Sofirn SC21 mini

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Lightbringer
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Forsythe P. Jones wrote:
I’ve never liked side switch pushbutton lights for this reason. If the light needs a software lockout it’s because the switch design is deficient. The d4v2 hasn’t been a problem yet because of the switch guard and fairly stiff pushbutton, but it takes some care to get those details right. Otherwise I’ve generally preferred recessed tail switches.

Recess the sideswitch, and guaranteed someone’ll bitch about it being hard to press while wearing gloves, or not being able to find it as easily vs it sticking up proud, etc.

Make it stiff, and someone’ll bitch that it’s hard to activate if you’re arthritic.

Basically, ask 10 people for how to “fix” a light’s design, and you’ll get 24 different and conflicting answers.

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Forsythe P. Jones
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Until not that long ago, tail switches were more popular than side switches. I think people generally prefer tail switches. Lights may have transitioned to side switches because the drivers have become more complicated and it’s easier to use an electronic switch that is close to the driver board. I have not yet tried operating my d4v2 with winter gloves and I could see how it might be a problem, but it is not really a cold weather light to begin with.

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Lightbringer wrote:

Recess the sideswitch, and guaranteed someone’ll bitch about it being hard to press while wearing gloves, or not being able to find it as easily vs it sticking up proud, etc.

Make it stiff, and someone’ll bitch that it’s hard to activate if you’re arthritic.

Basically, ask 10 people for how to “fix” a light’s design, and you’ll get 24 different and conflicting answers.

To some extent yes. But that said, some designs of sideswitches are a lot better than others.

For example: The Zebralight SC51 is a classic light, but Zebralight received a lot of criticism about the switch. It was too easy to press accidentally. It stuck out of the light, was large and had a soft touch.

Zebralight took the criticism to heart and addressed it starting with the original SC600 and then continuing with the SC52 series.

  • They used a smaller switch boot.
  • They deeply recessed the switch
  • They used a different switch that required significantly more pressure to activate.

The result is excellent. Because the switch is deeply recessed, the structure of the light tends to hold clothing and objects in your pocket away from the switch boot. If something does touch the boot, the extra pressure required to activate makes pocket activation less likely.

At the same time, the switch is actually still very easy to locate by feel … much easier than the tiny protruding switch of an SP10. The Zebralight’s deep recess for the switch acts to funnel the thumb directly to the boot.

Result is a light like the SC600 or SC52 can be pocket-carried without lockout and with minimal chance of accidental pocket activation. Yes, there is still a chance it could accidentally activate in the pocket, but that chance is quite low. Much lower than with any other sideswitch light I’ve tried.

Unfortunately, Zebralight changed their switch again and their latest designs don’t quite recess the switch as much. The SC53, SC64 and SC5wII have less secure switches that aren’t quite as well built to resist accidental pocket activation as the SC52.

And then there’s lights like the SP10.
In the SP10, zero design effort was made to resist accidental pocket activation. The button is small, but it is metal, protrudes outside the body of the light, and requires no special pressure to activate. With this light, its either glue a washer around the button or use lockout.

I have a couple SP10s that I modded with Mtn 15mm drivers with Emisar D4 firmware. I also added rings cut from sheet aluminum around the buttons, which turned the protruding buttons into flush buttons. This helps, but still not enough that I would consider pocket carrying one without using lockout.

Of course this problem isn’t unique to sideswitch lights.
Many tailcap lights also have the same problem. Especially so ones with electronic switches that tend to require less travel to activate like the FW3A. This is why every FW3A I have has received the o-ring mod. Some of them have quite strong switches now. My stiffest FW3A switch requires more than 5 lbs of pressure to activate … easily enough that it can be safely pocket-carried without using any form of lockout.

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I think the best solution to prevent accidental pocket activation might be something along the following:

  • Insert a sensor or some kind into the light that detects if anything is within an inch of the lens.
  • When you press the button to the turn the light on, the first thing that happens is the light activates the proximity sensor.
  • The light only turns on if the proximity sensor does not detect something next to the lens.

If it worked, you could have a pocket EDC light with a big easy-to-find protruding button, with no need to lock it out and no accidental pocket activation.

How to implement this? … no idea. I’m not an engineer. IR sensor maybe? Or maybe have the main LED turn on at 0.001 lumen moonlight and if the sensor registers a change in brightness when that happens, then the light does not turn on in higher power modes?

Forsythe P. Jones
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Quote:
Insert a sensor or some kind into the light that detects if anything is within an inch of the lens.
This would complicate the hardware, and also be set off by anything in front of the lens on purpose, such as a filter or diffuser. The basic issue is the pushbutton so I hope it is possible to fix the pushbutton.
Lumen9000
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The best thing is to just turn it a quarter turn to electrically de attach the spring side.

Firelight2
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Lumen9000 wrote:
The best thing is to just turn it a quarter turn to electrically de attach the spring side.

That certainly works.

But one of the nice things about a pocket EDC is how it can be yanked out of the pocket with one hand to instantly give light.

If you use tailcap lockout you probably need 2-hands to unlock it. This slows down the process and removes much of the convenience.

Forsythe P. Jones
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Quote:
The best thing is to just turn it a quarter turn to electrically de attach the spring side.
That sounds like it relies on insulation from the anodization in the threads, so a tiny pinhole could defeat it. Doesn’t seem good. In fact one reason I like titanium lights is they’re not anodized, so the threads give an additional conductance path.
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Got my Sofirn SC21 today.

My initial impressions:

What I like:

  • Fairly good output for a 16340 light.
  • Small, but not the smallest 16340 light. The Eagletac D25C is smaller. The Wowtac W1 is much smaller (and also has onboard charging).
  • Rubber cap for charging port is well done. It fits securely in its slot and doesn’t feel flimsy or too thin.
  • Feels good in hand.
  • Looks cute
  • Low cost

What I don’t like:

  • Due to protruding button, the risk of accidental pocket activation is high. Using mechanical or electronic lockout is a must when pocket-EDC’ing this light.
  • I do not like the clip. It’s not that the clip is poorly implemented. It’s ok. It stays on the light better than the similar clip on my Thrunite T1. However, I’m not a fan of bi-directional clips since they tend to be harder to use and contain unneeded mass. I also think a black-colored clip would look a bit nicer on this light.
  • The tailcap magnet is not removable. This is surprising, because the tailcap spring is of the type commonly used with removable magnets, but they glued the magnet.
  • The bezel is glued, making modding difficult.

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Managed to break the thread locker and unscrew the bezel without damaging the anodizing. Not too difficult to remove. Thankfully they didn’t use Jetbeam levels of threadlocker.

Inside is an 18mm copper star.

Lumen9000
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Firelight2 wrote:
Managed to break the thread locker and unscrew the bezel without damaging the anodizing. Not too difficult to remove. Thankfully they didn’t use Jetbeam levels of threadlocker.

Inside is an 18mm copper star.


How does it hold up performance wise? Quick drop from high or does it seem to be a good EDC in cooler conditions for 20-60 mins?
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Is the driver compatible with sc31pro host?

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I think there is significant drain while 4click lock. Some readings recently, torch not used apart from checking it’s 4click locked.

Locked
11:11 26-Oct-21
SC21 3.973
09:40 28-Oct-21
SC21 3.808
15:14 30-Oct-21
SC21 3.665

Unlocked
10:24 01-Nov-21
SC21 3.666

Locked
15:06 03-Nov-21
SC21 3.602

Recharging to test again.

d_t_a
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Sillen wrote:
I think there is significant drain while 4click lock. Some readings recently, torch not used apart from checking it’s 4click locked.

Locked
11:11 26-Oct-21
SC21 3.973
09:40 28-Oct-21
SC21 3.808
15:14 30-Oct-21
SC21 3.665

Unlocked
10:24 01-Nov-21
SC21 3.666

Locked
15:06 03-Nov-21
SC21 3.602

Recharging to test again.

After reading your report, I decided to try measuring the idle drain on my Sofirn SC21: (maybe someone else can also try confirm testing, as my meter and measuring may not be that precise)

while Off (not Locked-out): 0.07mA
while Off and in Lock-out mode: 2.8mA (this seems fairly high parasitic drain)

It seems Lockout mode does consume a fairly high amount of power

(Side comment: I can think of the Skilhunt M150 which also had a similar issue: while Off, the idle drain is OK, but when in Lock-out mode, it also had high parasitic drain https://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1648349#comment-1648349 (Skilhunt M150 also uses around 4mA when in Lockout mode, but when not Locked out, it has very load idle current)

darosk
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I never use lockout modes myself, but that seems significant and a cause for concern.

Hopefully Barry or someone else from Sofirn can comment and/or look into it?

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Kinda like The Cave Man (EA8). Normal “off” is actually standby mode (blinky button-switch), and will eat through those alkaleaks in a hurry, often just days. Proper off is extremely low drain, lasts a looooong time.

Just easier to pull the cells entirely to not screw up the modes, and I’d never leave alkaleaks in a pricey light at all anyway, so…

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I have two SC21s and have experienced the high drain while using electronic lockout with both. From fully charged batteries to will not even come on in about two weeks. Put the batteries in my charger and sure enough, voltage has dropped to the point where they show zero of four bars. This is not an intermittent problem, but happens consistently. I have commented on this earlier. Then there is the concern with the protruding (and easily activated) power button, An otherwise nicely priced and good performing light is held back by these issues.

Let the Darkness become As Day.

mortuus
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anyone have this in the 2700k tint ? seems like a good deal getting below 3000k tint in this kind of light. Shame about the high drain issues that shouldnt happen.

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trakcon
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Sillen wrote:
I think there is significant drain while 4click lock. Some readings recently, torch not used apart from checking it’s 4click locked.

Locked
11:11 26-Oct-21
SC21 3.973
09:40 28-Oct-21
SC21 3.808
15:14 30-Oct-21
SC21 3.665

Unlocked
10:24 01-Nov-21
SC21 3.666

Locked
15:06 03-Nov-21
SC21 3.602

Recharging to test again.

I had the same problem. It’s kept me from using the light since I can’t trust that it won’t just kill batteries for fun.

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Just tested my SC21 using a benchtop power supply set to 4.20VDC and a Tektronix TX3 DMM wired inline.
Light off= 41uA.
Light in lockout= 60uA.
I watched it for a while and the current stayed steady, no pulses or change in current.
I’m topping up the battery now and I will leave it in lock out for a week to see what happens.

PBWilson
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I got one a little while ago and I really like it. It’s quite small and fits perfectly into a small gear pouch like it was made for it. Yeah, the battery life isn’t quite the same compared to a 18350, but it’s easy to charge with one of the zillion charging cables I’ve got laying around these days. I just think it hits above its weight class for a very easy to carry light with quality construction.

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Anyone tried to open the SC21 up? mine just stopped working and its not from the battery side. The led and copper plate seems fine. Must be driver/ charging are. Does not want to be unscrewed. starting to wonder if they have glued it in place..

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Lumen9000 wrote:
Anyone tried to open the SC21 up? mine just stopped working and its not from the battery side. The led and copper plate seems fine. Must be driver/ charging are. Does not want to be unscrewed. starting to wonder if they have glued it in place..

I opened one a while back. There was a huge amount of red loctite. I had to sandwich it between two pieces of wood at the flat part of the cooling fins, and then use locking pliers with leather on the bezel.

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trakcon wrote:
Lumen9000 wrote:
Anyone tried to open the SC21 up? mine just stopped working and its not from the battery side. The led and copper plate seems fine. Must be driver/ charging are. Does not want to be unscrewed. starting to wonder if they have glued it in place..

I opened one a while back. There was a huge amount of red loctite. I had to sandwich it between two pieces of wood at the flat part of the cooling fins, and then use locking pliers with leather on the bezel.

The top is opened, but i have problems with taking out the driver, the PCB that meets the batterie’s positive end. I believe after some research that they glue them in place… Pure ultra violence in small scale will commence!

trakcon
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Lumen9000 wrote:
trakcon wrote:
Lumen9000 wrote:
Anyone tried to open the SC21 up? mine just stopped working and its not from the battery side. The led and copper plate seems fine. Must be driver/ charging are. Does not want to be unscrewed. starting to wonder if they have glued it in place..

I opened one a while back. There was a huge amount of red loctite. I had to sandwich it between two pieces of wood at the flat part of the cooling fins, and then use locking pliers with leather on the bezel.

The top is opened, but i have problems with taking out the driver, the PCB that meets the batterie’s positive end. A believe after some research that they glue them in place… Pure ultra violence in small scale will commence!

That sounds familiar, too.

d_t_a
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TexasToasted wrote:
Just tested my SC21 using a benchtop power supply set to 4.20VDC and a Tektronix TX3 DMM wired inline. Light off= 41uA. Light in lockout= 60uA. I watched it for a while and the current stayed steady, no pulses or change in current. I’m topping up the battery now and I will leave it in lock out for a week to see what happens.

Yours has low idle/quiescent current… I wonder if yours may be from a different batch?
(my SC21 were ordered around last week of September from Sofirn/AliExpress, and they arrived around last week of October).

I have the SC21 with 5000k, 4000k, 2700k and all of them have high parasitic drain when in Lock-out mode.

mortuus
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d_t_a wrote:
TexasToasted wrote:
Just tested my SC21 using a benchtop power supply set to 4.20VDC and a Tektronix TX3 DMM wired inline. Light off= 41uA. Light in lockout= 60uA. I watched it for a while and the current stayed steady, no pulses or change in current. I’m topping up the battery now and I will leave it in lock out for a week to see what happens.

Yours has low idle/quiescent current… I wonder if yours may be from a different batch?
(my SC21 were ordered around last week of September from Sofirn/AliExpress, and they arrived around last week of October).

I have the SC21 with 5000k, 4000k, 2700k and all of them have high parasitic drain when in Lock-out mode.

how is the 2700k tint ? dta ?

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Lumen9000
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mortuus wrote:
d_t_a wrote:
TexasToasted wrote:
Just tested my SC21 using a benchtop power supply set to 4.20VDC and a Tektronix TX3 DMM wired inline. Light off= 41uA. Light in lockout= 60uA. I watched it for a while and the current stayed steady, no pulses or change in current. I’m topping up the battery now and I will leave it in lock out for a week to see what happens.

Yours has low idle/quiescent current… I wonder if yours may be from a different batch?
(my SC21 were ordered around last week of September from Sofirn/AliExpress, and they arrived around last week of October).

I have the SC21 with 5000k, 4000k, 2700k and all of them have high parasitic drain when in Lock-out mode.

how is the 2700k tint ? dta ?

My favourite, but i’m kind of a sucker for the old incadescent bulb-light kind of thing.

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1) 

Left:Sofirn SC21 (LH351D 2700k)

Right: Sofirn SC21 (LH351D 4000k)

   (at the end part of the video, the 5000k is also shown)

  (pardon my old digicam doesn't seem to focus warm color temperature and relatively low brightness that well, so there are parts of the video that gets defocused)

 

2)   (just very recently, someone was able to order for me from Amazon the Lee green filter, which I have been wanting to try for some years now, this is my first attempt to try it on the flashlight)

Left: Sofirn SC21 (LH351D 5000k, with minus 1/4 green Lee filter)

Right: Sofirn SC21 (LH351D 5000k, stock)

(comment: there is a noticeable slight drop in brightness when using the minus 1/4 green Lee filter, probably something like 10% or so drop in brightness

BUT, the beam now looks much nicer)

 

 

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great videos thanks.

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