TrustFire X7 - Review & Mod thread - SST-50, MT-G2, XHP-35 HI = FANTASTIC RESULTS!

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FlashPilot
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TrustFire X7 - Review & Mod thread - SST-50, MT-G2, XHP-35 HI = FANTASTIC RESULTS!

UPDATE: MT-G2 mod at post 18. :bigsmile:
___________________________

From the moment I saw the X7, it caught my eye. The big reflector, large deep-finned aluminum heat sink, coupled with 3 × 18650 cells should do a good job as a thrower capable of sustaining high-mode run times. The size seemed on the cusp of what would otherwise be to large for a long term carry (IMO, such is the case with the larger X6). As long as the reflector was properly designed, I thought it would probably be easy to improve the rest of the host if necessary (driver, thermal management, conductivity, etc.)

I was pleased to find that my X7 arrived in great condition and looked as well finished as the stock photo above.

Pros:

  • Excellent robust construction and design
  • Waterproof
  • Excellent thermal management
  • Simple and easy to use UI
  • Spare lens, o-rings, clicky, silicon lube packet
  • Shoulder sling
  • Excellent throw and satisfactory spill
  • Excellent packaging
  • Emitter is driven at 4.5A (before losses)
  • Easy to disassemble and modify
  • Mode memory

Cons

  • Does not tail stand
  • Can not lock out by loosening the tail cap
  • Slight greenish emitter tint
  • Modes are H/M/L/Strobe/SOS – getting rid of the last 2 modes would be nice.
  • A few small imperfections in the reflector, but do not impact beam performance
  • Lens is not A/R coated
  • Unsatisfactory quality battery and charger combination may prove a safety hazard if used.

Product Description

Specifications:
Brand: TrustFire
Model: X7
Emitter Brand/Type: CREE
Emitter BIN: SST-50
Color BIN: White
Total Emitters: 1
Battery Configurations: 3 × 18650 batteries (4 × 18650 batteries included)
Voltage Input: 4.2~12.0 V, 12 V max
Switch Type: Clicky/Clickie
Switch Location: Tail-cap
Modes: 5
Mode Memory: Circuitry Features Mode Memory
Mode Arrangement: Hi > Mid > Low > Fast Strobe > Slow Strobe
Circuitry: Digital Regulated 4200 mA Current Output
Brightness: 1300 lumens maximum brightness (manufacturer rated)
Runtime: 210 Minutes (manufacturer rated)
Lens: Coated Glass Lens
Reflector: Aluminum Smooth / OP Reflector
Accessories Included: 4 x Protection 18650 Rechargeable Li-on Batteries; 1 x Carrying Shoulder Strap; Battery charger adapter AC 100~240 V (US plug); English user manual
Dimensions: 13.27 in x 3.07 in x 3.07 in (33.7 cm x 7.8 cm x 7.8 cm)
Weight: 19.15 oz (543 g)

Additional Information
Color Black
Name TrustFire X7 SST-50 1300LM 5-Mode Memory White LED Flashlight with Batteries Set (3*18650)
Free Shipping Yes


Top: Protective sleeve. Bottom: Gift Box


Opening

Initial thoughts: this light was built to throw a distant tight spot beam and feels great in the hands. Overall build quality and finish surpasses similar lights in this price category. The kit is very complete, including a foam padded presentation/gift box, 4 protected 18650’s, charger, carrying sling, spare lens, spare clicky switch, silicone lube package & o-ring spares. Heat management is well thought out and does a good job of transferring heat to the air.


The adjustable sling is intended for shoulder carry and contains 2 pouches. The larger pouch is intended to carry extra 18650 cells. The smaller one can carry a small flashlight.

The 2 station single channel charger also came with 4 flame Trustfire TF18650 cells that appear authentic. Out of the box and tested with a calibrated DMM, cell voltages ranged from 2.47V – 3.45V. Hot off the charger that was provided, they charged to 4.17V-4.22V and settled from 4.14V-4.21V an hour later. The charger often failed to indicate a termination by signaling with a green light. Doing a slight discharge and then topping off again with a different charger provided similar results. Because this flashlight stacks cells in a series configuration and the condition of the cells is questionable, (for safety’s sake) I will be using different cells for this light and relegating the TF18650’s to single 18650 flashlight use.


Look again! The included manual is legible and written in English. Big Smile


Spares include: lens, clicky switch, silicone lube package & o-rings.

The light appears to be very robust and in excellent condition. All connections contain double o-rings and lube.


The tailcap contains two large slots for lanyard attachment.


Markings are crisp and clear.


Large reflector with emitter & driver housed inside a large chunk of finned aluminum.


Size comparisons with SkyRay King and Trustfire 18650


A quick continuity test showed no dead shorts so I popped in some fresh cells and turned it on. The output was as expected… very bright. As we are all aware, appearances are not always indicative of build quality and performance. After the quick light-up, the tools came out for a tear-down.


The Luminous SST-50 emitter is well centered in the reflector (pic taken from a slight angle to allow light in for the shot). The bottom of the reflector is flat and around the hole there are a few tiny burs. The burs had no impact on beam quality. The reflective surface is high luster with 2 very slight imperfections (pin size – you have to look hard to see them and the photos didnt pick them up). There were no fingerprints or dust on the lens or the reflector… until I opened it up for inspections. A quick blow removed all the dust (that shows in the photo) before reassembly.


Breaking it down further. All threads are well cut and easily unscrewed without tightness or galling. The lack of square cut threads was noted, although they appear coarse enough to withstand years of use.


There is a large spring loaded plunger on the driver end…


… as well as within the tailcap. All but the long Xtar 18700 protected cells would fit, although removing the plungers from the tail and driver and utilizing just the springs would probably accommodate the Xtar’s. As is with the Xtar’s, I was able to tighten the tail cap past the first o-ring seal – with roughly 1/8” gap remaining. It should still be enough to keep the flashlight water resistant in a downpour, as long as it isnt submerged. All other protected and non-protected cells fit and made good contact. Vigorously shaking the flashlight while turned on (with my shortest unprotected cells inserted) produced no intermittent contact or uncommanded mode chages.


Emitter side of pill.


The protective plastic plate prevents the reflector from creating a dead short against the power leads to the emitter but does nothing to assist in centering the reflector.


Removing the plastic isolation insert shows that the star is secured by 2 screws with a non-drying thermal compound beneath. As experience has shown me in the past, these screws are often left lose at the factory. As luck would have it, the screws in the X7 were no exception, requiring nearly a full revolution to seat them properly.


Driver removal couldnt get any easier than this…


The driver is held in by a threaded compression ring and requires only fine needle-nosed pliers (or similar) to unscrew it for removal. Considerable torque can be applied to the threads to assure a good electrical contact.


A quick test proves that the X7 will operate sufficiently on 2 unprotected cells, but the tail cap can not be threaded down all the way. For the few extra ounces, length and better run time, I’ll run it on 3 cells.

Tests prove that the driver claim of 4.5A (before losses) to be fairly accurate.

Tail readings with 3 cells charged to 4.18V:

H – 1.53A
M – 0.68A
L – 0.19A

High mode: Lux @ 1m = 45,600. Lux taken with the CT-1330B which is said to be 10-15% conservative.

I was anticipating the need to modify this light extensively to make it into a better thrower. Beyond the need to tighten the star retaining screws, there was no need for any other adjustments or modifications. It makes for a great searchlight right out of the box. Beyond a good performing reflector in this type of light, heat management is the next greatest concern. The large finned aluminum surfaces do an excellent job of transferring heat to the air. I did observe that the host will get hot after 15 minutes while remaining static indoors but runs cool when carried outdoors. Not knowing how hot the star was becoming, I risked burning my fingers by removing the bezel and reflector, turned on the light for 20 minutes to get it thoroughly warmed up, then reached inside and touched the emitter star. It was no hotter than the exterior of the pill… nice!! :bigsmile:


The male threads of the pill screw into the larger heat sink that contain the reflector. The larger heat sink runs about 15 degrees F cooler than the pill, so a small amount of thermal grease applied to the threads might help disperse some additional heat (although it runs quite efficiently as-is).

I will rate the actual light 4.5 out of 5 stars (flashlight only). The host is excellent and well designed. The emitter is driven HARD, but the slight green tint is not optimum for illuminating targets near the flashlights maximum range. Although the packaging provides a nice presentation for potential gift giving opportunities, the batteries and charger fall far short of delivering the required performance for such a light, and may pose a very dangerous threat should one of the unmatched cells vent. Hopefully, Kevin can find a deal on the X7 without all the packaging, charger & batteries at a reduced cost.

Weather has been horrible the past few days, so I havent been able to take any outdoor beam shots yet. They will be coming soon.

There will likely be a future XM-L2 T6 swap for lux and tint comparisons. I will later be removing the plastic isolation disk to see if any more lux can be found by optimizing the reflector to emitter clearance.

Please ask any questions and leave comments or suggestions.

Thank you for reading! Smile

Edited by: FlashPilot on 06/07/2016 - 18:36
FlashPilot
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Beam shots – 30 foot range. Both lights in high mode with cell voltage @ 4.20V

Small Sun ZY-T13

TrustFire X7

Unfortunately, I forgot to adjust the cameras manual settings. Everything else being the same, the ZY-T13 was shot at ISO 400 while the X7 was shot at ISO 500. Because of this, the X7 was actually brighter to the eyes than the photos depict. The X7 completely blots out the beam from the T13 at this range. The rings disappear from the beam pattern when not whitewall hunting. Most of the light spill in the foreground is reflected from the wall, not spill from the reflectors.

If you’re looking for a very bright well-driven thrower for a semi-budget price, and can easily be modded (without the need to mod or swap drivers for a much more powerful one), you might want to consider an X7 to add to your collection. Its great as-is. But as emitters get more powerful and efficient, this flashlight can easily be upgraded to remain competitive for many years to come. To bad we cant say that about many other very expensive name brand flashlights… they are glued shut at the factory.

MRsDNF
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Thanks for the review FlashPilot. It looks like a really nice light. If the batteries that came with the flashlight are genuine Trustfire flames they are a reasonable battery. The charger though I have no idea.

I had to look twice at the monitor when the picture off the shoulder strap came up as I thought it was my reflection. I didn't know I had a twin brother? Its given me a bit off an a eerie feeling.Smile

 

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That X7 really looks great. I especially noticed the wonderful soldering done by Trustfire on the internals. I can’t wait to see a few beam shots on this one. I’ll think it’ll perform quite well Wink

Richie

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Excellent review, this one really looks like a good thrower. Might even out-throw my UF T90 from Wallbuys.

FlashPilot wrote:
The size seemed on the cusp of what would otherwise be to large for a long term carry (IMO, such is the case with the larger X6)

What do you mean??? I’m gonna EDC this thing Wink

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MRsDNF wrote:

Thanks for the review FlashPilot. It looks like a really nice light. If the batteries that came with the flashlight are genuine Trustfire flames they are a reasonable battery. The charger though I have no idea.

I had to look twice at the monitor when the picture off the shoulder strap came up as I thought it was my reflection. I didn’t know I had a twin brother? Its given me a bit off an a eerie feeling.Smile

Ive already been through the _x_fire 18650 learning curve and have moved on. With the review samples, its hard to tell how old the cells are or what conditions they have been warehoused in. Only one will sustain a 3A load, but for less than 10 seconds. The others wont even reach 3A. All are mismatched.

So, you’re my long lost twin brother. I found you at last bro. Now… about the money you owe me. Wink

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relic38 wrote:
Excellent review, this one really looks like a good thrower. Might even out-throw my UF T90 from Wallbuys.
FlashPilot wrote:
The size seemed on the cusp of what would otherwise be to large for a long term carry (IMO, such is the case with the larger X6)

What do you mean??? I’m gonna EDC this thing Wink

Haha! Well if you’re going to do that, then you might as well buy the X6

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FlashPilot wrote:

Haha! Well if you’re going to do that, then you might as well buy the X6

!http://www.aurabuy.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525...!

Um, in that pocket was the UF T90… bigger than an X6 Silly

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Thanks for your professional review, FlashPilot.

If anyone who interested in buying the X7, please contact me, I can provide discount to you.

Thank you.

AuraBuy offer the brightest led flashlights at lowest price.

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Thanks guys, Ive really been enjoying this flashlight – as much as one can while indoors. Ive been sick this week but was able to get outside tonight to add a few 30 foot beam shots to post #1. Ive ran 6 complete continuous discharge cycles in high mode to verify heat sinking efficiency and make sure it could withstand the thermal abuse. It does its job very well as long as the light isnt left static. But even if left on in one place indoors, it still takes a good 15 minutes to get hot. While outdoors and moving through the air, overheating isnt a concern… pretty amazing considering the 4.5 amp current draw.

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Nice review, thanks!

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Thanks for the review FlashPilot. You did an excellent job!!
Thank you, Kevin for the opportunity for us to see a review of one of the lights your company carries.

 

 

 New Collection / Old Collection

 
FlashPilot
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Thanks for the nice compliments. The light is still going strong and has racked up around 20 discharge cycles. My neighbor came out to compare his hot-running Small Sun zy-t13 (with 3.2A driver resistor mod & XML2 T6 mod that I assembled for him, AND that now blows away my STL-V6). We were both shocked at the X7’s stock performance. At the farthest ranges, there is absolutely no substitute for the cool running X7 with higher current and larger reflector. I have another XML2 T6 on 16mm aluminum board for the X7, but I might wait till I get a 20mm copper board with XML2 U2 before swapping it.

If it wasnt donated for this review, Id easily have paid to add one of these to my collection. I anticipate even further gains (more fun) after the emitter swap for more lumens with better tint and greater contrast. You’ve just got to love a great thrower that can so easily be modded because the company didnt glue the host closed. NO MORE GLUED FLASHLIGHTS FOR ME!! :bigsmile: Wink

The new BLF mantra should read, “just say no to glued lights.” Maybe they’ll get the message, but only if people stop buying them.

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Nice review, thanks. It did help me make up my mind to buy one.

I’m a junky, I mod lights so I can sell lights so I can buy more light to mod so I can sell lights to buy more lights to mod.

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Congratulations on a magnificent flashlight. I have one with a dedomed XML T6 1A on a copper pcb from DX.COM that just completely fulfills my need for a thrower. Gets about 175 Kcd after the thermal sag. A LOT more when I use it in -10°C conditions though.

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Ledsmoke, thanks for the XML on copper upgrade report. Your results sound fantastic. Im considering a dedomed XPG2 on 20mm copper sinkpad but Im not sure how well the emitter will hold up to +4A. Yeah, power LED’s love to run cool.

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Thanks very much for the review! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

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FlashPilot
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UPDATE: I installed a Cree MT-G2 on copper Noctigon mcpcb. The results were nothing short of amazing and the numbers speak for themselves:

 BeforeAfter
emitterSST-50MT-G2
light box53k142k
center beam at turn-on570k1795k
center beam at 30 seconds465k1760k
tail cap current (amperes)1.542.65
estimated amps at emitter @80% driver efficiency3.6966.36

Cell voltage @4.20V, 3 × 18650.

Lux measurements were not calibrated to any standard but in this direct comparison show substantial increases.

The only mod beyond swapping the emitter was to add a 20mm x 2mm copper disk beneath the emitter star to properly space the MT-G2 into the reflector and notch it for the hold-down screws. Copper is mandatory to conduct this amount of heat! Dont use aluminum for the disk. All surfaces were lapped & polished.

The driver seems to have taken care of the rest of the equation and increased current without need of resistor mods. Hopefully it will survive being driven nearly double the stock spec.

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I wouldn’t think you will have any problem driving it that hard. I did the same with an XM-L2 in that same light and it had no problems at all.

Nice mod by the way. Must be a nice tint too.

I’m a junky, I mod lights so I can sell lights so I can buy more light to mod so I can sell lights to buy more lights to mod.

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Nice mod! Smile
Me like!

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thats a really nice mod and with those numbers youre getting im thinking of doing something similar

if only the blinky modes could be eliminated

i wonder if a nice ios driver would fit

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
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18sixfifty wrote:
I wouldn’t think you will have any problem driving it that hard. I did the same with an XM-L2 in that same light and it had no problems at all.

Nice mod by the way. Must be a nice tint too.

I still need to get some more run time on it to test for driver reliability… maybe tonight. I almost went for the XM-L2 but couldnt resist the temptation to see how it performs with the MT-G2. Yes, the tint is very nice. The MT-G2 with the X7 reflector stomps my 6.5A (3 terroid driver) CW SRK; with a much larger hotspot, wider spill beam and more throw. If its not to much trouble, can you please get a tail current reading with 3 fully charged 18650’s? Im curious how the stock driver handles XM-L2 amps.

jmpaul320 wrote:
thats a really nice mod and with those numbers youre getting im thinking of doing something similar

if only the blinky modes could be eliminated

i wonder if a nice ios driver would fit

Thanks! Im more than pleased with the performance. Its hard to believe what a difference this change did for an already well designed light. It just shows the age of the SST-50. At least the driver has a reliable memory mode and cranks out some amps, although I think 5A (at the emitter) would have been slightly more efficient. Like nearly all of my lights, they run continuously in high mode so heat can become an issue.

18sixfifty
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FlashPilot wrote:
18sixfifty wrote:
I wouldn’t think you will have any problem driving it that hard. I did the same with an XM-L2 in that same light and it had no problems at all.

Nice mod by the way. Must be a nice tint too.

I still need to get some more run time on it to test for driver reliability… maybe tonight. I almost went for the XM-L2 but couldnt resist the temptation to see how it performs with the MT-G2. Yes, the tint is very nice. The MT-G2 with the X7 reflector stomps my 6.5A (3 terroid driver) CW SRK; with a much larger hotspot, wider spill beam and more throw. If its not to much trouble, can you please get a tail current reading with 3 fully charged 18650’s? Im curious how the stock driver handles XM-L2 amps.

jmpaul320 wrote:
thats a really nice mod and with those numbers youre getting im thinking of doing something similar

if only the blinky modes could be eliminated

i wonder if a nice ios driver would fit

Thanks! Im more than pleased with the performance. Its hard to believe what a difference this change did for an already well designed light. It just shows the age of the SST-50. At least the driver has a reliable memory mode and cranks out some amps, although I think 5A (at the emitter) would have been slightly more efficient. Like nearly all of my lights, they run continuously in high mode so heat can become an issue.

I sold it to Orion (green spot avatar) Plus my MM is wonky it works fine for testing batteries and to check current flowing and stuff but not for much else. I really need to buy a good one and a lux meter as well, but each month I end up spending my monthly budget on a new mod instead. It’s an amazing thrower with an XM-L2 in it, it crushes the SST-50. That is past it’s prime. Frankly I don’t think the SST-90 is worth a whole lot either. I de-domed my last one and still didn’t care for it. It’s now sitting in a zoomie.

I’m a junky, I mod lights so I can sell lights so I can buy more light to mod so I can sell lights to buy more lights to mod.

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Nice job FlashPilot. Sounds very sweet. That driver looks alot like the TR-3T6 driver. The 3T6 driver is one tough hombre. I’ve used it to drive all kinds of set ups including MG-T2’s.

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I thought Id add a bit of commentary for those considering an MT-G2 swap:

I compared the X7 on a long bike ride last night with my SRK (both simultaneously bar mounted). After running through 2 sets of cells in continuous high mode use, the driver survived the abuse. The host got quite warm after some time but not hot enough to burn skin. Id guess 130-140 F. This was observed while under way @15mph or greater.

My conclusions remain the same. The X7 with MT-G2 definitely has a brighter, wider and farther reaching beam than my 6.5A driven CW SRK. Color rendition is far superior and will make for a fantastic walk-about flashlight in the woods & while camping. As others have mentioned with other MT-G2 mods, this emitter does best as a medium to medium-long range flooder, and this fills that niche perfectly with the X7 (considering the size of the host, weight, driver amp level, heat sinking, battery efficiency, utility, beam profile and run time). Its spot on. If you want an all out thrower, go with a dedomed XM-L2 in this host or something else. With MT-G2, one thing I noticed right away is that the transition while viewing from the bright spill beam to the large spot beam is far easier on the eyes than other lights driven at this level. But for a bike light, the neutral tint just doesnt cut it. While at speed, a CW tint is still required for the sharpest contrast and least amount of eye strain in reading the surfaces that lay ahead on the trail, or for identifying targets at the farthest reaches of the beam. Im fine with that, which is why we all own more than one flashlight for different purposes.

While walking with the X7 outdoors, it gets hot after 15 minutes of continuous high mode use and I need to drop down to medium to cool off. Not bad considering 33 watts of power. 10 seconds after the light is turned on, heat can already be felt radiating through the head… a good thing. The copper mcpcb and lapped copper spacer disk I mounted underneath it, facilitate the thermal transfer. Considering the way the X7 reflector plays with the MT-G2, and that the stock driver runs the emitter right about in the upper sweet-spot, Im more than satisfied that this will abruptly end my search for a great MT-G2 light. Hopefully Trustfire will build this same light in the near future (with copper mcpcb). In the mean time, if you can find a great deal on an X7 (or already own one), I highly recommend the mod. Whatever you do, get rid of that awful SST-50!

For those interested:
For bike riding, my SRK rides with a remote pack of 9 × 18650 under the saddle and 4 more in the light (total 13 cells). My route usually takes around 2.5 hours to cover and I leave the light on high mode nearly the entire time. It nice arriving home and often finding cell voltages still above 4V… zero voltage sag for continuous high output. :bigsmile:

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Thank you. Great info. I think you created a winner.

I’m curious about the riding and neutral white not being as good as CW. I haven’t tried riding at night (well on anything with pedals, that is), but I would think higher color rendition would help read the trail better and cause less eye strain. To me CW’s sometime render an almost 2 dimensional world. I see depth better with higher CRI light. I don’t doubt you and take it as truth. I just want to make sure that is what you meant to write.

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@18sixfifty – I never did get into the larger Luminus emitters, although the SBT-70 looks like a real thrower with the correct reflector. But then we are looking around the +10A mark for any real performance, along with the associated thermal transfer challenges, huge host & a dozen cells (ala big Olight). Id rather go HID/remote pack if I go down that path again.
Something like this (8000 lumen): http://budgetlightforum.com/node/4963

Lets hope LED technology gains much higher efficiencies or a better technology comes along soon.

@ImA4Wheelr – If the driver is the same as a TR-3T6, that would sure make mods a lot easier for those looking at 12.6V builds. If its not to much trouble, can you please get a tail current reading with 3 fully charged 18650’s with MT-G2?

ImA4Wheelr
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Probably not anytime soon as the only genuine TR-3T6 driver I have is in a nicely finished light right now. I do have a few Manafont 3T6 drivers. I can try it with one of those, but I don’t know when I will get to it. I’ll report back.

The Trustfire Drivers usually have a model number. I think it will be under the toroidal inductor. Do you know what your driver had labeled on it?

FlashPilot
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ImA4Wheelr wrote:
Thank you. Great info. I think you created a winner.

I’m curious about the riding and neutral white not being as good as CW. I haven’t tried riding at night (well on anything with pedals, that is), but I would think higher color rendition would help read the trail better and cause less eye strain. To me CW’s sometime render an almost 2 dimensional world. I see depth better with higher CRI light. I don’t doubt you and take it as truth. I just want to make sure that is what you meant to write.

Thanks! White tint (not blueish or greenish) provides the best contrast for target acquisition & recognition, even if it is low CRI. You can easily test this. Just take a few flashlights into a wide open space and quickly sweep the area. Your eyes should pick out far more details at further ranges with the whiter beams than ones of different tint, regardless of CRI. For this reason, I chose 1C for my LED searchlights and 4300K for HID. Also compare the farthest ranges while remaining stationary.

For slow beam sweeps, casual walking and stationary viewing, nothing beats the tint of your preference + high CRI. Thats all personal preference. Now, how to add a rotating turret system to swap emitters within the host while on the fly. hmm…

ImA4Wheelr
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Yep, I think you do have the TR-3T6 driver in that beast. The photos in post 65 look like the same driver. That is hands down one of my favorite drivers. Can drive one or multiple parallel xml’s from 1 to 3 cells (maybe 4?). Can drive mgt2 with 2 to 3 cells. It’s tough. I know it has flashy modes, but it has good memory. I live in the woods and strobe is supposed to be good at scaring off predators. SOS can be handy out there too.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/3700?page=2#comment-65588

18sixfifty
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Have you noticed that different tints make seeing through fog or rain easier? I have a 20watt incan that runs off of three 18650’s that seems to cut through fog better than any light I have.

I’m a junky, I mod lights so I can sell lights so I can buy more light to mod so I can sell lights to buy more lights to mod.

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