I got myself the 4-mode DRY 3*XM-L in neutral white; 97$ incl shipping from CN Quality Goods. And I'm a bit disappointed.
PRO: Bright. Compact. Good machining, lubed. Comes with Spare parts.
CON: Unhappy with the driver: Not as bright as I hoped and with noticeable PWM, even on high. Waste of diameter. Slight donut.
(More images in this thread.)
Well, yes, it is brighter (flux) than any other light I have - it's my first triple XM-L. Still, I expected more. Just did some measurements: It's (in terms of flux/total brightness)
- 30% brighter than my 5*XP-G build (~800mA each)
- 55% brighter than my Fenix TK35
- about twice as bright as good typical budget XM-L lights.
Spot intensity is 12kcd, that's a NEMA-throw of 220m (note that NEMA specifies a rather generous definition of throw, realistic values are lower.)
The currents on freshly charged batteries (protected) are 2.15A / 0.86A / 0.22A, going down to 1.8A after a few minutes of use.
I haven't yet opened it up completely and taken a look at the driver, but it seems it is a serial direct drive with PWM to get the average current down - even on high mode! The modes are
- Low, 5% PWM, 260 Hz (260 and 206 are no typo)
- Medium, 20%, PWM 206 Hz
- High, 50% PWM, 206 Hz
- Strobe, 50% PWM, 10.3 Hz
So on high the ~4A for direct drive are reduced to ~2A average by (noticeable) PWM, not really a good way of current regulation. A real constant 2A would be significantly more efficient, i.e. yield more light.
Relative to high mode, the levels are 10%/40%/100%/100% Strobe actually looks brighter than high. There's no mode memory, if you switch it off for 4-5 seconds, it'll start at low again. That's a useable setup, but may be a matter of taste.
I clearly do not like the driver. There's a 3-mode driver version, specced 4A (just direct drive without PWM on high I guess), and it seems there will be a 5-mode version soon with L-M-H-Strobe-Turbo - I guess that just adds a 'no-pwm-direct-drive' @ ~4A. I hope I can get one of those drivers, even though that isn't my idea of a good driver either.
I am thinking about modding it to a parallel setup with a 24*AMC7135 driver instead.
The body is nice, well machined, and quite compact for a 3*18650 (15cm long). I wouldn't want to carry a light with 3*18650 in a row... Tube diameter is 47mm, maybe not that comfortable for small hands. Threads were lubed. Since the tailcap protrudes a bit, it doesn't tailstand completely stable, but stable enough.
For that price an AR coated front glass would have been nice. I just ordered one for 3$.
Included are a spare clicky and spare o-ring, a GITD tailcap to exchange with the default black one, and a nice lanyard.
The head diameter is 58mm, but the actual parabolic reflector areas do not really use that diameter well; much of the front area and thus some throw capability is wasted.
It does get hot on high, but not as much as the 4A version I suppose.
The tint is neutral as expected; I'd have preferred a slightly cooler neutral tone, but that's a matter of taste. However rendering of natural colors is much better with neutral white; in cool while most things look much more pale (though blue colors look more intense with the cool white lights).
The beam is relatively wide and floody as expected, with a slight donut effect.
I took a look at the driver; as I expected: It's just a big FET, PWM-controlled by a mode controller IC. Unfortunately not an ATtiny.
The front glass is 2.5mm thick. My AR-coated 2.0mm thick replacement rattles :(
Got the new Turbo driver. All modes 207 Hz now,
- Low, 4.3%
- Medium, 20%
- High, 50%
- Turbo, 90% (so still PWM... but barely noticeable at 90%)
And with mode memory now... There's an EEPROM chip on the upper PCB (IC1). I didn't get a battery contact board with it (even though I ordered one) and found soldering that one somewhat unpleasant.
Did some measurements again with the new turbo driver:
Spot intensity 20 kcd, (NEMA-)throw 280m.
Modes are 6%/28%/68%/100%(turbo) with some estimated 2300lm on turbo.