I've ordered 9 more and all of them came with those. I didn't use the springs on any of the builds, so I have a bunch of spares....the little white isolator on the otherhand was used and is very handy in centering the emitter.

rojos
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Match wrote:
As for the missing isolator and spring, I don't know what to tell you.  Since this review I've ordered 9 more and all of them came with those. I didn't use the springs on any of the builds, so I have a bunch of spares....the little white isolator on the otherhand was used and is very handy in centering the emitter.

Maybe just bad luck I suppose.  I'll ask Ric about it.  Maybe he will thrown some in for me in my next purchase.  

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