Review: N-Light HB50, Host

OVERALL RATING

:star: :star: :star: :star:

I bought this light from fancyflashlights because from the photos, it looked like a good deal for the price. I also chose it because I like the concept of having the ‘heatsink’ for the LED as part of the body and not a pill like most other lights.

Appearance: It looks good. The texture of the anodizing is matt vs the smooth anodizing of the XinTD for example.

On the crown, there are some bits of anodizing missing and the edges are rough.

Appearance: :star: :star: :star: 1/2

The reflector is deep and pretty light (feels cheap but has a good and clean reflective surface). It does not screw into the body and more or less just sits around inside the too big head. Because the reflector is not secured to the bezel, it can only stay put when the head is tightened and the reflector compressed between the window and the LED. (it does not get compressed between the top of the head and the bezel ) NOTE: The bottom end of the reflector moves about during tightening and can de-dome the LED if one is not VERY careful.

Head/reflector combo: :star: :star: :star: (WITH THE UPDATE BELOW, I’VE CHANGED THE RATING FROM ONE TO 3 stars)

There is a glow in the dark ‘O’ ring at the bezel end. I made a couple attempts to fit it between the reflector and window but, the ‘o’ ring fell into the reflector both times and left its obligatory bits of grease. Sigh. (There is not flat top on the reflector.) The only other place to put the ‘o ’ring is between the window and bezel. (Duh!) Well. When everything was put together and I’m tightening the bezel down, besides the reflector moving about and rubbing on the LED dome, the bleeping ‘O’ ring slips out of place! What?

If it’s not obvious, when I tighten the bezel / head down too much, the ‘O’ ring pops out of place. The reason why I’m tightening the head is to ensure the o ring is compressed enough to keep water out. To compensate for this shitty design, I washed out the lube from the ‘O’ ring and epoxied the bugger in place.

Water proofing ‘O’ ring: :star: :star:

The ’heatsink ’part of the body has a brass, circuit retaining ring that screws into it. To my surprise, the hole in the ring is larger than the diameter of a Nanjg driver so, I had to adapt and solder the circuit in. (Yeah, I know, poor job. I was just excited to get everything together!  )

(The smaller brass retaining ring did not come with this flashlight.)

Maybe I SHOULD have soldered the driver to the ring after I screwed it in however, I didn’t, consequently, there is a bunch (maybe an inch extra) of twisted output wire between the driver and ‘heatsink’. (Oh well) (As can be seen from the picture of the complete flashlight in the link at the bottom of the page, the supplier is using a driver with a larger diameter board so, if the right sized board is used, you wouldn’t have to do any fancy soldering like me.)

The output of the light with a T6 LED and 8x 7135 driver is as expected. Both the hotspot and corona of the N-50 light is about 2/3 the size of hotspot and corona of a XinTD flashlight with the same driver. The XinTD has a U3 LED compared to the Neutral, T6, C3 so is still a BIT brighter however, given beam shape, I believe that if both lights had the same LED, the N-50 would have more throw.

Output and throw: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:

WRT heat, due to the design of the N-50 with the ‘pill’ being a part of the body, the pill gets hot faster than the rest of the light (faster than the XinTD) however, from thermal examination with the most sophisticated computer ever, aka the brain, I’ve concluded that the heat is sufficiently distributed throughout the body and poses no problem to the LED (using a 8x 7135 driver.) As can be seen from the photo below, the part of the heatsink just below where the star will be mounted is quite thick at maybe 2mm.

Heat management: :star: :star: :star: :star:

Other details (MINOR isseus)

  • The picture blow is of the tailswitch. It doesn’t have any markings or indication of how much current it can handle.

  • There is no ’O’ring between the bezel and flashlight body. It’s a small issue however, for someone who may submerse the light, water may enter here.
  • The threading between the battery tube and the pill is unanodized, this helps with heat transfer from the pill to the body. The threads between the pill and head ARE anodized. It would be nice if they were unanodized to help transfer heat from the pill to the head more efficiently.
  • The tailcap feels too big for the body. When screwed on, there is about a milimeter of side to side movement. The ‘O’ ring however, is sufficiently large enough to seal the light.
  • N-Light included a nice LONG lanyard with the flashlight. It’s made of some version of paracord. At the end of the lanyard is a cheap ass lobster claw which attaches to the flashlight with a split ring. The split ring stretched and deformed on me while pulling on the lanyard to take the light out of my pocket. (hardly any force) It was immediately replaced. Eventually, I’ll remove the lobster claw and attach the lanyard directly to the split ring.

CONCLUSION: I’m quite disappointed with this light. The poor design of the reflector/head assembly, and the stupid, shifting ‘O’ ring takes away a lot of points. In my opinion, it’s a bit too much hassle to put together this light properly and I likely wouldn’t buy another HB-50. (Sadly, the modder in me is aching to build something using the HB-60 host.

After a week of ownership and discovering the assembly mistake I mentioned in the update below, my overall opinion of the light has changed. This N-Light HB-50 is pretty good for the price. The head/reflector assembly is still on the poor side since the reflector swims around in the head and the glow in the dark ‘o’ ring fit is still stupid but, I WILL consider buying this light again and even passing it on to friends who need a bright but inexpensive light. Yes. I recommend it to modders who want to build a light for themselves for little money and are capable of dealing with the issues I’ve mentioned in the post.

Overall: :star: :star: :star: :star: (Changed from 3 1/2 stars due to the update below.)

I cannot comment on the pre-built version of this light which costs only $20 http://www.fancyflashlights.com/goods.php?id=514 Who knows, maybe they assemble it better than me. Who know?

EDIT (28th/12/12) UPDATE: I wasn’t sure what sized star would fit in this light so went conservative and bought an XM-L on a 16mm round star. The consequence of this is that when the reflector sits on the star during assembly, the LED -ve and +ve inputs are so close together, they are shorted. To alleviate this issue, I used an insulator As a result, the reflector did not sit around the base of the LED as it should have and this is exactly why the dome of the LED was rubbed when i screwed down the head or bezel. Now that the insulator has been squashed into shape by the reflector after a week, the reflector does NOT rub on the dome when I’m screwing the head on.

All of this issue would not have existed if I used a 20mm star in the fist place!!!

thanks for the review

i might have made that purchase, since i would have had the same impression (good heatsinking)

I’m not saying don’t purchase. For the price it’s not bad it’s just that I don’t like too much fussing when it comes to assembly. If I do purchase the HB-60, at least I know what to expect and to have epoxy handy :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the review, I too have been eying hosts to build, I’m still undecided on the n-light hosts, they have a couple that interest me (the single 26650 host) the OEM hosts however I do like, I have the c8 upgrade inbound which will be getting 9/10 7135’s and a t6 3c. Should be nice, unless I relent and throw in an xp-g2 instead, I’m still toying with ideas.

I must say, I think its much more fun building lights than buying them. :bigsmile:

It IS fun building but, research in buying is FUN too :smiley:
gords, I’m SERIOUSLY considering taking out the 8x 7135 driver from my XinTD and replacing it with the 4A ramping driver from intl-outdoor i reviewed some time ago! Ican’t imagin how sweet (and HOT) that’ll be!!

I think that’ll be a really sweet match up. I love the ramping mode, its my favorite UI at the moment.

UPDATE: I wasn’t sure what sized star would fit in this light so went conservative and bought an XM-L on a 16mm round star. The consequence of this is that when the reflector sits on the star during assembly, the LED -ve and +ve inputs are so close together, they are shorted. To alleviate this issue, I used an insulator As a result, the reflector did not sit around the base of the LED as it should have and this is exactly why the dome of the LED was rubbed when i screwed down the head or bezel. Now that the insulator has been squashed into shape by the reflector after a week, the reflector does NOT rub on the dome when I’m screwing the head on.

All of this issue would not have existed if I used a 20mm star in the fist place!!!

I’ve had a similar issue on a c8 pill/16mm star, some times you need that extra space, I’m now buying up emitters on both sized stars so I’m prepared for whatever host I start playing with.

I’m also having fun with xp-gs at the moment as I’ve got enough xm-l based lights, the difference in throw is appealing, my trustfire t2 at 1.7a seems to throw as far as my uf-v3 at 2.5a.

Next project is an xp-g2 4b in a c8 upgrade host with a 7*7135 driver, I expect to be quite impressed :bigsmile:

Thanks for the review. You will have to get a selection of LED's in different tints and sizes together along with some extra drivers. You can do my soldering anyday. Compared to mine it looked really good.

While ‘playing’ with my lights, I got the impression that the threads of the pill of the N-light and a C cell maglite were similar so I tried to fit the N-light into the maglite. Of course, it was too small, I’d guess by a diameter of about a milimeter or so. So, I pulled out the foil and started wrapping it around the N-Light’s pill. Eventually i got it to fit snugly and was satisfied with the looks and throw of my new 18650 thrower! (It’s a rebel reflector and flashlightlens.com UCL in the maglite’s head.) I turned on the light till it started cooking and was happy to discover that the pill was only slightly hotter than the head! Heat transfer from the pill to the head was really good and given the mass of the head compared to the N-Light’s body, things didn’t get that hot.

I’ve put a little epoxy at both ends of the N-Light’s pill to keep it secured in the head and will leave this baby as it is for a while. :slight_smile: Heck, I might consider modding it with a 4A driver! :smiley:

Thanks very much! Sticky’d.

Does this light use a reverse clicky or a forward momentary on clicky? Thanks

reverse clicky. Note. I went back to fancyflashlights and could not find this host or flashlight anymore. Not sure if another site sells it.

Cool stuff. Thank you for sharing.