Review: Kaidomain 5-mode XM-L U2

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Foy
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Review: Kaidomain 5-mode XM-L U2

P60 Drop-in: Cree XM-L U2  available here: http://kaidomain.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductId=11254 

5-mode: high/medium/low/strobe/sos

orange peel reflector

3.7 - 4.2 volt

order placed: 4-17-11

order received: 5-5-11

cost: $17.47

If my musings bore you, skip to the beam shots below for a quick comparison of three P60 XM-L drops-ins:

Solarforce T6 single mode/3 - 6 volt  (measured about 1.75 amps)

Ultra Fire T6 3-mode/3.7 - 4.2 volt  (measured about 3.5 amps)

Kaidomain U2 5-mode/3.7 - 4.2 volt  (measured about 2.7 amps)

P60 Drop-in: Cree XM-L U2  available here: http://kaidomain.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductId=11254 

5-mode: high/medium/low/strobe/sos

orange peel reflector

3.7 - 4.2 volt

order placed: 4-17-11

order received: 5-5-11

cost: $17.47

If my musings bore you, skip to the beam shots below for a quick comparison of three P60 XM-L drops-ins:

Solarforce T6 single mode/3 - 6 volt  (measured about 1.75 amps)

Ultra Fire T6 3-mode/3.7 - 4.2 volt  (measured about 3.5 amps)

Kaidomain U2 5-mode/3.7 - 4.2 volt  (measured about 2.7 amps)

 

My first brush with the Cree XM-L came with the newly released 4Sevens Quark MiniX 123.  With a rated 210 OTF lumens (per 4Sevens) the MiniX 123 out performs much larger flashlights and is most responsible for spurring my interest in this emitter.  I next purchased the single mode Solarforce XM-L and was blown away by its brightness.  I loved, what appeared to me, to be an enormous hot spot and how it turned any host into a sizzling performer.  I immediately ordered another from Solarforce and then - I joined BudgetLightForum.

It was not long before I was directed to Manafont and placed my first order for their very popular Ultra Fire 3-mode XM-L T6.  My admittedly inexperienced opinion of the Ultra Fire drop-in is simply this: it turns any P60 host into a high-performance, high output howitzer able to leap tall buildings and do battle with flashlights costing far more than even the best host available.  With a reverse clicky on a Solarforce L2P for example, cycling between modes is a dream with no lengthy wait to retain the selected mode, like so many other multi-mode drivers.  The Ultra Fire XM-L further endears itself to users with the absence of useless strobes and SOS functions.  It has three distinct levels of light: high, medium and low.  Simple UI, a fair value and enough lumens to satisfy just about everybody - it's easy to see why this drop-in is ordered so often.  And, why I ordered it so often.  Then, I spent some time on Ted's incredibly well maintained site; http://flashlightwiki.com/ 

It was here that an uninformed Foy discovered bins.  I wanted a U2 and true to form, ordered the first one I stumbled over.

Eighteen days later the above arrived by registered mail.

I was disappointed to find the emitter not exactly centered but it doesn't seem to adversely affect the beam pattern, even with an smooth reflector.

After some experimentation I've found (as I knew I would) I prefer a smooth reflector.  Below are beam shots of the three different P60 XM-Ls I have.  Pictures were taken at the Foybezel™ Uglywall skunkworks facility with the cactus plant 55 feet away, shutter speed 1/4 second @ f2.8.  Host for all three drop-ins were three different Solarforce L2Ps.

First is the single mode Solarforce XM-L.

Next is the 3-mode Ultra Fire XM-L from Manafont and as you can see, even my cat "Ted" can't believe how damn bright it is.

Now the 5-mode U2 XM-L from Kaidomain with a smooth reflector and Ted evaluating collimation dispersion.

And finally, the U2 XM-L with the OP reflector it came with and Ted enjoying a generous spill.

Wall from about 12 feet away: OP on the left, SMO on the right.

Of course, I hate the flashy modes and to my eye, it's only slightly brighter.  It is also whiter than the Ultra Fire and a lot whiter than the Solarforce.  I'll reserve final judgement until after I've actually used it under real conditions but so far, I like it.  Would I order another?

Not until they get rid of the flashy crap.

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Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:27 Reason: sb56637 replaced http://flashlight-wiki.com with http://flashlightwiki.com via Scanner Search and Replace module.
BlueBeam
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What beautiful, pure and bright white light!!!

FlashPilot
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Mouse cursor off the pic is the 3-mode Ultra Fire XM-L from Manafont. (Magic kitty in foreground)

Mouse cursor on the pic is 5-mode U2 XM-L from Kaidomain with a smooth reflector. (Magic kitty teleported to background)

It does look brighter with a nice white tint... which I prefer. Great review Foy!

Foy
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Okay.  I gotta learn how to do that.  So, it is brighter.  And the tint - wow.  Also shows I was careful not to move the camera and, and . . . I didn't see my other cat "Marx" until now.  Cool!

thankyouverymuchflashFoy

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how2
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Foy the KD drop-in is brighter.

The spil is better. What are the other modes like compared to the Ultrafire and solarforce?

Foy
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Solarforce is single mode and the other two are about equal in the three modes, with the U2 whiter and a little brighter in all.  After seeing this, I want to compare the domes.

Foy

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Foy, you are right on time with this one. A buddy of mine wants an L2P/XML but has to have strobe. I was thinking of the manafont 3 mode with strobe but couldn't get any feedback on it. This looks good, I'll order tonight. So what do you think of it head to head with the awesome manafont ultrafire? I know a lot of people don't like the strobe but it can be useful. Everybody uses their lights for different things. I use the strobe on my sipik all the time for signaling. Bikers use the strobe for safety also. I see a lot of reviews that list the presence of strobes as a con rather than listing it as present. Ok back on topic here. Will this dropin remember what mode it is in? This guy wants it to always turn on in the mode he left it on just like the ultrafire dropin does.(guess which mode he wants it to turn on in?) I knew you were expecting this dropin and have been waiting, nice timing

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

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Langcjl wrote:
Will this dropin remember what mode it is in? This guy wants it to always turn on in the mode he left it on just like the ultrafire dropin does.(guess which mode he wants it to turn on in?) I knew you were expecting this dropin and have been waiting, nice timing

I've got that KD U2 5 mode, and yes it has mode memory.

Nice to see that mine wasn't alone in having a good white tint.

Langcjl
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Thanks. That looks like a nice one. Can someone point me to a smooth reflector that would fit this? I don't want to order the wrong part

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

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Langcjl wrote:
Can someone point me to a smooth reflector that would fit this? I don't want to order the wrong part

I found this one from MF works well with XM-L's http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/265mm-aluminum-smooth-reflector...

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It's time for your Beating ...please line up for the great beat down .China will never admit it was a flaw in the matrix and those who like strobes need to be eliminated /.That's why S.W.A.T. teams use them as a tactical technique ..they   break in and strobe people and anyone who says "Wow I like that " they shoot dead on the spot . Thus eliminating  people who like strobes in flashlights little by little .

Soon strobe users will have to go underground and find user junkie street dealers to get their strobe fix.meanwhile the quality of the tints and pwm on these street lights will become horrible .

                 υμεις εστε το φως του κοσμου ου δυναται πολις κρυβηναι επανω ορους κειμενη

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Boaz wrote:

It's time for your Beating ...please line up for the great beat down .China will never admit it was a flaw in the matrix and those who like strobes need to be eliminated /.That's why S.W.A.T. teams use them as a tactical technique ..they   break in and strobe people and anyone who says "Wow I like that " they shoot dead on the spot . Thus eliminating  people who like strobes in flashlights little by little .

I didn't know SWAT teams hated strobes so bad, but I can't blame them. I know some people like or have a need for it. I've seen a few cyclists around here using lights on strobe.

I have a KD T6 drop-in and I like it well enough that I haven't swapped out the driver yet. Thanks for the great review!

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I have the Ultrafire XML from Manafont and I have to say that I like this U2 from KD much more. I'm surprised what a difference there is.  Have you tested the current to see if it's pulling more or equal current? I'm curious if the difference is really in the LED or in the driver or a combination of both.

I also have to add that I like the OP reflector more than the smooth. That last shot just washes everything in a strong, even paint of light with very little loss in center brightness. Love it!!

Cheers,
Johnny 

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Boaz wrote:

It's time for your Beating ...please line up for the great beat down .China will never admit it was a flaw in the matrix and those who like strobes need to be eliminated /.That's why S.W.A.T. teams use them as a tactical technique ..they   break in and strobe people and anyone who says "Wow I like that " they shoot dead on the spot . Thus eliminating  people who like strobes in flashlights little by little .

Soon strobe users will have to go underground and find user junkie street dealers to get their strobe fix.meanwhile the quality of the tints and pwm on these street lights will become horrible .

Bahahah! Good theory, Boaz! XD  Strobes really do have a purpose and a use and if you've ever been on the receiving end of one you would see how disorienting they are and why SWAT teams use them.  True tactical lights have strobes for a good reason and it's why they are mounted on guns.  They are also very good for chasing off nasty for legged animals whilst on evening walks. Any camper, hiker or hunter should have a light with an SOS or strobe mode in case they are injured and need help.  In either mode it will run for a good long time and put out a signal for help even while they are napping or unconcious.  Ever try sitting there and pressing out an SOS or strobe for hours on end?  Neither have I and I wouldn't want to either. Wink

They aren't much use to someone who just uses a light around the house to find items in a drawer or to make one's way through the basement to reach the fusebox though and for those people I can see why they are a nuisance.  It's also why they make lights without them for folks like you who hate them. I happen to like strobe functions but then again I love guns, swords and weapons in general and a bright strobe is one more thing in my arsenal. =)

Cheers,
Johnny 

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Boaz wrote:

It's time for your Beating ...please line up for the great beat down .China will never admit it was a flaw in the matrix and those who like strobes need to be eliminated /.That's why S.W.A.T. teams use them as a tactical technique ..they   break in and strobe people and anyone who says "Wow I like that " they shoot dead on the spot . Thus eliminating  people who like strobes in flashlights little by little .

Soon strobe users will have to go underground and find user junkie street dealers to get their strobe fix.meanwhile the quality of the tints and pwm on these street lights will become horrible .

 

Loled hard!!!

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Seems to be a real good drop-in..

Damn.. Now i want a L2P with this drop-in..

PleasestopbuyinggoodthingFoy!

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Lang - Like Tas said, it has mode memory and it's a nice, tight interface similar to the Ultra Fire driver.  No lengthy waits for mode retention and because it is so well programmed (for lack of a better description) the blinkies really are not a bother with this drop-in. 

Full disclosure however: I'm not part of a SWAT team and I simply do not care for strobe functions.  I respect others' need for this annoying feature but I hate it.  What would bring this and the Ultra Fire drop-in closer to perfection is an ultra low, low with no noticeable PWM.  My 4Sevens Quark AA2 Tactical has an awesome 0.2 lumen low that I absolutely love.

Unfortunately, I've been told my DMM will not measure amps high enough for these drop-ins so, I don't know if the performance difference is emitter or driver.  I know I love the tint.

I'll be reporting more on this drop-in after some use at work.  Today it seemed to have some UI issues if I screwed the reflector down all the way.  As I write this I remember that I'm using a Solarforce SMO so, maybe the underside is different.  We'll see when I get home.

thanksallFoy

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Flashlight Foy wrote:
Today it seemed to have some UI issues if I screwed the reflector down all the way.  As I write this I remember that I'm using a Solarforce SMO so, maybe the underside is different.  We'll see when I get home.

thanksallFoy

I have the same problem with different drop-in. What could be the reason? If I screw the reflector more than half way down, there's only the high mode. It does not change no matter what. If I just barely tighten the reflector all 3 modes are accessible. It's a home-made drop-in using Nanjg 101-AK and XP-G R4.

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

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+ l

 

 .....cool cats seem very unimpressed .....

strobe rant withheld

                 υμεις εστε το φως του κοσμου ου δυναται πολις κρυβηναι επανω ορους κειμενη

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Solid camera work there that allowed the two photos to be compared so nicely.

For anyone who has this drop-in: How does it behave when the cell goes below 3.7v? Does it shut off the light or just get dimmer?

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photon - Don't know.  Maybe I'll run it down and see.

shoulderhurtstonightFoy

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Very nice Foy! Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

I just ordered the Manafont 3-mode XM-L the the other day. It sounds like it's proven, although the U2 does look slightly brighter in your excellent pictures.

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

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Nice review as always, Foy Wink

Don't know if it's just me, but the spill looks veery purple/violet/blue Flat Stare

Foy
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It's not just you Sash - it's even more noticeable on a white wall indoors.  My unscientific analysis is that it might have something to do white its whiteness.

Foy

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You may be right Be-Seen.  From left to right are the reflectors that came with the drop-ins named:

XM-L U2 (item being discussed) - XR-E Q5 - XM-L T6 (the Ultra Fire we all know and love)

Looks more like an XR-E reflector and that's why I'm having issues?

Be-SeennaileditFoy

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I ordered the manafont XML reflector for this drop in and was questioning whether I really needed it. I'm glad I did now. Do you think the reflector on that drop in is shorting it out or damaging the solder connections?

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

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I haven't damaged anything yet.  Because it looked off-center right out of the package, I disassembled and took pictures in case I needed documentation.  Then, while at work I took the drop-in out, removed the reflector and reinstalled.  The light would not power up and I immediately suspected the reflector.  Sure enough; after I loosened it maybe 10%, the light worked.  That night, after again pulling it apart/putting it together the light powered up but when I entered the lower modes it became only slightly less bright.  Sort of in between the modes I suppose you could say and the strobe was real fast, like way bad PWM.  As before, loosened slightly and all was well.  I happen to have an extra SMO (from where?) that seems to have fixed the problem.

None of this should deter anyone from purchasing this awesome drop-in.  The more I use it the more I love it.  The UI is so well executed that the flashys simply are not an issue for those (me) that don't care for them.  It is far and away the best of the three XM-L drop-ins I have.

This is one instance when my hyperbole is well justified - this drop-in will make any flashlight a celebrity.

Foy

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JohnnyMac wrote:

I have the Ultrafire XML from Manafont and I have to say that I like this U2 from KD much more. I'm surprised what a difference there is.  Have you tested the current to see if it's pulling more or equal current? I'm curious if the difference is really in the LED or in the driver or a combination of both.

I also have to add that I like the OP reflector more than the smooth. That last shot just washes everything in a strong, even paint of light with very little loss in center brightness. Love it!!

Cheers,
Johnny 

Im wondering at what amperage each drop-in is being driven at as well; while using the same battery. Time for a new DMM Foy? Surprised

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Okay, just to confirm; my Amprobe 5XP-A cannot measure amps that high?  When I try to do it I get whack numbers that mean nothing or it says eRRoR.  I'm still having a hard time believing this DMM cannot do something so simple.

I know doing these reviews without basic hard data is green-pea/wannabe . . . I will solve this during this next week.  Gonna go to Fry's and see what's on sale.

Foy

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Flashlight Foy wrote:

Okay, just to confirm; my Amprobe 5XP-A cannot measure amps that high?  When I try to do it I get whack numbers that mean nothing or it says eRRoR.  I'm still having a hard time believing this DMM cannot do something so simple.

I know doing these reviews without basic hard data is green-pea/wannabe . . . I will solve this during this next week.  Gonna go to Fry's and see what's on sale.

Foy

Hey Foy Got a pic of your dmm dial? Anything that has over 10a should be ok.

03/04/16 

 

8 lives left

Foy
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So, is it a piece or . . .

Foy

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