Review: Ultrafire C3 Q5 Stainless Steel ★★★★★

★★★★★ Ultrafire C3 Q5 Stainless Steel.
DX Link The price has dropped, I paid $14.69 for it, now they are asking $13.95.
Throw at 1m in Lux.
This is the measurement of peak brightness in the hotspot and represents how far the light will throw a beam.
AA Alkaline
AA NiMh 2440
14500 5060
Lightbox (Lux, lumens per square metre)
This is representative of total light output.
AA Alkaline
AA NiMh 828
14500 1458
AA Alkaline
AA NiMh 327
14500 642
AA Alkaline
AA NiMh 52
14500 148
Current Draw (milliamps, mA)
AA Alkaline
High 2110
Medium 870
Low 130
High 2010
Medium 860
Low 160
14500 (@4.15V)
High 1060
Medium 650
Low 130
NiMH 67mins (High)
Note: Still emitting useful light after 13.5hr.
Size Measurements:
Length 93mm
Diameter 20mm
Empty with lanyard 79.1g
With 14500 98g
With Alkaline 102g
With NiMH 105.2g
At first sight
Heavy. Looks like an Ultrafire C3 done right.
Why do people make internal O rings out of GITD material? They are never going to be exposed to light after all.
The beam is a nice colour but if forced, I'd say it was slightly greenish but that depends what you are comparing it to, next to the WF-504B 5 mode R2, it is a lovely vanilla colour. One oddity about this light is that it takes 0.2-0.5 seconds to light up after you switch it on. Presumably something to do with the driver.
Build Quality ★★★★★
There appear to be at lest two versions of this SKU, one being 93mm long and the more recent version being 98mm long. According to the DX forum page, it has a different LED and is less well put together. This may, or may not be the case. Mine is 93mm long and was ordered on the day DX announced them.
There's lots of metal for your money. The stainless steel it is made of is only weakly attracted to a magnet which implies lots of nickel/chrome or both in the alloy.
The switch button is easy to operate with the ball of your thumb and is positive in action. It has a GITD rubber switch cover.
Lght Output ★★★★★
Heaps of light. Not as bright as the aluminium C3, but none of its issues either. When white wall hunting at about 2.5m there is a faint ring outside the hotspot, about 50% of the diameter of the hotspot outside of it. Not a hugely tight spot but then in the AA form factor you probably don't want that. 20mm (maximum, the body tube is more like 16mm) diameter lights are unlikely to be used as throwers.
On high with a 14500 it gets HOT. As in hand holding it on high with a 14500 after 4 minutes depends on your pain threshold. I managed 4 minutes and 5 seconds and my hands are pretty heatproof. And that was with my hand being used as a heatsink all along.
In Use ★★★★★
I like it a lot. The only oddity is the pause on turn on. It has exactly none of the issues of the aluminium C3, Aurora SH0030 series. In fact it doesn't even have any interchangeability of parts. Its only resemblance to the other C3's is the name. Not the brightest 14500 light in this form factor, it is a hand burner and it is a lot heavier than the aluminium lights. An aluminium C3 with a 14500 weighs 58.3g
Conclusion ★★★★★

Another great awesome review bud.......the light does get hot when the light has been on for a while.

More pics to follow when I get round to taking them. I feel the need of a new (and very much better) camera that can do close-up stuff. The only problem is that the heating system needs a new boiler, and I need new windows and those had better come first. I spent 1978-84 selling cameras and know what the good stuff can do. I still own a lot of good stuff, but digitising film is a major pain and these days I'm not interested in processing my own. I still have the kit to get prints off B&W film within 10 minutes of taking the pictures, but it'd take longer than that to get all the kit out of the loft. Then going to buy the chemicals and mixing them to make up the necessary. No big deal getting metol, hydroiquinone, sodium metabisulphite, glacial acetic acid, sodium hydroxide, sodium carbonate and ammonium thiosulphate, but it does get tedious mixing up one's own solutions. Kodak D76/Ilford ID11 is easy to make, but a PITA to store. Not to mention it is a PITA to buy silver based B&W film these days.

And yes, the stainless steel lights do get painfully hot, but only on 14500s. Any stainless steel light can burn your hands given enough provocation.

Nice review. For it to get so hot, it seems like it is doing pretty well to get 30 minutes of runtime. If this were three modes, I'd have a really hard time laying off of it. If I don't like the K-106 I ordered, I might have to get this one.

Nice review Don, thanks for doing a custom runtime test for me on low! It's going frontpage...

Just from looking at the graphs, it appears that the medium mode is too close to the high mode. How hot does it get on medium? Maybe medium should be viewed as a more reasonable high mode. It seems counterintuitive that a SS flashlight would be so much hotter than an aluminum one of the same size. My Uniquefire AA-S1 (aluminum) is the hottest light I have, and within about 5 minutes it is very warm, but not enough to burn you or make you want to drop it.

I have one of these lights currently in the "packaging" stage on the other side of the world in a DX shipping room. I payed $13.95, as Don mentioned. I'll let you know in a month how the quality of the new version compares to this one.

Hopefully you will like it is a nice light indeed. If you want a little more throw then you can smooth out the reflector like i did.

You said you have the single mode, correct Al? Do you know which DX sku you have?

Yupper...i dont have the Q5 version...when i got mine they only carried the P4 version.

Ah ya. Well I doubt mine will be a Q5 either, they seem to have changed the emitter from what most of the reviews say. Again, I don't care much as long as it's efficient. And reliable. I really don't have much use for flickery lights.

If i remember correctly mine did when i first got it.....i sprayed the threads with wd 40 to clean all that gunk off, relubed and made sure that the switch retaining ring was screwed down all the way. Topped off an Eneloop and was impressed. Hope you like yours man. Made a good cigar grip light, since it was easier to hold that way.

Thanks, I hope it works out too. I actually have an interesting issue with DX at the moment... But I'll post that in the dealers forum! ;-)

It gets warm, not hot on 14500 on medium. Left it tailstanding on medium for ten minutes then picked it up. On high that would have been followed by bad words and lots of them, on medium it gets warm.

The heat gets concentrated round the LED/driver as stainless steel doesn't conduct heat nearly as well as aluminium. Yes, there is more mass for the heat to go into, but it moves more slowly. After looking up the specific heat capacities, a cubic centimetre of aluminium needs 2.422 joules of energy to raise its temperature by one degree Kelvin (same as centigrade degree in size), human flesh takes 3.7J, stainless steel takes 3.537 (Actually the value for iron as stainless steel is basically iron with impurities). So the stainless steel can absorb more heat for a given temperature rise, but the important part is what it does with it. In aluminium, it gets moved rapidly all over the body of the light (and into your hand) whereas in stainless steel it takes a very long time to reach an isothermal (same temperature all over) state. So the heat builds up which it doesn't in aluminium at these energy levels.

The AA-S1 gets hot all over as the aluminium is distributing the heat all over the body, and importantly, away from the LED and driver. Then your hand will take away a fair amount of that heat into your blood. Never noticed my AA-S1 getting hot. Will toss a 14500 into it and check. I can log temperatures if you want.

Ah, I see. It all has to do with the heat capacity of the stainless steel vs. aluminum.

My AA-S1 probably reaches about 42 degrees (I'm not a good judge of temperatures), so no it's not unmanageably hot. I'm just not used to running a light on high power for so long.

With a 14500 on high. You can see why I gave up after 10 minutes.

Ouch! Would the drop in temperature at 6 minutes be where you picked it up perchance?

Nope - didn't fancy burnt hands. Wrapped a damp cloth round it and put a fan onto it. As you can see, this was of limited efficacy.

Best to treat high as a Turbo burst mode and medium as the true high. This is one where a medium-low-high sequence would be a good thing. And I can't believe I just said that - I hate the Fenix style MLH sequence.

Thanks to detailed reviews, I got one in the mid-Oct and one in Sep from Dealextreme.

Both has XR-E and longer tailcap (98mm).

The first one has scratch(or rough?) on the tailcap surface with sharp edge. it harms my fingers.

The second was clearly dimmer when it arrived, for the switch was screwed into tailcap loosly. After screwed tight, it could emit almost equal light.

it has a similar reflector but narrower spot. Then, I combined the first's body and second's tailcap.

They tell me china-quality varies fast.

P.S. I also bought zoomingC78 before it was temoraly-soldout from DX, has XR-E properly ( ).

Sadly the quality does vary a lot. I've just got a new aluminium C3 and it is enormously better made than the older ones which did come as a surprise - often they get worse and worse. I like C3s though I'm not sure why.

Third Ultrafire C3 SS model with metal button. $ 20 AA/14500 (Hi-Med-Low) Q5...

Anyone dare?

Yep! Mine is currently leaving China at the moment. I'll be doing a full review when it arrives.