Post by david57strat on Sept 21, 2017 12:51:04 GMT -8
After what seems like a long hiatus of not carrying any cool white lights, I've gone back to carrying at least one. Today, it's these three lights. The two Zebralights are a nice neutral white (around 4500K).
Left to Right: Armytek Dobermann XP-L (cool white), Zebralight SC600w Mk III, and SC600w Mk II L2
Post by david57strat on Aug 24, 2017 13:58:35 GMT -8
After eight months of daily use, my Dragon failed. I placed batteries in the charger, and the read-outs looked okay, initially. When I removed a battery, the readout displayed as if it was still charging.
I unplugged the power supply, and plugged it back in to re-initialize the charger. No good. The displays showed readings as if there were batteries in them channels, regardless. I, also , could not adjust the charge rate to 2 Amp/hr.
I also noticed tapping of the test leads switched modes over, from charge, to volt/internal resistance metering, but the double tap of the display button no longer switched the unit back over to charge mode. It was stuck in voltage metering/test leads mode.
I left the unit unplugged and messaged Lumens Direct (The XTAR distributor, from whom I had purchased the charger).
I left the unit unplugged and messaged Lumens Direct (The XTAR distributor, from whom I had purchased the charger).
The next morning, I plugged the unit in, and it did the diagnostic function, then powered off completely for a few seconds, then did the initialize screen, and repeated that, every few seconds or so.
When the seller got back to me, they apologized for the problems, and advised me to ship back the charger (their physical store was no longer there. They had moved), and they provided me with an RMA #, following up with a prepaid shipping level, sent in an email, to ship the unit back.
They told me to send only the charger, and none of the accessories (which meant keeping the case, the two power supplies, test leads, etc.). They also told me that the didn't have stock of the Dragons, and it would be a few weeks before they did. This was fine with me, since I had a slew of other chargers; although I admit, I was disappointed that their flagship charger would or could ever fail.
But, it happens, right? Could be a car, a TV set, or anything else, regardless of price.
Some weeks passed, and I checked their on-line store, but they weren't expecting stock until the end of November. I followed up with them, and after a few exchanges, we agreed that they would ship me two SV2 units (which I really loved), and refund the balance - which they did. They took care of me - always have.
In the meantime, I purchased a second Dragon charger, on one of Andrew and Amanda's "Deal of the Day" sales, for $49.00 - a steal, as far as I was concerned. When the unit arrived, I tested it out, and it seemed to have the same problem; but that wasn't the case. I realized that I had plugged the test leads (using their USB plug) into the wrong USB outlet. Plugging it, into the appropriate plug, fixed everything.
If only that had been the case with the initial unit I purchased elsewhere. That first charger was sitting on the desk, for eight months, and used, the same way, every day, and the test leads had been plugged in, and left that way, from Day One.
The unit was unresponsive, even when I tried unplugging the test leads.
So, I still have one of these Dragons, and it appears to be working flawlessly.
No complaints. Since then, I purchased two Nitecore SC4 chargers, which have replaced my old D4s, and are pretty amazing little chargers, that I got through a Group Buy, on Budget Light Forums.
At first, I assumed the problem I had with the Dragon was a production issue, and was very saddened to feel that I needed to return the second charger; but equally relieved/pleased that this wasn't the case. Of course,Andrew and Amanda immediately issued an RMA, which I never ended up needing to use.
The bottom line, is I'm still very confident about the quality of XTAR chargers, and have never received anything less than first rate customer service, any time I've ever had an issue with one.
I will gladly continue buying XTAR products.
As for improvements they could possibly make for the "V2" version of the Dragon:
1) I would make the display characters smaller, so that it could show the status of all four channels, simultaneously, rather than just two at a time. The display is gigantic (I look at it and I feel it's for the visually impaired, or something lol); so, I think this is entirely possible, while still being easily readable;
2) I would also make the current/refresh and record/test buttons protrude, just a bit, so they're more easy to feel and find, in the dark. They're too flush with the rest of the panel, making them kind of hard to find, otherwise.
As for the chargers inability to set each channel, for independent charge rates ,etc. I have plenty of other chargers (My VP2s and SC4s) that will do that, so it's still not really a deal breaker, for me. The same holds true for a charger that can charge LiFePO4 and 4.3 volt batteries.
Post by david57strat on Aug 15, 2017 17:08:34 GMT -8
This is the new Nitecore SC4 charger. I just received it a few days ago, and am loving it, so far.
I'm afraid my pictures don't seem to do the charger justice. Nitecore did an amazing job, with their website pictures, though (as they always do).
So far, I've only charged a handful of 18650 batteries (and some AA NiMhs, as pictured above) in it, but it does exactly as promised, and has the ability to charge at up to 3 Amps, through two of the slots (perfect for the bigger 26650 batteries, for speed charging).
The spring tension feels a little bit wimpy, compared to all of my XTAR chargers, but that's just being nit picky.
The display is a far cut above that of the D4 it replaced (both, clearer, and more colorful). It is not defeat-able, but dims, after three minutes of non-use. It's significantly larger than the D4 (taller, deeper, and wider), but that's not a big deal. The heat sinking in this one is certainly better (it barely warms up, to the touch, even with bigger batteries - compared to the D4).
I like that they placed the buttons on top, rather than on the side, as the D4 had, so I could set these, side-by-side, without blocking access to the buttons.
I'm still getting used to the program-ability of the individual charging slots. Maybe in the next few days or so, I'll try and get some better pictures of it, and have some more comments; but I can say that I liked it so much, I've ordered a second one (through BLF Group Buy - killer deal).
This one arrived in a little over a week.
I'm still an avid XTAR charger fan, but this is really a step up, for Nitecore (I previously had a pair of i4 V2s, and a pair of D4s, before these two), and I'm glad to have made the purchase.
The Dragon is sophisticated, but not complicated to use lol. The manual is pretty well-written, and it has a lot of cool features. I couldn't be more pleased with it :-). I'd gladly own two or three of these puppies, if they weren't so damned expensive.
I'm hopeful that this model will eventually go on sale (to make room for a newer model, or something).
Post by david57strat on Aug 24, 2016 20:20:09 GMT -8
Here is the latest picture of my Solarforce family, which include the addition of two new L2D hosts, which are loaded with Mountain Electronics XM-L2 U3 3D 5-mode drop-ins. The third (original) L2D has an International Outdoors XP-L U5 7A3 3-mode drop-in (One of the warmest P60 lights that I own).
One change to one of the existing lights was done to the L2P (pictured in the middle/foreground. That light remains one of my main EDCs. I replaced the standard body with a 18650-bored Surefire 6P body, that I picked up on Oveready.
This is to be a three-stage process, with the ultimate goal resulting in a light with a Cryos cooling bezel, housing a far more powerful quad Nichia drop-in (rather than the Sportac triple Nichia currently installed), and a higher amperage tail switch, to support the heavier amperage load.
At the end of this process, the light will no longer be a Solarforce, at all - which means, I need to purchase another Solarforce, to keep the number at twenty (I hate odd numbers. That's as good an excuse as any, right?).
I believe I have the same light as Shorttime, it's a P25C. Mine sits in my work bag and on my person I carry an Olight S1.
I also sometimes carry a P25. It's not a Sunwayman, but a Nitecore. It's the only USB-rechargeable light I own, so far. It was one of the first Nitecore lights I purchased. I've had it for about three years. When I EDC it, it's in a pack.
The first five on the left are my basic on-person carry. The last five are pack-carried, most of the time. The P25 is the one on the far right.
That L2N (with the stainless tail switch) is loaded with a custom 5-mode XM-L 7C (which has extremely warm output - pretty much like a nicer incandescent, but with none of the weaknesses of the incandescent). That was my first Solarforce light, and that's what got me hooked on their hosts - and in neutral and warmer tints, too!
Unfortunately, I was using Auto White Balance in this shot (above), so the beam tint looks kind of washed-out.
Here's a more accurate depiction of the color of the beam. This is a really hideous beam shot (compared to John's incredible outdoor shots of the L2T, below), but it gives you an idea of the color temperature of the emitter. Sometimes, it's more desirable to have a warmer tint light. For instance, warmer tints are more effective at cutting through fog and smoke, than cool white lights.
The L2T has a Customlites XP-L Hi Neutral White (5000K), 3 amp driver; 3-mode drop-in, with smooth reflector. It's a fantastic little thrower!
The tree is supposed to be 75 yards away.
Photos courtesy of jpmac45 of Candle Power Forums, where I purchased the light. Thanks, John
The PD40 has an MT-G2 emitter in it, and makes a great compact flood light, with a nice neutral beam. It's the only light I EDC, running on a 26650 battery.
You carry all five of those on you at a time?? Jesus.
Well - they're not big lights, so yeah. When it's possible to carry the five, I do (and sometimes more). I practically live in cargo shorts, year-round; so it's pretty easy to do. About the only time I cannot (am not allowed to) carry this many on-person, is at work, but I still carry them (albeit, only one in my pocket, and the rest, in a pack, which is within arm's reach).
I like having options; and having options means a little extra carry weight, expense, and time/maintenance; but all of that is a small price to pay, to have lots of options, almost at all times
Don't need as much distance, and the smaller size and simpler UI suits me.
I haven't had very good luck with Sunwayman lights. My first was a V11R, which I ran on a 14500 battery, with the extension tube. I used to EDC that one, all the time. I never liked the control ring. First, it started to loosen up, so that I could barely touch it and the output would change radically. Then, the control ring decided to lock up, on the high position. Couldn't get it to budge, to save my life. That really angered me, since I paid so much for the light, PLUS the added expense of the extension tube. I baby my lights, so this came as a surprise, and a huge disappointment, to me. I later read, in other forums, that the control ring problem was a known issue, among a lot of other V11R users. They didn't design that light so that you could easily take apart the head and re-lubricate the control ring. Poor design. That light was replaced by a Nitecore SRT-3, which also had many of the same features as the V11R, but also had other LEDs in it (Red, Blue, Green), and some flashing modes. That light still works beautifully today. The control ring is super smooth, with just the right resistance to it. My biggest pet peeve with that light, was that it stepped down to a much lower output, after about three minutes (which I knew about beforehand; but it kind of became an issue, after repeated use).
I also had a T20CS - which threw, amazingly well, and worked wonderfully - until one day, it just stopped working, altogether. Couldn't revive that one, no matter what I tried.
That was the last of my Sunwayman purchases.
Which Sunwayman model are you carrying?
I used to EDC two Thrunite T10s (one original twisty version, in cool white, and the 2014 Edition, with the stainless bezel (in neutral tint - very nice!), like the one you pictured above). I ran those on 14500 batteries, and they had tremendous output, for their size, but I had to be extremely careful about not overheating them, at their highest output (which was fine).
But once I picked up the SC62w (which I ended up losing), that kind of displaced the T10 permanently, as an EDC light, since I was able to get much longer run times and performance out of that light (with the added bonus of all the customize-able outputs, etc.), and a very usable and pleasant neutral tint. I ended up replacing the lost SC62w with the SC600w Mk III - a more powerful light, which is just phenomenal, for its size (but also offers super low moonlight modes, with incredibly long run times). It also runs a lot cooler than any of my other Zebralights ever did, in spite of the extra power. That's definitely a heavy use light, and it's not that much larger than the SC62w that it replaced. Easily pocket-able.
The user interface on the Zebralights is pure genius (direct access to low, medium, or high, or flashing modes, from off. You can easily re-program any of those four modes, on the fly. Fully potted electronics (super tough) - very solid build quality. They're kind of funny-looking lights (at least, I think they are lol); but they sure perform, and that's what matters. Excellent thermal management and regulation. If you've never gotten your hands on one, it would be well worth considering. They put out a nice combination of spot and spill beams.
Post by david57strat on Jun 14, 2016 14:09:50 GMT -8
I generally carry these five, on-person. When I can only carry one (at work, for instance), it's the Mk III, and the others go in a bag, with additional lights.
Left to Right:
Fenix E15 2016 Edition (this is the only one of the bunch, using the much smaller 16340 battery). Zebralight SC600w Mk III (4500K) Zebralight SC600w Mk II L2 (4500K) Eagletac DX30LC2 (XP-L Hi) Solarforce L2P with Sportac Triple Nichia 219B (2-mode)
For the most part, I'm still an avid 18650 battery user