Ultrafire U-20

This just arrived from Manafont an hour or so ago. It's an R5, makes a good candle and came in a box! You can get it for a bit less if you pass on the box.

It's bright - brightest AA light I have on a 14500, the Trustfire R5-A3 is brighter on an NiMH.

Lightbox Lightbox Lightbox Est. lumens Est. lumens Est. lumens Throw
Light Battery Immediate 30 seconds 2 Minutes switch-on 30 secs 2 Minutes Lux at 1m
Ultrafire U20 14500 1647 1575 1534 295 283 275 7000
Ultrafire U20 AA NiMH 575 618 608 103 111 109 2540

It even came with a manual - in Chinese.

The box

Never heard of "aluminium allay" before.

The light even came with a Duracell in it. That was a pleasant surprise.

The light. There is light crenellation on the bezel but it isn't sharp. I like this so you can see when you have left the light turned on. It won't rip clothing unlike some bezels.

The engraving on the back isn't very nice. It just doesn't look right somehow.

It definitely has an XP-G in it and the reflector seems to be well centred.

It actually makes a pretty decent candle. It tailstands nicely and with the reflector removed in a headband it'd make a truly wonderful headlamp. Downside of the design is the pill is hard to get to. The black ring round the LED doesn't seem to want to come out by fingernails ad it is a new light so I've not tried seriously to pull it out. The hollow in it also centres the reflector.

Candle mode

Tailcap and reflector back. The switch mechanism seems to be held in by some sort of plastic goop.

It has O rings in the right places and they seem to be doing their job.

And finally, here's a ceiling beamshot.

The beam is a bit odd - I can distinguish seven separate rings. I very much doubt it'll make any difference in the real world.

Thanks Don! so ONLY a bit brighter than the R5A3 on 14500.

It really has the TURBO mode turning the bezel or not? Or it is just a HIGH mode?

How many modes in real? well spaced? TX

At the moment it appears only to have one mode. Manafont says it is a 3 mode (High Low Strobe). I have managed to make it strobe with a paperclip across the tail but not reliably. I will need to experiment with it.

It pulls 1085mA on high from a 14500.

This is not the first time I've seen a multimode light behave as a single mode - I'll need to investigate.

Solved the mode issue - it is the usual too long protected 14500 pressing on the board.

265mA on low, 650mA on strobe.

320 lux on my lightbox on low, steady at 30 seconds(57 lumens), still steady at 2 minutes. That is with a 14500.

Description in kaido says "turn the bezel and you have TURBO mode, unturn the bezel you have 3 modes" or something similar

Measurements now on the spreadsheet. It appears to have mode memory for at least four minutes. I'll leave it a few hours then try again.

They should have called it the UltraFire Saturn. Laughing

It comes on in the mode last used.

I've just been out for a truly wonderful curry and while I'm sitting here digesting it, I see where the bezel tightening thing comes from.

I found another joint in the light, it has four, not three main parts. With the head tightened down, it is a single mode light, if you loosen it slightly it is a 3 mode light. My light meter can't tell any difference between output with the head tightened and on high with the head loosened.

The rings in the beam are strange - it doesn't show in the photographs, but on my ceiling it looks just like a posterised picture of the beam. The seven bands appear to be of more or less uniform brightness within the bands. Odd - probably because the reflector was designed for something else.

Thanks Don!

So which do you prefer? the R5-A3 or this U20?

I am probably still badly affected by "new light syndrome" but I think the U20 would be my choice today. The low mode is quite noticeably lower than the R5-A3, but could be lower still. The ability to have the U-20 as an extremely bright single mode light when you pass it to someone.

Pity both have strobes. My idea for 3 modes would be 5%, 25%, 100%. The U20 is closer to this. It also throws better (For an AA light)

I'd say that it is better as a 14500 light than a NiMH/Alkaline light. For NiMH I'd buy the EastwardYJ J09 instead.

TX, I am tempted to buy

Man, thats bad :( 1 month waiting (btw, thanks for the review, Don ;) ) and first impression is bad :( Really like the body, reminds me Nitecore & Fenix. Excellent crenelation. Switching between 1 mode and 3 mode by turning the head it's a great idea. But those rings... are very strange Undecided

If it annoys me too much I'll do the hairspray trick on the reflector. I'll need to do some outdoors beamshots to see if it is going to annoy me.

The first impression would have been better if I'd been able to read Chinese. It did, after all come with a manual.

I've done some beamshots but they are on the long list of things I'd like to do better. It doesn't help that I've been up for 21 hours now.

Control shot.

U20 with a 14500 on high. As you can see, the rings don't show up in the real world.

U20 14500 low. As you can see, the low is a lot lower.

U20 NiMH High

U20 NiMH Low

Control 2

EastwardYJ J09 lithium primary high

EastwardYJ J09 Lithium primary low

Thanks for the shots, Don ;) One question: those beam rings, what's causing it? Emitter bin or reflector? Undecided

UPDATE: what about tint? Neutral? Cool? Warm?


What is the hairspray trick?


Simple. You remove the reflector from the light and lightly spray it with hairspray. This will have the same effect as an orange-peel reflector.

The best way to do it is to get to somewhere with still air but a floor you don't care about. Spray a small cloud of hairspray into the air then pass the reflector through it. You may want several passes. It is best to apply very thin layers till you build up to the result you want.

Smooths out beams something wonderful.

But since I have very little hair left, I get strange looks when buying hairspray. ;)

Ok I see. I didn't even pay attention to the smooth reflector on that light. Great idea, simple and reversable if you don't like it!

Yes, just wash it off with acetone, rinse with isopropyl alcohol and put it somewhere to dry. Preferably outdoors (I hate the smell of acetone) but covered to keep dust, wildlife and insects off it. Don't touch the reflecting surface at all - you will damage it.