Review: C3 Clone from Tmart

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relic38's picture
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: 12/28/2012 - 00:39
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Location: Toronto, Canada
Review: C3 Clone from Tmart

My first BLF review will be on this little mixed-bag. It’s a C3 clone from Tmart. When I ordered it, I had no idea it was a C3, or what a C3 was for that matter. I just wanted a versatile 1/2AA light for cheap. At $3.78, they got that part right. The rest, well…

1AA Mode

2AA Mode
Out of the box, it doesn’t look too bad. The finish is decent and seems to resist some scratching. The machining is rough with some very minor sharp edges.
The threads are rough as well, particularly when applying the tailcap in 1AA mode. The tailcap goes on the 2AA extension a little smoother. The threads on the extension appear to be smoother than on the rest of the body.
There are no logos or other markings on this light.

The tail clicky has a flat rubber cover which helps with tailstand, however it is precarious. Click on/off is firm with good mechanical feedback. Electrically, the clicky may not be that great. So far it still works, however I’ve noticed the occasion where I have to ‘jiggle’ it a little.

Servicing the tailcap is a problem as well, since it’s held in with a plastic plug that doesn’t want to come out (in one piece, anyway).
Weatherproofing is limited. There are useless, tiny O-rings at each joint barely make contact with the outer tube. No seal in front of the lens. I’d call it splashproof, at best. One quirky thing is the inner diameters of the tailcap and the extension tube are different. The tailcap is larger, so any O-Ring that fits the tailcap will not allow the extension to go on. You can either settle for a thin O-Ring that doesn’t protect in 1AA mode, or swap O-Rings when changing to 2AA mode. Since I’m not concerned about weather-proofing, I left it. For me this is a tool-belt light, usually in 1AA mode to keep things compact.

On to the innards, where things really start to go downhill. Up front is a plastic lens with a plated plastic reflector behind it. The 16mm star holds a COB style Luxeon clone LED which produces a cold blue light with purple fringes. The star sits on tops of a hollow plastic (yup, plastic) pillar.
Finally, we find a very basic boost driver. It has a tiny coil with no sign of current limiting or control. The output is limited by the tiny boost components themselves.
Since I cannot easily go back to the old LED and driver, I do not have exact efficiency numbers. Recalling from memory, in 1AA mode this driver was less than 50% efficient. In 2AA mode it was marginally better, around 60% efficient. This was the main reason I changed the LED and the driver to something more efficient and brighter. I’ll probably change the LED again to a Cree of some kind, and an aluminum reflector.
I also replaced the pillar with a copper ring for now; it’s better than plastic.
Beam details (Note: beam shots here are with the new LED, not the one that ships with the flashlight. For reference, this is a standard 2W 6000K LED.
No surprice here, a small shallow reflector gives a fairly even, floody beam with a diffuse hot spot.

Beam profile, Modded with standard 2W 6000K LED

Beam size, 3’ distance. Dots are 16” apart horizontally, 12” apart vertically.

Overall, this is not a great light. It has an OK body with not-OK internals. For sub-$4, this may be an option for modders with spare parts lying around. Most C3-type flashlights start around $10, so it’s possible that one could build a nice light and keep the price in the ballpark. I’ll be trying; for me, modding is where the fun is. Would I buy this light again? Probably not.

Technical Details:
Length (1AA): 95.5mm (3.75”)
Length (2AA): 144.8mm (5.71”)
Body Diameter: 19.9mm (0.78”)
Body Finish: Black anodized
Battery Configurations: 1AA or 2AA (no 14500 Li-Ion, may run on LiFePO4)
Vmin: 0.9V (50%), 0.6V (moonlight)
Vmax: approx. 3.6V
LED: Luxeon clone, COB (surface mount)
Star: 16mm aluminum
LED Colour: Very Cold White
Pillar type: 17mm, hollow plastic
Reflector: Plated plastic
Lens: Clear plastic
Switch: Tail-mounted reverse-clicky
Switch Cover: Flat-top, black rubber
Tail-stand: Precarious, stands on switch cover
Markings: None
Driver: Simple 17mm boost
Drive current: Approx. 3oomA
Driver Efficiency (1AA): <50%
Driver Efficiency (2AA): approx. 60%
Tail current (1AA): approx. 1.60A
Tail Current (2AA): approx. 0.70A
Light Output: Unknown, probably somewhere between 30 and 50 lumens

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Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 11:43 Reason: sb56637 replaced <!-- break --> with <!--break--> via Scanner Search and Replace module.
relic38's picture
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: 12/28/2012 - 00:39
Posts: 3390
Location: Toronto, Canada

Mod updates. Smile

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flashlight man
Last seen: 7 years 4 months ago
Joined: 09/08/2012 - 19:17
Posts: 903

Nice review thanks for sharing!

Slim Pickens
Slim Pickens's picture
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 04/28/2012 - 19:50
Posts: 1219
Location: Lehigh Valley

thanks for the in-depth review, and welcome to BLF!

Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/22/2012 - 08:20
Posts: 3071
Location: Karlsruhe, Germany

For future reviews, you might want to implement the pictures at 100% size. Wink

Other than that: nice review and that teardown.. huh. Big Smile

relic38's picture
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: 12/28/2012 - 00:39
Posts: 3390
Location: Toronto, Canada

Thx NightCrawl. I will keep the pictures at original size then? I guess the forum will scale them for viewing, click for full size. On future reviews I will use a real camera, not my stand-in cell phone.

I always have liked tearing things apart. That’s probably the top reason I like flashlights. Tearing them down always leads to modding Wink

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sb56637's picture
Last seen: 50 min 4 sec ago
Joined: 01/08/2010 - 09:29
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Location: The Light

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

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