Weird question of brightness with SC52w

Hey guys. Weirdest thing. With a full charged eneloop, this little SC52w is freakin bright!!! But, when i put in full charge 14500, it gets a bit brighter, but does not seem like 200 more lumens. I can see the step-down, and it really looks like it drops like 70 or 100 lumens after the first minute.
Does anyone else notice this? Or could something be up with my light? Do you guys really see THAT much of a difference with the 14500? I mean, i can see its brighter, but I don’t think its a huge difference.
And, from what I read of others so far, when they put in a 14500, they are just blown away. Any suggestions? Again, I am blown away with how bright it is on a eneloop, but i was expecting a decent jump with the 14500’s. It gets brighter, but I had to play with the different batteries alternating them a few times, just to be sure that it was brighter with the 14500. To me, it gets only a bit brighter. Please tell me if my light is defective. I hope its not, and hope others notice this too?
Very curious now. Thanks


oh man, I was hoping this wasn’t the case. I guess I will send it in then. Again, it looks to my eyes like its about a 70-100 lumen difference in output with the different batteries.


It could be all perception. Our eyes aren't going to see a big difference between 300 and 500 lumens. It won't look nearly twice as bright. When it steps down, your eyes might have already adjusted to 500 lumens. As to the latter, it'd be a good idea to take beam or wall shots using the fully manual settings of a camera.

Okay, I see. Unfortunately, I do not own a good camera. The best I have is my crappy iphone 5 camera. But, I understand what you mean about perception. I can see a difference between the different batteries, but again it is really only a bit brighter. From what I read, it seems it should be a huge difference in output.

What kind of 14500 are you using? If it’s UltraFire you won’t see as big a difference. Get an Efest or AW IMR 14500 to maximize the brightness.

Zebralight 14500’s

Kreisler ! Once again, You deleted your post …. wtf?

i was at ~3980 posts so i ...


The perception of brightness can be very deceptive. On my most recent MT-G2 build when I go from high to turbo I go from around 2.5 amps up to around 6.5 amps. This is a jump from around 1500 lumens to around 3100 lumens. You would think that 1500+ extra lumens would make a crazy difference… it doesn’t look like that much more, especially when you’re looking at something under 30-50 feet away. Double the lumens doesn’t double your perception of brightness. I don’t have a light meter but I would only visually rate the increase from 1500 to 3000+ as around a 20% increase. How bright your surroundings are and how your eyes are adjusted also makes a big difference on your perception.

I’m not saying that there isn’t anything wrong with your light, because that is entirely possible, but I also think that you may be expecting too much. The SC52w is already widely regarded to be the brightest light on a single AA eneloop around, don’t expect that a LiCo 14500 will turn it into a BTU Shocker :open_mouth:

Off topic, but does anyone know when are they coming out with the next model (SC53) ? I kept putting off buying an SC52 and now it almost seems like it’s time for them to improve it.

I have never tried an eneloop but on Energizer Ultimate Lithiums my sc52 puts about 250 lumens and on an AW IMR 14500 it puts out 499. When running it on IMR long enough for the step down to H2 (250 lumens ) you will miss it unless you are watching for it. It is not an obvious drop.

Okay, this makes me feel a bit better. When i asked my buddies, they swear the thing is a lot brighter with the 14500. So maybe its my eyes. I do also notice the step down if Im watching for it. And, about the brightness perception, this could very well be. I may actually be expecting too much like you say. The light is definitely brighter with the 14500, but just nowhere near twice as bright, but again I understand thats normal. This would be a lot easier to tell if I had two lights on two diff batteries side by side. I hope the lights fine, I’m kind of guessing it is. I wish I had a light meter. Anyone know of a decent cheap one I could get for a few bucks just to test this light?

thanks again for the help



Again, its noticeable, but not as much as in this video I found.

Is anyone else’s this big of a difference? Thanks again


At a guess, it probably won’t happen for at least another year. ZL seems to refresh their product line (bump the model numbers up) once every couple years at most, and they’re still solidly in the middle of releasing their *2 (SC52, H52, SC32, H32, SC602, etc) line. It’ll probably be quite a while before *3 comes out.

Ok, thanks. Then I’ll probably buy one after the holidays to add to my collection. Right now I’m enjoying playing with the EagleTac D25A mini. Everyone gets the clicky version but I’m not a big fan of reverse switches, and besides, the mini is compact!

another question. Once the 52 steps down after 1 min on max, you can turn it off and right on again and it goes to the 500lm max again with the 14500. So, is this harmful to the led? Or if not, how many times can I do this before hurting the light or burning it out. I want this light to last a long time.


Yes, it can be harmful. However, the details will vary. For example, if you force it to stay at 500lm outdoors in the winter when it’s –20 degrees and windy, it probably won’t overheat at all. However, if you force it to maximum on a hot summer day in the desert with direct sunlight and no wind, it could potentially overheat even before the minute is up.

If the LED spends a lot of time operating at high temperatures, its total lifetime will generally be shorter. Instead of 50,000 hours, maybe you’d get 5,000 hours. It generally won’t just burn out like an incandescent light bulb though… LEDs tend to fade over time instead, with the efficiency gradually decreasing until it just isn’t very useful any more.

To actually “burn out”, something else would need to happen. For example, breaking a wire which feeds the LED (cracks can develop due to thermal stress). Or shorting out part of the circuit (solder can grow “tin whiskers” which cause shorts).

In any case, the general guideline here is… if it feels hot, turn it off (or turn it down). This should help extend the life of the light. Try to avoid letting it generate more heat than it can shed (for example, running on high in stagnant air or under a pillow, etc). It will probably feel uncomfortably hot to hold before any damage happens, so holding on to it is a good way to prevent damage.

When I use my Spark SD52 with either 2 LiFePO4 AA cells or 1 14500 and a dummy cell, it is signficantly higher in output (than LSD NiMh cells) with no step-down. I assume it is similar in spec’s to the SC52 perhaps?

Thanks for that explanation ToyKeeper. Its freezing out lately, and im afraid to over do it, as I really love this light, but that all makes a lot of sense. I will use my common sense, although I doubt I will even let this little guy even get too warm in the hand anyway. Again, I appreciate it.