Solarstorm DX4 dive light - anyone used it?

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lionheart_2281
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Solarstorm DX4 dive light - anyone used it?

I’ve been looking for a multi emitter multi led dive light for some time now. Ideally I’d like something like the Xtar D35, but I sure as hell ain’t paying $400 for one!!!

Has anyone used or seen any reviews for the Solarstorm DX4 ?

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I have one, but I haven’t used it underwater. I don’t think it is very bright.

BLF

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Just got one in - probably mod it up for a friend. It's in the range of 2300 lumens stock on various cells, very little droppage in the first 30 secs. Was able to get access to the LED's and driver - fairly easy, star head screws. This is better than most of the junk out there in this price range, though I expected a SS bezel on a SolarStorm, and this one is aluminum.

I paid $31 at GearBest(http://www.gearbest.com/led-flashlights/pp_193546.html), now $37 - came with XM-L2's, not XM-L's as listed, though the pic shows XM-L2's.

Looks like an easy resistor mod - will try, two R160's stock. Might update the LED's but keep the stock custom MCPCB, not sure yet. It's a chunky head for sure. With the resistor mod, I'll use heavy wires, bypass the springs, then see.

lionheart_2281
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Tom E wrote:

Just got one in – probably mod it up for a friend. It’s in the range of 2300 lumens stock on various cells, very little droppage in the first 30 secs. Was able to get access to the LED’s and driver – fairly easy, star head screws. This is better than most of the junk out there in this price range, though I expected a SS bezel on a SolarStorm, and this one is aluminum.

I paid $31 at GearBest(http://www.gearbest.com/led-flashlights/pp_193546.html), now $37 - came with XM-L2’s, not XM-L’s as listed, though the pic shows XM-L2’s.

Looks like an easy resistor mod – will try, two R160’s stock. Might update the LED’s but keep the stock custom MCPCB, not sure yet. It’s a chunky head for sure. With the resistor mod, I’ll use heavy wires, bypass the springs, then see.

Super interested in the results if you’d mind making a thread or posting here. Should be able to current bump them pretty nicely if it’s only used as a dive light I’m guessing.

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Actually just finished, buttoned it up. Will do some more testing, and lube up the threads better, than I gotta do some underwater testing.

Stock, on 2 K.P. 4000 protected full charge, Hi: 2.48A tail, 2,305 lumens @30 secs, Lo: 724 lumens

Modded with added R120 resistor (stock: 2 R160's), upgrade LED wires to 22 AWG (stock looked like 24 AWG), 22AWG bypass on driver spring, cleaned LED domes (little dirty):

  on same cells full charge, Hi: 4.84A, 3393 lumens @30 secs, Lo: 1.44A tail, 1095 lumens

Throw looks good outdoors, but didn't measure it yet. Overall, I'm pretty impressed. It holds output really well in the 1st 30 secs. Was thinking they probably are using XM-L2 T6's, but could very well be the claimed U2's based on these #'s. The LED's are 2P/2S, and think they get 2.0 to 2.3A each, and result in about 850 lumens per LED, which is pretty efficient. Also my bent PVC light box might measure these multi LED flooders high - not sure.

 The guys this flashlight is for do diving in freshwater, but pretty deep, maybe up to 100 feet. Wondering if the cool white tints are ok - thinking the neutrals would be better in unclear water, but really dunno...

Darn cheap mod so far, if I keep the stock LED's and MCPCB. Doing copper DTP's would be a PIA - 16 mm's would probably have to be cut down, and the positioning would be a pain to get right.

Update: throw measured out at 25 kcd (316 meters). Was hoping for better but the reflectors are pretty small and I'm sure the thick glass cuts down on it.

lionheart_2281
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Tom E wrote:

Actually just finished, buttoned it up. Will do some more testing, and lube up the threads better, than I gotta do some underwater testing.

Stock, on 2 K.P. 4000 protected full charge, Hi: 2.48A tail, 2,305 lumens 30 secs, Lo: 724 lumens</P> <P>Modded with added R120 resistor (stock: 2 R160's), upgrade LED wires to 22 AWG (stock looked like 24 AWG), 22AWG bypass on driver spring, cleaned LED domes (little dirty):</P> <P>&nbsp; on same cells full charge, <STRONG>Hi: 4.84A, 3393 lumens 30 secs, Lo: 1.44A tail, 1095 lumens

Throw looks good outdoors, but didn’t measure it yet. Overall, I’m pretty impressed. It holds output really well in the 1st 30 secs. Was thinking they probably are using XM-L2 T6’s, but could very well be the claimed U2’s based on these #‘s. The LED’s are 2P/2S, and think they get 2.0 to 2.3A each, and result in about 850 lumens per LED, which is pretty efficient. Also my bent PVC light box might measure these multi LED flooders high – not sure.

 The guys this flashlight is for do diving in freshwater, but pretty deep, maybe up to 100 feet. Wondering if the cool white tints are ok – thinking the neutrals would be better in unclear water, but really dunno…

Darn cheap mod so far, if I keep the stock LED’s and MCPCB. Doing copper DTP’s would be a PIA – 16 mm’s would probably have to be cut down, and the positioning would be a pain to get right.

Update: throw measured out at 25 kcd (316 meters). Was hoping for better but the reflectors are pretty small and I’m sure the thick glass cuts down on it.

Yes, neutral tints are much better for dive lights. They are some really impressive results man!
I’m always a bit cautious using cheap dive lights due to fear of flooding, so I’m happy for your friend to be the guinea pig!!!

Would you be interested in doing another one of these if it works well for your friend on a few dives? With neutral 5000-5500k emitters? I’m currently using 2 Xtar dive lights putting out 1900 lumens combined (D06 and D26.) Though bigger, this would do the job of both with approx the same run times I’d imagine (guessing about 2 hours with 2 26650’s? Require high drains obviously?)

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Tried TF 26650's and got lower results, so the KP 4000's did well. Weird because before the resistor mod, didn't matter what cells - results were pretty consistent. Think'n of trying the higher capacity 26650's - don't have any here though, these: http://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=59_108&product_id=306.

Yes bout building another, may take some time before being field proven... I'll try contacting them today - 3 hours off, they are in the Las Vegas area.

Think'n of ordering/building up another with neutrals anyway - they could probably use 2 at this price, but the leak test is the biggie...

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Tom E wrote:

Tried TF 26650’s and got lower results, so the KP 4000’s did well. Weird because before the resistor mod, didn’t matter what cells – results were pretty consistent. Think’n of trying the higher capacity 26650’s – don’t have any here though, these: http://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=59_108&product_id=306.

Yes bout building another, may take some time before being field proven… I’ll try contacting them today – 3 hours off, they are in the Las Vegas area.

Think’n of ordering/building up another with neutrals anyway – they could probably use 2 at this price, but the leak test is the biggie…

Like your friend I’d never go below 100ft. Those cells look good if they can do 8A continuous, and of course a protection circuit is a must.
Also being a dive light it’ll have to be able to run for 2 hour continuous without frying the internals, hopefully the cold water of Sydney should prevent that from happening.

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I have one and have dove with it many times. I use it attached to my spear gun . Never had any problems, I find it bright and reliable. I like the magnetic switch and have never run out of batteries using 2×26650 protected 4200mah 4sevens batteries. Make sure you grease up the o rings on the tail and tighten up the head before using.

!{width:100%}Dive photo dive 2_zpsm4aarv5k.jpg!

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I also have the D35 that i have never actually used (for anything including diving), its way to big and heavy to use on the spear gun and I almost always dive with a gun. The DX4 is a much more functional design IMHO. One day if i do a night dive in a spot that i cant hunt i might use it. Actually if you want it, let me know I would be willing to sell it to fund my BLF Titanium build Smile

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Bribo wrote:
I have one and have dove with it many times. I use it attached to my spear gun . Never had any problems, I find it bright and reliable. I like the magnetic switch and have never run out of batteries using 2x26650 protected 4200mah 4sevens batteries. Make sure you grease up the o rings on the tail and tighten up the head before using.

Good to hear! How deep have you gone with it?

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WRT diving, would spotty or floody be better? I was thinking dedoming the LEDs might make it awesome!

My gratitude to those who are willing and able to help others (in whatever way you can)! Being human is more than just existing for yourself. Smile

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I added a tail spring 22 AWG bypass, tightened up the bezel, applied Nyogel to the threads/O-rings, and re-tested with fully charge KP 4000's (@4.19v). Got better #'s.

Still 4.8A at tail, lumens: 3,791 @start, 3,675 @30 secs. Nice bump!

Did a 15 minute hi run in a bucket of water - wow, that was bright, even in a bucket! Everything survived well, light stayed cool, did a few mode changes in the bucket. Wiped it down, then took more measurements:

Cells at 3.86v, tail: 3.6A, lumens: 3,427 @start, 3,325 @30 secs. Overall not bad at all. I believe this is ready to go to the next level of testing Smile.

Some pics of the driver, modded:

Close-ups of the R120 sitting on a R160, with the other R160 next to it:

Nothing done here, just fyi:

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I never go much below 100 ft so its never been below that (for very long ;). It depends what you want it for. I like throw for hunting but massive flood for photography and go pro. This light is a good balance between the two. I put a white silicone cap on my lights if I’m going to be taking pictures or videos only, i was thinking about making a mule with no reflector for a dedicated video light but have not got around to that yet.

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I wonder what the total runtime would be using 2 big capacity 26650’s…?
Has to be at least an hour

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I don’t know, I have done 2 dives with it and forgot to turn it off for a while between so at least 2hrs for sure, thats all you really need from any dive light IMHO.

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Actually if we take Tom E ‘s measurements of the stock light at 2.4A on high, times 2 hrs = 5000 mah so yes a good capacity 26650 should just about do it.

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Bribo wrote:
Actually if we take Tom E ‘s measurements of the stock light at 2.4A on high, times 2 hrs = 5000 mah so yes a good capacity 26650 should just about do it.

Yes, I meant for the modded version. 2 hours is the minimum for burn time for me, sounds like 2 5200 mah 26650’s should do it…

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I use KeepPower IMR5200mAh cells in mine and on high, the run-time is 3 hours.  When the cells are nearly depleted, it starts blinking over and over again, even after going to the lower mode. 

I have yet to use mine for diving purposes, but I'll only get down to 25 meters, or possibly 30 meters if the DM allows it. Smile

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The blinking sounds annoying for sure... I'll do a longer test on the 4000 mAh cells I have to hit the LVP level. Best cells for the mod light will be those 5200's, either KP or EVVA, protected of course. Hoping the 5200's won't hit as high current draw, so will lose some output but gain runtime. This light's driver is nothing too fancy - if it shows advantages for the spring bypass's, then it's not regulating very well. Of course might have to do with my resistor mod Wink.

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Ohhh - sorry, think I was getting the models confused. There are two models:

   Dx4: older model sold at CNQ and dis-continued at FastTech, head diam: 62mm (from FT), mag ring for modes

 Dx4S: newer model, sold at BangGood, FastTech, KD, GearBest, head diam: 55mm (measured). thumb slider for modes

I have the Dx4S, bought from GearBest, that I've been modding. If I buy more, I'd buy from BangGood (banggood.com/Solarstorm-DX4S) with the 8% BLF code.

I did a total of 75 minutes in a bucket of water on hi with one pair of KP 4000's, and still going... Though amps starts at 4.8, it drops while the cells drain (driver not regulating well), so it's expected you will get over an hour out of 4000 mAh cells, but at well reduced output near the end.

After 75 mins: cells at 3.3v, tail amps: 1.65A

Update:

Another 13 minutes, the light finally died. Apparently a LVP triggered in a battery's protection circuit because it measure 0 volts. The other cell was at 3.1v. So total runtime with the mods:

         1 hour and 28 minutes (8 minutes total)

In the last couple of minutes, I did notice a strobe effect, like a flickering. Not sure how long it was doing that.

 

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Awesome results man! Brighter and a quarter of the price of an Xtar D35!
Like I said, would love to buy a modded one off you should you feel like modding any more of them!

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Would you expect 2 KP 26650’s 5200mah to be able to provide enough amps?
Runtimes should be pretty close to 2 hours with the extra capacity

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Yes - I'd like to mod one up for you. I can get expedited shipping from BangGood on qty 3 with the 8% discount, so qty 3, with one being for you, would be perfect for what I need right now. I'll place the order today. For the LED's, I can swap in XM-L2 neutrals, planning on leaving the stock MCPCB in - seems to be working very well, and I'm hesitant of messing with the vertical clearances if I change the MCPCB's to Noctigons or SinkPAD's.

I'm guessing the 5200's would be less top amps, but would not drop out as fast as the 4000's. The 4000 KP's and 4000 EVVA's are basically King Kong cells, so KK's are pretty low resistance and combined with a quality protection circuit, they have excellent performance for low resistance, high amps. Yes - I'm guessing the runtime would extend 25% on capacity alone, maybe longer, all depending on the discharge curve on how amps drop over time on these cells. 

What would you suggest for Neutral tints? U2-3C, T6 4C, T4/T5 5B1's? The 4C and 5B1 are pretty cheap from Simon. I can probably get the U2-3C's bare from Hank, or quicker pre-mounted from Richard.

Also - can probably get the T5 5D3's bare from Hank, in the $5 range.

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Hi Tom, are the 4 LED’s in series?

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bibihang wrote:
Hi Tom, are the 4 LED's in series?

Looks 2S/2P to me. Didn't do measurements to confirm, but from traces, looks that way.

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Tom E wrote:

bibihang wrote:
Hi Tom, are the 4 LED’s in series?

Looks 2S/2P to me. Didn’t do measurements to confirm, but from traces, looks that way.


So that would be about 2.4A to each LED, is that correct?
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Yes - 2.4A max, probably less. I measured 950 lumens per LED which is kind of high. I think my light box is over measuring multi-emitter flooders. But it is 1A, they say U2's, so it's the max you can get. Might be a alum DTP too, dunno.

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That is pretty good already considering only minor moddings were done to it.

Is it only have Hi-Lo-Strobe as they advertise?

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It's lo-hi-sos, or something like SOS, definitely not strobe like listed.

The Dx4S has a thumb slider, but with a spring. One slide up - turn ON or turn OFF. Slide up and hold: changes modes. It's got mode memory, and a heavy parasitic drain - measures 0.02A on my DMM, dropping to 0.01A as the cells drain. But it has a simple lock-out: little twist of the tailcap shuts off power.

I haven't taken apart the switch but looks do-able. The spring scares me a little, specially with salt water use. Of course the switch assembly is totally outside the body.

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Tom E wrote:

Yes – I’d like to mod one up for you. I can get expedited shipping from BangGood on qty 3 with the 8% discount, so qty 3, with one being for you, would be perfect for what I need right now. I’ll place the order today. For the LED’s, I can swap in XM-L2 neutrals, planning on leaving the stock MCPCB in – seems to be working very well, and I’m hesitant of messing with the vertical clearances if I change the MCPCB’s to Noctigons or SinkPAD’s.

I’m guessing the 5200’s would be less top amps, but would not drop out as fast as the 4000’s. The 4000 KP’s and 4000 EVVA’s are basically King Kong cells, so KK’s are pretty low resistance and combined with a quality protection circuit, they have excellent performance for low resistance, high amps. Yes - I’m guessing the runtime would extend 25% on capacity alone, maybe longer, all depending on the discharge curve on how amps drop over time on these cells. 

What would you suggest for Neutral tints? U2-3C, T6 4C, T4/T5 5B1’s? The 4C and 5B1 are pretty cheap from Simon. I can probably get the U2-3C’s bare from Hank, or quicker pre-mounted from Richard.

Also – can probably get the T5 5D3’s bare from Hank, in the $5 range.

Perfect mate! About the tints, I’m not sure as I’ve never had the choice between NW’s, somewhere around 5000k to 5500k should be good, somewhere around the MM15 or the TN36 NW would be pretty much spot on.

Shame about the parasitic drain, means I have to remember to tighten the tail cap prior to getting in the water or it will flood. Still definitely want the light though. I can transfer you money whenever you need it

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