LumensFactory Seraph Modular system overview/review (Pic Heavy!)
I am posting this in the "General" flashlight section as the light I am discussing here can be configured in numerous LED AND Incandescent configurations. It can stay here or be moved to the review section if desired by a moderator
Mark @ LF sent me an SP-6 to check out. I think they really hit quite a few nails on the head with this one. This is LumensFactory's first venture into selling their own brand of flashlight. For just out of the gate they aren't doing too bad here at all.
This is part of LFs new Seraph line of flashlights and accessories. With one of these kits, and a few other odds and ends, almost every incan or LED tactical configuration imaginable is possible. The parts are "surefire-C" compatible so it's like buying a lego-starter kit, not just a flashlight. Considering the price point of $37-$50 depending on model, this makes an excellent "intro" opportunity into the world of playing flashlight lego.
There is also an SP-9 version, which is a 3xCR123/2x18500 bodied version of the same light.
Before I say anything else: Please excuse the dog hair and dust in the photos, flash picks up EVERYTHING?!?! AHHHH... (I work at a pizza place, everything I touch will get dustinator on it, and owning 3 dogs means dog hair lol)
Check it out:
The kit would also normally include a twisty style tail-cap for high current configurations. Also, not shown, it came with 2 Panasonic brand CR123 cells to get things rolling.
The included forward click tail-cap has engraved on it's side "Max 2A"
It's important to only use this tailcap in configurations of 2 amps or less. Use the twisty for higher current lamps. Or lego over to a reverse click from another make, they seem to handle up to ~3 amps reasonably well.
Comes with more spare O-Rings than you can shake a stick at!
The finish on the parts is, as I understand, a standard anodize finish (not HA). The color is a grayish-sparkle with a very slight violet hue. The bezel rings are all stainless steel and beautiful. If I am reading correctly, I *think* the included SS bezel rings will fit an SF head (need to confirm).
The color choice is sort of good and bad. I think it gives the seraph line a sort of uniqueness about it, and grey does actually work reasonably well with black parts. The greenish natural HA on a surefire turbo-head however, just looks like a bad mis-match.... I honestly could care less. I use flashlight in the dark. The right flashlight for the job is about 47.2^3X more important than how the flashlight looks. Being able to play lego means you make the right flashlight!
I opted to check out the 3 mode LED module (w/memory) as my collection is basically void of multi-mode lights and I needed to fix that. The high mode is ~200 torch lumen from what I can tell, much like almost every other 1A R2 module out there. Beam pattern is very similar to the other D26 reflector/pill LED modules out there (decently tight spot, mildly diffused by orange peel, slight cree ring not noticeable in normal use, strong spill). Tint is very good, LumensFactory is selectively choosing LEDs for guaranteed tint ranges on some of their modules and the results are pretty good. I can see a definitive difference compared to my "cheap" R2 modules, much less blue.
Mode change is via producing a fast off-on cycle, which can be achieved with any type of switch, just takes some experimentation and practice. If left in a mode for several seconds, it will recall to that mode the next time it is activated. Cycles in this order: low-medium-high-low-medium-high (starting point can be any of the modes).
Low Mode is rated 5% and I would estimate it's output to be ~10-15 lumen.
Medium mode is rated as "30%" and is probably around ~50-75 torch lumens.
As said previously, High is probably ~200 Torch lumen like other modules of this type tested.
Low and Medium modes use PWM, which isn't noticeable in normal use (so far as I can tell), but can be seen if you move your hand back and forth quickly or point it at fan blades.
Important Note: From what I can tell, the 3 mode module will not operate on a single 3.7V cell. It is rated by LF as being a 6V-13V module, and I believe the bare minimum voltage to operate is in fact a 2xCR123 configuration. Single mode buck modules from LF will run on a 3.7V cell with reduced output.
Here's the SP-6 assembled:
In this configuration, it's a standard 1x18650/2xCR123 body light that takes D26 modules. The head design on this unit is slightly deeper than most D26 lights, and rather than having a tapered inside, is a cylindrical bore to the "lip" below that serves as the outer spring contact for lamp modules, and also serves to retain cells in the body when the head is removed. (good and bad thing IMO). The reason for this head design, as I can figure is as follows:
1. It allows the outer spring on those pesky over-sized LED modules to be used, which guarantees contact and a head that screws on all the way. In my experience, while the solid-contact of the brass pill to a tapered head will provide better thermal transfer, there is also the down-side that thermal expansion can cause sudden contact failure in this configuration (I have experienced this). Using the outer spring improves reliability in some ways, while introducing thermal management problems.
2. The larger cylindrical bore is neccessary to allow the larger outer spring of a D36 module to seat down in there*.
*While the D36 adapter included will fit a SF "C" head. The larger outer springs of a D36 will not work in all "C" bodies out there, especially those where you have BOTH a taper and an anodized finish on that taper (like an FM body). An easy remedy is to gank the outer spring from an LF D26 incan module stretch it slightly, and swap it to the D36 module. Perhaps mark will consider offering a D36 replacement spring as an accessory for these situations.
The tail-cap is sealed by double-O-Rings to the body and is tail-stand-capable. Some folks like the recessed tail-stand option, some don't. I'm kind of in the middle myself. Usually when I need to tail-stand and can't, that bothers me, but working with a recessed button also bothers me, so there's no perfect solution. If you don't like this tail-cap, it's SureFire C compatible so just slap a different one on there! The forward clicky action of the included tailcap seems reasonable. Not as "tactile" and "solid" feeling as a Z59 but so far it's working fine. Only time will tell
As you can see. The body has 2 rubber rings for use as a cigar grip. The feel in hand is pretty good. I find that the rings are low-profile enough not to significantly interfere with sliding in and out of a Rip-Offs holster (important as there is no "clip" on this unit), but just large enough to serve their purpose.
The rubber boot on the tail-cap looks like standard-issue for SolarForce/Ultrafire/Romisen/etc/etc/etc. If one were so inclined, I'm sure it could probably be dissembled, and a different color (or GITD) installed.
Pictured next to a 6P for size comparison:
The heat-sink fins are probably more cosmetic than anything else, but I suppose they will help keep body temps down. I personally think the body shape combined with those fins is very handsome looking.
In 3xCR123/2x18500 configuration:
This configuration would basically be just like any other D26/2x18500 light in use. Lots of great flexible options with both incan and LED D26 modules. Backwards Compatible with 3xCR123 in most of those configurations.
The cell-extenders have raised lips that shadow the design of the raised rubber grips on the main body, however, on the extensions it's just an aluminum raised lip. At this length, with the reduced gripping potential of the aluminum (more slippery), a cigar hold becomes a bit tricky, at this point, the raised rings are functioning more as finger "grooves" for a more normal hold. The light still feels good in hand but probably won't work great as a cigar hold light.
In 3x18500 configuration (both extenders installed):
Now with the extenders swapping positions:
At this length you're definitely not cigar gripping, but the raised rings on the body feel great in actual use. I'd say I *think* I like the feel of having those raised sections there more than a knurled body but I'm not going to finalize that thought. A Knurled "straight" body would still have some advantages over this. It's a trade-off-toss-up personal preference thing.
FM G4 D26 bi-pin: 1331, 1185,
Lets sport the D36 head a bit here:
On the standard body length it actually looks pretty handsome.
The ability to run a D36 lamp on a SureFire compatible platform makes the whole Wolf-Eyes and Pila system a lot less attractive now. Why buy an M90 when you can have the same options on a Seraph build and many more.
2xIMR16340s > HO-9L, EO-9L, or possibly the WE 9V D36 (unknown)..
2xprotected RCR123s > LF D36 LED module (Build an LED THROWER!)
1xprotected 18650 > LF D36 LED module (thrower with less output / lots runtime)
1x18650 (IMR or protected LiCo) > Wolf-Eyes 3.7V D36 (haven't checked on compatibility with other brand D36s yet so this isn't guaranteed)
Here's the D36 on the 3xCR123/2x18500 configuration
2x18500s or 3xCR123s will drive the HO-9L, EO-9L, or possibly the WE 9V D36
Or if you want to go nuts, slap 3xIMR16340s in there an run the HO-13 or EO-13!!!
Now in 3x18500 > D36 "mode"
Now we can get IMR-18500s or LiCo 18500s in there, and run the HO-13 and EO-13 with plenty of oomf behind them.
At this point, I should point out, that in order to really "fill out" a complete lego kit, a few more 1xCR123 extenders should be picked up so that a 2x18650 and 3x18650 option would be available.
Now let put that C-M adapter to work...
How about an SF Millennium Shock Isolated Turbo-Head on a 2xCR123 body:
Too much fun!
2xIMR16340s for an MN15, MN16, HO-M3T, EO-M3T, IMR-M3T. Grab an FM bi-pin adapter and run the WA1111, GE787, Osram 64250, and probably several others.
A different angle to get an idea of the length difference, and to show the heat-sink fins all lined up!
As you can see. The fins on the Seraph Body, the Seraph C-M adapter, and the SF turbohead are all of very similar spacing/size. The transition doesn't look too bad like this.
Now in 3xCR123/2x18500 mode:
Run many of the bulb options mentioned above on 2x18500s for way better runtime (some require IMR, some will blow on IMR so double check configurations before attempting)
Or drop 3xIMR16340s in there and run the EO-M6R, or IMR-M6, or an 1185/1331 in an FM bi-pin adapter.
Going to skip a few as the list of configurations would go on and on (3x18500s on turbohead, another 1 cell extension would open up all 2x18650 options, a couple more 1 cell extensions opens up all 3x18650 options, LED tower modules, and on and on...)
One thing that isn't pictured here as I don't have one is the possibility of using the Z46 bezel from an M3 on that C-M adapter and running all of the various M3 bulb options on various cell configurations (2xIMR16340, 2x18500, 2x18650s etc).
To say the least, there are dozens of options possible.
Here's some Lego Playing with some FiveMega, SureFire and SolarForce parts
I think if I had to classify this light somewhere in the scale of things as far as build quality is concerned, it would probably fall in somewhere around or slightly above SolarForce, and maybe a notch under some of the premium china made lights (jet/fenix/eagle/olight etc). The threads feel about like a Solarforce, but the styling and surface finish are done nicer. A little lube on the threads and O-Rings and they mate plenty smooth and without complaint with any of the SF compatible stuff just fine. I wouldn't actually be surprised to find out that the light is made in the same factory that cranks out SolarForce branded lights, (they are undoubtedly probably making many lights out there under different names). Nothing really wrong with that as most people here have to admit, that SolarForce represents an incredible value and is one of those rare gem-in-the-rough builds, the Seraph, is no exception to the value concept.
It all boils down to another 18mm compatible host option with SF compatibility, but in this case, they've thrown in some unique styling that is a nice venture from the norm and the ability to play with mini-turbo lamp modules. Very exciting!
I was just thinking in terms of what one might do if they wanted to go the Seraph route and have all options on the table as far as configurations go:
1. Pick up an SP-6 kit.
2. Pick up 3 additional 1xCR123 length extenders.
3. Pick up a Z46.
4. Pick up a KT4.
5. (optional) pick up an FM bi-pin to MN and the FM D26 bi-pin adapter.
I know of one place that will sell you a KT4 for ~$156 shipped brand new, used you could probably find one for ~$125 give or take (maybe).
6. Throw in a Pila IBC and an assortment of IMR and protected LiCo cells from AW to make all those configurations possible.
The KT4 comes with lamps to play with, the SP-6 will come with a lamp.
7. A few more D26 bulbs/LEDs might be worth trying out. Toss in a D36 LED module and a 9V and 13V incan module, and maybe an HO-M3 and MN11 for the Z46.
This would be all the hardware needed to run every possible "common" tactical bulb and battery configuration from 2xCR123/1x18650 up to 3x18650
OK.... so at this point you're at ~$600 give or take. However, considering the way most of us spend money on flashlights over the years, this would probably cover more "lumen/new flashlight cravings" for $600 than $2,000+ would cover in any other possible way. When you get the craving for a new light, just build a different configuration. Pick up a few more bodies and tailcaps and it explodes to multiple very nice flashlights quickly. Which has me thinking maybe Mark should consider selling all the pieces of the kit as singles for those all important expansion moments in a CPFers natural progression.