Review: Ultrafire WF-504B with 5-mode R2 drop-in

Ultrafire WF-504B with 5-mode R2 drop-in

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★★


Battery: 18650 li-ion
Switch: Reverse clicky
Modes: 5 no memory
LED Type: Cree XR-E R2
Lens: Glass
Tailstands: Yes
Price Payed: $14.99
From: DealExtreme


  • Great build quality
  • Functional body style
  • Good thrower
  • Shiny


  • Minimal regulation

Build Quality: ★★★★★

I was interested in getting a flashlight that could accept P60 drop-ins. After reading Don's review at it seemed like the 504B would be a good choice for a host because he felt like the heat-sinking was good and he liked the button. It looks good too and it is able to tailstand. I figured since the anodizing on these is Type II instead of the more durable Type III that I would be better off with the natural aluminum version because it wouldn't show if any of the finish flaked or wore off. I liked the shiny finish in the pictures (looked like stainless steel) more than the shiny black finish (it seems like black should be more of a matte finish than glossy).

I recently got another light in a natural silvery finish like that (the Uniquefire S10 mentioned later), but it turned out more matte and had a greenish tint. When I opened this light, there was no matte and no green tint: it was shiny like stainless or chrome (dare I say maybe even kind of like titanium?). I don't know how long it will stay that way since aluminum is more susceptible to scratches than stainless. With the big anti-roll hex head, it looks a little like it is made of plumbing fixtures (in a good way). The knurling looks good with a heavier texture on the body than knurling on the tail piece. The light is more compact than I thought, just a little fatter than a Mini Maglite (the minimag in the picture has a pewter finish so it is a little darker), but also just a little too big to put in a pants pocket. The only bad thing about the design is the inner bezel over the lens which I guess might be stainless is only inside of the rest of the head, so it doesn't protect the outer aluminum bezel from scratches and it already has a few dings around that edge. If it extended all the way to the outer part of the light it would offer a lot better protection.

I am very impressed with the build quality. The threads are very smooth and the o-rings seem to work with a nice thick black one at the head and a skimpier one in the tail. Both seem to engage properly and should offer pretty good water resistance. There was some clear gunk on the tail threads that may be some kind of thick grease though it didn't seem slippery (maybe thread compound?). There was some oily grime on the inside of the lens which I was able to remove with a couple of applications of Windex (though I couldn't figure out how to remove the lens itself; I couldn't budge the inner bezel - later on I was able to use some needle nose pliers with the points lodged in the dimples of the bezel to loosen it and noticed another nice o-ring at the lens). There are a couple of little dings or machining marks in the exterior, but overall I really like the finish and detailing. Some of the tail threads look like they weren't formed all the way, but this is not a visible area and doesn't seem to affect anything.

The tail switch is black rubber which I think goes great with the silver finish. It has a very solid feel when clicking, but isn't hard to click. There are two lanyard holes so that the lanyard can be put on without affecting its ability to tailstand.

The drop-in fits fairly loosely in place and I didn't notice a lot of heat coming through. I wrapped the sides of the drop-in with some heavy duty aluminum foil folded several times and smoothed out as best I could in order to make it fit more snugly. I don't know if this helps or not. The XR-E LED probably doesn't get as hot as some brighter drop-ins.

Here is the driver after I took it out to replace it with another one. There are no components on the bottom of the board.

Battery Life: ★★☆

The current runs a little high on a freshly charged battery at 4.19V, at 1.08A, but drops off pretty steadily down to only 0.46A at 3.59V when I stopped the test. I can't measure brightness, but there can't be a whole lot of regulation involved. On a battery charged to 4.2V, the light lasts almost 2 hours before getting down to 3.6V. This was on a gray protected Trustfire 2400mAh 18650 lithium-ion battery but the runtime tests in Don's comments below indicate it should run more than 2 hours.

Here's the runtime table (I can't do continuous runtime graphs, but there are really good graphs in the comments below):

Time Amps Volts
0:00 1.08 4.19
0:15 1.00 4.00
0:30 0.86 3.90
0:45 0.74 3.81
1:00 0.65 3.73
1:15 0.56 3.68
1:30 0.50 3.63
1:45 0.46 3.59

Repeating the test with a similar protected gray 2400mAh Ultrafire 18650, I got 15 additional minutes, for some reason not registering the high initial current draw from before:

Time Amps Volts
0:00 0.90 4.17
0:15 0.99 4.00
0:30 0.87 3.95
0:45 0.81 3.89
1:00 0.78 3.85
1:15 0.70 3.79
1:30 0.62 3.73
1:45 0.53 3.66
2:00 0.46 3.59

Light Output: ★★☆

Because this is a P60 host and drop-in, the drop-in probably needs to be reviewed as a separate entity. I've never had one of these, so I can't say anything about how it compares to others. It is an offbrand Super Bright R2 module (labelled that way at least). The LED is definitely a XR-E, but I can't tell what bin. There were a couple of tiny specks on the LED dome that I was not able to remove. I couldn't even see them without a magnifying lens. The reflector is aluminum with a mild orange peel. It has some spill and a pretty tight hotspot that throws quite well. The tint is definitely cool white, maybe a little violet. The modes are High, Medium, Low, Strobe, and SOS and the light always comes on in High.

The 504B is always on the left and the lights are 50cm from the wall. ISO is 100 and aperture is f2.8.

On high vs. Fenix L2D Q5 with shutter speed of 1/25 second. The Fenix is powered by 2 freshly charged AA NiMH Eneloops and is on Turbo mode (180 lumens). The Fenix has a yellowish tint while the 502B is fairly cool (sorry these beams are so distorted, they are circular in real life):

Shutter speed dropped to 1/100 second:

Shutter now at 1/1600 second. The 504B has a more intense hotspot:

I recently got a Uniquefire S10 6-mode from KaiDomain (see review), but I burned the driver out using a lithium-ion 14500. So I converted it to direct drive with a 14500 only. This light has the same LED, a Cree XR-E R2. The tints of these two are pretty similar. At 1/25:

Shutter speed dropped to 1/100 second:

Shutter now at 1/1600 second. The 504B again has a more intense hotspot:

Outdoor beam shots

The forked stick in the ground is 25' away. To the left of that stick are two fence posts where the hotspot is focused. These are 120' away. The shutter is left open for 4 seconds to get a picture that looks about what you see. Here is a control shot:

For comparison sake, here is a beam shot of the Fenix L2D on turbo:

And here is the Uniquefire S10 directly driven by a 14500:

Now the Ultrafire WF-504B on high. It has better throw and the fence posts are better defined:

Here is the 504B again on high, but with the battery at 3.59 volts:

Now the 504B on medium:

On low:

Summary: ★★★★★

I am very impressed by the quality of this $14.99 light and I really like the shiny aluminum finish. The design is excellent (it should be since it is a knockoff of the Surefire 6P and Solarforce L2) but everything seems like it is very good quality for a DealExtreme light. The drop-in seems a little weak, not offering mode memory and with poor regulation, but the brightness is good and it throws better than any of my smaller lights. I can always change the driver or the whole drop-in.

In this picture you can see there are dimples in the lens retaining ring.

If you get something like a large pair of circlip pliers or a watch opening tool into those, you will be able to unscrew the lens retaining ring.

This is on high. Not the prettiest regulation, but could be worse. But then I have at least three R2 dropins all generically labelled and they probably all vary.

My one seems to give better runtime though if you look at the current draw (Just before I got a light meter), it would appear to be unregulated.

No idea how that works.

2 hours is still pretty good.......

But it does run for ages. On low it should be an appreciable fraction of forever. Not enough patience to do runtimes on low.

Not bad at all.....would make a good power outage light indeed.

That's all I could look at was current draw. If it was well-regulated, wouldn't it draw fairly constant watts? In that case it would draw lower current as the voltage was high and more current as the battery voltage declined. But if it is basically direct driving the LED, then I know higher voltage applied to a LED just means the LED takes more current.

I might run a battery down to 3.6V and then compare the beams shots with the fully charged shots I have here. Also I'm thinking these batteries may not be up to full capacity yet. Do lithium-ion batteries need to be broken in? That would explain the shorter run time.

No they the cells start to age they loose where nimh gain.

But the light output is pretty steady despite the varying current draw. Doesn't make sense to me either. After all, the voltage will drop over time during discharge too, so the power will drop even faster. Not a clue how that works. If anyone can explain it, I'd like to know. The only thing i can think of is a "burn in" of the LED as it was essentially new when the runtimes were done and some LEDs do have a forward voltage that drops as they "burn in". AFAIK lithium cells are born with all the capacity they are ever going to have and capacity drops from the date of manufacture - at least for the common lithium-cobalt chemistry which has higher capacity than most other lithium chemistries.

Hey, that's half the fun! Sorry I have thing for runtime, must be because I never had enough batteries when I was a kid and I appreciate things that run a long time.

Extremely professional review here brted, extremely informative and great shots. Frontpaged.

I decided to give them all some exercise, it was very, very bright in here last night.

I'll do a low runtime now. It'll probably be a day or so till it is done - it ought to run for 16-18 hours on low.

After 2 hours, output is now down 7%. Quite a long time to go.

Watched battery chargers are even slower than watched kettles - which, of course, never boil. And I have 10 more of them to charge.

Output now down to 86%. Quite a way to go.

Output now 82%. Still going strong.

79% output now. This is a grey 2400mAh Trustfire cell.

78%. Not dropping appreciably. Got the 18650s all charged again.

Wow now that is pretty good.......

76% and going strong. There sure are going to be a lot of data points on the runtime graph.


Down to 74% now. Wonder if it'll still be lit in 9 hours time when I get up in the morning?