Review: T6 Plastic Dive Light

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MRTdiver
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Review: T6 Plastic Dive Light

mouse over for how it came packaged...

T6 Plastic Dive Light

Specifications:

Cost:  $8-14 depending on seller

Construction:  plastic body. aluminum head with orange peel reflector (pic: OP)

Size:  120 x 37 x 28mm (length x head width x body width).

Imperial units:  4.7'' x 1.5'' x 1.1''

 

Weight:  87g / 3.1 ounces (without battery).  132g / 4.66oz (with battery)

UI (User Interface):  Twisty (turn the head to turn ON/Off)

Powered by:  (1) 18650 Li-ion cell

LED:  (1) Cree XM-L T6 


Burn Time:  5+ hours with 3400mAh Panasonic cell

Amp Draw: 1.45A & 1.5A (2nd light)

Working Voltage: 2.7-4.2V

Depth rating: 30 or 60 meters (~100 or 200 ft) - I see different depths from sellers

 

Recommended Seller:  etectonic1127 on eBay & maybe ELB

the light has several model names depending on seller...

sold by others as: C42 (Ali), 608 DX, 607 (LT), SF-604 (Ali), Q5 (Yezl)

 

Each Category gets a 1-5 star rating (*****)

 

*** UI (User Interface):  Single mode Twisty.  To turn ON you simply twist the light head clockwise.  I really like this type of simple interface.  However many users find it hard to twist on.  More on this below. 

 

*** Design:  The light uses the popular P60 drop-in.  This makes it very versatile.  You can buy or build your own drop-in using any combination of LEDs and drivers that support 18650 voltage.   Perhaps a potted P60 drop-in would make more sense should you happen to flood the light. - Very modder friendly  Wink

  

 

At times the light can be hard to turn on.  I think this is because it uses plastic threads.  I found traditional silicone grease to not work very well. The best lubricate I found was also in my scuba bag »» Tribolube71 (from DGE). 

And max recommended depth is probably around 100 feet.  Because of these reasons I can't give it 5 stars in design.  Frown   Therefore I recommend this light for non-technical dives/recreational use.

 

The build quality may differ between sellers...

(1) The quality of the drop-ins may be different.  All of the ones I seen came with an XM-L emitter, but color temperature (tint) and brightness MAY differ.

(2) another variety may have a removable inner aluminum tube (see pic below).  I don't recommend that light because the tube completes the circuit.  Over time the ends can get slight corrosion compromising the electrical circuit (like maybe this seller - see pic).

Disassembled - note detachable inner tube


The build is also very light weight and compact.  A diver can stow this away just about anywhere.  This is one of my smallest dive lights.

Like any decent back-up dive light this has a rear attachment point to tie a bolt snap and connect to a D-ring.


***** Burn Time & BrightnessDepends on driver & battery.   With the stock light and a 3400mAh Panasonic cell I got over 5 hours, but @ 5.7 hours the output was so weak that I could look straight at the LED.  I suggest to change out the battery after about 1.5 hours if you want it to stay bright.

Stock Light:  5.5+ hrs.  very low output after 3hrs.  But stayed brighter longer than my drop-in ↓.

Cree XP-G2 with 2.8A driver:  5.5+ hrs.  @2 hrs about 1/3 original output.  @ 3 hrs weak light, but still on.


OTF lumen estimate:  OTF = out-the-front.   In the specs above I mention the stock light draws ~1.5 amps with a tailcap reading.  This can give us an general idea of how much lumen output the light produces.  

We know that it's a Cree XM-L T6 with ~1.5 amps.  Looking at the chart & referencing T6 & 1500mA (= 1.5A) → gives us an low lumen output of 546 lm.  Then taking in account lumen loss from the driver, reflector, and lens (using a 30% deduction).   Maybe 382 OTF lumens with fresh battery?


***** Value:  At $9 this is a super inexpensive dive light.   I dive this at 100ft depth with no issues. 

If you decide to buy this light I recommend to purchase it without the battery/charger package, because they will send you a cheap xxx-Fire battery when you can buy a quality 18650 elsewhere (e.g. mtn)


Beamshots:

Mouse Over:    Stock Cree XM-L (@1.45A) vs. XP-G2 with 2.8A driver (Nanjg 105C)

In actual use you would find that this XP-G2 will easily out throw the stock XM-L by a considerable distance.   A bright & tight hotspot is preferred for penetrating murky waters.

 

 


Conclusion:  This is a dive light primarily for recreational divers.  It is a highly moddable light because of the P60 drop-in design - meaning you could use a variety of different LEDs.  For more "throw" maybe go with a Cree XP-G2 emitter & smooth reflector (SMO).   Or you could replace the driver to add multiple modes like Hi/Medium. 

For BLFers and flashaholics I can recommend this dive light.  However for non-flashaholics I do not suggest it because... 


(1)  the light will be hard to turn on without regular lubrication.

(2)  the output is "meh" with stock P60 drop-in.

(3)  the user must pay more attention to regular maintenance (re-greasing o-rings) or the light may flood.


 

Overall rating is                         

                                               

I painted the pair Burgundy.   

 

Ok, I may not have chose the best color, my bad  Wink  But I wanted to see if a paint over would work.  And I think it's better than fluorescent yellow, which is the only color the T6 comes in.    I'll have to see how the paint wears when it's actually used diving.

 

I used Dupli-Color Adhesion Promoter then the Vinyl & Fabric Coating for color.  Where to buy.

נֵר־לְרַגְלִ֥י דְבָרֶ֑ךָ וְ֝אֹ֗ור לִנְתִיבָתִֽי   (Psa 119:105)   

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:34
JanBLF
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Thanks for review. I’ve bought the same one (or one that looks exactly like it) from DX but mine is plastic on the inside of the bezel so there is absolutely no thermal path to the outside. Wrapping in alu tape wont make any difference on mine. Are you sure yours is metal on the inside of the bezel?
Jan

MRTdiver
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your absolutely right Jan!  Embarassed   I'll make corrections and edit that discussion out.   And welcome to BLF!

I'm still going to leave the aluminum wrap on my P60 drop-ins simply because I like the fact that nothing falls out whenever I do a battery change. 

Good catch  Wink

נֵר־לְרַגְלִ֥י דְבָרֶ֑ךָ וְ֝אֹ֗ור לִנְתִיבָתִֽי   (Psa 119:105)   

flydiver
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I have 2 of these so far. One has a orange peel reflector, the other smooth. The first one I got from Meritline. There was a small ridge down the threads and in the O-ring sealing area where the 2 halves were joined. Worse were 2 obvious divots of missing material under each of the O-ring grooves. I cleaned it up as well as possible with 1000>2000 wet and dry. It never flooded but it did ‘weep’ a few drops. It’s been retired.

Unit 2 from Bangood had the same joining ridge but no divots. It would start flashing after being on a bit. This turned out to be poor thermal transfer as it went away after I cleaned up and added new (better) thermal compound. This one survived a week diving in HI. It was nice to have something very small but pretty strong for looking under things and in lava tubes. I don’t use it diving in the NW.

I think the main thermal path is the metal tube the battery sits in going the whole length of the battery compartment. The Underwater Kinetics SL3 uses a similar thermal path in a 3-C cell light. I’m on my 3rd SL3 as the others have also ‘weeped’ destroying the lighthead after several years of use. It’s a 100% backup light so seldom actually gets used. I’ve learned to open it up every couple dives, check it out, and re-grease the O-rings.

To Air is Human, to Respire….Divine.

MRTdiver
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while the plastic T6 has been fine for me, as I read other people's experiences it's not a very robust light.  So reading your responses I've made some changes. 

 

If you want something heavy duty I recommend the Brinyte DIV05.  Which I did a review of Here.

I just got it back from the laser engraver.  Here's what she did...

my dive buddy's last name is on the other side.   This one is a Christmas gift so I have to get another.

I ordered another one from this place.    The seller assures me that it's a Brinyte DIV05 (see Description) even though there's some errors on the site.

נֵר־לְרַגְלִ֥י דְבָרֶ֑ךָ וְ֝אֹ֗ור לִנְתִיבָתִֽי   (Psa 119:105)   

ginetto
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some ideas to mod this lamp xm-l T6 Plastic Dive Light(use two lamps) as video light? thanks

flydiver
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I don’t know if it has adequate power for a video light. With diffuser I used it as a still photo focus light and it’s OK. I found a semi-transparent piece of plastic, traced a circle on it using the reflector, cut it out, scuffed it up with very fine sandpaper, and inserted it inside on top of the reflector and inside the bezel. That worked fine.
You might have to play with various plastics to get the diffusion you want. Some folks have used milk carton plastic. Mine is a harder thicker plastic from some small bottle lid that looked about right.

To Air is Human, to Respire….Divine.

ginetto
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thanks, I would like to use them with the gopro, but a modified,this dive ligh, approach led to the front glass (plastic)………………..advice?

flydiver
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You won’t know until you try it. Make some diffuser disks, go in a dark room and see how well they work.
Like I posted, I put mine INSIDE, under the front plastic and on top of the reflector. Just use the reflector to draw on the plastic and cut it out.

To Air is Human, to Respire….Divine.

Werner
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How is the long term experience with this light?

flydiver
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None for me. Not used for local diving. I have something more reliable I trust.
It will be put back in service the next tropical trip. I should put some in the hands of friends but then would have to deal with their battery ignorance.

To Air is Human, to Respire….Divine.

MRTdiver
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Werner wrote:
How is the long term experience with this light?

It still works but I don't use them often for diving.  So I wouldn't base your decision on what I say. 

I also use Tribolube71 on the o-rings.  It's the best I've found for the all plastic treads, but more expensive lubrication.

 

I like my Brinyte dive lights the best.

נֵר־לְרַגְלִ֥י דְבָרֶ֑ךָ וְ֝אֹ֗ור לִנְתִיבָתִֽי   (Psa 119:105)   

scubastingray
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I bought a few of these to use for a go pro video rig. I just made a penny based heatsink, and resoldered longer wires (mounting closer to the front). There are no hotspots and it seems to give a wide angle. I’ll try to give it a test video in the next few days. They are incredibly compact which is nice, and with panasonic 18650s should give decent run times.

I figured for $9 or whatever I don’t mind killing a few in the process, and I’m not out much for a video rig. I’m glad I did because I killed the first one.

flydiver
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Took 2 to Hawaii for poking around. One ‘weeped’ (not flooded, only a couple drops) on the first dive so I quit using both. No damage done.

Back at home I looked over the possible causes. I had already cleaned up the main body flaws from production. Then I noticed the bezel (silver screwed down head) had production ridges on the inside that could easily be felt. I have 3 lights, all of them had the problem. I cleaned up 2 with 1000>2000 sandpaper.
Took them on a dive empty and neither leaked at all I could tell.
The small size + brightness is pretty attractive for tropical diving. For the NW the size is not important but reliability is, so they don’t get used at all here.
This makes me ambivalent about this light.
FWIW a friend in the NW has a number of them, did nothing to ‘fix’ them and seems like the whole lot leaked. Not a quality product, for sure.

To Air is Human, to Respire….Divine.

jumblies
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I ordered 2 of these for about $6 each.

As noted above: finish is random. I sanded the threads with emery cloth with good effect.

Neither leaked over the course of 15 dives. They get tough to actuate at depth. I didn’t use tribolube as mentioned above. Interestingly, baby shampoo (mask defog) worked pretty good as a lube, although transient.

On one light I replaced the emitter with a 16mm UV Star and it was the bomb. A lot of bang for the buck.

One wierd issue is that both lights crushed the top of 18650 cells. These were decent cells. They didn’t crush the protected cell that came with my thorfire TD26, I presume because the protection is a button on the top.

These lights are really good value for the money. If I had to leave one behind or lost it, I’d be more sad about the battery than the light, based on cost.