Review SolarStorm SP03 3x XM-L2 U2 from SoonDeals beamshots on page 85 and 86

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18sixfifty
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Review SolarStorm SP03 3x XM-L2 U2 from SoonDeals beamshots on page 85 and 86

I paid for this light on the 5th of June and today is the 18th. So just under two weeks was fairly decent shipping time. I live out in the boonies and always get mine a day or two later than anyone else that I know of. I paid a total of $78.99. No special deal for the review. it came in the SolarStorm box inside another box with a little extra padding and it arrived without a scratch. The labels were all hand written very legibly. So far so good.

This is their specs.

Descriptions:
Dimensions: 85mm (HD) × 155mm (L) × 114mm (TD)
Weight: 635g (Without Battery)
LED: CREE XM-3 × L2 U2 LED
Battery: 4/18650 Battery
Circuit: Digital CC Circuit
Mode: High-Mid- low, Hidden Strobe
Dimming: Electronic Side button Switch
Lumens: 3020lums-1630lums-360lums-2930lums
Runtime: 1h35min-2h44min-6h10min-1h55min
Material: Aluminum Alloy
Lens: Impact-resistant Optical Lens
Reflector: Smooth Reflector Metal
Waterproof: IPX-8, Unable to Support Dive Use.
Head & Tail: Aluminum Alloy bezel Ring, tailstanding tail cap

This is a link to their site and their pictures are accurate.

http://www.soondeal.com/product_view.asp?cid=163&eid=677

THE GOOD

Nice size light compact yet with a large reflector.

Four 18650’s and no battery carrier. (big plus)

Solid springs

Square even threads, very easy to screw on and off.

Nice lens

Very nice mode selection, starts on low (It’s a good thing the strobe is hidden because you really could blind someone with it)

Long run times and doesn’t overheat. So good for long walks

THE BAD

Poor handle design. Too Small and the way it’s angled it’s tipping forward and not in balance. The back of the handle is sharp also and because it’s smaller than my hand it pokes me. (I’ll be sanding it down if I don’t take it off)

The button is also poorly placed in relation to the handle. (Again might take off handle).

THE AVERAGE

Finish is ok with just a few sharp edges but not too bad, smooth finish.

Light output decent with a tight hot spot, decent throw not driven harder than a good SRK. But with the XM-L2’s and bigger reflector it’s a big improvement in throw if not lumens. (I did a ceiling bounce test using my wife as the “blind” test subject. She couldn’t see which one was turned on and gave only a slight advantage to the solarstorm)

My overall impression is that it’s no BTU shocker. I think it could be improved on by being driven a lot harder. For the size and weight it could take it for sure. It’s a good light but overpriced for now. I can see this one coming down in price soon.

Edit: Post nine and ten photos for some comparison pics for size.

Edit/2: I took it for a nice long walk tonight and it throws really well, it’s not a super thrower but it does a good job of putting a ton of light out a good long ways. I guess it’s like taking a very good SRK and adding a couple hundred yards/meters throw to it. A dedicated thrower like a Trustfire T8 will out throw it and a big flooder like a 9xT6 will outflood it. But it’s a very nice combination of the two and the form is nice. It did not overheat at all and I saw no thermal sag or battery sag either. (2600mAh Samsungs) I would say it was as bright as it was when I got back as when I turned it on. I think you could run the batteries from fully charged till the low voltage kicks in without worry. The green button is bright and takes a bit of getting used to but I could grow to like it. I guess if I have any real complaint it’s still the too small handle but that might not be a problem for some. I still say wait for the price drop but then again if you are looking for a light in this category you could do a lot worse for the money. I don’t think I’m going to mod it at least not unless someone gets one and leads the way. I’m liking that it doesn’t get hot or drain the batteries too fast.

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.

Edited by: 18sixfifty on 07/18/2013 - 03:35
JohnnyMac
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Still looking forward to getting mine.  I'm disappointed that the output is as low as you've seen with yours.  I'm hoping you got a dud.  Silly

Do you have a lux meter so you can take some real measurements of output?

ILIKEFLASHLIGHTS
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That don’t sound the best for what I can expect from mine. But I guess my main concern is will it compete with a TK75? If so, then it’s still a steal.

18sixfifty
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JohnnyMac wrote:

Still looking forward to getting mine.  I’m disappointed that the output is as low as you’ve seen with yours.  I’m hoping you got a dud.  Silly

Do you have a lux meter so you can take some real measurements of output?

Nope no lux meter. I do think it’s fairly easy to tell that it’s not a lot brighter than the SRK as far as lumens. The hot spot is also not as bright as the hot spot on my SP02. I’ll update the reports on the throw later tonight but I doubt that it will come close to the BTU in throw or flood.

I hope it is a dud and that your’s is better than mine. The problem with the driver is that it’s hard to find a boost driver for 3.7volts and 3x XML. If it was 12volts I would just stick in a dry driver. Hopefully someone will come up with a resistance mod. I will probably mess around with it some tonight after I first see what it’s like stock. Probably spring mods and add 20 gauge wire to start with.

Oh and I’m running 2600mAh unprotected samsungs.

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.

18sixfifty
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ILIKEFLASHLIGHTS wrote:
That don’t sound the best for what I can expect from mine. But I guess my main concern is will it compete with a TK75? If so, then it’s still a steal.

True it’s a lot closer in specs to the TK75. I look forward to you guys getting yours in and letting me know. If I did get a dud it’s possible I can ask for a new driver. But it’s my guess that they just didn’t want it overdriven.

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.

ILIKEFLASHLIGHTS
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Do you have a TK75 to compare it to?

18sixfifty
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ILIKEFLASHLIGHTS wrote:
Do you have a TK75 to compare it to?

Nope.

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.

Rusty Joe
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I so love the design of this light (without the handle, of course). I’d heard it wasn’t driven very hard. How far does it throw? Have you tried carrying without the handle? How is the UI?

18sixfifty
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Rusty Joe wrote:
I so love the design of this light (without the handle, of course). I’d heard it wasn’t driven very hard. How far does it throw? Have you tried carrying without the handle? How is the UI?

I’ll tell you tonight how far it throws, but based on the hotspot I would say it’s going to be good but not great. Also I think for now I’ll just leave the handle on. If I turn it upside down the handle is out of the way and the button is right where my pointer finger is. I guess that way if it does start to get too hot I can always carry it back from a walk with the handle. The mode selection is very nice. It starts out in low when you turn it on and it’s a good useable low not super low but lower than the SRK on low, each step up is noticeably brighter after that. I also noticed that the little green light is only half green and the other half is red and light up when it’s not screwed on all the way. I’m guessing that it comes on when the batteries are low.

I like the light I’m just disappointed with the output. I thought it would start out noticeably brighter than the SRK even just with ceiling bounce. It looks like it’s going to be a real pain in the back side to get to the driver as well as the springs.

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.

18sixfifty
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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.

18sixfifty
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The SP03 is on the right the SRK is on the left in the first picture. The second picture is of the SP03 on the right and a SP02 on the left. All three lights are stock. 

 Looking at the picture I can tell that I was closer to the wall for the second set, but in both pictures I held each light the same distance from the wall.

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.

relic38
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It definitely should out-throw the SRK. The reflector looks a lot like the LusteFire that I have. Based on that assumption, it cannot out-throw the BTU (smaller shallower reflector), but might keep up with a TK75 if driven a little harder.

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Going from your pics I'd say it's definitely brighter than your SRK. The electronic switch will keep it from taking a DRY driver even if you could run it in series. Looks like a DrJones driver and some slaved nanjgs is in order though. Wink  It just happens I have one of his drivers...  >)

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JohnnyMac wrote:

The electronic switch will keep it from taking a DRY driver even if you could run it in series. Looks like a DrJones driver and some slaved nanjgs is in order though. Wink  It just happens I have one of his drivers…  >)


This, for sure if the cells are parallel. Will be quite nice that way. Don’t forget to de-resistance those tail springs Wink

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manxbuggy1
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18sixfifty wrote:
ILIKEFLASHLIGHTS wrote:
Do you have a TK75 to compare it to?

Nope.

I ordered mine on Friday but still have not gotten a shipping confirmation from them. I want to pit it head to head with my TK75 also.

JohnnyMac
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I got my DHL tracking number this morning.  Should have it in a few days. 

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JohnnyMac wrote:

I got my DHL tracking number this morning.  Should have it in a few days. 


when did you order yours Johnnymac?
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I actually didn't.  Black Shadow is sending it for review. They told me they were sending it a week ago but it just went out last night. 

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JohnnyMac wrote:
The electronic switch will keep it from taking a DRY driver even if you could run it in series. Looks like a DrJones driver and some slaved nanjgs is in order though.

What diameter is the driver?

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/21794

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texaspyro wrote:
JohnnyMac wrote:
The electronic switch will keep it from taking a DRY driver even if you could run it in series. Looks like a DrJones driver and some slaved nanjgs is in order though.
What diameter is the driver? http://budgetlightforum.com/node/21794[/quote]Oh, you sly dog! I forgot about that little beauty you are working on. Considering the body of the SRK is compatible with the Terminator and Raging heads, I am going to go out on a limb and say my money is on your driver fitting this. Brothers and sisters, can I get an Hallelujah!?

Then again, I could be wrong but my gut says I'm right. We'll have a definitive answer soon enough.  :bigsmile:

18sixfifty
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texaspyro wrote:
JohnnyMac wrote:
The electronic switch will keep it from taking a DRY driver even if you could run it in series. Looks like a DrJones driver and some slaved nanjgs is in order though.

What diameter is the driver?

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/21794

It looks to be 48mm I’m not pulling mine out just yet so that’s as close as I can measure. I’m not sure how they wired the side switch but it’s directly to the side of the driver and I’m afraid of either breaking those wires or messing up the contact. Someone with more knowledge than me will have to try.

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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Mine arrived today around noon. First thing I did when I got home was toss batteries in it and put it in my IS. It registered a very disappointing 1600 OTF.  My Terminator pumps out around 3000'ish and my SRK  around 2200. WTF???

Since the cells used weren't fresh and I wasn't expecting it to arrive in a day I didn't have my set of Panasonics prepped so they are in the charger now. I will retest once they are ready and I sure hope they give better results than the TF Flames I have in it now. If the light is regulated like claimed it shouldn't make a difference but I hope it does.

Build quality is great except the handle is a few mm longer than the tailcap and it doesn't sit flat and solid when tailstanding. How such a simple thing could be overlooked when designing and testing boggles my mind. Other than that the handle is actually properly balanced and the switch placement is perfect as my thumb falls squarely on the switch when held in my right hand when using the handle. Maybe smaller hands would have a problem with it but I think it was greatly designed in that aspect.

I haven't measured the driver yet but by eyeballing it I'd say TexasPyro's fantastic new driver will fit right in it. Unless I got a bum driver it's going to need it!

UPDATE:  Okay...Panasonics fully charged and loaded.  OTF lumens as follows:

High - 2193
Medium - 1161
Low - 290

Lux @ 3m = 8330
Converted to 1m = 74,969
Throw distance = 547.61 meters 

For comparison using the exact batteries all taken within 15 minutes of the SP03:

Genuine SRK - 2150 OTF
Terminator U2 - 2800 OTF
Terminator T6 - 2611 OTF 

18sixfifty
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I would say we both got the same driver. But right now I’m not going to pull mine apart to see. It’s still a great light and really throws. But I’m sure it can be driven a lot harder. I’ll wait and see what kind of options there are. But with the side clicky I’m sure there are not going to be many if any outside of custom made.

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.

JohnnyMac
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I wrote BS and pointed out the following...

My SRK with 1st gen xm-l t6 does 2150 OTF. Even if the SP03 had the same driver as tbe SRK the xm-l2 u2 emitters alone should at 20% more output (430 lumens). The SP03 I have only puts out 43 more lumens than the SRK meaning it has an inferior driver or there is a flaw with the 1st batch of SP03 released.

I will let you know what their reply is. Wink

18sixfifty
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JohnnyMac wrote:

I wrote BS and pointed out the following…

My SRK with 1st gen xm-l t6 does 2150 OTF. Even if the SP03 had the same driver as tbe SRK the xm-l2 u2 emitters alone should at 20% more output (430 lumens). The SP03 I have only puts out 43 more lumens than the SRK meaning it has an inferior driver or there is a flaw with the 1st batch of SP03 released.

I will let you know what their reply is. Wink

Cool maybe they can give us a hand.

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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Well, they responded but they didn't seem too concerned.  They say that they purposely limited the output to 2.4a/led to make it more reliable. Hopefully it will have the same driver as the SRK and a simple resistor mod is all it will take to make a good light a great one. 

18sixfifty
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JohnnyMac wrote:

Well, they responded but they didn’t seem too concerned.  They say that they purposely limited the output to 2.4a/led to make it more reliable. Hopefully it will have the same driver as the SRK and a simple resistor mod is all it will take to make a good light a great one. 

Thanks for getting ahold of them. I do really like the light though so I’m not too bummed out about it. I’ll wait and see what people come up with. You know they will find a bunch of different ways. If I do take the time to pull it all apart I’ll probably go the sinkpad route while I’m at it. I can always use these emitters on something else, maybe in my Mystery Skyray.

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.

lefedor
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2200lm on high is equal to tk70 with larger head, 18650’s and emitter-care amperage = not bad, isn’t it?
Also really want see more photos inside flashlight. Hope driver welcomes mods easyly. Btw, have ordered this flashlight couple weeks ago ).

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Now available also at DX for $77.90.

BTW: What has happened to DX advertised lumen ratings? First the 26650 diving light advertised as 500lm -> measured 520lm after 30s. Now this advertised as 2000lm, measured 2190lm (by JM). Did they perform some kind of reality check? Wink

=the=

 

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=the= I have been noticing that too. DX lumen numbers are much more realistic than they used to be. That’s a good thing for them and us.

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Beam Range 250m ? (

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