Review: Solarforce L2r

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Foy
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Review: Solarforce L2r

Is the L2r the Forgotten Stepchild in the Solarforce Family?

One of the things that makes P60 flashlights so popular is the seemingly endless battery/drop-in combinations available.  If it's an XR-E run-time champ you need or an SST-90 bazooka you don't need,  virtually anything one can imagine and everything in between can be created using a P60 host.  I've been flummoxed however, even two months after purchasing this L2r, about which direction I wanted to go with this particular light.  During that time, I found the L2r's long body easy to hold while creating Foybezels.  Every bezel I made came to life on the front of this (until now, empty) torch but after weeks sitting hollow on a shelf, I decided this flashlight needed a soul.

The bottom line if you don't wana hear Foy ramble:  You could do a whole lot worse for $22. (total build cost)  This is a rugged, versatile, handsome and very bright flashlight.  If 14500 Li-on fit into your scheme and you don't mind minding the safety this chemistry demands, you would be hard pressed to find a higher quality, more attractive and better performing torch for the money.

battery: 2 x AA or equivalent

switch: tail cap/reverse clicky/tailstand

modes: 5-mode - high/medium/low/fast strobe/SOS

LED: Cree XP-G R5

lens: coated glass

sources

host: Solarforce  http://www.solarforce-sales.com/product_detail.php?t=FB&s=8&id=24 

$9.99

drop-in: Manafont http://www.manafont.com/product_info.php/ultrafire-cree-r5-5mode-memory-led-dropin-module-42v-18v-p-4052 

$11.90

total build: (without bezel/boot upgrade or batteries)

$21.89

 

what I like:

- solid feel of quality

- knurling

- looks

- P60 lego-ability

what I do not like: mostly related to using Li-on batteries

- can get warm with 2 x 14500

- there are easier ways to get this kind of flashlight performance

- up front battery cost (14500 as compared to 2 AA use)

 

I must report another development that occurred during this evaluation that I now suspect may be a bad battery.  I turned the light on high to measure run time while wrting this review.  About 50 minutes later the light turned itself off and I immediately measured each cell over the following time period:

10:42  cell #1: 3.17 volts  cell #2: 3.61 volts

10:45  cell #1: 3.21 volts  cell #2: 3.61 volts

10:51  cell #1: 3.25 volts  cell # 2: 3.62 volts

11:01  cell #1: 3.29 volts  cell #2: 3.62 volts

11:08  cell #1: 3.31 volts  cell #2: 3.62 volts

11:19  cell #1: 3.33 volts  cell #2: 3.62 volts

11:26  cell #1: 3.34 volts  cell # 2: 3.62 volts

These two cells recharged just fine and are testing within .02 of each other now so, we'll see.

Yep - got a bad battery.  #1 will not even test after another run down.  Just another reason to stay on top of Li-on batteries.

I am quite inexperienced and if this isn't an issue then so be it.  I do know that different states of charge in a multi Li-on configuration can be disastrous.  With two other identical Trust Fire 14500 batteries (purchased at the same time) I got 1:36 uninterupted run time with negligible heat issues.  I have go finish a honey-do so I'll post the run-down volts on those two batteries later today.

The other two batteries ran down evenly without issues.  With this drop-in, the light does not dim as the battery loses voltage; it just shuts off.  I'm still trying to determine what voltage that is.

If you're not familiar with this form factor you are going to love how the L2r feels in the hand.  It has the substantial heft I like, common to all Solarforce lights but unlike the more expensive L2/L2P, the knurling on the L2r is real.  Interesting that the least costly Solarforce lights (the L2i has this knurling too) have the same build quality but with Surefire-serious knurling.

I must (sadly) calls it likes I sees it when it comes to aluminum machining and to be frank, I'm making a bigger deal out of this than the issue warrants.  But, I must report what stands out to me and it's only because Solarforce normally does so well in this regard that I even bring it up.  On one side, the knurling cuts continue into the flat area where the name is printed.  The above picture is one side of this L2r and is indicative of typical Solarforce machine quality.  Below is the other side and it's the only Solarforce light I have that looks like this.  Certainly not a deal killer but it is these kind of bug-a-boos collectively, that determine overall quality.  I complained about this non-issue on lesser lights (The Ultra Fire WF-503B was much worse) and I say it now with the L2r.

As you can see, even tail caps cannot escape being Foyed.  Incidentally, the CEO has approved this for release so, look for it at you nearest Solarforce retail supercenter.

The above shows the superb knurling that runs nearly the entire length of the light.

Top quality lathe work is evident even inside the head.

Looks like a thread cleaning is in order.

The L2r is not IPX rated but per Foy protocol it took a shower with Foy followed by a 30 minute immersion in the sink while I dried off, dressed and had a few chicken fingers left over from going to Raising Cane's.  (nearly as good cold as they were the night before)

The L2r ships from Solarforce with this crenulated bezel.  It has since been Foyed and currently resides on my black L2.

Below are beam shots comparing this L2r/R5/2 x 14500 combination with a P7 and an MC-E.  All pictures taken in my back yard, cactus plant is 55 feet away (I promise to find a new beam shot location soon) and canera settings are 1/4 second shutter speed @ f2.8.

First is a 3-mode Cree MC-E (3.7-4.2 volts/OP reflector) from Manafont hosted in a silver Solarforce L2.

Next is a single mode P7 drop-in from Solaforce (3-6 volts/OP reflector) hosted in a Surefire 6P.  (2 x CR123)

Now the L2r with the 5-mode Ultra Fire XP-G R5 (4.2-8.4 volt/OP reflector) with 2 x Trust Fire 14500 900mAh Li-on.

Probably not the best comparison because I'm using an SMO on the L2r but it's plain to see these batteries really woke this flashlight up, giving it some serious punch.

Gotta go finish a honey-do so I'll finish later today . . .

With two 14500 Li-on batteries this L2r is now a usefull flashlight.  I love the quality, the beam pattern and the output.  This configuration may not be for everybody but I like now having a flashlight that can stand on its own in terms of useful performance in a high quality package.

thanksforwatchingFoy

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Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 11:43
ronparr
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The machining on your L2r is similar to my L2r and my L2.  I'd say the machining on my L2m is nicer.

I agree with all of your observations and I don't regret owning one myself, but I also have the negative impression that the L2r is the least versatile body that Solarforce sells.  AFAIK, there are no extension tubes and no alternate switches.  There's really just one battery configuration - 2xAA (or 14500). 

In contrast, with the L2, you can do 2xAA with an extension tube.  It will rattle a bit, but it works and you have so many other options the L2 body as well.

Foy
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No, I screwed up - it's an L2r.

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Foy
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Yep - got a bad battery.  After another run down, #1 will not even test on my DMM.

Foy

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jacktheclipper
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I have one on the way for a non-flashaholic friend with the 3 mode R5 emitter . I believe it to be a great value for 2AA format .

My favorite 2AA light is the iTP SA2 so far , if this one is brighter I may just give the SA2 to my buddy .

 

 

Update : I like the beam of the iTp SA2 better , it has brighter spill due to a shallow reflector and about the same throw as the L2R because of the XP-E R2 emitter ...

What I do

 

sb56637
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Nice review Foy! Impressive macro photography there of the knurling and machining. Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

So, I'd have to agree that this is a stellar deal for a nice flashlight. But I personally can't get into the 2xAA format. Too long and unweildy for me. I'd personally prefer a 1xAA from Solarforce.

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ronparr
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sb56637 wrote:

I'd personally prefer a 1xAA from Solarforce.

You can do 1xAA in an L2i or L2 with a 15mm spacer.  It's rattles in the L2, but it's tight enough in the L2i that it doesn't rattle.  Surprisingly, 1 eneloop is surprisingly bright with the 0.7-4.2v drop-in - not as bright as other options, but still useful.

Of course, this gives you the size of an 18650 flashlight with the brightness and energy capacity of a 1xAA flashlight, so it's not as nice as a dedicated 1xAA solution would be.

sb56637
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ronparr wrote:

sb56637 wrote:

I'd personally prefer a 1xAA from Solarforce.

You can do 1xAA in an L2i or L2 with a 15mm spacer.  It's rattles in the L2, but it's tight enough in the L2i that it doesn't rattle.  Surprisingly, 1 eneloop is surprisingly bright with the 0.7-4.2v drop-in - not as bright as other options, but still useful.

Of course, this gives you the size of an 18650 flashlight with the brightness and energy capacity of a 1xAA flashlight, so it's not as nice as a dedicated 1xAA solution would be.

Hmmm interesting solution. Thanks for mentioning it!

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trooplewis
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I wouldn't mind a mini-Solraforce that uses a single CR123.

I've just ordered a mini-p60 host that Ultrafire makes, looks to be a nice sized light that you can still mess with.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

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trooplewis wrote:

I wouldn't mind a mini-Solraforce that uses a single CR123.

L2m?

alfreddajero
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L2M with two way clip makes it a very handy light and you also have the option to go 18650 as well.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

Chicago X
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alfreddajero wrote:

L2M with two way clip makes it a very handy light and you also have the option to go 18650 as well.

Not to mention, the newer (post-2010) models can run 18350s for a nice increase in cell capacity over 16340-sized rechargeables.

http://wardogsmakingithome.org/index.html

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okyeung
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Do they still have the 2 way clip for the L2M?

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Vectrex
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Do you mean this one ?

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Nice sturdy clip got mine from SBFlashlights since there based in TX and i was not willing to wait that long.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

Foy
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Try as I might and as good as the L2r is, I'm just not feeling the love for what is actually a very good flashlight.  Load it up with a couple of 14500s behind an XM-L and the L2r will definitely run with the big dogs.  Mostly it's just boring, I guess.  It was a perfect holder for making Foybezels but as a flashlight, it sits empty on my shelf covered in dust.

Not much to update on this guy.  Maybe I'll like it one day.

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there is one more battery option besides 2xAA and 2x14500... a little bugger called the 14250 = 4x14250

Foy
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Hey Pulsar, that is pretty cool.  I never thought of something like that.

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okyeung
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Thanks Vectrex.  A little to rich for a clip for me.  Maybe someday...

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Pulsar
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me either til now... i dont know nothing about p60s, but i imagine with the right driver/led config, you could have a pretty amazing light

ecig and torch tech meet again lol

Foy
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While waiting for my L2T, 2011 version L2 and other such nonsense and . . . because I'm oddly excited about having 1,000 posts (never had that many and probably not that many even combined) I've been playing with some of my favorites (L2i) and while taking a break from packing today, I'm having a another look at my much ignored L2r.

Some may recall that, right out of the envelope my L2r became a handy hand-hold during the learning curve creating the first Foybezels. Its length and compatibility was perfect for taking down so many bezels and I eventually succeeded in making its head unfit for use. Following this ignoble service, months of shelf time occurred but this afternoon I screwed on a spare head in good condition, dropped in the 5-mode XP-G I had in there before and discovered once again, how great the L2r is.

Chest height moving boxes are perfect for Sunday afternoon flashlight photography.

This R5 drop-in from Manafont is 8.4 volts max, ideal for a 2 x 14500 configuration and the slender body might also be ideal for slender hands.

I Foyed the tail cap to match the bezel and I'm a sucker for boot-bling.

One thing that probably does not matter to most people is the sometimes slight machining bug-a-boos of budget hosts.  Solarforce is mostly pretty good about the knurling cross-hatching continuing into the flat nameplate area. 

The above is one side of my L2r and below is the other . . .

This is how nearly all Solarforce tubes I have look; consistent knurling (however aggressive it happens to be) and sharp definition at the edge.  Aluminum machining and finish work are some of what makes Solarforce a superior product.

Here's a better look at the XP-G.  This bright, long running, 5-mode drop-in is perfect for bike use.

In this comparison groupie, the L2r's slender tube and extra length can be seen.  I plant to take my L2r to work with me the next few days to see what kind of run time I get with the 14500s and possibly discover if my heretofore 2nd string torch is more than just part of an impressive bench.

 

redundantFoy

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Foy
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Update - From the department of keeping-it-real . . .

Used the L2r today at work . . . as configured . . .

 

it sucks.

 

dontbuyitFoy

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Flashlight Foy wrote:

Update - From the department of keeping-it-real . . .

Used the L2r today at work . . . as configured . . .

 it sucks.

 dontbuyitFoy

 

Can you please expand on the reason why...Im a flashligh noob, and seriously this was going to be my next flashlight on payday...

 

But if you say is sucks it must have a problem with it - thanks.

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Sorry, revenge for not watching this thread -

 

I guess I'm spoiled because even with two 14500s, it just was not bright enough to justify the extra length sticking out of my shorts side pocket.  I didn't like how small the boot felt when clicking it on and I couldn't get used to its thin shape in my hand.  It might make a great XR-E torch running primaries but those kind of lights lack the ooh-ahh factor that has become important to me.  There was nothing inherently wrong wih it - terrific flashlight but not for Foy.  That doesn't mean you won't like it.

 

Foy

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Is it possible to fit a Mc Clicky into an L2R tailcap? Or are they’re any other tailcap options for the L2R?