SKY RAY 9xT6 - The King of HOT Rods?
Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★★
|2/3x26650 or 18650
|5: HI, Med, Low, Strobe, SOS
|9x XML - T6 1A
|Glass (no coating)
|$67 + $19 shipping
- BRIGHT. Seriously. With 9 LED's driven as modestly as they are, this thing puts out a huge amount of light.
- Multiple battery configurations.
- All LED's were centered perfectly, domes were nice and clear.
- Machining was great throughout body, my copy came with no imperfections.
- Feels great in hand with great weight and balance.
- 3x protected Keeppower 26650 MNKE's don't fit. The tail-cap does not screw down completely.
- Threads came dirty and unlubed.
- Reflector could use better construction.
- Even though it is capable of running in a 2-battery config, the output is seriously reduced.
- Gets extremely hot during long runs on high.
Features / Value: ★★★★☆
The Sky Ray is an interesting light. Featuring 9 T6 LED's in shallow reflectors seems like a great deal for just around $85 bucks. It stays flexible with battery configurations due to the included PVC pipe 26650 to 18650 adaptors - and seems to be regulated so that output is the same on either battery. It has 5 modes: Hi, Med, Low, Strobe, SOS. Like many of you, I could do without the blinky modes and really dont see a need for them on this "hot rod" of a light. I can't imagine this light staying on anything other than "high" for its entire life. Who is going to break out a light thats twelve and a half inches long and run it on low? I cant say many lights can really be just one mode, but this is one of them.
The included extender tube allows the light to be used in either 2 or 3 battery configuration. This is nice, but in initial testing shows that this cuts out the ability to use HI mode. Testing was done with 2 panasonic 3100 protected's at ~4.00V so it may react differently fresh off the charger, but I'm still working on that. That is really where the star comes off for this section. You should be able to use all the modes when only using two batteries, but I have not found this to be the case.
Design / Build Quality: ★★★★★
Build quality appears to be excellent. CNQG states that it uses HAIII anodizing and don't have enough experience to determine the difference between HAII and HAIII but the finish is impeccable on this light. It has a glossy black color and it was even across all parts, including the extension tube. There is no knurling on the body, but variations that go down through the main tube. The head heatsink fins are scalloped in a way to fit your thumb for a bit until it gets too warm.
Threads were triangular cut - and there seems to be a TON of them. The tail-cap takes a full TEN turns to lock down. The front threads for the head were about half in number, but I assume this was made so that you can't assemble the light incorrectly. There is a single O-ring in every place that there should be.
The tailcap design seems well made, but has a very stiff spring. It has created some marks in the rear contacts of the batteries i am using. It comes with a GITD switch.
Taking off the front glass lens shows that the reflector is in there tight. I was not able to unscrew it with an amount of force I am comfortable with. I am not versed in modding new lights so this is as far as the light will be taken apart. It is functional enough but the quality could have been better here. It has rough edges on the corners that go down into each led, but functionality does not seem to be affected.
Looks like my copy found its way to the wrong assembly line.
10,000 Chinese lumens!!! I'm not sure where the Xenon is hiding in there either!
UPDATE: I went and got a infrared thermometer today to take temperature readings reveal some interesting information.
I ran the light for 30 minutes, taking temperature readings at every 5 minute interval on high.
Ambient temp was 65°F
After 30 minutes the head temperature was just short of 200°F!! (93.3°C for our friends overseas)!!
Certainly not something you can hold in your hand, at least near the head. I let it continue to run but it just about leveled out at that point.
OK SO how about the innards of this baby?? It should have some good heatsinking to get that hot???
It opens gracefully right underneath the head where the smallest amount of thermal grease has been applied.
A single stripped screw holds the ALUM reflector on.
A copper slug would be a perfect match to go in here!
Here's the driver. Upgrades should be easy!
Out comes the reflector
LEDS! Looks like we can even use some better heatsinking! They are thermally greased right onto the head assembly itself. There is a fairly thin piece of alum as the heatsink for them.
Battery Life: ★★★★☆
Still in testing, however During the temperature testing I did some battery life tests with the Keeppower 26650's.
The batteries I am using are brand new 3800mAh MNKE IMR's from Kumabear.
Although they don't allow the light to be fully screwed down they are the only 26650's I have, and definitely work.
Running on high for exactly 30 minutes brought 3x26650's down from a fully charged 4.2v to 3.68v. Depending on how long you run your batteries down I am going to say a preliminary estimate of 1:10 if you run down to 3v.
For this amount of output, I would say that's pretty good. Testing is still taking place for medium and low measurements and I will update accordingly. (Just need the time!)
I will also test some protected Panasonic's as soon as they charge up.
TAILCAP READINGS. Pulled from a fellow forum member Werner while i get some better leads for my DMM.
Light Output: ★★★★★
Sky Ray says 5000 Lumens. The actual light says 10,000 lumens. Anywhere near that? Of course not. Some other sites state about 3500OTF lumens. But output sure is incredible. The Sky Ray 9xT6 is by far the brightest light i own. It puts out a huge, huge amount of light with a large hot spot and a ton of spill. I have outdoor beamshots coming, but here is a comparison to the Solarforce M8.
I don't own a light meter, and not very many lights to compare it to. The best we can do is beamshots.
MOUSE OUT FOR SKY RAY, MOUSE IN FOR SOLARFORCE M8
Beamshots are taken at 3' away from wall @F/2.8 and 1/60 Shutter
UPDATED 12/1/12 - Beamshot vs Skyray KING NW.
Batteries were at 3.80V. Beamshots taken 3' away from wall @F/2.8 and 1/60 Shutter.
MOUSE OUT FOR SKY RAY, MOUSE IN FOR SKY RAY KING NW
If you have any other requests let me know.
This being my first review, and I'm pretty new to the flashlight world. This light is the biggest and brightest LED that I own and don't regret my purchase for a second. The quality is excellent and if you have a Maglite 3D, the size is about the same. I love this damn thing for its sheer power...even though in day to day life it's total overkill. If you can find it on a closeout it may become one of those lights to own just to say that you can.
Size comparison to other lights:
MAGLITE 6D - SKYRAY 9XT6 - MAGLITE 2D - SOLARFORCE M8 - COAST HP550 - CRELANT V9CS - HD2010 - SKYRAY KING NW
I am still doing a lot of testing with this thing and will continue to update this review.
So please, let me know what you want to see or make any comments that you think will be beneficial. This community has been great to me and I would love to give back!
Thanks for listening!