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Thread: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

  1. #1

    Popcorn DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    REVIEWER’S NOTE:This is my preliminary comparison of the new Dereelight DBS V2 compared to the original edition. The EDGETAC RaidFire Spear is also included for comparison purposes in the runtimes and output.

    For a detailed comparison to all the other thrower lights in my collection, please see:
    Thrower review: DBS, Spear, MRV, Tiablo, Regal & clones: THROW, RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS!




    As you can see, the new V2 is shorter than the original, with a slightly different design to the bezel and tailcap. Also features a removable wire clip.



    Light comes in the standard Dereelight presentation box with with cut-out padding, basic instruction manual, spare parts (o-rings, tailcap cover, switch replacement, clip bezel & screws).





    As you can see, unlike the original DBS, the tailcap screw threads are now anodized on both the battery tube and tailcap of the V2. This allows you to lock-out the light – a nice feature.



    Switch now comes with a spring for battery contact. This wasn’t needed previously as the extra contact spring in the original body tube helped press the battery against the contact plate in the tailcap. Although not shown in the pics, the threads between top of the battery tube and the head are also anodized.

    A comment about the tailcaps: although not shown, the new V2 has a raised tailcap switch compared to the original. This makes it easier to activate the forward clicky.





    The quality of the machining and anodizing has definitely improved from the original DBS. Although I’m a fan of the darker black finish anyway, you can see for yourself that the earlier machining marks and “splotchiness” of the original anodizing are no longer present on the new V2. The lettering is also considerably sharper looking.

    Weight (without battery):
    Dereelight DBS V2: 194g
    RaidFire Spear: 191g
    Dereelight DBS: 221g
    Lumapower MRV: 195g
    Tiablo A8: 151g

    As you can see, the weight of the DBS V2 has dropped to within the range of the other throwers. Still a bit “top-heavy” compared to the Tiablo or Raidfire, it is improved over the original DBS.

    I haven’t taken disassembled pics, but the reason for the lower weight and height comes from the removal of the extra contact surface/spring at the top part of the battery tube (i.e. the positive terminal of the battery now makes direct contact with the pill spring). I’ve always maintained that the extra contact surface in the original DBS was just another potential source of problems – glad to see they have removed it.

    The rest of this review will focus on the new continuously variable switch (“DI”) with the new R2 bin Cree emitter.

    Initial Throw Observations:

    Throw values are the square-root of Lux measurements taken at 1m using a light meter. Note that my lightmeter tends to report lower absolute values than most, but I have verified it is linearly responsive over the range of intensities in question.

    Dereelight DBS DI – R2 (18650-only) Throw Lux @ one meter:
    • 18650 x 1 on high (100%): 23,900 Lux (* but not for long, see below)
    • 18650 x 1 on med (50%): 13,100 Lux
    • 18650 x 1 on low (5%): 980 Lux

    Dereelight DBS 3-Stage - Q4 (18650-only) Throw Lux @ one meter:
    • 18650 x 1 on high: 21,200 Lux
    • 18650 x 1 on medium: 10,500 Lux
    • 18650 x 1 on low: 1,830 Lux

    RaidFire Spear – Q5 (18650-only) Throw Lux @ one meter:
    • 18650 x 1 on high: 24,000 Lux
    • 18650 x 1 on low: 360 Lux


    * Note that the DI circuit quickly drops ~10% from the initial output/throw levels reported above within the first 2 minutes, then settles into regulation. See my runtimes below for more info.

    Overall Output:

    It is very difficult to accurately guage differences in overall output among these lights, since so much of their output is dedicated to "throw". I've attempted two methods: a ceiling-bounce test and my home-made milk carton lightbox. For the ceiling-bounce test, the light meter is placed on the floor of a small windowless room, and the flashlight is placed in candle mode nearby, shining upwards toward the ceilling. For the lightbox method, I use the same standard setup as I do for runtimes (see below for a description).



    As you can see, initial output of the DBS V2 with the R2 Cree/DI circuit is intermediate to my old Q4 3SD and the RaidFire Spear. But again, initial output quickly decays to approximately Q4 3SD level (see runtimes below).

    Runtimes:

    Runtimes charts are slightly different from my other reviews - since my home-made milk carton lightbox doesn't accurately capture overall output on these intense throwers, I have adjusted all my relative output numbers to initial throw (measured as the squareroot of Lux @1m). This allows you to directly compare the relative throw of each light over time on the graphs below (although you can't directly compare these graphs with my other reviews).



    As you can see, initial output drops rapidly within the first 2 minutes, and then settles into regulation around the level of my Q4 3SD circuit. This will be a disappointment for those that expected greater output due to the higher output bin (R2), and the expectation that the DI circuit would be harder-driven than the old 1.0A 3SD.

    Beamshots:

    Up close beamshots at ~1 meter from a white wall, to show you the different overall patterns.





    My camera is set to automatic white balance, and the real difference between the lights is not shown in the pics above. In real life, this WH tint bin R2 is quite yellow-green compared to the premium WC Q4 on the left. I would say my WH R2 sample looks very similar to ernsanada’s samples.

    DI Circuit User Interface
    • The DI circuit is continuously variable with preset levels of 5%, 50%, and 100% output.
    • Double-tap the switch within 1 sec to get it to start ramping. Light begins at the lowest level and ramps up.
    • Light ramping pauses at 5%, 50%, and 100% levels for 2 secs each time, and flashes off to let you know you are there (i.e. 1 flash at 5%, 2 flashes at 50%, and 3 flashes at 100%).
    • To set the light at any given level, simply turn it off when you reach the desired output.
    • Light has a memory mode – it remembers the last level you left it at when you turn it back on.
    • Light uses PWM for low modes. I have measured the freq at 121 Hz in all low modes, including during ramping.




    In the figure above, I compare the ramping sequence to that of the LiteFlux LF5 and EDGETAC NiteCore DI. Note that I have reformulated my ramping graphs in terms of % relative output (i.e. % of max output) to allow you to more easily compare the rates and characteristics of the ramps.

    As you can see, the ramp is fairly quick and roughly visually linear, except for the 2 sec pauses at 5%, 50%, and 100% output levels (vertical lines at these points are to illustrate the flashing that occurs).


    Preliminary conclusions: (I've only started playing with the light, so these will be updated ...)
    • So far, the V2 seems to be a considerable improvement on the original DBS in every way – machining, anodizing, length, weight, and ease of action of the switch. Well done!
    • Inclusion of the belt clip is a good idea, and seems to work well in my initial testing.
    • The new R2 Cree (WH tint bin) coupled with the continuously variable (DI) circuit is a bit of a disappointment. Initial output is about what I expect from a Q5, and it quickly drops down to a Q4 level when it enters regulation after ~2 mins.
    • Current users of the various Q4 or Q5 digital circuit DBS' are likely to be disappointed by the output and tint of the R2 (although non-premium tint was advertised in advance). Light does seem to be a WH tint.
    • The DI interface works well, but output and runtime suggest that it is NOT driven harder than the original 1.0A 3SD. Throw junkies might want to stick with the harder driven 2SD (2-stage digital) circuit (which is supposedly 1.2A).
    • PWM frequency on the DI circuit is a minimally respectable 121 Hz. Personally, I find anything lower than this distracting in every day use. Note than my 3SD Q4 had an undetectably high level of PWM in comparison (i.e. >1 kHz)
    • My DI R2 pill also produces a lot more "whine" or buzzing in low modes than my 3SD Q4 did, despite the much lower PWM.


    More to come ...
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 02-29-2008 at 09:26 PM. Reason: typos
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  2. #2
    Flashaholic* StefanFS's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Fantastic! You are a very sharp individual. You always try your best to convey what you observe. No guessing games.
    I haven't received my DBS V2 yet, but I'm already building two pills for it with CREE Q5 and various drivers.
    Stefan

  3. #3

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Very interesting, as usual .

    Thanks Selfbuilt .
    Flashlight collection: Ra, Novatac, Surefire, WolfEyes, Inova, Olight, EagleTac, Dereelight, Tiablo, Fenix, Nitecore, Lumapower, JetBeam, Zebralight, Thrunite, Sunwayled

  4. #4

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Thank you for the excellent review selfbuilt.

  5. #5

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Do you think you could pop a 3SD or 2SD 1.2A pill into a V2 to the throw to the V1 when the circuitry is the same?

    Thanks for the great review
    Last edited by I came to the light...; 01-30-2008 at 03:20 PM.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Great review as always selfbuilt! You need a Q5 WC digital pill to test.

    I have a couple R2 DI's on the way, and a R2 3SD. I'll see if the R2 3SD does better than the DI.

    Hopefully I'll get my DBS v2, no tracking action since it left China, hopefully it isn't lost.
    Last edited by WadeF; 01-30-2008 at 03:30 PM.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Thanks for the support everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by StefanFS View Post
    Fantastic! You are a very sharp individual. You always try your best to convey what you observe. No guessing games.
    I haven't received my DBS V2 yet, but I'm already building two pills for it with CREE Q5 and various drivers.
    Thanks Stefan - and I'm looking forward to your detailed review too!

    Quote Originally Posted by I came to the light... View Post
    Do you think you could pop a 3SD or 2SD 1.2A pill into a V2 to the throw to the V1 when the circuitry is the same?
    I would expect the V1 and V2 lights would perform about the same with the same pill installed (but I'll confirm that with mine when I get the chance). Unfortunately, I don't have one of the 1.2A 2SD pills to test. I guess we'll have to wait until WadeF's V2s show up ...
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  8. #8
    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    I'm also excited to see if I get much of a gain by replacing my DBS V1's lens with a new AR coated lens. I think that's why the Raidfire is close to the DBS V1, the Raidfire supposedly has a AR coated lens, while the DBS v1 did not.

    I think the biggest gain with the DBS v2 is just the redesign of the light itself. DBS v1 and DBS v2 should be virtually identical in throw (assuming they both have the new AR coated lens) if they are using the same pills.
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  9. #9
    Flashaholic* StefanFS's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    WadeF,
    I believe the RaidFire has some AR coating, but it's unlikely that it's a multicoat (three layers on each side). The same goes for most more 'expensive' throw lights, probably including version 1 of the DBS, MRV and Tiablo A8/A9. They seem to have single layer, clear, AR coating. Calling that ultraclear glass with AR is unfortunate. Quality and thickness of the glass is also a factor. Multicoated high quality glass is very expensive. As an example, when I put UCL or UCL-type lenses in my D-minis, Tiablos and MRVs output went up by 8-10%.
    Stefan

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* cat's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Good point.
    Yet UCL / flashlightlens.com seems inexpensive. Are their UCL lenses multicoated?

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* StefanFS's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by cat View Post
    Good point.
    Yet UCL / flashlightlens.com seems inexpensive. Are their UCL lenses multicoated?
    UCL is multicoated. Very expensive in relation to the cost of ordinary glass that is. It'll be interesting to see what kind of lens the new DBS V2 has.
    Stefan

  12. #12
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Any idea what the runtimes would be on Primaries using the 1sm pill?

  13. #13

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Not sure about the AR coatings of any of these lights really, but I agree the UCL lenses do provide a signficant benefit over basic ones.

    By the way, I notice my RaidFire seems to resist surface dust better than the others. I wonder if their exterior "diamond-coating" reduces electrostatic attraction?

    Quote Originally Posted by climbinglife View Post
    Any idea what the runtimes would be on Primaries using the 1sm pill?
    I have the original 2SM pill (Q2 emitter), and time to 50% was 1:43 on Energizer primaries, and 2:57 on 18650. Regulation was a bit unusual on primaries, but standard semi-regulated decay on li-ion. See runtimes plots here.
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  14. #14
    Flashaholic* cat's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan
    UCL is multicoated. Very expensive in relation to the cost of ordinary glass that is.
    Yes, expensive as a manufacturing cost. It seems inexpensive to me compared to other MAG hotwire parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt
    Not sure about the AR coatings of any of these lights really, but I agree the UCL lenses do provide a signficant benefit over basic ones.

    By the way, I notice my RaidFire seems to resist surface dust better than the others. I wonder if their exterior "diamond-coating" reduces electrostatic attraction?
    That's interesting. I wonder what it is that they've used.

  15. #15

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    so only the 2SD is driven at 1.2A, and not the 3SD?

    i think my mind is made up on which WC Q5 to get now.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* Steve L's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by MstrHnky View Post
    so only the 2SD is driven at 1.2A, and not the 3SD?

    i think my mind is made up on which WC Q5 to get now.
    No, the only difference is the 3SD has medium. All the digital pills are driven at 1.2a(I'm not sure about the DI).

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Got my DBS v2 today. I got a DI R2 and 3SD R2 DBS pills and the 3SD beats the DI as far as LUX. This could simply be due to one focusing a little tighter than the other, or the 3SD R2 has a lower Vf, OR the 3SD gets more current to the R2 than the DI pill is.

    I've gained about 2,500-3,000LUX with the DBS v2 3SD R2 over my DBS v1 with my best performing Q5 pill.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by WadeF View Post
    Got my DBS v2 today. I got a DI R2 and 3SD R2 DBS pills and the 3SD beats the DI as far as LUX. This could simply be due to one focusing a little tighter than the other, or the 3SD R2 has a lower Vf, OR the 3SD gets more current to the R2 than the DI pill is.

    I've gained about 2,500-3,000LUX with the DBS v2 3SD R2 over my DBS v1 with my best performing Q5 pill.
    Thats good news, can't wait for the review...

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* adamlau's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    I have been always a bit wary of multi-mode assemblies. Additional circuitry normally leads to increased resistance ,which in turn leads to lower overall output. It is why I have found the 1S pills to be consistently brighter than any of the others (though I have yet to drive the 1SM-2 at 14.8V).
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  20. #20
    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by adamlau View Post
    I have been always a bit wary of multi-mode assemblies. Additional circuitry normally leads to increased resistance ,which in turn leads to lower overall output. It is why I have found the 1S pills to be consistently brighter than any of the others (though I have yet to drive the 1SM-2 at 14.8V).
    Next time Dereelight has R2's I'll have to try a 1S with an R2.

    With the R2 I put together (it's a big sloppy) I sometimes short out the pill, but sometimes only what I can describe as a partial short. The LED still comes on, but I can't change modes and it will be stuck in high. This is a 3SD pill that I transplanted my own R2 WG onto. The interesting thing is when this happens, it is brighter than when all 3 modes work. So there is potential for the emitter to be brighter than it is normally when set to MAX on the 3SD. I'm not sure what kind of current is hitting the emitter when this happens, it may be enough to shorten the life. I just need to try and insulate whatever is shorting out better, but it is an interesting side effect.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Just a quick update: I've tested the PWM frequency, and it is 121 Hz in all low modes. I consider this minimally acceptable personally.

    Actually, it's kind of cool watching the frequency graphs as the light goes through its ramping sequence - the freq stay the same, but the duty cycle widens as the perceived intensity goes up (just as you would expect on most PWM lights). First time I've got to see this in action on a ramping light (the NiteCore is too a high a freq for me to detect).
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  22. #22

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    i'm going to buy one as soon as alan confirms that the PWM frequency has been adjusted. he said to check back around the 15th.

    i really can't wait for this light as it will "complete" my collection... for a few weeks anyway.
    Currently own: Dereelight DBS v2 3SD WC Q5, NiteCore SmartPD EX10 (EDC), Zebralight H30, Lowes Task Force 3W Cree 2C, 5th Gen Surefire L1, Jetbeam CL-E v2, Fenix E01, 3D Mag w/Mag LED drop-in, quark 123

  23. #23

    Sssh Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by MstrHnky View Post
    i'm going to buy one as soon as alan confirms that the PWM frequency has been adjusted. he said to check back around the 15th.
    Where is your problem with the actual 121 Hz? Can you see a flicker? I have the CL1H 3SD, but cannot find any problems. The flicker is invisible for my eyes.
    Fenix P1D, L1D, L2D & P2D (all Q5) | Zebralight H50-P4
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    JETBeam JET-I PRO | Jet-II Mk3 | Olight T20 Q5 | NITECORE Defender Infinity

  24. #24

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by CandleFranky View Post
    Where is your problem with the actual 121 Hz? Can you see a flicker? I have the CL1H 3SD, but cannot find any problems. The flicker is invisible for my eyes.
    FYI, my Q4 3SD for the DBS has a MUCH higher frequency - well over 1KHz, since I can't detect it by eye or by instrument.

    121 Hz is fairly noticeable in comparison, but not horribly so.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Just a quick update: I've tested the PWM frequency, and it is 121 Hz in all low modes. I consider this minimally acceptable personally.
    Interesting, my 3SD Q5 is 94Hz.

  26. #26

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    I put my 3SD Cree XR-E WC Q5 in my DBS V2 and now it's stuck in high only. It was working OK until yesterday. I removed the battery and I think I'll let it sit for 24hrs and see what will happen.

    A couple of days before I put my 3SD Cree XR-E Q4 in my DBS V1 and the light was stuck in what looked like PWM mode. The beam was pulsating. I could go to all 3 levels but the beam was still pulsating. I tried it in my DBS V2 and the same thing. I waited a day and still the same thing.

    I figured I had nothing to loose and run 2 RCR's in the light. The 3SD are recommended to run only a 18650 batttery. I figured maybe the module was stuck and the extra voltage might get it back to normal. I ran the light for about 5 seconds and now the pulsating stopped, all levels seem to be OK.

    I'm not sure though if the beam is still as bright as before. The only way to tell is to take a lux reading of it.

    My lux reading before was 18,500 lux @ 1 meter.

    Now, 9140 lux @ 1 meter.

    The positive is at least I got the pulsating to stop.
    Last edited by ernsanada; 02-08-2008 at 06:22 PM.

  27. #27

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by CandleFranky View Post
    Where is your problem with the actual 121 Hz? Can you see a flicker? I have the CL1H 3SD, but cannot find any problems. The flicker is invisible for my eyes.
    i've heard too many people report that there is a flicker, on low and only if you wildly flash the light around, but on a $125 flashlight, i will wait till i get alan's approval before i jump in.

    maybe if i bought one today, it wouldn't bother me, but i'm not willing to take that risk.
    Currently own: Dereelight DBS v2 3SD WC Q5, NiteCore SmartPD EX10 (EDC), Zebralight H30, Lowes Task Force 3W Cree 2C, 5th Gen Surefire L1, Jetbeam CL-E v2, Fenix E01, 3D Mag w/Mag LED drop-in, quark 123

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by ernsanada View Post
    I put my 3SD Cree XR-E WC Q5 in my DBS V2 and now it's stuck in high only. It was working OK until yesterday. I removed the battery and I think I'll let it sit for 24hrs and see what will happen.
    Sounds like you are shorting out the pill. Is it a CL1H pill, or DBS pill? Does it have an insulating washer on it? Do you have it screwed in really tight? Try screwing it in all the way, but not tight. Or back it off just a bit.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by WadeF View Post
    Sounds like you are shorting out the pill. Is it a CL1H pill, or DBS pill? Does it have an insulating washer on it? Do you have it screwed in really tight? Try screwing it in all the way, but not tight. Or back it off just a bit.
    It's the DBS pill that came with my DBS V1.

    I backed it out a little and now it works.

    Thanks Wade!


    Do you think the same thing happened to my 3SD Cree XR-E Q4 pill? The pill shorting out causing it to pulsate?

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: DBS V2 (with R2 Cree/ DI) Comparison Review

    Quote Originally Posted by ernsanada View Post
    Do you think the same thing happened to my 3SD Cree XR-E Q4 pill? The pill shorting out causing it to pulsate?
    Maybe. I've noticed that over tightening them can cause problems.

    Also when it shorts out like that it seems to get brighter. I have a 3SD pill that I put a R2 WG into and since I didn't do as clean of a job as Dereelight it shorts out more easily if I tigthen it too much. When this happens it gets brighter and I get like 29,000-30,000LUX. When I back it out so all 3 modes work I get around 26,500-27,000LUX on high.

    Not sure if it's going into direct drive or what.
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