Monday, July 6, 2009

Gear review: Flashlight and charger

Hi guys, sorry for not posting for a while.
A few days ago I received another package from Deal Extreme (it gets addictive, so careful) and in it came the Ultrafire Cree Flashlight I’m holding now.

The UltraFire WF-602C has a Q2 Cree LED.
Price is $ 10,78.
It has a 5-Mode function. Hi, Mid, Low, strobe and SOS in morse code. After a few seconds on off, the flashlight resets and the first mode is again Hi. This is very practical an forgiving for a tactical/self-defense light.
The Hi mode is rated at150-Lumen, and I found it to be rather accurate compared to other flashlights.


Note that this flashlight requires 3,6V CR123A (rechargeable Lithium-Ion)
With these you really get those 150 Lumens.
With ordinary primary batteries you just get ½ the lumens.
The rechargeable batteries are a bit bigger and the flaslight doesn’t close completely, leaves 1mm gap, while it would close completely with primaries. I don’t find this to be a problem, other than esthetics, and it could be solves nicely with an extra o ring to fill the small gap.
The tail clicky cap is glow in the dark green.
I had no charger for this type of battery so along with the two Ultrafire 3.6V 880mAh LC Protected CR123A batteries, I bought a single cell charger. Two of these batteries cost $ 5.08

The Nano Li-Ion Single 3.6V CR123A charger is very nice. Small, effective, and cheap at $ 5.39
So, for about $ 20 dollars I got another nice setup, delivered at my door.
Now, what’s the purpose of this light/battery/charger combo?
The Low and Mid mode works for general purpose use during blackouts or searching something under the fridge.
The Hi mode has nice spill but not enough throw for long distances. Still, with such power it fits the tactical/defensive roll well. 150 lumens will blind anyone, and even though not a weapon mounted light, its enough for when searching the house and nearby ground for intruders.
If you already have a headlamp (which is simply irreplaceable) this system would fit the remaining flashlight needs. The batteries are more expensive and harder to find, but since you have rechargables this isn’t much of a problem. You can have both batteries charged and the wont loose charge like regular Ni Metal rechargables do.
Now lets look at it some other way. Lets talk about a flashlight for maybe a survival kit for the outdoors. There, battery availability isn’t that much of an issue, since you’ll only have what you bring with you. A couple spare rechargargables will provide a lot of light for camping activities, and the strobe and S.O.S mode would be great if you get lost or hurt and need to signal for help.
I tested the light and found that on high, you have a good 30 minutes, and 10 minutes of lower light until shutdown.
On mid, you have 3 hours, and on Low 5 hours.
Low is still bright enough for general work.
The glass came a bit loose but this was quickly solved by screwing the LED unit tighter.
Right now I have more flashlights than I need, and more are coming for more reviews.
Where would I place this flashlight, specially taking into account the li-ion rechargables and nano charger?
If you don’t have any decent flashlights, or none at all and need a good one that fills several niches, along with a nice battery system, you might want to look into this.
Take care folks.


McClarinJ said...

Thank you, Ferfal, for blogging on these Deal Extreme flashlights.

I bought ten of their 3.6-volt batteries for my Akoray plus a 3.6-volt 2-battery charger that I used to charge 4 batteries. (I don't know why I didn't spot the single-battery charger that you got.)

I was impressed with the lumens output on the new batteries. I keep my flashlight set on strobe for tactical purposes. I figure that just using the strobe might stop and blind an attacker long enough for me to run away. If I need other settings, they're just a click or two away.

FerFAL said...

You're welcome.
You're talking about the single 123 cell Akoray, right?
Can the modes be customed as well,like in the AA one?
Akoray has the nicest quality and finish.


Bones said...

When it comes to LED flashlights it's all about the emitter. Even the best ones can disappoint without the proper "binning" or sorting by the manufacturer since LED's brightness vary a lot right off the assembly line.

Another factor is the driver circuitry - the electronics that regulate the voltage to the LED. Poor quality circuitry can hamstring an otherwise excellent light.

The brightest of the bright right now are supposed to be the P7 emitters, but I recently bought the wrong one! The emitter bin was wrong and the driver circuitry apparently substandard. It is no brighter than some smaller lights I own that have a "q5" emitter.

On DX it pays to read the comments, especially with a $35USD flashlight, although it hurts a lot less than a $125 light!

FerFAL said...

Good advice bones.
Yes, it pays to read teh commnets below the reviews ( the ones with stars).
I usually buy items that have good reviews (3 or 4 stars) and good comments below.


Anthony said...

Yes. It pays to research thoroughly before you make that purchase. Of course if you are buying a sub $20 item you cant really expect mind boggling specs. An overall informative review.