Cree XLamp XR-E R2 Bin

Now that I’m a flashaholic, I’m always looking for brighter LEDs. A recent eBay search for the latest Cree XR-E 7090 white LED R2 bin, I found this Solarforce Cree R2 (5 mode) drop-in.

It’s called a P60 sized drop-in, because that is a Surefire size designation for a reflector-LED-regulator assembly that also fits many different other manufacturers flashlights. The Solarforce drop-in is advertised as 290 lumens (seems unlikely), maximum. The five modes are: strobe, 3 levels of brightness and S.O.S. It was $27.99 USD plus $3.00 shipping. It showed up today in the mail and I was shocked, because delivery from China, where the vendor is located, took only 10 days.

For a comparison test, I used fully charged Ultrafire RCR123 batteries and Ultrafire 502B flashlights with switches replaced with Judco SPST 519PB-ND I bought from Digi-Key. The other P60 size drop-in was a generic Cree P4 module. In the first beamshot, the difference is brightness is minor. I tried another Cree P4 and it put out much less light compared to the Solarforce R2 drop-in. The third beam shot uses the first two modules, but is underexposed 1.5 stops to maximize the visual difference in the two beams.

So did I find a brighter light? I have the feeling I did. I’ll have to check it with my light meter and compare the EVs.

My beamshots were done with a Nikon D70, Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens. Exposure information: ISO 400, 1/30 sec, f2.0.

Roar of the Penguin

Roar of the Pelican flashlight parts

The Roar of the Pelican is a Maglite flashlight mod that derives it’s name from the use of Pelican flashlight’s replacement bulb #3854 and a combination of non-stock battery holders (or batteries) to get a higher voltage and therefore much brighter (roar) flashlight than a stock Maglite.It’s supposed to be an inexpensive mod. I keep calling it the Roar of the Penguin, because of the recent spate of penguin movies.

For my ROP project, I started out with a 2D Maglite and bought most of the required parts from a Hong Kong electronics reseller, Kaidomain.com.

Modified Maglite switch with groove hacked into it to allow use of reflector without a cam

The stock Maglite reflector is made out of plastic, as is the lens. Because of the greater heat produced by this bulb/battery mod, you need a metal reflector and glass lens.

Aftermarket reflectors are available with a cam or camless. The Kaidomain reflector and bulb combination wouldn’t adjust to the best beam using the included cam, so I made a modification to the Mag switch recommended by modamag in this post at Candlepowerforums.com. It puts the bulb in a position allowing for beam adjustments by using the threads on the flashlight body. Shims between the reflector and the bulb holder can also be used to adjust the beam quality when using a cammed reflector.

Maglite Bi-pin bulb and socket

Candlepowerforum members have discussed the higher light transmissive properties of anti-reflective coated lenses – some to the point of using mineral glass watch crystals for flashlight lenses. I’m not that critical a worker.

For power, I used two 3AA to 1D battery adapters, which gives 7.2 volts using NiMH AA batteries. I bought 8 Sanyo Eneloop batteries. Eneloops and other similar batteries use a relatively new NiMH Low Self Discharge (LSD) technology.

Roar of the Pelican flashlight beam shot (left) Stock Maglite (right)

I wasn’t sure if these plastic battery adapters would have a problem with the heat produced with the higher current draw of the bulb, so I bought one of these beautiful adapters, made by fivemega over at the candlepowerforums. It’s definitely a safer choice. The Kaidomain socket allows the use of these bi-pin incandescent bulbs, though fivemega also makes a much nicer socket (USD $16-$19).

Costs (USD):

Mag Instrument 2D Flashlight
$18.99
Aluminum reflector
$14.99
Glass lens
$0.61
G4 Bi-pin socket
$9.99
G4 Bi-pin bulb
$6.03
fivemega 6AA to 2D adapter
$37.00
6 AA NiMH batteries
$11.22
$98.83

I haven’t done any run time tests, but my Roar of the Penguin is very bright.

November 15, 2008, I updated some links and prices for components.

Cree XLamp XR-E LED

Cree XLamp XR-E LED

I just received a bunch of flashlight parts I ordered from Kaidomain.com. Among them, four Cree XLamp XR-E LEDs, Q2 and Q5 bins. I thought I’d mod my Ultrafire C2 flashlight that has a P4 bin Cree with the Q5. I can’t tell the difference between the Q5 and Q2 by looking at the two. I guess I have to do some kind of measurement of current and light output. The Cree XLamp LED Q5 will put out 107 Flux (lumens) when driven at 4 amps – that’s very bright.

One of the four LED’s seems to have a manufacturing defect – see the material in the upper left corner of the chip in the photo?

Two people who offered me help on the Candlepowerforums.com came up with different answers. jtr1962 says it’s the result the dome is starting to detach – he called it internal separation of the silicon filler. WeLight theorized that it was a manufacturing defect and I should return it. I don’t know much about these high power LED’s but I’m learning.

Ultrafire C2 Flashlight

I ordered an Ultrafire C2 flashlight after reading Ernest Sanada’s great review on CandlePower Forums, but delivery from DealExtreme.com in Hong Kong took 5 weeks. They have good prices, but you can’t expect your stuff right away.

I got impatient and ordered another C2 from BatteryJunction.com (highly recommended) – they only took 4 days for delivery.

The Ultrafire C2 uses a Cree XR-E-7090 P4 LED which puts out up to 87.4 lumens @ 350 mA, according to Cree. What this actually means is this flashlight is really bright. The manufacturer also says, “White XLamp LEDs are tested for luminous flux and placed into luminous-flux groups.” Your flashaholic calls it binning -they test the LEDs, then throw them into “bins” depending on their output. These Ultrafire C2s use a P4 bin LED.

The Ultrafire’s exterior aluminum is available in two anodized finishes. One C2 I bought is hard anodized to type III specification – it’s gray. The Battery Junction Ultrafire uses the type II specification anodizing – it’s black.

A couple of days ago, DealExtreme came out with an Ultrafire C2 that uses the Cree XRE-7090 Q5 LED, which has a maximum luminous flux of 114 lumens @ 350 mA. What this actually means is this is really, really bright. I ordered two Cree XR-E Q5‘s on star boards from Kaidomain.com, maybe I can stick one in one of my C2s.

I’m becoming a (noob) flashaholic. The last photograph in this group proves it. It’s a beamshot comparing the AA Maglite (using fresh AA alkaline batteries) and the Ultrafire C2 (using RCR123A 3.7v Li-Ion batteries), taken with a Nikon D70, 18-70mm lens at 55mm, color temperature – 5700K, ISO 400, .7 sec., f8. I’m not sure how meaningful this beamshot is, because it was taken from about 15 feet, but it shows the relative brightness for comparison.