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Thread: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 *SHIPPING VERSION* Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS +

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    Thumbs up 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 *SHIPPING VERSION* Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS +

    Reviewer's Note: The shipping and pre-release 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 samples were provided for review by 4Sevens.com. Please see their website or CPFMP launch thread for more info.

    Warning: even more pic heavy than usual

    UPDATE: Review has been updated with results from the SHIPPING version of the G5. All new text is identified in italics.

    Manufacturer Specifications from 4Sevens.com website
    • Max output of 350 OTF lumens
    • 8 easily selectable modes of output
    • One-inch diameter fits most common or ‘universal’ weapon mounts
    • Removable clip
    • Removable grip ring
    • Crenated bezel, replaceable with flat, black bezel
    • Shock-mounted battery design prevents recoil damage
    • Unique barrel interior design minimizes battery movement and rattling
    • Unique 4-point switch in head allows smooth, SILENT operation
    • Fine-tuned deep, smooth reflector
    • A useful range of over 100 meters
    • Dimensions: Length: 6.0 in, Body Diameter: 1.0 in, Head Diameter: 1.5 in, Weight (w/o batteries): 5.1 oz
    • Operating Range: 2.7V~12V
    • Typical Output and Runtimes: Moonlight: 0.2 lumens, 7.5 days, Low: 4.0 lumens, 3.0 days, Medium: 28 lumens, 22 hours, High: 200 lumens, 3.1 hours, Max: 350 lumens, 1.3 hours, Strobe: 2.7 hours, S.O.S.: 8.5 hours, Beacon: 30 days
    • MSRP: ~$140

    The G5 is the first of the 4sevens “Maelstrom” lights to hit the market. Using the latest Cree single-die emitter with highest luminus flux output bin, the G5 is designed to give you maximum output and throw possible in a mainstream-sized flashlight. Have they succeeded? Read on …

    UPDATE: This review originally contained pics and data from a pre-release sample. Where things have changed, I have updated the review with info from a shipping sample 4Sevens has sent me.



    Packaging is distinctive – should look good on a store shelf.



    Included inside is the light, good quality belt pouch/holster and wrist strap, manual, 2 4Sevens-branded CR123As, spare o-rings, tactical grip-ring replacement cover, and flat black bezel replacement cover.

    The light looks and works exactly the same as the pre-release version, so I haven't updated any of the detailed build pics or text below.





    Styling is distinctive – somewhat minimalist, but notice all the cooling fins around the base of the head.

    Fit and finish on my sample were excellent – no flaws or chips in the black type III hard anodizing on my sample. Knurling, while not overly aggressive, is quite generous and in all the right places, giving you excellent grip. The included grip-ring and clip (both removable) certainly give additional support. Lettering is sharp and bright white (and thoughtfully kept to a minimum).


    From left to right: Surefire CR123A, Fenix TK12, 4Sevens Maelstrom G5, Eagletac T20C2 MKII, Olight M21, JetBeam RRT-2 Raptor

    G5 Weight: 145.5g (no batteries), Width (bezel): 38.9mm, Length: 156mm

    Although slightly larger than the typical “tactical” 1x18650/2xCR123A light, the overall dimensions of the G5 are still quite reasonable. Most of the extra height comes from the head, where there is a deeper than typical reflector.




    Clearly, this light is designed for maximum throw. Note that XP-G emitters are typically considered to be less “throwy” than their earlier Cree generation counterparts (especially the XR-E series). But a lot of that depends on reflector design – and it looks like 4Sevens has gone to some expense to craft a customized one for the G5. Scroll down for beamshots and output/throw measures.



    The light use a protuding forward tactical clicky switch (i.e. press for momentary on, click for lock-on), with good feel. All mode switching is done with the head (scroll down for UI discussion). I understand an optional remote pressure switch is also in the works.



    The light has high-quality internal components. Note the novel 4-contact-point design in the head. However, since the head's positive contact lacks a spring, newer high-capacity flat-top 18650 batteries may not work (none of my AW ones did, unfortunately).

    Although I haven’t shown it, the front of the head easily opens and you can directly access the reflector and the front of the emitter.

    Note that due to the protruding forward switch, the light cannot tailstand. But screw threads are anodized allowing for tailcap lock-out.

    I have not detected any obvious rattle on any battery type.

    Beamshots

    UPDATE: Output has increased slightly on 1x18650 on the Shipping Version. I don't plan to re-take the white-wall beamshots, but I will include this new Shipping Version when I do my next batch of 100-yard beamshots.


    And now for the white wall hunting. To start, here are some up-close shots comparing to other XP-G R5 lights, about 0.5 meters from a white wall (all lights on AW protected 18650).













    Clearly, the 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 is a more focused thrower than these other XP-G lights. And yet – thanks to the XP-G smaller profile and lack of dome ring – it is remarkably “ring-free” in its beam profile.

    So how does it compare to the classic “thrower” lights in the 1x18650 class? Here are some outdoor shots focused on a point ~ 10 meters from the lights. Note that these were taken at different times for different reviews, so they may look a little different (e.g. I planted a tree at the end of last summer ).







    While not quite in the same league, the G5 certainly seems to hold its own pretty well. Scroll down for some more exact measures of throw taken with my lux meter.

    And now some additional long-distance beamshots, to show you how the light compares to others in its class.

    Please see my recent 100-yard Outdoor Beamshot review for more details (and additional lights).[/I]







    UPDATED SEPT 19, 2010: I've added some additional lights to my 100-Yard Outdoor Beamshot Round-up, including the shipping version of the G5. Check out that round-up thread for more details. Here is a relevant animated GIF comparison of a number of XP-G R5 lights:




    User Interface

    The build design of the G5 is interesting – especially the fairly unique 4-point switch engagement in the head of the flashlight. This allows you to select the different outputs by simply loosening or tightening the head.

    The short-lived DarkTort had something similar, but in that case the points were spring-mounted and had a tendency to “click” slightly as you passed by each one – the G5 is silent as it moves over the points.

    Basically, every quarter-turn of the head selects one of the output levels. 4Sevens describes the four modes (from tight to loose) as Primary, Secondary, Auxiliary 1, and Auxiliary 2. You can thus easily slide between four outputs in quarter-turn installments.

    One minor point, though - the position just below where a switch occurs can be a bit unstable (i.e. light might flicker or jump back and forth from the lower to higher level if shaken). Best to make sure you are well within a given level’s position for stable operation (i.e. avoid leaving it set within a ~15 degree arc right around where the levels switch).

    The G5 has 8 modes in total, split into 2 sets (referred to as Regular and Special mode). In order from tight to loose, you get the following:

    Regular: Hi, Med, Lo, Moonlight
    Special: Turbo, Strobe, SOS, Beacon

    Switching between Regular/Special mode sets is done by quickly loosening and tightening the head from tight 4 times rapidly (i.e. quickly switching between Primary and Secondary 4 times in a row). You have to do this pretty fast, or you won’t switch between mode sets. You also need to make sure you do the full quarter turn each time, or the switch won’t register (i.e. need to see the secondary mode).

    On Med/Hi/Turbo, I can detect no sign of PWM flicker by eye or with my sound-card oscilloscope, and I believe the Maelstrom G5 is current-controlled at these levels. On Lo and Moonlight, I can detect evidence of PWM when shinning at a fan, but my sound-card oscilloscope is unable to read the frequency (which means it must be >30KHz at least). 4Sevens informs me that the Lo mode doesn't use PWM on the shipping lights. Either way, certainly not a problem – and this is very consistent with other 4Sevens lights (e.g. Quark series).

    Strobe


    SOS


    Beacon


    Strobe was measured at a fairly typical 9.5 Hz. The Beacon is basically a pulse of light that lasts for ~1 sec, issued at ~10 sec intervals.

    Testing Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlight reviews method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan.

    Throw values were taken at 1 meter for all lights shown below. Scroll down for a discussion of the 5 meter throw values

    Throw/Output Summary Chart:

    UPDATE: Here is how the new Shipping Version compares to the original pre-release sample in my testing:



    I will cut right to the chase – yes, max output on 18650 has increased compared to the pre-release sample. However, max output on 2xRCR/CR123A has decreased relative to the pre-release version.

    Basically, all three battery options now give the same max output (which is intermediate to the various output levels of the pre-release version). Note that the differences are not huge – you would need a lightmeter to really see the difference. I suspect many will consider this an improvement, as it means you can now expect equivalent initial output regardless of battery source.

    For all "throwy" lights like the G5, throw measures at 1m are misleading (since the beam hasn't fully converged yet). I only report them in the tables to be consistent with the other lights that were measured at 1m. However, if you want to be more accurate, here are my measures at 5m:

    G5 pre-release - 1x18650: 720 lux @5m (26.8 "throw") = 18,000 lux @1m estimated (134 "throw")

    G5 Shipping - 1x18650: 750 lux @5m (27.4 "throw") = 18,750 lux @1m estimated (137 "throw")

    Scroll down for a comparison of runtimes and outputs on all levels. I have updated the tables below to reflect the SHIPPING version compared to other lights of this class.








    The results above have been updated with the Shipping Version sample of the G5. As you can see, the G5’s overall output (as measured by my ceiling bounce or lightbox) is at the max end of the range for an XP-G R5 light - on every battery configuration. The Eagletac T20C2-II (R5) is a close second.

    What’s even more impressive is the throw – the G5 actually beats out most of the standard tactical crowd of XR-E R2-equipped lights (e.g. Olight M20, original Eagletac T20C2 – and even the JetBeam Raptor RRT-2). On 2xRCR/CR123A, it even starts to approach the classic Tiablo A9 (Q5). This is pretty remarkable for an XP-G equipped light, and is a testament to the reflector design and high output drive level.

    Again, for more accurate throw measures taken @5 meters, scroll back up.


    Output/Runtime Comparison

    Note: Effective January 2010, all CR123A runtimes are now performed solely on Titanium Innovations batteries sponsored by BatteryJunction.com. You can compare the generally excellent performance of these CR123A cells relative to the Duracell/Surefire cells used in all my earlier reviews here. I have marked all the new runtimes of lights with Titanium Innovations CR123As on the graphs with an "*".

    UPDATE: To start, I imagine most people want to know how the new Shipping Version compares to the pre-release sample on Turbo, on all batteries. In the graphs below, the solid lines are the Shipping version, and the dotted lines are the pre-release version.



    As discussed above, all three battery options now give roughly the same max output initially (which is intermediate to the various output levels of the pre-release version).

    But there are a few other differences - for example, Max 1x18650 on the Shipping version is now regulated for the first ~10-15mins of the run, before switching into direct drive. As a result, runtime on Max has of course decreased.

    So how do all the output levels compare? I haven't redone all the runtimes, but here's a few examples on 1x18650. Again, the dotted line is the pre-release sample.



    Basically, output is slightly lower on 1x18650 on the Moonlight/Lo/Med/Hi levels of my Shipping sample. The Hi mode also shows a runtime difference – the light is now fully regulated over the entire length of the run. On the pre-release version, the light dropped out of regulation and into direct-drive about half-way through the run.

    Although many here may prefer this new fully-regulated pattern on Hi, I would note that semi-regulated is typically more efficient, and the gradual drop-off was not perceptible to the naked eye anyway.

    I haven't updated the comparisons runtimes below - those are still the pre-release version. But as you can see in the graphs above, there's not a huge runtime difference except on 1x18650 on Turbo.












    UPDATE: Again, the comparison runtimes above still show the pre-release version.


    Output spacing is definitely a bit different from most other lights – the light lacks a typical “Med” level, as the G5 Med is actually closer to the Lo level on most other lights. In addition, the G5 also has Lo and Moonlight output modes, both of which are lower than what most lights can attain. Although this makes direct comparison difficult, relative efficiency seems to be very good on the G5.

    Potential Issues

    The 4x switching mechanism for Regular/Special mode sets can be a bit tricky to perform reliably – you must very quick, but also make the full switch into the secondary mode from primary (i.e. a full quarter turn) on each pass.

    It was also easy to accidentally unscrew the front part of the head somewhat on the pre-release version (i.e. defocus the reflector) while switching modes - but that may just be in the pre-release version (which was designed for easy access). Confirmed - my Shipping version is a lot stiffer, and this no longer happens accidentally.

    Turbo is located with the strobe/SOS “Special modes”, which means you have to do a mode set switch to access it. And since Strobe is the secondary mode of the Special group, this also means that you will need to see the strobe four times to return to the Regular mode set.

    UPDATE 9-7-2010: The latest batch of G5s has a revised interface, with Turbo added to the Regular mode set, and the Lo mode has been dropped.

    With the reverse polarity protection feature of the head, none of my newer high-capacity flat-top AW protected 18650 cells would work in my G5 sample.

    Preliminary Observations

    The Maelstrom G5 definitely lives up to its promise to show that XP-G emitters can throw!

    Confirmed in the Shipping version, the overall output and throw of the G5 is top-of-class for the general purpose tactical mode lights. It typically exceeds the overall output of other XP-G R5-equipped lights (e.g. Fenix TK12, Eagletac T20C2-II), and the throw of most XR-E R2-equipped light (e.g. Olight M20, JetBeam RRT-2 Raptor, original Eagletac T20C2, etc.). While it can’t quite compete with the dedicated XR-E R2 “throwers”, its throw is actually pretty close to the classic Tiablo A9 with a XR-E Q5 emitter.

    Notice too that all this output and throw comes with no discernable rings in the beam (as is common on XR-E lights). There is also no sign on my samples of the dark centre void in the hotspot (as is common on XP-G lights, especially those with smooth reflectors). Definitely a fantastic job on the reflector - well done!

    Overall build quality is very high on my samples - they definitely look and feel like a solid, well-built lights. While marginally longer than typical tactical-class 1x18650-sized lights (due to the deeper than typical reflector), the lights don’t feel at all unwieldy. Hand-feel is good, and the light is easy to use one-handed to switch quietly between the four output levels of whichever mode set you are in. Very intuitive and easy to use My only real complaint here is the 4x switching mechanism to go from the Regular to Special mode sets – I found it a bit tricky to do reliably.

    Runtime performance certainly seems very good for this class of light. But the light lacks a typical Med mode, and seems to have an unusually large number of Lo modes for a high-output tactical light. That wouldn’t normally be a problem, except it seems to have resulted in the Turbo mode being relegated to the Special modes set with strobe/SOS. That is an issue, since getting back into the Regular mode set means strobing yourself 4 times (i.e. Strobe is the secondary mode you have to keep switching into from Turbo to do a mode set switch back to Regular).

    Of course, from another perspective, this division of modes makes sense - the Regular modes have a wide range of outputs for the regular user (and all fully regulated on 18650), while the Special modes contain those the tactical user would like (including max output and strobe). But I personally am sympathetic to the regular user crowd that would like to see Turbo in the Regular set.

    Despite whatever your personal user interface preference, the G5 is certainly top-of-class for output and throw. I’m glad to see 4Sevens has managed to dispel the myth that XP-G lights cannot throw – in fact, the G5 shows that you can get excellent throw from this class with the right reflector (and special bonus – no beam rings!). The G5 certainly shows (and shows off) what the high-output XP-G emitter can do with the right reflector.

    UPDATE 8-14-2010: As shown in the revised charts and runtime graphs, max output has indeed increased slightly on 1x18650 on the Shipping version compared to the pre-relase sample. However, max output on 2xRCR/CR123A has decreased slightly relative to the pre-release version. Check out the tables and graphs above for more info.

    UPDATE 9-7-2010: 4Sevens has confirmed that the latest batch of G5s now includes the Max mode on the regular sequence, and dispenses with the Lo mode, as recommended in this review. The revised sequences are thus: Max, Strobe, SOS, Beacon - Max, High, Medium, Moonlight.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 09-19-2010 at 08:28 PM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Awesome review as usual selfbuilt!

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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Thanks for the great write-up!
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    Flashaholic* ti-force's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Nice work as usual Selfbuilt

  5. #5

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Thanks for the review, this helps in figuring out if I should get this light. (I think I am still more interested in the S12).

  6. #6

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Great review thank you.

    I look fordward to order this one when it releases. Looks promising. Only con is the full regulation with 18650.


  7. #7

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    EXCELLENT work as usual Selfbuilt!!! I'm a little bummed about the UI though... that's a deal breaker for me...

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    Flashaholic ToNIX's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Outstanding review as usual! Pretty unique design and the output speaks for itself
    [New Malkoff MD2/M61W (neutral) H/L] - [Old Malkoff MD2/M61 219 H/L] - [Fenix TK11 R5] - [4Sevens Quark AA Tactical R5] - [Petzl Tikka Plus] - [Streamlight Propoly 4AA Luxeon]

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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Great review selfbuilt!

    Kind of a bummer that it doesn't accept the newer flat-top AW 18650 2600 mAh batteries though.
    My dog ate my flashlight...

  10. #10

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Great review as always Selfbuilt.

    Thanks.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post


    Styling is distinctive – somewhat minimalist, but notice all the cooling fins around the base of the head.
    Perfect for a 1400-1500mA driven XP-G.R5.
    Thank you for the great review.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    G5 must be a truly powerful flashlight, since the tree in your backyard has vaporized between the beamshots

  13. #13
    Flashaholic frosty's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Thanks for the review. It's an impressive light but I'm not taken by the switching method or the fact that you may end up getting strobed.

  14. #14

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by richardcpf View Post
    Only con is the full regulation with 18650.
    + no medium mode. And it's bigger than RRT-2 (which isn't small...).

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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Thank you very much Selfbuilt for this great review (as usually).

    I like very much the power but i'm disappointed because of the UI and the lack of regulation on 18650.
    Max mod should be simple to operate... and not hidden...

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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Excellent review Selfbuilt! I see we agree about wishing the Max mode was in with the other constant outputs.

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  17. #17

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Thanks everyone!

    Quote Originally Posted by AardvarkSagus View Post
    Excellent review Selfbuilt! I see we agree about wishing the Max mode was in with the other constant outputs.
    Quote Originally Posted by ti-force View Post
    Nice work as usual Selfbuilt
    Thanks, and good job on your reviews as well (just read them this morning). Man, those are a lot of great pics ti-force!

    BTW, I think you made a good point AardvarkSagus that the Hi mode is strong enough that you may not feel the need to switch to Turbo. I know people are disappointed with the lack of full regulation on max on 18650 in my runtime tests, but Hi is indeed quite impressive in its own right.

    Quote Originally Posted by frosty View Post
    Thanks for the review. It's an impressive light but I'm not taken by the switching method or the fact that you may end up getting strobed.
    Yeah, that getting strobed part is really my biggest beef with having Turbo on the special set (with strobe). I can live with having to do the 4x switch to access Turbo, but I really don't like getting strobed repeatedly when going back down to Regular output modes.

    Quote Originally Posted by phantom23 View Post
    + no medium mode. And it's bigger than RRT-2 (which isn't small...).
    I don't really find the size an issue - you quickly get used to it, and the light is well balanced (i.e. doesn't feel top-heavy with batteries installed). It's actually kind of impressive looking.

    The spacing of output modes is another issue. A more "medium" output would be more useful, I think. Personally, I've never really seen the point of ultra-lo outputs on a 1x18650-sized tactical light. Who really needs months of continuous output? Of course, it doesn't hurt to have them there - as long as they don't get in the way of the modes I actuallly do use (i.e. Med and Hi). And that's really the issue with having Turbo bumped up to the Special set modes ... there would be room for it in the Regular set if they just nixed Moonlight.

    But again, these UI quirks aside, the output and throw of this light are outstanding for the size.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yavox View Post
    G5 must be a truly powerful flashlight, since the tree in your backyard has vaporized between the beamshots
    I see you've noticed the undocumented "Disintegrate" feature. Quite a surprise when I stumbled acrossed it by accident ...

    More seriously, I'm afraid that is the last of those beamshots - I just moved this past month, so it will be new garden pics in the future. Guess I will have to do some comparison shots of older lights to compare ...
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 07-10-2010 at 07:33 AM.
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    Unenlightened dr.toto's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Thank you for the nice review.

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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Is it inappropriate to talk cost here?
    I guestimate $125, seeing as the Quark turbo is $75, and Quark RGB is $100.
    6.5K diving light, 5K cool-white, 4K neutral-white, 3K warm-white, 2.7K extra warm-white

  20. #20

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    I think cost talk is useless right now. The announcement is soon to be released with actual numbers.

    All we would be doing is guessing randomly, and this thread is more about the performance attributes of the light.

  21. #21

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    The fact that you can see the tree with the maelstrom, but none of the other lights is the lights is the kicker for me!!!!


    Great review, Thanks,
    J

  22. #22
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    Default There is no spoon, but there is a tree.

    Okay, how about, 'where is my neutral-white?' talk

    S2 cool
    R5 'outdoor-white'
    R4 neutral-white

    R2 warm-white

    A nice 4500K R5 outdoor-white would be nice, especially come autumn.
    6.5K diving light, 5K cool-white, 4K neutral-white, 3K warm-white, 2.7K extra warm-white

  23. #23

    Default Re: There is no spoon, but there is a tree.

    I saw in ti-forces review thread, 4Sevens quotes the runtime in moon mode as 7 days wheras the regular Quark 2x123 they advertise is 30 days. Why would there be that huge of a difference in run-time with the same battery type and the same lumens (.2 lumen)? Isn't an XP-G an XP-G? Why would this be less efficient on lower levels than the other XP-G Quark 2x123? Strange the older Quark 2x123 would last 4 to 5 times longer on moon mode. That is all!

  24. #24
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    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Thanks for your detailed and wonderful review !

  25. #25

    Default Re: There is no spoon, but there is a tree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beacon of Light View Post
    I saw in ti-forces review thread, 4Sevens quotes the runtime in moon mode as 7 days wheras the regular Quark 2x123 they advertise is 30 days. Why would there be that huge of a difference in run-time with the same battery type and the same lumens (.2 lumen)?
    Probably simply because one uses PWM and the other CC.

  26. #26

    Default Re: There is no spoon, but there is a tree.

    Quote Originally Posted by wapkil View Post
    Probably simply because one uses PWM and the other CC.
    THAT big of a difference though? 4-5 times the difference? This seems unheard of even comparing current controlled and PWM lights at such a low level 1mA

  27. #27

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Yeah, that getting strobed part is really my biggest beef with having Turbo on the special set (with strobe). I can live with having to do the 4x switch to access Turbo, but I really don't like getting strobed repeatedly when going back down to Regular output modes.

    Of course, it doesn't hurt to have them there - as long as they don't get in the way of the modes I actuallly do use (i.e. Med and Hi). And that's really the issue with having Turbo bumped up to the Special set modes ... there would be room for it in the Regular set if they just nixed Moonlight.
    Thanks for the review selfbuilt! Now on a general note, I think anyone disappointed in the UI has to take a step back and consider the purpose of this light. My suspicion is that it's going to be marketed as a tactical and weapon mounted light. As such, it makes sense to have the turbo and strobe mode in the same group, easily accessible, for people using the light for these purposes.

    For the casual user, I think the normal output modes are pretty good. Moonlight mode is pretty awesome, low is good, and the "medium" mode is enough to get most tasks done. But for more throw and light, the high mode is a good balance between brightness and efficiency. Considering the runtime difference between high and turbo, and the logarithmic nature of our eyes, I think the settings are pretty well-spaced and well-thought out.

    We just have to keep in mind what this light was meant for. And with that in mind, the way the brightness settings were set up is actually, I think, very smart. You essentially have an interface that allows you to use the light for tactical purposes and EDC purposes at the same time. If you're a more casual user, the normal outputs will work well enough for your purposes. But if you're going to put this thing on a gun, switch to the tactical outputs and you have outputs that generally work just as well. In my eyes, the way this light is set up is a compromise- attempting to be useful for both tactical and EDC purposes. And thus, while it's not perfect at either, it's pretty good overall.

  28. #28

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by TwitchALot View Post
    Now on a general note, I think anyone disappointed in the UI has to take a step back and consider the purpose of this light. My suspicion is that it's going to be marketed as a tactical and weapon mounted light. As such, it makes sense to have the turbo and strobe mode in the same group, easily accessible, for people using the light for these purposes. ... You essentially have an interface that allows you to use the light for tactical purposes and EDC purposes at the same time.
    I think you make a number of excellent points TwichAlot (sorry I couldn't quote it all, but I urge folks to read the whole post).

    Your reasoning is quite sound - the modes do make sense from a tactical/casual user perspective. And as AardvarkSagus has pointed out, the Hi mode is quite acceptable for every day use (and frankly how I would run the light, given that I prefer the Regular mode set). It also has the advantage of full regulation on 18650, my preferred battery source by far.

    But I am sympathetic to the camp that would like to see Turbo in the Regular mode set. It wouldn't preclude putting the Turbo in the Special mode as well. The Regular mode levels could be spaced differently to allow the casual user access to max output. This would be preferable to me, as I don't really need a lot of low modes on a light of this size (that's why I carry 1xRCR and 1xAAA on me at all times).

    But I appreciate the different perspectives!
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  29. #29

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt
    I think you make a number of excellent points TwichAlot (sorry I couldn't quote it all, but I urge folks to read the whole post).
    Instead of typing it out, next time you can just copy and paste the text and manually type, “[QUOTE]…[//QUOTE]” at the beginning and end of the text to put it in those quote boxes. Just use one backslash instead of two (if I had used one, it would have put the, “…” in a quote box and you wouldn’t be able to see the quote parts).

    Your reasoning is quite sound - the modes do make sense from a tactical/casual user perspective. And as AardvarkSagus has pointed out, the Hi mode is quite acceptable for every day use (and frankly how I would run the light, given that I prefer the Regular mode set). It also has the advantage of full regulation on 18650, my preferred battery source by far.
    I suspect the crew attempt to achieve the best regulation possible with all of these different outputs and battery configurations. Although I’m disappointed flat-top 18650’s won’t work in the G5, hopefully that issue has been addressed in the production models or will be addressed in the future. Of course, I did forget to discuss that there IS full regulation on the high mode with 18650.

    I also suspect that this, and the output levels, was thoughtfully designed. Think about it this way— casual users or CPFer’s may want to run 18650 with full regulation. The only way to do this with the circuit design is to have the highest “casual setting” be, “high.” If it were turbo, casual users would have good regulation on only, say, 3 out of 4 outputs, as the circuit can’t fully regulate on turbo with an 18650. This is brilliant for two reasons.

    The first is that casual users running 18650 will have full regulation on all four of their output modes, and in addition, get enough light on high mode for a relatively long period of time. This suits most purposes just fine, as 200 lumens is really plenty of light for a lot of situations, and you get it for three hours.

    The tactical user, however, will probably not run 18650, if only because it’s a more niche battery type, and more importantly, protected cells can potentially have their protection circuits damaged by weapon recoil. Thus, they will likely run primary 123A’s, which, lo and behold, are fully regulated on the modes tactical users would use (and normal modes, of course). The end result is that the people who are likely to use either the casual or tactical setup will have full regulation on all output modes with the battery type they are most likely to use. And of course, any casual user can also run R/CR123A’s and get fully regulated output on turbo mode, if they’d like.

    Now there is one last point to be made. As I said, 4Sevens probably did the best they could with the regulation. Now look at the output on 18650. Over time, you see a steady decrease in output on turbo mode, which is really quite understandable. Now think of the implications of this. What it means is that on 18650, you really don't get the maximum output for all that long. As the output slowly tapers off, you start to approach the high mode in brightness. Taking a wild guess, maybe you go down from 300 (on the test sample) max to 250 or even less over time on an 18650. Visually, the difference between 200 lumens and 250 lumens is not that much. But because you're running on turbo, the runtime is much shorter. So the question is, since full regulation on turbo can't be achieved with an 18650, would you rather have a constant 200 lumen output for three hours, or declining brightness that makes turbo and highl nearly indistinguishable over time for two and a half hours? I much prefer the former. YMMV.

    But I am sympathetic to the camp that would like to see Turbo in the Regular mode set. It wouldn't preclude putting the Turbo in the Special mode as well. The Regular mode levels could be spaced differently to allow the casual user access to max output. This would be preferable to me, as I don't really need a lot of low modes on a light of this size (that's why I carry 1xRCR and 1xAAA on me at all times).

    But I appreciate the different perspectives!
    Truth be told, I like being able to easily access the Turbo mode for any light very easily. But I think I also understand why 4Sevens did things the way they did. While NO light will suit everyone’s purposes and tastes perfectly in either output or UI, I think the G5 was pretty intelligently designed and strikes a good balance in an attempt to achieve usefulness for both tactical and casual users. And while I like being able to easily access turbo mode, I also find moonlight and low to be VERY useful modes, and the medium mode is enough to get stuff done in the dark, at least at close range. The high mode, though not super super bright, is bright enough for most purposes as well, so despite my preference for easy access to turbo mode, I’m pretty happy with the spacing on the outputs.

    If I have any constructive criticism (not having any experience with the light at all :P), it would be on two points. The first would be to make sure it can run flat-top 18650’s. The second would be on the UI switching method. I would much prefer a, “click it on and off X times rapidly within X seconds” to switch between the tactical and casual interfaces. I think this is easier to do than the current, “rotate the head method,” and it’s is something that won’t be accidentally done in actual use as well. It requires only one hand vs two, and you can always cover the lens so you don’t blind yourself, whereas the current method requires two hands, and it’s awkward to switch modes that way if the head is against your body to cover the lens.


    If it were done this way, it would be easy to switch modes within an interface (stick with the rotate the head method), and easy to switch between interfaces (use one hand and turn the light on and off with clicks rapidly). Neither action is prone to accidental activation, either, so that’s what I would recommend.


    As for tactical/visual feedback for switching modes, well, that’s another long post for another time. Perhaps I’ll cover that later. :P
    Last edited by TwitchALot; 07-10-2010 at 03:22 PM.

  30. #30

    Default Re: 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 Review (XP-G R5) - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

    Hey everyone -

    I've been following this thread and I'll just chime in on a few points...

    - Why don't flat-top 18650's work? It's because of the reverse polarity design in the head. It's more important to make sure batteries inserted backwards don't fry the electronics than to accommodate non-standard 18650's. As someone mentioned, using some flat magnetic discs should work fine.

    Also, the design inside the head reaches into the body chamber to "clamp down" the batteries such that a) the battery/batteries are fixed with light to prevent a self destructing "hammer effect" when mounted on an automatic rifle (yes, we've tested these lights in these applications) and b) the clamping down also prevents battery rattle with both cr123a as well as 18650's.

    - moonlight mode efficiency - why is it less than the Quarks? The circuit is fundamentally different. The maelstrom circuit is designed to push almost twice as much current thus the circuit is more complicated and setup to push more current. The moonlight mode is a compromise - achieving moonlight mode with this circuit was quite a challenge as it is. Short of making a second circuit to run in parallel - it's not possible to get the same runtime.

    - max and special mode choice. with each set of modes, the first two would be the most likely used. ie max/strobe and high/medium. I would say these woudl meet 90% of tactical needs. In fact, most just use max and occasionally strobe. We've had this light tested with police departments and we adjusted according to their feedback. (btw we're working on outfitting some departments with the G5 ). the inclusion of the high, medium, low, moonlight was mainly for you cpf'ers I considered not having those modes but eventually decided to include them - of course at my own peril - drawing more opinions and criticisms.

    - why not click to change modes? This should be an obvious one. For it to be a true tactical light the clicky switch should under no circumstances changes modes from flashing the tail switch period. These guys operating in tactical situations need the light to be predicable and not do different things during operation. We'll be offering remote switches for the G5 - imagine this light being used in a tactical situation and the operator clicks it a few times then all of a sudden the light does funny things. unacceptable.

    just a few points to clarify our design decision

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