My thoughts on the Solar Storm SC01 (mini review)

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18sixfifty
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My thoughts on the Solar Storm SC01 (mini review)

Well I got one of the new Solar Storm SC01 dimming lights. I’m not going to do a full review just put out my thoughts.

I’m kinda under whelmed. It’s an OK light but not really something to write home about. Don’t get me wrong it has some nice features but it’s just kinda run of the mill.

Max lumens with good fully charged IMR e-fests 14500 is only about 400 lumens low is about 50. I really would have liked to have seen something more like 600 and 10. This has been my problem with all of these solar storm dimming drivers. They simply don’t have a good low and they should also be brighter. The finish is also just kinda blah. It feels cheap A 502b has a better finish, this is more like a 501b finish smooth, even the knurling is smooth.

The button is a little too firm and the dimming doesn’t always work like it should. Sometimes when you go up to high it blinks and then goes immediately to low. That I like. But it doesn’t do it all the time. Sometimes it goes to high and then goes down, but it won’t go down all the way at all, Just about half way down. In all reality a three mode driver with a low low and I nice medium and full high would have been better by far. (SEE EDIT)

The reflector is just average as well, it’s OK but not superb, it’s a budget reflector for sure. I would have preferred an orange peel reflector and for it to be more floody. There are not enough lumens here for it to really throw so it might as well have had more flood.

The lens is just a lens, average.

Thinks I like;

It’s really small.

It’s a reverse clip and works great on a ball cap.

I got a neutral tint and the tint is good.

No attack bezel is nice.

The centering ring does not get in the way of the reflector.

My conclusion?

I think it’s more like a $12 light to be honest. I wouldn’t buy one again unless the dimming was more usable. It’s a nice idea but kinda poorly done. More of a gimmick than truly functional. I’ll see if I can mod it, If so I’ll make another post about that sometime down the road.

EDIT: There is a hidden mode that I didn’t know about that is lower. That does make it a little nicer.

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 04/22/2014 - 15:59
blfdemigod
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Thanks for the mini review. I have been on the fence about getting all 3 versions the past week, but one thing I can't stand is cheap feeling lights. I was hoping it was close to build quality like those small fenix edc lights or something, but I guess not.

My collection 2 Small

Disclosure:

18sixfifty
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blfdemigod wrote:

Thanks for the mini review. I have been on the fence about getting all 3 versions the past week, but one thing I can’t stand is cheap feeling lights. I was hoping it was close to build quality like those small fenix edc lights or something, but I guess not.

You’re welcome.

I guess I shouldn’t have been expecting more. It is a budget light after all but it does feel cheap. I was also going to pick up the other two as well. I’m not going to now, I know that for sure.

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.

Gj
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Very useful mini-review. Thanks.

phantom23
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18sixfifty wrote:

Max lumens with good fully charged IMR e-fests 14500 is only about 400 lumens low is about 50. I really would have liked to have seen something more like 600 and 10.

600 lumens from AA light? You’re kidding right? $100 AA flashlights are less bright…

PS. Do you know that SC01 has one more low mode which is about 10 lumens (on 14500)? From off press and hold the switch for about 2 seconds.

18sixfifty wrote:

I think it’s more like a $12 light to be honest.

That’s UF C3 money. Sorry but compared to Solarstorm, Ultrafire is a piece of crap.
18sixfifty
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phantom23 wrote:
18sixfifty wrote:

Max lumens with good fully charged IMR e-fests 14500 is only about 400 lumens low is about 50. I really would have liked to have seen something more like 600 and 10.

600 lumens from AA light? You’re kidding right? $100 AA flashlights are less bright…

PS. Do you know that SC01 has one more low mode which is about 10 lumens (on 14500)? From off press and hold the switch for about 2 seconds.

18sixfifty wrote:

I think it’s more like a $12 light to be honest.

That’s UF C3 money. Sorry but compared to Solarstorm, Ultrafire is a piece of crap.

I’m not using AA I’m using a 14500 IMR 3.7 volts. This light feels more like the cheap 501b Ultrafire. The 502b is a better light than this one. I know I have all of them right here to compare. I have also owned hundreds of lights, so it’s not like I’m a noob to this.

I just modded and sold a bunch of crelants for cheaper than this light and there was no comparison in quality at all. I have two lumintops that are this size right here and yes they are $50 lights but the quality shows through compared with this light.

I’m sure opinions will vary on this light so you are more than welcome to your’s and please do post your own review. These are simply my opinions and to me it’s an overpriced light that is more of a gimmick than really useful. Quality wise it does fall into the ultrafire category to me.

This is a Budget light and for that it’s OK but it shouldn’t be lumped in with better lights at all.

Thanks for the tip on the OFF and two seconds. I’ll add that to the review.

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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Gj wrote:

Very useful mini-review. Thanks.

You’re welcome Gj.

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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Oh boy, sorry Brad to hear your not impressed - I really like mine, as indicated in the keltex78 thread. Here's my measurements on the SC01:

     SC01 w/Sanyo UR14500P 840mAh @4.20v, 1.62A tailcap - lumens: 544 @start, 513 @30 secs, throw: 5 kcd

Did you measure amps with that Efest cell? Also, I got used to the mode switching/controls now and find them pretty good for a stock light. Like the press/hold low, then one click off, for example. Sure, would like lower low and always want more amps!

I'm still stuck on not being able to get to the driver though...

*** FastTech has them now under the FandyFire brand name for the same price.

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Thanks for your honest review. We need more unbiased non-shill reviews like this.

18sixfifty
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Tom E wrote:

Oh boy, sorry Brad to hear your not impressed - I really like mine, as indicated in the keltex78 thread. Here’s my measurements on the SC01:

     SC01 w/Sanyo UR14500P 840mAh 4.20v, 1.62A tailcap - lumens: 544 start, 513 @30 secs, throw: 5 kcd

Did you measure amps with that Efest cell? Also, I got used to the mode switching/controls now and find them pretty good for a stock light. Like the press/hold low, then one click off, for example. Sure, would like lower low and always want more amps!

I’m still stuck on not being able to get to the driver though…

*** FastTech has them now under the FandyFire brand name for the same price.

I do like it a little better now that I see the lower mode, That does make it nicer. I think I was just expecting too much from this light. It was probably playing with all the crelants I had in.

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.

B42
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I think you were just expecting too much from it. Smile Also if you are going to compare the 502b, thats kind of unfair to compare 14500 to 18650 light, it should be a SC02 you compare against. My SC02 is greatly preferred over 502b, no comparison really to me: SC02 is smaller, better size feel in the hand (small vs…just not right hand feel), more modes, side switch, no blinkies unless you want them, instant on into lowest mode (lower than 502b), clip to put on pockets/etc that is pretty usable vs the harder to use/easy to damage pocket cheap 502b clip, and output is comparable.

502b could win for better adonizing maybe but I dont feel it, and a bit throwier. As a modder I’d guess you would add mod-ability to the 502b, guessing 502b would be easier to mod and if you do that, of course this is most important.

I dont love it, and I wont be using it a lot, I prefer the warmer tints and my modded S2 Convoy in this size. But definitely better than 502b if thats all I had to use (unless its modded). Of course its all opinions, but I’m not seeing anything better for $14, tons better if you mod and/or go up in price. 502b is my least used light in 18650, thats for certain. I’d go with a cheap C8 if I go bigger.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! I was not sure about it, and now I feel glad as it would be another modding project.

18sixfifty
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B42 wrote:
I think you were just expecting too much from it. Smile Also if you are going to compare the 502b, thats kind of unfair to compare 14500 to 18650 light, it should be a SC02 you compare against. My SC02 is greatly preferred over 502b, no comparison really to me: SC02 is smaller, better size feel in the hand (small vs…just not right hand feel), more modes, side switch, no blinkies unless you want them, instant on into lowest mode (lower than 502b), clip to put on pockets/etc that is pretty usable vs the harder to use/easy to damage pocket cheap 502b clip, and output is comparable.

502b could win for better adonizing maybe but I dont feel it, and a bit throwier. As a modder I’d guess you would add mod-ability to the 502b, guessing 502b would be easier to mod and if you do that, of course this is most important.

I dont love it, and I wont be using it a lot, I prefer the warmer tints and my modded S2 Convoy in this size. But definitely better than 502b if thats all I had to use (unless its modded). Of course its all opinions, but I’m not seeing anything better for $14, tons better if you mod and/or go up in price. 502b is my least used light in 18650, thats for certain. I’d go with a cheap C8 if I go bigger.

I don’t doubt I was expecting too much. On the 502b I was just talking about the finish really. The finish on this light reminds me of the 501b a lot and I didn’t like the 501b for that reason. Too smooth. I do like it more now that I see the Low low. The dimming still isn’t working right though. I’m wondering if maybe I didn’t get one with a wonky driver. I should be getting more lumens from it too.

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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Chloe wrote:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! I was not sure about it, and now I feel glad as it would be another modding project.

You’re welcome.

I don’t know what to think about it now. The Low on it with the holding on startup does make a difference to me. No modding this light though, at least not that I can see. I still don’t see myself buying any more of them.

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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18sixfifty wrote:
Chloe wrote:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! I was not sure about it, and now I feel glad as it would be another modding project.

You’re welcome.

I don’t know what to think about it now. The Low on it with the holding on startup does make a difference to me. No modding this light though, at least not that I can see. I still don’t see myself buying any more of them.

Why isn’t it moddable? How is the driver attached?

If I buy one of these, the goal would be to remove the guts and replace with a DrJones electronic switch driver and neutral tint XML2 or XPG2 emitter.

B42
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18sixfifty wrote:

I don’t doubt I was expecting too much. On the 502b I was just talking about the finish really. The finish on this light reminds me of the 501b a lot and I didn’t like the 501b for that reason. Too smooth. I do like it more now that I see the Low low. The dimming still isn’t working right though. I’m wondering if maybe I didn’t get one with a wonky driver. I should be getting more lumens from it too.

Yeah I think you got a faulty one somehow, mine seems to go right into low low, and ramp up to max (*edit: max ramping, which is less than max in second press max function) then next time I press *and hold it, it skips down to low every time. But mine is SC02 not SC01. And I also could have a crappy 502b maybe, but I just would love it compared to a 502b if that were my options so I had to add my two cents. Its not however “great”, it will sit next to my 502b and only be played with from time to time, maybe used on a short no-pack hike. Warm tints and modded Convoy S2 kills it’s desirability for me — but they also cost significantly more.

18sixfifty
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Firelight2 wrote:
18sixfifty wrote:
Chloe wrote:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! I was not sure about it, and now I feel glad as it would be another modding project.

You’re welcome.

I don’t know what to think about it now. The Low on it with the holding on startup does make a difference to me. No modding this light though, at least not that I can see. I still don’t see myself buying any more of them.

Why isn’t it moddable? How is the driver attached?

If I buy one of these, the goal would be to remove the guts and replace with a DrJones electronic switch driver and neutral tint XML2 or XPG2 emitter.

It’s like a few other lights like this. It’s all top loaded. So to get to it you have to rip it apart from the top and I don’t see how you would be able to get the switch hooked back up. I had a zebra light gifted to me with a messed up driver and it’s the same way. It doesn’t unscrew where the driver is at all.

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.

Tom E
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For the ramping: low mode only, press/hold -- it will ramp up until it hits the limit, then blinks, to tell you it's at the max ramping level. The max ramping level is less than hi mode. When at the low max, next time you enter low mode, press/hold and it will reset back to the lowest ramping level.

I've found this behavior to be consistent.

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18sixfifty wrote:
Firelight2 wrote:
18sixfifty wrote:
Chloe wrote:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! I was not sure about it, and now I feel glad as it would be another modding project.

You’re welcome.

I don’t know what to think about it now. The Low on it with the holding on startup does make a difference to me. No modding this light though, at least not that I can see. I still don’t see myself buying any more of them.

Why isn’t it moddable? How is the driver attached?

If I buy one of these, the goal would be to remove the guts and replace with a DrJones electronic switch driver and neutral tint XML2 or XPG2 emitter.

It’s like a few other lights like this. It’s all top loaded. So to get to it you have to rip it apart from the top and I don’t see how you would be able to get the switch hooked back up. I had a zebra light gifted to me with a messed up driver and it’s the same way. It doesn’t unscrew where the driver is at all.

If it’s like other lights I’ve tried modding, getting the switch hooked up shouldn’t be a problem. All I need is a bare aluminum tube with the switchboot mounted over a hole. I can mount and supply my own switch. I would like to be able to easily access the driver though. I wonder if this light uses a removable pill like the Olight S15 it appears to be based on.

18sixfifty
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Tom E wrote:

For the ramping: low mode only, press/hold — it will ramp up until it hits the limit, then blinks, to tell you it’s at the max ramping level. The max ramping level is less than hi mode. When at the low max, next time you enter low mode, press/hold and it will reset back to the lowest ramping level.

I’ve found this behavior to be consistent.

This driver must be Wack. It does the low low with press and hold. That is ok, no ramping from there. On the second part, if you click it on you get a medium and high. On medium you get a ramping to another just slightly higher medium it flashes and then stays there no ramping back down now at all. The difference between the ramping modes is next to nothing at all. I’m also noticing a bit of flickering now.

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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B42 wrote:
18sixfifty wrote:

I don’t doubt I was expecting too much. On the 502b I was just talking about the finish really. The finish on this light reminds me of the 501b a lot and I didn’t like the 501b for that reason. Too smooth. I do like it more now that I see the Low low. The dimming still isn’t working right though. I’m wondering if maybe I didn’t get one with a wonky driver. I should be getting more lumens from it too.

Yeah I think you got a faulty one somehow, mine seems to go right into low low, and ramp up to max (*edit: max ramping, which is less than max in second press max function) then next time I press *and hold it, it skips down to low every time. But mine is SC02 not SC01. And I also could have a crappy 502b maybe, but I just would love it compared to a 502b if that were my options so I had to add my two cents. Its not however “great”, it will sit next to my 502b and only be played with from time to time, maybe used on a short no-pack hike. Warm tints and modded Convoy S2 kills it’s desirability for me — but they also cost significantly more.

The low >ramping is the 1st click mode, 2nd click puts you on high…there is hidden strobe AND hidden moon mode

modes go like this
off > 1click > low > click hold 2-3 sec slow ramping to double flash (max low mode) > click hold 2-3 seconds reset back to low level (any release on ramping next on will remember last level)
low > 1click > hi
double click on any “on” mode > strobe
off > click hold 2-3 seconds > hidden moon mode

PWM is bad just like all “stock” Chinese firmware

I am “underwhelmed” as well…nice small light but I ended up paying $19.99 before the price dropped to around $14~ in some locations

With changing out the stock reflector for a 10 degree TIR it makes a nice flood beam with a minimal hotspot

With the odd 3 wire star and having a hard time figuring out how to get the pill out to mod this makes it kinda a no go…if it was easy to get to that would be pretty cool

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I wonder how hard it would be to get a blf version with faster pwm and a higher high, and more tint options?

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WarHawk-AVG wrote:
B42 wrote:
18sixfifty wrote:
I don't doubt I was expecting too much. On the 502b I was just talking about the finish really. The finish on this light reminds me of the 501b a lot and I didn't like the 501b for that reason. Too smooth. I do like it more now that I see the Low low. The dimming still isn't working right though. I'm wondering if maybe I didn't get one with a wonky driver. I should be getting more lumens from it too.
Yeah I think you got a faulty one somehow, mine seems to go right into low low, and ramp up to max (*edit: max ramping, which is less than max in second press max function) then next time I press *and hold it, it skips down to low every time. But mine is SC02 not SC01. And I also could have a crappy 502b maybe, but I just would love it compared to a 502b if that were my options so I had to add my two cents. Its not however "great", it will sit next to my 502b and only be played with from time to time, maybe used on a short no-pack hike. Warm tints and modded Convoy S2 kills it's desirability for me -- but they also cost significantly more.
The low >ramping is the 1st click mode, 2nd click puts you on high...there is hidden strobe AND hidden moon mode modes go like this off > 1click > low > click hold 2-3 sec slow ramping to double flash (max low mode) > click hold 2-3 seconds reset back to low level (any release on ramping next on will remember last level) low > 1click > hi double click on any "on" mode > strobe off > click hold 2-3 seconds > hidden moon mode PWM is bad just like all "stock" Chinese firmware

On/Off is looking pretty good now. Laughing

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Serifus wrote:
I wonder how hard it would be to get a blf version with faster pwm and a higher high?
we don’t have any custom firmware or builds for a boost/linear regulator driver (AA/14500), there is one for the 14500 only

If the driver is 15 or 17mm then there are the DD drivers on ATtiny but you loose the AA boost functionality

Biggest problem is right now… noone has had a successful teardown of the SC01 to get to the pill and driver…

18sixfifty
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WarHawk-AVG][quote=B42 wrote:
18sixfifty wrote:

The low >ramping is the 1st click mode, 2nd click puts you on high…there is hidden strobe AND hidden moon mode

modes go like this
off > 1click > low > click hold 2-3 sec slow ramping to double flash (max low mode) > click hold 2-3 seconds reset back to low level (any release on ramping next on will remember last level)
low > 1click > hi
double click on any “on” mode > strobe
off > click hold 2-3 seconds > hidden moon mode

PWM is bad just like all “stock” Chinese firmware

I’m not getting the ramping to (max low mode) on the first click I’m at medium and from there it ramps up slightly then flashes and stays put, it’s hardly any difference from one to the other. It was ramping up from medium then flashing and going to a low but it’s not doing that now. So I have a hidden moon and blinky, a medium and high but a pretty much useless ramping function. (I can live with that actually because of the moon mode)

Must be the driver is bad, unless there are more drivers than just one being put into these.

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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release on double flash, click hold again, it will reset to low back to ramping, right now you have it ramped up

I got my SC01 from BG

18sixfifty
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WarHawk-AVG wrote:
release on double flash, click hold again, it will reset to low back to ramping, right now you have it ramped up

I got my SC01 from BG

Thanks I see what you mean and it does go back down a little but not to a low just the same medium that you get with the first click.

It goes back to medium after the double flash and click hold again, which is only a little lower than high.

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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My SC01 is working well, but the SC03 is draining cells. I'm using Efest IMR 16340's and they are going dead in either one day, or couple days - not sure. Hhmm... I'll have to check the parasitic drain.

Really not sure if the entire flashlight body is one piece or if there's a glued joint. Taking the SS bezel off gets you access to the star/LED, but dunno if the pill is screwed or press fit in. Tried some pressure on the driver to push it out the front, but didn't work. Also tried CCW screwing the pill from the top - no go. Well, if the SC03 has a driver issue, just may be forced to go harder til it's out or something breaks... Smile

Dealing with FastTech on an issue -- I'd imagine it's a nightmare. I've had no probs with issues/credit with them before, but that was back when they were good and responsive...

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I’ll see what i can do when mine show up in a couple days.

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My SC03 does have a high parasitic drain issue, the SC01 doesn't. I can actually measure a current on the SC03 (0.001A) when it's off on my DMM, while on the SC01 and other e-switch lights it measures 0.000 amps. Guess with a cell in it, I'll have to turn the tailcap a 1/4 turn loose when not in use.

18sixfifty
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Tom E wrote:

My SC03 does have a high parasitic drain issue, the SC01 doesn’t. I can actually measure a current on the SC03 (0.001A) when it’s off on my DMM, while on the SC01 and other e-switch lights it measures 0.000 amps. Guess with a cell in it, I’ll have to turn the tailcap a 1/4 turn loose when not in use.

Thanks for letting us know that Tom. I’ll make sure to keep mine twisted just in case. I walked mine around a while ago and I like it but it’s a bummer about how the dimming isn’t right on this one. I’m just going to keep it and use it as a three mode.

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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