Review : Utorch UT01 Flashlight (XP-L V6 / AA & 14500 / e-switch)

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kramer5150
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Jerommel wrote:
LightRider wrote:
I’m thinking on using this driver in another host. Is the switch mainly to blame for many of the troubles or are there problems with the driver as well? I’m tryinf to decide if it is generally reliable enough to repurpose. Any out there had a reliable UT01 for a good amount of time?

Mine works fine from day 1 to now.

I recently ordered another one for $9.99 and i hope it’ll be good too, but after reading the recent posts here, i think i can expect some trouble…

Juts to be sure, aren’t the 14500 problems you guys mention due to the limited length of the battery compartment?
I modded the tailcap of mine to gain space for protected button top 14500s, otherwise i couldn’t get the tailcap to screw on all the way.
But the problems i just read sound like they have a different cause… Sad

I don’t believe that to be the case for me because I am using unprotected, flat top 14500 IMR (efest purple). So they are as short as possible, and at no point do I get the feeling there is excessive pressure.

I dont use protected cells, but that would really be the only way for me to confirm.

As near as I can tell, my problem seems to be something in the driver

I forgot I uploaded a video on the programming aspect of these lights:

Pete7874
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So, what is the lowest lumen output that you can get out of this light? Is it 2 or is it something less than 2?

I’m assuming using an AA NiMH will get you a lower lumen output than using a 14500 cell.

kramer5150
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Pete7874 wrote:
So, what is the lowest lumen output that you can get out of this light? Is it 2 or is it something less than 2?

I’m assuming using an AA NiMH will get you a lower lumen output than using a 14500 cell.

The lowest output is about 2 Lumens with either chemistry. As near as I can tell the only difference is in the brightest turbo setting. Where 14500 gains the full ~750 OTF. On an eneloop the brightest turbo is around 375 OTF.

IIRC these lights have a low voltage protection… so you can’t run dead alkalines (or any battery for that matter) completely dead. Someone please correct me though.

Pete7874
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kramer5150 wrote:
Pete7874 wrote:
So, what is the lowest lumen output that you can get out of this light? Is it 2 or is it something less than 2?

I’m assuming using an AA NiMH will get you a lower lumen output than using a 14500 cell.

The lowest output is about 2 Lumens with either chemistry.


Hmm… according to their spec sheet, lowest output on 14500 is 10 lumen. But I dont know how the programmable modes play into this…

LightRider
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The light does have lvp but it’s not voltage based alone as it will run fine from 2.5v-3.2v without problem as long as the battery can provide the power. If the voltage sags too much and fails to deliver the expected current the driver shuts off.

Re problems: reviewing back through the thread does not confirm wether or not the problems are switch related. The problems are all related to using the switch and in some cases changing the switch solved the problems. But there has not been enough reports to indicate what is the status after changing the switch to confirm for certain that it is the switch.

One theory I have is that the problem may be related to how the driver handles reading denouncing of the switch. Different switches have different response images even with the same switch model so if the driver is not calibrated to a wide enough variance there may be problems even if the switch isn’t technically faulty. If this is the case, changing the switch may help or it may not Silly

joechina
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There are other threads for the UT01 or Manker

http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1063398#comment-1063398

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joechina wrote:
There are other threads for the UT01 or Manker

http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1063398#comment-1063398


Thanks for this!
kramer5150
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FWIW… L – R

~.35Lumens (Quark AA-T, XPG3) – ?? Lumens, lowest program mode, Eneloop (Manker E11)

~.35Lumens (Quark AA-T, XPG3) – ?? Lumens, lowest program mode, 14500 IMR (Manker E11)

~.35Lumens (Quark AA-T, XPG3) – 15 Lumens, Fenix L1T, Eneloop – ?? Lumens, lowest program mode, Eneloop (Manker E11)

I dont have a true 10 Lumen light compare. Closest I have is an ancient Fenix L1T, its low mode is about ~15 Lumens otf

I am willing to bet that 10 Lumen-14500 spec is not the lowest program mode.

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Well, light #3 has arrived this morning and this one is misbehaving. Fortunately I have the two good ones to compare to, and I may have learned something.

The drivers on these lights have two solder points showing on the battery+ side. On the two good lights, the solder points are precisely horizontally perpendicular compared to the external ‘flat’ on the head housing that the switch is installed in. On the third (misbehaving) light, the solder points are slightly off the perpendicular, being rotated a few degrees clockwise.

Now this third light does work, sort of. I did manage to get it through the programming cycle, and that seems to have remained in the drivers memory – but it’s sometimes reluctant to come on, and reluctant to shut off. Sometimes it gets to ‘low’, one level above moonlight, and then stay there. It’s definitely not working perfectly.

I’m wondering if others might check the alignment of the solder points on their drivers. It could be that the drivers need to be exactly perpendicular to the switch aperture to function properly. Unfortunately I cant seem to rotate the driver – there are no pinholes to twist by, and I can’t tell if it’s glued in or not.

kramer5150
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thats interesting…
on both of my lights the solder points are all squared up and parallel with the flat of the switch.

My driver boards are also loose fitting and not firmly attached. I can rotate them a little and when I touch them there is some rattle. So the battery tube needs to be tight and secure… FWIW. I think its always been this way, I never paid much attention though.

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kramer5150 wrote:
FWIW… L – R

~.35Lumens (Quark AA-T, XPG3) – ?? Lumens, lowest program mode, Eneloop (Manker E11)

~.35Lumens (Quark AA-T, XPG3) – ?? Lumens, lowest program mode, 14500 IMR (Manker E11)


Thanks. The E11 definitely looks brighter running 14500 vs running Eneloop.

Does your E11 have a neutral tint emitter?

kramer5150
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Yeah its lowest program mode is brighter with a 14500, although in person its not as pronounced as my pics above make it appear. I really don’t believe its 10 Lumens.

I have a Ssurefire E2L Outdoorsman, its low mode is rated 3 Lumens otf.

On a ceiling bounce comparison the E11/UT01 14500 program-low is visually about half as bright as the SF.

the E11 you see in the pics above is a neutral white, but its by far the warmest “Neutral” tint I have ever seen. Not a bad thing mind you.

kramer5150
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joechina wrote:
There are other threads for the UT01 or Manker

http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1063398#comment-1063398

Cool thanks Joe

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kramer5150 wrote:
the E11 you see in the pics above is a neutral white, but its by far the warmest “Neutral” tint I have ever seen.

Yeah, that is really warm. I probably should have ordered CW instead. Oh well, too late now…
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I did some testing on this driver today. The switch is definitely part of the problem but I believe the heart of it is the way the firmware/driver reacts to different switch characteristics. Specifically, high resistance switches without a good clean click will cause the light to malfunction. So this is why some lights will not function with the switch off center but do when the switch is rotated to center. The user is able to click the switch more cleanly and the driver is happier this way. I was able to eliminate the problem entirely using certain switches with a definitive “click”. Swapping switches back and forth, I was able to repeat the results. So this seems to be the case in my light atleast.

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It looks warmer than my BLF A6 with a 5A tint

eas
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Thanks for sharing your observations and conclusions, LightRider.

I suspect that the problem with my light is somehow related to the MCU. I’d wondered about an issue with debouncing, but didn’t really know how to diagnose more fully. Or something to do with the power supply and management for the MCU.

In my case, the switch is well centered. Still waiting to see what Gearbest is going to do about a replacement before I try anything intrusive.

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Jerommel wrote:
Juts to be sure, aren’t the 14500 problems you guys mention due to the limited length of the battery compartment?
I modded the tailcap of mine to gain space for protected button top 14500s, otherwise i couldn’t get the tailcap to screw on all the way.
But the problems i just read sound like they have a different cause… Sad

I think most people are using unprotected 14500 cells in UT01 because the protected ones don’t fit (easily).

An unprotected cell such as Sanyo UR14500P (second from left in the below photo) is about the same length or maybe very slightly shorter than an Eneloop AA.

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I just received a new one today at the $9.99 price and it looks good. Works on alkaline and 14500 no issue. No odd behavior. I had to add a magnet to a Sanyo UR14500P though – but that’s not something new regarding battery length sensitivity.

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patmurris wrote:
I just received a new one today at the $9.99 price and it looks good. Works on alkaline and 14500 no issue. No odd behavior. I had to add a magnet to a Sanyo UR14500P though - but that's not something new regarding battery length sensitivity.
Nice patmurris ! I use the IMR 14500 ButtonTop / WindyFire. Great fitment !
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I had repaired 2 UT01 switches with one from Mouser, they worked with new switch again,
The original switch is not reliable, sometimes it works when pushed in different angle, but normal operation is not really possible when the switch develops a problem

For 14500 I advise adding a solder blob or brass button on top of the battery

If you are able to reflow things with hot air its a 15minutes repair

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Lexel wrote:
I had repaired 2 UT01 switches with one from Mouser, they worked with new switch again,
The original switch is not reliable, sometimes it works when pushed in different angle, but normal operation is not really possible when the switch develops a problem

For 14500 I advise adding a solder blob or brass button on top of the battery

If you are able to reflow things with hot air its a 15minutes repair
!{width:100%}http://www.metronixlaser.de/bilder/flashlight/IMG_4364.jpg!

link to buy the switch ?

i need replace 4 of my lights too >.<

Nico -.-

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Lexel wrote:
I had repaired 2 UT01 switches with one from Mouser, they worked with new switch again,
The original switch is not reliable, sometimes it works when pushed in different angle, but normal operation is not really possible when the switch develops a problem

For 14500 I advise adding a solder blob or brass button on top of the battery

If you are able to reflow things with hot air its a 15minutes repair
!{width:100%}http://www.metronixlaser.de/bilder/flashlight/IMG_4364.jpg!

I don’t believe the problem is the switch though changing the switch can solve it. I believe the problem is how the MCU reads the signal from the switch. I just did some thorough testing on my unit and replacing the switch does not always solve the problem. In fact the problem can remain even while manually shorting the switch input by tapping two wires together. It also will not work with those really flat switches that are held together by some sort of thin plastic/tape. Don’t know how to describe them. There were some other switches that did not work as well. However, some switches work every time without a hitch. I also tested the “misfiring” ut01 switch on another driver and it works fine. It confused me for half a day at least. Smile

In general, low resistance switches with a sharp “click”, worked the best. Of course this is just one driver I have tested and others will have to check for themselves but I do think this can explain some of the problems others are having as well.

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For my light, I can’t power cycle it ON-OFF-ON-OFF, without doing this…. ON-OFF-Loosen/tighten tailcap-ON-OFF-Loosen/tighten tailcap-ON-OFF-Loosen/tighten tailcap. This ONLY occurs with a 14500 cell. Eneloop works 100% perfectly.

Do you think this light is die-ing a slow death? Have you guys seen cases where a light behaves as I have described and then suddenly without warning stops working entirely?

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In an earlier posts in this thread, I mentioned that my first two UT01s worked perfectly while a third does not. I have an update to that. I decided to keep the two ‘good’ ones for gifts, and struggle with the balky one myself.

Oddly enough, the more I used it, the better it worked. To begin with, it was reluctant to come on, reluctant to turn off or to change modes….it would ‘stick’ in low and need to have the tail cap loosened to regain any function. In one of its more co-operative moments, I did manage to run the programming cycle, which it remembered.. (The driver board in this one is stuck tight, and I can neither budge it nor get the nose cap off; I’ve applied force to the point of fearing damage.)

After a couple of days of relentless and frustrated clicking it began working more and more consistently. Now, while still on its first lithium primary, it works as well as the other two. There remains a sense of something not being right in the switch – a feeling of two clicks ‘on the way down’ for lack of a better explanation – but it’s much better than before and it obeys all inputs without hesitation.

While I don’t doubt there might be a variety of problems with these lights, mine appears to have a mechanical issue in the switch which is somehow rectifying itself through repeated use. I’ll continue to use it. Mercilessly.

eas
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Thanks for the report, tumbleweed48.

What lightrider has described sounds like a combination of electrical, mechanical and programming issues, with the switch being a locus of electrical and mechanical issues. Your description isn’t inconsistent with that.

From your description, I see another possible component of the problem, instead of or in addition to an issue with the switch that may remediating with use. You say you are still using the same lithium primary with this light. That means that the supply voltage is declining, which could also be playing a role in the way the MCU “observes” the signal from the switch.

This is consistent with some of my earlier, crude, operations, that the problem seems to have some relationship to the type of cell I’m using, and, with a given cell, may change over the discharge of the cell.

I just looked at this more closely. With an unprotected 14500, a couple days off the charger, I’d say the chance of any click being registered, by turning on the light, after the first turn-on after power-cycling the light, is about 1-2%. With a Lada NiMH a few days off the charger, the success rate is closer to 10-20%, and I just had a run of 100% success, until I removed the cell and tried again with the 14500, which again only had a 1-2% success rate.

In all cases, once the light is “on” ~100% of clicks are registered for switching intensities/modes, and turning off the light.

FWIW, I’ve been able to run through the programming cycle and then disable programming mode and have the changes stick. This works even if I have to power cycle the light, do a long press to enable programming mode, power cycle, click on and into programming mode, update the settings, turn the light off, and then power-cycle it again before doing a final 10s press to disable the programming mode. Or, to put it another way, the last state of the programming ritual seems to persist even if the battery is removed.

I haven’t found that going through the programming cycle makes any difference in turn-on efficacy.

eas
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LightRider, do you have either an actual O-scope trace, or a working hypothesis in your head of how the switch signal looks with a problematic switch, vs a good one?

How much of the circuit do you understand? I wonder if perhaps the addition of decoupling capacitance or a small RC filter, somewhere easily accessible could make the system more robust with the typical range of manufacturing, power supply, thermal and wear tolerances.

Pardon me if the above question is silly; I ask based on a rudimentary understanding of electronics and firmware.

LightRider
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eas wrote:
LightRider, do you have either an actual O-scope trace, or a working hypothesis in your head of how the switch signal looks with a problematic switch, vs a good one?

How much of the circuit do you understand? I wonder if perhaps the addition of decoupling capacitance or a small RC filter, somewhere easily accessible could make the system more robust with the typical range of manufacturing, power supply, thermal and wear tolerances.

Pardon me if the above question is silly; I ask based on a rudimentary understanding of electronics and firmware.

I do not have an oscope. My observations were a result of swapping six different types of switches and testing it through different voltages with each switch. It was clear that each switc carried over its same functionality if swapped out and swapped back in. Right now I have a switch that the MCU is 100% satisfied with as aposed to the stock switch that was less than 30% successful. And another switch that I could only get to work a couple of times at most.

My knowledge of circuit s sounds to be about the same as yours. I was wondering how same ting. Capacitance and voltage level could have a huge impact on the way the switchs clicks are read. I would bet that the firmware was tested on better or maybe just different components than the drivers production components. I would not have the knowledge or equipment to test this stuff. I guess trial an error. I could hook up the bad switch an add/drain capacitance at the switch pin. By the way, capacitance could be draining with a power lockout and thus allowing the switch to function again.

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There is something whacked in the software.
If it won’t turn back on with the 4.2 battery after having been on, just by twisting the head twice breaking contact and then Boom comes on fine until it is turned off again.
It is acting like an electronic lockout.

Doesn’t do it as bad with 1.2 Ni-Mh but still acts wonky.

What is the sequence for lockout on some of the other Manker flashlights?
Maybe software is the same?

I am just treating as a lockout feature for now Smile
Later,

Keith

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