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Thread: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

  1. #1

    Exclamation Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Part 1 -

    I have to hand a Cree XE-E mod in a Fenix L1/2T head with McR-18 reflector to review (Very Important note - this is NOT available for purchase, I know how much work and modification is involved to get a Cree XR-E to fit in a L1/2T head with proper heat sinking, some pretty clever stuff going on.....).

    I am very, very grateful to 4sevens (http://Fenix-store.com) for his generosity for the loan of this, along with a UWAJ LuxIII mod L1/2T head also with McR-18 reflector, CR123 bodies and spare L1T and L2T bodies.

    So 3 different L1/2T heads with 3 different bodies - a combination of 9 flashlights - since the L1/2T heads are capable of 2 levels - that's 18 combinations - and that's not even counting use of different battery types....
    enough with the excuses!

    Simply because of the verastility of the L1T/L2T head - this Cree XR-E mod can be seen as possibly a "preview" of the Fenix P1D-CE (when using CR123A and RCR123), Fenix L1D-CE (when using 1x AA alkaline and NiMH), and possibly the future "L2D-CE"(?) (when using 2x AA alkaline and NiMH).
    Please see the Index at the bottom of this post for the continuing parts of this comparison review.

    In this part of the review I am going to look at what I consider driving the Cree XR-E to its potential - ie: using a 3.7V Li-Ion Rechargeable RCR123 battery - so that means the L1/2T heads are on CR123 bodies.

    Size -


    Heads -

    notice the orange-peel/reticulated reflectors in the Cree XR-E and UWAJ mods - also that the central hole had to be enlarged to accomodate the Cree.

    Quick word about the CR123 bodies for the Fenix "T"-series - the current ones would fit all the primary CR123A I tried, although some seemed snug. With 3.7V Li-Ion rechargeable RCR123 - I found I had some Unprotected that were too fat to fit, and suspected that Protect RCR123 would probably be too fat to fit.

    This seems to have been addressed by a new Mk 2 sample/prototype 4sevens loaned me - it is just preceptibly thinnner walled (even more precision) and will take a (fatter) Battery Station Protected RCR123 - which defintitely will not fit the earlier version.

    (EDIT: Important note - I have been told this "Mk.2" body is NOT available for purchase - and only 1 or 2 were made)



    OK, ok - what's the Cree XR-E like?

    Well hopefully you remember what I thought of the L1T on a 3.7V Li-Ion Rechargeble?

    Fenix L1T on 3.7V Li-Ion - Whoa!

    I thought it was spectacularly bright......

    Well this is the L1T on a Cree XR-E
    vs. Stock L1/2T both on 3.7V Li-Ion on High

    holy cr*p! that is bright compared to what I used to consider "spectacular"!

    How about a great LuxIII like a U-bin?
    vs. UWAJ (also McR-18 reflector) both on 3.7V Li-Ion on High

    er - the Cree is definitely brighter.

    But is the U-bin brighter than the stock T-bin?
    you betcha! both on 3.7V Li-Ion on High -


    So all this is pretty seriously bright company -

    How about Cree on Li-Ion vs. stock lights on alkalines?

    vs. Fenix L1T on High, alkaline -

    this Fenix L1T is my at home EDC using a NiMH battery - it is STOMPED by the Cree on Li-Ion.... actually I would have been disappointed if it wasn't.

    vs. Fenix L2T on High, alkalines -

    yes, on 2AA alkalines the stock T-bin does fair a bit better - but bascially it is still spanked by the Cree on Li-Ion......

    I know I am going to have to do more comparisons with different batteries and different bodies -
    but I think this is enough for now -

    Hopefully I have managed to show some of the potential of the Cree XR-E -
    and that the L1/2T makes a great host for it.......

    EDIT to ADD -
    I thought I should use a "control"/reference flashlight for comparison of all these combinations. I've chosen the popular Fenix P1 using a regular primary CR123A (NON-rechargeable) -
    hopefully this gives a consistent output so I can compare this with the variations of battery combination of this Cree XR-E mod L1/2T -

    Control Reference comparison -
    vs. Fenix P1 on Primary CR123A

    The Cree XR-E on 3.7V Li-Ion is obviously brighter than the Fenix P1 on non-rechargeable Primary CR123A - this is not meant to be a direct comparison with the Fenix P1 but a "Control" comparison.

    EDIT to ADD -

    Current draw readings from Cree XR-E mod L1/2T head-
    ......... 750mAh ... 800mAh ... Batt Sta
    ......... Unprot ..... Unprot .... Protected
    High ... 0.59A ...... 0.58A ..... 0.58A
    Low ... 0.40A ...... 0.40A ..... 0.42A

    these are similar but perhaps a shade lower than the current readings from the stock Fenix L1T on 3.7V Li-Ion Unprotected 14500 rechargeable.

    Current draw readings from Stock Fenix L1T head using same RCR123 batteries -
    ......... 750mAh ... 800mAh ... Batt Sta
    ......... Unprot ..... Unprot .... Protected
    High ... 0.48A ...... 0.50A ..... 0.50A
    Low ... 0.46A ...... 0.40A ..... 0.42A

    Ah! I think I got it..... the higher current draw readings from the Cree here are because the LEDs in both cases on High are basically in direct-drive -
    I think the Cree may have a lower Vf - so when presented with the same source, the voltage difference is bigger - hence the more power (therefore current) it can draw.
    Whereas on the Low mode the circuit may contribute to the current limiting....
    however I am at a loss to explain that high reading on the Low setting for the stock L1T using the 750mAh Unprotected RCR123......

    INDEX to continuing parts of this comparison review -

    Part 2 - using 1x NiMH AA battery (L1D-CE preview?) - Post #15
    Part 3 - using the common 1x Alkaline AA (L1D-CE preview?) - Post #23
    Part 4 - using Primary CR123A (3.0V Non-rechargeable) lithium - post #42
    Part 5 - using 2x AA alkaline ("L2D-CE" preview?) - post #54
    Part 6 - using 2x AA NiMH ("L2D-CE" preview?) - post #55

    Outdoors beamshots and direct comparison with P1D-CE - post #50
    Indoors beamshots compared with P1D-CE - post #51
    Last edited by UnknownVT; 01-15-2007 at 08:45 AM. Reason: Mk 2 CR123 body unavailability, control comparison, current draw, updated Index

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Edwood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    You got a protected RCR123 to fit in the MK2 CR123 body?

    I could not get my protected RCR123 (not Battery Station) to fit. Not by a long shot.

    -Ed
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  3. #3
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Do you happen to know the bin and/or tint of the Cree?

  4. #4

    Exclamation Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Edwood wrote: "You got a protected RCR123 to fit in the MK2 CR123 body?
    I could not get my protected RCR123 (not Battery Station) to fit. Not by a long shot."

    Just for clarity - I am only talking about the CR123 bodies for the "T"-series - ie: they have bare alumimum threads at the head.

    (Note: The "original" CR123 body for the L2P does not have bare threads and does not work properly with the L1/2T)

    So what I call Mk.2 is a new (not in production & NOT for purchase - only 1 or 2 were made) CR123 body with even thinner walls than the "T"-series CR123 body with bare threads, and as you see in the photo, will fit the Battery Station Protected RCR123 - whereas the very slightly earlier production sample also for the "T"-series (with bare threads) will NOT fit - like yours - by "a long shot".

    Sorry to sound wordy and pedantic -
    but I want to be sure not to confuse by my use of "Mk.2"

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* chevrofreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    He sent me an XR-E McR18 modded LxT head as well, and the output numbers I get from my home built integrating sphere are:

    Fenix LxT XR-E - CR123a - high 1203 (estimated 85.93 lumens)
    Fenix LxT XR-E - CR123a - low 212 (estimated 15.14 lumens)
    Fenix LxT XR-E - 800mAh unprotected RCR123a - high 1947 (estimated 139.07 lumens)

    stock was

    Fenix LxT - CR123a - high 630 (estimated 45 lumens)
    Fenix LxT - CR123a - low 132 (estimated 9.43 lumens)
    Fenix LxT - 800mAh unprotected RCR123a - high 1050 (estimated 75 lumens)


    The beam is surprisingly nearly perfect considering that it is from a reflector intended for a Luxeon. I feel like a little schoolboy with a crush, and her name is XR-E.

  6. #6
    *Retired* NewBie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Thanks for the comparision information chevrofreak!

  7. #7

    Cool Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    ok, that is awsome! 140 lumens, 2 stages, clicky... someone must make it.

    -David

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Erasmus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Nice mod! Can you explain how you have modified the McR?

  9. #9

    Arrow Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    sflate wrote: "Do you happen to know the bin and/or tint of the Cree?"

    I had to ask -

    It's a P3 WC

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Concept's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    It should not be too far away for the LXD CE you would think now that the P1D CE has hit the market.
    Concept

  11. #11
    Flashaholic Ikonomi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    So how does the FeniXR-E do on standard AAs? Like NiMH? Awesome comparison.

    I think this is the second throwy Cree I have seen (not counting NewBie's aspherical lens ).
    "There's nothing amazing, just the norm."

  12. #12

    Thumbs up Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Ikonomi wrote: "So how does the FeniXR-E do on standard AAs? Like NiMH?"

    Are you reading my mind -
    or writing my script?

    The opening post is only Part 1 of this review -
    my next comparison is going to be a single AA NiMH -
    ie: going from the extreme highest end of 3.7V Li-Ion rechargeable
    (where the circuit is effectively by-passed and the light is in direct-drive)
    to the extreme lowest commonly available voltage of a single AA NiMH at 1.2V.

    So please stay tuned.......

  13. #13

    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Still tuned...can`t wait to see what she does with a single AA 1.2 volt rechargable batt.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Quote Originally Posted by Badbeams
    Still tuned...can`t wait to see what she does with a single AA 1.2 volt rechargable batt.
    Same here, I want to see what a Cree equipped L1T will do. If (when) Fenix rolls out the Cree version, we will all know how it performs with NiMH. Thanks!
    Peak Pacific AAA UP brass (EDC) E01 (keys), Peaks, Arcs, Fenix, Q5 Aspheric HA-III Mag etc.

  15. #15

    Exclamation Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Part 2 -

    on 1x NiMH AA rechargeable battery -

    vs. Stock Fenix L1T both on 1x NiMH AA, High

    er-hum, the Cree XR-E is definitely brighter even when driven by the lowest (commonly available) extreme of a single NiMH AA at a nominal 1.2V - this is pretty impressive (....that's because I know something at this point, that you don't yet )

    vs. UWAJ mod L1/2T both on NiMH AA, High

    the Cree XR-E is noticably brighter - even when compared to possibly the "best" LuxIII for this application and on the lowest end of a driving source this Cree XR-E struts its stuff.

    Control Reference Comparison -
    Cree XR-E L1T with 1x NiMH AA vs. Fenix P1 on primary CR123A

    I would say that this is pretty amazing
    the Cree XR-E mod L1T on a single NiMH AA @ 1.2V is brighter than a Fenix P1 on a Primary Lithium CR123A

    I think people should be getting excited about a possible 1AA Fenix using a Cree XR-E

    EDIT to ADD -
    Comparison at Low level -

    vs. Stock Fenix L1T both on 1x NiMH AA, Low

    even when both are on Low the Cree is still noticably brighter -
    this may not be such a good thing - as most people would like a dimmer low.
    However, bear in mind this L1/2T circuit was not designed for a Cree XR-E -
    and there are two ways of looking at this -
    either we get pretty good brightness for about 10 hours of runtime (like the stock version) on low -
    or a properly designed circuit would give us a lower output at even longer runtime -
    think about the region of ~20 hours for a reasonable low output level at 1/2 this brightness?......

    vs. UWAJ mod L1/2T both on 1x NiMH AA, Low -

    Cree is brighter even on this low level compared to the current "best" LuxIII a U-bin.

    Control Reference Comparison -
    Cree XR-E L1T with 1x NiMH AA on Low vs. Fenix P1 on primary CR123A

    obviously noty as bright on Low - but it is not left that far behind a Fenix P1 on primary lithium CR123A - that's pretty amazing considering at this "low" level the Cree mod L1T should be getting about ~10 hours regulated runtime......


    EDIT to ADD -
    Current draw readings -
    Cree XR-E mod L1/2T head on 1x NiMH AA battery
    High ... 0.79A
    Low .... 0.25A

    compared to Stock L1T using the same NiMH battery
    High ... 0.79A
    Low .... 0.24A

    Close enough to be "identical" - this is so because the current draw from the battery is determined by the circuit.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Whoowh, now that what I want! Thanks for the pic`s and time! Wow!

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Now if you would post the instructions on what you did for the brave souls who might wanna try it too?

    Thanks
    AlexGT

  18. #18

    Arrow Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    AlexGT wrote: "Now if you would post the instructions on what you did for the brave souls who might wanna try it too?"

    I did NOTHING

    ...as stated in my first post - this is a loaner.

    So I did NOT do the mod -
    although I do have some idea of how much work went into it.

    The Cree XR-E is not a simple direct replacement fit to a Luxeon, so some "surgery" is required to fit.

    As can be seen in the photo of the heads - the reflector (McR-18 - designed for the Luxeon) has to have its hole widened to fit the Cree.

    I know that some heat sinking mod had to be done also.

    Sorry I can't give any more details, as I just don't know.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic tazambo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Great beam shots, UnknownVT.

    I want an LxT head with cree and a RCR123 body.
    I prefer a clickie over a twistie.

    I don't need the fancy stuff in the P1D, just 2 levels and a clickie.
    This needs to be a stock light, none of this having to spend an extra $15-20 for the 123 body. But thanks for building it, Nekomane.

    Come on fenix.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* EngrPaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Are the POST #15 beamshots accurate for the L1P-XRE mod that became available at Fenix-Store today?

  21. #21

    Exclamation Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    EngrPaul wrote: "Are the POST #15 beamshots accurate for the L1P-XRE mod that became available at Fenix-Store today?"

    Sorry - don't know.
    I don't have a Cree mod'd L1P to compare.

    By speculation/guessing - they may be similar - but this is a GUESS only.

    The L1P circuit for a R-bin 1watt Lux1 may actually be closer for a Cree XR-E -since both LEDs are rated for 350mA current.

    However beware the L1P was only spec'd for voltage range of 0.9~1.7V - so a 3.7V Li-Ion rechargeable is way too high......

    Note: I have editted to add the current draw readings for the respective battery types in the opening Post #1, and Post #15

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* AlexGT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Do you think the CREE led might work with a L2P? I am so tempted to try to do the mod.

    AlexGT

  23. #23

    Arrow Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    Part 3 -

    Using the most "obvious" battery - the common 1x Alkaline AA -

    vs. Stock Fenix L1T both using 1x Alkaline AA both on High -

    not surprisingly (like the NiMH results in Post #15) - the Cree is noticably brighter than the stock L1T with both on High.

    vs. Stock Fenix L1T both using 1x Alkaline AA both on Low -

    even when both are on Low the Cree is still noticably brighter -
    this may not be such a good thing - as most people would like a dimmer low.
    However, bear in mind this L1/2T circuit was not designed for a Cree XR-E -
    and there are two ways of looking at this -
    either we get pretty good brightness for about 10 hours of runtime (like the stock version) on low -
    or a properly designed circuit would give us a lower output at even longer runtime -
    think about the region of ~20 hours for a reasonable low output level like 1/2 this brightness?......

    vs. UWAJ mod L1T both on 1x Alkaline AA both on High -

    Remember a U-bin is about as good as a LuxIII can get currently - and the Cree is definitely brighter.

    vs. UWAJ mod L1T both on 1x Alkaline AA both on Low -

    Again the Cree even on low is noticably brighter - see comments above for the comparison with the stock on Low.

    Control Reference Comparison -
    Cree XR-E L1T with 1x Alkaline AA on High vs. Fenix P1 on primary CR123A

    the Cree XR-E even on a humble common 1x AA alkaline is actually about the same - or just brighter than a Fenix P1 on a primary lithium CR123A - I think this is pretty amazing......

    Cree XR-E L1T with 1x Alkaline AA on Low vs. Fenix P1 on primary CR123A

    not surprisingly the Low is not as bright - but even the low seems not that distant from the Fenix P1 on a primary lithium CR123A -
    since this is the standard L1T circuit - that's about ~10 hours regulated runtime at this level....... so a properly designed circuit could give us hopefully over ~20 hours runtime at a reasonable low level no problems......

    Thinking of it with a Cree XR-E to be truly useful one should think in terms of 3 stages - High like as tested, Medium like the current "Low" with about ~10 hours regulated runtime, and a real Low regulated at about 1/2 the brightness with runtime in excess of ~20 hours......

    Current Draw readings on 1x Alkaline AA -

    Cree XT-E in L1/2T head -
    High = 0.80A
    Low = 0.22A

    stock L1T
    High = 0.80A
    Low = 0.25A

    close enough to be "identical" - so runtimes are probably going to be similar to the stock L1T.

  24. #24

    Arrow Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    AlexGT wrote: "Do you think the CREE led might work with a L2P? I am so tempted to try to do the mod."

    I would think yes.

    Since 4sevens is selling a L1P mod'd with Cree XR-E - I would think/guess the L2P would even be better -
    with maybe the possibility of being able to handle 3.7V Li-Ion rechargeable battery (but please double check before doing so) -
    and definitely can use the CR123 body with Primary CR123 lithium.

    Please do let us know how you get on and what you have to do.....

    BTW - 2x AA is the next on the agenda in this continuing comparison review -
    I'll probably eventually do both -
    but should I use 2x AA NiMH, or alkalines first?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    I wonder if the 5 ohm resistor in the tailcap switch trick works with the L1T? Click in the resistor for a much lower low, click it back out for "medium" (low) and high is high. Doing the tailcap mod would make it a twistie but it might work for the lowest of the low fans out there.
    Peak Pacific AAA UP brass (EDC) E01 (keys), Peaks, Arcs, Fenix, Q5 Aspheric HA-III Mag etc.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Calina's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    As the brigtness of LEDs keeps increasing we will need more and more levels on our lights to play with. The problem is that once you go over 3 or 4 levels the twisting operation to change levels can become cumbersome. A new approach will have to be designed, like selecting the levels with a ring or having 3 levels only but programmable by the user.
    Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    how long do place to hold turned on the L1T with a 3.7 v before overheat him?

  28. #28

    Arrow Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    magmini from italy wrote: "how long do place to hold turned on the L1T with a 3.7 v before overheat him?"

    That's a good question... and the answer is I don't know.

    I think on 3.7V Li-Ion rechargeable the Cree XR-E may be over the spec typical ratings - but still well under the maximums.

    Looking at the Cree spec sheet they state the max forward current is 700mA and the typical Vf at 700mA is 3.75V (max Vf @ 350mA is 3.9V) -
    If the 3.7V Li-Ion rechargeable is direct driving the Cree - then there is 3.7V (nominal) at 580-590mA which is below the Max - but quite a bit above the "typical" 350mA.

    The Cree modified head did get warm during my beamshots - but not what I would call noticably hot - it did not feel any hotter than the T- or U-bin heads - but that was just my impression - however I definitely would have noticed if the head got "hot".

    So there is a danger of overheating even though the using a 3.7V Li-Ion with the Cree is still well within the maximum specs.

    I know that considerable effort (both in reasearch and work) has gone into getting the Cree well heat-sinked for this particular mod, and this may well be an important point for anyone considering a Cree mod and wants to drive it with 3.7V Li-Ion rechargeable.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    but a 3.7 li ion (14500 in my case) hardly loaded it makes to measure 4.2 v of peak: those are not enough to burn the circuit in few minutes?

  30. #30

    Exclamation Re: Cree XR-E in Fenix L1/2T (vs. UWAJ, stock)

    magmini from italy wrote: "but a 3.7 li ion (14500 in my case) hardly loaded it makes to measure 4.2 v of peak: those are not enough to burn the circuit in few minutes?"

    Not sure....

    But the L1T/L2T circuit is designed to handle up to +4V.

    I know that some Li-Ion cells freshly off the charger can read as high as 4.2V
    (this depends on the charger - mine tend to be about 4.09V max) - but this is fairly short -
    and once they are under load they do drop to close to their "nominal" voltage of 3.7 or 3.6V.

    The 3 different 3.7V Li-Ion rechargeable RCR123 I used did not appear to distress the Cree L1T -
    and the protected and Unprotected 14500 Li-Ion rechargeable I used in the stock L1T also did not seem to distress the stock L1T LED - see -

    Fenix L1T on 3.7V Li-Ion - Whoa!

    However you still do this all at your own risk -
    if you want to be on the safe side don't use the Li-Ion fresh off the charger -
    just use the Li-Ion battery for a bit before putting it in the flashlight -
    afterall they are rated at 3.7 or 3.6V and not 4.2V.....

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