L2x, 50x - too many models, I need information...

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Haggai
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L2x, 50x - too many models, I need information...

What are the differences between all of these models?

Why should I prefer one over the other? (besides compatibility)

L2P are HA III? But what about L2 vs L2m?

The 50x bodies are even more confusing. 

 

Help?

Edited by: Haggai on 04/06/2011 - 06:12
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What troubles you exactly?

L2P is HA coated the otherys are type II probably. Some 50x might be even just painted.

The general consensus about P60 hosts is: Get any solarforce or L2P for premium P60 host. Alternatively you might want a "sky ray" one if you like the looks.

Quility wise solarforce is more consistent vs others. I Like manafont's new version 504B very much. Costs about the same as a "generic" solarforce (a bit cheaper actually) but the looks sold me. Has a bit less mass vs other similar but i found it of no issue. Interchangeability options vs others are zero or close to it but that does not bother me at all.

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brted
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Here's some info that might help. It gives the basics. A lot of people don't buy the Ultrafire hosts separately but a lot of times you can get a drop-in for $16 and a host with the same drop-in for $21, so people just get the complete flashlight. It's hard to get the Ultrafire hosts by themselves for $5 like that. And once you get to $8-$10 for a host alone you start getting in range of the Solarforce hosts.

http://flashlight-wiki.com/UltraFire

http://flashlight-wiki.com/Solarforce

Haggai
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Thanks for the info!

Now I have a better idea what my next purchase( s ) will be Smile

[L2P, if possible with a good emitter in it; and I think another L2i, and maybe even L2r. Solarforce are going to be a wee bit richer thanks to me Wink . And probably I'll stick with the two 502B I already have, they're ok.]

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I've written below what I wish I would've encountered when I was starting out in white LED flashlights. I learned everything below in the wrong or reverse order, so hopefully this will be helpful to you and/or others investigating the same topic.

 

The Solarforce L2* line is based on the (American) Surefire 6P. Surefire was popular before white LED's were a big thing, and incandescent was king. When the white LED rage hit, Surefire didn't seem to notice. Although before my time, I surmise that Solarforce made most of its fortune providing accessories for Surefire which Surefire just wouldn't make itself--especially LED-related accessories. The big difference for flashlight bodies in LED versus incandescent is voltage. Powerful incans seem to like a higher voltage (I'm not into incans myself), like 6 volts on up, whereas LED's work very well on single Lithium-type cells. For flashlights, this means incandescents bodies are usually going to use 2 or more cells, and for LED's, 1 cell is going to be more efficient. I believe the "6" in "6P" means 6 volts (6P is the 2-cell version), because I see the pattern that the "9P" is their 3-cell model. And when I say "cell", I mean lithium primary, or 3.0 volts; Surefire still doesn't seem to know what a rechargeable is, either.

 

So back to single cells. Well, the Surefire bodies are made for CR123 cells, and typically 2 or more of them. 18650 cells (commonly used in laptops) were becoming  available to mere mortals, and they had more capacity, and were about the length of two CR123 cells, but were just a bit too wide to fit into the Surefires. So while some people were boring out their Surefires with a drill press to fit 18650's (still going on today), Solarforce was making inexpensive battery tubes to swap into Surefires, and other accessories like cheap clicky tailcaps (the 6P and other models come with a twisty/momentary switch, which I like by the way).

 

Many people spent a lot of money to get a Surefire, and loved the quality, but really wanted the benefits LED brought. So while Surefire seemed to expect everyone to stick with (their) incans, the world was moving on, and using their drop-in design to sell LED "bulbs" to upgrade Surefires.

 

I'm not sure if Solarforce started out producing LED upgrades, or tubes, or whole flashlights. But at some point, but 6P 'copies' appeared on the market, but I use the term 'copy' loosely, because they're not identical, and for LED users, the Solarforces are actually in general superior. It was and still is called the L2. Solarforce was and is not the only one either, but probably the best overall. Some things most LED users will consider superior over the Surefire 6P: the L2 has grooves in the head for heat dissipation, accepts 18650 cells OR two CR123/16340-sized cells, comes with a [usually reverse] clicky switch (although as stated, I personally prefer twisty/momentary, if not forward clicky), comes with an aggressive crenelated bezel (which I also see as a downside, but many like that), and they make extension or even 'Mini' (single 16340) battery tubes. And of course, the price, being made in China. Downsides are: quality and ruggedness are not as high (fit and finish)... and... I'm running out of downsides!

 

Surefire still somehow seems to focus on incandescent, by the way. They remind me of Mag Industries, who have great design, machining and quality, US-built (you're outside the US but that can mean a lot for people here--they do put an American flag on the front of their packaging too), but just don't seem to notice technology passing them, hence the many copies and mods.

 

You have a lot of flashlight manufacturers whose names are takeoffs of "Surefire". Trustfire, Ultrafire, Sacredfire, Pants-On-Fire (just kidding). You can have some fun coming up with spoof names. So, for people who try to minimize the influence of this company's designs on today's products, they're living in a fantasy world. It was also Surefire who invented what we commonly refer to as the "P60 drop-in", the drop-in assembly being part "P60", as far as I know. Other Surefire models also take such drop-ins.

 

Ultrafire got a lot of play with their 50* models. I assume those models were sequentially released, and you can see an evolution in quality, and following the 6P design more and more closely with subsequent models. The 501b only bore Surefire similarity in that it could use P60-style drop-ins. Other parts (head, tube, and tailcap) are not compatible. Same deal for 502b, but seemingly a bump in quality of design. 503b seemed to be an effort at copying the 6P design, at least cosmetically, but parts are reported to not interchange well or at all. The 504b (at least the "old" or original version? or maybe the 'new', completely different and crappy design recently discussed is a fake? dunno) was a serious attempt at Surefire compatibility, but still not acheiving the compatibility of the good old Solarforce L2, however it's a bit less expensive and has a few advantages, like a smooth bezel ring. Solarforce machining is pretty tight too (a good thing but can get fatiguing), so the Ultrafire is actually easier to unscrew the head on, if that matters, with its sloppier threads, ha.

 

I and others have confirmed that you can interchange Solarforce L2 and Ultrafire WF-504b heads and tailcaps. My 504b smooth bezel ring fits on my L2 head, but the supposedly Solarforce-brand smooth bezel ring I got from Lighthound does not screw into my 504b, although both bezel rings look identical. There are also subtle differences between the L2 and L2p--it's not just finish.

 

The L2P proudly states right on the body, "HAIII", under the brand and model name (just looked at mine). I'm personally not overly-impressed with HA-III, it has a matte (non-shiny) look and feel, which most people do like. Supposedly it's more durable, but I kind of like the look of a well-used tool (that sounds kind of wrong). Supposedly there is no "HA-II", just Anodizing type II, and type III is considered "hard anodizing". I've heard there is no real definition of HAIII, but not being an HAIII fanatic (even after owning one), I don't really know for sure, or care much.

 

Anyone with the massive benefit of BLF, who hasn't purchased yet and is reading this, might as well skip straight to Solarforce L2 or L2P, and select a drop-in they think they're really going to like, instead of playing the "I'll get the body for $5 more if I get this combo one with the mystery drop-in" game. You will pay more money, but will be more likely to end up with something you're equally more satisfied with. And actually, you'll probably save money, because I guarantee you, if you buy ones of those cheapy combos, you'll probably still end up doing what I mentioned above anyway at some point. To me, a big deal comes down to do you want or not want blinky modes. Many very good options are available now. Also remember there are flaws inherent to the P60 style drop-in design, but the "Lego"-like customizability tends to be so compelling as to outweigh these objections.

 

Flashlights designed to be high-powered LED torches from the ground up are better in design, but also commonly larger, like the C8 and its many take-offs. In the end, what you spend on a good host and a drop-in you really want, will likely be equal or more in cost than buying a quality purpose-built budget flashlight, but the upgrade path is going to be much better on the Surefire-style lights.

 

I had absolutely no idea of any of the above when I started out. I resisted the 6P-style's popularity, because I just thought it was ugly, and I didn't know the upsides. I learned the above Surefire story in reverse order, hunting in vain for the only budget flashlight ever really commonly broached on candlepowerforums, which was this elusive L2, which most of the flashlight snobs nevetheless seemed to own. It took me awhile to even figure out what this "DX" was that people were talking about (DealExtreme), and by then Solarforce had broken their relationship with DX (or, perhaps more accurately, made sure that DX would not sell its products nor Solarforce counterfeits--I don't know all the details--and yes, I know the term 'Solarforce counterfeit' carries a little irony, but still there is a dif). I learned the hard way that cool accessories like flashlight mounts, pressure pads, and alternative tailcaps followed heavily popular models like the Surefire take-offs. Other 'strong' model varieties are C8 style, and WF-500 style (both larger).

 

Despite my hours on CPF, there was nothing like the resource here for less-expensive and non-custom models. We here have now collectively realized that CPF was run as a for-profit organization, and therefore the advertisers and authorized sellers were favored, both officially and by sympathetic culture, and I'll skip further comment on its moderation and overall culture, as retort is abundant here. And, 'budget' items were a lot less budget back then, and choice was smaller across the board--including batteries. If you're here, it's a great time to be getting into LED flashlights. All of the information above is scattered about on this board, and your question has been asked numerous times, but that is the bigger picture or background, to my knowledge. Hopefully, someone will refer back to this when the question comes up again, or someone is searching out there on the internet... although you have 261 posts and joined here around the time I did, not having talked directly with you yet, I say happily to you, and stoppers-by from the information superhighway: hello, and welcome to BLF!

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brjones did a good job.  Here's the basic Solarforce P60 break down:

L2P - 18650 x 1 or CR123/16340 x 2 "special" premium type 3 hard annodization, available in black, sand, possibly others (don't break my balls about annodization terminology)

L2X - 18650 x 1 or CR123/16340 x 2 "HA 3" same finish as L2P, has heavy knurling they call "increased surface area for cooling"

L2 - 18650 x 1 or CR123 /16340 x 2 glossy black similar to Surefire finish, sometimes called HA 2, available in black, sand, silver

L2m - cr123/16340 x 1 a mini L2

L2r - AA x 2

L2i - AAA x 3 with carrier or CR123/16340 x 2 without carrier

All the above have different forward/reverse clicky tail caps available, extension tubes and bezels.

It's funny that there are so many Solarforce "clones" as the Solarforce is itself a clone.  For my money, it is the best P60 host.  Period.

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sb56637
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I have been contemplating the idea of buying a P60 host, now that I am going to receive some 18700 batteries from XTAR. The L2i is really a great deal right now ($7.99 for a Solarforce body??), and I like its design quite a lot. Tailstands too. But...

  1. Would an 18700 battery fit in an L2i without modding it?
  2. Can that ridiculous crown be simply unscrewed?

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Don
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sb56637 wrote:

I have been contemplating the idea of buying a P60 host, now that I am going to receive some 18700 batteries from XTAR. The L2i is really a great deal right now ($7.99 for a Solarforce body??), and I like its design quite a lot. Tailstands too. But...

  1. Would an 18700 battery fit in an L2i without modding it?
  2. Can that ridiculous crown be simply unscrewed?

 

1 Usually - manufacturing tolerances do vary though. Best with shorter unprotected cells though.

2 Yes. I'd always get a flat bezel ring with any Solarforce light coming with the clothing ripper bezel.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

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I think the 502 is just ok it's a lil light but I like the shape ..The new 504b from manafont has painted tailcaps that tap them twice and the paint chips off them .One reason to spend the extra buck on the solarforce

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Yes, the bezel just unscrews and I don't know about the slightly longer 18700.  Seems like it would fit because there is a little room left with an 18650 in there.

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sb56637
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Don wrote:

sb56637 wrote:

I have been contemplating the idea of buying a P60 host, now that I am going to receive some 18700 batteries from XTAR. The L2i is really a great deal right now ($7.99 for a Solarforce body??), and I like its design quite a lot. Tailstands too. But...

  1. Would an 18700 battery fit in an L2i without modding it?
  2. Can that ridiculous crown be simply unscrewed?

 

1 Usually - manufacturing tolerances do vary though. Best with shorter unprotected cells though.

2 Yes. I'd always get a flat bezel ring with any Solarforce light coming with the clothing ripper bezel.

Thanks for the quick reply Don!

1. Old4570 says that the 18700's he received measure 69.2mm in length. Do you think I could get them into an L2i without forcing anything and still fully tightening down all the threads?

2. Ooops, so if I unscrew the bezel the lens will come out? I was thinking that they just put that crown on for looks and that it could be removed without anything in its place.

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Don
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You need something to hold the lens in place. You could grind the spikes off - any flat rock will do for the purpose. A powered grinder would be faster though.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

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Greets, sb56637. It always blows my my mind just how frugal you are: no P60 hosts yet! Kind of like how it surprised me that good old4570 buys Shiningbeam forward clickies by the 5-pack, yet never bought a McClicky. I have a friendly competition with a friend on who is more frugal--I think if I brought you in, you'd win!

 

What you call a crown, I call a bezel ring above. And yes, they do indeed unscrew. Thankfully! Allows you to get a smooth or "attack" (defensive) bezel, replace the glass disk (I hate calling it a "lens", but... can't come up with a better word). Or... go without a 'lens' at all, nor bezel, for maximum light transmission (at the risk of getting dirt in there, especially in the pocket or on outings--best to store face-down if you do). Old4570 has actually done lightbox tests comparing Bezel vs no Bezel, and has empirically proved that the bezel does indeed block some light (in the form of spill). So no, if you don't want to 'upgrade' the bezel to a plain smooth ring, and don't like the crenelated bezel, you can go lens-less (and "bezel-less"), and you'll still have the reflector of course (which will then get a little dusty, or worse... but usually no big deal).

 

Where did you see the L2i body for $7.99? Be careful, usually at that price it's just a battery tube: no head or tailcap. If you have another Solarforce or compatible model (the 504B is one of the few which would work), you could always swap the tube in, when you wanted to use AAA's. But that gets frustrating. I just checked Ebay, and the cheapest price on a complete L2i host is $10.56 delivered.

 

18700 fitting with no modifications in an L2i, not L2... well, I can fit my over-length Soshine "18650" protected cells in my L2i, IF I:

-unscrew the head somewhat

- don't fully screw in the tailcap

 

So, I think yes, if you're okay with things not being fully screwed-down. You can only unscrew the head so much, before the outside spring of the drop-in isn't being held against the shoulder of the battery tube anymore, but I suppose that could be stretched a bit to get it even further... but that would qualify as a mod, wouldn't it? Smile  . The L2 or L2P would be a better fit. No problems with the Soshine batteries in those with everyday switches. But L2 does not tailstand with its included switch. The L2P does.

 

And yes my L2i does tailstand (just tried it).

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Hmmm, a rock vs. a $2.50 bezel...

Thanks for the tips!

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sb56637
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Hi there Brjones and Foy,

Yep, I'm pretty frugal. Notice the first word in the acronym BLF. Smile Thanks for the complement! Here's the $7.99 L2i, although I forgot about the shipping cost, which pushes it up there over $10 as you said.

I definitely wouldn't want to have to partially tighten anything. And I'm not a modder.

Foy, did you modify yours? You seem to have more extra room in yours than others have reported.

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No, sb I have not and it was mere speculation on my part that it might fit.  As I said, I don't know about the 18700 but on both my L2 and L2P, there is a good 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch space when you push an 18650 down against the spring.  Is an 18700 that much longer?  This link seems to infer they are quite close in size.  http://www.xtarlight.com/en/08-technology/p-001.asp?id=15 

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Flashlight Foy wrote:

No, sb I have not and it was mere speculation on my part that it might fit.  As I said, I don't know about the 18700 but on both my L2 and L2P, there is a good 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch space when you push an 18650 down against the spring.  Is an 18700 that much longer?  This link seems to infer they are quite close in size.  http://www.xtarlight.com/en/08-technology/p-001.asp?id=15 

Foy

I just looked up the protected Soshine 18650 cells that brjones mentioned, they're listed as 66.5(+/- 0.5mm). And Old measured the XTAR 18700s to be almost 70mm. So no, they're not drastically longer. It does seem strange that Solarforce would make it such a tight fit and still list it as an 18650 compatible flashlight.

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Haggai
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brjones, thanks for the welcome and for the history lesson! That's about what I thought I knew about these companies, but you really sorted the whole story up. Smile

sb56637, 18650s (I have specimens from Ultrafire [LC 2400, probably protected] and Trustfire [flame 2400, protected]) can barely fit into my L2i without putting a lot of pressure on the dropin/battery since the L2i has no buffer for the battery button and the dropin. I guess the 18700 will be even more tight. I think I'll use the L2i for 3xAAA P60 only and  buy myself a proper 18650 host.

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Hmm. Thanks Haggai for your experiences. Sounds like they made it a bit too tight.

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I think the preferred single-cell size for the L2i at this time is the 18500 size (50 mm, just like 18700 is 70mm long). Unfortunately, the new 22600 size (whose purpose I think is aimed at the 3x AAA market) doesn't fit well either, due to it being a little too thick to fit inside the well of the tailcap. If you want to use an 18650 or 18700, yeah, L2/L2P is the best way. But sb I know you're a fan of AA's, so don't forget about the L2r, but unfortunately that's only a 2-cell tube (will probably end up with too much or too little voltage in most configurations). Idea flash: Solarforce should really make a single AA-sized battery tube for 14500 users. Now that would be cool.

 

I recommend the Ultrafire WF-504B for people who are sincerely budget oriented, who would really rather keep the extra $3 over the price of an L2. I think that may be right down your alley (as we say in the States--don't know about where you are [I assume 'the dark' is Down Under]). Plus no sharp bezel ring/crown. It's fine, especially if you don't plan to get exotic with it. I think that one tailstands as well, so it may have everything you want, nothing you don't. Check out the current "New nicely priced p60 hosts at MF updated" thread which has some parallels to this one, but is primarily about the WF-504B. Make sure you get the one which looks like a Solarforce or Surefire 6P, not the supposedly new version I call the 'impostor'.

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I think that for 14500 one could use L2r with one 14500 and a dummy cell.

But boosting from 2xAA 2.4v (or even 3v) input to 3.7 Vf shouldn't waste too much. Two AA eneloops have about 4.8Wh, three AAA have about 2.8Wh, so I guess the 2xAA in the L2r will give brighter output / longer runtime than the L2i.

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I got the L2i for 8 bucks at solarforce sales...its the whole body excluding the drop in of course.

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brjones wrote:

Anyone with the massive benefit of BLF, who hasn't purchased yet and is reading this, might as well skip straight to Solarforce L2 or L2P, and select a drop-in they think they're really going to like, instead of playing the "I'll get the body for $5 more if I get this combo one with the mystery drop-in" game. You will pay more money, but will be more likely to end up with something you're equally more satisfied with. And actually, you'll probably save money, because I guarantee you, if you buy ones of those cheapy combos, you'll probably still end up doing what I mentioned above anyway at some point. To me, a big deal comes down to do you want or not want blinky modes. Many very good options are available now. Also remember there are flaws inherent to the P60 style drop-in design, but the "Lego"-like customizability tends to be so compelling as to outweigh these objections.

 

Great history of the P60, Solarforce, etc. I disagree on going straight to the L2 though. If you can find the drop-in you want in a DX host for $20, that will be hard to beat, especially if you're just getting started. You can get a L2 for $13.50 (I really don't like the L2i for 18650 use though I know some people disagree; L2i is great for 3xAAA though I wouldn't try to run an XM-L from it), but then you need the flat bezel for $2.50 for a total of $16 and now you might as well get the L2p for $19.99. So now you've spent what the whole light cost at DX and all you've got is a host. Then you can buy a drop-in at DX for $12-16 and you're way over the $20 you could have spent.

If someone has a target price of $35-40 then yeah, a Solarforce is great, but if their target is $20-25 then the DX lottery might be the way to go or even a fake Solarforce with XM-L from KD. I'm quite happy with a 502B and a 504B I got from DX though I changed the drivers out. I like my Solarforce hosts too. I think there is a place for the Ultrafires and Solarforces, but for a first or only purchase it just depends on what a person wants to spend.

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Thanks again to everyone for the reply!

I read on another thread that someone here on BLF is using 1x14500 with the L2i.

I do strongly prefer AA batteries, but I don't like 2xAA such as the L2r, looks rather unwieldy.

The Ultrafire WF-504B does look pretty nice. Just that the L2i is a true Solarforce for a really good price.

Here's a good review of some 18650 battery lengths: http://lygte-info.dk/info/Batteries18650-2011%20UK.html

 

 

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If i ever get a solarforce and probably will, it would be a L2P grey. That one looks so good to me that i don't mind spending the extra required.

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That was a very nice writeup brjones Smile

 

I don't have an L2 so I'm not sure if it's as generous inside as an L2P, but the L2P has so much space inside a 75mm cell wouldn't be the slightest problem I suspect an 80mm one would fit too...not that either of those exist.

Boaz
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Seems there is a bit of confusion about battery lengths and widths .. the first 2 numbers being the width and the second  three the length .So obviously if people are having problems with a 18650  than a 18700 that has 5 more millimeters  will be  an even greater problem...All this is assuming that a black trustfire is indeed 650 milimeters long ..(Which it ISN"T) They run long and you need to be careful with certain hosts .  you need to know the real specs on all batteries .(one more reason that bad specs from vendors make people crazy )

That and the extra money for another bezel Knocks Lxi out .Even brted who seems to be somewaht handy claims he isn't a fan of his and has seemingly happily replace it with a L2p..seems to me the l2 is only 12 bucks ..  so what's the difference between this and  the lxi and  a bezel for 3 bucks more ..(I thought bezels used to be 5 ??  )

 

My theory remains   buy a decent one .. there will be plenty of opportunities to buy junk cheap like  the last 3 manafont deals ..There have been hosts in every one , Don't worry you want trash It's always available ..

The P-60 takes a lot of heat ..And I mean the pun here ..Lots of people are either unrealistic or very wreckless when it comes to their lights ..DUH every light heats up .. turn it off or turn it down ..To continually whine about the thermal properties of the flashlight is just dumb .99% of the people using a flashlight never run it on high for hours at a time .Anyone who plans on doing so need to seriously get a clue and ask real questions about what kind of light they should be buying , because running the highest brightest and pulling the most amps causes heat and heat causes failure..

Best advice is buy the l2  or like brted said a fake L2. lego ability becomes very important factor as  there are too many models that don't swap parts already , why add to the confusion .

       καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν

                            

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Don
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Battery nomenclature

3 parts.

So for an 18650 we get 18 and 65 and 0.

First is cell diameter, second is cell length, the 0 is for a cylindrical cell.

Or for 16340, 16mm diameter, 34mm length, cylindrical cell

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

sb56637
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Hmmm, an L2... You're right, they do have L2 models for $11.50. But that's with a spiky bezel and the standard switch, which doesn't seem to be able to tailstand.

 

I could just follow the suggestion to get an Ultrafire 504B, but I'm heard so many good things about Solarforce products and so many negative things about a lot of other Ultrafire products that it doesn't make a lot of sense when there are such inexpensive Solarforces out there.

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

sb56637
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Don wrote:

Battery nomenclature

3 parts.

So for an 18650 we get 18 and 65 and 0.

First is cell diameter, second is cell length, the 0 is for a cylindrical cell.

Or for 16340, 16mm diameter, 34mm length, cylindrical cell

Well I'll be... is THAT what those numbers mean?

Learn something new every day, thanks Don!

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Foy
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I recieved my 3 hosts from Solarforce toady and must correct a mistake I made when I attempted to answer the OP question above.  Or rather, a mistake on Solarforec-sales that I repeated.  Solarforce lists the L2i as 3 x AAA with the carrier and 2 x CR123 or 1 x 18650 without the carrier.  18650 or CR123s will not fit in there - they're too long.  Unless I'm missing something obvious.

Anyway, I'm delighted with these hosts.

reviewtofollowFoy

No referral links and nothing embedded . . . ever.

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