Any disappointment in your flashlights regulation and/or output?

As my collection grows I’m finding a sticking point with more and more lights. Consistency of the output. And I’m not just talking about if a light is regulated or not, for instance my SK68’s have a fairly stable output on either NiMH or a 14500 only notably dimming heavily at the very end. In fact I have no issue with these being direct drive at all.

My issue is with single cell lights that are driven hard but must fall out of regulation quite early.

To list some culprits:

-BLF Trustfire Mini-01
-Trustfire Z8
-Solarforce XM-L U2 drop in (when used with 1xRCR or 1x14500)

In all of the above cases a fresh off the charger battery performs very well in them. But after a couple of days use the high modes become much dimmer. For me this is two points of concern:

-Actual total “on” time is relatively low
-The fact that the light output dims far more dramatically than my non regulated SK68’s.

I’ve noticed it on some of my 18650 lights too such as my Ultrafire XM-L T6 p60 drop in, the above mentioned Solarforce XM-L U2 drop in and some others. Although they do offer higher output for longer, but still the drop in output is noticeable and can happen quite quickly.

Oddly I’d say it’s more noticeable and worse than my Crelant V9CS which isn’t even regulated on an 18650.

So what’s my point?

Well is it that you do get what you pay for?

On the flip side I have a Klarus (16650 or 2xRCR) and an EagleTac (18650). Both of these seem to maintain almost the exact same output (visually) with no noticeable dimming at all, right up until the point that the cell can no longer maintain high and the light will drop to Mid. I do admit these are XP-G and may not offer the same total lumens as some of the above XM-Ls.

So my observation is that my ‘premium’ single cell lights massively out perform all of my other lights in terms of regulated light output. And I think I actually prefer non regulated lights over the poor regulation of things like the BLF Mini.

I would say on lights that can support 2xli-ion batteries (Crelant V9CS/Solarforce XM-L U2) they perform much better on the higher voltages offered by two batteries.

ok enough of my ramblings…. :smiley:

Anyone else noticed similar?

I’m into small single-cell EDC AA/14500 lights with efficient sub-lumen modes, and that limits my playing field to four main manufacturers - Foursevens, Eagletac, ThruNite and Zebralight. ZL seems to keep coming out with spec sheets that compete with the dual cell lights of the other three manufacturers - so, it’s effectively saying it is twice as powerful and efficient as any other single AA. I call BS.

Using my DSLR as a lumen meter and objectively measuring these lights, including running some random side-by-side runtime tests, I find that Zebralight/the SC52:

1) Operates on a different lumen scale that the other three manufacturers - about 25-30% more “liberal.” This triangulates with the “official” reviews of the other Board (but let’s give some leeway here as some manufacturers choose to be conservative and some liberal).
2) Accounting for the lumen scale difference, this light might arguably meet it’s max specification, but only for a minute or two while the Eneloop is ultra-fresh off the charger, and over 1.4? volts. For all practical purposes, you will never see the spec’d max.
3) Obtains its incredible L mode runtime specs - which are 2-3x as long as the competition for what are spec’d to be the SAME EXACT lumens - by actually providing 1/2-1/3rd the specified lumens!
4) is about equal to or just slight better than its closest competitors in terms of runtime efficiency.

Don’t get me wrong here folks, I happen think the SC52 is THE BEST single AA (14500) light currently out there - it is the brightest 1xAA (by ~25%, but I haven’t tested the Neutron 1A yet) and with great build quality, UI, size, efficiency, and feature set. But as far as being TWICE as bright and efficient…… B.S. and a huge disappointment.

Unfortunately (for me, YMMV) the integrity of the manufacturer and its policies bring down what is otherwise a great product by:

- over exaggeration and slimy tricks on its spec sheets

  • not standing behind its product with the shortest warranty in the industry, yet with what appears to be weak rankings on reliability polls, and customer service horror stories.

Example? Compare the specs of the SC52 with the specs of the Quark 2xAA-XML - the modes are near perfect lumen matches, and most of the SC52’s runtimes are longer. Then test both lights side-by-side and see what you think.

Its odd, but despite being the best light in my 1xAA collection - and I’ve found many more QC issues with the other brands - its the only light that makes feel like I’ve been cheated, or ripped off… :frowning:

(edit… ummm and my H51w as well)

I’m not dissapointed with the sc52, it does what the description on there site states. It has a lower low than the quark AA, that’s why it has a longer low low runtime.
As for the high mode and the efficiency, they got a loophole. They say do not use alkaline batteries, only Nimh, energizer lithium or 14500’s. an energizer lithium or a good eneloop will smoke an alkaline in runtime. 14500’s don’t but there more for the wow factor.
Do I feel cheated by this technological loop hole ? No, but only because alkaline is a dirty word in my household (so is incandescent)
I own 4 zebralights, and like them a lot. I don’t like how short there warranty is for how much they cost and I don’t like how there QC drops 2 months after the release date (that’s how it seems, by complaints I see)

I think .2 lumens to .2 lumens the quark is just as efficient as the sc52 on the same battery and I agree they make them selves look better on paper by adding description to there drop off in brightness. (Creative) there not the first to do it.

trustfire z8 xml zoomie: output is really disappointing (1/5th of sipik sk98)

This is why a significant number of us joined this forum in the first place.

As I see it, you have two choices, build better drivers or upgrade what you have. Not that I’d advise it, but it works for me.

This forum (more than most, but there are many others) is an excellent place to help you decide to avoid the ones that will ultimately disappoint you.

You may learn a lot more than you bargained for…


So help me understand what I’m missing then…. I don’t understand all of what you’re saying. I’ll use specs for a QP2A-X (divided by 2 for single cell where necessary):

Manufacturer specs say they have the SAME ML lows (SC52 - 0.34 lms/21 days; QAAX 0.30 lm/7.5 days)… but I meter the SC52 to be 1/3 of this spec or 0.10 lm, while the QAAX is accurate, which would account for the 3x runtime difference. Similar story with the 2.7 low modes. Agree they are roughly equally efficient, but A comparison of the specs DOES SHOW it to be 3x more efficient. Are you looking at something different? Let me know.

I don’t know what battery has to do with it, I’ve run both side-by-side on 1xEneloop, and I don’t use Alks either. The listed specs say 280 vs 140 lumens. My test showed 200 vs 160 (conservative lumen scale) at the beginning before both fell, about the same time, to 160 vs 125 for the bulk of the runtime. The SC52 did run a solid 25% brighter all the way through, but also quit about 15% earlier than the QAAX. Nowhere close to the 100% brighter picture you get from the specs.

What drop-off? Do you mean the Li-ion 1 min thing? Didn’t address that at all, I’m only comparing NiMh specs, and the a NiMh drop-off… I did say “Eneloop” in that section right? The QAAX is strict regulated to ~300 lumens, and will have its own Li-ion drop-off, and I agree the 14500 is just for show/wow factor.

The Sc52 has a third low low setting, .01 of a lumen or some crazy thing that’s why on paper it beats the QuarkX.
I haven’t done runtime tests or believe its anymore efficient. I also don’t think they lied, just picked numbers from the best possible battery chemistry.

As for runtimes, with them running on max it’s not really a fair comparison, you need to run them at a similar brightness, especially with a different amperage draw given the brightness difference

The L2 drop off numbers read like this
L2 0.34 Lm (3 weeks) / 0.06 Lm (2 months) / 0.01 Lm (3 months)

Doesn’t that mean it drops gradually? Or are those separate modes.
It doesn’t read right to me because .01 lumens sounds about right for 3 months on a Nimh.

Separate modes, and I think those were probably calculated.

But that would make four modes in the low settings?

I’m compare the same moonlight level of 0.3 between both lights…. the SC is listed as have 3x the runtime… this very mode tests not at 0.3, but at 0.10… what am I not making clear?

The max lumens test was intended to show that it cannot double the brightness of the competition as indicated by the over exaggerated specs…. yes, it’s brighter, but not by 100%. The ONLY reason I mentioned runtime there, was to show, from a pure efficiency point of view, they are pretty close.

If, as you say, we should compare runtime at a similar brightness level, then lets add the extra battery in since the QAA*2*X is listed at 280 lms for 0.8hrs while the SC52 is listed at 280 lms for 0.9 hrs.

I’ll even put money on this one, with the Quark on Alks and the SC52 on an Eneloop (I believe both spec’d batts anyway).

yes, four modes on low, you program 1 of three for L2, L1 is fixed at 2.7 (more like 1/1.5 though 14500/NiMh respectively)

I think you lost me are you compariing the Quark aaX or QuarkAA2X ? Do you have a single cell body?

As far as being twice as bright as its competitors, they may be comparing themselves with an energizer lithium (1.8volts) against a quark with a 1.2volt alkaline

Which as we all know is like comparing apples to oranges, I’m not calling you wrong.
Shades of grey

I’m missing out in a mode? I should read more lol

I notice my “2s” were not show up on this forum if in parenthesis - corrected the one instance… for most part, I’m comparing the QAAX single cell, all 1xEneloops, both lights, except where you suggest to test 280 vs 280.

ZL lists the Eneloop 2000 mah is used on the website. Foursevens, I know, specs with the included batteries, or Alks. Sorry, there are no shades of grey - the different batteries actually EVEN FURTHER stresses the spec exaggeration.

Both batts will produce the same high, but the Eneloops will have the longer runtime on high. This works to the SC52s advantage, I contend the SC52 cannot match the QAA2X in a side by side test for either output or runtime as the listed specs AND listed batteries suggest. Battery advantage to SC52.

Additionally, Alks should easily outperform Eneloops on the low draw sub-lumen 0.3 and 2.7 low modes, yet the SC52 STILL claims both these modes, at the same lumen levels, to outperform the TWO CELL QAA2X… and with the Quark using higher capacity (in low draw applications) batteries! I’ll bet anything on this comparison… pure BS. BTW, I’ve tested the Quarks for both output and runtime before… they are accurate. I’m saying that the ZL’s runtime might be correct because they are using 1/3 of the 0.3 lumens or 0.1 lumens… I consider that to be kinda…. slimy.

BTW, the SC52 0.34 lms meters at 1/2 of it’s own sibling, my H51w, spec’d at 0.2 lms. Also, I have previously tested the H51w for moonlight runtime and found it to quite accurate.

I gotta say CarpentryHero, I do enjoy flashlight debates, especially when we can remain civil and respectful. But - and with all due respect - please try to fully understand how to operate your light before countering… eh?

Who makes this claim that the zebra out performs a Q2aaX ? I haven’t read that anywhere

I miss one mode (maybe more) because its not in any of my other zebras and I loose credibility :stuck_out_tongue:

Here’s the specs I looked at

I don’t see any wild accusations just inflated estimations.

Think we’ve hijacked this thread way too much, continued on your SC52 thread HERE