Beginner needs help

So, I have a few AA budget lights and am enjoying them...but...I'd like to take the next step into 18650. It seems to me that this is where most of the action is. The choice of lights is overwhelming...the Ultrafire 501's seem to be everywhere for next to nothing, not to mention so many others that are similar. Is there a 'go-to' beginner's model, so to speak, something that has some wow factor, inexpensive and won't take a PHd to get running? Also need a cheap charger and batteries that won't kill me! Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated...ordering from these HK outlets appears to be a crapshoot in many cases...thanks!


There are a number of different lights that are well suited for a beginner. Single cell lithium ion flashlights are pretty safe, especially if you use protected cells. I would recommend going for a good host flashlight and combine it with a desired drop-in since it gives you wider options to choose from. The only thing one need to know and do when using p60/module host drop in lights is improving their heat sinking. This is typically done with strips of cut up aluminum beverage cans. While it may seem complicated it isn't exactly PhD stuff and the payoff is that you get more options to choose from.

There are plenty of hosts to chose from. Both with and without drop-in modules included.

One of the better hosts (for the price) is the skyray S-R5, if one like its looks that is. Other good hosts include most of solarforces drop-in capable offerings.

As for drop-in modules: there are countless different ones to choose from. Depending on what you like in a flashlight there are different ones to suit different needs. If you need something that can be both blindingly bright and provide a pretty good runtime at a lower level while at the same time avoiding flashing modes like strobe and SOS, then this Cree XM-L based drop in might be one of the better choices.

Add to this a can of your favorite canned beverage, a pack of hi-max 18650 cells and an xtar wp2 charger (or this or this charger) and you're all set.

I'd say that the best place to start would not be a P60 type light though they are fun and easy to swap bits around till you get what you want.

You are limited by reflector size and heatsinking ability.

I like the Lumapower MRV, my comments are to be found here

And in various other places. I got 34 hours continuous runtime on low.

Manafont will be happy to sell you one.

For a more modern LED and quite a bit more light (Though the MRV gives plenty for most purposes - not that this ever stopped us round here) you could look at the Yezl Y6 from or the EastwardYJ J06

The usual recommendation round here for a charger is the Xtar WP2 - I don't own one of these but the people who do appear to be very happy with them.

Cells - the protected red and black (Flame) Trustfires from DX are decently priced and perform pretty well. There are fakes out there, but DX has not been known to supply bad ones.

Have you decided what kind of emitter do you want? Cree XP-G or XM-L? Do you want a thrower or a more floody light? Do you own a digital multimeter? If I were to start all over again.... I would get a Solarfarce (fake Solarforce but good quality) or a SKY RAY S-R5 host and a nice R5-Dropin (Solarforce maybe?).... or if you want a lot of wow factor the Manafont XM-L dropin(but there will be heat issues with the host when you run it on high with XM-L ... maybe not the best beginners choice).

P.S.: Spambot was faster at the draw than Vectrex....

I can reccomend they skyray body from MF if you like it. They also have the best 5 mode R5 dropin by far. I have/had quite alot of those and the ultrafire 5 mode R5 beats them easily by quality, assembly and driver. Even soldering is decent! Price is decent but if you also look at the quality is awesome.

Dont forget to foil wrap the dropin. :)

"Also need a cheap charger and batteries that won't kill me!"

XTAR MP1 or WP2 whichever suits you better. Well worth the price and not expensive either.

Manafont is shipping out different models of that R5 drop-in... with green driver and Ultrafire logo and also ones with red driver. Green ones are excellent... red are only OK.

Enough said, you can try to fix it and surely is very fun but you can't...

dx HAS supplied me with plenty of bad red flame trustfire 18650. which is why you should look at other brands.

himax and tenergy come to mind

Thanks for the great recommendations...I'd like to try an XM-L emitter...plenty of options for a newb. I'll let ya know what I come up with!


buy anything else .. solar force for example .. 501 is just the worst imho 504 much better 502 cheap but better and nicer lines softer .. i dislike about 4% of my lights 501's are 2 of them // aurgh...