Opinions on this Solarforce L2i setup

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Zeros
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Opinions on this Solarforce L2i setup

Ok, first post.  Here we go. I have been doing a bunch of reading before I jump into this hobby.  I wanted to post this setup and see what you all think about it?  I am concerned mostly about heat issues, battery fitment issues and if the stock L2I power switch or Romisen RC-G2 forward clicky will be able to handle the voltage.

Solarforce L2I body

Unprotected 18650 (I have 10 from old laptop batteries that measure above 4.1v)

Manafont XM-L T6 3 mode P60 drop in

 

Will this setup be too hot? I don't want to spend $17 on a drop in then fry it from heat. 

Will the dropin damage the stock power switch?

 If the 18650's dont fit, I will do old4570's mod with the Romisen switch, but will that switch be damaged by using the MF XLM drop in?

 I also need a good, cheap charger to charge those unprotected 18650s.

Maybe I should consider the L2P or L2T instead.  I'm open to any opinions

Sorry for all of the questions.  I'm just looking to learn.

Edited by: Zeros on 07/07/2011 - 15:46
brted
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Hi Zeros! Welcome to BLF!

The L2i is a nice host and it can work fine for 18650's, though I prefer the L2 or L2P with 18650's (there are different opinions on that). I find you have to load the battery from the head to get the L2i to fit the battery correctly, which is some trouble and I already have plenty of 18650 hosts, so my L2i only uses 3xAAA.

Everyone who uses the Manafont drop-in faces the same problem with heat and possibly frying the switch or spring of the host and plenty of people are doing it without problems, so you should be fine. I use aluminum and/or copper strips around the drop-in to get a snug fit and hopefully transfer more heat to the head of the light. Also I don't know that I would want to run the XM-L on High for the entire battery life, though I imagine some have done it.

For a charger the XTAR (there are a couple of varieties; I don't have them) or Ultrafire WF 139 are good and not that expensive.

Zeros
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OK, thanks.  Would you recommend a different drop in?  I was reading the thread about the XM-L and if I remember correctly, someone was stating how they preferred a XP-G to the XL-M.  I'm assuming the XP-G would draw less power, last longer and run cooler, but not be as bright.  Do you think there is much difference between the two?  Its only like a $3 difference, so price isn't an issue.  

I have also read that there could be issues charging unprotected 18650s on the WF-139 charger?  Thoughts?

brted
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I don't have the WF-139 (I bought a couple of even cheaper chargers at first, which still work, and now use a Turnigy hobby charger) and don't use unprotected batteries. I'm sure you realize you are taking some risk using used batteries without protection and I don't advise it, but that's up to you. Definitely have a voltmeter to check the battery and take precautions.

I'm not sure what the concerns are with the WF-139, but most of these chargers really taper off the current rate at the end, so if you are worried about overcharging, you can try to take the batteries out 30 minutes or so before you think the light will go green and you won't lose much runtime, since that last 30 minutes might be 5-10% of the battery charge and will be gone the first few minutes the light is on anyway.

The XM-L makes an impressive wall of light, but it doesn't have as much throw as an XP-G or XR-E. If I could only have one drop-in, I might recommend the XM-L because you might as well have the most impressive thing out there and you can always run it on Medium if you want the longer runtime and just use High when you really want it. But day-to-day I prefer my XP-G drop-ins (I use neutral tinted drop-ins that I make) for better throw, less blinding spill, less heat, and longer runtime, like you said.

Zeros
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For the batteries, I'm pretty sure I understand the risks regarding using unprotected cells, but if you don't mind, what could happen? If overcharged, they could explode and start a fire on the charger.  In the flashlight they could explode, but what causes them to explode? What is the best way to monitor them?  I have a good DMM that I use regularly.  Should I just scrap them and get some protected ones?

 

 

Jacobhl
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Zeros wrote:

OK, thanks.  Would you recommend a different drop in?  I was reading the thread about the XM-L and if I remember correctly, someone was stating how they preferred a XP-G to the XL-M.  I'm assuming the XP-G would draw less power, last longer and run cooler, but not be as bright.  Do you think there is much difference between the two?  Its only like a $3 difference, so price isn't an issue.  

I have also read that there could be issues charging unprotected 18650s on the WF-139 charger?  Thoughts?

XM-L is pretty much superior to the XP-G in every way(tints are up for discussion, so I won't take that into the equation). The efficiency is better on XM-L, so if you want to take a XP-G because it draws less power and runs cooler, you might as well run an XM-L at the same amperage. It would draw the same amount of power, be have the same temperature(might even be a little bit cooler, but not much), but would give out more light.

In my opinion, the only older Cree LED that still superior to XM-L is XP-E because of it's high die intensity(making it great for throwers). XM-L is everything that XP-G is, and more.

Moving electrons to light my way.

brted
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Jacobhl wrote:

XM-L is pretty much superior to the XP-G in every way(tints are up for discussion, so I won't take that into the equation). The efficiency is better on XM-L, so if you want to take a XP-G because it draws less power and runs cooler, you might as well run an XM-L at the same amperage. It would draw the same amount of power, be have the same temperature(might even be a little bit cooler, but not much), but would give out more light.

In my opinion, the only older Cree LED that still superior to XM-L is XP-E because of it's high die intensity(making it great for throwers). XM-L is everything that XP-G is, and more.

Even with a XM-L blazing at full brightness, it won't light up far away objects any better than an XP-G, XP-E, or XR-E. And the spill and reflection off the foreground ground or trees will absolutely blind you so you won't be able to see that far anyway. Now if you cut the XM-L back to 30% of full brightness to make it less blinding you are cutting back its throw to 30% too. So now you have much less throw than the other LED's. For me, walking around on tree-lined sidewalks in the suburbs at night and using the light in bursts to see where I'm going, the XP-G just works better. But if I want to light up everything within 50' bright as day, the XM-L is just amazing.

CheapThrills
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I would say a nice setup!

Just don´t leave the light on for long times on high, step down to MED and it should run just fine.

sb56637
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Hi there Zeros, welcome to BLF! Thanks for joining.

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

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Welcome on BLF Zeros!

I have a L2i and i use it with Protected trustfire flames 2400 mah (put the batteries from the head and they will fit) and a XML driven at 2.8 (at high). I always use it on med but if i need to see more around me i have high mode. On high became warm pretty fast.

The best setup depends on your need:

- You need long runtime, no heatsink, good throw and some flood to see around you? Then go for XPG

- You want a huge amount of light, pure flood, and runtime isn't much important? XML is what you need (with at least 2 mode)

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The L2i XM-L combo is my main work light. It is on all the time and works great. Loading from the head is required though. A couple of times I have gotten the big spring jammed between the inside ridge and the battery. Once it shorted and destroyed the protection board so I had to strip the battery and use unprotected. I have found since that if you unscrew the head to just expose the O ring, load from the tail and make sure battery hits the hole, tighten tailcap all the way and then tighten the head you will have no problems. In my opinion this is safer. I think that if you had a dropin with no small spring, you would be able to load from the tail as long as you made sure the battery cleared the ridge when you inserted it. The spring keeps the battery above the ridge and it will jam.

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

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Quote Zero

For the batteries, I'm pretty sure I understand the risks regarding using unprotected cells, but if you don't mind, what could happen? If overcharged, they could explode and start a fire on the charger.  In the flashlight they could explode, but what causes them to explode? What is the best way to monitor them?  I have a good DMM that I use regularly.  Should I just scrap them and get some protected ones?

how no one responed to this , they totally bypassed it ..hmmm who said bomb ...I asked the same thing in my first post at BLF ...hehe ...no response ..I will respone ..all though Im a newb to li ions Ive done alot of research on them and weighed the pos vs negs and for me the rewards  outweigh the risks ...touch wood ...After all the research Ive done I myself I would be comfortable using even nonprotected batts and rely on myself and my own common sense MM in hand .It makes sense ya read bout it all the time , poor chinese quality control ...if its from china and most is if not all , well just because is says protected dont mean its fail proof may just give a false sense of security is all . Ive have the same fears I do alota night hunting I dont wanna loss the family jewels due to a dud Li ion Frown pipebomb in the jeans pocket ...." touchwood " respect them for what they are , keep a close eye on'em with a MM , dont get complacent and hopefully you can reap the rewards without any probs ...there are real dangers theres no dout there ya only gotta google exploding li ion and theres plenty info and horror stories . In brought a clone sipik sk68 from ebay came with charer an 2x 14500 unprotected ultrfires ..in the first few hour use the solder melted the negative free of the pill ....lucky for me it was the negative ...had it of been the positive lead melted free and then shorted across to the body thus creating the potential for well possibly a pipebomb ...If ya wanna be safe ya gotta run a tight ship and keep a close eye on batts lights the lot ...well thats my newby opion on li ions

Im willing to blow me balls off but not me brains out , cause I certainly wouldnt put a li ion in a headlamp  Wink

 

 

 

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I just emailed SF-store and they offered the l2t w/ 5 mode 3-6v xml (ie regulated) dropin for $37. I would get that + a couple flamefires if were you. Recycled unprotected cells + host that's not really designed for them + DD dropin doesn't sound the best for a first time user. I do use some recycled cells, but only ones I measure to be fairly good. Not worth it unless you're careful since the failure mode is catastrophic.

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old4570
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L2i  If you like it - You like it ...

I would go L2P L2X L2T if planning on running 18650 , But its all personal ! 

L2i , easy fixes to run 18650 

Remove the + spring from the driver board [ Pill ] , this will give you 2mm more , you can file down the front of the reflector almost 2mm , thats 4mm now . 

No reason you cant run XM-L - but on tiny little AAA batteries - id recommend low mode . 

I run a low voltage drop in in my L2i - this way it can run almost any cell I can stuff in there from AAA to 14500 , CR123A to 18650 .

Great host for that end of the world scenario ..  

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

Zeros
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I think I'm going to go the L2P or L2T route. No mods to fit a 18650.  I think protected is the way to go too, duh. 

This "budget" light is now turning into a $60 purchase with the light, drop-in, protected batteries and a charger.

AgentHex, that l2t sounds good, but I'd rather a 3 mode XM-L than a 5 mode. 

Do you think there is much of a difference between the 5 mode XM-L from SF-store and the Manafont 3 mode XM-L?

 

Edit: Maybe I can keep my eyes open for a used L2P.  Hopefully one of you flashaholics will get the upgrade bug, buy a L2T and put your old L2p up for sale.  At least I can hope, right?

agenthex
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The 3-6v xml's they have should have some regulation, whereas the MF is just directly connected to the battery so to speak (there's actually 2 chips on the driver, but the second one might just be a eeprom for the ucontroller). 

 

With good mode memory (which I think the SF's have), it's not as big of a deal to have 5 mode.

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josith
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i have the exact same set up.  also use unprotected cell from old HP laptop.  didn't use the romison switch, but i use a spacer to center the 18650 to prevent the battery getting caught by the ridge inside. and i also wrap the dropin with AL foil like many others. and i am using this charger from DX.  the longest i have used the light on high was ~5 mins. i use med most of the time.  on high the light get pretty hot after 5 mins, but i can still hold it with my hand.  i have also tried running the XML dropin with 3xAAA nimh, it draws ~1A.  but i use 18650 most of the time. i have this light for 4 months now. hope this helps.

Davx
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Zeros wrote:

I think I'm going to go the L2P or L2T route. No mods to fit a 18650.  I think protected is the way to go too, duh. 

......

Edit: Maybe I can keep my eyes open for a used L2P.  Hopefully one of you flashaholics will get the upgrade bug, buy a L2T and put your old L2p up for sale.  At least I can hope, right?

You can use 18650 on a L2i without mod. You only have to put the battery from the head instead of the tail.

I'm pretty sure nobody will easily sell L2P. Is one of the most appreciated body here... Maybe you can go for a Ultrafire wf-504b body. Is similar and is cheaper.

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