Review: UltraFire 501B XM-L

UltraFire 501B XM-L

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★


Battery: 1x18650 protected or unprotected
Switch: Tailcap (reverse)
Modes: 5 (H M L Strb SOS) with Memory
LED Type: CREE XM-L t6
Lens: Glass lens and SMOOTH reflector
Tailstands: No (can be modded to tailstand)
Price Payed: 17$
From: DealExtreme
Date Ordered: Aug 2011


  • Memory mode 100% functional
  • Draws 3 Amps! (not as the declared 1,4Amps in the product description)
  • Good transition between the hotspot and the outer side of the beam
  • Bright por a P60 light


  • Bad heatsinking capabilities of the 501B host
  • Must do the "alu paper foil" trick to improve heat transfer
  • Can not tailstand (except if you mod it)

Features / Value: ★★★☆☆

Not much to say. I purchased this light to use a 20$ store credit I had at DX and buy it to use the P60 dropin in a better host I have unused at home, because I didn´t liked the 501B desing...

Really, after playing with it, is not neccesary to put the dropin in another host, just wrap it with alu foil and the heat transfer will be aceptable (but not perfect, of course) with this host and any P60 host.

The light arrived dirty and bad lubed. Easy fix: clean and lube.

Before doing the alu foil trick, the heat wasnt transferred from the dropin to the body. After the trick, the heat transfer is almost instantly (of course, it continues being a P60, but the heat transfer is way better)

Design / Build Quality: ★★★☆☆

All of us know well about the 501B host.

It can be diassembled everywhere (head, body, tailcap)

It is new for me, the part of the body near to the head has a plastic part with a metal part for contacting the positive spring of the dropin with the positive pole of the battery...

The lanyard avoids tailstanding, but can be removed and tailstanding problem solved...

It has rubber orings where it should have...

Compared to F20...:

Battery Life: ★★★☆☆

Drawing 2,98A on high mode, the runtime is not going to be enormous. BTW, the power consumption on each mode is:

High 2,98A (I estimate about 700+ lumens)

Medium 0,89A (I estimate about 300 lumens)

Low 0,19A (I estimate about 60 lumens)

I imagine that on Medium mode it will give a reasonable runtime with a more than aceptable lumens output.

Light Output: ★★★★★

As in my other reviews, I have not instrumental to measure lumens output, I will do with my "ojimetro" (bah, spanish word which means "by eye"... more or less)

It produces a BIG NOT well defined hotspot with a good transition between the hotspot and the outer... Can be seen a few rings in the outer part of the beam

Beamshot at 3 meters (aprox):

NOTE: the description on DX page says "ruged orange peel reflector". My unit has a smooth reflector.

ALSO NOTE: the description on DX page says "digital regulated 1,4A output...". In the DX forums can be seen some reports that the firsts batches were coming regulated to 1,4A, but newer batches are coming with 3.0A regulation.

Difficult to see in the photo, but the driver board says "SG-PCB"

Summary: ★★★

Nothing much more to say, basically a P60 host with not very good heatsinking capabilities which need the "alu foil" trick to help running the light on on high during long periods...

3.0Amp regulation gives a lot of light from a P60 light, but, due to that, requires improved heatsinking...

Ah, not to forget. This light can be ordered from HK, UK, or US

HK link

UK link

US link

OK folks, review finished... not a very interesting light, but..... another review more..

I want to get one of these XML lights someday but can't really justify it right now.

I have one of the earlier WF-501b hosts. Mine has the straight-through body tube without the cap on the + end. Another thing I'm noting on the newer 501b bodies is that they have a shiny finish while mine has a much better looking matte finish. Are these from a different manufacturer or are they just being made more cheaply now?

I have ordered the same flashlight at Manafont (i've got a note from the postman that i can pick it up at the post office tomorrow).

It is cheaper at Manafont .

I am going to use it as a bike light on my old bike. It will be powered by the hub-dynamo, so i don't need the driver. Now i use 2 modified cheap bike lights with R2 leds, but the beam is not wide enough. I wanted to replace the R2 leds with XM-L leds, but this is even better. I will just shorten the tube and solder the wires directly on the leds. The "driver" (a couple of diodes and capacitors) is already built in the original bike light (that light has a switch, and it was the best place to keep the "electronics" dry). If this is ok to modify, i will order one more to complete that project (two leds in series doubles the light output if you use them on a hub-dynamo, that's why i need two 501B XM-L T6 flashlights).

Before i take them apart (cut a large part off the tube), i will measure the tailcap amps for the ones that want to use it on the 18650 battery.

Nice review.

I note your comments about the earlier and later variants. Especially that the driver reads "SG PCB".

Why is it that whenever a driver turns up with "SG PCB" printed on it it is either 1.4-1.5A or 2.8-3A never anywhere in between? I've a suspicion that its producer bangs them out in volume in just two variants which pretty much satisfy the needs of the bulk of the Single XM-L budget market; predominantly the P60 and C8 size variants. The 1.5A for low power XM-L's and the 3A for full on XM-L's.

Here you can find all the info about led-bikelights powered with a dynamo .

I am using circuit 7 with two leds in series, a driver is not needed to protect the led, because a hub dynamo delivers maximum 0,5A. The voltage can be much higer, but if the leds are connected they will regulate the voltage because the current is limited by the dynamo. The voltage will rise till the maximum voltage of the led at 0,5A. That way the leds will never get too much power.

It works very good with the two R2 leds, but the XM-L leds are a little bit more efficient (and i will hopefully get a more useable beam).

I did some tests with drivers, but then the light is less bright because of the power-loss in the driver.

thanks for the fine review Fran

The Ultrafire WF-501B XM-L T6 from Manafont is not the same light. It does not have the plastic ring with metal part between the + of the battery and the spring of the drop-in. The battery makes contact with the "+" spring, without any part in between.

The drop-in sits very loose in the head if you take off the battery tube. The spring pushes it against the lens when the battery tube is screwed in. I don't think there will be any heat transfer between the drop in and the flashlight head. It needs at least some aluminium foil to get the heat away from the drop in. Don't use this on high for more than a few minutes without aluminium foil between the drop-in and the flashlight...

Tailcap amps: High 1,78A Mid 0,86A Low 0,056A

It does not tailstand, the switch sticks out a bit too far.

The 501B from Manafont is the cheapest 5 mode XM-L T6, and it really feels that way (cheap). But it will do perfectly for my needs (bike light powered with the hub-dynamo).

Great review Fran, thanks a lot! That really is a smoking deal on an XM-L light. Amazing how much light you can buy for so little money these days.

I think the phrase "I do with my ojimetro" in English would be something like "I eyeballed at about X lumens" or something like that. Spanish sounds better in this case. ;-)

I wonder how this stacks up to the UltraFire 504B XM-L from DX too?

Just personally, I love the styling of the 504B and I can't stand the styling of the 501B. That would be the deal changer for me. ;)

Thanks I was wondering cause I have a couple of 504B's coming and ordered that model cause I liked the style better, but you know how DX is; I placed the order 3-1/2 weeks ago and the slow boat from china still hasn't arrived. Surprised

Ha, you're lucky if DX even manages to ship the item out within 3 weeks.

The 504B is quite well received, it's usually regarded as a high quality budget P60 host, probably even nicer than this 501B in quality.

yes,it looks very nice

spam malls

I just got two of these after buying them on ebay with a pay and pray new Chinese seller for 9.59 each. I was surprised that they showed up and pleasantly surprised at the lights. The seller even included two holsters. These are my first 501b lights and first XML. I also prefer the styling of the 504b but these 501b's are pretty neat especially at the right price.

Good review, I'd agree it is a 4-star light, and mostly loses the 5th star due to styling. I too like the 504B host a lot better.

I also find that copper foil does a much better job at heat transfer than aluminum foil does, that is what I use in all my P60 hosts.

I wish they made a 504A that takes a Cr123, I think the 501A is the only host you can find in that size without paying bigger bucks for the Solarforce.

9.59$ ??!?! wow... got mine from manafrant.. and.. well.. for the price I love it :)

Give us the link

Was it an auction and with free shipping?

I bought some skyrays (the drop-in body, not a a big triple LED) on ebay with XM-L drop-ins, but the driver were really bad. Only 1A on high. I will repace them.

"It is new for me, the part of the body near to the head has a plastic part with a metal part for contacting the positive spring of the dropin with the positive pole of the battery..."

"The Ultrafire WF-501B XM-L T6 from Manafont is not the same light. It does not have the plastic ring with metal part between the + of the battery and the spring of the drop-in. The battery makes contact with the "+" spring, without any part in between."

I've seen this on 502b's, and the hosts weren't very well made. It's curious the MF 501b's don't have it, yet their 502b's do.