Review: XM-L P60 Drop-In from Int'l Outdoor Store

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Foy
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Review: XM-L P60 Drop-In from Int'l Outdoor Store

Foy Finally Discovers Neutral White

 

These three drop-ins have introduced this humble scribe to tint. I used to think everything was secondary to lumens but the detail rendition of a proper neutral (not tan or some other 'color') has demonstrated to me beyond all doubt the value of tint. I can tell you that an XM-L driven to 3 amps is hardly dim and given what we know about gains above 3.5 amps, overdriven lights (as fun as they are) are begining to impress me less and less. These XM-L modules from Int'l Outdoor Store are extremely bright without washing everything out into a cold, unrealistic white and they are . . .

 Foyapproved

 

Bottom line:   Int'l Outdoor Store's newest (and only?) entry into the ultra-competitive P60 market carrys with it perhaps, higher expectations that we in "the community" might demand from other sellers. However steep $23 may seem for a P60 drop-in, remember that a Nailbender for example, is regularly sold out at double or even triple that amount. That being said, it's hard to imagine those pricier products performing much better than this fine piece of work.  I promise; you will not be disappointed.

 

What I like:

- tint

- simple UI/well spaced modes

- output

- beam pattern

- potted

- brass cover

- clear, soft rubber reflector pad

- included "wrap" strips

What I do not like:

- heat wrap too thick ?  (all I could think of)

 

XM-L Drop-In Module for P60 Style Flashlights

$23.00  Int'l Outdoor Store  http://www.intl-outdoor.com/xml-u2-p60-dropin-module-p-336.html 

ordered:  3-26-12

received: 4-16-12

Cree XM-L/T6 emitter in 3C neutral white

rated 3.0 amps max on high

working voltage: 2.7 to 4.5 volts

low voltage protection: 2.7 volts

overheat protection: 55-60c

descending, 3-mode UI: high (100%) medium (35%) and low (3%)

copper base/brass pill

brass top cover plate over electronics

full thermal potting

31.5mm total length, 22mm reflector height, 26.5mm reflector diameter

Tail cap draw using a Solarforce L2P and unprotected Panasonic 18650/2350 charged to 4.22 volts.

module #1:

high 2.96 amps
medium  .92
low .07

module #2:

high 3.0 amps
medium  .91
low .07

module #3:

high 2.97 amps
medium  .90
low .07

Run time test using a Solarforce L2X with a Trustfire flame 18650/2400.  (module #3)

Foyometer reading in dimly lit office  25
10:56pm 106
10:59 pm 95
11:14 pm 91
11:29 pm 89
11:45 pm 73
11:50 pm 60
starting voltage: 4.21v ending voltage: 3.57v

 

Modules seem very well made; soldering and reflector quality is outstanding . . .

The reflector rests on this clear, soft rubber pad. (sticky on one side)  When I tried using the drop-in without this pad, the beam pattern became unacceptably ringy.  (big time)

The bottom opening is exactly the same size as an SST-50 module I have.  When I screwed on a reflector from an UltraFire XM-L drop-in (smaller emitter opening) the beam pattern becomes horribly ringy and has significant emitter artifacts.  Clearly, emitter depth has been well thought out . . . bringing the emitter deeper into the reflector destroys the beam pattern as does having the opening tighter around the emitter.  Ya gotta use the one it comes with.

(module #1)

(module #1)

(module #1)

(module #2)

Module #2 has what at first appeared to be a crack . . .

. . . but, it looks to be some kind of stray wire?  Performance/beam pattern seem unaffected.

 (module #3)

(module #3)

You can see the results of a failed attempt to wrap one of the modules.  They aren't (very) sticky on either side and I suppose you must cut the piece a lot smaller to get it too fit.  A single strip is much too thick.

 

Like an idiot, I left my new camera on automatic so my first beam pattern shot is stupid.  I need to re-shoot the whole damn thing because it's hard to comapre when the exposure is so different.  Anyway, this is what I have right now . . .

Left is a 3-mode UltraFire XM-L (sku5720) and right is IO module #1.

Left is module #2 and right is module # 1.

Left is module #3 and right is module #1.  I show this because module #1 is slightly cooler than the other two and is actually my favorite of the three.

I guess I suck at drop-in reviews but hopefully you can get an idea of what you're buying.  This is probably one of the best P60 modules available right now, in my opinion.

 

Foy

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Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:27
mrbios
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Foy, do You recommend us NW or CW drop-ins? What are outstanding?

mrbios
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I just newer owned U2 XML, but Your impressions about neutral make me doubt. I had a NW Xeno and it was not as bright as CW Xeno in direct comparing, making my choice CW at that moment. Same thing was when I compared Zebralight H51 and H51w...

Foy
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I guess it's personal preference but after having these drop-ins I now prefer neutral white.

 

Foy

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mrbios
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Are NW comparable dimmer than CW for naked eye?

Foy
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IO does say that the NW is slightly less bright that the CL.  What I said in the review was that the hardly noticeable difference in output is a small price to pay for having colors rendered more accurately.

 

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Thanks Foy again for an informative review. Just by coincedence I have just recieved my first P60 components today from MF, Ultrafire 3 mode T6 drop in and a 504B host. Are you planning outdoor shots? What colour would you suggest the Ultrafire dropin is compared to the IOS dropins. Thanks.

 

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my9221
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Nice pics & reviews. How do you think the Ultrafire is brighter & decent price as well?

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Nice work Foy. I think you made me buy at least one.Wink

 

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Erzengel
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The NW XM-L T6 will be ca. 7% dimmer, than the CW XM-L U2 and as bright as a common XM-L T6 CW.

This 7% difference is hardly noticeable by the eye. 

Rusty Joe
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Good review, Foy.

I have just the CW version and it's the brightest P60 drop-in I have and one of my brighter XM-Ls for sure. It's a little bluish for my liking, but is certainly intense. The only thing that kinda irks me is that ever so often, it takes a split-second longer to come on when the button is clicked in. Hardly a bother though.

When a fire alarm went off at the facility where I work, this thing got a good workout with a 35-minute run on medium. No dimming and tremendous output. It did get quite hot to the touch! 

Now I'm interested in a NW one. 

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Foy,

Thanks for the detailed review.

I have come to the same conclusion regarding tint and color rendering. I used to be a pure lumen junkie (hey, that sounds like a great username!) but have since discovered a preference of either NW or even WW over the sometimes harsh CW tints of XPG and XML emitters.  Pure lumen output is not necessarily the whole story when it comes to the "best" illumination, whether outdoors, or especially indoors. Unfortunately, many, if not the majority, of the overseas budget manufacturers default to the cooler tints (6000K), along with the annoying strobe and SOS modes. 

My lights here and here

 

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Great job, Foy, thanks for taking the time.

fidem, prae caeteris omnibus praeter honestatem

 

 

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Next step -High CRI

What I do

 

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Good review Foy. Two things, can you show a pic of the solder joints where the driver leads attach to the star and how are the drivers fastened into the pill? I see a couple of tiny solder joints in the holes of two of the dropins but none on the other.

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

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Very interesting review, Foy! Thanks a lot for mentioning this option in P60 dropins. Pity it's rather expensive, but as you mentioned, relatively speaking it's a very reasonable price.

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"Foy Finally Discovers Neutral White" .... better late than never, but before you go all out on neutral... buy some high CRI emitters. It's  a natural progression CW->NW->HC.

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Hill wrote:

Foy,

Thanks for the detailed review.

I have come to the same conclusion regarding tint and color rendering. I used to be a pure lumen junkie (hey, that sounds like a great username!) but have since discovered a preference of either NW or even WW over the sometimes harsh CW tints of XPG and XML emitters.  Pure lumen output is not necessarily the whole story when it comes to the "best" illumination, whether outdoors, or especially indoors. Unfortunately, many, if not the majority, of the overseas budget manufacturers default to the cooler tints (6000K), along with the annoying strobe and SOS modes. 

+1 on all that. Foy - thanks for the review!

I never used to think much about tint, until I got to see a few different tints in the T6 and immediately saw how it affected what I perceived about tints. It's interesting if you can get several tints and look at them for yourself, not on a white wall, but outside in the real world. I like some of the NW, but I'm ending up being on the border, where the white is really white without blue bleeding into it. Oddly enough, inside the house I prefer a NW bordering on warm. The incandescent look.

"The Best Illumination" for anyone, is with your own eyes. It's the only way to figure it out. You can look at photos all day, but you have to try them out on your own, to know what you like. It's a very individual thing.

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Thanks, Foy. A great (and very useful) review.

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thanks for the review Foy! I also got my neutral and I agree with your statements..also would like to add a pro to these drop-ins..lack of PWM or too high of a frequency to detect..this thing is worth 23$ and i'm really starting to dig the neutral..

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Thanks for the review Foy! 

I like it but I'll stick with the cheaper 3 mode manafont drop-in's in which I have 3 that haven't let me down yet.  Maybe if the price drops a bit I'll have to give them a try since I just ordered 2 more ultrafire wf-501a's.

 

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Another one here too, very pleased so far. Little blemish on the emmiter also but not crack like, more chip.

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LOL, nice to see some other folks jumping onto the NW ship.

I sort of look at Cool White as going hand-in-hand with SOS and strobe modes. The brightness (glare) and blinky modes impress non-flashaholics, but the folks in the know prefer a more realistic tint and no blinkies. Just my opinion, but I think it is part of the flashaholics journey from the "wow, is that ever bright" stage to the "I really like the way that beam looks, and its tint" stage.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

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lang - I briefly tried to remove the brass cover for a peek inside.  I guess that's why I bought three; so I could accidently de-dome one but I like these so much . . . I also want a look inside so, I will be taking off one of the covers, soon.

I knew comparison questions to sku 5720 were inevitable but the truth is; they are two entirely different products.  One is not "better," in my opinion.  My affection for the UF XM-L from Manafont is well documented and I still think it should be one of the first P60 modules a newbie gets.  This drop-in from IO has a different purpose and is perhaps aimed at a different user.

If you're like me (perish the thought) and have a bevy of CW modules, all purchased with lumens/amps expectations, this is a not-so-expensive way to broaden your understanding a bit.  Tint differences can be subtle and I'm starting to believe it's a progression for some people that can only be fully appreciated after wading through an ocean of cool white brightness/sameness.

I poo-pooed it for a long time but I was wrong.  Tint matters.  Everything we see is the result of light reflecting from the object we are looking at.  The color, tone, contrast, tint and yes, even the brighteness determines how we perceive what we are seeing.  Like all light, any beam from a flashlight changes the color of what we are seeing.  We use a fancy word like "render" but it's perfect.  I have a WW that renders everything bright gold.  I hate it.  Nearly all my Manafont XM-Ls wash everything brilliantly white.  Under a dark car where I absolutely need serious lumens and nothing else, I love it.  But around the house or, walking the dog for example, I want a green bush to stay green.  With these drop-ins, in pitch-black dark my yellow cat "Ted" looks about like he does during the day.  That's a pretty neat trick and I like it.  I like it a lot.

 

Foy

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Ive been on the NW drugs since I joined this forum, and have been trying to get others on the neutral bandwagon, or to at least try it out. 

Most common observation is the concept of tint is commonly discussed by many people, and the question of wanting a "neutral" white is commonly agreed upon, however its the definition of what constitutes "neutral" that varies between those who Have seen a warmer colour temp tint, and those who have not. 

Those who have only seen CW tints, will be referring to the more greenish, or the slightly pinkish tints, and will find some of their torches more "neutral" than others, but once you have seen a true 4-5000kelvin tinted emitter, the concept of neutral is completely blown away and mostly then begins to refer to the colour temp as well as green/pink shifting. What was once your "neutral" cool white tint, becomes a ghastly blue colour and something that isn't as nice as it used to be. 

This was my personal experience, but It was during the times when XP-E and XP-Gs were new to the block, and in those days, cool whites were Really cool. At least todays XM-Ls CWs are not as crazy blue.

So what am I saying?   Everyone NEEEDs to give a Neutral white a go. That means tints from the 3-4-5 bins from cree. (or the 4-5000 kelvin colour temp)

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My NW 2.8 has just failed Sad well it still works but it is now single mode only. Anybody else had this?

 

Edit, it works again, how strange, tried disassembly and retighten, new cells etc etc, left it a day or so then it just returned to normal.

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I gave up on the total lumens rat-race a while back, and now concentrate more on a great beam, which gives me more natural colours.

And it is hard for LED's as LED's intrinsically have a narrow emission region.  LED manufacturers spend a lot of time and money to try to duplicate the wider distribution of a well-driven incandescent bulb.  When spending time outdoors at night, a well regulated bulb still reins supreme for my eyes (a SF M6 with my own PhD-M6 regulated pack driving an MN61 is perfect), but the Neutral White LED's are improving, every day getting better.

I recently got the Nichia 4500, 92 CRI LED's, and they are the best I have seen so far - really good for being an LED, and I converted my Sunwayman V10R Ti+ to the Nichia 219 as soon as I could Smile

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Thanks for the review.  Been thinking of a neutral drop-in and decided on a whim to give these a try.  Will admit that they seem a little pricey for what you're getting.  But, I pulled the trigger and now have to wait the 2-3 weeks for it to arrive.  We'll see how it turns out.

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Is there any PWM on low or medium with this dropin? The Manafont Ultrafire has super annoying PWM on low and medium, been looking for a replacement for a while. 

Foy
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There is small PWM on medium, very fine and fast when I shine it directly at the camera and almost nothing on low . . . which tells me there is no PWM to the eye.

 

Foy

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Thanks for the info! Also, does it always come in on high, or is there mode memory?

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