Real Vs. Fake: Solarforce L2m

Remember the KD special on the L2m body that included an XM-L dropin for $20? I got it today in the mail.

Coincidentally, I also received an L2m from the same day. Here is the photo of both, side by side.

Which one is a real Solarforce, and which is the fake?

If you guessed the real one is the one that says 'Solarforce" on it, you would be wrong. The real Solarforce is on the right, with the stainless steel PREMIUM bezel on it. The fake has the cheap SS bezel that does not extend past the head of the light. Sorry about the dust on the trunk of the Bimmer, it's not my car.

The fake in the photo below is the KD that came with the emitter already installed. The real S/F was a host only, despite the fact that they were both the same price.

The fake is longer, but it tailstands, if that is important to you. The fake also came with a lanyard, the real one did not.

The internals of the tailcap switch visible here. The fake has the standard screw-in switch, I have no clue how to remove the switch from the real one.

Which is too bad, because guess what? The fake L2m came with nice lube on the threads and o-rings, and everything worked perfectly.

The real L2m came with the switch DOA (dead on arrival). The clicky tailswitch won't click. It's like there is something blocking it, I can't press it down enough to actually get a "click" out of it. Anyone know how to repair it? PROBLEM RESOLVED, IT WAS USER ERROR See posts farther down this thread, operation of the clicky on the Solarforce light is different, it is a twist-on, twist-off light.

The REAL S/F has the solarforce URL in the tailcap along with "HA III"

But bottom line, the KD is s steal for the money, it's like getting a free XM-L drop-in.

Now I have to figure out how to fix the $20 budget host with the bad switch.


It looks like you got the L2m bundled with the premium bezel and S7 switch. With the S7 is basically a twisty that can be pushed for momentary activation if it's unscrewed less than 90 degrees. I have some comments about it here:

Try to remove the switch in Solarforce. Just unscrew it from the tailcap.

From Solarforce USA:

For $20, you get the L2m body with the standard switch and the 16340 extension which will make it big enough for an 18650 if you desire.

LOL, I'm confused. So the switch works, I just have to twist it 90 degrees? I'm at work, will try it later.

Thanks ronparr

Completely tightening the the cap should turn the light on. If it doesn't then something is wrong. From the fully tightened position, if you loosen the cap just a little, you will be able to get momentary on by pushing on the rubber switch, but there will be no click and once you release pressure on the switch, the light will go off again.

I like the look of the fake better, which is a good thing because I ordered the same one from KD when that deal was posted. I've been jonesin' BAD for it to arrive and you've gone and got me all excited again. Thanks a lot! Sure hope mine comes in soon!!

This is copied from the feedback on the KD site regarding the Solarforce L2M.

Weaknesses:Either old stock (pre 2009 solarforce) or another manufacturer using the solarforce name. Only bored 17mm nnot 19mm like new style Solarforce L2m's. Knurling is different from new Solarforce L2m and also does not come with extension tube.

Is this true and does it make much of a difference in what batteries one can use?

It means you can only use a 16340 Li-Ion and can’t add the extension tube and use an 18650 Li-Ion instead.

The fake L2m also has a spring in the back so even protected batteries should fit fine. The spring tension is sufficient to hold a "flame" TF 16340 in place without any rattling unless you go out of your way to shake the light like a polaroid picture. *cue Outkast song*

Just out of curiousity, am I correct in assuming tht this would be the correct extension tube:

Are the fake and the real compatible with each other?

Yes - that would be the right tube. I got an L2m body from KD two years ago and it seems fully compatible with all of my other Solarforce parts. I actually don't know if my L2m body is fake and it's not even clear if the L2m bodies KD is currently selling are fake. It does seem that the switches are not authentic SF because SF does not make a switch like that.

Please keep in mind that, as mentioned on KD and in this thread, the L2m body from KD probably won't be wide enough for an 18mm battery, so if you add the extension tube you'd be limited to 2x16340 or, possibly, 1x17670.

The newer, authentic L2m bodies are wide enogh to handle an 18650 with an extension tube.

You are correct sir, I just did not have a cr123 battery with me when I wrote teh OP. The Solarforce tailcap work fine, but it is a two-handed operation. Tighten it all the way, you get "light on" at whatever mode you used last. The only way to change modes is like an aTp AAA, where you tighten/loosen/tighten/loosen, and every time you do you go to the next mode. You can also change modes before you twist the light on my using the Temporary On push at the tailcap. It will stay lit as long as you keep pushing, it never clicks on. You can also press/release to change modes, but not when the "twist on" setting is on. Hope that makes sense, no instructions come with the body.

BTW, the tailcaps on the fake and the real S/F are interchangeable. They are both nice lights, but in all honesty, if you want a mini-p60 host, I think the Ultrafire 501a is a better choice just because it is smaller in diameter, and it is only 6 bucks. These two lights have standard sized p60 heads on them, the 501A is more narrow.

Glad you're getting it sorted out.

I don't need it, but I think I'll add a 501a to my next order from Manafont just because it's so cheap and I'm curious about it now. I'll also mention another option for folks who have a bunch of L2 compatible parts around: You can get just the L2m tube from solarforce sales for $8. If you have an extra head and switch around or don't mind borrowing them from a full sized L2, this is a cheap an easy way to try the (R)CR123 option while saying compatible with your other stuff.

Here is a comparison shot of 3 mini-P60 hosts.

On the left is a standard cheapy Ultrafire 501B full-size P60 host.

Next to it is a JetBeam BC10 AA light

The mini that says "Solarforce" is the KD fake (or an old style?) that was $20 including an XM-L.

**NOTE** the XM-L that came with the KD fake Solarforce does not like 3v Cr123 batteries. It much prefers the 3.7v rechargeable ones.

Then the $20 Solarforce L2m with the included premium bezel

Next is the Ultrafire 501a that you can get for $6 at MF

THen the standard Solarforce L2 for comparison.

trooplewis, can you comment on the tint of the KD light vs the MF drop in?

I'll check them out after it gets dark here, (and after I run the 8 Eneloops down on my new TK41!).

I've done this. It's bright, but it is a step down from an 18650. I'd say high with a 16340 is closer to medium with an 18650 than high with an 18650.

Here's my real L2m . . .

And, I think I ordered that fake L2m the same day you did troop. Are you sure the envelope doesn't have my name on it? Maybe it's because San Diego is closer to China than Las Vegas.