Review: Ultrafire MCU-C7 R5 (q5 comparison)

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xP.1337
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Review: Ultrafire MCU-C7 R5 (q5 comparison)

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Summary: Not Worth the doh

Battery: 16340 or cr123

Switch: Reverse Clicky (rear)

Modes: High, Low, Strobe

LED Type: XP-G Lens: glass

Tailstands: No Price

Payed: $19.99 USD

From: http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/ultrafire-mcuc7-cree-r5-led-3mo...

Date Ordered: 2/11/2011

Pros:

•XP-G for sure.

•Quality Finish

•Slightly Larger than previous MCU-C7's

•Reflector Screws into head (see design)

Cons:

•Poor regulation, about .8 amps

•COST!

 

Features / Value:★★★★★

The three mode has always been a favorite of mine. Despite what some say, strobe DOES come in handy.

 

Design / Build Quality: ★★★★☆

This is one of my favorite DESIGNED lights, but there were a few issues I saw.  First off was the driver. While it was a nice three mode with a good spread between high and low, I found it too weak.  The reflector also is build quality, so with that many artifacts I cannot give it a 5 star.  The OLDER Q5's were VERY good flashlights for the money. But recent versions of the XR-E's I found reflectors that cracked the domes off the LED's, poor drivers, and some with defective switches, not to mention a poor finish.  This flashlight had a GREAT finish, a quality glass lens, was a hair bigger and longer making it a bit easier to grab and use.

 

Update: I never noticed, but the reason the led had a weird pattern out of the packaging, was there was a BROWN spot on the led dome.... i had to cut it off, only adding to the weird, to gain only a little light....

manafont has now dissappointed me twice.  I only can hope that my R5-a3 actually shows up as good as the DX one, or actually shows up. I dont want to get another Skyray when i ordered a trustfire!

 

Battery Life: ★★★★★

Lasts decent with the lower amperage draw. Thats why its 5 stars.

 

Light Output: ★★★☆☆

I was not impressed. My older Q5 turned out just as bright. Of course this only a minor set back as i can swap out the driver.

Beam quality was pretty poor too.  Artifacts, tons of them, the normally tight beam in the center (on most R5's) is oblong... defective reflector?

 

Update: as stated above, its not the reflector, its the poor LED. a brown (what looks like solder burn) mark was on the dome of the led. I had to cut it off with a hobby knife. while this changed the shape of the output some, i gained a little light.

 

Summary: ★★★☆☆

Ok, but a bit pricey.  They were out of grey so i got black. In my opinion, save the money!

 

PICTURES TO COME

admin please edit this to make it fit right.

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:01
fishinfool
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That's too bad about this light because it looks very cool to me. 

Thanks for the review xP.1337.

 

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

how2
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You should have spent the Extra $1.01 and got the Ultrafire U30.

The build quality is better and it's brighter at 370Lm according to QGC

xP.1337
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U30 is ugly in my opinion. build quality was better than previous MCU's tho

i still think its too expensive and so is that U30. not worth the money IMO, when you can get an XM-L flashlight for 3-5 dollars more

 

also i love my old MCU-C7, and for the money it has been the best bang per buck flashlight yet!

BlueBeam
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I'm glad you did a write up on these. I'm going to buy one anyway since I don't have one and I've been eyeballing them since they were released. I wish I had bought a Q5 while they were good!

xP.1337
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yea my q5 is AMAZING, but i keep ordering the not so amazing ones cause people here still love em. so until the R5 price drops DX will get those orders....

 

i wish manafont would drop the price Sad  then this light would be VERY worth it

newsanno
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XP,

I would like to ask where I could find some nice single cell 16340 XM-L lights to choose from as they seem to be extremly bright surpassing I assume the XPG-R5.

Regards,

Eric

xP.1337
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you wont and i wouldnt suggest it anyways.

the XM-L draws FAR too much from a 16340. it would mean BOOM!

 

the XP-G is the best led for a 16340. i have ones drawing 1.4 amps and almost doubling the light of the old XR-E's.

 

besides the driver and cost, i would say buy this one and update the driver. then youll have TONS of output in a small package

newsanno
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XP,

Thank you for that, the reason I memtioned the XML on a 16340 was from this article from Jayki..

http://www.jayki.com/flashlight_review_board/12018

XP, I like very much you suggestion could you please offer the link to bulid this light with said XPG-R5 with a simple to do light. I am not as advanced with putting lights together as you guys but just purchasing them so this BLF is the best place for me to learn from all the terriffic advice from you gentlemen here.

Regards,

Eric

xP.1337
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just buy the one listed above, when it comes in, if you need it brighter, test the draw on the battery (use a 16340 charged of course)

if its well under 1.5 amps, i will link you then to a 1.4 amp driver that will be sure to get the job done.

 

this way your getting an XP-G R5 flashlight already, just in need of a better driver!

xP.1337
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ok im updating this....

manafont lately is not doing it for me.

BlueBeam
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Hey xP.1337

I went ahead and ordered the lower quality one from DX before I get the R5 version from manafont. I'm sure it will be decent even if it isn't as good as the original.

Is the biggest deal breaker for the R5 version just the price and does the lower quality DX version just have a different driver than your "amazing" DX version or is everything all together different?

brjones
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Do the XM-L mod! I'm thinking about it for my Q5 version. There are people out there modding 14500 lights to xm-L to good effect, and a 14500 is comparable in capacity to a 16340 (okay, 14500 is a little bigger). The LED pulls more current and can strain the battery, but with the driver included on yours, you'd have to see first. Simply meter it and decide from there. It's not like you have a high-current driver on there.

 

I am an owner of the 'old' Q5 version. I do like the light (aside from the strobe and no medium--at least no SOS). My favorite feature is that the pill screws into the body, so I can screw off the head/reflector and use it as a 'candle', but the Q5 is a little weak for that. You can also adjust the reflector by how far it's screwed into the body.

 

However, last night I compared the XR-E Q5's tint to my XM-L drop-ins, and it the Q5 was blueish even compared to my coolest/worst-tinted XM-L (the latest one, FWIW--my 3 XM-L's have trended cooler the later I bought them).

 

IIRC, my Q5 C7 only pulls .75 amps at high, which is almost identical to your XP-G. I bought a 14mm XP-G star and never put it on there. Now I'm thinking of leapfrogging and going straight to an XM-L, as they're now available in 14mm stars. Just the fact they're available in 14mm stars implies intended uses on small lights such as 16340 and 14500.

 

My wonderful genuine Ultrafire XM-L 3-mode drop-ins from Manafont draw .75 amps on medium. To my eyes, the drop-in on medium is comparable to my cheapo overdriven XP-G drop-in on high (almost 2 amps; 1.5 is Cree's updated rated max). Hard to say which is brighter, and that's not taking into account the PWM of course. Doesn't cree say that XM-L's produce 300-some lumens at .75 amps? Just looked it up again: almost 390 lumens @ 1 amp. Which is around what an XP-G does on max; if so, I've observed correctly. So I can say XM-L's do wonderfully at .75 amps. And an XM-L will probably pull more than .75, so there'd probably be no desire to change the driver. There are still a lot of myths and fears about XM-L. However people who have taken the "risk" have been rewarded. You just may not be able to do "high" for a long time on the C7--BUT, you could NEVER do high on the C7 for a long time! The light is not for that. And yes, it would beg for 3 real modes then.

 

Nailbender or someone at least used to sell a freaking SST-90 version of the C7! With an XM-L you could get something approaching that brightness, but more useful, and far cheaper.

 

The biggest question is, once installed, check how much current it draws, decide what's right for the cell (you can always switch to LMR/LiMn battery if needed). If it did drive it higher than you'd prefer (I doubt it, but possible), you could experiment with using a LiFePO4 16340 which produces lower voltage. They will charge up to 3.8 volts if you abuse them, but even at the proper 3.6V it should drive the later Cree's. They are a very safe chemistry. LiCo (standard li-ion) is still pretty safe in the 16340 size anyway (the smaller, the safer), at least for high non-short-circuit drains. You may shorten the life of the battery, but your confidence in it going "boom"... uh, you're probably more at risk of a dead fish being dropped on your head by a seagull in the Sahara desert, in particular if you're using Protected cells. Ok, I exaggerate. But if a 16340 cell is real-world 500mAH capacity, 3C would be 1.5amps, and 3C is still not criminal with LiCo. Above 1.5 amps I'd be a little worried, but just use common sense, or a different chemistry.

 

Here is an example of what going from XR-E to XP-G can do (this is the thread which got me to order the 14mm XP-G star). Just imagine what going to XM-L would be.

 

It's disheartening to see the DX reviews of declining quality. And the price is 60% what I originally paid. Below is an example of what going from XR-E to XP-G can do. This is what got me to order the XP-G 14mm star.

http://www.dealextreme.com/forums/Default.dx/sku.26497~threadid.489856

 

P.S. Isn't it nice that Ultrafire has been THERMALLY POTTING their pills lately? (see the photos in the OP's link.) For all the general whining about 'bad heatsinking' I see, I've personally seen Zero comments by anyone anywhere about Ultrafire stepping up and doing this. All of my Manafont Ultrafire XM-L's are potted in the same way (mechanically, not by hand). And the reflectors seat better, even on other drop-ins. UF has really been going on an increasing quality streak lately. I'm impressed, anyway. I agree that $20 is probably too much to ask for this light, especially with only low-high-strobe. But then again I think I paid $17 for the Q5 version. I personally get more use out of my Trustfire Z1 (which also came thermally potted, although awkwardly by hand; better than nothing because it's thermally challenged). However, now that I have XM-L's, everything is disappointing. Last night I also did a side-by-side comparison of my XM-L drop-in on medium (.75 amps) next to the Z1 on high (a little over 1 amp IIRC?)... xml beat it with a stick, and with better tint too. I see little point with any other LED after all my experience.

- Circumcision, regardless gender, by definition causes sensation loss, and thereby usually causes difficulty later in life. Oppose amputation of children's genitals. ALL children. http://tinyurl.com/haszs6o

xP.1337
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BlueBeam wrote:

Hey xP.1337

I went ahead and ordered the lower quality one from DX before I get the R5 version from manafont. I'm sure it will be decent even if it isn't as good as the original.

Is the biggest deal breaker for the R5 version just the price and does the lower quality DX version just have a different driver than your "amazing" DX version or is everything all together different?

its MAINLY the price, but the driver is another draw back.

the OLD q5 was properly driven with a quality bin Q5 and a reflector that screwed into the head. the newer versions of the q5 have a reflector that if dropped can crack the led off the board

i was very happy to see that the R5 came with a similar screw in reflector to the old mcu, and was a hair bigger.

 

if you want only one flashlight, and dont mind changing the driver, pick up the R5 version.

if you LOVE modding, pick up the q5 lol.

 

either way, they are still great flashlights all in all. i just have flaws with them.  they can never leave anything good alone!

xP.1337
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brjones wrote:

Do the XM-L mod! I'm thinking about it for my Q5 version. There are people out there modding 14500 lights to xm-L to good effect, and a 14500 is comparable in capacity to a 16340 (okay, 14500 is a little bigger). The LED pulls more current and can strain the battery, but with the driver included on yours, you'd have to see first. Simply meter it and decide from there. It's not like you have a high-current driver on there.

 

I am an owner of the 'old' Q5 version. I do like the light (aside from the strobe and no medium--at least no SOS). My favorite feature is that the pill screws into the body, so I can screw off the head/reflector and use it as a 'candle', but the Q5 is a little weak for that. You can also adjust the reflector by how far it's screwed into the body.

 

However, last night I compared the XR-E Q5's tint to my XM-L drop-ins, and it the Q5 was blueish even compared to my coolest/worst-tinted XM-L (the latest one, FWIW--my 3 XM-L's have trended cooler the later I bought them).

 

IIRC, my Q5 C7 only pulls .75 amps at high, which is almost identical to your XP-G. I bought a 14mm XP-G star and never put it on there. Now I'm thinking of leapfrogging and going straight to an XM-L, as they're now available in 14mm stars. Just the fact they're available in 14mm stars implies intended uses on small lights such as 16340 and 14500.

 

My wonderful genuine Ultrafire XM-L 3-mode drop-ins from Manafont draw .75 amps on medium. To my eyes, the drop-in on medium is comparable to my cheapo overdriven XP-G drop-in on high (almost 2 amps; 1.5 is Cree's updated rated max). Hard to say which is brighter, and that's not taking into account the PWM of course. Doesn't cree say that XM-L's produce 300-some lumens at .75 amps? Just looked it up again: almost 390 lumens @ 1 amp. Which is around what an XP-G does on max; if so, I've observed correctly. So I can say XM-L's do wonderfully at .75 amps. And an XM-L will probably pull more than .75, so there'd probably be no desire to change the driver. There are still a lot of myths and fears about XM-L. However people who have taken the "risk" have been rewarded. You just may not be able to do "high" for a long time on the C7--BUT, you could NEVER do high on the C7 for a long time! The light is not for that. And yes, it would beg for 3 real modes then.

 

Nailbender or someone at least used to sell a freaking SST-90 version of the C7! With an XM-L you could get something approaching that brightness, but more useful, and far cheaper.

 

The biggest question is, once installed, check how much current it draws, decide what's right for the cell (you can always switch to LMR/LiMn battery if needed). If it did drive it higher than you'd prefer (I doubt it, but possible), you could experiment with using a LiFePO4 16340 which produces lower voltage. They will charge up to 3.8 volts if you abuse them, but even at the proper 3.6V it should drive the later Cree's. They are a very safe chemistry. LiCo (standard li-ion) is still pretty safe in the 16340 size anyway (the smaller, the safer), at least for high non-short-circuit drains. You may shorten the life of the battery, but your confidence in it going "boom"... uh, you're probably more at risk of a dead fish being dropped on your head by a seagull in the Sahara desert, in particular if you're using Protected cells. Ok, I exaggerate. But if a 16340 cell is real-world 500mAH capacity, 3C would be 1.5amps, and 3C is still not criminal with LiCo. Above 1.5 amps I'd be a little worried, but just use common sense, or a different chemistry.

 

Here is an example of what going from XR-E to XP-G can do (this is the thread which got me to order the 14mm XP-G star). Just imagine what going to XM-L would be.

 

It's disheartening to see the DX reviews of declining quality. And the price is 60% what I originally paid. Below is an example of what going from XR-E to XP-G can do. This is what got me to order the XP-G 14mm star.

http://www.dealextreme.com/forums/Default.dx/sku.26497~threadid.489856

 

P.S. Isn't it nice that Ultrafire has been THERMALLY POTTING their pills lately? (see the photos in the OP's link.) For all the general whining about 'bad heatsinking' I see, I've personally seen Zero comments by anyone anywhere about Ultrafire stepping up and doing this. All of my Manafont Ultrafire XM-L's are potted in the same way (mechanically, not by hand). And the reflectors seat better, even on other drop-ins. UF has really been going on an increasing quality streak lately. I'm impressed, anyway. I agree that $20 is probably too much to ask for this light, especially with only low-high-strobe. But then again I think I paid $17 for the Q5 version. I personally get more use out of my Trustfire Z1 (which also came thermally potted, although awkwardly by hand; better than nothing because it's thermally challenged). However, now that I have XM-L's, everything is disappointing. Last night I also did a side-by-side comparison of my XM-L drop-in on medium (.75 amps) next to the Z1 on high (a little over 1 amp IIRC?)... xml beat it with a stick, and with better tint too. I see little point with any other LED after all my experience.

damn you right alot lol

ok

the new version of the Q5 does have a screw in pill. but not a screw in reflector, so under impact the reflector can rip the led off the board.

 

ii dont think everything is dissappointing now tho, my self built XP-G's are some of my nicest lights.  their output is half of my XM-L's, with half the current draw, a tighter beam and my eyes see them both as super bright for going to the mail box or whatever.

 

currently im using my R5-A3 from manafont as my EDC. its clip is the reason, but the MCU-C7 R5 was a good carry on for a few weeks.

my q5 is beat to crap, but still works like the day i bought it, for 15 dollars.

 

i have more of the newer crap Q5s on the way cause my friends dont care if they break on impact apparently. they just love their brute output for their size.

 

when its back to jeans weather, ill be back to carrying my Aurora V6 body flashlights. mainly XM-L or XP-G

BlueBeam
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This maybe a little out of place to post here but I didn't think we needed a new thread on this just torch just yet. Anyway Manafont has this Palight YG-C7S I haven't seen listed befor http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/palight-ygc7s-4mode-q3-memory-2...

Maybe this one has the screw in reflector like the original Ultrafire C7???? Good price none the less!

BlueBeam
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Well I got my C7 in from DX and let my buddy look at it, and...well...he dropped it on a tile floor and sure enough the reflector slide out of place and broke the dome off the LEDSurprised just my luck! When I got home I yanked the LED out of my 502b and repaired my C7 and I also fixed the reflector so it wouldn't break the LED if dropped. I wrapped the reflector in foam tape and threaded it into the head so now the reflector won't move!!! I really like this light alot! I wish I had got an original!